It’s not often I welcome Liberal Democrat by-election victories but these two wins are both good news.
In Burnley the BNP’s John Cave was beaten into third place behind the Lib Dems and Labour in the ballot in Lanehead ward, which it previously held. It was the first seat it had lost since its success in the town began at the 2002 council elections.
The BNP was also rebuffed in its attempts to win a second council seat in a ward which it dramatically won in a byelection in January. The Liberal Democrats convincingly defeated the extreme rightwing party in Mixenden, Calderdale, West Yorkshire, in spite of fears that the failure of local Tories to field a candidate would hand the seat to the BNP.
The Lanehead defeat for the BNP may have a lot to do with the fact that Luke Smith, the BNP candidate and football hooligan who was elected at the last local elections, barely functioned as a councillor before he resigned after glassing a party steward at the party’s race-hate festival in Lancashire in the summer.
It is too soon to talk about the begining of the end for the BNP in Burnley but every little helps.