The BNP failed in May 2003 to win any seats on Sunderland City Council. But this year, the stakes are a lot higher.
Not only has the BNP a full slate of candidates in Sunderland wards, they’re standing 3 additional NE candidates in June’s Euro elections.
Photo: Peiman Bahmani, an asylum seeker murdered in the run up to the 2003 BNP campaign in Hendon ward, Sunderland.
BBC News: BNP’s Sunderland bid falls flat
BNP Sunderland election campaign 2004
Sunderland BNP, like Burnley, is riven with splits and bad feeling.
The launch of the BNP’s north east Euro election campaign failed when the management committee of a local club cancelled a booking for the meeting at which national leader Nick Griffin, and ‘number 1′ NE Euro candidate Alan Patterson, were to speak.
TWAFA: Gateshead – BNP meeting cancelled following local protest
The base of support is narrowing in Sunderland, with the Dobbie and Leadbitter families now providing a third of local candidates.
Publicity given by press and media both to the split in Burnley BNP and inactivity by BNP councillors when elected, encourages local BNP activists to challenge national leadership and look elsewhere for true local representation.
The message that national and regional leaders, like NE BNP’s political boss Kevin Scott, are exploiting local support for national ends, is being proved right by direct experience.
TWAFA: Burnley BNP: former councillor admires Nelson Mandela
In addition, people can’t ignore the fact that national leadership is mired in crime and violent white power racism. They are reminded that popular democracy was also lacking in Third Reich Germany.
Many older people in Sunderland know this and now understand that Griffin and Scott are avowed Nazis. It’s now the turn of older people to teach younger people about these facts.
Murder of a refugee
The death of refugee Peiman Bahmani, 28, in Hendon ward preceeded the BNP’s 2003 campaign. The BNP aimed to whip up feeling against local asylum seekers in the year-long build up to the May 2003 local elections. BNP activism elsewhere is always followed by a considerable increase in reports of racially motivated attacks.
Hendon BNP candidate, David Guynan, still refuses to accept responsibility for the part this played in Peiman Bahmani’s murder.
That Peiman’s murderer was a young football hooligan, highlights the attraction Britain’s fascists have for violent dissafected youth.
There’s a cynical determination amongst older BNP leaders, from the ‘very bright’ regional organiser, Kevin Scott, who got a first in History at Newcastle University, to ‘angry, redfaced and not-so-bright’ David Guynan in Hendon, to exploit youth and promote the Nazi cause at any cost.
The far right offers leadership to young males
In fact, last year’s elections provide evidence that a key group of voters for the fascist white power and law-and-order agenda belong to the larger group of young men who don’t normally vote.
Though many of the BNP’s younger members and political activists espouse law and order sentiments, many are law-breakers themselves.
Photo: Former BNP Burnley councillor, Luke Smith, convicted football hooligan.
TWAFA: Burnley BNP Councillor a Convicted Soccer Hooligan
The BNP and National Front (NF) target this group for new members. They recruit young men from the ranks of football hooligans and other petty criminals, who are experienced in a culture of organised street violence.
Impressionable violent young men make ideal footsoldiers for party leaders.
Murderer and bomber David Copeland was one such recruit who worked alongside convicted bomber and BNP national organiser, Tony Lecomber.
Photo: Tony Lecomber, national BNP organiser ©Hoffman Library.
Lecomber is pictured (right) talking tactics with Newcastle-based Simon Biggs (left) and the then leader of the BNP, John Tyndall (centre) during a pre-election campaign in Bethnal Green, London, 1997.
Biggs has convictions for theft and violence and Tyndall, for running a para-military organisation. Tyndall was a former leader of the National Front.
BNP election campaigns increase racist attacks
Reports of racial attacks in Bethnal Green increased by 300% following BNP activism in 1997. Their campaign faltered, however, as the strengths of a traditional multiracial community came to the fore and they failed to ignite the hoped-for ‘race war’.
A similar pattern emerges in Sunderland. During the early days of the BNP election campaign, racially motivated attacks increased by 25 per cent. This includes a 19 per cent rise in assault, a 12 per cent rise in abuse, and a 175 per cent rise in racist graffiti.
Article Update – 20th May 2004: BNP Sunderland/Wearside organiser – Joseph Dobbie – and “Asian Gang” leaflet
The unsolved murder of a boy in Sunderland has been made ‘political’ by 1000 British National Party leaflets posted through doors near his Hendon home.
The Sunderland Echo tells the story of police, “…appalled by the leaflet..” and its claim that the victim was murdered by an “Asian gang”. Race-war tactics remain part of the BNP/National Front approach to winning electoral power.
Sunderland Echo: Racists Sick Claim
Evening Chronicle: Nazi Terror
‘USE your VOTE!’ say Sunderland’s anti-fascist campaigners
The message to voters from campaigners is very clear.
“Local BNP party members are in cahoots with hooligans, petty thieves, rapists, bombers and violent racists. The way to stop them getting on to your local council is to USE YOUR VOTE!”
As election results elsewhere have shown, high voter turnout reduces the influence that the BNP and their supporters have on the final election result.
“Don’t waste your vote on the BNP by not using it!!”