| Tuesday, 23 January 2007 Source: EADT24
AS the skirmishes in the battle for England's shire districts get under way, an attempt is being made in Chelmsford to present a united front against the British National Party and other parties associated with the far right.
Representatives of all the major parties except the BNP are being asked to sign a document headed "we declare our opposition to racism and fascism." The initiative has come from the town's TUC branch, which also wants the parties to sign up to the Essex Racial Equality Council.
Represented at a meeting called by the TUC were the Alliance for Green Socialism, the Co-Operative Party, the Conservatives, Greens, Labour, Liberal Democrats, Respect, and the UK Independence Party.
Malcolm Wallace, Chelmsford TUC's secretary, says that as the BNP has the right to stand in the elections on May 3, they have to be defeated politically. The main parties had agreed to work together to drive up interest in this year's polling. "There's strong evidence that the bigger the turn-out at an election, the less chance there is of a far right candidate being elected."
The Chelmsford Declaration, which it is hoped will be adopted on March 1, says the town's main political parties have a shared belief "in justice, fairness and equality. We declare our willingness to co-operate with political parties, faith groups and others that take a stand against those that promote far right extremist political views."