Thursday, 10 January 2008

Ibstock today - Burnley tomorrow

There's an interesting council by-election in North West Leicestershire today where the British National Party will be hoping to come from nowhere and give an over-confident Conservative candidate a run for his money.

The BNP already has two councillors here and Ivan Hammonds has an outsider's chance of making it three.

The details are:

North West Leicestershire District Council
Ibstock and Heather Ward
Thursday 10th January 2008
Felix Fenning - Labour Party
Ivan Hammonds - British National Party
Paul Oakden - Conservative Party
David Wyatt - Liberal Democrat

The ward was last contested in May 2007 when the result was:
Craig Bowley (Con)737
Ted Blunt (Con)731
Dai Male (Lab)707
Penny Hopkins (Lab)620
Mary Powell (Con) 599
Ray Merry ( Lab) 559
Adam Tilbury (UKIP) 411
Leighanna Littlejohn (Lib-Dem)225
Ben Roberts (Lib-Dems) 222

This election has come about following the death of Labour councillor Dai Male, and it has already provided the BNP with a welcome boost with the local UKIP candidate, who polled very well last time, standing aside to give Ivan Hammonds a clear run as he has the better chance of making an impact.

Wayne McDermott is running the BNP's campaign and he reported on its progress yesterday.

"We had a team of 26 out canvassing on Saturday and 22 on Sunday. There were 3 from Newcastle staying overnight and 4 from Cumbria joining us on the Sunday - the rest were all from the East Midlands, mainly Leicester.
"We scored some vital political points on Christmas Eve by cleaning some graffiti off a road sign. Labour had put out a leaflet with the candidate and MP standing under the sign saying they were cleaning up Ibstock but then did nothing about the graffiti. So it was left to the BNP to clean it and then we put out our own leaflet with a photo of their leaflet and one of us actually cleaning up the sign - what an own goal for Labour!

"The Labour campaign has been lacklustre. Several leaflets have been put out but the quality and content has been poor - they look a spent force despite this election being in the MP David Taylor's home ward (He has been out on an almost daily basis and is probably Labour's best activist). The Tories are working hard to keep the advantage they gained locally in May while the Lib-Dem campaign is very negative - attacking everyone - and they have also delivered two anti-BNP leaflets, one from Searchlight and one from the UAF. The Returning Officer is aware of this and will be monitoring their expenses.

"I think we will poll very well. The energy we have put in and the numbers we are getting out is leaving the other parties far behind campaign-wise. In some polling areas our 'Yes' numbers are way ahead of the 'No’s' while others are even. Heather is our difficult district and it's where the MP lives. We are behind here although the strong showing from the Tories here could split the non-BNP vote and might just leave a crack in the door open for us.

"On the negative side I don’t feel we have canvassed enough - just 2 sweeps, although we have put out several leaflets and completed a mail merge. It was hard to knock on doors during Christmas as people don’t want to talk about politics during the festive period.

"I have just been writing down a few names of the people who have been out on the streets helping in this election and have already reached a total of 62 but may have missed a few off. This shows we have a credible electioneering machine here in the East Midlands, quite the contrary to what our opponents have been saying."

This is good news from Wayne especially in the light of a posting on the website called This is a cosy Lab/Con/Lib-Dem site which discusses local by-elections. I tried to join but they rejected my application!

One contributor claiming to be in the know made this recent posting:

"I would have expected the BNP to do well here, but it seems that most of their local group in NW Leicestershire have joined the rebels in their current internal disputes- so I do not expect they have done much more here than leaflet the ward. Regardless, would expect them to poll 15-20% here."

And after Ibstock there might be some news about the High Court contested election for Burnley Council's Rosegrove Ward.

Burnley organiser Chris Vanns reports:

"John Rowe is in London at the Royal Courts of Justice tomorrow for a hearing to determine a time and place for the announcement of the decision on his petition to overturn the result of the Rosegrove ward election last May.
"There is pressure to move this announcement to Burnley, but John wants to have it in London as it will go before judges there as opposed to a just a barrister in Burnley"

I expect BNPtv will be at the court so keep watching its website for news of the outcome.

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