British National Party and the Scottish Elections Breifing No.
Stopping the BNP and their Message of Hate
UNISON is at the forefront of campaigning against
racism in Scotland. UNISON members care for the whole community
and we won't allow racists to wreck Scotland's economic and cultural
future. A key objective for UNISON Scotland is combating the far
right and promoting community cohesion.
The purpose of this briefing is to examine point
three of these objectives and to advise branches on the BNP's
election strategy for the forthcoming Scottish Parliament and
Local Government elections.
Scottish Parliament Elections
Elections to the third Scottish Parliament will
be held on Thursday 3rd May 2007. As in 1999 and 2003, electors
will have two votes, the first to elect their constituency Member
of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) by the first-past-the- post method,
and a second vote to elect seven regional MSPs from party or individual
lists by the D'Hondt system of proportional representation.
Via their website, the BNP have recently announced
that they will be contesting every regional list. Whilst fascist
parties like the BNP have a minimal footprint in Scotland we have
campaigned in previous elections to ensure that remains the position.
The list system provides an opportunity for election with a fairly
low threshold and uses the freepost system, provided by public
money, to promote their message of hate cost effectively.
So who are the BNP?
The BNP made the news when it captured a few council
seats in the North of England several years ago. In the 2006 English
local government elections, the BNP captured 49 seats. It supports
the 'British Native People' although how this is defined is unclear.
It seeks to stop to all inward migration and wants resettlement
of existing immigrants.
UNISON recognises that many of our communities are
blighted by poor housing conditions and anti-social behaviour.
The BNP attempt to capitalise these problems by blaming immigration.
On crime it calls for corporal and capital punishments.
The BNP demands withdrawal from the European Union. It would "return
our economy and land to British ownership", presumably
by forced seizures and "the selective exclusion of foreign-made
The UK economy is based upon global trade and such
policies would cause such a catastrophe it is hard to imagine
the effect on jobs. Hatred for foreigners is at the centre of
The BNP claim to have active branches in Edinburgh
and Glasgow. They also claim to have groups in Ayrshire, Borders,
Central, Falkirk, Fife, West Lothian and Highlands & Islands.
During the 2004 European Elections they fielded seven candidates,
securing 19,427 votes (1.65%)
During the 2005 General Election they fielded two
candidates in Glasgow. Scott McLean, the BNPs vice-chair stood
in the Glasgow North East constituency securing 3.24% of the vote
and Walter Hamilton, their Glasgow organiser stood in the Glasgow
Central constituency securing 2.39% of the vote.
A message of Hate
On their website, the BNP posted a 'Scottish Christmas
Message'. Originally posted as a BNPTV web message, the 'highlights'
were then posted on the Scottish region section of the web site.
They used this message to announce that they are intending to
contest all of the regional lists in the forthcoming Scottish
Parliament elections. The message also included an attack on Islam,
an outrageous claim stating that European Union enlargement is
keeping 'native' Glaswegians out of employment and a claim that
'Glasgow receives more asylum seekers per head of population that
anywhere else in the UK'. They also used this message to 'claim'
that the horrific murder of Kriss Donald in Glasgow was only covered
by the media in Scotland and that this was due to a government
So far the BNP have announced a handful of candidates
to contest the Scottish Parliament elections.
As Scottish secretary, he vets potential recruits
to the BNP and introduces them to their members and officials.
Smith is known for smooth-talking in public and projects himself
as the acceptable face of the party. But in private, he is quick
to launch into fascist bile. Smith sickened neighbours on his
native Lewis by waving a swastika flag on Hitler's birthday. Smith
was the face of the BNPs 'Scottish Christmas Message'. Smith will
be a Glasgow list candidate.
Gary Raikes is the BNP group organiser for Moray
and Gordon and has been 'selected' by the BNP to contest the North
East Regional list. Raikes raised his local profile by 'campaigning'
in the Tuffiff area of Aberdeenshire on anti-social behaviour
and agricultural issues.
Baillie was in attendance at the BNPs 'Remembrance
Sunday service and wreath laying ceremony', In November 2006.
The BNP web site's Scottish regions section of the website highlighted
this pathetic attempt to cash in on remembrance Sunday and also
announced 'local man' Baillie as a BNP regional list candidate.
How you can stop the BNP getting a foothold
Know the facts
Racism flourishes when it is unchallenged. Racism
has no place in our workplaces and our communities. UNISON will
continue to champion victims of discrimination. The lies spread
by the BNP must be answered.
The Asylum Myths booklet can be used to assist branch
activists and members tackle the racist myths. Further copies
of The Asylum Myths are available from the P&I Team.
Using your vote
If you're eligible to vote, make sure you don't
miss the opportunity to have your say. Use your vote and make
sure that the BNP do not get a foothold in Scotland. To be eligible
to vote in Scotland, your name must be on the Register of Electors.
You can add your name to the Register throughout the year, up
to the point when nominations for elections close. To find out
if you're already on the Register or to register your name, contact
your local Electoral Registration Officer.
Action for Branches:
Branches should forward any information they have
on BNP candidates and their activities within their geographical
areas to the Policy and Information Team. Combating racism and
racist parties is a priority for UNISON and we will be continuing
to monitor and campaign against the BNP and similar organisations
not only at the time of elections but all of the time as they
pose a serious threat to democracy and community cohesion. During
the elections we will run a range of activities to oppose the
far-right and branches will have an opportunity to participate
in these events.
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