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The British National Party's Scottish Election Strategy Briefing 154 April 2007
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The British National Party's Scottish Election Strategy Briefing 154 April 2007

Introduction

Policy and Information Team Briefing 151 looked at the BNP and their intention to stand in the forthcoming Scottish Parliament Elections.

The purpose of this briefing is to update and advise members, activists and branches on the BNP's election strategy for the forthcoming Scottish Parliament and Local Government elections.


Scottish Parliament Elections

The BNP have announced that for the first time they will be contesting every regional list in the forthcoming Scottish Parliament elections. They will put up 32 candidates, four on each of the eight regional lists. This is partly an attempt to maximise the far-right vote in Scotland and it is also a tactic to get the most out of the electoral rules. 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. Any party which stands at least four candidates in every region is also entitled to a party election broadcast.

They have also announced that they are putting up seven local government candidates.

Taxpayers to fund campaign

The Scotsman recently ran an article entitled BNP to get £670,000 from taxpayers to fund campaign. The article stated that under election law, as well as gaining a nationwide television platform, they will also be able to claim postal costs from the government for each candidate to send an election communication leaflet to every voter in the region or constituency, where they are standing. This is an election rule established to assist candidates get their message out, but the BNP will exploit it to send out an estimated 2.6 million leaflets, one to every household in Scotland.

The estimated cost of second-class postage for these election communication leaflets is around £594,000.

For a three to four- minute party election broadcast, at prime time on BBC 1 Scotland, BBC 2 and the Scottish parts of the ITV network, it is the equivalent of about £75,000 of advertising time, giving the BNP almost £670,000 in free publicity.

 

 

Scottish Heritage

The BNP have set up a clandestine front in Glasgow to hold fundraising events, in their push to win a Glasgow list seat at Holyrood.

A group using the name Scottish Heritage have been booking social events across the city, and they are attended by members of Scotland's far right community. They have also begun selling thistle lapel pins, the BNP's registered logo in Scotland, via their merchandising wing, Excalibur.

Glasgow list candidate and BNP Scottish Secretary, Kenny Smith, has recently admitted that Scottish Heritage has been set up in an attempt to avoid the revulsion the BNP attracts. Smith also admits that many BNP members want to conceal their identity because they are fearful of hostile reactions from the public.

Smith has also admitted that BNP members feel more comfortable booking events and writing cheques to Scottish Heritage, rather than have the BNP appear on their bank statements.

BNP Regional List candidates for the Scottish Parliament 2007

Candidate

Regional List Area

Position

Nicholla Ritchie

Central Scotland

No. 1

William Morgan

 

No.2

John Robertson

 

No.3

Richard Hamilton

 

No.4

Kenny Smith

Glasgow

No.1

Walter Hamilton

 

No.2

Charlie Baillie

 

No.3

Billy McLachlin

 

No.4

Scott McLean

Highlands & Islands

No.1

Roger Robertson

 

No.2

Andrew McBride

 

No.3

Matt Tait

 

No.4

Ian Dawson

Lothian's

No.1

Sadie Graham

 

No.2

Stephen Fyfe

 

No.3

Tim Rait

 

No.4

Steve Blake

Mid Scotland & Fife

No.1

Colin Cox

 

No.2

Michela MacKenzie

 

No.3

James McPherson

 

No.4

Gary Raikes

North East Scotland

No.1

John Robertson

 

No.2

Steven Thomson

 

No.3

Stuart McKay

 

No.4

Thomas Sweeten

South of Scotland

No.1

Martin Clark

 

No.2

Jennie Noble

 

No.3

Michael Bell

 

No.4

David Kerr

West of Scotland

No.1

David Sloss

 

No.2

Winifred Scott

 

No.3

Kevin Scott

 

No.4

Nearly half of the BNP's candidates have been recruited from England. Among those canvassing will be five regional BNP organisers, while another, fighting in the Highlands and Islands, will also be involved in a simultaneous by-election campaign 625 miles away in Berkshire.

Among the candidates in the Highlands and Islands list area is Roger Robertson, a south-east England organiser. The Lothian's sees Sadie Graham from the East Midlands and Tim Rait who unsuccessfully stood in Maidenhead in the 2005 general election. West of Scotland list candidate Kevin Scott is the

BNP regional organiser for the North East of England.

Local Government Candidates

The have also announced the following local government candidates:

Candidate

Council Area

Ward

Steven Thomson

Aberdeen City

Kingswells/Seddocksley

Gary Raikes

Aberdeenshire

Turrif & District

Thomas Sweeten

East Ayrshire

Annick

Billy McLachlan

Glasgow

East Centre

Charlie Baillie

Glasgow

Newlands/Auldburn

Walter Hamilton

Glasgow

Shettleston

Kenny Smith

Glasgow

Sprinburn

How you can stop the BNP getting a foothold in Scotland.

Whilst fascist parties like the BNP have a minimal foothold in Scotland, we have campaigned in previous elections, and we will continue during this election campaign to ensure that this position remains.

Know the facts

Racism flourishes when it is unchallenged and it has no place in our workplaces and communities. UNISON will continue to champion victims of discrimination. The lies spread by the BNP must and will 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.

Stop the BNP

Branches will now have received a mailing on UNISON Scotland's anti- BNP Day of Action to take place on Saturday 28 April 2007. Please encourage as many members as possible to assist with this. Materials for the day of action will be available to branches to use from the Policy and Information Team.

Action for Branches:

Branches should continue to forward any information they have on the BNP's candidates and their activities within their geographical areas to the Policy & 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 election campaigns, but throughout the year as they pose a serious threat to democracy and community cohesion. Contact the P & I Team at UNISON House to sign up for the Day of Action or to order campaign materials for your branch.

 

 

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Further Information

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