Barnsley by-election preview

barnsleyThe Barnsley Central parliamentary by-election will be held on March 3rd 2011, following the imprisonment of former Labour MP and expenses fraudster Eric Illsley.

This is traditionally an ultra-safe Labour constituency, held for more than thirty years by Roy (now Lord) Mason, who is now approaching his 87th birthday and is remembered with respect by many people across the political spectrum for his determined opposition to the IRA when Northern Ireland Secretary from 1976 to 1979.

In more recent years the Labour Party in Barnsley has done nothing to earn our respect.  As in so many other once proud symbols of England’s industrial power, Barnsley has been allowed to decline, with many workers consigned to a life on benefits or in minimum wage jobs.  There are more than 7,000 households on Barnsley’s housing waiting list, and at current rates of building it would take more than five years merely to clear this backlog.

Not a problem of course for the man who was Barnsley Central’s MP until a few weeks ago.  Eric Illsley had a second home funded by the taxpayer – but he wasn’t satisfied even with this and made inflated fraudulent claims for council tax, service charges, telephone bills and maintenance costs.

That’s why Mr Illsley’s taxpayer-funded accommodation for the next twelve months will be in rather less salubrious surroundings as a guest of Her Majesty!

The Barnsley Main colliery closed in 1991

The Barnsley Main colliery closed in 1991

Meanwhile Barnsley’s voters will almost certainly opt for another Labour MP, as they have since 1935.  This time Labour’s candidate is Dan Jarvis, a veteran of the Parachute Regiment who served in Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Iraq and Afghanistan.  He has yet to explain to voters whether he agrees with the Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair who sent him and his colleagues into an illegal invasion of Iraq, or with his current party leader Ed Miliband who opportunistically repudiates that policy.

With Labour victory all but guaranteed, most interest will focus on the performance of two nationalist parties.  The English Democrats are fielding local man Kevin Riddiough, and will hope for a much better result than their lost deposit at the previous parliamentary by-election in Oldham East & Saddleworth.  While the English Democrats have never had a candidate here before, their best ever election result was less than twenty miles away in Doncaster, where they won the Mayoral election in 2009.

Meanwhile the BNP candidate Enis Dalton will hoping to build on the 8.9% result achieved by local organiser Ian Sutton in Barnsley Central at last year’s General Election, and the 16.7% polled across Barnsley by the BNP’s European election slate, headed by Andrew Brons in 2009.

Heretical Two lose appeal but have sentences reduced

Simon Sheppard and Stephen WhittleIf anyone has a ‘friendlier’ link than the BBC for this news, please let us know so we can link to it!

BBC.CO.UK, 29 Jan 2010: The Heretical Two have lost their appeals against the UK’s first conviction for inciting racial hatred via a foreign website.

Simon Sheppard, 51, was sentenced to four years and 10 months, and Stephen Whittle, 42, to two years and four months at Leeds Crown Court in July.However, the Court of Appeal has reduced Sheppard’s sentence by one year and Whittle’s jail term by six months.

Sheppard, from Selby, North Yorks, and Whittle, of Preston, Lancs, controlled US websites featuring racist material.

Link to full article [external site]

Teen badly hurt in ‘racist’ attack

THE PRESS, Dewsbury, 11 Nov 2009: A TEENAGE boy was knocked unconscious with a house brick, stabbed with a screwdriver and “left for dead” in a vicious race attack.

Joseph Haigh, 14, was savagely beaten by the gang of up to 15 Asian youths in Thornhill on Friday night.

The gang hurled racist abuse at him, constantly referring to the colour of his skin, yet police refused to classify the attack as racially-motivated.

Joseph’s dad Jonathan, 42, of Thornhill, said: “It was a racist attack.

“They were calling him ‘white trash’ and white this, that and the other.

“This is why people are angry about what is happening in this country.

“If it had been an attack by whites on an Asian lad it would have been a definite race attack. When it’s the other way round they don’t want to know.”

Read full article [external link]

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