BNP Euro-election Campaign

"The British National Party" according to the July issue of Searchlight "polled a smaller share of the vote than it did in the 1997 general election. In total it gained 102,647 votes, a miserly 1% share of the votes cast.

This compares poorly with the 1997 general election when the party stood 56 candidates gaining 1.43 % of the vote". Got that? Seems clear enough. More people voted BNP in 1997 than they did in 1999. Encouraging, you might think? Except it's not true.

In fact, the numbers of people actually voting BNP almost tripled, from 35,000 in 1997 to over 100,000 in 1999. True, they stood 23 more candidates in the Euro election. But surely the ability to do so is merely evidence of a strengthening of infrastructure than anything else. Additionally, these electoral gains were off the back of a new post-war low of less than one in four of those eligible actually voting. When you take into account that from the outset the election campaign was designed to recruit, raise the BNP profile nationally, and break out of the protest group slot, "failure," "disastrous," much less a "fiasco" are just a little misleading.

In order to justify the tabloid type reporting, the 1% in 1999 is judged unfavourably against the BNP percentage in 1997 by dividing the total vote accrued by the BNP amongst the BNP 's own candidates rather than against a percentage of the total numbers of votes cast. Comparing like with like, the real 1997 percentage of "votes cast" is revealed as a mere 0.13%. So not only did the fascists almost triple it's number of voters from 35,000 to 102,000 in two years, but also increased it 's percentage share of the vote seven fold. As a side dish the champions of the socialist Left in the form of the SLP were roundly beaten in seven out of the nine English regions.

Without taking off his socks any fascist that was numerate could work this out for himself. So, the Searchlight spin cannot be explained away as an attempt to demoralise the Far Right, when the people they are really mugging off are at the other end of the spectrum.

For entirely opportunist reasons it would appear the BNP Euro campaign was written up as calamity simply so Searchlight could justify it 's existence by claiming as a "success" it 's "repeated exposes" in the lead up to the election. Searchlight co-editor Nick Lowles, responsible for the sleight of hand, was exposed in July 1997 after a protracted AFA internal inquiry as a mole who ruthlessly manipulated the anti-fascist movement in general and AFA in particular to further Searchlight 's sectional agenda. Two entire AFA branches who had fallen under the Searchlight spell were reluctantly purged. And judging by reports it was not for his 'steadiness under fire ' against a violent Far Right that Lowles earned his spurs. Rather as a result of his efforts in Yorkshire it was militant anti-fascism rather than militant nationalism that was fatally undermined. Less subtly, in Germany recently Searchlight agents attempted to prevent, with accompanying threats of violence, militant anti-fascists from presenting their analysis to a large political rally. Not that any of this will give Gerry Gable any sleepless nights. The 'end justifies the means ' is a motto, had it not existed, Gable would have been required to invent. But given that Gable has publicly 'come out ' as a member of John Grieve 's State-sponsored 'Racial and Violent Crimes Task Force ', what is increasingly puzzling militant anti-fascism across Europe is no longer the dubious means - but what from a Searchlight perspective is the desired end? A battle cry of 'Never Again! ', combined with an 11 million strong, Europe-wide, fascist vote, in tandem with a Searchlight headline reading "Far Right set back," simply doesn't compute. I don 't know who they think they 're fooling, but they 're not fooling us.

Reproduced from RA vol 4, Issue 2, Aug/Sept '99