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The Rise of the BNP

For those unfamiliar with it, the BNP is one of the UK’s “minor” political parties, comparable in size and influence to UKIP and slightly smaller than RESPECT and the Greens. It is also one of the UK’s most virulently extremist parties – their political platform is essentially racism, homophobia and misogyny, with a side-order of green-socialist economics – which seems to me a lot like decorating a turd with a cherry and trying to pass it off as a fruit cake. So you can perhaps understand why I might be a little concerned by the results of some recent by-elections in areas not previously contested by the BNP:

Swanley St Mary’s, Sevenoaks District council

BNP – 41% (+41)

Lab – 34% (-21)

Con – 25% (no change)

(UKIP, the UK’s other major far-right party, did not stand; they previously secured 20% The BNP won this seat from Labour)

Downham, London Borough of Lewisham

Lib Dem – 40% (-11)

Lab – 24% (-2)

Con – 24% (+8)

BNP 11% (+11)

Green – 2% (-5)

(big rightward shift here – the three left-wing & centrist parties lost 18% to the two right-wing parties)

Bilton, Harrogate Borough council

LD – 50% (-2)

Con – 38% (-7)

BNP – 9% (+9)

Lab – 3% (no change)

Thringstone, North West Leicestershire District council

Lab – 36% (-7)

Con – 31% (-1)

BNP – 28% (+28)

Lib Dem – 5% (-20)

(another huge rightward shift – all the three major parties lost votes to the BNP, who are in with a chance of winning this seat at the next elections)

These four Boroughs and Districts are quite spread out – Sevenoaks is in the South East, Lewisham is in south London, Harrogate is in Yorkshire, and Leicestershire is in the Midlands.

This is not a new thing either: the BNP has been gaining ground on the major parties for a few years now. I would be disappointed, but not surprised, if the BNP has its first MP elected in 2010.

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