The Socialist Unity Network

There had been great worries

Jim Jepps

There had been great worries about the kind of vote that the BNP were going to achieve in this election. The results have been mixed but there are several things that come out quite clearly.


Firstly the BNP have not made a massive breakthrough at this election. Although at the time of writing it is unclear on all the results it seems there have been a few seats lost and slightly more gained (including three in Epping Forest and four in Bradford).


A few years ago this would have horrified the nation - now there is a collective sigh of relief. But the problem is the local vote where they were defeated was disturbingly high. They hoped to have a swathe of new councillors and a new MEP or two but the former has not happened - and although we should never make predictions like this before the results come out they will not get an MEP, their vote is simply not high enough.


Many people will see the fact that the turnout improved as helping keep the fascists out - this may well be true - although we have to say why people turned out to stop the fascists. A good proportion of this is because of the tireless work that anti-fascists have carried out.


For example, in the Eastern region the BNP stood 14 local candidates, ALL of them in the south of Essex. A clear attempt to target resources and maximise the vote. But there has been an excellent anti-BNP movement in the area led by the Labour Party and RESPECT members.


Although the BNP votes were worryingly high UAF were able to mobilise many others to vote against the BNP - this has been extremely effective. The one area where there has been no coordinated campaign against the fascists was Epping Forest - and bingo - three BNP candidates elected. We must not under estimate how effective a decent united campaign against fascism can be.


Another factor that has squeezed the BNP vote has been UKIP - and chief thunder stealer Robert Kilroy Silk. Oh, but that's just fascism-lite you say. Not so. Little Englander, silly xenophobic, unpleasantly anti-arab, anti-asylum seeker and the rest yes - Mr Kilroy Silk is not on my Xmas card list it's true - but there are three important reasons why the fact that UKIP having two GLA assembly members elected is not a disaster.


1. They will never have a street army. As a force on the ground they are insignificant.

2. They had three MEP's elected last time and did nothing with them at all.

3. Their vote is focused on the Euro Parliament (ironically) and the couple of councillors they have had elected this time come from the Super Thursday factor not any great desire to see UKIP running the country.


Let's put it this way, if you had a friend who said they were thinking of voting BNP you'd go ballistic, if you're friend had said he was thinking of voting UKIP you'd think "Man, you're weird." The BNP are Nazis and UKIP are not.


The BNP have not gone away and we can't rely on UKIP to split the xenophobic vote forever - the only thing we can do is make sure that everywhere they raise their head, everywhere they try to make headway we're there - building unity - building a campaign to keep these creeps out of power.


June 2004

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