Broken Britain: BNP Wins Three County Council Seats

6.6.09

Anti-BNP posterOK, so less than 3,000 votes were required to elect three BNP (British National Party) county councillors in the UK elections on Thursday — and the party fielded another 456 candidates who didn’t get elected — but I’m still compelled to register my disappointment that I now live in a country that has three fascist-loving and openly racist county councillors (and that the party can field 459 candidates in total, up from just 39 in 2005).

For the record, Sharon Wilkinson won the seat in Padiham & Burnley West, Lancashire, with 1155 votes out of a total of 3790 votes cast (35% of the vote), Graham Partner won the seat in Coalville, Leicestershire with 1039 votes out of 3750 cast (27.7% of the vote), and Deirdre Gates won the seat of South Oxhey, Hertfordshire (a suburb of Watford) with 783 votes out of 2681 cast (29% of the vote), beating the Labour candidate by just 27 votes.

For some context on these councillors’ credentials, Antifascist noted on a post last year on the blog Lancaster Unity: taking on the BNP and other riff-raff on the far right, that this is what Deirdre Gates had to say about Hitler in a comment on her blog in June 2007: “Hitler set up a ‘General Government’ in conquered Eastern Europe states, while maintaining the national integrity of Western nation states — France, Netherlands, Denmark etc. Seems England has become McLabour’s area of General Government, nameless, sucked and stuffed.”

The BNP-watching website The Real BNP notes that Sharon Wilkinson, the former BNP group leader on Burnley Council, “opposes money to build new schools because they will force children to integrate.” In response, Council leader Gordon Birtwistle said the BNP “seems to be objecting to anything new coming to Burnley — they seem to want to be back in the Dark Ages.”

In a post on his website in March, Graham Partner claimed that “Uncontrolled immigration has sent our population soaring,” and that same month, on Land of Hope and Glory, another website he maintains, he presented his supporters with a poem, “Surrender is not an option,” which begins with the lines “This is a land of Kings and Queens / Cobbled streets, rivers and streams / This is the land of Hope and Glory / This is a land of beautiful places / Fields of green and open spaces / This is the land of Hope and Glory” and also includes the following: “They bleed the state and ask for more / It’s time Britannia closed the door / They crossed these shore for thirty pieces of silver / They took the passport / They took the pound / And now they’ve bombed the underground.”

I’m pleased to note that, in the Guardian, a spokesman for the anti-fascist group Searchlight said that the BNP had in general only polled significantly — 14% or more — where it was the only “non-mainstream” alternative to the major parties, but I still find it depressing that the BNP is thriving not only on ignorance, but in a milieu of racism, xenophobia and Islamophobia that has been either tolerated or endorsed by mainstream politicians since the 1990s — and has been thoroughly promoted by certain newspapers — in contrast to the militantly anti-fascist times in which I came of age, when Rock Against Racism and the Anti-Nazi League campaigned relentlessly to combat the kind of racism that, although epitomized by the BNP, has been allowed to seep into almost every corner of modern Britain.

Andy Worthington is the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press, distributed by Macmillan in the US, and available from Amazon — click on the following for the US and the UK). To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to my RSS feed, and see here for my definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, published in March 2009.

4 Responses

  1. Frances Madeson says...

    In New York City, we are trying to expand voting rights for non-citizens at the local level. The exclusion of immigrants from formal political processes can result in the repellent rhetoric you quoted. If politicians had to answer to these communities for their paychecks the environment would look and sound a lot different. Look to the New York Coalition to Expand Voting Rights for inspiration. http://ivotenyc.org/

  2. John Piggot says...

    “ openly racist county councillors “?????

    Labour plus Tories invaded Iraq on the basis of doctored intelligence reports and a pack of lies (more or less the reasons Hitler invaded Poland). In contrast the BNP always opposed the war. A million Muslims and Kurds died as a result. Who are the racists? I’d say Labour and friends are about a million times as racist as the BNP. What do you reckon?

  3. Carl says...

    Islam is openly anti western society and blatantly sexist but you wet lefties haven’t the courage to speak against it.
    The poem you speak of is actually a song by Anglo Saxon and not the bloggers own words. And anyway, it’s true, only a marxist twit would argue otherwise.

  4. Life on Gilligan’s Island (Part 33) | Guy Debord's Cat says...

    […] Speaking of racists, Gilly’s blog has attracted the usual fascists and racists like BNP supporter, “Groovybear” and  John Piggott, who has quite a presence as a commenter on various Internet blogs. Here’s an example. […]

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Andy Worthington

Investigative journalist, author, campaigner, commentator and public speaker. Recognized as an authority on Guantánamo and the “war on terror.” Co-founder, Close Guantánamo, co-director, We Stand With Shaker. Also, singer and songwriter (The Four Fathers) and photographer (The State of London).
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