Thursday, 21 May 2009

BNP's Waltham Abbey bid

Local anti-fascist activists will be on the streets of Waltham Abbey over the next few days, campaigning to ensure that the BNP's bid for the Waltham Abbey Honey Lane district council ward is beaten back.

The ward is the BNP's main target in Epping Forest district, outside its Loughton stronghold where it currently has four councillors, having lost two to the Loughton Residents Association last year. A by-election is being held following the resignation of Conservative councillor Jimmy Demetriou, who quit under a cloud after repeated disputes with his own party.

The Honey Lane ward is traditionally a safe Conservative seat, but a by-election held in 2007 saw the BNP come a close second with 28.5% of the vote and just 18 votes behind the Conservative candidate. Although it was beaten back into third place last year with its vote falling to 21.3%, the BNP threat remains.

The BNP clearly believes it has a good chance of victory, having driven its "truth truck" throught the ward earlier this month. Its election campaign is heavily reliant on stirring up communal tensions and racial hatred over government plans for gypsy sites nearby.

The main risk factor is a low turn-out, which is the reason why the party nearly seized the seat in the 2007 by-election when Conservative voters stayed at home. This will be mitigated by the county and European elections, which will take place on the same day. But local activists want to ensure a clear defeat for the BNP in Honey Lane, preferably keeping it in third place.

The BNP is putting up Tony Frankland, who lost his district council seat last year. Frankland was, however, able to win a seat on Loughton Town Council representing Alderton ward. The Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and Labour are also contesting the seat.

For the Waltham Abbey county seat, the BNP has put up Councillor Pat Richardson, who represents Loughton Broadway on the district council. In 2008, for the district wards that comprise Waltham Abbey, the BNP came third with 8.4% of the vote. However, it only contested the Honey Lane ward and could increase its proportion of the vote at a county level. In the 2007 district elections the BNP secured vote shares of 20% in Honey Lane and 33% in Paternoster.

With the BNP's vote at a high level in the two of the five wards it has contested in Waltham Abbey, a strong challenge by anti-fascists is essential to defeating the extremists. The Conservative, Liberal Democrat, Labour and Green parties are also putting up candidates for Waltham Abbey's county seat. In 2005, the ward was easily won by the Conservatives with 56.6% of the vote, followed by Labour on 24.2%, the Liberal Democrats on 14.3% and the Greens on 4.8%; the BNP did not contest the seat.

If you are interested in getting involved with local anti-fascist activism in Waltham Abbey, contact Redbridge and Epping Forest Together: RandETogether(a)


Anonymous said...

Cheers for this! I live in this ward and shall be voting Tory to try and stop the BNP getting in.

Nyssa said...

Last year Peter Cooper claimed that "As King Harold would have said: 'Vote BNP' "

They don't care about "truth". If they did they would have looked up the fact that King Harold was an Anglo-Saxon King and as such was far from being "pure British" as they keep pushing.

Well done guys for posting this. I want to see Waltham Abbey change, but for the better not the weirder.