by Viv Smith
In a tremendous victory for anti-fascists, the BNP has lost every single seat it held on Barking council in east London. This comes on top of the shattering defeat for BNP leader Nick Griffin in the parliamentary seat.Barking voters turned out in their thousands and kicked the Nazis out of the council and the borough. A day ago there were fears the BNP would take control of the council. In fact they have been wiped out.Anti-fascist campaigners have been battling for months in Barking to stop the BNP winning votes at this election.Richard Barnbrook, who is the BNP’s elected representative on the Greater London Assembly failed to win a seat. The BNP London organiser, Bob Bailey who was filmed on the night before the election punching and kicking an Asian youth, was also booted out.“The BNP looked gutted,” said Mark L Thomas, reporting for Socialist Worker from the Barking count.“The jubilation in the hall was incredible, as every seat was announced the BNP were being crushed. It was fantastic to watch. People were cheering and beaming.“At the end of the count, 51 Labour councillors took to the stage – Labour won every seat.”
Although not all results are in, the story is being repeated across large parts of Britain.So far the BNP has only managed to retain one of the 31 council seats they were defending at these elections. They retained a seat in Pendle, but they lost the other eight seats they stood for in the area.In Stoke, where Griffin bragged the BNP would take control of the council and where the racist English Defence League (EDL) marched earlier this year, the BNP lost every seat including their three councillors up for re-election. This reduced their presence on Stoke council to four.In Burnley the BNP lost all ten seats they were standing in, including the one seat up for re-election.In Sandwell the BNP lost two sitting councillors and failed to make any gains in the 23 other seats they stood in.In Solihull the picture was the same – the sitting BNP councillor was defeated and the remaining 15 standing for election were smashed.In Leeds the BNP’s Chris Beverley was booted out and all 30 other BNP hopefuls smashed.We are waiting for the final results from councils where the BNP holds individual seats in Redditch, Havering, Bradford, Kirklees and Redbridge and the three seats in Epping Forest. But even if they were to hold onto these seats, they would still have lost 23 out of their 31 councillors.
These fantastic results are due to the tireless anti-Nazi campaigning, and also an increased turnout which brought the true feeling of communities to bear on the vote.The Nazis feed off the despair and disillusionment that stop people from voting. When the vote did not come out in key areas in 2005 and the turnout plummeted, the BNP made gains because they managed to get their voters out.The BNP are standing in a record number of seats, and it will take a few days to assess the final gains and losses. But as things stand, the BNP is facing a crushing electoral defeat. We should celebrate every victory against the fascists while remembering that these defeats do not mean they – or the EDL – will vanish.The BNP has been the most successful fascist party in British history and the lesson from this campaign is that we must continue to build Unite Against Fascism groups in every town and city.