Socialist Worker

Where BNP got support

Issue No. 1798a

THE VAST majority of people in Burnley, as across Britain, are NOT Nazis. Even in the three wards in Burnley where the BNP managed to get elected, the majority of people did not vote for the Nazis.

Two in three of those who voted in the Cliviger ward did not cast a vote for the BNP. The same is true in the Rosegrove ward.

The BNP has spent a year organising in Burnley and Oldham since its shock results there at last year’s general election. It stood one candidate in each of 13 wards in Burnley out of a total of 15.

The BNP presented an ultra-respectable image.

Its candidate who came second in Oldham was a local businessman. The Cliviger ward in Burnley, where it got a councillor, is one of the most middle class areas in Burnley. The BNP got in alongside two Tory councillors.

Its candidate in the Tory area in Burnley was a civil engineer. The Rosegrove ward is largely a deprived working class area.

The only candidates in the election against Labour were the BNP and right wing 'independent' candidates.

Other areas where the BNP got very worrying votes were three wards in Oldham, and individual wards in Tipton Green, Sunderland, Gateshead, Dewsbury, Dudley and Bexley.

The BNP is trying to break through in these areas after the base it had in areas such as east London in the early 1990s collapsed. But just as the BNP was broken in Tower Hamlets and Newham, it can be broken in the towns, mainly in the north west of England, that it is targeting today.

On the Isle of Dogs in east London the Nazis got just 200 votes on Thursday.

That was less than a third of what they got four years ago. And it was less than a tenth of what they got in 1994 when they hoped to make a major breakthrough following the election of the Nazi Derek Beackon in that area.

The Nazis seek to tap the despair and anger at two decades of Tory and New Labour rule which have seen life for ordinary people get worse.

In these elections their racist scapegoating of Asians and asylum seekers received a boost when mainstream politicians said they too would take 'a tough line' on immigration.

The week before the elections home secretary David Blunkett disgracefully echoed Margaret Thatcher’s lie that asylum seekers are 'swamping' public services.

That did not undermine the BNP—it bolstered it, as it could claim it was setting the terms of debate.

The same was true of politicians playing up the fear of crime, when in fact the level of crime is falling.

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