Reading the electoral runes in a tough week for the movement

Laurence Fox tried to combine civic nationalism with anti-lockdown politics but was badly beaten in the London Mayoral election, polling 1.9% and losing his £10,000 deposit.

As the final results were declared today in local and regional elections across most of the UK (with the exception of Northern Ireland) we can begin to draw the lessons – some very predictable, others not.

The real losers of these elections (so far as ‘our’ side of politics is concerned) are very clear. The principal outcome was the demise of UKIP and its various offshoots, remnants of Nigel Farage’s movement that changed British history by forcing David Cameron to hold the Brexit referendum in 2016, then forcing successive Tory leaders to follow through with Brexit in 2019/2020.

UKIP’s largest faction followed Farage into his Brexit Party in 2019, and with Farage’s retirement from electoral politics this has been rebranded into Reform UK under the leadership of property tycoon Richard Tice.

These elections were an absolute catastrophe for Tice and Reform UK.

He decided to focus mainly on seeking election to the Greater London Assembly via the proportional list system, which benefits smaller parties and helped the BNP’s Richard Barnbrook to get elected to the GLA in 2008 as well as electing two UKIP members to the GLA in 2016.

Tice needed to poll somewhere around 6% to get elected: he managed a fraction under 1%, less than one-sixth of the vote that UKIP had achieved in 2016.

Reform UK leader Richard Tice (above right) with his political mentor Nigel Farage

Even the rump of UKIP scraped together a slate that defeated Reform UK on the GLA list by polling a fraction over 1%. Humiliatingly both Reform UK and UKIP were beaten by a gaggle of fringe parties including the Christian People’s Alliance; the Animal Welfare Party; Rejoin EU; and the Women’s Equality Party!

One of UKIP’s GLA members elected in 2016 was David Kurten, a half-Jamaican who broke away to form the Heritage Party during UKIP’s many internal wrangles. Kurten’s slate polled a mere 0.5%, and he took 0.4% in the London mayoral election (where Tice didn’t stand).

Reform UK and UKIP were also hammered in the Welsh Parliament (Senedd) elections, where UKIP had won seven seats in 2016, again thanks to a proportional list system.

This week neither Reform UK nor UKIP came close to winning a single Welsh seat. In each region UKIP polled slightly higher than Reform UK, but even UKIP’s highest vote was 2% in the South Wales East region (where party leader Neil Hamilton headed the slate). In this region five years ago UKIP were runners-up with 17.8% and won two seats!

Heritage Party leader David Kurten was one of many civic nationalists whose political careers have surely been ended by this week’s defeats

The picture was almost uniformly grim for the spectrum of Brexiteer parties across the English council elections, where they saw most of their votes devoured by Boris Johnson’s Conservatives.

Only in Derby did Reform UK win two council seats. One of these was a former UKIP councillor re-elected under his new colours, the other was a local businessman who was given a free run by the Derby Conservatives choosing not to put up a candidate in his ward.

So across the whole of England only two Reform UK councillors were elected. Elsewhere most Reform UK votes were so poor that they will struggle to discern any evidence of even a modest electoral base on which to build.

It will suffice to mention a handful of examples typical of the nationwide picture. In Queensbury ward, Bradford, once held by BNP husband-and-wife team Paul and Lynda Cromie, Reform UK polled only 2.6% and the Tories easily won the seat.

In Wakefield a Reform UK candidate managed just 5.2% in a ward where UKIP had taken 36.6% in 2014.

UKIP couldn’t take any factional schadenfreude from their rivals’ defeats: in another Wakefield ward that had been won by UKIP in 2014, this year’s candidate managed only 3.1%.

A curiosity particular to Wakefield is that the best of the old UKIP candidates had chosen to join the smallest of its factional breakaways. Cliff Parsons, who had polled 40.5% in the Normanton ward as recently as 2019, defected to the Alliance for Democracy & Freedom, founded by former UKIP MEP Mike Hookem, and was the best of the Brexiteer candidates in the borough this year, but even he only polled 7.1% this time.

Today’s Tories are ordered to shun the ‘racist’ legacy of Enoch Powell, but the Tory surge in many White working class areas this year was in some respects Powellite

The West Midlands mayoral election might have seemed tailor-made for Reform UK. There were only five candidates, and Reform UK’s Pete Durnell was the only one that might be considered to the right of the Tories. Incumbent mayor Andy Street is on the far left of the Conservative Party and (for the minority of voters who care about such things in 2021) is openly homosexual.

And this is a region that includes not only multiracial Birmingham but many White working-class areas such as the ‘Black Country’ boroughs of Sandwell and Dudley. In short, this is what was once considered ‘Enoch Powell country’, and includes numerous council wards once held or targeted by the BNP in the 1990s and 2000s.

Yet even here, and with an electoral system that favours smaller parties by giving voters two preferences, Reform UK only polled 2.2%.

The inescapable conclusion is that Reform UK failed to get any coherent message across to voters. And one reason for that is that the party’s ideology (even were it more clearly expressed) is unlikely to appeal to large numbers of White working-class voters.

Tice’s party is essentially neo-Thatcherite, and while Thatcherism in its heyday had some appeal to workers in the Midlands and South, times have changed. Such voters now prefer Boris Johnson’s interventionist and socially conservative brand to the small-state, tax-cutting, libertarian stance of the neo-Thatcherites.

In the North of course, even Thatcherism at its peak had limited appeal, so why would today’s voters opt for a second-rate imitation of Thatcherism, peddling a set of ideas long past their sell-by date?

Other splinters from UKIP attempted to present slightly different varieties of post-Brexit populism but had smaller resources than either Reform UK or UKIP and seem likely to fizzle out quickly. The Democrats & Veterans Party (founded by former UKIP leadership candidate John Rees-Evans) has been rebranded as the Five Star Direct Democracy Party. Their sole candidate this year – James Dalton in Holme Valley South ward, Kirklees – had polled 14.1% as D&V candidate in 2019, but this fell to just 1.0% for the rebranded party this year. Vicky Felton – elected as D&V councillor for Monk Bretton ward, Barnsley, in 2019 now sits as an independent and the rebranded party had no candidate in her ward this year.

Alongside Reform UK and UKIP, the other clear losers of this week’s elections are the anti-lockdown parties. Easily the most high-profile candidate from this camp was television actor Laurence Fox, who founded his own party ‘Reclaim’, funded by a former UKIP and Tory donor, and stood for Mayor of London.

Due to his earlier celebrity, Fox secured disproportionate media coverage but was unable to turn this into votes, despite being endorsed by Tice’s Reform UK who didn’t put up their own London Mayoral candidate.

While his initial political interventions at the start of 2020 had been anti-‘woke’ and in defence of ‘British values’, and during the past year he was a vocal opponent of ‘Black Lives Matter’ extremists, Fox increasingly drifted into being primarily an anti-lockdown and Covid-sceptic candidate.

As such he was one of several in the London race who were pushing some combination of anti-lockdown and/or anti-vaccination politics, sometimes indulging to a greater or lesser extent in what some would term ‘conspiracy theories’.

Piers Corbyn was yet another anti-lockdown candidate whose defeat illustrated the limitations of this form of politics

It’s now clear beyond doubt that (whatever the rights and wrongs of the Covid and vaccination issues) this form of politics was not a sound electoral strategy.

Fox polled only 1.9% in the London Mayoral contest, despite the system allowing voters two Mayoral preferences, beaten not only by the main four parties (Labour, Conservative, Green, and Liberal Democrat) but by a 23-year-old YouTube ‘star’ who specialises in ‘prank’ videos.

At least four other Mayoral candidates were pushing similar ideas on Covid, but they fared even worse. US-born YouTube conspiracy theorist Brian Rose polled 1.2%; Piers Corbyn, who has specialised in getting himself arrested at anti-lockdown demos but is still best known as brother of the former Labour leader, managed 0.8%; UKIP’s Peter Gammons just 0.6%; and as mentioned earlier, David Kurten of the Heritage Party, 0.4%.

Some H&D readers might argue that this was just a London phenomenon, and that surely elsewhere in the country there would be a more receptive audience for anti-lockdown politics. But the verdict of the ballot box is inescapable.

Dozens of candidates stood in local or regional elections for the Freedom Alliance, a single-issue anti-lockdown party. Without exception they polled microscopically tiny votes. Their highest Welsh regional vote was 0.7%, despite the list system favouring small parties.

Even where there was no competition for the ‘protest vote’, Freedom Alliance candidates polled poorly, for example 2% in Tong ward, Bradford; 1.3% in Coalville South, Leicestershire; and 1% in Tottington ward, Bury.

In an old BNP target area – Balderstone & Kirkholt ward, Rochdale – the Freedom Alliance approached credibility with 3.6%, but the fact that this was one of their best votes indicates the scale of electoral defeat that the anti-lockdown movement has suffered.

Freedom Alliance put together an impressive-looking slate of twenty county council candidates in Devon, but their results ranged from 0.7% to 3.7%.

From an electoral point of view, the anti-lockdown movement is dead and buried.

Anne-Marie Waters (above left) and her brand of Islam-obsessed politics is damaged by association with the crooked yob ‘Tommy Robinson’ (above right), founder of the EDL.

We now turn to the third and less obvious set of losers from this year’s elections: the Islam-obsessed wing of nationalism.

Here the evidence is more mixed, and right up to polling day H&D expected that the For Britain Movement, founded by former UKIP leadership candidate Anne-Marie Waters, would win several seats and would emerge from this year’s elections as the strongest force in the broadly-defined nationalist movement.

While For Britain is not a racial nationalist party, and Ms Waters herself is explicitly ‘anti-racist’ with political roots on the left, there are several longstanding racial nationalists in the party, including Epping Forest Councillor Julian Leppert and the party’s chief electoral strategist Eddy Butler, both of whom were senior BNP activists for many years. Former BNP councillor Graham Partner was For Britain candidate for Coalville North, Leicestershire this week, polling 4%; while another well-known BNP figure standing for For Britain was Lawrence Rustem in Shepway South, Maidstone, who polled 2.6%.

Cllr Leppert was not up for re-election this year, but contested the Waltham Abbey division of Essex County Council, finishing fourth with 6.8% in a race where he had been thought to have a chance of winning. The party’s lead candidate in Epping Forest this year, former BNP councillor Mrs Pat Richardson, had at the start of the campaign been expected to win the Waltham Abbey Honey Lane ward, but finished third with 18.2%; while the other three For Britain candidates in Epping Forest polled between 3.2% and 5.8%.

Cllr Julian Leppert (above right with controversial columnist Katie Hopkins) was hoping to become For Britain’s first county councillor this year

The party’s other elected councillor Karen King – in De Bruce ward, Hartlepool – is from its ‘anti-racist’ wing and is a close ally of Ms Waters, who moved to Hartlepool to stand as a second For Britain candidate for the three vacancies in this year’s all-out council elections in the town.

Far from gaining seats, For Britain lost the one they were defending: Ms King polled 23.4% (the party’s highest vote) but lost her seat despite the Conservatives only having a single candidate for the three De Bruce ward seats. Ms Waters finished more than 150 votes further down the field.

And these (together with Mrs Richardson’s Epping Forest result) were the best For Britain performances!

The rest of their results ranged from modest to disastrous, as our published list confirms.

One result in particular illustrates For Britain’s big problem. In Keighley West ward, Bradford, there was a crowded field of nine candidates, and the resurgent Tories gained the seat from Labour. This was the original ‘grooming scandal’ town, and if there were to be anywhere in the country where For Britain’s special emphasis on anti-Islam politics was to gain traction it should have been here.

Yet For Britain’s Keighley candidate polled only 1.4%, beaten not only by the major parties but even by the candidate of the dying UKIP, who polled 2.7%.

During the last 24 hours senior figures within For Britain have begun blaming each other for the scale of their defeat, but we suspect that individuals within the leadership are not personally at fault.

The evidence suggests two conclusions:

(1) Whatever the variety of nationalism on offer, most of our target voters this year chose to ‘reward’ Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party for the government’s handling of both the pandemic and Brexit – and it seems likely that there was nothing we could have done in the short term to hold back that tide. The medium-long term situation could of course be very different, and there is every reason to think that some form of nationalist politics has the potential to rebuild within a year or two.

(2) As H&D has long argued, obsessive anti-Islam politics has limited appeal to White British voters, who unlike their counterparts in the USA and some European countries, are no longer accustomed to thinking of politics in theological terms. By all means criticise individual or collective Muslim behaviour when appropriate, but it is toxic in British politics to be seen as some sort of obsessive ‘nutter’ on religious topics, which are seen by most White Britons as part of the private sphere not the party political.

What’s far worse is that within the last few years anti-Islam politics has been tainted both by yobbery and by the personal dishonesty of several leading anti-Islam campaigners – notably the EDL founder ‘Tommy Robinson’, who is both a yob and a money-grabbing crook.

We have no doubt that Ms Waters and her colleagues are – unlike ‘Tommy Robinson’ – honest, sincere and decent individuals. But if For Britain is to be part of a realignment of nationalist politics its approach will have to be more nuanced and less obsessed with Islam.

Ex-serviceman Pete Molloy, a former BNP activist, achieved this year’s only nationalist election victory, winning a Durham County Council seat as an independent

So where do we find positive lessons from this grim set of results?

The good news is that (as ever) hard work and sensible campaign literature can make a positive difference. Independent nationalist candidate Pete Molloy won an impressive victory in Spennymoor ward, Durham as well as re-election to Spennymoor Town Council; fellow independent Mark Cotterill (H&D‘s editor) polled 15.7% in Ribbleton ward, Preston, despite another of this year’s typical Tory surges in such depressed White areas; former BNP official Chris Roberts achieved far better results than other anti-lockdown candidates, polling 9.3% in Boyce ward, Castle Point; and Eddy Butler’s well-organised team in Epping Forest (despite falling well short of the expected victories) polled far better than most of the other For Britain candidates nationwide.

Other signs that there remains (even in this week of excellent Conservative votes) a public appetite for politics to the right of the Tories, included the 9.8% vote for English Democrats leader Robin Tilbrook in the contest for Essex Police Commissioner; the 26.3% vote in Bablake ward, Coventry, for defending councillor Glenn Williams, who came close to retaining his seat despite having been thrown out of the Conservative Party for ‘racism’ (his particular crime having been to praise Enoch Powell); and the victory of Andrew Walker who was elected in Darwen South, Blackburn with Darwen, as a Conservative despite the party having disowned him (again for ‘racism’) a few days before polling day.

It will be interesting to see whether Cllr Walker chooses to sit as an independent or seeks to join another party.

There are still a handful of election results to come. H&D will continue to digest the results and will reflect further on their lessons, both here on this website and in the May-June edition of the magazine which will go to press within the next 48 hours.

Detailed results from 2021 Elections

further details will appear on this page as they are processed

Nationalist independents and small parties

Pete Molloy, Spennymoor, Durham
20.4% [ELECTED]

Mark Cotterill, Independent, Ribbleton, Preston
15.7%

Chris Roberts, Independent, Boyce, Castle Point
9.3%

Mark Cotterill, Independent, Preston SE, Lancashire
8.8%

Chris Roberts, Independent, South Benfleet, Essex
8.3%

Gary Butler, Independent, Shepway North, Maidstone
5.5%

Gary Butler, Independent, Maidstone South, Kent
2.5%

Andrew Emerson, Patria, Chichester West, Chichester
2.2%

Teresa Skelton, Justice & Anti-Corruption, St Bartholomew, Winchester
2.0%

Teresa Skelton, Justice & Anti-Corruption, Winchester Eastgate, Hampshire
1.1%

Andrew Emerson, Patria, Chichester West, West Sussex
0.8%

———

For Britain Movement

Of the For Britain Movement’s 59 candidates, only eight (including their two contenders in De Bruce ward, Hartlepool) polled over 5%.

Twenty-five of the For Britain candidates polled below 2%.

De Bruce, Hartlepool: 23.4%
Waltham Abbey Honey Lane, Epping Forest: 18.2%
Trimdon & Thornley, Durham: 16.3%
Grange, Halton: 7.2%
Waltham Abbey, Essex: 6.8%
Waltham Abbey SW, Epping Forest: 5.8%
Exwick & St Thomas, Devon: 5.5%
Waltham Abbey NE, Epping Forest: 4.5%
Darfield, Barnsley: 4.2%
Coalville N, Leicestershire: 4.0%
Northfield Brook, Oxford: 4.0%
Thorpe, Southend: 4.0%
Walker, Newcastle-on-Tyne: 3.5%
Whitefield, Knowsley: 3.4%
Churchill, Westminster: 3.4%
Leys, Oxfordshire: 3.3%
East Preston & Ferring, West Sussex: 3.3%
Loughton Broadway, Epping Forest: 3.2%
Town Centre, St Helens: 3.1%
Wakefield West, Wakefield: 3.0%
Pulborough, West Sussex: 3.0%
Westbury N, Wiltshire: 3.0%
St Thomas, Exeter: 2.9%
Newington & Gipsyville, Hull: 2.7%
Shepway South, Maidstone: 2.6%
Fontwell, West Sussex: 2.5%
Shoeburyness, Southend: 2.3%
Welham Green and Hatfield South, Welwyn Hatfield: 2.3%
Foggy Furze, Hartlepool: 2.1%
Charlemont with Grove Vale, Sandwell: 2.1%
West Shoebury, Southend: 2.1%
Laindon Park, Basildon: 2.0%
St Andrews & Docklands, Hull: 2.0%
Haydock, St Helens: 1.9%
Compton & N Lancing, West Sussex: 1.9%
Claughton, Wirral: 1.9%
Mannington & Western, Swindon: 1.8%
Moss Side & Farington, Lancashire: 1.7%
Walkergate, Newcastle-on-Tyne: 1.7%
Derringham, Hull: 1.5%
Speke-Garston, Liverpool: 1.5%
Keighley West, Bradford: 1.4%
Middleton, West Sussex: 1.4%
The Witterings, West Sussex: 1.4%
Tendring Rural East, Essex: 1.3%
St Loye’s, Exeter: 1.2%
Sileby & The Wolds, Leicestershire: 1.2%
Bretton, Peterborough: 1.1%
Cissbury, West Sussex: 1.1%
Red Hall & Lingfield, Darlington: 1.0%
Heavitree & Whipton Barton, Devon: 1.0%
North Evington, Leicester: 1.0%
East Barnet, Barnet: 0.8%
Hummersknott, Darlington: 0.7%
Imberdown, West Sussex: 0.7%
Guiseley & Rawdon, Leeds: 0.5%
Little Lever & Darcy Lever, Bolton: 0.4%
Clacton West, Essex: 0.3%

———

English Democrats

Police, Fire & Crime Commissioner, Essex: 9.8%
Dearne North, Barnsley: 9.4%
High Ongar, Willingale and the Rodings, Epping Forest: 6.5%
Besses, Bury, 5.1%
Ongar & Rural, Essex: 4.8%
Wombwell, Barnsley: 4.2%
Dearne South, Barnsley: 3.4%
Police & Crime Commissioner, Bedfordshire: 2.8%
Mayor of West Yorkshire: 1.5%
Mayor of Greater Manchester: 1.4%

———

Alliance for Democracy & Freedom

The Alliance for Democracy & Freedom is one of several parties that resulted from factional splits in UKIP: in this case it’s the faction that supported Mike Hookem, a former MEP and UKIP leadership candidate.

Normanton, Wakefield, 7.1%
Dibden & Hythe, Hampshire, 4.8%
Ware South, Hertfordshire, 3.6%
Mansfield North, Nottinghamshire, 0.8%


For Britain defeated in Hartlepool council election

Anne Marie Waters (centre right) with For Britain colleagues including former BNP activists Eddy and Sue Butler, Jeff Marshall, and Julian Leppert

Just a few weeks ago it seemed very likely that the For Britain Movement – an anti-Islamist party founded by former UKIP leadership candidate Anne-Marie Waters – would win two or three council seats in Hartlepool and at least one more in Epping Forest, with further successes elsewhere not considered impossible.

The party already had two elected councillors – former BNP councillor Julian Leppert in Epping Forest and Karen King in Hartlepool. Party leader Anne-Marie Waters even moved to Hartlepool so that she could stand for the council there.

However today Ms Waters and her party have proved the highest profile victims of a remarkable Tory surge in White working class, pro-Brexit areas.

Within the last hour it was confirmed that For Britain have lost their Hartlepool seat and that all of the party’s candidates (including Ms Waters herself) have been defeated.

Hartlepool Council had boundary changes this year so the entire council was up for election, with three vacancies in each ward. In theory this ought to have been helpful in For Britain’s main target ward De Bruce, where the Conservatives only had one candidate and For Britain two, for three vacancies. In the event For Britain’s councillor Karen King was defeated by fifteen votes.

The sole Conservative candidate topped the poll in De Bruce ward, with the other two seats falling to Labour. Ms King finished fourth and Ms Waters a further 154 votes behind in sixth place. For Britain’s vote in the ward amounted to 23.4%.

Defeated For Britain candidates Anne Marie Waters (above left) and ex-councillor Karen King

For Britain’s third Hartlepool candidate was in Foggy Furze ward, where they polled only 2.1%. In this ward a defending councillor from the Veterans & People’s Party lost his seat. The VPP also lost their other seat in Rossmere ward.

Julian Leppert is now For Britain’s only surviving councillor after a very bad night for his party. Cllr Leppert’s Epping Forest seat was not up for re-election: he finished fourth with 6.8% in the Waltham Abbey division of Essex County Council. Meanwhile his fellow ex-BNP councillor Mrs Pat Richardson finished third with 18.2% in For Britain’s main Epping Forest target ward this year, Waltham Abbey Honey Lane.

The three other Epping Forest candidates from For Britain polled between 3.2% and 5.8%.

Most other For Britain results nationwide were poor. An exception was in Durham‘s Trimdon & Thornley ward, where Dave Smith polled 16.3% – greatly assisted by the Conservatives only having two candidates for three vacancies.

Another significant casualty of the Conservative surge was Dr Jim Lewthwaite, British Democratic Party candidate for Wyke ward, Bradford, who finished third of six candidates with 6.2%.

One consolation for Dr Lewthwaite (and for some of the For Britain candidates) was that they fared better than the rebranded Brexit Party, now known as Reform UK, which fell at its first electoral hurdle.

The future of Reform UK and its leader Richard Tice must now be in doubt.

H&D will have a comprehensive results service and analysis at this website and in the forthcoming edition of the magazine.

Early results from ‘Super Thursday’ elections

This week saw the largest set of local and regional elections in the UK since the reorganisation of local government almost half a century ago.

Most counts will take place during Friday or Saturday, but a few were counted overnight.

As H&D has previously explained, the 2021 elections mark the end of the Nigel Farage era: his old party UKIP is now almost extinct, and the Brexit Party which he launched in 2019 has been rebranded (ineffectively) as Reform UK.

Racial nationalist parties are still in the process of reviving and reorganising themselves after a decade in Brexit’s shadow, but we expect a handful of strong results for several nationalist/populist candidates.

H&D editor Mark Cotterill is contesting Preston City Council and Lancashire County Council seats: when not involved in counts we shall be reporting here on these and other results.

Labour’s Sean Fielding – leader of Oldham Council – has lost his seat to a local independent

Overnight the biggest breaking news was the defeat of Oldham Council leader Sean Fielding (Labour), who lost his seat to former police officer Mark Wilkinson, leader of the Failsworth Independent Party. Perhaps even more sensational for those of our readers who remember the glory days of Oldham BNP was that young Conservative candidate Beth Sharp defeated Labour in St James ward. In the old days this was the top BNP target and a no hope area for the Tories.

Ms Sharp’s victory is an early sign of what will surely be the main narrative of this week’s elections: the continuing success of Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party in areas that were once solidly Labour. This fragmentation could in the long-term be good news for nationalist parties, if we can get our act together.

An extraordinary civil war within Oldham’s Asian community saw Asian Labour candidates lose one Asian ghetto (St Mary’s) and almost lose another (Coldhurst) to Asian independents, while losing the racially split Medlock Vale ward to an Asian Conservative! (This is partly a consequence of local Labour bosses choosing to defy Muslim elders in a row over an Asian feminist councillor.)

In Oldham, UKIP and Reform UK did at least manage to avoid standing against each other, but nevertheless obtained appalling results with all four of their respective candidates finishing bottom of the poll: their votes ranged from 0.8% to 3.8%.

John Evans – re-elected as Reform UK councillor for Alvaston ward, Derby

Elsewhere early results mostly confirmed that Reform UK (the rebranded Brexit Party) will fizzle out within months of its launch. Overnight there were just two Reform UK victories, both in Derby, with Tim Prosser elected in a freak result for Boulton ward, after the Conservative candidate withdrew to give him a free run against Labour; and John Evans retaining the Alvaston ward seat that he first won for UKIP in 2016 before his move first to the Brexit Party and now to Reform UK. The party’s other Derby candidates were heavily defeated.

Most other Reform UK results were very poor indeed: notably in the Hartlepool parliamentary by-election. This had been the Brexit Party’s main target seat only seventeen months ago at the 2019 General Election, where their candidate was Richard Tice, now leader of the rebranded party.

Yet Reform UK polled only 1.2% yesterday, down from Tice’s 25.8% in 2019. Almost all of those pro-Brexit voters swung behind the Conservatives, whose candidate won a historic victory. Most humiliating for Reform UK was that Claire Martin, candidate of the tiny UKIP splinter Heritage Party, polled 468 votes (1.6%) to push Reform UK into fifth place.

Those in our movement who believed that anti-lockdown or Covid-sceptic politics would prove an effective electoral strategy will be sobered by the mere 72 votes (0.2%) won by the Freedom Alliance candidate who finished bottom of a sixteen-strong field in Hartlepool.

In the old UKIP stronghold of Thurrock, two Reform UK candidates finished bottom of the poll, and their rival ex-colleagues from the old UKIP, now standing as Thurrock Independents, lost all the seats they were defending.

Sunderland is one of the few UKIP branches that has remained largely intact with few activists defecting to Farage’s Brexit/Reform, and UKIP managed a substantial local slate of 19 candidates. However they were all heavily defeated: their best result was 18.4% in Redhill ward, which they had won in 2019. The two other Sunderland wards that UKIP won in 2019 were Tory gains from Labour this year, in one case electing an Asian Tory councillor, with UKIP polling 8.1% and 8.8%.

We expect the For Britain Movement (an anti-Islamist party whose leader Anne-Marie Waters is ‘anti-racist’ but whose candidates include high-profile BNP veterans) to poll very well in some areas. However the party’s overnight results were poor, including heavy defeats in two eastern Newcastle wards – 3.5% in Walker and 1.7% in Walkergate.

Three members of the same family contesting Southend wards as For Britain candidates polled 4%, 2.3% and 2.1% respectively.

Local Elections 2021: a nationalist movement in transition

Steven Smith, National Front candidate for Cliviger with Worsthorne, Burnley

Nominations closed yesterday for local elections across England, plus elections to the Welsh Assembly, and the many different local authorities have been steadily publishing lists of candidates during the past day and a half.

For H&D readers and supporters of the British racial nationalist / patriotic movement, this is a transitional election, not merely because of the Covid pandemic that has absorbed most public attention for the past year, but also because British politics is finally moving out of the shadow of Brexit.

Over the weekend, this website will analyse what has happened to the entire political tradition that was built up by Nigel Farage for the past decade or so around UKIP, the Brexit Party and its various splinters and offshoots, several of which are contesting some of these elections but on a far smaller scale than we have become used to.

But for now we shall look closer to home at some of the ‘real’ nationalist candidates and parties.

For various reasons the National Front wasn’t expected to have very many candidates this year: so far three have been confirmed. Former Burnley BNP organiser Steven Smith will be NF candidate for his home ward, Cliviger with Worsthorne, Burnley. Chris Jackson is NF candidate for Todmorden ward, Calderdale; and Tim Knowles will contest Langley Mill & Aldercar ward, Amber Valley.

John Clarke, BNP candidate for New Addington, Croydon

Despite its head office having far more money than the NF, the BNP once again has fewer candidates – and even those that are standing are really doing so on their own (creditable) initiative rather than as part of a centrally planned campaign. John Clarke will be BNP candidate for a Croydon Council by-election in New Addington ward, once considered a major target for the party; while Ray Beasley is contesting the Boothville & Parklands ward of the newly created West Northamptonshire council.

Dr Jim Lewthwaite, British Democratic Party candidate for Wyke ward, Bradford

Dr Jim Lewthwaite is once again likely to have one of the most effective nationalist campaigns anywhere in the country: he is again contesting Wyke ward, Bradford, for the British Democratic Party

Some well-known nationalists are standing as independent candidates this year. As we have already reported, H&D editor Mark Cotterill is standing both for Preston City Council (in Ribbleton ward) and Lancashire County Council (in the Preston SE division). Similarly Chris Roberts, one of London’s most dedicated racial nationalist activists of recent decades, is contesting both an Essex County Council seat in South Benfleet, and his local district council seat in Boyce ward, Castle Point. The latter is a by-election that follows a typical Tory financial scandal.

Chris Roberts, independent candidate for South Benfleet, Essex, and Boyce ward, Castle Point

Pete Molloy – an ex-serviceman and former BNP activist who is among the very few nationalists now holding public office at any level – is standing as independent candidate for the Spennymoor division of Durham County Council, as well as for re-election to his Spennymoor Parish Council seat where he has been an effective representative for his local community.

Pete Molloy, parish councillor and independent candidate for Spennymoor, County Durham

Former BNP candidate Dr Andrew Emerson is again contesting the Chichester West division of West Sussex County Council, as well as a by-election for the Chichester West ward of the district council.

With the new party Patriotic Alternative not yet registered with the Electoral Commission, so unable to field candidates in this year’s elections, one of the largest nationalist parties standing this year is the For Britain Movement, who already have borough councillors in Hartlepool and Epping Forest. H&D subscriber and former BNP councillor and mayoral candidate Julian Leppert, already an Epping Forest councillor, is standing for the Waltham Abbey division of Essex County Council.

There are four For Britain candidates for Epping Forest District Council. Veteran NF, BNP, Freedom Party, English Democrat and now For Britain campaign strategist Eddy Butler is contesting Loughton Broadway; his wife Sue is candidate for Waltham Abbey NE; former BNP councillor Mrs Pat Richardson is standing in Waltham Abbey Honey Lane; and Jim Searle in Waltham Abbey SW.

Julian Leppert, seen here (second right) celebrating his 2019 victory in Epping Forest, is For Britain candidate for Waltham Abbey, Essex County Council, this year: also shown (from left) are Mrs Pat Richardson and Mrs Sue Butler, two of this year’s Epping Forest candidates

There are dozens of other For Britain candidates nationwide – in fact we make it a total of 58. They include former BNP councillor Graham Partner in Coalville North, Leicestershire.

However the majority of these candidates should not really be classified as racial nationalists: one or two indeed are non-White, and people like party leader Anne Marie Waters (a candidate in De Bruce ward, Hartlepool, this year) are avowedly and sincerely non-‘racist’ or anti-‘racist’.

We shall therefore be examining For Britain’s nationwide campaign over the weekend, in the context of its post-UKIP rivals including Reform UK, the Heritage Party, and what remains of UKIP itself, as well as longstanding civic nationalist parties such as the English Democrats.

Will the 2021 elections be postponed again?

London Mayor Sadiq Khan should have faced re-election last year, will the contest be postponed again this year?

Election officials in Lancashire have written to the government suggesting that this year’s local elections should again be postponed – or else held on an all-postal basis, due to the Covid-19 pandemic making it unsafe or impractical to hold elections as scheduled on May 6th.

The 2020 elections – including the London mayoralty and Greater London Assembly – were postponed in the early stages of the pandemic. This means that already many councillors and mayors have served an extra 12 months, and that this year’s elections were in any case going to combine the scheduled 2020 and 2021 contests.

There have been conflicting messages as to whether it’s feasible for the elections to go ahead this year. North West England was one of several regions that had an experimental ‘pilot’ project of all-postal elections in 2004, which resulted in a significantly increased turnout, but for various reasons it was decided not to continue the experiment.

Controversial journalist Katie Hopkins this week joined UKIP – but this year’s elections (even if they go ahead) might well be the party’s last stand

For racial nationalists this year might have seen the first electoral test for the new Patriotic Alternative party, if the Electoral Commission approve its registration in time. The National Front and the For Britain Movement will certainly have a few candidates if the elections go ahead, while Dr Jim Lewthwaite intends to stand in Bradford for the British Democratic Party. The late Richard Edmonds had planned to stand for the NF in last year’s elections before they were postponed, and had he lived would have been a candidate in May this year.

Any elections this year might also see the last gasp of UKIP and the debut of Nigel Farage’s new Reform UK party.

Perhaps more seriously, it could be the last gasp of the Union, with the Scottish National Party set to make further gains at the expense of both Labour and the Tories, and perhaps setting the scene for a second independence referendum. The decision whether to postpone this year’s elections north of the border rests with Nicola Sturgeon’s devolved government, so it’s possible there could be elections in Scotland, but none in England or Wales. No elections are scheduled this year in any case in Northern Ireland.

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