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October 2, 2014

British National Party expel ex-leader Nick Griffin

British National Party expel ex-leader Nick Griffin

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Thursday, October 2, 2014

File photo of Nick Griffin in 2009.
Image: britishnationalism.

The British National Party (BNP), a UK political party, has expelled Nick Griffin, previously for fifteen years its leader. The party stated they informed Griffin of their decision yesterday and gave multiple reasons for the expulsion, including distributing inaccurate information, trying to damage the party’s public image, harassment of staff members, and defying instructions given to him by current leader Adam Walker. Griffin has said he was “‘expelled’ without trial” and the BNP violated its constitution.

Cquote1.svg Only thing is that the ruling Wigton Soviet are operating outside the constitution so I shall ignore their plastic gangster games Cquote2.svg

Nick Griffin

Griffin was BNP chairman until July, when he quit the role and became honorary president; acting chairman Adam Walker took his place. Griffin was elected North West England MEP (Member of the European Parliament) in 2009 but lost the seat in the 2014 election.

Under Griffin’s tenure, the party reportedly experienced an increase in success, gaining more than 50 councillors in the UK and two MEPs in 2009, Griffin being one and the other Andrew Brons. However, more recently the party has reportedly had monetary difficulties and internal disputes, as well as disagreements over what attitudes the party should adopt. Brons departed from the BNP in 2012 and went on to form his own political party, the British Democratic Party.

The BNP’s political support has significantly declined in recent years; its percentage vote share in the European Parliament elections in North West England dipped from 6.1% in 2009 to 1.9% in 2014, while most of the party’s councillors have lost their positions. Also, in January Nick Griffin was declared bankrupt.

“This has been a difficult decision to make and not one taken lightly”, a member of a conduct committee within the BNP commented. “Although we all appreciate that Nick has achieved a lot for our Party in the past, we must also remember that the Party is bigger than any individual. Nick did not adjust well to being given the honourary title of President and it soon became obvious that he was unable to work as an equal member of the team and alarmingly his behaviour became more erratic and disruptive.”

The conduct committee said they made their decision because of Griffin’s behaviour, which included “preparing a ‘report’ which tells lies about key Party personnel and finances and approving the leak of these damaging and defamatory allegations onto the internet”, “harassing members of BNP staff and in at least one case making physical threats”, “bringing the Party into disrepute through public statements”, “publishing, causing to be published or being reckless as to the publication of untrue allegations against the Party in the form of e-mails giving a false account of [his] bankruptcy situation” and “disobeying legitimate, constitutional instructions given to [him] by our Chairman, Adam Walker aimed at preventing damage to the reputation and unity of the Party.”

Griffin’s response to this expulsion from the party was to tweet: “Breaking news! I’ve just been ‘expelled’ without trial from the #BNP! That’ll teach me to tell a member of staff he’s a ‘useless, lazy twat'”. In a later tweet, he added: “Only thing is that the ruling Wigton Soviet are operating outside the constitution so I shall ignore their plastic gangster games.”



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May 8, 2010

British National Party loses all seats in Barking & Dagenham after elections

British National Party loses all seats in Barking & Dagenham after elections

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Saturday, May 8, 2010

BNP leader Nick Griffin
Image: Mrmurrey.

Unite Against Fascism rallies against the BNP in 2009
Image: James M Thorne.

The British National Party (BNP) has lost all 12 of its councilors in Barking & Dagenham, London in local elections. The new local council will be composed entirely of councillors from the Labour Party, with no BNP candidate placing higher than fourth in any of the authority’s 13 wards.

Before the election, it had been considered possible that the BNP might control Barking & Dagenham Council, giving the party, which believes that immigrants, Muslims and non-whites represent a threat to the United Kingdom, control of a local authority for the first time in its history. The BNP has played the role of official opposition in Barking & Dagenham since 2006. The BNP has no MPs but party leader Nick Griffin, as well as party member Andrew Brons, represent regions of northern England in the European Parliament.

Griffin also failed in his attempt to unseat Margaret Hodge in the UK general election in Barking, his party losing support in Barking compared to the 2005 general election.

Many anti-far right groups such as Unite Against Fascism, Searchlight and Hope Not Hate had been involved in campaigning in Barking & Dagenham, with marches, rallies and door-to-door canvassing taking place daily in the lead-up to the election. A spokesman for the Youth Fight For Jobs campaign, which organised a march against both Nick Griffin and Margaret Hodge in Barking, said of the defeat of the BNP: “I think it shows the value of campaigning work and spreading a positive alternative. The danger of the BNP is still there and so we need to continue campaigning and putting forward a positive alternative.”

The BNP also suffered from internal dissent late in the election, with its former webmaster launching a scathing attack on the party’s internal operations and accusing it of corruption the day before voting booths opened. The party’s finances are also under investigation by the Electoral Commission.



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August 21, 2009

Police charge two people for leaking database of BNP members

Police charge two people for leaking database of BNP members

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Friday, August 21, 2009

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Police charged two people for Data Protection Act offences in relation to the November 2008 leak of the members list of the far-right British National Party (BNP).

Following a joint investigation between Dyfed-Powys Police and the Information Commissioner’s Office, a 27-year-old man and 30-year-old woman were arrested and charged under Section 55 of the Data Protection Act 1998. The pair lived in Nottinghamshire, England at the time of their arrest. They will appear before a Magistrates’ Court on September 1.

The leaked list is available online, and contains personal information of about 10,000 BNP members, including information on their family, work and contact details. Despite a High Court injunction to prevent the list from being published, it is available on numerous websites.

The list revealed the BNP had members who were lawyers, doctors, police officers, teachers and servicemen. Certain professions forbid BNP membership, and the list’s publication resulted in several dismissals.

A spokesman for the BNP praised the police and Crown Prosecution Service for treating it “seriously”, stating that the leak had caused “a lot of distress”.

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July 23, 2009

British schoolboy found guilty of racial harassment of schoolgirl

British schoolboy found guilty of racial harassment of schoolgirl

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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Crime and law
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A 15-year-old schoolboy was found guilty in Lincoln Youth Court in England yesterday of racial harrassment of a 14-year-old schoolgirl. The case is regarded as a landmark case, the first such case of its kind.

Raymond Wildsmith, prosecuting, described the events. The boy had for a period of several months taunted the girl with racial epithets including “wog, coon, nigger, gorilla, and golliwog”. He had told her to “Go back to your own country. You don’t belong here.”, and chanted “White, white, white is right, kick them out, fight, fight, fight.”

Unidentified sources told the Daily Mail that the boy had supported the British National Party, and had attempted to enlist other youths as supporters as well.

The girl, who was of mixed English and African heritage, had already changed schools once to avoid racial abuse. She initially did not report the abuse at the new school, for fear that the boy would turn violent. The girl’s parents first learned of it when she attempted to commit suicide, in January, by taking a combination of stress pills and painkillers. Her suicide note requested that people not wear black at her funeral. She ended up in hospital, and then “sectioned” (involuntarily committed under the provisions of § 4 the Mental Health Act) to a psychiatric institution for several weeks. She will now change schools again.

The boy was found guilty after a six-hour trial. He is scheduled for sentencing on August the 13th. Another 15-year-old boy charged with the same offence was found not guilty.

Under § 45 and Schedule 2 of the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999 and § 49 of the Children and Young Persons Act 1933, it is illegal in England and Wales for news reports to identify either of the children involved in the case.


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June 8, 2009

United Kingdom elects first British National Party members of European Parliament

United Kingdom elects first British National Party members of European Parliament

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Monday, June 8, 2009

Nick Griffin
Image: Mrmurrey.

The first members of parliament for the British National Party (BNP) were elected today, in the United Kingdom elections for the European Parliament. Nick Griffin, the leader of the party, was elected Member of the European Parliament in the North West England region, and Andrew Brons was elected in the Yorkshire and the Humber region. This is the first time that the BNP has won a parliamentary seat in any European Parliamentary or U.K. General Election.

Although the number of votes cast for the BNP in the North West England region in the 2009 election (132,094) was lower than the number of votes cast for the BNP (134,959) in the previous election in 2004, the percentage of the popular vote achieved by the BNP rose, from 6.4% to 8.0%, because of a lower overall voter turnout. Nick Robinson claimed this was because of the abolition in postal ballots in this years elections. He went on to say that BNP voters are more enthusiastic on voting, so their votes wouldn’t decline as much as other parties.

Similarly, in the Yorkshire and the Humber region, the number of votes cast for the party fell from 126,538 in the 2004 elections to 120,139 in the 2009 elections, but a lower turnout resulted in the party’s percentage share in the popular vote rising from 8.0% to 9.8%.

The BNP will now receive EU funding, in the form of MEP expenses and office and staff allowances. What it will receive will be governed by the Statute for Members of the European Parliament, new rules for MEP expenses introduced for the newly elected 2009 parliament. Mr Griffin and Mr Brons will each receive a €7,000 per month salary (formally, 38.5% of the basic salary of a judge at the European Court of Justice), paid from the EU budget, and a pension when they leave office. They will also be entitled to employ personal staff, whose salaries are also paid from the EU budget.

The election of BNP MEPs has caused protests. Mr Griffin was accosted by political protestors when he attended the vote counting on the night of June the 7th, and was forced to enter the building via a rear entrance. When he stepped forward to make his victory speech, after the result had been declared, all other parties’ candidates took the unusual step of leaving the stage.



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April 3, 2009

G20 protests: Inside a labour march

G20 protests: Inside a labour march – Wikinews, the free news source

G20 protests: Inside a labour march

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Wikinews accredited reporter Killing Vector traveled to the G-20 2009 summit protests in London with a group of protesters. This is his personal account.

Friday, April 3, 2009

London – “Protest”, says Ross Saunders, “is basically theatre”.

It’s seven a.m. and I’m on a mini-bus heading east on the M4 motorway from Cardiff toward London. I’m riding with seventeen members of the Cardiff Socialist Party, of which Saunders is branch secretary for the Cardiff West branch; they’re going to participate in a march that’s part of the protests against the G-20 meeting.

The South Wales protesters gathered on the steps of the National Museum, Cardiff
Image: Steve Chapple.

Before we boarded the minibus Saunders made a speech outlining the reasons for the march. He said they were “fighting for jobs for young people, fighting for free education, fighting for our share of the wealth, which we create.” His anger is directed at the government’s response to the economic downturn: “Now that the recession is underway, they’ve been trying to shoulder more of the burden onto the people, and onto the young people…they’re expecting us to pay for it.” He compared the protest to the Jarrow March and to the miners’ strikes which were hugely influential in the history of the British labour movement. The people assembled, though, aren’t miners or industrial workers — they’re university students or recent graduates, and the march they’re going to participate in is the Youth Fight For Jobs.

The Socialist Party was formerly part of the Labour Party, which has ruled the United Kingdom since 1997 and remains a member of the Socialist International. On the bus, Saunders and some of his cohorts — they occasionally, especially the older members, address each other as “comrade” — explains their view on how the split with Labour came about. As the Third Way became the dominant voice in the Labour Party, culminating with the replacement of Neil Kinnock with Tony Blair as party leader, the Socialist cadre became increasingly disaffected. “There used to be democratic structures, political meetings” within the party, they say. The branch meetings still exist but “now, they passed a resolution calling for renationalisation of the railways, and they [the party leadership] just ignored it.” They claim that the disaffection with New Labour has caused the party to lose “half its membership” and that people are seeking alternatives. Since the economic crisis began, Cardiff West’s membership has doubled, to 25 members, and the RMT has organized itself as a political movement running candidates in the 2009 EU Parliament election. The right-wing British National Party or BNP is making gains as well, though.

Talk on the bus is mostly political and the news of yesterday’s violence at the G-20 demonstrations, where a bank was stormed by protesters and 87 were arrested, is thick in the air. One member comments on the invasion of a RBS building in which phone lines were cut and furniture was destroyed: “It’s not very constructive but it does make you smile.” Another, reading about developments at the conference which have set France and Germany opposing the UK and the United States, says sardonically, “we’re going to stop all the squabbles — they’re going to unite against us. That’s what happens.” She recounts how, in her native Sweden during the Second World War, a national unity government was formed among all major parties, and Swedish communists were interned in camps, while Nazi-leaning parties were left unmolested.

The Youth Fight For Jobs assembles.
Image: Killing Vector.

In London around 11am the march assembles on Camberwell Green. About 250 people are here, from many parts of Britain; I meet marchers from Newcastle, Manchester, Leicester, and especially organized-labor stronghold Sheffield. The sky is grey but the atmosphere is convivial; five members of London’s Metropolitan Police are present, and they’re all smiling. Most marchers are young, some as young as high school age, but a few are older; some teachers, including members of the Lewisham and Sheffield chapters of the National Union of Teachers, are carrying banners in support of their students.

Cquote1.svg Gordon Brown’s a Tory/He wears a Tory hat/And when he saw our uni fees/He said ‘I’ll double that!’ Cquote2.svg

—Youth Fight for Jobs, chant #5

Stewards hand out sheets of paper with the words to call-and-response chants on them. Some are youth-oriented and education-oriented, like the jaunty “Gordon Brown’s a Tory/He wears a Tory hat/And when he saw our uni fees/He said ‘I’ll double that!'” (sung to the tune of the Lonnie Donegan song “My Old Man’s a Dustman”); but many are standbys of organized labour, including the infamous “workers of the world, unite!”. It also outlines the goals of the protest, as “demands”: “The right to a decent job for all, with a living wage of at least £8 and hour. No to cheap labour apprenticeships! for all apprenticeships to pay at least the minimum wage, with a job guaranteed at the end. No to university fees. support the campaign to defeat fees.” Another steward with a megaphone and a bright red t-shirt talks the assembled protesters through the basics of call-and-response chanting.

Police escorted the march along the entire length of its route.
Image: Killing Vector.

Finally the march gets underway, traveling through the London boroughs of Camberwell and Southwark. Along the route of the march more police follow along, escorting and guiding the march and watching it carefully, while a police van with flashing lights clears the route in front of it. On the surface the atmosphere is enthusiastic, but everyone freezes for a second as a siren is heard behind them; it turns out to be a passing ambulance.

The march enters the City of London. The top of The Gherkin, a symbol of London’s financial center, can be seen in the background.
Image: Killing Vector.

Crossing Southwark Bridge, the march enters the City of London, the comparably small but dense area containing London’s financial and economic heart. Although one recipient of the protesters’ anger is the Bank of England, the march does not stop in the City, only passing through the streets by the London Exchange. Tourists on buses and businessmen in pinstripe suits record snippets of the march on their mobile phones as it passes them; as it goes past a branch of HSBC the employees gather at the glass store front and watch nervously. The time in the City is brief; rather than continue into the very centre of London the march turns east and, passing the Tower of London, proceeds into the poor, largely immigrant neighbourhoods of the Tower Hamlets.

The march finds empty streets in the Tower Hamlets
Image: Killing Vector.

The sun has come out, and the spirits of the protesters have remained high. But few people, only occasional faces at windows in the blocks of apartments, are here to see the march and it is in Wapping High Street that I hear my first complaint from the marchers. Peter, a steward, complains that the police have taken the march off its original route and onto back streets where “there’s nobody to protest to”. I ask how he feels about the possibility of violence, noting the incidents the day before, and he replies that it was “justified aggression”. “We don’t condone it but people have only got certain limitations.”

Cquote1.svg There’s nobody to protest to! Cquote2.svg

—Peter, march steward

A policeman I ask is very polite but noncommittal about the change in route. “The students are getting the message out”, he says, so there’s no problem. “Everyone’s very well behaved” in his assessment and the atmosphere is “very positive”. Another protestor, a sign-carrying university student from Sheffield, half-heartedly returns the compliment: today, she says, “the police have been surprisingly unridiculous.”

Marchers chant labor slogans in Wapping

The march pauses just before it enters Cable Street. Here, in 1936, was the site of the Battle of Cable Street, and the march leader, addressing the protesters through her megaphone, marks the moment. She draws a parallel between the British Union of Fascists of the 1930s and the much smaller BNP today, and as the protesters follow the East London street their chant becomes “The BNP tell racist lies/We fight back and organise!”

Marchers take in lunch in Victoria Park. Speakers from organized labor address the crowd.
Image: Killing Vector.

In Victoria Park — “The People’s Park” as it was sometimes known — the march stops for lunch. The trade unions of East London have organized and paid for a lunch of hamburgers, hot dogs, french fries and tea, and, picnic-style, the marchers enjoy their meals as organized labor veterans give brief speeches about industrial actions from a small raised platform.

Cquote1.svg A demonstration is always a means to and end. Cquote2.svg

—Neil Cafferky, London organizer of the Youth Fight For Jobs march

During the rally I have the opportunity to speak with Neil Cafferky, a Galway-born Londoner and the London organizer of the Youth Fight For Jobs march. I ask him first about why, despite being surrounded by red banners and quotes from Karl Marx, I haven’t once heard the word “communism” used all day. He explains that, while he considers himself a Marxist and a Trotskyist, the word communism has negative connotations that would “act as a barrier” to getting people involved: the Socialist Party wants to avoid the discussion of its position on the USSR and disassociate itself from Stalinism. What the Socialists favor, he says, is “democratic planned production” with “the working class, the youths brought into the heart of decision making.”

On the subject of the police’s re-routing of the march, he says the new route is actually the synthesis of two proposals. Originally the march was to have gone from Camberwell Green to the Houses of Parliament, then across the sites of the 2012 Olympics and finally to the ExCel Centre. The police, meanwhile, wanted there to be no march at all.

The Metropolitan Police had argued that, with only 650 trained traffic officers on the force and most of those providing security at the ExCel Centre itself, there simply wasn’t the manpower available to close main streets, so a route along back streets was necessary if the march was to go ahead at all. Cafferky is sceptical of the police explanation. “It’s all very well having concern for health and safety,” he responds. “Our concern is using planning to block protest.”

He accuses the police and the government of having used legal, bureaucratic and even violent means to block protests. Talking about marches having to defend themselves, he says “if the police set out with the intention of assaulting marches then violence is unavoidable.” He says the police have been known to insert “provocateurs” into marches, which have to be isolated. He also asserts the right of marches to defend themselves when attacked, although this “must be done in a disciplined manner”.

He says he wasn’t present at yesterday’s demonstrations and so can’t comment on the accusations of violence against police. But, he says, there is often provocative behavior on both sides. Rather than reject violence outright, Cafferky argues that there needs to be “clear political understanding of the role of violence” and calls it “counter-productive”.

Demonstration overall, though, he says, is always a useful tool, although “a demonstration is always a means to an end” rather than an end in itself. He mentions other ongoing industrial actions such as the occupation of the Visteon plant in Enfield; 200 fired workers at the factory have been occupying the plant since April 1, and states the solidarity between the youth marchers and the industrial workers.

Members of the International Bolshevik Tendency display signs and sell literature in Victoria Park
Image: Killing Vector.

I also speak briefly with members of the International Bolshevik Tendency, a small group of left-wing activists who have brought some signs to the rally. The Bolsheviks say that, like the Socialists, they’re Trotskyists, but have differences with them on the idea of organization; the International Bolshevik Tendency believes that control of the party representing the working class should be less democratic and instead be in the hands of a team of experts in history and politics. Relations between the two groups are “chilly”, says one.

A march steward calls out a chant

At 2:30 the march resumes. Rather than proceeding to the ExCel Centre itself, though, it makes its way to a station of London’s Docklands Light Railway; on the way, several of East London’s school-aged youths join the march, and on reaching Canning Town the group is some 300 strong. Proceeding on foot through the borough, the Youth Fight For Jobs reaches the protest site outside the G-20 meeting.

Police cover all roads leading into the ExCel Centre.
Image: Killing Vector.

It’s impossible to legally get too close to the conference itself. Police are guarding every approach, and have formed a double cordon between the protest area and the route that motorcades take into and out of the conference venue. Most are un-armed, in the tradition of London police; only a few even carry truncheons. Closer to the building, though, a few machine gun-armed riot police are present, standing out sharply in their black uniforms against the high-visibility yellow vests of the Metropolitan Police. The G-20 conference itself, which started a few hours before the march began, is already winding down, and about a thousand protesters are present.

A speaker demands an end to dictatorship in Ethiopia

I see three large groups: the Youth Fight For Jobs avoids going into the center of the protest area, instead staying in their own group at the admonition of the stewards and listening to a series of guest speakers who tell them about current industrial actions and the organization of the Youth Fight’s upcoming rally at UCL. A second group carries the Ogaden National Liberation Front’s flag and is campaigning for recognition of an autonomous homeland in eastern Ethiopia. Others protesting the Ethiopian government make up the third group; waving old Ethiopian flags, including the Lion of Judah standard of emperor Haile Selassie, they demand that foreign aid to Ethiopia be tied to democratization in that country: “No recovery without democracy”.

Ogaden Somalis demand an autonomous homeland.
Image: Killing Vector.

A set of abandoned signs tied to bollards indicate that the CND has been here, but has already gone home; they were demanding the abandonment of nuclear weapons. But apart from a handful of individuals with handmade, cardboard signs I see no groups addressing the G-20 meeting itself, other than the Youth Fight For Jobs’ slogans concerning the bailout. But when a motorcade passes, catcalls and jeers are heard.

It’s now 5pm and, after four hours of driving, five hours marching and one hour at the G-20, Cardiff’s Socialists are returning home. I board the bus with them and, navigating slowly through the snarled London traffic, we listen to BBC Radio 4. The news is reporting on the closure of the G-20 conference; while they take time out to mention that Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper delayed the traditional group photograph of the G-20’s world leaders because “he was on the loo”, no mention is made of today’s protests. Those listening in the bus are disappointed by the lack of coverage.

Most people on the return trip are tired. Many sleep. Others read the latest issue of The Socialist, the Socialist Party’s newspaper. Mia quietly sings “The Internationale” in Swedish.

Due to the traffic, the journey back to Cardiff will be even longer than the journey to London. Over the objections of a few of its members, the South Welsh participants in the Youth Fight For Jobs stop at a McDonald’s before returning to the M4 and home.



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June 27, 2008

Gordon Brown\’s troubled first year

Gordon Brown’s troubled first year – Wikinews, the free news source

Gordon Brown’s troubled first year

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Friday, June 27, 2008

The right Honourable British Prime Minister Gordon Brown (Labour Party)

A year since taking up residence at No. 10 Downing street, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and his Labour Party is already in trouble after losing a local election, finishing fifth after previously win-less political parties and popularity rating at an all time low.

Health Minister Ben Bradshaw described the party’s loss to the British National Party and to the Greens as a, “terrible loss” and blamed the economic conditions such as rising food and fuel costs as factors that dampens the Labour Party’s appeal with the public.

Conservative Party leader David Cameron countered Bradshaw’s opinion by saying, Mr. Brown was to blame for the economic distress. Cameroon cited the Prime Minister’s ten years of handling the economy as minister prior to assuming office when Tony Blair stepped down last year.

The by-elections in Henley were won by Tory John Howell with a majority of over 10,000 votes, defeating by a large margin the Liberal Democrats who were presumed to have a close edge of beating both Conservatives and Labour. Labour threw in their support with Richard McKenzie who only garnered 3% of the votes behind the BNP and Greens.

Henley called for an election when its representative Boris Johnson was elected Lord Mayor of the City of London.



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May 2, 2008

Johnson ousts Livingstone in London mayoral election

Johnson ousts Livingstone in London mayoral election

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Friday, May 2, 2008

Candidates

Boris Johnson

Ken Livingstone

Sian Berry

Winston McKenzie

Matt O’Connor

Brian Paddick

Please click on the images to see the authors

Boris Johnson has been declared the winner of London’s mayoral election. The Daily Telegraph called the victory overwhelming, given how close recent opinion polls had been. Results were delayed by record turnout.

Johnson thanked his family and party activists for helping him win what he termed a “marathon election.” The mayor-elect also paid tribute to Livingstone by saying the incumbent had the “thanks and admiration of millions of Londoners” for his years of service as mayor.

The people of the United Kingdom’s capital city of London voted yesterday in mayoral elections.

In the London elections voters chose both their first and second preference for Mayor of London. The incumbent mayor is Ken Livingstone.

Many polls were carried out before the election. One of the earliest, carried out by YouGov and the London Policy Institute showed a clear lead for Livingstone. A poll carried out near the end of 2007, however, showed that Livingstone was only one percentage point clear of Boris Johnson.

More recent polls, including one carried out by YouGov for Evening Standard showed a narrow lead for Johnson. Other polls, however, like the one taken for UNISON continued to show a clear lead for Livingstone.

Below are the latest results:

London Mayoral Election 2008 – Results
Name Party 1st preference Second preference
Richard Barnbrook British National Party 69,710
Gerard Batten United Kingdom Independence Party 22,422
Siân Berry Green Party of England and Wales 77,374
Alan Craig Christian Peoples Alliance 39,249
Lindsey German Left List 16,796
Boris Johnson Conservative Party 1,043,761 124,977
Ken Livingstone Labour Party 893,877 135,089
Winston McKenzie Independent 5,389
Matt O’Connor English Democrats Party 10,695
Brian Paddick Liberal Democrats 236,685



Related news

  • “Results of British local elections announced” — Wikinews, May 2, 2008
  • “Livingstone brands Boris ‘a joke’ in London mayoral elections” — Wikinews, April 30, 2008

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  • London Elects – the official site of London Elects, the independent body in charge of organizing the election of the Mayor of London and the London Assembly
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November 27, 2007

Students protest Holocaust denier\’s appearance at Oxford debate

Students protest Holocaust denier’s appearance at Oxford debate

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Protesters opposed to Nick Griffin and David Irving.
Image: Shimgray.

A group of about 500 demonstrators protested the presence of David Irving, an English historian and convicted Holocaust denier, at a debate at Oxford University on Monday. The students broke into the Oxford Union building where the debate was being held and delayed the debate for over an hour.

British riot police were on the scene to maintain the peace. The demonstrators gathered in front of the building hours before the debate was to begin and later staged a sit-down protest in the building’s halls. Only half of the people who had tickets to the debate were able to enter the building due to the protests. David Irving and Nick Griffin, a leader of the far-right British National Party who also participated in the debate, were forced to be separated and placed in different rooms. One protester was reportedly injured after a blow to the head.

The Oxford Union building where the debate was held.

The topic of the debate was free speech. It was organized by the Oxford Union, who voted Friday to allow Irving to speak, amid controversy. The protest was organized by the activist group Unite Against Fascism, as well as members of the Oxford University Student Union and Oxford’s Jewish and Muslim societies.

Luke Tryl, president of the Oxford Union, defended the decision to allow Irving to speak, saying that the purpose of the debate was to discuss the limits of free speech, not to give the speakers a platform from which to endorse their views. Ned Temko, chief political correspondent of The Observer, disagreed, saying, “It’s not a question about giving them a platform, it’s about giving them credibility.”

From February to December 2006, David Irving was jailed in Austria after being convicted of identifying with the Nazi Party. He has written several books which deny the Holocaust and support the views of Adolf Hitler. In 1998, an English court found that he is “an active Holocaust denier; that he is anti-Semitic and racist and that he associates with right-wing extremists who promote neo-Nazism.” Nick Griffin is the National Chairman of the British National Party, a nationalist group known for its anti-immigration and anti-Muslim policies. In 1998, he was also convicted of denying the Holocaust.



Sources

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May 4, 2007

Party supporting Scottish independence from UK wins elections

Party supporting Scottish independence from UK wins elections

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Friday, May 4, 2007

Debating chamber in Scottish Parliament building
Image: Pschemp.

The Scottish National Party (SNP), which supports Scottish independence from the UK, has pulled off a historic, albeit narrow, victory in yesterday’s Scottish elections.

In the third Scottish election since the opening of the Scottish Parliament in 1999, the left of centre SNP beat the ruling Labour Party by a single seat. It won 47 seats, while Labour won 46, down from the current 50.

It is the first time since the parliament opened that Labour has been beaten, and the first time in fifty years that they have not had a majority of Scottish constituency seats in any election.

SNP leader Alex Salmond declared: “Scotland has changed for good and forever.” He added that the Labour Party had “lost the moral authority to govern Scotland.”

The current First Minister of Scotland, Jack McConnell of Labour said: “While I recognise that the SNP are the largest party by the narrowest of margins, Alex Salmond must himself recognise that he does not have a majority in the Scottish Parliament or anywhere near a majority of the vote.”

It is believed that many factors caused the Labour vote to slump and the SNP vote to rise, including the war in Iraq and the renewal of Trident, which are both unpopular in Scotland.

The election also raises a serious dilemma for the Labour party’s Gordon Brown, a Scotsman widely tipped to succeed Tony Blair as the next prime minister of the United Kingdom. Brown is vehement in his support of the Union, and is a Westminster (London parliament) MP for Kirkcaldy. An SNP government in Scotland will find itself facing the very Labour party it beat in power in London.

Turnout was up 2% on the last Scottish election.

Controversy

The election was highly controversial, not least for having three separate systems, running in tandem –

  • A constituency vote, which was “first past the post”, and for a candidate.
  • A regional list vote, which was additional member system, and was for a party.
  • A local authority (council) vote, which was Single Transferable Vote, and in which parties could field more than one candidate in a ward.

The three systems, along with difficulties with electronic counting meant that maybe as many as one hundred thousand ballot papers were “spoiled”. In addition, there was also huge problems with the postal vote.

Due to the extensive computer problems, votes had to be cancelled early on Friday morning, and postponed to later in the day.

Many other problems beset the election, with a helicopter from the Western Isles constituency being held up by fog, and a boat carrying ballot papers from the Isle of Arran, breaking down in the Firth of Clyde.

Other parties

In addition to the SNP and Labour, the other parties results’ were as follows –

  • Conservative and Unionist – 17 members.
  • Liberal Democrats – 16 members.
  • Scottish Greens – 2 members.
  • Independent – 1 (Margo MacDonald, formerly of the SNP)

The Scottish Socialist Party, Solidarity and the Scottish Senior Citizens Unity Party were all wiped out.

In order to establish a majority in the Scottish Parliament, the SNP must form a coalition with one or more of these parties. The Liberal Democrats, who were in coalition with the Labour party in the first two terms of the Scottish parliament, are a possibility.

Other parties that campaigned for seats in Holyrood included the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), the British National Party (BNP), the Scottish Unionist Party, the Scottish Socialist Labour Party, the Christian Peoples Alliance and the Scottish Christian Party.

Gains and losses

The Scottish National Party, while not gaining the landslide it had wished for, made breakthroughs in Glasgow (Govan), Edinburgh (Edinburgh East) and also took both seats in Dundee.

The Liberal Democrats gained seats in Dunfermline West, but their losses mean the number of seats they hold is unchanged.

Wales and England

While the Scottish election was going on, the Welsh were also having their election for the Welsh Assembly. Plaid Cymru gained a seat from Labour at Llanelli. The Conservatives had their best showing since the Assembly began.

The final results show that the membership for the new assembly will be:-

Labour 26 -4 Plaid Cymru 15 +3 Conservatives 12 +1 Liberal Democrats 6 – Independent 1 –

In England, the elections were more minor, dealing only with local authorities. However they can be an important indicator of how battleground seats might go in the General Election, expected in 2-3 years time. The Conservatives made the greatest gains, but did not make the breakthrough in Northern England that they would have hoped. The Liberal Democrats did not make the advances that they had hoped, and stayed at more or less the same level. Elsewhere, Cornish regionalists Mebyon Kernow gained an extra seat bringing their total to seven, and the Eurosceptic United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) and Liberal Party (not to be confused with the Liberal Democrats) gained seats in several areas of England.

Sources

Wikipedia
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Scottish Parliament election, 2007
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