Local elections confirm the BNP’s downward spiral
The British National Party failed to win a single seat on either Liverpool or Knowsley Councils, in both cases securing less that 1% of the vote. This tops a spectacularly bad year for the party, following from the implosion, splits and recriminations wrought by failure at last year’s general elections.
In the wards where the party concentrated its efforts – Croxteth and Tuebrook & Stoneycroft – their candidates brought in a total of 108 votes. Peter Tierney’s share of the vote in Croxteth fell from 2.58% in the 2010 by-election to 1.38% in Thursday’s poll. A decline which is even more significant given that in the by-election there were two seats up for grabs rather than one, and the BNP was one of only two parties which didn’t field two candidates!
In Anfield, Karen Otty’s share of the vote since the General Election declined from 5.38% to 3.28%. In Everton, where now ex-member Jackie Stafford polled 6.15%, new candidate Dennis Leary saw the party’s vote fall to 4.21%.
The ex-BNP candidates now standing for the English Democrats fared no better. Steve Greenhalgh polled 4.34% in Central, which has previously had no fascist candidate. Though even without the baggage of the BNP brand it is a significant drop from the 8.06% he achieved last year in the more familiar territory of Kirkdale. Steve McEllenborough remained in Old Swan, and saw his vote drop from 3.77% to 1.41%. Neil Kenny and Lee Walton (neither of whom has to our knowledge ever been a BNP candidate) did equally abysmally with just 0.74% in St Michaels and 1.40% in Warbreck respectively.
In Knowsley, “Andrew Brennus” – in reality Andrew Tierney, whose fetishes include filming anti-fascists and dancing in Ku Klux Klan garb – got 4% of the vote (a total of 65 votes) in St Gabriel’s ward.
Standing for the Stockbridge ward, Gary James Lucas came 2nd – a less remarkable achievement when you factor in that this was out of three, and that he gained only 7% of the vote. This is two percentage point less than an independent candidate got when they came joint last in 2010, whilst all of the Lib Dems lost votes went to the winning Labour candidate.
These results confirm that, even as voters become disillusioned with the government and the establishment parties, fascism is failing to present a credible alternative. Liverpool Antifascists delivered upwards of 7,000 leaflets in Anfield and Tuebrook, and aside from people thinking we were delivering pizza menus, the response was overwhelmingly positive. The message that working class unity, not hatred and division, is necessary is hiting home as it becomes more apparent that the problems we face come from politicians and the bosses, not fellow workers who happen to have a different skin colour and/or come from abroad.
This doesn’t, of course, mean we should be complacent. The BNP now looks doomed to crash and burn, but the far-right won’t die with it. The English Defence League remains determined to bring confrontation to the streets, whilst we don’t yet know what will arise in the place of Nick Griffin’s long standing
gullible cash cow beacon of nationalism.
As anti-fascists, we must remain vigilant against these threats and never become complacent. Our campaign goes on until there are no fascist organisations operating within our city.