May 05, 2007

The BNP's election to nowhere - turmoil to come?

The BNP's march to power turned into a cul-de-sac of indifference yesterday, with the racist party failing to make any impression in the English local elections.

Predicting at least a doubling of their 49 councillors, a devastated BNP finds its tally (at the time of writing) remains 49. Though the BNP did pick up seats it lost the same number, making no net gains. Of the nine BNP councillors up for re-election only one successfully defended his seat. Those ousted included convicted liar and cheat Richard Mulhall, who led the BNP group on Calderdale Council.

Claiming "mixed results" in an attempt to hide an electoral calamity from its shell-shocked members, there was no real disguising of the BNP's utter failure over large swathes of the country. The party's fortunes stalled and went into reverse in areas where its hopes were high, notably Sandwell and Birmingham, where thousands of votes were lost. Votes in cities such as Coventry were barely improved over those obtained thirty years ago by the National Front. In an effort to distract attention from the Birmingham debacle, the BNP is focussing attention on the fact that it gained more votes than the renegade Sharon Ebanks and her tiny number of New Nationalist Party candidates.

It was clear as the first results came in that the BNP would have no reason to uncork the victory champagne. Stormfront's BNP election-watchers passed over the first bad results but became increasingly despondent and at times lapsed into stunned silence, only slightly encouraged by the prospect of better results to come from the BNP's "best areas". They never did come, and the recriminations were quick to begin.

True to form, BNP members bitterly attacked the voting public as "thick" and "stupid", then blamed large-scale electoral fraud, then talked up anti-BNP media conspiracies, then blamed their own splinter groups, and finally got on with doing what they do best - attacking each other.

Scotland and Wales, where elections to the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly ran concurrently with the English local elections, emphatically rejected the BNP - which imported English candidates already standing for English council seats to make up the numbers. Over most of Scotland so far the BNP's vote stands at less than 2%, while in Wales it has reached 5% only in two regions. No welcome in the hills for the BNP!

The majority of the BNP's local election candidates were make-weight paper-candidates, deployed only to give the public a false impression of BNP strength and growth. Most of them went virtually unsupported but did attract the attentions of anti-racist activists who ensured that the public were made aware of the criminality and corruption endemic to the BNP.

In an election that was as much a test of anti-racism as it was of BNP support, organisations such as the UAF and Searchlight, together with hundreds of concerned individuals produced a series of high-quality leaflets that exposed the dark truth behind the BNP. It is thought that almost half a million leaflets were distributed nationally and that they were a decisive factor in the BNP's defeat.

The fall-out - Goodbye Eddy (and Chris), hello Tony?

Even as the BNP picked through the ruins of its election campaign, news arrived confirming that Chris Jackson is to launch a leadership challenge against Nick Griffin, and throughout the early hours more and more disillusioned BNP members talked up the necessity of ousting Griffin, who they clearly blame for wasting their time and money.

Griffin, however, has a ready-made scapegoat in BNP "elections guru" Eddy Butler.

Voice of Reason previously noted that Butler was one in a long line of victims crossing the path of Griffin's hatchet-man, friend and ally, the thug and would-be bomber Tony Lecomber. Lecomber's attack on Butler, together with accusations of involvement in solicitation to murder, led to his alleged removal from the party. As we reported, there can have been few more amicable partings of the ways than that of Griffin and Lecomber, who was allowed to dictate the terms of his own departure.

We also noted that given the choice, Griffin would have excommunicated Butler, not Lecomber, but with elections pending that was hardly an option. Our belief that with the elections out of the way Griffin would move to return Lecomber to the fold - at Butler's expense - was borne out by Lecomber himself on the Nazi Stormfront website. Responding to a post containing extracts from a Voice of Reason piece questioning exactly how "proscribed" Tony Lecomber really was, Lecomber predicted a "night of the long knives" for the BNP - referencing Hitler's murderous 1934 purge of the Nazi party. As the VoR extract concerned Eddy Butler, there can be little doubt of who is to be purged and who is going to do the purging.

Even an unsuccessful Jackson challenge in the wake of a dismal election showing might be enough to loosen Nick Griffin's grip on the levers of internal power, such is the existing level of disaffection within the BNP. It would certainly set the stage for a future leadership bid that had a greater chance of toppling Griffin.

Nick badly needs two things if he is to keep control - a convenient rubbing-rag to take the heat of the election fall-out away from himself, and a neutralised (or better still, expelled) Chris Jackson.

To accomplish the latter, Griffin needs Lecomber - but he can't have Lecomber while Eddy Butler remains a leading BNP member. So nobody will be very much surprised when the BNP's well-oiled Dirty Tricks Department begins spreading whispers highlighting the failings of the BNP's Elections Department - prop. Eddy Butler.

Close the door on your way out, Eddy.

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