This is independent and autonomous analysis of the levels of the BNP vote from the 16th October 2008 until 27th August 2009. This is complementary research to the first project covering 27th August 2009 until 26th November 2009, those results are available from the author and publicised elsewhere on the web.
The research starts out from covering all wards listed on the Association of Liberal Democratic Councillors (ALDC) website for the period in question (16.10.08 to 27.8.09), 310 wards in total. There is no ‘cherry picking’, and the rationale behind all statistics produced is explained.
The BNP stood in 73 of them, and results show they did not stand in 2 areas where they did last time out. Of these 73 wards, 45 of them were apparently first time out, as records show that they did not stand the previous time in these wards. Without checking all the histories of each ward I am going to have to assume these were first time out.
In these wards the average vote was 14.226%. However, if you minus 5 wards where the BNP did exceptionally well (1st time out scores of between 28.1% and 42.6%), treat these as unusual and not normal, and therefore exclude them, this leaves 40 ward first time out results. The average BNP first time out scores in these 40 wards (the clear majority) is 11.4325%. So that leaves 28 wards where they had stood previously, in 6 (21.43%) of these wards there was no change in their voting level (where there is no evidence of a change in voting level on the records listed on the ALDC website I have assumed there is no change), in 9 (32.14%) wards their vote went up, and in 13 (46.43%) wards their vote went down.
Of course, the BNP vote is going to go up whenever they stand in an area where they did not before, so in some ways these votes are misleading. I call this the honeymoon period, and of course some honeymoons are better than others E.g. In one area the BNP vote jumped from 0% to 41.3% in Sevenoaks on 19/2/08, to win the seat. However, some BNP first time outs are derisory (1-3%), but these do not make the headlines. Often there are particular reasons why the BNP vote goes up, ie. For whatever reasons, some areas appear more receptive to the BNP than others do. Thus in the 9 wards where the BNP vote went up, it rose by an average of 4.85%, however, there were 2 dramatic rises in their vote in 2 of these wards. If you exclude these votes then the average BNP vote rise is only 1.9%, thus these are completely marginal scores in 7 of the 9 seats where the BNP vote rose.
In 6 wards there was no reported change in BNP voting levels, but in 13 (46.43%) wards their vote went down. In these wards, the average BNP voting decline was -6.84%. If you add the voting decline in 2 wards where the BNP failed to stand, where they had the last time, then the voting decline is more dramatic -8.04%. The areas where the BNP fail to stand, where they had previously, ARE weakness, and so it should count in any realistic and serious assessment of the true achievement and potential of the BNP. This suggests that the rate of voter disenchantment with the BNP is higher than the voting rises. As a whole, even taking into account the areas where the BNP stand for the first time, and where their vote is as a result obviously going to rise, then the rate of BNP decline is higher than their rising voting level in percentage terms. The total voting rise or fall was taken from the 73 seats where they did stand, the 2 where they had stood previously and failed to do so this time out – the result for this is increasing by +7.51%.
While this is some comfort for anti fascists, the steady rise in BNP voting levels across the country, by the shear fact that they are standing in more areas is obviously the most problematic issue. However, this must be tempered by these results, which display high levels of voter disenchantment with the BNP after the initial honeymoon period of the first outing. This is more significant, as it builds upon the first test project covering 101 wards that established the initial ‘BNP dramatic vote decline after the initial honeymoon period’ hypotheses.
This second project, more comprehensive and more than 3 times bigger, covering 310 wards confirms the results of the initial pilot study. The results, covering all areas of the UK in the pilot study anyway, are very generalisable from this new study. Covering even more local and specific areas of the UK, also have the added strength of covering more than a year so any seasonal variations can be discounted, and added together the results are expected to confirm what is apparent with this study. The final briefing will be issued shortly, that adds together the results of these 2 pilot studies.
However, some areas do not conform to this overall trend, and these are the ones, which should be targeted by anti fascists if they are serious about damaging the BNP. These areas are the ones where the different theories and practice of anti fascism can be tested in the harshest conditions, and authentic working class politics discovered as a result.