The unwanted elections. Far right struggle to make an impact

Matthew Collins - 02 05 13

These are the elections that the far-right could have done without. The UKIP “steamroller”, may have been picking up votes from both disillusioned Tories, Lib Dems and even Labour voters, they have had a far greater affect on the small, “populist” pool of votes that the BNP and English Democrats (EDP) rely upon.


The introduction of the BNP-splinter group, the British Democratic Party (BDP), has had little affect on either the BNP or the EDP’s fortunes. Despite only standing three candidates (one already a sitting former BNP councillor), the BDP has failed to offer any practical ontheground support to them. Although their three candidates have all leafleted their respective wards, the BDP re-evaluated its intentions shortly after the close of nominations, with party chairman l Kevin Scott writing off the chances of all nationalist parties due to the “UKIP affect”.


The BNP may portray themselves as financially sound but the reality is the sole consequence of a legacy left by a dead member.

Troubled at its head offices by in-fighting and bickering, the low number of candidates at the county council elections is just another failure by a party that also failed to find candidates to stand in today’s Mayoral contests in Doncaster and North Tyneside.


The BNP’s campaigning has been sporadic. In Cumbria, where the BNP has an office and fulltime staff, as well as parish councillors, they managed a last minute smear campaign against both the Labour Party and polish migrants.


In South Tyneside the BNP targeted the local Muslim community with a leaflet that blamed both the Conservatives and the Labour Party for the community’s presence there. In Pendle, Lancashire, the BNP and BDP will trade electoral blows with hopefully, little affect on the electorate.


So sparse and underwhelming is the BNP’s campaign this year that the party actually refused a spot on Newsnight to discuss its shrinking fortunes.


Shortly after the programme, the BNP announced to its membership in a bulletin that it was “Undefeated, confident and fighting to win.” The bulletin was both angry, bizarre and in places childish, accusing UKIP of being part of the Zionist conspiracy and then mocking-up a picture UKIP’s Nigel Farage to look like Margaret Thatcher. The party suggested its members spoil their ballots if there is no BNP candidate in their area. 

Of course, the presence of UKIP is a convenient excuse for the party’s poor performance. Their desperate appeal for second class stamps so that they could post out election addresses to voters reflects far deeper problems within the party than UKIP’s current surge.


The English Democratic Party (EDP) campaign has been seriously derailed by cash and membership flow problems. Originally the party bullishly planned to stand 394 candidates, enough to secure an election broadcast. But then their fortunes plummeted. In February their sitting Mayor in Doncaster quit the party, allegedly over its growing links to the far-right. The party performed worse than some rather less serious candidates in the Eastleigh by-election and despite a controversial link up with a number of former EDL activists, most of the EDPs Essex base returned to the BNP. The party then lost the “Midas touch” of notorious far-right fundraiser Jim Dowson in early March, when a court in Belfast set bail conditions that prohibited him from using both the telephone and the internet.

In mid-March and with rumour rife that the party was in a serious meltdown, party Chairman Robin Tilbrook sent out an email explaining how the party still stood a chance of winning the Doncaster Mayoral election. Other than that, mention of the council elections in bulletins was rather sporadic with St George’s Day dominating nearly all for another month. Tilbrook made a rare foray onto television at the end of April when he admitted on the Daily Politics Show that as many as 10% of his party were formerly in the BNP.


Like the BNP, the EDPs have vented much of their political spleen at UKIP. The EDPs own “attack dog”, Steve Uncles, engaged his longstanding habit of bizarre and inflammatory attacks on social media against his opponents. No sooner had candidate nominations closed, concerns were raised about some of the nominations of EDP candidates in Uncles’ home county of Kent. As the police launched an investigation into alleged electoral fraud, Uncles began a campaign where he claimed he had been the victim of a UKIP “black-ops” campaign to derail the party.


The National Front have held a series of meetings for supporters to support their candidates but their great hope is some return from the Doncaster Mayoral election where they hope to fill whatever void there is possibly left by the absence of the BNP and BDP. The last mention of the elections on their website was on the 12thApril.


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