A council by-election held in Havering, east London on Thursday of last week has highlighted the danger posed by the fascist British National Party (BNP) – and underlined the importance of the Love Music Hate Racism carnival to be held in April.
The BNP held a seat in Gooshays ward with 865 votes, some 38 percent of the vote. Labour came second with 741 votes, or 33 percent. Turnout was 23 percent.
“The racism whipped up in the media has helped the Nazis – and there is now a danger that they can gain enough votes to grab seats on the London assembly this May,” said Weyman Bennett, joint secretary of Unite Against Fascism.
“The best way to prevent this from happening is to mobilise the vast majority of people in London who are anti-Nazi. People need to be aware that the BNP are fascists and that they pose a threat. A high turnout at the ballot box will make it much harder for them to succeed.”
That is why the Love Music Hate Racism carnival on 27 April in Victoria Park, east London, is so important. It will attract tens of thousands – and is the ideal platform for getting an anti-Nazi message out to millions across the city.
The Gooshays by-election was triggered by the resignation of the BNP’s sole councillor in Havering, Alan Bailey, who topped the poll in the ward in May 2006. It is unusual for the BNP to successfully defend a seat when one of its councillors resigns.
The May 2006 poll involved choosing all three councillors in the ward, making a direct comparison with last week’s by-election difficult.
But the figures suggest that the Nazi vote has risen at the expense of the Tories, while the Labour vote has stayed more or less static.