Socialist Worker

Barking: The battle to stop the BNP's Nick Griffin

by Mark L Thomas
Issue No. 2190

A battle is taking place in Barking, east London. It is being fought with leaflets, shoe leather and debates on the doorstep and in the streets.

Its outcome will determine whether Nick Griffin, leader of the British National Party (BNP), becomes the first Nazi in British history to get elected to parliament.

This might appear a remote possibility to some, but is a mistake to dismiss the BNP’s chances lightly.

In the 2005 general election, Margaret Hodge won the seat for Labour with a majority just over 8,800.

The BNP came third, 27 votes behind the Tories and still well short of ousting Labour.

But since then the BNP has become a much bigger local presence. In 2006 it made a breakthrough on Barking and Dagenham council.

Despite standing just 13 candidates, the BNP leapt from one council seat to 12.

The electoral boundaries have also been redrawn. Three wards, each with two BNP councillors, have been moved from neighbouring Dagenham into the Barking constituency. Now 11 of the 12 BNP councillors are in the new Barking seat.

The BNP is also pushing to take more council seats. Winning 26 would give them control of their first council.

Last weekend activists from Unite Against Fascism were out leafleting in Barking for the third time this year.

Barking, like the rest of the country, has a huge anti-fascist majority. Many who have voted BNP can be won over.

But the arguments must be had door by door, and street by street. This will take sustained activity by anti-fascists from Barking and beyond.

Here’s what you can do:

  • Join the days of action in Barking organised by Unite Against Fascism. Organise and bring your workmates along to help stop Griffin. Saturday 13 March, 12 noon, Barking (location to be announced).
  • Further days of action Sunday 28 March, Saturday 10 April, and Sunday 25 April
  • Love Music Hate Racism will be holding a gig in Barking on Saturday 17 April

For full details of campaigning activity go to»

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