Thursday, 20 December 2007

Lost in the Christmas rush

Jon Cruddas and Gerry Gable are two unhappy bunnies this morning.

And it's not because their anti-BNP campaign, which was making all the headlines before lunch yesterday, was suddenly trumped in the media's BNP stakes by the announcement from our London Mayor candidate Richard Barnbrook, and English National Ballet principal dancer Simone Clarke, that they were to wed.

The 'celebrity' news concerning the two high profile BNP members certainly spiked the attempt from Cruddas and Gable to try to portray the British National Party as something more akin to Marlon Brando's family in The Godfather, than a political party scrupulously vetted by the Electoral Commission.

But it's not only Richard and Simone's announcement that has caused the upset.

Jon Cruddas' abuse of Parliamentary procedure, which was guaranteed to attract the media's attention, and Gerry Gable's latest 'shock and horror' dossier on the BNP were meant to grab the headlines next year, at the end of February, in order to stop the BNP's GLA and local election campaign in its tracks. But unfortunately for Jon and Gerry, the Gang-of-Four's takeover bid for the British National Party was rumbled two months before it was due to go public, so their hand was forced. And it couldn't have been a worse time of year - all those prime anti-BNP headlines intended to put hundreds of thousands of voters off supporting the BNP, just lost in the Christmas rush.

Richard and Simone have certainly captured the media's attention this morning with the London Evening Standard carrying one of the best reports albeit under a rather unkind headline. Almost every newspaper reports the engagement but my favourite comes from today's Diary in The Guardian. Its view, with a tiny bit of editing to make it acceptable for this blog, is . . .

"Congratulations to Simone Clarke, principal dancer of the English National Ballet, and Richard Barnbrook, the BNP's London organiser, who are to marry. They say The Guardian, which outed her as a BNP-ite, brought them together. That's marvellous. The ENB was supportive of Simone when her views came to light. Will it celebrate with a recital? Of course, Barnbrook has his own background in the arts, having directed the film in HMS Discovery. A life in glossy magazines awaits. Move over, Posh and Becks."

Best of luck to our four candidates in by-elections in Benfleet and Shepshed today.

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