Monday, 22 October 2007

Burning the midnight oil

It's going to be a very busy week in the Freedom office with the newspaper needing to be ready to go to the printers on Thursday evening.

I leave the front page until the final week in an effort to get the most relevant and up-to-date story, but unless something dramatic happens in the next four days I shall probably be running with a topical report from Steve Johnson on the European 'Constitution'. Opposition to the European Union has been the key policy platform of the British National Party since its inception. It has to be because you cannot be a political party that campaigns on upholding the national interest when decisions regarding the future of our country are made by foreign politicians in a foreign parliament.

The formation of the one issue anti-EU pressure group, the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), managed to attract the support of many of those who opposed Britain being part of a Federal Europe and thanks to a high media profile, it achieved some electoral success at the expense of the BNP, particularly in the 2004 European Election. But now UKIP has completely collapsed and their candidates have been humiliated at both local and parliamentary elections by derisory votes. This has led to a membership surge for the BNP with former UKIP members and supporters joining in significant numbers, especially over the past six months in the light of a string of excellent election results for the British National Party. With many of these new recruits from UKIP still in contact with others who have not yet jumped ship, an anti-EU front page in Freedom will help underline our Euro-skeptic credentials.

My colleague Sadie Graham, provides me with some extra work this morning but I am delighted that she has. Last night Sadie sent me a photo of her recent community forum meeting, showing her sitting next to Labour MP Geoff Hoon, on the top table. Now I have covered this story on Page 2 of Freedom under the headline "Labour concedes defeat after 20 years of boycotting BNP", which refers to Labour's 'No Platform' policy. This was a scam used to deny the BNP media coverage by refusing to appear on any platform with our representatives. Hoon turning up at this BNP organised meeting and even sitting next to Sadie seems to be signalling an end to this anti-democratic practice. Unfortunately for me, Page 2 was already completed and will now have to be changed around, with a report moved further inside to create some space for what can be regarded as an historic photo.

Producing an effective Freedom nowadays is greatly helped by BNP groups and branches contesting so many local council elections and being able to achieve such significant results. Part of the newspaper's remit is to try to encourage the public to join the BNP and showing just how much progress the Party is currently making certainly helps to attract new recruits.

There are two local council elections involving British National Party candidates this week in Epping Forest and on Merseyside. The BNP already has six councillors on Epping Council but it will be something of a political earthquake if Peter Cooper becomes the seventh. Last time the ward was contested we polled just over 20% coming third behind the Tories and Lib-Dems. It might be difficult to actually improve on that percentage with a Labour candidate standing this time around but the local BNP group will be hoping to put the squeeze on the Lib-Dems in what looks the main focus of the campaign - the battle for second place.

I know very little about the Sefton poll, save that Michael McDermott is an excellent candidate. The ward seems now to be a Tory stronghold although it is the resignation of a Labour councillor that has caused the by-election. It's a big ward, so our small group there will certainly have their work cut out.

The candidates

Epping Forest District Council
Waltham Abbey Honey Lane
Thursday 25th October 2007
Christine Akers ((Lib-Dem)
Jonathon Collier (Con)
Peter Cooper (BNP)
Patricia Sumner (Lab)
Last Time: Con 636, Lib-Dem 240, BNP 225.

Sefton Council
Manor Ward
Thursday 25th October 2007
David McIvor (Con)
John Gibson (Lib-Dem)
Peter Harpe (UKIP)
Michael McDermott (BNP)
Sue Hanley (Lab)
May 2007: Con 1651, Lab1082, Lib-Dems 701.

The excitement of the FA Cup will be in the back of my mind as I burn the midnight oil to finish Freedom. Workington Reds have a home tie against Boston United on Saturday. Should be a crowd of over 1,000 at Borough Park and I believe there's £7,500 on offer for the winners in prize money. Boston are also a Conference North side, at present one place above us in the table. Win this one and we will be in the First Round proper and will face the possibility of a tie against arch rivals Carlisle United.

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