LSA Election Results Compared To BNP's

“THE NAZIS ARE SMALL. They only managed to get around 60 to 100 votes in many areas”, was perhaps the principle reassurance in the election supplement rushed out by Socialist Worker (SW) following both the Greater London Assembly and local election results on May 4th. Not only are the BNP pitifully small now, but are moreover “trying to claw back from their all time low after they were smashed in the mid-90’s by Anti-Nazi League mobilisations” we are told. A mere half-dozen sentences from announcing how ‘small’ they are, SW spin doctors ruefully admit “across London they [BNP] polled 47,670 votes”. “Half the number” they hurriedly add “for socialist candidates”.

Hardly the entire story. Not even close. But then outright lying, dissembling the facts and withholding evidence are pivotal in spin-doctoring’s black arts.

In the ‘first past the post’ Constituencies list, where the BNP did not stand, thus allowing the LSA a free run in the ‘radical alternative slot’, the LSA managed 46,530 in total.

Only when the LSA is stitched together with the vote of bitter rivals, Socialist Labour, plus the Communist Party of Britain, and adding on the Campaign Against Tube Privatisation and even more dubiously Gay Rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, is SW able to ‘legitimately’ say, the BNP took only “half” the socialist vote.

In the mayoral election however where the LSA did not stand, the BNP candidate Michael Newland received 78,906 votes, just short of 10% of the 846,686 first and second preference votes that put Red Ken in charge of London, and almost exactly 90% of the total ‘socialist support. And again in the Top-up lists; the only real ‘head to head’, the BNP spanked the LSA with a resounding 46,670 to 27,073.

In the general election in 1997 the BNP managed a mere half of the 70,000 strong socialist vote. But just two years later in the Euro elections, their 35,000 then almost tripled to 102,000. Significantly bettering in the process, for the first time ever, socialist representatives in national elections. In London the BNP received 18,000 votes in 1999. On May 4th, there was, as we have seen, a quadrupling in the number of voters, prepared to put an X next to BNP.

Ignoring for a moment Hague’s shameless stealing of BNP policies on Clause 28, law ‘n’ order and asylum, the BNP result in the GLA election extrapolated, puts the BNP on a staggering 400,000 votes nationally - a ten fold increase in three years. So much then for the ‘small Nazi vote’.

Instead we have, for those who can bring themselves to look, the first real sighting of the ‘reactionary reservoir’ many have sought to deny, and militant anti-fascism has long claimed existed. And thankfully, planned for accordingly.

Why the 400,000 figure appears so startling is because like the ANL, all too many, particularly in the liberal media and the Left, have, for different reasons and to different degrees, long sought comfort in denial.

Denier-in-chief is of course Searchlight. When in 1999 the BNP almost tripled it’s vote Searchlight insisted quite bizarrely, that the BNP ‘vote share’ had nonetheless depreciated by over a third. ‘Failure’, ‘fiasco’, ‘disastrous’, were the soubriquets attached to the BNP campaign then. In searchlight; April 2000, “any comparison” between the 119,000 the NF took in London in 1977, and the electoral pull of their contemporaries was described as “both alarmist and inaccurate”. But based on the larger 43% turnout in 1977, the BNP would have easily crashed the 100,000 target - not nationally this time, but in London! Or put more precisely, on current standing electoratly, the BNP (4.6%) polling are only about 15,000 less across London, than the NF (5.6%) achieved - at its peak!

Shortly before the election, in an interview with BNP supremo Nick Griffin in the Independent on Sunday, the 100,000 votes for the BNP in Euro elections of just eleven months ago was entirely ignored. Instead, in calculating the possi­bility of an ‘electoral breakthrough’, the distinctly less impressive 1997 general election returns were used as the reference point, Even then, Searchlight toady Nick Ryan, evidently felt compelled to trim even that meagre amount by a third to bring it down to “25,000”. Only then did he have a reading that would tally with a typically toffee-nosed, self-satisfied, summing up. Similarly in another extensive interview with Griffin two weeks after the election, Kevin Toolis, only after reassuring the ‘Guardian reader’ that all the National Front can “muster” these days is “three van loads of skinheads”, does he bring himself to mention, and then only in passing, the biggest vote for the British far-right in a quarter of a century. Searchlight would no doubt approve: for them too “everything” as openly admitted during Stalin’s show trials “is true except the facts”.

But then state sponsored ‘anti-extremism’ rather than simply anti-fascism, is the Searchlight raison d’etre. From such a perspective it is as important to hood­wink the far-right as it is the far-left. Not that they generally need much encouragement. Yet another canard raised in the SW supplement and further afield, is the idea that “Hague’s rants over asylum are feeding the Nazis”, and that race attacks are climbing as a direct result. Race attacks, as has repeatedly been pointed out, have been rising unabated since the electoral demise of the NF in l979. Thus the Tory playing of the ‘race card’, even while authenticating BNP ‘concerns’ long term, self-evidently takes votes from them, in the short term at least. Much as the ANL/Searchlight self serving propaganda machine demurs, the ‘European pattern’ is as predicted, just beginning to repeat itself over here. This is reality. All concerned parties will need to substantially adjust rhetoric on related matters accordingly, ‘Less race in anti-racism’ would be a positive start.

Big Issue Prediction: Don’t hold your breath

Reproduced from RA Bulletin Volume 4, Issue 7, June/July '00