From Atreus of Norfolk Unity
I've always had a soft spot for Stockingford, which is part of Nuneaton. You see I was born there, in one of the terraced back streets, where, at the time, everybody kept chickens and rabbits for the table and every inch of the garden was used for growing vegetables. I only lived there as a tot, and when Dad came out of the Army we left for Mum's native north Warwickshire village. The house in ------ Street was my Aunt Flo's and one of my cousins still lives there.
Despite having a soft spot for the place I never thought the day would come when I'd be singing ordinary old Stockingford's praises, but last Thursday the place did me (and you) proud.
In a barely noticed local by-election Stockingford told the BNP where to get off.
Now my fellow contributor to this blog, currently swanning around the Alps, keeps tabs on local by-elections and was always noticing that it was very rare for the BNP to improve its vote. If they'd stood in a ward for a first time then they'd usually lose ground on the second.
In Stockingford on Thursday they lost ground all right. Two thirds of it!In June the BNP fought the Arbury and Stockingford division of Warwickshire County Council, and with 1283 votes they took 25% of the vote. For reasons too boring to go into here, a by-election was called in the same division for July 16th, and with a solid looking base to build on, 2 MEPs and tons of news coverage the BNP entered the contest brim full of confidence.
But with the MPs expenses scandal now in the background sanity returned, and with antifascists able to concentrate their efforts the BNP share of the vote fell by 11%, one of the biggest reverses the party has ever suffered. But that hides the fact that the BNP's Martin Findlay (already a Nuneaton Borough councillor) saw his vote crash to just 449 - a drop of two thirds.
Lab 1331 +13%
Con 1079 +2.5%
BNP 449 -11%
Green 170 -9.5%
Ignoring the figures (he didn't publish them) Martin Wingfield, proponent of the BNP's "quiet revolution" only mentioned that the BNP had beaten the Liberal Democrats.
In fairness, the Green Party vote also dived in Arbury and Stockingford, which shows exactly how many people wanted to punish the major parties and reluctantly rewarded the minor parties last month.
In June the BNP hardly improved its share of the vote over most of the country despite the expenses scandal, and this result confirms what most of us were thinking - that if there had been no expenses scandal the BNP's vote would have stalled and most likely fallen, it wouldn't have scraped two MEPs, and an internal revolution would be underway, probably with Nick Griffin out on his ear some time soon.
Closer to home for us here in Norfolk the Norwich North by-election is underway, and the BNP hobbled itself from the start by gifting us the bogus "reverend" Robert West, who's just so easy to lampoon and discredit. As in Stockingford electoral politics seem to have returned to normal, with the latest polls showing the BNP not registering at all, with those intending to vote for the devious devil dodger included somewhere among the 5% reserved for "others".
Has the tide turned?
Well I reckon it never really came in for the BNP. The truth is that in June with voter disillusion at fever pitch they hardly managed to grow their vote at all and only got their MEPs due to voters not turning out for the main parties, so their supposed victorious advance is more apparent than real, something they bang on about to keep their own members from seeing the political reality of their electoral situation.
The BNP got stuffed in Stockingford, let's hope they get nuked in Norwich North.