I SHALL be scanning the Newcastle Chronicle today for Gerry Gable and Searchlight's comment on last night's Fenham Ward by-election in the City. Remember my prediction of yesterday that he will say:
"This result does not reflect a rise in the Party's popularity in the area. They have always had a strong base in Newcastle, so this is no great shock."
I would hazard a guess that with the year just one month old and with only four BNP results to date in 2009, Gerry's £multi-million deal with the Labour Party and Trade Unions to stem the votes of the BNP, is already in jeopardy. I'm thinking of starting a campaign to get Labour and the Unions to switch the funding to Weyman Bennett and the SWP's UAF - at least they can't do any worse than Gerry and his gang.
Joking aside, what a result last night. Beyond our most optimistic expectations. That sprightly young sapling, Ken Booth, had told me that he had wanted to close the gap on Labour and the Lib-Dems and put distance between the BNP and the Tories. Mission achieved. He also told me that he would be delighted to double the BNP's share of the vote. Mission achieved and more . . . . he trebled the vote.
East Midlands Election Officer, Wayne McDermott, an expert number cruncher on elections, told me late last night as we waited for the result that 18% would be a brilliant vote and would keep our Party's election momentum 'on high' . . . Ken received a 27% share of the vote!
As the editor of Freedom, I'm especially delighted with this result. It was the third election that has used a blanket distribution of the latest Freedom as a pre-canvassing warm-up 'leaflet'. In Workington, Whitehaven and Newcastle we have achieved votes beyond expectation, so I'm hopeful that the BNP's Advisory Council will give its approval to roll out this scheme nationwide. Next election up, where this has been done, will be Tameside on Thursday.
Congratulations to all those hard-working activists who made this result possible. I know Cumbria's Election officer Clive Jefferson and his team were regular visitors to Fenham, and it is this sort of co-operation between our two regions that made this campaign such a success. Next stop for us in Cumbria, is two city council elections in Carlisle next month.
And finally, on another great Friday for the British National Party, two bits of news about UKIP. I'm not going to comment on the items but will just make one plea to any UKIP members reading this blog - don't waste your time, energy or money on this lame duck. If you believe you are a British nationalist then your home is with us.
Statement from the Electoral Commission
22 Jan 2009
The Electoral Commission today (Thursday 22 January 2009) welcomed the decision of the High Court to order the re-hearing of a case concerning donations to the UK Independence Party. The Commission had brought a judicial review of the decision by Westminster Magistrates Court to order UKIP to forfeit only £18,481 of £367,697 in impermissible donations that the party had accepted. A re-hearing will take place at Westminster Magistrates Court.
Commenting on the decision, a Commission spokesperson said: We sought judicial review of the original decision of the Magistrates Court because we thought that it was important for parties, the public and for the Commission for there to be greater clarity about how the rules on forfeiture of impermissible political donations are applied.
The judgement has set out considerations that should be taken into account when a court is deciding cases about impermissible donations. In particular, these must include Parliaments intention when passing the legislation that the test for permissibility of a donation by an individual to a political party is whether the donor is on the electoral register.
Political parties are vital to the health of our democracy and they need to raise money to campaign, develop policy and communicate with voters. However, it is also important that they follow the rules on party funding.
Dear UKIP member,
We are writing this letter more in sorrow than in anger. At a time when every effort should be directed to our June election campaign, the NEC is wasting time and money on divisive and controversial changes to the UKIP constitution. It is now holding a members' referendum on this.
What is worse, the purpose seems to be to make it easier to get rid of members at a time when we should be concentrating on the reverse - expanding our membership. The changes will stifle freedom of expression within the party and reduce and weaken the power of members:
Amendments 6 and 19 (VOTE 2) The changes abolish the annual business meeting. Members will be deprived of their current absolute right to *vote* annual on the Party's accounts at a meeting of all members and to *receive* annual reports from all national officers. Yet the Party should belong to its members and the leadership should be accountable to them.
Amendments to 14 (VOTE 4) the changes will *abolish the democratic right* of members to elect a Disciplinary Committee at the annual business meeting. Instead a Disciplinary Panel of three will be selected arbitrarily by the unelected Party Secretary from a "pool" of about 55 people, themselves appointed by regional committees. Further changes will give the unelected Party Chairman (appointed by the Leader) arbitrary powers to suspend temporarily any member for any reason without a hearing.
These changes are worthy of the EU itself - *reducing* accountability and democracy.
Given that the leadership launched this attack on members' rights and is now asking your view, we feel it right to present the case against. We ask you to vote *AGAINST* all changes but particularly Vote 2 and Vote 4. The other changes are simply needless.
In less than six months voters will be choosing their MEPs. *UKIP should be campaigning now for a major breakthrough*. yet it is low on the opinion polls and short of campaign funds.
The NEC discussed the coming campaign for the first time only a few days ago. Meanwhile it has been wasting energy on feauding and squabbles. It then launched a witchhunt for imagined enemies within. Two NEC members elected by the members were summarily kicked off the NEC; their crime apparently being to express their own opinions (and absolutely nothing to do with the BNP as some have tried to imply). The deputy Treasurer was similarly removed. Ordinary members have been thrown out without being given the right to any hearing.
We condemn this navel-gazing and misdirection of effort. It must stop. We call on the leadership to accept that any democratic party is bound to have a spread of views; that intellectual debate can be healthy and that, amazingly, the Leader, the Chairman and the NEC may not always be right.
As promonent UKIP members we call on the Party to unite, dispose of this distraction quickly *by voting against these unneeded changes* and concentrate on the proper task in hand.
Sir Richard Body, was MP for 39 years
Tim Congdon CBE, leading economist
Roger Knapman MEP, former Party Leader and MP
Dr. Eric Edmond, elected NEC member
Piers Merchant, former UKIP Chief Executive and MP
Bruce Lawson FCA, former UKIP Treasurer
Martin Haslam FCA, former UKIP deputy treasurer
Del Young, elected NEC member
Dr. David Abbott, elected NEC member
Have a great weekend. Big FA Trophy game for me with Workington entertaining Wrexham. The last time the two sides met was 29 years ago when both teams were still in the Football League. Hopefully there will be a 1,000 plus gate at Borough Park tomorrow.