By-election problems for Labour and nationalists

An unusual crop of parliamentary by-elections has posed problems both for the establishment parties and for nationalists.  Six by-elections take place in November 2012, five of which have nationalist candidates.

At Corby on November 15th the BNP confirmed its trajectory of terminal decline, with candidate Gordon Riddell polling only 1.7% compared to 4.7% at the last general election two years ago.  Meanwhile on the same day at Manchester Central, BNP candidate Eddy O’Sullivan finished in sixth place, falling below UKIP for the first time in Manchester.

On November 29th the BNP will contest Middlesbrough and Rotherham, while Richard Edmonds will stand for the NF in Croydon North.  The English Democrats, backed by numerous former BNP members including ex-councillor Chris Beverley, are standing in Rotherham as is a member of the English Defence League, Clint Bristow, who is standing without a party name because he belongs to the Tommy Robinson faction of the EDL that has fallen out with former allies in the BFP.

This is in many ways the most interesting of the three by-elections, partly because of the amazing scenes inside the Labour Party.  With the decline of the local iron and steel industries, Rotherham’s constituency Labour Party has come to be dominated by the Asian community, but Labour’s national bosses clearly calculated that selecting an Asian candidate in a mostly white area would prove suicidal.

So Labour imposed an outsider – a white woman – as their candidate, prompting a walkout by half of the local activists who had backed Rotherham councillor Mahroof Hussain.

The beneficiary might well be Respect candidate Yvonne Ridley, a journalist and white Muslim convert, who could even surprise the pundits by taking second place ahead of the Tories and Liberal Democrats.

Meanwhile the battle for the nationalist vote could be won by the English Democrats, whose candidate David Wildgoose contested Rotherham three times in the 1990s as a Liberal Democrat!  How he gets on with his new ex-BNP allies is not known…

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