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The nazi BNP standing in the Westoe bye-election in South Shields was the main news I came back to from my holidays. This is the next door ward to mine and really was chilling that they were right on my doorstep. Immediately got involved in the campaign to alert people to the truth about them, especially as they’ve cleverly disguised their real racism and fascism over the last few years.

We launched Unite Against Fascism South Tyneside with a public meeting in South Shields in August. The meeting even made it onto The Crack’s Little Crack with a great graphic of a stick man putting a swastika into a litter bin (it was on there 24th August). The campaign really got going with leafletting of the whole ward, twice. The first time to ask people to use their vote, to make sure the nazis didn’t benefit from a low turnout. And the second to counter the lies in the BNP’s 2 leaflets, about how they’re not racist!

The night of the count saw a good number of us on the steps of the Town Hall, to let the BNP know they’re not welcome here. Great to do some shouting, chanting and even singing – the local community police officer was very friendly and offered to give us points (a la Eurovision) for our singing.

The Shields Gazette interviewed a spokesperson and our demo was reported in the paper the next day, plus a video on their website (11th September).

The BNP got 266 votes, coming 4th, behind Independent Alliance, Labour and Tory, but ahead of Lib Dems and another Independent. Apparently they were disappointed having put in quite a bit of effort and hoping to be on a roll after the Euro elections in June. But it is still 266 votes too many, and in what might be thought of as not being their sort of area – a leafy, fairly middle class ward with no run down council estates, and in fact some very posh bits, plus the college. Just more evidence that the BNP are not simply attracting old Labour voters in the poorest areas.

However much the BNP want us to believe they are the alternative to Labour in working class areas, they are anti-union and their membership is not the poorest people. In fact it’s a lot more affluent people, including teachers, police, prison officers and other public sector workers, people who benefit from strong unions and who must not be allowed to continue to be in public service roles and yet be members of a fascist, racist party.

We must unite to defeat fascism before they do start winning elections round here.

Join Unite Against Fascism North East, email: uafnortheast@googlemail.com and check out uafnortheast.blogspot.com.

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2 Comments

    • LeicesterUAF
    • Posted September 25, 2009 at 3:38 pm
    • Permalink

    Excellent news – well done to all involved!

    • shirleyford
    • Posted September 25, 2009 at 5:03 pm
    • Permalink

    Thanks – will pass that on to everyone. Does feel like we’ve made a strong start to working together here.


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