Share |

Friday, 4 March 2011

Barnsley Central By-election Result: Winners, Losers and the Future of the BNP

Dan Jarvis has emerged as the victor of the Barnsley by-election. This is the dull headline result. However, beyond the ritual return of the Labour candidate, something more interesting took place in Barnsley yesterday. True, the turnout was a lacklustre 37% on an equally uninspiring day punctuated by chilly drizzle, but the ramifications of the result for all of the parties other than Labour are rather interesting.

Labour may have achieved a confident win, but what will have discomfited all of the other candidates will have been UKIP’s strong showing. Their candidate – Jane Collins – leapfrogged the BNP, the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives into second place. The biggest losers of the day however, were without a doubt the Liberal Democrats, beaten into sixth place trailing behind not only the BNP, but also an Independent.  
The primary lessons that can be gleaned from yesterday’s by-election are: 
  • Barnsley remains a Labour bailiwick
  • Liberal Democrat participation in government has finished the party as an electoral force
  • Voters dislike Cameron’s globalist, multicultural Toryism
  • Space exists for a popular, credible, moderate nationalist party
  • The BNP in its current incarnation has long since passed its peak, and must either fully jettison its negative baggage, or forever remain an irrelevant presence on the national political scene functioning as little more than a unifying bogey for the Left and an impediment to the emergence of a popular moderate nationalist party
Barnsley represents a missed opportunity for nationalists, as taking the combined vote of UKIP, the BNP and the English Democrats we end up with 4,960 votes, or 20.5% of the vote. True, this is a long way short of Labour’s 60.8% share in this case, but it is significantly ahead of the Conservative’s 8.25%. Moreover, if a credible nationalist party did exist, a number of automatic Tory voters who dislike Cameron would shift their votes to the former. In areas which are not Labour strongholds, the potential for nationalist politics is thus very substantial. Although UKIP may see themselves as the party to assume this mantle, their Atlantacist globalist stance makes them little more than Eurosceptic Tories, with the same set of failed Thatcherite economic policies pursued by successive Conservative governments.

The BNP’s performance was underwhelming, its share of the vote slumping from 8.9% to 6.04%. This is less a of reflection upon the character of the candidate – Enis Dalton – than upon the toxic public image of the party Chairman – Nick Griffin - seared into the nation’s consciousness by his refusal to categorically distance himself from Holocaust denial on Question Time. He had the opportunity to forward the cause of the BNP, and he blew it in a spectacular way. Thereafter, the party never recovered its momentum and fell into gradual and inevitable decline, sealed by its feeble showing in last year’s General Election. Griffin’s Question Time appearance was but one of a number of blunders that has led many decent and dedicated nationalists to find their efforts squandered by their self-aggrandising leader. My dissection of these many mistakes and recommendations for their remedy can be found here. Unfortunately, they have not been acted upon.



  1. I have had numerous conversations with people about why they would vote for UKip and not BNP and the answer is almost always the same. They dont like Nick Griffin. They are aware of his past comments and find much of what he still espouses unpalatable. People mention how he seems oily and shifty under questioning. Its hardly ever the policies that people have an issue with, more the brand. In fact, many say they would rather vote BNP but cant see themselves doing it while he remains the leader of the party, and therefore opt for what they perceive to be the more palatable option. I'm also becomming more and more aware of the blinkered nature of many pro BNP sites and blogs. Have we really got to the stage where to be pro BNP you have to be pro Griffin? What a depressing situation. I have my own personal thoughts about what could be done to take the party forward (and unlike some others I dont believe its too late). Lets hope things change soon.

  2. Cheers Juniper.

    I've heard the very same descriptions of Griffin Cygnus. He is a real liability to the cause of nationalism. Unfortunately, the only other names that the public tend to associate with the BNP are those of Tony Lecomber (if they're old enough) and Mark Collett. Whichever way you look at it, Lecomber was an extremely nasty, vicious and dangerous individual, and Collett can hardly be said to have done anyone any favours with his pseudo-Nazi posturing and thuggish demeanour. Unfortunately, the profile of these individuals leads to the tarring of all supporters of the BNP with the same very black brush.

    Like you, I have noticed how some BNP sites and blogs display a bizarre cult-like veneration of Griffin, and spew out vast amounts of invective against anyone who so much as raises a critical voice at any aspect of his conduct or policy line. In a different context, they’d probably be just as happy to display slavish devotion to Kim Jong-Il or Muammar Gaddafi. I am temperamentally not able to adopt such a slave mentality, and nor should anyone else. It’s highly unhealthy and dangerous.

  3. Its worth mentioning that in Walkden North the BNP came 4th behind Labour, the Tories and the English Democrats. The Lib Dems finished last again. UKip didn't field a candidate.

  4. Interesting. I'll have to take a look at the Walkden North result. For the Lib Dems to come behind the English Democrats must be a real humiliation.

  5. So far as crucial middle class support goes, the brand is tarnished beyond repair I think

  6. You're probably right Thomas, whether you're referring to the Lib Dems, or to the BNP. In fact, it'd probably be easier for the BNP to undergo a more effective and voter-friendly 'makeover' than the Lib Dems.

  7. One thing which will be important in the years to the 2014/15 election will be the sometimes brutal intersection of politics and economics. I think perhaps the forthcoming economic immiseration of a section of the middle classes will spur them seriously rethink about where the country is heading.

  8. That's very true. Hopefully it should awaken a good many people to the disastrous consequences of globalisation and create a solid basis for a long-lasting reorientation towards a democratic nationalist politics.

  9. I'd say that a strength of the BNP brand is that it is well established in the public mind, albeit with grudging respect, by those sections of the British people (the majority) who are inclined towards nationalism - although they currently have too many reservations and misconceptions to actively support it! I have felt that the BNP should have worked more to establish in the public mind that it is opposed to totalitarianism and that it has freed itself of Tyndallism. Also, it, or any ethno-nationalist party, needs to face out and challenge the 'racist' bogey which has long been a powerful counter-instinctive trope in the public psyche, and which , for as long as we fail to disempower it, will always be employed against us by the liberals and the Left to nullify opposition to multi-culturalism.

    Also, not helping the BNP, for some considerable time now, is the generally poor quality of its election literature, which often lacks any explanation of party policy and which is devoid of facts and statistics, the kind of which would make many voters stop and think again about voting for Lib/Lab/Con/Kip. Those persons responsible within the BNP for devising elelection literature seem to think that using pictures of smiling people who don't look like psychopaths is in itself enough to counter thepublic's misunderstanding of the ethno- nationalist position and, also, the party's compromised public reputation. Each disappointing election result for the BNP is further proof that the BNP publicity dept are either misguided or else have been wrongly advised by a marketing agency/PR company with absolutely no understanding of the complexities of the BNP's/ethno-nationalism's public standing.

    As for UKIP, I'm certain that its slavish adherence to free market, laissez faireism will be generally unpopular with voters once UKIP's ideology is made more evident - again, the BNP should be campaigning against its main political rival on this! Furthermore,the anti-islamification lobby in UKIP appear to be on the wane since Lord Pearson stepped down and 'we need at least 240,000 visas a year' Farage took over again.

    I am certainly not anti-Griffin but would agree that , given his considerable intellect, he could have done so much better at explaining and defending what were/are very predicatble charges against him and ethno-nationalism - virtually every one of which was fired against him on Question Time, but which he failed to fully engage with and shoot down. I beleive that Griffin's apparent determination to present a 'soft' image to the public was his undoing on this occasion (a similar reasoning, perhaps, to that which is responsible for the vacuous presentation of the party in its election literature). Infact, the general public were instead rather hoping that at last someone was going to articulate their frustrations and verbally lay-in to the anti-British politicos who dominate public opinion.

    The last BNP leadership contest offered no credible alternatives to Nick Griffin. Frankly, this is due to the lack of middle class participation/ support for the party. There are a couple of fairly recent high profile BNP activists who I think will make effective leaders with nationalist vision, integrity and popular appeal. I shall not name them at present.


Comments that call for or threaten violence will not be published. Anyone is entitled to criticise the arguments presented here, or to highlight what they believe to be factual error(s); ad hominem attacks do not constitute comment or debate. Although at times others' points of view may be exasperating, please attempt to be civil in your responses. If you wish to communicate with me confidentially, please preface your comment with "Not for publication". This is why all comments are moderated.