Yesterday’s local elections have not gone well for the BNP in Amber Valley. They have lost the two seats they took in 2008, with a massive slump in the percentage of the vote:
- Heanor East: 19.1% (2012) 36.5% (2008)
- Heanor West: 18.2% (2012) 29.5% (2008)
There were 16 seats up for election (one third of the total) with the BNP standing five candidates. Although none won, the votes they were able to achieve varied widely:
- Heanor East: Cliff Roper, 284 votes, 19.1%
- Heanor West: Adrian Hickman, 272 votes, 18.2%
- Heanor and Loscoe: Ken Cooper, 245 votes, 17.8%
- Codnor and Waingroves: Emma Roper, 59 votes, 4.2%
- Ripley and Marehay: Alan Edwards, 130 votes, 7.5%
Former councillor Cliff Roper has described the results as “disappointing.”
Roper, commenting on his Heanor Patriot blog, would have supporters believe that the party’s loses “mirror those of smaller parties throughout the country as we were swept aside in a national backlash against the coalition government, which resulted in a massive vote for Labour by an electorate eager to punish the coalition parties.” The reality is more complicated with many “smaller parties” actually doing quite well. There was an unprecedented vote for UKIP and steady progress by the Green Party, while Respect ousted the Labour leader in Bradford.
There does not appear to have been a great deal of anti-fascist activity in the area, although Hope Not Hate report having organised a couple of leafleting sessions. Whether this had an effect is impossible to gauge.
Internal squabbling amongst the local BNP can’t have helped. Roper resigned the whip last year and was even accused of being a “secret red”, only to return to the fold. Fellow councillor Lewis Allsebrook also jumped ship earlier this year amidst accusations of backstabbing and incompetence. Hopefully their latest failures will only fuel the infighting.