The Local Elections – a nationalist post mortem

On 3rd May 2012 almost all of the diminished band of British National Party councillors were wiped out. Every single BNP representative facing the voters was defeated – most by a large margin. For the first time Nick Griffin had to explain a set of election results that lacked a single redeeming feature, a single fig leaf to cover the utter bankruptcy of his politics. Characteristically he was left boasting not of any election result, but of a £500,000 legacy from a sadly deluded supporter who had believed the hype of earlier years, an appropriate final scene for the black comedy of monstrous greed and moral corruption into which Griffinite politics has descended.

For nationalists the biggest questions are now:
1) Is it time for a decisive break from the BNP?
2) Have any of the present alternatives to the BNP demonstrated in this year’s elections that they are the way forward?

The following analysis is related to election results, not to ideological preferences, and I have tried to look at the
facts objectively. However, my tentative conclusions could be summarised as follows.
• Even making allowances for the general pro-Labour trend this year, affecting all parties, the BNP results in the 2012
local elections were dire.
• Some local councillors (whether standing for the BNP or as independents) bucked the trend to some extent, though
whether this was due to a personal vote or a more efficient campaign, this was not enough to stave off defeat.
• One or two of the stronger BNP branches (such as Rotherham and Salford) managed to steady the ship and even increase
their votes compared to 2011 or 2010. However these results should be viewed with care, as they sometimes
merely reflect having had UKIP opponents for the past two years but not in 2012.
• Some individual campaigns by non-BNP nationalists achieved reasonably good results, but there is no consistent
evidence to show that this reflects one ideological form of nationalism having a generally stronger electoral appeal
than another. Neither traditional nationalists nor modernisers nor “civic” nationalists can point to the 2012 elections
as evidence for a monopoly of strategic electoral wisdom.
• In short, the 2012 elections prove the political bankruptcy of Nick Griffin’s BNP but do not in themselves suggest
that nationalists should abandon a “broad church” strategy in favour of either ultra-hardline racial nationalism, an
exclusive focus on hostility to Islam, or a non-racial “civic” nationalism.

Nick Griffin with hapless mayoral candidate Carlos Cortiglia (right).
Nick Griffin with hapless mayoral candidate Carlos Cortiglia (right).

The London Mayoralty and the GLA

The highest profile election was of course in London, where four years ago Richard Barnbrook was elected as a
BNP member of the Greater London Assembly. The GLA is far more significant than most local councils, and its members
are entitled to a substantial salary and staff. Moreover the election system is favourable to smaller parties.

In effect Londoners had three elections in one. The mayoral contest was a two horse race between Conservative
incumbent Boris Johnson and his Labour predecessor Ken Livingstone, though voters were allowed two preferences.
In theory this removed the “wasted vote” argument that has always reduced nationalist votes, but in practice the BNP
sabotaged their own campaign by selecting Carlos Cortiglia as mayoral candidate. Mr Cortiglia was born in Uruguay,
and as a young man thirty years ago he publicly supported the Argentine invasion of the Falkland Islands. This was
hardly likely to enhance his appeal to patriotic voters!

To make matters worse, a series of sleazy scandals hit the BNP in the run-up to the election, implicating both Mr
Cortiglia and the party’s lead candidate for the GLA, London organiser Steve Squire. Cortiglia was utterly humiliated
by the worst London mayoral result in the history of the BNP polling just 1.3%, compared to 2.8% for Richard Barnbrook
in 2008, 3.0% for Julian Leppert in 2004, and 2.0% for Mike Newland in 2000.

squire2It was Mr Squire who in better circumstances should have had a chance of being elected. The “list” section of the GLA election only required 5% to win one of the eleven seats, a hurdle which Richard Barnbrook just managed in 2008 when the BNP list polled 5.3%. Yet this year’s BNP list headed by Mr Squire couldn’t even manage half of the votes required, polling just 2.1% across the capital.

The detailed results made for even worse reading, as there was not a single area of London where Mr Squire and his colleagues could muster anything like the required support. In the BNP’s strongest GLA constituency (Havering &
) the party list attracted only 3.9%, down from 11.5% four years ago; while in City & East (the constituency that includes the former BNP stronghold Barking & Dagenham) their list vote fell from 9.9% to 3.3%. Needless to say,
in the weaker areas the BNP vote fell to joke levels: 1.2% in prosperous West Central, 1.3% in multi-ethnic Lambeth & Southwark.

Nor was this due to an irresistible UKIP surge. UKIP did increase their list vote across London from 1.9% to 4.5%, but some of this was at the expense of the Tories in areas well away from the BNP’s strongholds. For example in City & East, although to the BNP’s shame they did lose to UKIP this year on the list vote, this reflected more the BNP’s drop of 6.6% than UKIP’s modest increase of 1.9% (which would have come partly from the 3.3% fall in the Tory vote). The addition of the National Front to this year’s ballot paper inflicted little damage on the BNP, as they only polled 0.4%, and the English Democrat vote was similarly insignificant at 0.9% (almost identical to last year’s 1.0%). Demographic change and a very heavy (perhaps semi-fraudulent) turnout of Asian Labour voters in parts of City & East also played their part, but the fact remains that the BNP only mobilised 5,702 list voters in this entire GLA constituency. By contrast at the 2010 borough elections in just one section of City & East – Barking & Dagenham – the BNP picked up more than 15,000 votes, despite 2010 itself not being a vintage year for the party, and the borough elections using a less favourable electoral system.

Havering & Redbridge was a similar disaster. UKIP’s list vote here rose from 3.8% to 8.0%, while the BNP fell
from 11.5% to 3.9%. So the BNP’s drop was 7.6%, but UKIP’s rise was only 4.2% (a fair slice of which would surely
have come directly from the Tories, whose list vote here fell from 40.9% to 37.9%). Admittedly here the EDs were more
significant, as it is one of the few areas of the capital that has seen any sustained ED campaigning, but even their increase
was not substantial, from 1.6% to 1.8%. The real story is of BNP decline rather than a surge by rival nationalists. The NF
list vote in Havering & Redbridge was again insignificant at 0.6%.

The third level of the GLA election is the first-past-the-post constituency section, where voters cast just the one option,
as in a normal Westminster or council election. The BNP had no chance of winning any of these, but whereas four
years ago three nationalist candidates managed the 5% needed to save their deposit (two from the NF and one from the
BNP) this year every single nationalist lost his deposit: the best performance was Paul Borg with 4.1% for the BNP in City
& East, but even that was less than half the 2008 vote.

Why were the results in London so dreadful? Part of the answer is that despite Ken Livingstone’s personal
unpopularity, this was a much better year for Labour, as compared with 2008 – so right across the country Labour was
eclipsing the BNP as well as other parties. Also it is fair to say that other nationalist parties in London didn’t perform
well either. Contrary to expectations, even the much-hyped UKIP failed to regain either of the two GLA seats that they
had won in 2004 and lost in 2008. As detailed above, the BNP vote did not swing heavily to UKIP or to the EDs or NF.
But the conclusion is unavoidable: the BNP had a particularly bad election – much worse then rival parties – and
this was especially bad in London, where what should have been the best BNP campaign turned out to be the worst,
reaching tragi-comic proportions. Demoralisation and ineffective campaigning led many potential nationalist voters to
stay at home.

Defeated Councillors

Elsewhere in England numerous BNP council seats were up for re-election, some of which had already been forfeited
by resignations or defections. Five BNP councillors sought re-election: Sharon Wilkinson (Burnley), Adam Grant
(Pendle), Will Blair (Rotherham), Cliff Roper (Amber Valley), and Pat Richardson (Epping Forest). Two former BNP
councillors defended their seats as independents: Martyn Findley (Nuneaton & Bedworth) and Tom Bates (Calderdale).
One ex-BNP councillor defended his seat as an English Democrat: Seamus Dunne (Three Rivers). Two wards (in
Rotherham and Amber Valley) that had elected BNP councillors in 2008 were contested by new BNP candidates this
time, their predecessors having quit the party and left politics, while a further ward in Nuneaton & Bedworth had been
won by the BNP in 2008 but was already lost at a 2009 by-election following the BNP councillor’s resignation.

So in total there were eleven ward seats up for re-election where there had been BNP victories in 2008. Only one
of them saw a split nationalist vote this year, but none of them were retained by the BNP, indeed in two cases the party
did not even field a candidate this year.

Burnley's BNP branch in happier days
Burnley’s BNP branch in happier days

The highest profile of the defending councillors (and one of only two with any realistic chance of re-election) was
Sharon Wilkinson, the last remaining BNP councillor in Burnley. Her council ward in Hapton with Park once had three
BNP councillors: but after this year’s polling day there were fewer BNP district councillors in the whole of the United
Kingdom than there once were in this single ward!

To be fair to Cllr Wilkinson, though defeated, her personal vote and strong campaign in the ward produced one
of the best BNP performances in the country this year – almost 10% higher than Derek Dawson’s debacle in the same
ward last year. Nevertheless Cllr Wilkinson’s 423 was the second worst number of votes ever recorded by the BNP in
Hapton with Park, and her 30.4% was down 8.2% on 2008.

Chris Vanns, defeated Griffinite
Chris Vanns, defeated Griffinite

Other BNP target wards in Burnley this year saw far bigger defeats: 11.3% for Paul McDevitt in Rosegrove with Lowerhouse (less than a third of the BNP’s peak performance in this ward); 10.4% for Derek Dawson in the Gannow ward that had three times elected BNP councillors; and just 9.6% for arch-Griffinite factional (dis)organiser Chris Vanns
in Whittlefield & Ightenhill, where the BNP’s Barry Birks had gained a seat in 2003. A dispirited and divided Burnley BNP was unable even to field candidates in four of the wards that they had once held. There were no UKIP candidates or rival nationalists standing against the BNP in Burnley this year, nor was there significant demographic change of the sort that has confronted nationalism in London. The party’s problems were self-inflicted – or rather, inflicted by the failures of the party leadership.

The two BNP councillors in Amber Valley, Derbyshire, managed to fall out both with their party leader and with each other. Cllr Cliff Roper in Heanor East was a supporter of the BNP rebel faction led by Andrew Brons MEP, while Cllr Lewis Allsebrook in Heanor West initially backed Nick Griffin as one of the ten signatories on the party chairman’s nomination paper last year, but soon parted company from the movement completely. The baffled voters of Heanor were treated to a blog on which Cllr Allsebrook spent virtually all his time attacking BNP colleague Cllr Roper. In theory each of these BNP councillors were due to seek re-election on 3rd May, but Cllr Allsebrook chose to stand down, and the new BNP candidate for his ward Adrian Hickman finished bottom of the poll with 18.2%, a fraction up on 2010 but less than half the winning vote four years ago. Cllr Roper did at least try for re-election, but fared almost as badly, third out of four candidates with 19.1%, again slightly up on the 2010 BNP vote of 15.6%, but only just over half his 2008 winning vote of 36.5%. (There are no elections in the Heanor wards in odd numbered years.)

The remaining Amber Valley results were even worse, presumably reflecting a concentration of local campaigning
resources on the effort to retain Heanor. In Codnor & Waingroves, Emma Roper polled only 4.1%, compared to
14.4% in 2010 and 16.6% in 2008 (while UKIP polled 13.9%, having not contested this or any other Amber Valley wards
in 2010 or 2008); Alan Edwards in Ripley & Marehay polled 7.5%, slightly down on 2011’s 8.5%, but massively down
on 2008, when the BNP polled 22.0% here.

Adam Grant, defeated BNP councillor in Pendle
Adam Grant, defeated BNP councillor in Pendle

Cllr Adam Grant was thought to be the other BNP councillor in with a chance of re-election, in what on paper had become the party’s strongest ward in the country – Marsden ward, Pendle, especially as he faced an Asian Labour opponent this year. Cllr Grant took 39% here in 2008, but this fell to 34.2% and he lost by just 37 votes to the Conservative
candidate – a rare Tory victory on a generally poor night for the governing party. The remaining Marsden ward BNP councillor, Brian Parker, does not have to face re-election for another two years. Elsewhere in Pendle, Veronica Cullen polled 10.8% in Clover Hill, where the BNP has three times finished runner-up with a peak vote of 25.8% in 2003.

Martyn Findley had been a notably active councillor for Barpool ward, Nuneaton & Bedworth, but resigned from the BNP last summer. He sought re-election as an independent this year – never an easy task, even for an energetic patriot such as Cllr Findley, who like Adam Grant in Pendle faced a tight three-way contest with both Labour and the
Conservatives aiming to unseat him – but had the added complication of a spiteful and vindictive spoiler campaign from the West Midlands BNP organiser, Alwyn Deacon, who split the nationalist vote. Cllr Findley finished a strong second with 19.4%, while Mr Deacon finished a humiliating fourth with just 8.3% – the worst ever BNP result in the ward.

Other BNP candidates in Nuneaton & Bedworth also took a severe beating. In Poplar ward the party’s vote fell
from 20% to 10.8%, while in Camp Hill ward – won by Darren Haywood for the BNP in 2008 with 36.1%, but lost
by Alwyn Deacon at a by-election in December 2009 after Cllr Haywood’s resignation – the branch organiser’s wife
Yvonne Deacon finished bottom of the poll with 8.4%.

Cllr Tom Bates in Illingworth & Mixenden ward, Calderdale – who was the last remaining BNP councillor in
the former stronghold of West Yorkshire – quit the party last autumn and stood this year as an independent. He also
finished a strong second with 32.4%, helped by having no BNP opponent. This was a big increase on the last two BNP
votes here: 18.3% in 2011 and 22.5% in 2010. But Cllr Bates’s own vote had fallen from 38.3% in 2008. There wasn’t
a single BNP candidate anywhere in Calderdale.

Will Blair, another ousted BNP councillor

In Rotherham the BNP’s only remaining South Yorkshire councillor Will Blair was badly beaten in his Maltby ward, finishing third with 16.9%. (However one should bear in mind that Cllr Blair’s victory in 2008 had been achieved with only 23.0% of the vote, thanks to a crowded field of independents and other candidates protesting about a local issue. The BNP vote had already fallen to 16.2% in 2010 and 12.2% in 2011.) Ex-BNP colleague John Gamble, who was elected alongside Cllr Blair in 2008, had already been forced to resign his seat due to non-attendance, and the new BNP candidate in his Brinsworth & Catcliffe ward, Terry Fieldhouse finished runner-up with 29.5%. Mr Fieldhouse’s vote was well down on the 40.7% winning vote in 2008, but represented an improvement on his 17.1% in 2011 and 17.6% in 2010. Almost certainly a fair slice of this improvement was down to facing an Asian Labour candidate this year, but as the ward is 97.8% White this can hardly be seen as an encouraging result. (In 2009 the new Labour councillor in question, Shabana Ahmed, was a speaker at the TUC Women’s Conference on an anti-BNP motion, where she was described as a “Hope not Hate activist”.)

Despite losing these two seats, Rotherham proved one of the best remaining BNP branches at this election (and
the only effectively functioning branch in Yorkshire) – greatly helped by the decision of the local UKIP, which had
fielded almost full slates of candidates at the 2011 and 2010 elections, not to stand against any of the BNP candidates
this year. Had this resulted in any BNP victories, no doubt there would have been allegations of an electoral pact, but it
could of course have been pure coincidence. In any case, the effect was to push Marlene Guest’s vote in Wingfield ward
back towards its 2008 level. Mrs Guest polled 28.5%, up from 17.1% in 2011 and 15.4% in 2010, but below the 29.2%
she achieved in 2008 or the BNP’s peak vote in the ward, 30.8% for Joanna Kirby in 2007.

The last BNP councillor in Epping Forest – Pat Richardson in Loughton Broadway ward – was badly beaten
into fourth place, polling only 11.4% in a ward that she had won with 39.7% in 2008. The BNP had won seats in different
Loughton wards at several elections since 2004, but this year failed across the board. Mrs Richardson’s husband
Tom polled just 4.7% in Loughton St Mary’s, and there was no nationalist candidate in the Loughton Alderton ward that
elected BNP councillors in 2004 and 2006. In Loughton Fairmead (similarly won by the BNP in 2004 and 2006 but
never since) the former BNP election strategist Eddy Butler was a first-time English Democrat candidate, polling 12.2%.
This was less than half the 28.2% BNP vote in the ward in 2008, but as Mrs Richardson lost two-thirds of her 2008 vote,
Mr Butler can possibly claim relative success.

While most BNP branches have faced a haemmorrhage of activists over the last year or two, the loss of Mr
Butler’s expertise has hit Epping Forest BNP especially hard, and both he and the Richardsons had to cope with strong
campaigns from the Loughton Residents Association, whose candidates won six of the seven Loughton wards.

Seamus Dunne – elected as a BNP councillor in Ashridge ward, Three Rivers, in 2008 with a majority of 18 –
quit the party in August 2010 to sit as an independent in support of Eddy Butler’s dissident faction, and later followed
Mr Butler into the English Democrats in June 2011. He was boosted this year by the absence of any BNP or UKIP rival
(UKIP having stood against him in 2008 and polled 5.3%), but nevertheless lost to Labour, polling 22.4% compared to
33.8% in 2008.

Cllr Dunne had been one of only five English Democrat councillors nationwide, and this figure fell to three. No
gains were made, and in addition to Cllr Dunne’s defeat the party forfeited its only seat on Peterborough Council. Cllr
Stephen Goldspink (who had defected from the Conservatives to the EDs in 2009) was unable to defend his ward since
he had moved out of the city and no longer had a qualifying business connection.

So this left both the BNP and the EDs in exactly the same position on the council scoreboard: each with two
remaining district councillors and one county councillor, but having lost every seat they were defending this year and
made zero gains.

The relative positions and expectations of the two parties are of course very different in other respects. One
startling aspect of this year’s election was the total disappearance of the BNP in some of its former strongholds.

Collapse of BNP strongholds

Following the strong BNP results in Oldham and Burnley at the 2001 general election, the party became a serious challenge
to Labour in a cross-Pennine swathe of councils around East Lancashire and West Yorkshire. It was in this area
that the foundations were laid for the European Parliamentary victories of Nick Griffin and Andrew Brons in 2009.
Yet the BNP’s decline in what had been its best branches has long been apparent, and was confirmed this year.

The first North West branch to put Griffin on the map – Oldham – was long ago the first to desert him, and it was no
surprise to see not a single BNP or other nationalist candidate in Oldham this year. (Even UKIP only had one Oldham
candidate, so this is a case of BNP suicide or misadventure, rather than what the BNP chairman would once have called
attempted murder.) As mentioned above, Burnley lost its last BNP councillor, failed to contest several of its former
wards, and saw record low BNP votes in the rest.

In Blackburn with Darwen – England’s most racially divided borough – the BNP had no candidates in most
of its former target wards, including the Mill Hill ward won in a 2002 by-election – and contested just two. In the no
hope ward of Roe Lea, Nancy Shaw’s vote fell from 8.4% to 5.8%; while in the working-class Shadsworth ward David
Bradley achieved a record nationalist low of 11.3%, where in 2006 the BNP’s Sue Grimshaw had polled 34.9%. This is
the part of town which (under a different ward name) elected National Party leader John Kingsley-Read to Blackburn
council in 1976. Now it has seen the rise and disappearance of another nationalist party.

Nick Griffin attempted to relaunch Blackburn BNP, but the branch hit a new record low this year.
Nick Griffin attempted to relaunch Blackburn BNP, but the branch hit a new record low this year.

As with Oldham and Burnley, no other nationalist party has picked up the BNP’s lost voters in Blackburn. There
were only three UKIP candidates in the whole of Burnley, none of whom made any impact, and none at all in Blackburn
with Darwen. The For Darwen Party was another of those resistance movements by traditional boroughs subsumed
by a larger neighbour due to local government reforms in the early 1970s. In this case there was a racial subtext, since
Darwen is very White and Blackburn almost half Asian, but the For Darwen Party rose and fell in the space of five years
between 2007 and 2012, losing every ward they were defending this year. Former BNP branch organiser and For Darwen
councillor Trevor Maxfield now sits as a Labour councillor for Earcroft ward!

Across the Pennines in Calderdale, the BNP failed to field a single candidate for a council which Nick Griffin
once predicted would be the first BNP-controlled town hall. The rest of West Yorkshire was similarly bleak, with
no candidates in Kirklees (where the BNP once had three councillors) or in Wakefield (where there was a full slate
of nineteen candidates in 2010). As mentioned above, former BNP councillor Tom Bates stood as an independent in
Illingworth & Mixenden, while Dave Jones in Todmorden flew the flag for the BPP (until it was taken off him by the party leadership in mid-campaign – see below), but there were no UKIP or English Democrat candidates anywhere in Calderdale; and just three UKIP and one ED in Kirklees.

Wakefield was another matter – here we see the risk of the BNP’s continued decline allowing UKIP to establish itself. Across Wakefield UKIP fielded ten candidates, six of whom finished runner-up. They polled 25.2% in Normanton (BNP 2010 13.3%; BNP 2008 15.9%); 25.3% (in third place) in Wrenthorpe & Outwood West (BNP 2010 10.9%; 2008 12.4%); 24.0% in Altofts & Whitwood (BNP 2010 11.2%; BNP 2008 16.6%); and 20.4% in Airedale and Ferry Fryston (BNP 2010 11.3%; BNP 2008 20.9%). In 2010 and 2008 UKIP had only a single Wakefield candidate (in Wakefield North ward) and even he was in last place behind the BNP.

In Bradford (where the BNP had held six council seats at various times) the party now has no representation, and
only managed a single candidate: Eric Baxendale in Queensbury, who gained only 15.5% and was pushed into fourth
place by UKIP’s 24.9%. Eight UKIP candidates stood across Bradford, two of them in former BNP wards Wibsey and
Queensbury, in the latter case finishing well ahead of the BNP. In Wibsey UKIP polled 23.5%: well below the votes of
around 30% that the BNP managed in 2004, 2006 and 2007, but notably higher than last year’s ED vote of 6.5% or the
latter day BNP results of 16.4% in 2008 and 12.6% in 2010.

Bradford UKIP had only four candidates in 2011, one of whom was easily beaten by the BNP in Queensbury, and
their four campaigns in 2008 included finishing behind both the BNP and the EDs in Wibsey. As in Wakefield, there is
clearly potential for UKIP to put down roots in Bradford if nationalism fails to get its act together, though the big difference
is that the Democratic Nationalists have established a foothold in three Bradford wards. Two of the three DN
votes increased substantially this year, though still well short of the BNP’s peak levels. Liam Kernaghan in Tong polled
11.5%, up from his 6.0% last year.

Kevin Meeson, the last BNP candidate in Leeds.

Leeds BNP also managed just a single candidate: Kevin Meeson, who was runner-up to Labour in Middleton Park for the sixth time. Mr Meeson’s was one of the better BNP results this year – his 21.3% was slightly higher than last year or 2010, though well down on the 37.4% he polled in 2008. Many of the key activists from Leeds BNP defected last year to the English Democrats (whose results are assessed below), and this year there were further defections to the EDs in Barnsley (see below).

Stoke had no elections this year, but the other former BNP strongholds in the West Midlands produced some of the party’s worst results. In Sandwell there were only two BNP candidates, compared to a slate of 24 candidates in 2010. Former BNP councillor John Salvage in Cradley Heath & Old Hill ward polled just 8.6%, and acknowledged that he had been only a paper candidate, while Terry Lewin in Hateley Heath ward scored a record low of 7.5%, less than half the BNP’s 2010 vote in this ward and barely a quarter of their 2007 vote. Sandwell once had four BNP councillors, yet now can only manage feeble ‘paper’ campaigns. Has any party ever fallen so far, so quickly? Yet again no one can blame a UKIP bandwagon, as there were no UKIP candidates in Sandwell.

In next door Dudley, where Nick Griffin’s deputy Simon Darby was once a BNP councillor, the BNP organisation
now barely exists and fielded just two candidates. Simon Foxall in Halesowen North was bottom of the poll with
3.4%, and Robert Weale in Hayley Green & Cradley South similarly trailed the field with 4.0%. Here there was a big
contrast with Sandwell: UKIP fought all but two of the Dudley wards, though their branch organiser Malcolm Davis lost
the party’s one council seat to Labour. Cllr Davis (a former Liberal Democrat) based most of his campaigning around
opposition to mosques, but was defeated by an Asian candidate in St James’s ward, which has relatively few Muslims
and was 80% White at the 2001 census. That census showed the ward to have more Sikhs than Muslims! (Each around
4%, though it’s likely Muslims have overtaken them since.) The result shows the limitations of Islam-obsessive or
Brussels-obsessive politics.

Dudley UKIP candidate Star Etheridge was forced out of the Tory Party last year for posting this golliwog photo!
Dudley UKIP candidate Star Etheridge was forced out of the Tory Party last year for posting this golliwog photo!

In Gornal ward, Dudley, the UKIP vote was 23.7% – similar to the BNP vote of 25.3% in 2006. The most obvious
UKIP attempt to hijack a BNP-lite vote involved minor local celebrities Bill and Star Etheridge, the husband and
wife who last year had been set to stand as Conservative candidates but were forced out by the party hierarchy after
posing on the internet with golliwogs in an “anti political correctness” stunt. In Sedgley ward Bill Etheridge finished
runner-up for UKIP this year with 27.1%, while in Upper Gornal & Woodsetton Star Etheridge was third with 16.5%.
Kevin Inman polled 4.5% for the NF in the latter ward, having polled 24.6% in the same ward for the BNP in 2008.
Sedgley by contrast has never had a BNP candidate, being more of a Conservative/UKIP type ward.

In Simon Darby’s old ward Castle & Priory, which he lost at the 2004 elections after boundary changes, UKIP
actually slipped back, finishing third with 16.8% (down from 18.8% last year). Despite Dudley being one of their better
branches, the evidence still suggests that UKIP is better poised for eating into an anti-Cameron Tory protest vote than
making progress into more working class areas, where Labour is solidifying its position, thanks both to benefit cuts and
the implosion of the BNP.

In Solihull there was only one BNP candidate – Simone Neal in Smith’s Wood ward, whose vote fell from 13%
to 8.4% – and as last year the former BNP ward Chelmsley Wood was not contested. They thus failed to take advantage
of UKIP’s internal problems after the Solihull UKIP branch apparently went on strike in support of party dissident Nikki
Sinclaire! The beneficiaries were the English Democrats, who put up a slate of five candidates, though none managed
to reach 10%.

Alongside Epping Forest, Thurrock was once the strongest BNP council in southern England (outside London).
In recent years it has been one of the areas worst hit by internal divisions, with former councillor Emma Colgate quitting
politics entirely and many activists defecting to the National Front. This year there was just one BNP candidate,
Thomas Mayhew who polled 6.1% in the Grays Riverside ward, where until the catastrophic 2010 split his party had
consistently achieved well over 20%. The NF results in Thurrock and elsewhere are discussed separately below. UKIP
had only fielded two candidates in Thurrock four years ago; this year they actually gained a seat, in Aveley & Uplands
ward, and put up almost a full slate, only missing out the traditionally strong nationalist ward Tilbury St Chads which
was contested by the NF. The UKIP gain was in a traditionally Conservative ward which nevertheless used to have a
strong nationalist vote. UKIP overtook the BNP here in 2010 when putting up for the first time, and Thurrock BNP’s extinction
gave them their chance. Suspicious minds would suspect a deal here, with the NF avoiding Aveley & Uplands,
in return for UKIP giving Mick Griffin a free run in Tilbury St Chads, which looked the best potential NF ward. If so it
was in my opinion a big mistake for nationalists to encourage UKIP’s growth in any way.

Paul Golding left the BNP to join Jim Dowson’s Britain First fundraising operation.

In Sevenoaks – the only South Eastern council where the BNP has ever held a councillor – there were no elections this year, but since former councillor Paul Golding’s departure to join Jim Dowson’s Britain First organisation, there has been no BNP organisation there in any case. No nationalist party contested Mr Golding’s former ward of Swanley St Mary’s, which was won by Labour.

So much for the councils where the BNP was defending seats, or where they had ever held seats in the past: a complete wipeout, with only Sharon Wilkinson in Burnley and Adam Grant in Pendle performing anything like the party’s better years. What of the many other councils where the BNP has never won seats, but at one time posed a serious electoral challenge?

BNP decline in every region

One of the most dramatic declines this year was in the North East region, with no BNP candidates in Gateshead or
Sunderland, and only two in Newcastle. These three councils saw a total of 48 BNP candidates in 2008 and 52 in 2010.
The only North East branch to field a serious BNP slate was South Tyneside, with eight candidates including George
Gilchrist, who managed 13.3% in the Primrose ward where Pete Hodgkinson had polled 32.9% for the BNP in 2008.
The remaining two candidates in Newcastle saw dismal results. Bill Curry in Denton ward polled 3.2%, less than a
third of his 9.8% vote in 2008, while in Fawdon ward Anita Cooper’s vote fell from 8.1% last year to 5.0%. There were
no UKIP or ED candidates anywhere in Newcastle or Gateshead, though there was a slate of seven UKIP candidates in
Sunderland, including one impressive result for John Defty in Hetton ward. Mr Defty contested the ward for the first
time last year, making an immediate impact as runner-up with 29.0%. This year he ran Labour much closer, polling
43.3%, which even in the absence of a Conservative candidate was a very good result. Again there is a grave danger that
if nationalism remains in the doldrums, UKIP could put down serious roots in other parts of the North East.

Yorkshire BNP has virtually ceased to exist. Aside from the disappearance of its former West Yorkshire strongholds
mentioned earlier, the South Yorkshire branches were also devastated by defections and disillusionment. Barnsley
was perhaps the strongest BNP branch never to win a council seat, but this year there were only four BNP candidates
– compared to twelve for the English Democrats, led by former BNP organiser Ian Sutton.

Ian Sutton, ex-BNP, now ED organiser in Barnsley
Ian Sutton, ex-BNP, now ED organiser in Barnsley

In Monk Bretton ward Jane Hubbard fought her fourth election for the BNP, and had the benefit of no ED or UKIP opponent, but still polled only 11.4% – less than half of her 24.4% vote in 2008. Similarly in Stairfoot ward, Sandra Baker’s vote fell to 7.8% – the first time that the BNP had polled in single figures here, despite again having no ED or UKIP opponent. The two wards that saw a BNP-ED battle produced contrasting results. In Kingstone ward
Nathan Walker for the EDs (6.4%) finished just ahead of the BNP’s Danny Cooke (6.1%). But in Cudworth ward four
time BNP candidate Terry Hubbard – though seeing his vote fall to 10.2% from 16.3% last year, not to mention 24.8%
in 2008 – still finished well ahead of the EDs’ Carol Stacey with 4.8%. UKIP polled 9.2% in Cudworth, one of only
three wards they contested in Barnsley, where their highest vote was 18.9% in the semi-rural Penistone East ward. Their
results tended to confirm the present stage of UKIP development: they could take votes of the Tories in southern suburbs
or northern market towns like Penistone, but haven’t yet reached the stage where they can replace the BNP in working
class areas.

Nevertheless the clear winners of the internal nationalist battle in Barnsley were the EDs. Ian Sutton finished
runner-up in Darton West with 19.4% – 6% up on his BNP result last year, though still far short of his 28.7% in 2008.
Similarly his ED colleague Colin Porter polled 14.1% in Central ward, up from 11.3% for the BNP last year.

Elsewhere in South Yorkshire, Sheffield BNP completely disappeared this year after declining badly in 2011.
UKIP put up a full slate of 28 Sheffield candidates, up from seven last year. Their best results were 27.5% in Stocksbridge
& Upper Don, and 22.1% in Woodhouse – neither of which had been strong BNP wards. The BNP had contested
Stocksbridge & Upper Don once in 2007, polling 10.1%. In what had been the strongest Sheffield BNP wards, UKIP’s
results were more modest: 12.9% in Southey (2008 BNP vote 25.5%); 17.8% in Shiregreen & Brightside (2008 BNP
vote 21.2%); and 12.6% in Firth Park (2008 BNP vote 19.4%).

Doncaster BNP also failed to field a candidate for the first time since 2006. This is of course the one area of England
where the English Democrats have tasted real electoral success, winning the mayoral election in 2009, but Mayor
Peter Davies still has no English Democrat councillors. This year the seven ED candidates polled between 12.9% and
28.3%. UKIP had just one Doncaster candidate, and the ex-BNP candidate Dave Owen again contested his local ward
Stainforth & Moorends, this time for the Democratic Nationalists, polling 16.6% and equalling the second best of his four
previous BNP results here.

In Nick Griffin’s European constituency of North West England, there were no bright spots whatsoever for his
party, apart from the brave efforts of defeated councillors Sharon Wilkinson and Adam Grant. Aside from the disasters
in Burnley and Blackburn referred to earlier, other once promising branches became BNP-free zones, even in areas close
to the home territory of the party’s election organiser Clive Jefferson. Only one BNP candidate stood for Carlisle City
Council compared to nine in 2010 and eight in 2008. It has been obvious for a couple of years that the Cumbrian BNP –
whose votes made a big contribution to electing Nick Griffin as a North West MEP – is in decline, and this year’s Carlisle
candidate Stephen Bingham confirmed it, polling 7.2% in Currock ward, where Brian Allen took 28% for his party in
2008. There were eleven UKIP candidates across Carlisle, though their results weren’t great, ranging from 4.5% to 14.6%.
In Morton ward, for example, where the BNP polled 20.7% in 2008, UKIP managed only 10.6% this year.

Another area where the BNP briefly flourished – greatly assisting Griffin’s Euro victory – included Merseyside
and a couple of councils between Liverpool and Manchester. This year there were no BNP candidates in Sefton or
Knowsley. In St Helens none of the three candidates managed more than 6%: Paul Telford, who had polled 11.4% in
the strongest St Helens ward – Thatto Heath – in 2008, managed only 5.5% this time.

The only one of these three boroughs with a UKIP presence was Sefton, where a slate of nineteen UKIP candidates
polled between 4.5% and 28.9%. Moreover they almost equalled the best ever BNP performance in Ford ward,
polling 13.2% compared to the 13.8% that the BNP managed in 2008.

In Liverpool itself the old BNP branch split at least four ways, with the bulk of activists joining either the National
Front, the English Democrats, or the new British Freedom Party (see below for a comparative assessment of these
parties’ results). Only Mike Whitby, the hapless North West regional organiser, and a lone colleague were left as BNP
candidates for Liverpool City Council. Despite thus being enable to concentrate their meagre resources, the results were
predictably disastrous. Mr Whitby finished bottom of the poll with 1.2%, while Christopher Beatson polled 3.9% in
Belle Vale, down from a 2008 BNP vote of 9.2%.

As we go to press, Mr Whitby remains under police investigation after being arrested on suspicion of submitting
fraudulent nomination papers, but one suspects that even the vindictive, anti-nationalist British state will take pity on
such an abject political failure.

UKIP had eight Liverpool candidates, polling between 3.1% and 6.5%, and are well placed at present to inherit
the modest nationalist vote on Merseyside from the various squabbling post-BNP factions – unless some form of strong
and united post-Griffin force emerges.

Three North West BNP branches retained sufficient vigour and (patchy) loyalty to Nick Griffin’s leadership to
field substantial slates of candidates this year. Wigan managed five candidates, and in Ince ward Henry Morgan was
able to increase the BNP vote to 14.5%, given a free run this year following the death of last year’s EFP candidate Ian
Hague. Yet their results were eclipsed by two former BNP activists standing as Independents: Chris Garfin in Leigh East
polled 19.1%, and Gary Chadwick in Leigh South 17.6%. None of the rival parties made any impact in Wigan this year.
Even UKIP only had one candidate, Arnold Foster who polled 16.3% in Shevington with Lower Ground ward, splitting
the Tory vote and contributing to Labour gaining the ward.

Salford – one of the most loyally Griffinite BNP branches – put up eight candidates this year as well as contesting
the inaugural mayoral election. In Langworthy ward David Spencer benefited from the absence of UKIP to increase
the BNP vote to 13.3%, Gary Tumulty similarly increased his vote in Irwell Riverside to 11.8%, and Brenda Leather in
Cadishead likewise from 7.1% to 12.8%.

For whatever reason, UKIP and the BNP mostly avoided fighting each other in Salford this year. Only Claremont
ward saw a head to head contest: Eddy O’ Sullivan, who had polled 16.2% here as Salford BNP’s lone candidate in 2006,
managed 7.2% this year compared to UKIP’s 8.5%. In Swinton South the BNP’s Kay Pollitt polled 7.3%, ahead of the
EDs’ John Mulcahy with 4.8%. Elsewhere in Salford, UKIP’s seven candidates polled between 7.6% and 34.6%. The
latter was a somewhat atypical result! UKIP’s candidate for Broughton ward was a prominent Lubavitcher, originally
from Stamford Hill, named Shneur Odze. He was previously (like his father) a Conservative councillor on Hackney
Borough Council, and continued to stand for the Tories in 2007, 2008 and 2010 after moving to Salford. The remarkable
increase in the UKIP vote in Broughton ward, from 7.6% to 34.6%, shows that tribal voting is not confined to the
Muslim community!

Of the three contiguous boroughs to the east of Manchester, Stockport has proved itself the most loyal to Nick
Griffin’s leadership (compared to the extinct Oldham branch and the divided Tameside). However the truth remains that
Stockport has less potential for nationalist votes than the other two. Five time Reddish North candidate Paul Bennett’s
BNP vote held steady at 11.3%, only slightly down on his 2008 peak vote of 14.6%. But the other perennial Stockport
BNP candidate – Duncan Warner in Manor ward – polled his worst ever vote, bottom of the poll with 4.8% in a ward
where he twice polled almost 14%. UKIP had seven Stockport candidates, mostly in the more affluent parts of the borough
which the BNP doesn’t contest. One UKIP result was interesting: 11.8% in Brinnington and Central ward, most of
which is the sort of White working class estate that has strong nationalist potential. (The BNP polled 6.3% here in 2010.)
If UKIP get their act together and put down roots in this type of area, taking advantage of BNP decline, then nationalists
should be worried.

Next door in Tameside the BNP fielded only two candidates compared to five last year and fifteen in 2010. For
the first time UKIP finished ahead of the BNP in the latter’s former target ward Hyde Newton, where Rosalind Gauci
polled only 8.2% compared to a peak BNP vote of 27.5% in 2008. The result should give pause for thought to the EDL
and others who preach that violent racial conflict will help nationalists at the polls. An apparent racial attack on a white
youth took place in early February, right on the border of Hyde Newton ward: a few weeks later Nick Griffin and the
EDL’s Tommy Robinson arrived in town with their entourages for a demonstration. Locals clearly weren’t impressed. as
the racial nationalist vote in Hyde collapsed a few weeks after these self-regarding gladiators put on their show. Perhaps
it got them more donations than votes: perhaps that was the point? It certainly had nothing to do with politics.

The other BNP candidate – Robert Booth in Droylsden East – was similarly crushed, polling 8.8% (way behind
UKIP’S 18.0%) in a ward where his predecessor David Lomas took 32.7% in 2008. Tameside clearly has massive nationalist
potential, but local activists need to abandon Nick Griffin’s discredited party and go back to the drawing board.
Former BNP candidate Roy West polled 12.3% as an independent in Dukinfield ward, up from his 10.9% vote in the
same ward last year for the BNP. UKIP’s votes in Tameside were surprisingly patchy. On the one hand they pipped
the BNP in Hyde Newton and hammered them in Droylsden East, but on the other hand they finished way behind the
English Democrats in Stalybridge North and Dukinfield-Stalybridge, and polled poorly in the two strongest Tory areas
of Tameside, Stalybridge South and Hyde Werneth.

Manchester BNP’s decline has been less dramatic but still unmistakeable. This year Manchester had two BNP
candidates, compared to five last year and eight in 2010. As elsewhere, even this opportunity to concentrate shrinking
resources did not help a party in freefall. Branch organiser Derek Adams, who last year was a parliamentary by-election
candidate in Oldham East & Saddleworth, polled 8.5% in Higher Blackley, the ward where at his first outing in 2008 he
achieved 27%. (UKIP took 7.6% in Higher Blackley.) Meanwhile in Moston ward Gareth Black managed only 7.5%,
down from 15.9% in 2010, despite having no UKIP opponent. UKIP had a slate of ten candidates across Manchester,
up from six last year and three in 2008: their best vote was 13.5% in Woodhouse Park, up from 7.2% last year and 4.5%
in 2010 (when they finished behind the BNP’s 6.3%).

In the much diminished West Midlands BNP, only the Birmingham and Coventry branches put up slates of candidates
comparable to past years. Of the eleven Coventry BNP candidates, the highest vote was 7.2% for Rose Morris
in Henley – which was the lowest ever BNP vote in that ward. For some reason, perhaps connected with its famous
wartime experience of intensive German bombing, nationalist votes in Coventry have always tended to be lower than in
comparable Midlands cities, even though they have had good NF and BNP branches at various times. Thus the decline
in BNP votes there this year was less dramatic than in some other branches: Coventry was falling from what was already
a modest electoral base. UKIP had four Coventry candidates, defeating the BNP in Lower Stoke ward by 7.3% to 3.2%,
and in Binley & Willenhall by 15.6% to 3.1%.

Birmingham BNP had a parallel experience: of their eighteen candidates the best vote was 7.5% in Tyburn ward,
but even this was well down on the 19.9% achieved here in Birmingham BNP’s peak year of 2006. Four wards saw an
NF-BNP split, with the BNP finishing easily ahead in all cases. These included Shard End – the strongest nationalist ward
in Birmingham – where Mark Neary polled 25.9% for the BNP in 2006 but defected to the NF the following year. This
year Mr Neary polled 1.1% for the NF in Shard End, and Kevin McHugh for the BNP managed 6.5%: in other words the
combined nationalist vote was less than a third of the BNP’s 2006 vote.

UKIP also put up eighteen Birmingham candidates, polling between 1.7% and 17.8%: the latter in Shard End,
which should be one of the most worrying UKIP results for nationalists. UKIP first contested this ward in 2010, when
they polled 3.5% to the BNP’s 13.5% (even in an election where the BNP was already in decline). In 2011 they overtook
the BNP, by 9.0% to 6.6%, and the gap has really opened this year: UKIP 17.8%, BNP 6.5%.

In Wolverhampton’s Bushbury North ward, five-time BNP candidate Simon Patten managed 14.3%, slightly
higher than the past two years and helped by facing an Asian Labour candidate, though well down on his 2007 peak vote
of 22.4%, even though he again had no UKIP opponent. Elsewhere in Wolverhampton, the six UKIP candidates continued
to improve their results – for example in Oxley ward UKIP polled 15.4% this year, up from 8.4% last year.

Apart from the Amber Valley debacle mentioned earlier, most of the stronger BNP areas of the East Midlands had no
election this year. In Derby the three BNP candidates managed to poll around the same votes that they have managed for
the past two or three years. Paul Hilliard in Chaddesden ward, for example, polled 14.7% – only slightly down on his 2008
peak vote of 17.9%. UKIP had six Derby candidates, none of them facing the BNP. They managed one very impressive
result, 32.8% in Alvaston ward, up from 11.5% last year.

The Eastern England region is another to have been devastated by internal splits. The death of Thurrock BNP
has been mentioned earlier: other defunct branches this year included Basildon, which had fourteen BNP candidates in
2008 and 2010; Broxbourne, twelve in 2008 and ten in 2010; and Southend, seventeen in 2008 and 2010. In fact there
were only three BNP candidates across the entire region this year, compared to 86 in 2008.

UKIP put up slates of fourteen candidates in Basildon; eight in Broxbourne; and seven in Southend. In West
Shoebury ward, Southend, UKIP finished runner-up with 35.8%: in 2008 it was the BNP who were runners-up in this
ward with 18.8%. That year UKIP didn’t contest West Shoebury, and had only three candidates across Southend, with
none in Broxbourne and four in Basildon (all of whom finished behind the BNP). Broxbourne represented a real missed
opportunity for nationalists this year, as following boundary changes the entire council was up for election. There was
once a strong BNP branch in the area, which elected Ray Johns in 2003, but after defecting to the English Democrats
last year local nationalists did not stand for any party this year.

Nick Griffin and his diminished band of sycophants live of course in a parallel universe, and continue to shrug
off any responsibility for their party’s terminal condition even as they shamelessly seek further donations from the gullible.
An example of the pathetic state of a once honourable party is the position of South East regional organiser Nick
Prince. At the end of February 2012 Mr Prince was giving extra responsibility as acting regional organiser for the South
West. In other words he is responsible for a region stretching from Kent to Cornwall. The BNP’s head office announced
“it is his [Mr Prince’s] aim to rebuild the region in the same manner as he has in the South East.” What did this rebuilding
amount to this year? There were only four BNP candidates in the entire South East region. In his own Hastings branch,
Mr Prince polled a record low of 3.6% in Hollington ward, where in 2008 Victoria Britton took 15.5%. What is it about Mr
Prince that recommends him so highly to Nick Griffin?

The BNP’s rivals

The previous South East BNP regional organiser Andy McBride is now with Britain First, a nationalist group
founded by Nick Griffin’s former chief fundraiser Jim Dowson. This group is very active online, and has registered
the name National People’s Party for electoral purposes, but has yet to field any candidates. Another new party that
did make its debut at this year’s elections was the British Freedom Party (not to be confused with the Freedom Party,
which was active in the Midlands about a decade ago and had a councillor in Staffordshire). The BFP was founded in
the autumn of 2010 by BNP dissidents including former webmaster Simon Bennett, former legal adviser Lee Barnes,
Liverpool activist Paul Stafford, and former South West regional organiser Peter Mullins, who became the BFP’s
founding chairman.

Last year the BFP was effectively taken over by former UKIP parliamentary candidate Paul Weston, a fanatical
Islamophobe and pro-Zionist who has been planning for some time to turn the party into the political wing of the English
Defence League. Since the EDL is essentially oriented towards street marches, and most of its activists are football
hooligans who have no interest in party political activity, Mr Weston’s strategy is difficult to work out. However at the
very least the BFP needed a handful of reasonably credible results before the scheduled big announcement two days after
the elections at a rally in Luton, when EDL leader Tommy Robinson was expected to announce a merger with the BFP.
Sadly things did not go according to plan. The BFP put up five candidates in Liverpool and one in Basildon.

Tony Harms in Laindon Park ward, Basildon, managed 4.2% (well behind UKIP’s 18.5%) – but this was in a ward
where BNP veteran Dave King had polled 17.1% in 2008. The BFP votes in Liverpool were even worse, ranging from
0.6% (just seventeen votes!) for Peter Stafford in County ward, to 2.8% for Peter Squire in Norris Green.

While the BFP’s results were an unqualified disaster, there were mixed fortunes for two other rival options seeking
to win over defections from the sinking BNP. The National Front had a poor return for its investment in this year’s
London elections. Its first ever London-wide slate polled just 0.4%, while its GLA constituency candidates polled between
1.2% and 1.4%. There was no NF mayoral candidate for financial reasons.

Elsewhere in the country some of the NF’s 35 candidates enjoyed better fortunes. The best vote was 16.9% for
Mick Griffin (no relation!) in Tilbury St Chads ward, Thurrock – by far the best nationalist vote in the borough this
year, though well below the 41% polled in this ward by Angela Daly for the BNP in 2008, when she was only 61 votes
behind Labour. Other NF candidates in Thurrock included the first ever BNP councillor Derek Beackon, who polled
6.3% in Chadwell St Mary, down 1.2% on last year and way down on the 29.3% polled by the BNP in 2008.

In Irwell ward, Rossendale, the NF’s deputy chairman Kevin Bryan polled 16%, 3.2% up on last year and his
highest vote since leaving the BNP. Mr Bryan’s last BNP vote in Irwell in 2008 was 23.9%. Like Mr Bryan, the NF
candidate in Tipton Green ward, Sandwell – Adrian Woodhouse – is a former BNP candidate. This year he polled 11.5%,
0.6% down on last year. Though it is obvious that demographic change in Tipton Green – once a major nationalist target
– has now made it unwinnable, Mr Woodhouse has fought a brave battle against the tide. A fourth NF candidate to
poll in double figures was Peter Greenwood, former BNP branch organiser, in Hopwood Hall ward, Rochdale, who took
10.5% in the ward’s first ever nationalist campaign. Rochdale has seen a number of anti-Muslim demonstrations after
several local Asians were charged with paedophile “grooming” offences, but this has not been translated into party political
activism. There were no BNP candidates in the town this year – just Mr Greenwood for the NF and Ricky Akehurst
for the English Democrats in the multiracial Kingsway ward, who polled 7.9%. Nor were there any UKIP candidates in

In several areas NF candidates flew the nationalist flag after the collapse of BNP branches. These included John
Richards in Deckham ward, Gateshead, who polled 6.2% (compared to previous BNP votes in the ward of 8.6% in
2010, 13.9% in 2008, and 12.7% in 2007); and Paul Birleson in Millfield ward, Sunderland, who polled 5.2% (compared
to previous BNP votes of 6.1% in 2010, 7.8% in 2008, and 8.6% in 2007). Bob Batten fought his fourth NF
campaign in Howdon ward, North Tyneside, finishing runner-up with 10.5%, fractionally down from last year’s 11.3%.

Hull NF again was one of the few NF branches to field a slate of candidates: of their four contenders, branch organiser
Nick Walsh picked up the best result, 9.1% in Ings ward, up from 5.1% last year. Amid the collapse of the local BNP,
Tim Knowles of the NF increased his vote slightly in Langley Mill ward, Amber Valley, from 7.7% to 8.7%. However
in Stockbridge ward, Knowsley, Andrew Brennus of the NF was not immune from the chaos that overwhelmed nationalism
in Merseyside this year: he polled 5% compared to 7% for last year’s BNP candidate in the same ward.

Better by some distance than any of the NF results was Mark Cotterill’s result for the England First Party in
Ribbleton ward, Preston, where the H&D editor’s vote increased from 15.5% to 22.0%. This was one of the most
improved nationalist votes anywhere in the country, and unlike most of the other handful of improved votes was not a
consequence of UKIP pulling out, or any other such complication.

Where some BNP traditionalists have headed to the NF, a fair number of BNP “modernisers” have joined the
English Democrats. Last year they enjoyed some success, gaining two council seats in Boston, Lincolnshire, but there
was no repeat this year. As mentioned above, the EDs lost the two council seats they were defending this year, and made
no gains. Their best hope was in Morley South ward, Leeds, where former BNP councillor Chris Beverley was making
his second attempt to regain the seat he held from 2006 to 2010. Despite an energetic campaign, Mr Beverley slipped
back this year from 19.6% to 15.1%, with an increased majority for the Morley Borough Independents (MBI). Across
Leeds the EDs put up a slate of eleven candidates – a significant achievement in itself. Fighting his second campaign as
an ED in Morley South, after four for the BNP, Tom Redmond also slipped back slightly to 8.0%, with MBI again the
victors. By contrast in Ardsley & Robin Hood ward, Joanna Beverley increased her vote from 15.0% to 17.1%, thanks
to having no UKIP opponent for the first time.

The highest profile BNP defector to the EDs, former East London election strategist Eddy Butler, contested
Loughton Fairmead, Epping Forest, under his new colours, polling 12.2% in a ward that the BNP won in 2006 with
34.5%. Like his Morley colleagues, Mr Butler was contending not only with the general anti-nationalist trend this year
and the rancid atmosphere left behind by the decay of the BNP, but also with the phenomenon of a strong local independent
party. Past experience suggests that these groups can be very strong for a while (often at nationalist expense),
but they don’t last: examples include Morecambe, Boston, Burnley and Darwen. On the positive side, by fracturing
traditional tribal party loyalties, but then failing themselves, such groups can help create political space for a well organised
nationalist party – as happened for a while with Steve Smith’s Burnley BNP branch, and last year with the EDs in

Two other Essex branches put up substantial ED slates. In Southend a branch partly made up of BNP defectors
put up ten candidates: the best result by far was for Stephen Riley in Kursaal ward, who finished third of five candidates
with 16.9%. Mr Riley had no UKIP opponent, and in fact his vote was double last year’s UKIP vote of 8.4% in the same
ward. Back in 2010 the EDs were crushed in a crowded field of candidates, polling only 1.6% to UKIP’s 4.9% and the
BNP’s 6.5%. But Mr Riley’s result this year in Kursaal is better even than the BNP managed when unchallenged in their
best year locally: 15.4% in 2007. In many ways the Kursaal result was a greater achievement than the predictably strong
ED votes in Rochford, a branch mostly made up of members who were in the party prior to the BNP defections. Long
term ED John Hayter polled 32.2% to take second place in Trinity ward, the highest ED vote this year – well ahead of
UKIP’s 12.9% and only 74 votes behind the Tories – while Paula Hayter polled 19% in Wheatley ward. Bear in mind
that even in the 2010 general election year, when most minor party votes were reduced, the EDs polled 24.6% and 31.2%
respectively in these wards: in Wheatley that year they were the only opposition to the Tories! So these are not by any
means typical areas and should be treated with caution.

In Liverpool the ED mayoral candidate Dr Paul Rimmer finished ahead of the BNP and the NF, but still polled only
1.4%, with UKIP on 2.4%. The five ED candidates for Liverpool City Council (including three former BNP candidates)
polled between 2.2% and 6.2%. The latter, Steven McEllenborough in Warbreck, equalled the best ever nationalist result
in his ward, while Neil Kenny (one of the ED minority in Liverpool who are not ex-BNP) polled 3.2% in Riverside ward,
which had never previously had a nationalist candidate. Former BNP organiser Steven Greenhalgh’s ED vote of 3.1% in
Old Swan ward was less than a third of the 9.8% BNP vote here in 2008.

Potentially more interesting was the ED progress in Tameside, where they put up three candidates as against one
last year. BNP defector Greg Shorrock polled 13.3% in Dukinfield-Stalybridge ward, better than any of the previous
BNP results here, while Andrew Fogg’s 7.0% in Stalybridge North was higher than the UKIP vote and Tameside ED
branch founder David Timpson increased his vote in Ashton St Michael’s from 8.3% to 11.5%, thanks to no longer having
a UKIP opponent.

The jury is still out on Eddy Butler’s claim that the EDs represent the best electoral option for post-Griffin nationalism.
This year about half of the evidence might tend to support him, but the other half contradicts him! In any case,
for most former BNP members there remain serious ideological objections to joining the EDs, which could only perhaps
be overcome by incontrovertible and consistent evidence of an extended electoral appeal: so far that just isn’t there.

What is clear is that racial nationalism continues to struggle north of the border. The BNP failed to field any Scottish
candidates this year due to incompetence, but the NF fielded a surprising slate of six in Aberdeen, polling between
0.5% and 2.1%, while BNP splinter group the Britannia Party put up four candidates in Glasgow, barely troubling the
returning officer with votes between 0.2% and 0.5%. One curiosity in Scotland was the victory of Colin Wyper, a former
BNP member elected as an independent in Dee ward, Dumfries and Galloway. Mr Wyper’s brief membership of the
BNP (in 2005) was discovered as a result of the leaked membership lists, and publicised by the local press during the
campaign, but it didn’t seem to do him any harm! Mr Wyper, a wedding photographer in Gretna, fought a campaign
based on local issues and despite his brief BNP membership doesn’t seem to be in any sense a nationalist.

There were few nationalist candidates in Wales either, though former BNP national treasurer John Walker polled
3% as an Independent in the Shotton Higher ward of Flintshire, and was elected to the Hawarden Mancot ward of the
Town Council, shocking historically aware Liberals nationwide!

The EDs invested a great deal of energy campaigning for cities to adopt directly elected mayoral systems, but
in the two cities which held mayoral elections this year they (and other nationalists) performed poorly. In Salford they
selected a former carnival queen – unfortunately a male one, Mr Michael Felse, who finished eighth with 3.5%. The
BNP’s Eddy O’Sullivan was sixth with 4.4%, while UKIP’s Bernard Gill was third with 7.3%. In Liverpool things
were even more complicated, with the NF’s Peter Tierney twelfth on 0.6%; Mike Whitby of the BNP eleventh on 1.0%;
and Dr Paul Rimmer (who like Mr Tierney was once a BNP activist) ninth with 1.4%. Even UKIP only managed eighth
place with 2.4%.

A far more radical post-Griffin option was until recently offered by the British Peoples Party, who once again
fielded Dave Jones in Todmorden ward, Calderdale, as their sole candidate. Mr Jones increased his vote for the second
year running, from 5.6% to 8.5%, despite anti-fascist leaflets and websites showing him with a gun and a swastika flag,
not to mention the complication of being expelled by his own party in the midst of the campaign. For further details see
Movement News in the forthcoming issue of Heritage and Destiny.

One nationalist party that had a good 2012 was the Democratic Nationalists, who again fought three wards in Bradford. Former BNP councillor Jim Lewthwaite increased his vote in Royds from 11.3% to 15.1%, which is definite progress in rebuilding the wreck of Bradford nationalism, though a long way from the votes of over 30% that were achieved here five or six years ago. Liam Kernaghan in Tong ward increased his vote from 6.0% to 11.5%, though Neil Craig in Wyke slipped back from 10.9% to 9.6%. The only DN candidates outside Bradford were Dave Owen in Doncaster, who had fought the Stainforth & Moorends ward four times previously for the BNP and polled 16.6% this time, equalling his second best BNP performance; and Gary Topping in Waterside ward, Pendle, who was the first ever nationalist candidate in his ward and polled 7.8%.

There will be much pondering of the 2012 elections in the weeks to come. They undoubtedly represent a turning
point in British nationalism: the point at which the BNP ceased to be a remotely credible electoral force.

Other tentative conclusions that can be drawn from the evidence above include:
• The most decisive BNP defeats have tended to be in what were once their strongest areas, including the complete or
near disappearance of entire BNP branches in numerous former strongholds.
• While UKIP undoubtedly had a good year in general, particular UKIP results showed a patchy performance and
(with a handful of exceptions) the party continues to make little impact in working class areas, especially in the
North of England.
• Strong individual campaigns succeeded in achieving results that were well above the general anti-BNP trend, but
these strong results were also achieved by several non-BNP parties and independent nationalists. It is very difficult
to build a nationalist political brand without the sort of national media hype that at different times has magnified
both UKIP and the BNP, but some of this year’s results show that it can be done.
• There is no evidence that one or other ideological variety of nationalism has a significantly greater electoral appeal
than another. In particular, the total humiliation of the British Freedom Party, and the defeat of the most actively
Islamophobic UKIP councillor Malcolm Davis in Dudley, tends to disprove the argument that nationalists should
focus on an EDL-style agenda.
• What works is what always has worked: putting serious effort into a campaign with quality literature, combining a
focus on local issues with a clear and locally relevant message on national issues.

griffin-squire campaign

Comments are closed.

  • Find By Category

  • Latest News

  • Follow us on Twitter

  • Follow us on Instagram

  • Exactitude – free our history from debate deniers