Tim Knowles standing for the National Front (NF) in the Amber Valley ward of Langley Mill and Aldercar came third, in a contest which saw labour take the seat from the Tories, receiving a paltry 99 votes.
Knowles was the only NF candidate standing in the East Midlands in yesterday’s local elections. However, across the country the NF was contesting more seats than it had in any election since 1982.
Knowles had previously managed to get himself elected unopposed (i.e. no one else bothered to stand, so he won by default) to Langley Mill Parish Council last year, but was booted off the council after only a few months having failed to fill in the declaration of acceptance or to attend a single meeting.
While 99 votes and third place will be disappointing for Knowles (and heartening for anti-fascists), on a turnout of 1,137 (27.7% of those registered to vote) it actually amounts to 8.7% of the vote. In a General Election that would be enough to get back his deposit (although Parliamentary constituencies are obviously larger than borough council wards).
That he achieved even this much and the apparent disinterest of much of the electorate underlines the extent to which the mainstream parties have ignored areas like Langley Mill. Anti-fascists cannot afford to make the same mistake.
The National Front? No we haven’t heard much about them lately either. You would think the East Midlands NF would be keeping a low profile after anti-fascists stole their flag and ran them out of Ripley a couple of years back. Their website’s been down for a long time and it looked a lot like they’d given up the game in the region. It’s no surprise – the Front’s indigestible mix of explicitly racist politics and crusades against sexual perversion are unappealing to all but the most barmy Hitler worshippers.
However, it seems that Tim ‘if at first you don’t succeed’ Knowles is trying for election once again. For those who blinked and missed it, Knowles was elected unopposed (i.e. no one else bothered to stand, so he won by default) to Langley Mill Parish Council last year. However, being a fascist bonehead and all, Knowles found the paperwork a bit difficult. He was booted off the council after a few months having failed to fill in the declaration of acceptance or to attend a single meeting. Undeterred, Knowles is having another crack at the position in this year’s local elections.
This is presumably because no one else has bothered to stand again, which should tell you something about the problem. Langley Mill is one of those areas which has been abandoned by the main parties, like neighbouring Heanor where the BNP have won elections. Now the East Midlands Anti-fascists have no love of the mainstream crooked politicians and we understand why the people of these areas are turning their backs on them in search of someone who might do something locally. However, voting for or failing to oppose fascists like the National Front’s and the BNP’s candidates will not change anything for the better. These parties cultivate an image of helping the community for as long as it takes to get into power before their real authoritarian and xenophobic agenda comes to the fore.
Let’s hope Knowles fucks it up again.