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May 21, 2007



[A decision to vote BNP is a decision to live in a world of private facts; a world where you just know that immigrants are handed out houses on arrival and that there’s a vast muslim world domination plan afoot, in which every individual muslim plays his part but which all muslims keep secret from everybody else]

surely that would be the decision to join the BNP, rather than just to vote for it, which is a decision that can be taken more or less mindlessly? A lot of the point about the BNP is that their support is a mile wide and an inch deep (more accurately; rather less than a hundred yards wide and an inch deep).

Stoke seems to be a very odd town electorally - do you know what those 18 "Other" councillors on the BBC website refer to? It might just be one of these cussed places, or it might be that the governing power-law has just thrown together an unusually efficient local BNP organisation. (btw, it's now back down to six; Mark Leat has apparently been chucked out of the BNP group). It would be interesting if it doesn't fit the overall morphology of either working class Tories, or disillusioned first time voters. The turnout figures look pretty low though, so at least that proposition stands the test.

I am personally a bit sceptical of Searchlight as an information source after they wrote an awful lot of crap about "Combat 18" and about David Copeland. I think they sometimes get the odd shudder of Morris Dees disease.


Don't forget Coalville in Leicestershire, which returned two BNP councillors the other week, both in villages on the outskirts of a 19th century industrial town. In this case its in a largely Conservative-voting area. I'd be interested in the local reasons why the BNP did so well there when they were being thoroughly rogered elsewhere.


Interestingly, once you get away from the urban-rural overlap and into the hills, this changes and suddenly everyone votes for Britain's least conservative conservative, David "I'm the only European in the village - the Westminster village!" Curry MP.


dsquared: the 'others' are Independents. I think there is more than one faction of them - Stoke is one of the authorities to have opted for the elected mayor system, and it was run by an independent mayor until a couple of years ago.

Tom: the answer is that they weren't thoroughly rogered in the East Midlands. They got decent votes in most of the boroughs in which they stood there. They did badly in the areas where they had done well in the past, such as west Yorks, east Lancs and the West Midlands conurbation, but in areas where they were new to the scene they did quite handily.

I think this is because BNP support takes time to work its way through the system, partly because it loses impact as a protest vote, partly because the other parties learn how to campaign against them. This hasn't happened in the East Midlands as yet.


"The Tories are still there and there are now 7 BNP councilors, which is why d-squared’s idea that the BNP vote is limited basically to ex-working class Tories doesn’t hold up across the country"

Not necessarily. No-one is arguing against the fact the BNP wins seats that were previously held by Labour; this applies pretty much across the board. The question is who they win votes from, and there is reasonably strong evidence that it is the working-class Tories living in Labour wards who switch to the BNP, rather than the people who would otherwise have voted Labour. Another main source is erstwhile non-voters.


I think that one of the things I've probably downplayed relative to its true importance is the role of local parties making much more of an effort to get rid of a sitting BNP councillor.

Chris Williams

One of the BNP gains in Coalville incidentally, is top cock-up material. Ravenstone builder Ian Mellor got fined for possesion of an offensive weapon in 2000 when, as part of a National Front contingent that was in Leicester trying (and failing) to stop a gay pride parade, he was nicked with a chair-leg up his jacket.

Still, it wasn't all defeat for the NF that day - they were able to beat up a Big Issue seller who tore up one of their leaflets.

In Leicester and its environs the BNP have been punching below their weight for quite a few years now: alas this is no longer the case.


Indeed - the 'multicultural success story' narrative of Leicester rather underplays the fact that, like any other reasonably-sized city, it has a number of sprawling white working-class estates which are really not any more multicultural than the Becontree estate or the Stoke suburbs, and where the BNP could easily prosper with the right organisation. They came second in New Parks ward this year. The plus point is that there are now no council elections (apart from the county council elections) in Leics until 2011, by which time the BNP will hopefully have imploded.


That BNP-voters live in a parallel universe was proven to me in Longton, where one of the charity shops had a 'Council Bans Xmas Lights'-type poster in the window. Naturally it turned out to be a BNP campaign. When I challenged the manager, her response was pretty much 'My shop, my rules' - though I still wonder whether the Charity Commissioners (let alone the charity concerned) would have taken a different view.

Given the decline in heavy industry (especially pottery/ceramics) in the area, and the lack of post-industrial strategy, I'm not surprised that the 'blame the immigrants' lies of the BNP took hold. (It also helps if you can play off each of the six towns against the other.) Trust me, you do sometimes get the feeling the city's twinned with Royston Vasey.

PS: The elected mayior is now a Labour party man, which means that the Labour group have stopped whingeing about the idea of having an elected mayor in the first place.

PPS: There's also a 'throw the buggers out' routine which has meant that the city went from all-Labour, to NOC, to a majority of 'independents', to a gay elected mayor/BNP councillors, to the current situation in less than a decade.

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