May 5 2012

BNP remnants

The BNP did not have a good election. The party lost all the seats it was defending and failed to win any new seats. In many areas its vote was down, in some cases by as much as 50%. All good news for anti-fascists. Unfortunately, they’re not entirely gone. Not yet, anyway.

This week’s defeats follow a poor election last year and the number of BNP councillors has slumped from a high of 57 only three years ago to just three: Sharon Wilkinson on Lancashire County Councillor, Brian Parker in Pendle and – in our region – Catherine Duffy on Charnwood Borough Council in Leicester.

While other far-right parties have failed to capitalise on the BNP’s demise, there are also a handful of independents who are former members of the party, like Graham Partner on Leicestershire County Council. In some cases they will have repudiated their former politics, but it’s not as if politicians never lie. Recall that Partner was recently investigated for distributing an anti-Muslim leaflet.

Ongoing infighting will make it difficult for the few remaining BNP councillors to hold onto their seats when they are next up for re-election (in Duffy’s case in 2014). It is up to anti-fascists to ensure that they are stamped out entirely and that no other far-right group is able to take their place.


May 4 2012

BNP lose two seats in Amber Valley

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.