As previously mentioned, there were local elections in England this month but none here in Telford as our cycle of elections means we have to wait until 2015 for our next chance at dispensing with the status quo.
In the last election in Telford & Wrekin we had candidates from Labour, the Conservatives, the Lib Dems, TAWPA, UKIP and the BNP as well as independents of course. The BNP are, thankfully, virtually non-existent in Telford & Wrekin and only managed to field one candidate last year. The nationwide collapse of the BNP will hopefully wipe them out completely in Telford & Wrekin but sadly there is another party filling the void left by the collapse of the BNP – the English Democrats.
The English Democrats have been trying to build their profile up in Telford where they are largely unknown with letters to the Shropshire Star saying what they would do if elected. There is, to the best of our knowledge, only one member of the English Democrats in Telford & Wrekin but elsewhere in England, the English Democrats have been swelling their ranks with BNP members. What this has translated to nationally is 43% of English Democrats candidates in this month’s local elections being ex-BNP members.
Clearly this is a worrying development because while the BNP are well known, the English Democrats aren’t and despite attracting the unwanted attention of the likes of Hope Not Hate and Unite Against Fascism who oppose parties like the BNP and the English Democrats they have escaped the same negative publicity that the BNP get. The English Democrats ended up losing the 2 seats they were contesting (both were BNP councillors who had joined the English Democrats) and didn’t really come close to winning anywhere in this month’s election so it is unlikely they would actually manage to get anyone elected in Telford & Wrekin but there is a danger that enough people could be taken in by their apparently respectable front and give them some sense of legitimacy.
We will, of course, check the background of any English Democrats candidate or activist in Telford & Wrekin as soon as they become known.