Friday, 16 April 2010

BNP standing in Barnet - how worried should we be?

The BNP might not be able to grow very large at this stage in history, but it has grown in the last few years and continues to grow. It will use its election candidacies, council and general, to try and build a more permanent base to launch out from. For, as they themselves admit, their recruitment pool at the moment is mainly friends and relations of existing BNP members.

Stephen Curry, who has announced his candidacy in East Barnet for the council elections, is the BNP's deputy London organiser. He has stood before in Barnet, in the by-election in Hale ward in May 2008. He got 213 votes, which doesn't sound much, but was 3.8% of the total turnout. As well as standing for Barnet council, he will be one of the BNP's 32 London parliamentary candidates, standing in the Westminster North seat.

From comments he makes on the BNP's London website, we can't be sure whether he will concentrate his personal canvassing efforts in Barnet or in Westminster North. But I think it's clear that the BNP would like to use the council election to recruit in our area. What could make Curry think that East Barnet is a good option? Perhaps stories like this, reported in the Times series, indicate a seam of racism in the area that the BNP would hope to mine:

The teenage ringleader of a gang which terrorised traders on the Dollis Valley Estate has been jailed.

Phillip Joy-Friel, 18, of Dollis Valley Drive was jailed for 18 weeks after admitting a string of offences at Hendon Magistrates Court.

...Dee Rajhwani, who manages a shop in High Barnet lived close to the bully and said he suffered regular racist insults and threatening behaviour by him.
Standing in Hale ward in the past made a certain sort of sense as well, when you consider where Curry lives: Kingsbury Road. In Brent, a BNP candidate is standing in Fryent ward. This is right next door to the area Curry comes from. I imagine the BNP dreams of building a small base in this area, where Barnet, Brent and Harrow meet, which is pretty run-down.

I've spent the afternoon preparing a briefing for Barnet trades council on this. We will be campaigning against the BNP in the next few weeks, and also promoting our positive values of defending and extending public services, defending and creating jobs, and building homes. It is when services and jobs are under attack, and decent homes are scarce that the likes of the BNP hope to grow fastest, as they scapegoat immigrant populations for all our ills.


Anonymous said...

"What could make Curry think that East Barnet is a good option? Perhaps stories like this, reported in the Times series, indicate a seam of racism in the ward that the BNP would hope to mine"

The story you quote features Underhill Ward, not East Barnet Ward.

Citizen Barnet said...

Thank you for pointing this out. I'm crap at ward boundaries, so I should have checked. I'll change the post to say 'area', because I think the point is still valid. However, it's nothing like as valid as it was!

Does anyone else have any ideas on why Curry might have picked East Barnet to stand in?


Rog T said...

In my canvassing in Mill Hill ward I have spoken to three people who indicated they would like to vote BNP (out of maybe 1,000 people I spoke to). One thing they all said was "I'm not racist but....". In each case I made a point of speaking at length to them about the issues which concerned them. In each case they felt disengaged from the political process and ignored by politicians.

A major gripe is the way our servicemen are treated. I have come to the opinion that we need to set up a veterans bureau to deal with former servicemen, along the lines of that established in the USA.

Another issue is the perception that immigrants are given preferential treatment in housing issues. I pointed out that this is caused by the fact that there is no longer such thing as "council housing" except for legacy sites. We need to build enough council housing for all who need it. When people know of individuals who should be given a council house and aren't and then hear of other people who are housed straight away, it causes resentment. Why should any family not have a decent home?

I have come to realise that just to say "we are fighting the BNP because they are nasty people" is not enough. We must address the issues which cause the resentment.

There are over 6,000 families on the Barnet housing waiting list. There are plans to build dwellings for 60,000 people in Barnet, but the people on the waiting list are not going to be the first 6,000 housed in these. Until this basic unfairness is resolved, you have a situation where the BNP can thrive.

I suspect that if either you or I had any real way of changing how things are done in Barnet or in the Country, we'd introduce basic and fair policies which would cut off the oxygen that the BNP need to thrive.