A Disunited Kingdom: Muslims swing against Labour, while pro-Brexit Whites desert the Tories

Julian Leppert (above centre) achieved this year’s best nationalist election result: 21.9% in Epping Forest as British Democrat candidate for Waltham Abbey North.

The two big stories of this year’s local elections are the collapse of Muslim support for the Labour Party, and the final disintegration of the pro-Brexit, White working class bandwagon that elected Boris Johnson’s Tories in 2019. The racial nationalist movement in the UK is still rebuilding after more than a decade in the doldrums – but the broader climate of political despair indicates huge potential, as soon as we can get our act together!

Both major parties have changed direction in the past five years. By ditching policies associated with his defeated predecessor Jeremy Corbyn, Sir Keir Starmer’s Labour Party is winning over crucial voters in swing seats. But it’s now clear that Starmer’s craven support for Israel has cost him support both among pro-Corbyn leftists, and more importantly among Muslim voters. In London, Mayor Sadiq Khan won re-election to a historic third term despite his party having been deserted by large numbers of Khan’s fellow Muslims. (Whether H&D readers like it or not, Labour wins in London not because of Muslims, but because young Whites in the capital are fundamentally anti-Tory, while the more affluent sectors of older Whites in London were always anti-Brexit and have not forgiven the Tories for the 2016 referendum.)

London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan was re-elected despite the split from his former leader Jeremy Corbyn, and despite Khan’s fellow Muslims deserting Labour in droves.

Meanwhile on the Tory side of the fence, it’s been a lose-lose situation. Support for Rishi Sunak’s party has collapsed both in the so-called ‘Red Wall’ areas that it had gained from Labour in the Boris Johnson era, and in traditionally Tory affluent areas. The big difference is that while Asian independents (and sometimes other protest candidates including Greens) have been sufficiently well organised to win, Richard Tice’s civic nationalist party Reform UK inflicts damage on the Tories without being strong enough to gain seats themselves.

In the Blackpool South parliamentary by-election also held on Thursday, Reform UK finished a strong third with 16.8%, and almost pushed ahead of the Tories. This was the best ever Reform UK by-election performance, but it illustrated the party’s problem as well as its strength. Tice’s party can poll well in a one-off contest of this kind when it can throw money at the campaign, and where there are obvious motives for a protest vote, but it’s incapable of winning seats at local level where money is less of a factor and the party’s organisational failure becomes more obvious.

Reform UK won just two local council seats this year, and even they were freak results – Leigh Park Hermitage and Leigh Park Central & West Leigh wards, Havant – where in each case Labour only managed to field two candidates for three vacancies. In each case, both of the Labour candidates won, and the third seat went to Reform UK who had just a single candidate, amid an anti-Tory swing. The party also managed to pick up a Greater London Assembly member after polling 5.9% on the party list section of the ballot. This is very similar to the BNP’s result at the 2008 election when polling 5.3% and electing Richard Barnbrook to the GLA.

Meanwhile all three sitting Reform UK councillors who were up this year (but who had originally been elected as Tories in 2021 before defecting) were heavily defeated. Tice’s party thus ended this year’s elections with one fewer councillor nationwide than they had previously. Paul Donaghy in Washington South, Sunderland (see below) was best of the bunch, finishing third with 12.7% in the ward that he had won as a Tory three years ago. Lucian Fernando managed only 9.3%, finishing fourth, when attempting to defend Silverhill, Hastings, under his new Reform UK colours. While the deputy mayor of Runnymede, Bob Bromley, moved to another ward in his attempt to be re-elected as a Reform candidate, but finished fourth with 9.0% in Englefield Green West. A new Reform candidate in Mr Bromley’s old ward Addlestone North also finished fourth with 12.1%.

The Homeland Party’s campaign team with their Hartley Wintney candidate Roger Robertson

The first nationalist result of the 2024 elections came in Hampshire – Hartley Wintney ward, Hart, where Roger Robertson was standing as the first ever Homeland Party election candidate and polled 355 votes (13.5%).

In Central & West Bank ward, Halton, PA activist Callum Hewitt stood as an independent and finished runner-up with 74 votes (11.3%).

Callum Hewitt in Widnes was making his electoral debut as an independent and finished runner-up with 11.3%.

The best nationalist results were achieved by British Democrat candidates. Former councillor Julian Leppert (in one of the last results declared) polled 323 votes (21.9%) in the new Waltham Abbey North ward, Epping Forest. Following boundary changes this was a three-vacancy election, as was Shepway ward, Maidstone, where Julian’s fellow Brit Dem Lawrence Rustem polled 452 votes (17.8%). Lawrence is already a parish councillor as is Chris Bateman who polled 475 votes (14.3%) for the Brit Dems in Castledon & Crouch ward, Basildon (again a three-vacancy election).

British Democrats chairman Dr Jim Lewthwaite polled 6.8% in Wyke ward, Bradford, where unlike most other nationalist candidates he had a Reform UK opponent.

Parish councillor Chris Bateman (above, second right) polled 14.3% in Basildon for the Brit Dems. His fellow Brit Dem parish councillor Lawrence Rustem (far right) achieved 17.8% in Maidstone.

Former NF and BNP candidate Gary Butler, standing this year as an independent, polled 317 votes (12.5%) in Shepway ward, Maidstone. (He was standing in the same ward as Lawrence Rustem, but voters here had the option to back both of them, since this was a three-vacancy election.)

In Sunderland, Reform UK made significant advances at the expense of the Conservatives. However, as regular H&D readers might have predicted, Reform UK lacked the organisation to win (or even come close to winning) any Sunderland seats – despite this being one of the party’s few strong branches.

The best Reform UK result in Sunderland illustrates my point very well. In Redhill ward, Reform UK’s Chris Eynon finished a strong runner-up with 579 votes (32.3%). But this is a ward that UKIP actually won as recently as 2019, and where the BNP at its peak in 2006 polled 687 votes (26.8%).

In other words, if Reform UK were going to make a serious electoral breakthrough, Redhill is a ward where they should be winning, not merely finishing a good second.

Paul Donaghy, elected as a Conservative councillor in Washington South ward, defected to Reform UK last year but was heavily defeated in his bid for re-election under his new colours, finishing third with 12.7%. Donaghy also stood as Reform UK candidate for Mayor of the new North East Combined Authority, where he finished fourth with 9.2%.

At present Reform UK stands a good chance of replacing the Tories as the main opposition to Labour in some areas, but not of building anything like a serious base in local government, let alone standing a chance of winning parliamentary seats.

Anne Marie Waters (above left with former Hartlepool councillor Karen King) closed down her For Britain Movement in 2022: Labour this year regained control of Hartlepool after the anti-Labour vote split evenly between Conservatives and Reform UK

A similar pattern occurred in Hartlepool, where Reform UK hoped to pick up the anti-Labour vote that a few years ago boosted Anne Marie Waters’ For Britain Movement. Under Boris Johnson, the Tories picked up most of this anti-Labour vote, but with Ms Waters’ party having closed down in 2022, and the other former UKIP splinter groups becoming insignificant, Richard Tice sees Hartlepool as his party’s major target.

However, what seems to have happened is that the anti-Labour vote has split between Reform UK, the Tories, and occasional independents. Labour was the beneficiary, and Tice has only himself to blame for his own party’s organisational failures. Gaining headlines on GB News is enough to boost Reform UK’s vote share, but to take the extra step and win seats requires serious work, of which Tice’s party simply isn’t capable.

It’s also highly significant that where some force other than Reform UK was the more obvious repository for protest votes, these independents, localists and others have achieved much more than Reform has managed. For example independents made big gains from Labour in South Tyneside, while two separate independent/localist parties now hold all of the seats on Castle Point council in Essex.

After ditching Labour’s candidate in the Rochdale parliamentary by-election earlier this year, Sir Keir Starmer’s Labour Party seems to have lost Muslim support in some formerly safe areas.

While Labour made gains in most of the country, the party’s support in some Muslim areas has collapsed. Sir Keir Starmer’s policy on Gaza (and even the simple fact that he has a Jewish wife) has made many Muslim voters very suspicious of his party’s agenda.

The biggest headline effect of this process was in Oldham, the racial battleground borough where riots in 2001 contributed to a brief surge of support for the BNP. This year Labour lost control of Oldham, thanks largely to a swing in favour of independent Asian candidates whose campaigns focused on the Gaza situation.

Asian independents defeated Labour, sometimes very heavily, in Waterhead, Coldhurst, Alexandra and St Mary’s. Meanwhile in Werneth, a fifth seat went to the growing Gaza protest block after the sitting Labour councillor quit the party to stand as an independent just before close of nominations, meaning Labour weren’t even on the ballot paper.

White independent candidates representing a jumble of anti-Labour causes and in some cases conspiracy theories won Royton South and Failsworth West. Labour’s only comfort came from regaining Failsworth East (thanks to splits among White independents) and Hollinwood (thanks to splits among Asian independents, which also helped Labour retain Medlock Vale).

Reform UK took 8.9% in Waterhead and 14.4% in Chadderton South: they seem to have failed to rally White voters in Oldham. In Hollinwood ward, John Lawrence from the multiracialist but anti-Islamist National Housing Party polled 173 votes (6.8%) finishing in third place, one vote ahead of the Asian Tory candidate.

George Galloway (above left) celebrated only four council gains nationwide for his Workers Party; similarly Nigel Farage must be wondering whether there’s any point returning to frontline politics after Reform UK gained just two council seats (plus one GLA member) while losing all three of its defending councillors.

In neighbouring Tameside, there were reports of violence outside a polling station involving clashes between Labour activists and supporters of George Galloway’s ‘Workers Party’. Eventually Galloway’s candidate polled 12%. In another area of Tameside, the heavily Asian St Peter’s ward in Ashton, an Independent Asian candidate defeated Labour.

The lesson seems to be that independents (or in some cases Greens) are better placed to mobilise Asian voters than Galloway, who apart from his personal triumph in the Rochdale parliamentary by-election now seems to be yesterday’s man. His party gained just two council seats in Rochdale, the very Asian wards Central and Milkstone & Deeplish, and another in Manchester, the racial melting pot of Longsight, where the city council’s deputy leader was defeated. The party made its fourth gain in yet another Asian ghetto area, Park ward, Calderdale, which is close to Halifax town centre.

Former Conservative councillor Tiger Patel (backed in this election by Galloway’s party but standing as an independent) won Little Harwood & Whitebirk ward, one of eight gains for Asian independents in Blackburn with Darwen.

Tiger Patel, who quit the Tories over Gaza, was one of many Asian independents to win council seats this week (especially in Lancashire boroughs) after campaigning largely on the Palestine issue.

In Pendle, several of the Asian defectors from Labour stood without a ballot paper description, only using their own names and not even with the label ‘Independent’, but still won. These Asian candidates made five gains, confirming an independent group of twelve councillors on Pendle council, which now has no Labour members. In Burnley three of the Asian defectors from Labour retained their seats as independents, though one narrowly lost to a White Labour candidate.

Rumworth, a heavily Asian ward in Bolton, was another seat lost this week by Labour to an Asian independent (in this case a former Tory councillor). Halliwell, another formerly Labour ward in an Asian part of Bolton, fell to a Green candidate who significantly was an Asian, unlike his Labour opponent.

One early result reflecting this problem was in Elswick ward, Newcastle, an area that has large numbers of Muslim and student voters and which had previously been very safe for Labour. This week the Greens (with a Muslim candidate) gained Elswick from Labour.

A second Green gain in Byker ward, Newcastle, showed that student voters who were enthused by Jeremy Corbyn are a lot less keen on his successor: but on balance, Starmer will accept sacrificing these voters, so long as he is simultaneously gaining far more voters in Tory-held target seats.

Civic nationalist parties aside from Reform UK had mixed results. As noted above the anti-Islamist National Housing Party polled 6.8% in Hollinwood ward, Oldham. The rival anti-Islamist party Britain First, which in past years had achieved some of civic nationalism’s best results, has faded this year, polling 12.5% in Cokeham ward, Adur, and 9.0% in Bablake ward, Coventry.

Actor Laurence Fox has spent several years seeking to build a political career based on crank conspiracy theories. Despite being lavishly financed by an expatriate tycoon, and despite being the best known individual on the ballot paper, Fox achieved a humiliating result in the London Assembly election: just 0.6%.

Britain First also fought the London mayoralty and GLA, but their results were disastrous. Mayoral candidate Nick Scanlon polled 1.3% on the GLA list, and only 0.8% in the Mayoral election. He then proceeded to make a fool of himself by heckling the re-elected Mayor Sadiq Khan. There’s a time and place for heckling, but any sane candidate should realise that an election count where your opponent has just polled over fifty times more votes than yourself, is not the wisest stage for such a protest.

Britain First shows all the signs of following the BNP down the path of irrelevance, having ignored potential areas of electoral strength in order to fight a campaign in London that had zero chance, and which seems to have been designed mainly to gain attention on social media and attract gullible potential donors. Paul Golding (like his former mentors Nick Griffin and Jim Dowson) has demonstrated precisely how not to go about nationalist politics.

Far worse than Britain First, however, was the doomed campaign of the crank self-publicist Laurence Fox, who messed up his nomination papers so was unable to stand for the Mayoralty, but polled only 0.6% on the party list section for the GLA, despite being by far the best known individual on the ballot paper. There are people in our movement who believe that loudly asserting crank beliefs about fringe topics is a way to win popular support. They should look at Fox’s result and (perhaps) learn something about political reality.

Robin Tilbrook increased his vote from 9.8% to 13.2% in the Essex Police and Crime Commissioner election

The English Democrats contested three Police & Crime Commissioner elections. Party leader Robin Tilbrook polled 13.2% in Essex (up from 9.8% in 2021); David Dickason, 7.2% in Lincolnshire; and Henry Curteis, 10.2% in West Mercia.

ED council results included: 8.3% for Steve Morris in Besses ward, Bury; 3.8% for Val Morris in Holyrood, Bury; 14.5% for Maxine Spencer in Dearne North, Barnsley; 5.6% for Janus Polenceusz in Dearne South, Barnsley; and 9.2% for Robin Tilbrook in the new Rural East ward, Epping Forest.

The Social Democratic Party (SDP), which bears little resemblance to the party founded by Roy Jenkins and other Europhiles in the 1980s, and is in fact a socially conservative though economically ‘left wing’ party, won Middleton Park ward, Leeds, and now holds all three seats in that ward, but has negligible presence elsewhere in the country.

Broader reflections on the lessons of the 2024 elections will appear in the next edition of Heritage and Destiny magazine.

Click here to see a full list of racial nationalist and civic nationalist election results 2024.

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