If anybody in the incredible shrinking BNP really believed that things could only get better following the party's disastrous general and local elections performance in May, last night's showings in Poole and Exeter really should open their eyes to the awful truth.
Confirming the post-May trend of BNP by-election results, the BNP corpsed spectacularly, taking a 3.9% share in Poole Newtown, with 66 votes in an abysmal 18% turnout, and in Exeter Priory fared even worse, taking a joke 2.7% with 53 votes in a 28.8% turnout.
Just as interesting from a personal point of view was the BNP's failure to contest a single ward in Norwich where 13 seats were up for election, the party having fought eight out of the nine Norfolk parliamentary constituencies in the general election. These elections were flagged months ago, giving Norfolk BNP ample time to prepare - but I'm very happy to report that the last confirmed sighting of the BNP in Norfolk was a meeting attended by just seven people from across the county. The party appears to have evaporated like mist on a mirror in the east.
The BNP stood in two other by-elections yesterday, both of them for Spennymoor Town Council (a town council is the equivalent of a parish council). One, as we are all aware, was elevated almost to the status of a parliamentary by-election by a party desperate to show a modicum of success to its demoralised members. Adam Walker's high profile campaign in tiny Spennymoor drew in activists from across the country, including GLA member Richard Barnbrook, and received more internal publicity and outside help than the Norwich North by-election last year.
Clearly the BNP were going for broke and believed Walker could win, but in the event he came third in a field of four, taking a 21.4% share with 264 hard earned votes. The second BNP candidate, not favoured with the resources sunk into Walker's campaign, took 7.74% and 47 votes.
We can expect the Walker result to be spun and a studious silence maintained on the matter of the two "proper" by-election results, but nothing can disguise the fact that the BNP is electorally comatose.
This should be grist to the mill of Eddy Butler's "Reform" group, which is due to hold a strategy conference tomorrow, but ever since Butler's meek acquiescence to the outcome of Nick Griffin's rigged leadership nomination process the wind has been leaving the Reform ship's sails. Butler proved himself devoid of the ruthless streak necessary to take Griffin on on his own terms and has failed either to sustain the motivation of his grass-roots supporters or to maintain momentum.
In a Reform website posting threaded with underplayed concern that the faction's campaign is becalmed and losing support through inactivity, the claim is made that three separate reports alleging financial wrong-doing at the top of the BNP have been submitted to the police in the hope of investigations being launched.
A last throw of the dice, or is Eddy Butler about to pull a rabbit out of the hat?
Presumably more details will emerge over the weekend.