May 03, 2007

Lies, damned lies and Allerdale BNP

The local election campaign in West Cumbria has been one of the most underhand in the areas history and this is almost entirely due to the presence of the British National Party who have simply lied and lied and lied during the course of the campaign.

At this time last year, before I was really involved in anti-fascism, I would probably have agreed if someone had told me that the BNP were a party that used dodgy tactics against opponents and during election but I underestimated this. I have been amazed at the dishonest, deceitful tactics the BNP have used in what is essentially an unimportant local council election they admit they have no chance of winning.

Let's examine the various smears, outright lies put out by the party as well as their tactics.

First came an email from a guy called Nigel Williamson who said he had read the leaflet we put out in Cockermouth and wanted to get involved in campaigning against the BNP. He wanted information on leaflets, meetings and the general activities we do. This sounded a bit suspicious so we asked to meet him before giving him any information and he agreed to meet us straight away. Apparently, he was keen to get involved and gave us his mobile number so we could keep in touch.

Funnily enough though, he cancelled the meeting at the last moment and stopped answering our emails. A few days later the list of candidates for the local election were announced. Surprise, surprise, guess who the candidate for Great Broughton is? Nigel Williamson, a man who is in the running for the worst attempt at infiltration since a guy turned up at the Kremlin wrapped in an American flag asking if he could join the KGB.

Not bothering with trying to take on Maryport Against Racism politically and having failed to infiltrate the campaign the BNP decided to start lying. In Ewanrigg, Elbra and Netherton they put out a leaflet telling voters that Maryport Against Racism is a front for the Labour Party because the co-ordinator of the group is standing as a candidate for the Labour Party, in an area the BNP aren't standing in, and because another Labour councillor is a member of the group.

What they didn't mention is that the secretary of the group is standing for the Green Party in these council elections, that one of the people who helped set up the group (me) is a member of the Socialist Party who are standing candidates against Labour all across the country and that the treasurer of the group supports the Liberal Democrats. In addition to that, most of the groups members aren't a member of any political party.

Why let the truth get in the way of a good smear though?

Then came the claims about the Cumbria Seafoods factory. I've posted on this before but the main point was that the BNP were saying that since the fish factory employed migrant workers it was taking away jobs from local people. Shortly after this claim it emerged the factory was closing and shifting production to the North-East. And why were they doing this? Because there are not enough workers locally to expand the factory. So much for migrant workers taking away jobs, in reality there weren't enough workers to justify the town's largest employer staying in Maryport.

Finally, came the disgusting smears about the co-ordinator of Maryport Against Racism Jonathan Wood. These have been spread around the town and posted up their national website.

Not only is the article illustrated with pictures nicked from Woody's website and the Times and Star, (wonder if they'll end up on Redwatch), but it contains a lot of info about Woody that I never knew at all even though I've known him almost 16 years. Apparently, he has been arrested 3 times since 2004 for drug offences, arrested in 2006 for stealing a car, joy riding under the influence of drugs and alcohol then vandalising a fence at Jennings Brewery. This information came from a former school-mate of his at Netherhall School. All news to me.

Maybe though, it was news to me because it isn't true. Woody was never at Netherhall School, he went to Cockermouth School. I was there for 7 years so I would have noticed if he was. So much for the source of their information. It's all news to the local police as well who will confirm that Woody doesn't have a criminal record. Funny that, isn't it. They also neglect to mention that the only time he ever went to court the prosecution dropped the case because they felt there was 'no case for him to answer'. The whole article is simply one big lie.

Oddly enough, they neglect to mention in the same article that Martin Wingfield has been arrested and has a criminal record.

The BNP even contacted the local papers to try and get this nonsense printed and have complained when they 'refused to report it'. Maybe they refused to report it because it wasn't true? Much as the BNP would like the local papers to repeat their lies, the Times and Star are too smart for them.

However, they don't want the truth to get in the way of a good smear. BNP members and supporters have been busy spreading the news all over the internet, desperate to try and discredit a campaign that has gathered around 40 registered supporters in 6 months.

It hasn't taken very long for the local BNP to show their true face.

There are a few interesting things I've learnt about Martin and Tina Wingfield over the course of the election campaign but I won't stoop to their level and post them online.

The Nation of Duncan

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