Sunday, November 15, 2009

Barking Griffin

So Nick Griffin is to stand in Barking against Margaret Hodge. It's a fair assumption then that they think this is their best bet for a seat.

Two things spring immediately to mind. First, the rather uninspired dullard that is Richard Barnbrook seems to be out in the cold having assumed he was going to have a shot. I hope there are no tensions there boys.

Second, Nick seems to have deserted the North West already. It's almost as if he doesn't give a fuck about the people who just a few months ago elected him to represent them. At least pretend to care Nick.

In theory this is a safe seat for Labour, but then they are always the most dangerous ones because all too often these constituencies have been taken for granted. The previous results were as follows;

Party Candidate Votes % ±%

Labour Margaret Hodge 13,826 47.8 -13.1

Conservative Keith Prince 4,943 17.1 -5.9

BNP Richard Barnbrook 4,916 16.9 +10.6

Liberal Democrat Toby Wickenden 3,211 11.1 +1.3

UKIP Terry Jones 803 2.8 +2.8

Green Laurie Cleeland 618 2.1 +2.1

Independent Demetrious Panton 530 1.8 +1.8

Workers' Revolutionary Mick Saxby 59 0.2 +0.2
The BNP will have to double their vote and more to win this seat by the looks of things, it's a long shot which Ladbrookes is giving 9/2. Of course, that's not factoring in the sterling work that Mick Saxby will have put into the constituency in the meantime building the revolution.

One question that I've been pondering and now seems like a good time to ask it... should the Greens stand here? It's extremely unlikely that we'd make the difference between Hodge and the Uber Grupen Fuhrer's rise to power, but it would be an added discomfort if the BNP won by 1% and we'd collected 2% of the vote.


James Mackenzie said...

I wouldn't stand. Not make a big deal out of it, but no, best not. In the NW we were the people everyone should have backed to keep Adolf Brent out. Let's not become Nader to his Bush, even if not many Green voters would have otherwise gone to Labour.

Joseph said...

Absolutely. I will be asking London Green Party to consider this. It was discussed at the London Fed AGM in September but this development makes it even more urgent. The propect of Hodge carrying the anti-Fascist banner is appalling. I find her nauseating and patronising - one of New Labour's most unappealing products. Surely someone else can stand?

The Leveller said...

I hope to God that the gap between New Labour and the BNP will be a lot more than the five or six hundred (at most) votes that a paper Green candidate would be likely to pick up. Given the weakness of the ghastly Hodge as a candidate and the significant base that the BNP have built in Barking, I don't think that we should even consider taking that risk.

And even if we were absolutely convinced that the fascists were going to get nowhere near New Labour, getting a few hundred votes against the fascists' several thousand would simply be demonstrating our weakness; that we have no base in the area and that they do.

So, with great distaste, for I really loath the horrible Hodge, I think that we should make a public statement that we will be backing her as the best placed candidate to defeat Griffin.


Jim Jepps said...

Problem is she's a minister. They can't stand her down and therefore acknowledge she's a weak candidate. Anyway, for all I know she's a good constituency MP no matter what her other failings are - I mean if Mandelson can win a working class northern constituency it wont have been the strangest things about New Labour.

I should say i think the BNP will find it hard to improve on their last performance and the 20% they may get wont be enough - but there's always a risk, particualrly as the media is likely to find this contest the most intesting thing about the general election.

The more i think about it the less reasons there are for us to stand. Will london fed discuss it tonight? I think it's worth considering formally standing down here (although we don't have to go so far as to actually 'back' Hodge do we?)

Matt Sellwood said...

I'm always given pause for thought when both Jim and Joseph are saying something in unison, as they're both pretty wise.

However, don't think I agree on this one. It would be bizarre for us to endorse a 'vote Labour to keep the BNP' out strategy - particularly when the Labour MP is so spine chillingly useless. We're only going to beat the fascists, in the long run, by building a progressive alternative - and that alternative isn't going to be Labour.

Nothing alternative is ever going to be built if we keep running away from the nasty fascists and into the arms of New Labourites.


P.S. Anyway, I reckon a number of Green voters won't vote Labour under any circumstances anyway. I think 'didnt vote' would gain a lot more votes than Labour if we didn't stand.

Jim Jepps said...

I agree Matt. I *am* wise.

My nuance is that we should (I think) stand down rather than actually endorse Hodge.

I agree with your general point but we're talking about an area where we are weak and are unlikely to actually be building anything to speak of by standing in this constituency at this election.

If we have a good council campaign let us focus on that and let labour voters reward our magnanimity by lending us a council vote.

The risk we would be running is holding back our project *nationally* if the dice fall in the wrong way. I don't think we would let the BNP, but we could find ourselves *blamed* for exactly that which would create more of a problem everywhere without actually gaining anything in particular in Barking.

Steve Durrant said...

Hodge wants us all eyescanned and fingerprinted for a disgusting database. She backed the warcrimes and opposed investigation. She is a rightwinger who has appeased racists, she is a member of a party whose betrayal of their base has bolstered fascism.

Labours double whammy is to betray people and then say "oh, you have to vote for us now to stop fascists"

Whether Greens stand or not, Labour are sickening and deserve no favours.

Jim Jepps said...

Labour *are* sickening but it wouldn't be out of friendship to them that we stood down but out of a desire to keep the fascists out.

One New Labour minister re-elected more or less makes no difference. If the BNP get into Parliament they will see it as an historic victory.

I'd like to prevent that if possible.

E said...

There's targetting and then there's not giving our voters the opportunity to vote for us.

I'm all for standing a candidate because I know how frustrating it can be not having the opportunity to vote for the party you believe in (which is why I stand when I can). It also undermines our non-member support if we sometimes stand and sometimes don't, for whatever reasons. Also if there is someone Green willing to stand I would certainly not deny them.

I am fed up of telling people on the doorstep they won't get what they want unless the vote for it (countering the tactical voters' "what's the point in voting Green") and then getting into tactical discussions about whether or not to stand a candidate. It can be a bit hypercritical sometimes.

Yes I know we should do whatever we can to keep fascists out of government but tactics isn't the way - honesty is.

How we campaign is another matter, I would suggest a strategy of outing the BNP for the nasty people they are AND stimulating discussion with ALL parties, locally and ideally nationally, about the things BNP voters vote about.

So, I would...stand a candidate and focus campaigning on making all parties talk about BNP issues, rather than just reeling out the good old GP policies in a somewhat optimistic attempt to get someone elected. Getting a political comedian on board would do wonders.

(not to mention that we will be affirming a BNP threat if we look worried they might get in - which might bring them more voters).

weggis said...

Do any of you know Barking & Dagenham? It’s next door to where I live in Redbridge. My perception is that the demographic has changed considerably since the last elections, ie those who voted for the BNP have moved away precisely for the reasons they voted for the BNP.
I think we should listen to the locals and if they want to stand – then stand.

Jim Jepps said...

W - we are of one mind on this (almost) and I'm currently engaged in contacting people in Barking (not just Greens as it happens) and there's no point London coming to a decision if it does not have the agreement of those on the ground.

However, the Green Party in Barking is not one of our strongest and I'm sure they will appreciate any advice we can give and I certainly would not want to wash my hands of them when it has national repercussions.

It's their decision but the wider party needs to give political as well as structural support to local parties that will become a national focus come the general election.

Elinor - we need to be honest, of course, but that does not mean we have to irresponsible. It's not dishonest if we decide the best course of action is not to stand a general election candidate here but focus on our council candidates.

We make tactical decisions all the time, this is just a more unusual one.

Mike said...

If the Green Party don't put up a candidate then it is giving in to defeatism.

Those who want to vote Green should be given the opportunity to vote Green.