This is a guest post by Jonathan Hoffman
The London Mayoral elections are less than four months away. Ken versus Boris promises to be a fascinating and close contest, but the London Assembly elections are just as important – arguably, more so.
The reason is that the racist BNP stands a real chance of winning one (maybe even two) Assembly seats. This would be in the 11 seats that are elected London-wide (there are in addition 14 constituency seats which are elected on a First-Past-the-Post system).
To win a seat, the BNP needs to win 5% of the ‘London-wide’ votes (in the 2004 election it won 4.71% and issues such as immigration and militant Islamism are obviously higher on the agenda than they were then).
You may have heard about the BNP’s bitter internal feud which began just over a month ago. But the BNP heartland in East London has been little affected, in the judgment of Nick Lowles of Searchlight:
“However, the rebellion appears to have run its course in terms of personnel leaving as well as the regions affected. Virtually no-one from the North East, Wales, West Midlands, London, Eastern, South East or South West has joined the rebels and with Eddy Butler deciding to stick with the party leadership the all-important East London and Essex branches have been rebellion free.
He must have been heartened by fact that no organiser or councillor in London has broken ranks and with the London Assembly elections being contested under PR he surely thinks that a strong showing here will silence his doubters. The 2009 European Elections, again contested under PR, will be another centrally run election and so the effects of depleted branch structures, such as in Yorkshire, will be negligible.
However, this strategy will stand or fall on whether Griffin can get people elected to the London Assembly and the European Parliament. With the exception of the Barking and Dagenham breakthrough, Griffin hasn’t really delivered a great deal since 2001-2003 and that was more down to external factors than his own fantastic leadership.”
If the BNP were to win a seat, it would represent another rung on the ladder of ‘respectability’ that they crave. First the Oxford Union, then the London Assembly….
John Cruddas (the Labour MP for Dagenham) is doing a great job fighting the BNP in East London. The best way to help him is to maximise the turnout on 1 May. The higher the vote, the lower will be the BNP’s share.
Please copy/paste this article and distribute it as widely as possible.
There are two ways to maximise the turnout. First, everyone who is registered should make sure they vote – in 2004 the turnout was only 37%. Second, everyone who is eligible should register. The deadline for this is 5pm on 16 April.
To be able to vote, you must live in London and be over 18 on 1 May.
Many people do not realise that EU and Commonwealth citizens can vote and it is in these categories that the potential for registration may be greatest. So please tell anyone in this category.
Here is a site which contains a form to register to vote.
Here are the member countries of the EU:
Austria Belgium Bulgaria Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Estonia Finland France Germany Greece Hungary Ireland Italy Latvia Lithuania Luxembourg Malta Netherlands Poland Portugal Romania Slovakia Slovenia Spain Sweden United Kingdom
Many Bulgarians, Czechs, Hungarians, Poles, Romanians and Slovaks live in London. BNP policy is to favour native British workers over non-British ones. It is therefore in their interest to register and vote – for anyone except the BNP.
Commonwealth countries include:
Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, Ghana, India, Jamaica, Malaysia, New Zealand, Nigeria, South Africa
A full list of Commonwealth members is here