Nick Griffin’s Barking Plan

The BNP are holding their party conference – in a gym on the edge of an industrial estate near Wigan, with no journalists allowed – and the big news there is Nick Griffin’s plan to stand for Parliament in Barking next year.

Keen students of geography may notice that Barking is some way from the constituency that Mr Griffin currently represents in the European Parliament – the North West of England.  Clearly, whatever other objectives Nick Griffin might have, actually doing the job he was elected to do in June isn’t one of them.

Could the BNP win Barking?

It’s an odd constituency – a pretty safe seat for Labour, despite them winning well under half the votes in 2005.  Margaret Hodge’s nearly-9,000 majority over the Conservatives comes from a three-way split with the Tories, Lib Dems and BNP all getting percentage votes in the teens.

It’s not impossible to see Barking turn into a three-way or four-way marginal, though it seems pretty unlikely and the BNP would have to be doing a great deal better than they are at the moment.

A key element might be Nick Griffin persuading the voters of Barking that he’s got a little more respect for them than the people of the North West who he seems so keen to abandon.

If the BNP are hoping electoral reform will help them, they might be disappointed.

The Alternative Vote system favoured by many Labour reformers isn’t proportional and makes it even less likely that any minor party could win a seat.

Single Transferable Vote (STV) – the Lib Dem’s system of choice – is little better for them.  Even with large six-member constituencies, the BNP would need to secure over 14% of the vote across an area with half a million voters – far better than they managed even in the European elections,  traditionally favourable to minor parties.

Despite Griffin’s constituency hopping, and the party’s transparent attempts to hide their particularly nasty brand of racism, BNP conference goers will be hoping for a big surprise in May.

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12 Comments

  • Peter Turner 15th Nov '09 - 10:17pm

    I read some time ago that he was gonna stand for Thurrock which I thought was odd considering Barking is their best chance of a breakthrough!

  • Pavement Politico 16th Nov '09 - 3:06pm

    The joys of closed lists mean that Martin Wingfield will be elected in Nick’s place by default and not by a by-election. Similar logic allows Caroline Lucas to pass on her seat to Keith Taylor should she be elected in Brighton Pavilion.

  • “Any chance we could get an organised campaign in there over the next few years along the lines of what’s been done in Burnley?”

    Ask London region what has been done to support Barking since the first BNP gain there in 2004? (It maybe lots it may be very little but the reason why the growth of the BNP was turned around in Burnley was because the region and the MEP invested time, money and people in helping campaigns there)

  • There’s another key difference between Barking and Burnley : all-out elections every 4 years against annual election by thirds.

    Isn’t the likeliest outcome in Barking a nasty squeeze for the Lib Dems, and a boost for whoever looks likeliest to win?

    [And let’s hope there are no stupid inaccurate “It’s us or the BNP” stories from ANY party]

  • Michael Butlin 17th Nov '09 - 1:42pm

    The Black Shorts.
    If “that silly little man” wishes to parade in Barking with his “black shorts”, then so be it.

    He is late in turning up; I first came to Barking in 1968 to visit the Barking Brassware Company, what great products and what quality!
    However on Sunday afternoon I spent a pleasant afternoon in the area for my mother’s 90th party I had plenty of time to see the community on a chilly but sunny afternoon.

    It seems more like liberal democrat country to me, than a place for “that silly little man”. It is a tight community with many people on the street, walking, shopping, with a multiple of services being offered by small businesses; not at all welcoming to centrally directed party with one man making decisions.

    Involving the people living locally in making decisions, building a community which takes pride both in its heritage and its future is good old fashion liberalism. This area is just right for a liberal democratic future; plenty of work needed to grow the community and plenty of dynamic local people capable of doing the job. These same dynamic local people joining with our existing local party activists will provide a true new opportunity for Barking.

  • Many smaller parties without the unlimited rescources and manpower of the major parties field the same candidates for both European and national elections.
    Griffin has stated that he will defnitely 100% move to live in Barking if/when he wins, more than can be said for Hodge, she resides in Kensington or somewhere similar doesn’t she?

    Next point please or have you scraped the bottom of the barrel yet?!

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