Labour’s easy win in Oldham despite UKIP hype

Farage

A crushing defeat for UKIP in the Oldham West & Royton parliamentary by-election today raised serious questions about the credibility of Nigel Farage’s party in northern working-class areas.

There had been great media hype in recent days about a possible shock win for UKIP – or at least a desperately close result.

In fact – and no surprise to us at H&D – Labour held the seat fairly easily, though on a reduced turnout of 40.3% (down from 59.6% at the general election in May).

The full result was as follows:

Lab           17,322  (62.3%; +7.5)
UKIP          6,487  (23.3%; +2.7)
Con             2,596   (9.3%; -9.7)
LibDem      1,024   (3.7%; nc)
Green             249    (0.9%; -1.0)
Loony             141     (0.5%; +0.5)

On slightly different boundaries in 2001, the BNP polled 6,552 votes here – 65 more than UKIP managed in this by-election. (If anything the boundary changes should have made things better for UKIP by bringing in Hollinwood, once a strong BNP ward.)

So despite the collapse in the Tory vote, the absence of other nationalist contenders, the disgracefully poor conduct of Labour’s leader Jeremy Corbyn, and the terrorist atrocity in Paris having taken place at the start of the by-election campaign – despite all this, UKIP’s performance was appreciably worse than at the previous north-west by-election in Heywood & Middleton.

Instead of a close contest, there was actually a swing to Labour!

Perhaps the crisis of morale and bitter personal divisions at UKIP’s national headquarters infected the campaign; perhaps the party paid the price for not being able to find a credible local candidate. That credibility was not enhanced by UKIP’s typical whingeing after the result about alleged postal vote fraud.

One problem in Oldham is of course the disproportionately high turnout of Asian voters, who now vote again as a block for Labour having abandoned their flirtation with the Lib Dems a few years ago. In 2001 and 2002 there was serious electoral fraud within the Asian community during campaigns against the BNP.  Despite Farageiste whingeing, we understand there is no evidence of such large scale fraud today.

More seriously there is a systemic problem for UKIP of failing to maximise their potential vote in white working class areas, especially in the north of England.  Quite frankly many UKIP “activists” are out of their comfort zone when they have to leave the golf course or the Rotary Club and venture onto council estates.

It doesn’t help that UKIP have a blanket ban on ex-BNP members, many of whom have considerable experience of campaigning in places like Oldham.

The party has a fundamental identity problem.  Even in this week’s vote over Syria, this was manifested in the sole UKIP MP Douglas Carswell (perhaps the most pro-Israel MP in Parliament) voting in favour of bombing, while his party leader Nigel Farage said he was against.

On the ground in Oldham the party failed to shed its image of neo-Thatcherism, and some voters who once backed the BNP here might have seen through the hype and recognised that despite its talk about immigration, UKIP’s liberal market ideology is “colour blind” and likely to lead to further entrenchment of the multicultural chaos that has caused such turmoil in Oldham.

We always knew that UKIP – whatever benefits it brought in driving an electoral wedge into the Labour and Tory parties – would have a limited shelf life. This by-election result in Oldham suggests that nationalists should be preparing already for an imminent post-UKIP era.

County council election disasters for BNP and EDs

The 2013 English county council elections on May 2nd proved a disaster for the BNP – as widely expected – but also dealt a possibly fatal blow to the English Democrats, a party which some anti-Griffin dissidents once expected to profit from the collapse of the BNP.

At the equivalent elections four years ago the BNP won three county council seats, but the catastrophic factional splits that have beset the party soon led to the resignation of two of these councillors, so the only seat remaining in BNP hands before this year’s elections was in Burnley.

Even here long-serving BNP councillor Sharon Wilkinson chose to retire from the council.  In her old division of Padiham & Burnley West, where she had polled 1,155 votes (30.7%) to win election in 2009, this year’s BNP candidate Paul Robinson finished last of four candidates with 358 votes (13.4%).

Elsewhere in the former party stronghold, other Burnley BNP candidates also suffered landslide defeat.  David Shapcott in Burnley SW managed only 7.2%, compared to John Cave’s 21.2% in 2009.

A fuller nationwide analysis of the 2013 elections will appear here in two weeks time, with complete details in the next edition of Heritage and Destiny.

November elections signal death of BNP

November 2012 was a unique month in British electoral history, with six parliamentary by-elections taking place.  Just a few years ago these would have been seen as ideal opportunities for the BNP – then seen as a growing nationalist party – to make significant progress.  In those days the political establishment was genuinely afraid of the BNP, whereas today Nick Griffin’s party is dismissed with contempt as a bad political joke.

The corrupt cronyism of Nick Griffin has crippled the many good nationalists who hopelessly strive within the BNP, which is why every day more of those good nationalists leave that party.

Thankfully there is now a credible alternative: the new British Democratic Party, which is being constructed at a series of regional meetings in advance of a formal launch next year.

The BNP’s November election disasters provided ample proof that a new party is an urgent necessity. In the Northamptonshire constituency of Corby, the BNP vote fell from 2,525 (4.7%) in 2010 to 614 (1.7%) at the by-election.  In Manchester Central the party polled fewer votes across the entire constituency – 492 – than they had once managed in just one of the constituency’s eight wards.  In Middlesbrough, where the BNP saved their deposit in 2010 with 1,954 votes (5.8%), the by-election vote collapsed to 328 (1.9%).  While even in Rotherham, a former BNP stronghold where the campaign started in ideal circumstances due to the resignation of a discredited Labour MP and a local Asian ‘grooming’ scandal, BNP stalwart Marlene Guest saw her vote fall from 3,906 in 2010 to 1,804 at the by-election.

After a clear verdict from the voters, the death of the BNP is confirmed. Time to make a new start with Andrew Brons MEP and the British Democratic Party.

(A fuller analysis of the autumn’s by-elections appears in issue 52 of Heritage and Destiny, which is now available.)

 

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…

By-election candidates announced

Paul Thompson, EFP candidate for Harrowgate Hill

Paul Thompson, EFP candidate for Harrowgate Hill

England First Party candidate Paul Thompson will contest the forthcoming Darlington Council by-election in Harrowgate Hill ward on 12th April.

The by-election follows the imprisonment of former Labour councillor Mark Burton, who admitted sexual assault of a schoolgirl and downloading child porn onto his council computer.

Further details of the campaign will appear here soon: anyone wishing to assist with leaflets and canvassing should email englandfirstparty@yahoo.com

NeilCraig

Neil Craig, Democratic Nationalists candidate for Bradford West

Meanwhile the Democratic Nationalists have announced that Neil Craig will contest the parliamentary by-election in Bradford West on 29th March.  This follows the retirement of Labour MP Marsha Singh.

The declining British National Party will have no candidates in either by-election.

Bradford by-election challenge

Marsha Singh, MP for Bradford West 1997-2012

Marsha Singh, MP for Bradford West 1997-2012

Marsha Singh, the Labour MP for Bradford West, has triggered a parliamentary by-election by announcing his resignation due to ill-health.  This turns the spotlight on the most Asian-dominated city in England, and poses a challenge to the BNP and the various factions seeking to replace it.

Bradford West is a very diverse constituency, stretching from the city centre with large numbers of students (more than 10% of the electorate), through some of Bradford’s main Asian ghettos (now more than half of the electorate), out into the semi-rural hinterland where most voters are White and there is potential nationalist support.

Local millionaire Paul Cromie tapped some of this support as BNP candidate for Bradford West in 2005, saving his deposit with 6.9%.  By the time of the 2010 election (when the BNP candidate was Jenny Sampson) this support had halved to 3.4%, partly due to unfavourable boundary changes but also affected by splits within Bradford BNP.  The then newly formed Democratic Nationalists put up Neil Craig, who polled 1.1%, while UKIP also fought Bradford West for the first time, polling 2.0%.

Since 2010 the BNP has weakened further to the point of virtual collapse, while the Democratic Nationalists have grown – so it will be interesting to see whether local nationalists will now decide to unite behind a DN candidate for the by-election.

Whatever happens it is particularly crucial that there is some sort of nationalist campaign, as the present unfavourable boundaries are scheduled to change again in the near future.  Though the by-election would of course be on the existing boundaries, planned changes for the next general election would see the Queensbury ward brought into Bradford West, as well as White wards from neighbouring Shipley, while the heavily Asian and student wards of City and Manningham would move into a new Bradford Central & East constituency.  Queensbury was once one of the strongest BNP wards in the country, though its two councillors Paul and Lynda Cromie have now left the BNP and sit as independents.

If these changes go through, the new Bradford West will be a prime target for any viable nationalist party at the next general election.

For once Labour might have even more serious problems than nationalists.  Bradford West is one of the top ten most Muslim constituencies in Britain, but it has never had a Muslim MP.  This is no coincidence.  When far left MP Max Madden retired before the 1997 election, amid the usual reports of Muslim “community leaders” trying to fix the selection for one of their own, Labour’s bosses put in their own anti-Muslim fix.  Local councillor Zulficar Ali had been nominated by the two largest wards, but was excluded from the shortlist.  Max Madden attempted to reverse his retirement and make a comeback as a “unity candidate”, alleging that a secret “United Front of Pakistani Muslims” had been formed to ensure a Muslim candidate won, something he described as “fundamentally undemocratic and offensive”.

Another local Labour Party activist said: “It’s got nothing to do with Old and New Labour or party policies; it’s all about clans, castes and religion.”

The selection was eventually won by Marsha Singh – a Sikh!  His community represents only about 1% of the electorate in Bradford West, and there are well known cultural tensions between Sikhs and Muslims, not least the frequent tendency of Sikhs to enjoy more than the occasional drink.  (Mr Singh has retired from Parliament after an unspecified illness, having not appeared in the House since April last year.)

Conservatives tried to exploit Labour’s problems over ethnic politics by fielding a Pakistani businessman, Mohammed Riaz, who later served as adviser on Islamic affairs to the Conservative Party leadership.  Mr Riaz said of Labour:
“The political correctness of the Labour party has totally failed minority communities.  Far from helping them it has made them the target of the indigenous population of this country, making them believe they have received preferential treatment when that is not the case.”

Riaz succeeded in denting Labour’s majority and taking a number of city council seats for the Tories.  Both the major parties have a tough decision: whether to select Pakistani candidates to target voters in the existing Bradford West, or whether to keep half an eye on the future Bradford West and select White candidates.  One very likely Labour candidate is Imran Hussain, who represents Toller ward in the constituency and is currently deputy leader of Bradford City Council.

Either way there is potential for further fragmentation and ethnic independent candidates.

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