Saturday, 26 April 2008

London Assembly: Voting To Stop the BNP

With the Mayoral contest having attracted most of the publicity, Londoners could be forgiven for not being aware that they have two other votes on Thursday.

Of course, chances are if you are in London and are reading political blogs like this, you do know, but just in case...

These represent the two different ways in which the people of London can vote for the members of the London Assembly: By constituency and by party. There are a total of 25 members on the Assembly. 14 members are elected via the 14 constituencies (from the yellow ballot paper), and the remaining 11 are elected through their parties (from the peach ballot paper).

At the moment all of the constituency Assembly members are either Labour or Conservative. The remainder, elected through their parties, are Lib Dem, Green, or former UKIP representatives who have rebranded as the 'OneLondon' party, including Damian Hockney.

In order to obtain at least one seat on the London Assembly, a party must poll more than 5% of the vote across the 14 constituencies. In 2004, UKIP averaged 8.8%, winning them 2 seats. The BNP polled 4.7%. This year, however, UKIP's polling has dropped consderably, and in the absence of Robert Kilroy-Silk and Damian Hockney their profile has been much lower. It has been predicted that a sizeable proportion of their vote will transfer to the BNP.

The BNP* present themselves as an alternative to the mainstream parties for people who feel ignored by them and are concerned about immigration, crime and wastage of public money. The party have worked to rebrand themselves, moving away from overt fascism in order to make themselves 'electable'.

However, Nick Griffin - who remains the party leader - has espoused holocaust denial and praised Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf. Mark Collett, a former Youth BNP leader, remains a member of the British National Party despite declaring admiration for Hitler and the Nazis on film for Channel 4 in 2003, calling for the Royal family to be "wiped out" and describing AIDS as "a friendly disease because blacks, drug users and gays have it".

If you are able to vote in the London elections on Thursday, do so, and do your bit to prevent the BNP gaining seats on the Assembly. You can do so by voting for any party or candidate (other than the BNP, of course) in the list election (using the peach ballot paper). Any vote will play its part in reducing the BNP's percentage.

However, it will be more effective** to vote for a party that is likely to poll more than 5%. Partly because of splits, neither the moderate Euro-sceptic right nor the far left are expected to gain a seat on the Assembly. That means a choice between Labour, the Conservatives, the Liberal Democrats or the Green Party.

* http://www . b n p . org . uk /2008/04/25/ten-reasons-to-vote-bnp/
** This is because candidates who poll less than 5% drop out of the count. Therefore, should the BNP overcome this threshold, only votes for another party polling more than 5% will help to keep their total number of seats down.


Anonymous said...

Good post, QT. We may disagree about a lot of political issues, but you're right that it's a shame that not enough attention has been paid to this crucial point.

For those who only read comments and skip-read big articles, your point is worth repeating: In order to stop London becoming an international embarrassment with fascists on it's assembly, all Londoners have to do is vote Labour, T*ry, Liberal or Green for the constituency and list votes on May 1st.

Nice one, QT

Anonymous said...

Ha, and Red Ken and the Labour party are something to be proud of are they? Don't tell me, the Labour party are on the middle ground of British politics. LOL. Ken Livingstone exhibits more 'fascism' than the BNP have ever dreamed of. I shall be voting BNP because I want immigration to stop. The real extremists are those who have endeavored to destroy this country through unnecessary and unwanted immigration without any mandate or debate. Classic Marxist tactics which you suggest we should vote for even more of. No chance.