London Assembly elections

Colin colin at
Tue May 16 12:25:18 MDT 2000

Here's an article from the website of Anti Fascist Action in Britain about
the GLA elections, that gives a different perspective from those posted so


Greater London Assembly Elections: BNP SAVE DEPOSIT AND BEAT LEFT

Although the mainstream media and the Left have largely ignored it, the BNP
saved their deposit in the GLA Assembly elections at the beginning of May,
winning 47,670 votes. Despite the efforts of liberal anti-fascists to
exclude the Far Right by bureaucratic means, such as increasing the level
of deposits for candidates and raising the number of votes needed to save
deposits, the BNP gained 2.87% of the vote, passing the 2.5% required to
save their 5,000 deposit. Not only does this confirm their gradual
increase in electoral support, but it also shows that an anti-fascist
strategy based on bureaucratic manoeuvres is not working.

The strategy is clearly endorsed by the Labour Party and conveniently
punishes electoral opponents from the Left as well. As more and
more working class voters become disillusioned with Labour this strategy
will be exposed as having nothing to do with anti-fascism, because unless
there is a challenge to Labour from the Left then the Far Right will
continue to grow unopposed. There is no alternative now to fighting the
fascists politically for the hearts and minds of what is known as the
traditional Labour vote.

More important than the BNP saving their deposit is the fact that they beat
the main challenge to Labour coming from the Left. The London Socialist
Alliance (LSA), which includes most of the Left and is dominated by the
SWP, got 27,073 votes in the London List (the only place where the BNP and
LSA were in direct competition) - more than 20,000 less than the BNP.

Although the LSA got 46,530 votes for their candidates in the
constituencies (which the BNP didn't contest) pre-election claims by the
LSA that they could win up to 4 seats show how unrealistic they are. Mark
Steel (SWP member and LSA candidate) claimed on radio that if the left vote
hadn't been split by the Socialist Labour Party (13,690 votes) and the
Communists (7,489 votes) then they would have beaten the BNP.

But if you want to play those sort of games if you add the UKIP's vote
(34,054) to the BNP then the Far Right get 81,724 compared to the Left's
48,252. With the BNP's candidate for Mayor, Michael Newland, getting nearly
80,000 first and second preference votes, almost 10% of what Livingstone
got, and the BNP winning 7.1% of the vote in the City and East
constituency, you get a more serious analysis of the state of play.

Although it is a significant development that the Left are prepared to
stand against Labour, in contrast to their old 'vote Labour with no
illusions' strategy, there is certainly no room for complacency. Instead
the GLA Assembly election results add a sense of urgency to the need for
the best elements on the Left to rejoin the real world and start taking up
the issues that concern ordinary working class voters rather than the
issues which concern the Left.

A failure to do this will see further gains made by the Far Right. It's as
simple as that.

Also here are some statistics from Red Action's web site:

In local council elections elsewhere the BNP also saw an overall rise in
electoral support:

Cheshunt North 8.6%
Cheshunt Central 6.0%

Bromyard 2.6%
Castle and Priory (Dudley) 16% (Up 98% on 1999)
Tipton Green 23.7% (Uo 36% on 1999)
Fenton Green (Stoke) 9.3% (Up 86% on 1999)
Western Springs (Cannock) 7% (Up 75% on 1999)
Kings Norton 4.6%

Todmorden 4%
Gawthorpe (Burnley) 5.8%
Hollinwood (Oldham) 9.7%
Thorney Close (Sunderland) 7.8%
Hendon (Sunderland) 3.3%
Fulledge (Burnley) 21.5%
Morley Sth (Leeds) 3.8%

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