The Socialist Unity Network

More fighting fascism

A response to Nick bird ( click here to read original article )

Peter Cranie, Green euro-candidate in the North West


I’d like to thank Nick for his response and begin by restating that my original article was a purely technical analysis based on a predicted 8% to 10% share of the vote for the BNP. If someone can point out a better way to vote in order to defeat these racists, in these European Elections, in the North West region, I will be the first to listen. If the BNP get a 10% share or more, no amount of electoral system analysis will help us, yet this is a relevant or realistic document because Searchlight predicts a 9% share of the vote for the racists (January edition).


My assertion that the BNP will collapse is based on some freely available information. Searchlight has done an excellent investigation into the internal discord that the selection of a Jewish BNP candidate has created. Knives are being sharpened for Griffin and there will be a considerable BNP infighting, but only if we succeed in stopping him from getting elected. Secondly, BNP councillors are not good councillors. Where they do get elected they can’t actually do the job. Whatever the levels of latent racism in any electorate, they will vote out shoddy, lazy councillors.


It is my opinion that 2004 will be a watershed. I expect Respect, Greens and other anti-racist parties to continue to work together to stop fascism. I did not put forward a long term strategy in what was a brief article. My analysis is about this election and this region only. Whatever long term measures we agree on, fighting British fascism will be a lot easier if we don’t elect a racist Euro MP to represent the North West region. Which brings me onto the subject of tactical Tory votes to keep out the BNP:


Trevor Phillips, the Labour-supporting chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality, backed tactical voting for the Tories yesterday to halt the advance of the British National Party.” The Independent (Oct 6th, 2003)


This article is what prompted the NW Green Party to bring forward the publication of an internal Green Party briefing. Since then we’ve presented our analysis to Trevor Phillips and explained why Tory anti-racist votes will not be very effective. Despite the North West Liberal Democrats publicly claiming that voting for them is the most effective anti-racist vote, no other political party has been prepared to publish any kind of detailed analysis or argument like this. A senior Liberal Democrat in Liverpool admitted to me that the Greens are best placed to keep the BNP from winning a seat. By finishing in the all important 4th place, we stop the BNP whether the Liberal Democrats gain an extra seat or not.


My challenge to Nick or any other critic of the analysis is to show me a better way that we could use our votes against the BNP in this election and in this region. I’m confident that if this was a First Past the Post system, where a Green candidate stood the best chance of defeating a BNP candidate, then principled socialists and anti-racist campaigners would have no difficulty voting for us. It is the lack of knowledge about the D’Hondt system that makes my job more difficult, but not impossible. More and more of my colleagues on the left and voting in the North West are recognising that they will be voting Green.


I recognise most readers on this site would like to vote for Respect, so I am not trying to advertise now, only to support my point that the Greens will be best placed to defeat the BNP. While GM foods and nuclear waste remain widespread issues of discontent, we will continue to have a wider appeal than Respect in this region. We expect to poll well above 6% (our 1999 vote) and probably finish with about 9%, because of the significant growth we’ve enjoyed in the North West in the last five years (we’ve elected more councillors in Manchester, Lancaster and Lancashire). In parts of Lancaster we will take 70% of the local election votes, with 30% or more in parts of Manchester and 15% in parts of Liverpool.


Nick concludes, “We have clear message of opposition to the war in Iraq and of social justice and equality”. These values are shared by the Green Party and Respect. We have marched together and we have protested together. But I have to strongly disagree with Nick’s assertion that we should not be defensive in deciding how to vote. For many people, how to stop the BNP will be (and in my opinion should be) the single biggest factor in this region. There will be chances to vote for Respect again in the future. If Green and socialist votes can combine to stop the BNP, across party lines, we will have a real basis to work together to stand parliamentary candidates against Labour MPs who voted for the war.


Please choose the best available anti-racist option when you vote. Please read the analysis. More information or a full briefing is available online.




April 2004

Also by Peter Cranie on this site


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