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The British National Party and the Scottish Elections Briefing No 151
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The British National Party and the Scottish Elections Breifing No. 151

Stopping the BNP and their Message of Hate

January 2006

Introduction

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 goods".

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 every policy.

BNP Scotland

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 cover-up.

So far the BNP have announced a handful of candidates to contest the Scottish Parliament elections.

Kenny Smith

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

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.

Charlie Baillie

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 in Scotland.

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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Further Information

Further Information

The Asylum Myths: www.unison-scotland.org.uk/activists/asylum.html

Vote Scotland:
www.votescotland.com/

About my Vote:
www.aboutmyvote.co.uk

Searchlight

(International anti-fascist magazine):
www.searchlightmagazine.com

Contacts list:

Kevin O'Neil - k.oneil@unison.co.uk

Dave Watson - d.watson@unison.co.uk

@ The P&I Team 14 West Campbell St Glasgow G26RX Tel 0845 355 0845 Fax 0141-307 2572