Thursday, 15 October 2009

Why are the BNP doing so well in Barnsley?

The Star is reporting that Labour is likely to lose its overall majority of Barnsley Council. They look to be heading towards defeat at the hands the BNP in the St Helens ward by-election tonight. Barnsley has had a Labour council since the 1930's, but the BNP are fast becoming a force to be reckoned with.

Why are the BNP doing so well in Barnsley? Does this high level of support mean that is Barnsley a town chock full of racists? The straight answer is no. I'm from Barnsley and I can assure you that it is not an hotbed of racial hatred. So why are the good people of Barnsley voting for a party that has racist policies?

To understand this puzzle you need to look at Barnsley's recent history. In the last thirty years, Barnsley has changed drastically from a working town with decent wages, into a dying town with nothing but the dole, the sick and the minimum wage. Since the pits closed in the 80's, Barnsley has become a town of call centres surrounded by boarded up shops and factories.

Barnsley's industrial collapse has lead to widespread poverty, low paid jobs and a reliance on the state. That's bad enough for any town, but when you throw high levels of immigration into the mix, the situation becomes desperate for many locals. Well paid jobs are hard to come by in Barnsley, and some of the low paid jobs that would normally get school leavers onto the work ladder, are being taken up by EU migrant workers.

There is another surprising factor that has aided the BNP's growing support in the Barnsley area - Barnsley until very recently was about as ethnically un-diverse as you could possibly get. I went to an High School in Wombwell (a small town in Barnsley) during the 80's and you could count the number of non-white pupils on one hand. I don't even remember any kids with foreign accents. Barnsley is simply not used to immigration and people have a fear of the unknown.

So you have a large town that has lost its major industry - has never seen much in the way of immigration - suddenly hit by an influx of foreign men and women willing to work for minimum wage. This leaves desperate locals, who feel let down by Labour, willing to ignore the less pleasant aspects of a BNP that is promising jobs and prosperity for their families (WWII?). The failure is of course the government's for allowing large scale immigration to an already struggling area.

Barnsley is a perfect breeding ground for the BNP. The people have lost of faith in the Labour Party and have a strong dislike of the Conservative party. The majority of those voting BNP are not doing so because they share their racist views - it's because they feel that they have no one else to vote for.

It's shameful that my home town is becoming associated with racism. It's time for all the major parties to stand up, pull their fingers out, and do something real to stop this spreading to other struggling towns.


Chris said...

Barnsley was also hit hard by the recession in the 1970s, with businesses going to the wall. It's all very sad.

Anonymous said...

Im sorry but all this about people voting for the BNP due to the recession and poverty is misleading

Those in the St Helens ward are decent working class people, who have always voted Labour however the current policies on immigration,crime and anti-social behaviour, and the fact that the muslim communities appear to be expanding and insisting on their own laws etc shows that, they are not prepared to integrate in our communities or indeed this country.

People are becomming very concerned indeed after years of asking the main stream politicians to do something.

The people of St Helens may not verbally voice their concearns, but they will certainly show their displeasure through the ballot box.


Anonymous said...

It's really very simple.
If you are traditional labour voter who is badly disillusioned with the party (as many are) who do you vote for?
Let's face it you aren't going to vote Tory.
If you are Scottish or Welsh you can vote for the Nats but they don't stand in Barnsley.
As a friend of mine (in Oldham) puts it "I vote BNP to frighten the B******s into doing something"

William Gruff said...

What are 'the less pleasant aspects' of the BNP? Many writers cite these aspects without actually describing them but I think that those advocating alternatives should take the trouble to explain what the alternatives they advocate are the alternative to, and how their advocated alternatives are better. At present all anyone hears are vague promises at best and cheap point scoring jibes at worst.

What people are desperate for is a new certainty, of the sort they could vote for in 1979, when the good voters of Barnsley did not vote for the certainty on offer then. Unable to vote for The Grooovey One's 'possible, perhaps, maybe' uncertainties now, they vote without fear or prejudice for whom they see as the best candidate for king.

I wrote a post about it, in which I linked contemporary concerns over working class voting intentions with the sneers of those who, seventy and more years ago, thought that if miners were given baths they would use them to keep coal in.

People can make up their own minds and if the people vote BNP it is because they are minded to do so, and their democratic decision cannot be denied. There is nothing 'shameful' about democracy.

This machine kills fascists said...


the tories fucked Barnsley over good and proper in the 80s as they did with most of northern Britain - exactly the places where the BNP are enjoying so much success. Working class areas with nothing going for them anymore.

Nice one.

Anonymous said...

That may be so, but what the f*ck have New Labour done for the North over the last 12 years? Knobhead...

Anonymous said...

PS: Do you actually know what "Fascism" means?

Jamie McMahon said...

I'm afraid your prediction of Labour losing control of the council at tonight's by election bares no truth at all. Infact Labour increased its vote massively from the last election and trebled its majority to 930 with a result of: Lab 1520, BNP 590, 'Barnsley OIs' 171, UKIP 94, Con 89, Lib Dem 78.

The people of St. Helens have made it clear that despite hard work from the BNP they do not represent their views and that they will stand true to the slogan: NOT IN MY NAME

Jamie McMahon said...

And to the person who asks what Labour has done in the last 12 years I say: read this list:

Labour's top 50 achievements since being elected in 1997:

1. Longest period of sustained low inflation since the 60s
2. Low mortgage rates
3. Introduced the National Minimum Wage and raised it to £5.35
4. Record police numbers in England, Scotland and Wales
5. Cut overall crime by 35 per cent
6. Record levels of literacy and numeracy in schools
7. Best-ever primary school results
8. Funding for every pupil in England to double by 2008
9. Employment is at its highest level ever
10. Written off up to 100 per cent of debt owed by poorest countries
11. 85,000 more nurses
12. 32,000 more doctors
13. Brought back matrons to hospital wards
14. Devolved power to the Scottish Parliament
15. Devolved power to Welsh Assembly
16. Dads now get paternity leave of 2 weeks for the first time
17. NHS Direct offering free convenient patient advice
18. Gift aid was worth £625 million to charities last year
19. Restored city-wide government to London
20. Record number of students in higher education
21. Child benefit up 25 per cent since 1997
22. Created Sure Start to help children from low income households
23. Introduced the Disability Rights Commission
24. £200 winter fuel payment to pensioners & extra £100 for over-80s
25. On course to exceed the Kyoto target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2010
26. Negotiated the historic Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland
27. Over 30,000 more teachers in England schools
28. All workers now have a right to 4 weeks’ paid holiday
29. A million pensioners lifted out of relative poverty
30. 800,000 children lifted out of relative poverty
31. Introduced child tax credit giving more money to parents
32. Scrapped Section 28 and introduced Civil Partnerships
33. Brought over 1 million social homes up to standard
34. Free school milk for five, six and seven-year-olds in Wales
35. Banned fox hunting
36. Cleanest rivers, beaches, drinking water and air since the industrial revolution
37. Free TV licences for over-75s
38. Banned fur farming and the testing of cosmetics on animals
39. Waiting times for operations halved
40. Free local bus travel for over-60s
41. New Deal - helped over a million people into work
42. Over 1.5 million child trust funds have been started
43. Free eye test for over 60s
44. Five, six and seven year olds in class sizes of 30 or less
45. Free entry to national museums and galleries
46. Overseas aid budget more than doubled
47. Cancer death rates down by 12 per cent, saving 43,000 lives
48. Cut long-term youth unemployment by 75 per cent
49. Free nursery places for three and four-year-olds in England, Scotland and Wales
50. Free fruit for all four to six-year-olds at school

Daily Referendum said...


Where exactly did I predict Labour losing? What I did was write about what the Star were reporting.

I also congratulated labour on my facebook account last night when the result came through. I don't like Labour, but I like the BNP even less: Though it could be argued that the BNP have yet to cause as much damage to the country as Labour have.

Daily Referendum said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Daily Referendum said...


Here is the real list:

£22,500 of debt for every child born in Britain
- 111 tax rises from a government that promised no tax rises at all
- The longest national tax code in the world
- 100,000 million pounds drained from British pension funds
- Gun crime up by 57%
- Violent crime up 70%
- The highest proportion of children living in workless households anywhere in Europe
- The number of pensioners living in poverty up by 100,000
- The lowest level of social mobility in the developed world
- The only G7 country with no growth this year
- One in six young people neither earning nor learning
- 5 million people on out-of –work benefits
- Missing the target of halving child poverty
- Ending up with child poverty rising in each of the last three years instead
- Cancer survival rates among the worst in Europe
- Hospital-acquired infections killing nearly three times as many people as are killed on the roads
- Falling from 4th to 13th in the world competitiveness league
- Falling from 8th to 24th in the world education rankings in maths
- Falling from 7th to 17th in the rankings in literacy
- The police spending more time on paperwork than on the beat
- Fatal stabbings at an all-time high
- Prisoners released without serving their sentences
- Foreign prisoners released and never deported
- 7 million people without an NHS dentist
- Small business taxes going up
- Business taxes raised from among the lowest to among the highest in Europe
- Tax rises for working people set for after the election
- The 10p tax rate abolished
- And the ludicrous promise to have ended boom and bust
- Our gold reserves sold for a quarter of their worth
- Our armed forces overstretched and under-supplied
- Profitable post offices closed against their will
- One of the highest rates of family breakdown in Europe
- The ‘Golden Rule’ on borrowing abandoned when it didn’t fit
- Police inspectors in 10,Downing Street
- Dossiers that were dodgy
- Mandelson resigning the first time
- Mandelson resigning the second time
- Mandelson coming back for a third time
- Bad news buried
- Personal details lost
- An election bottled
- A referendum denied

This machine kills fascists said...

to the anonymous who called me a knobhead mistakenly thinking that criticism of the tories means I am a Labour supporter. Wrong smart arse.

And do I know what fascism means? Well, my old man piloted Lancaster bombers in 1944, was shot down and spent part of 44 and 45 in Stalag Luft III and then saw lots of unpleasantness and finally the liberation of Berlin. So yeah, I guess I do. Knobhead.

North Northwester said...

Labour won a Labour heartland not very well and the BNP came a very respectable second. Not a bad showing for a tiny party that was formed in 1982.

Jamie McMahon - your list is not a proud boast but a massive confession of shame - shame at the tragedy that my daughter's as yet unborn children will be impoverished trying to pay off Labour' sickening national debt.

Anonymous said...

Forget the BNP let's get rid of all parties they are all corrupt thieving B******s. Politics for the future, how about Democracy as it should be?
Edward and Tony Devoy

It's Democracy Jim but not as we know it.

Changing politics for the better for we the people:

How about having true Democracy at the next election, and have our politicians act on behalf of we the people.
Our elected representatives MP's and Local Authorities actually working for the benefit and at the behest of we the people. As Democracy intended, For the people by the people.
Through a web presence individual citizens could put forward ideas to improve life for all citizens at local and national level.

For instance, on a local level, if someone was to suggest that Council tax should be halved to bring it to a reasonable level, we the people would vote and if the vote was unanimous, As representatives of we the people Our elected MP's would canvass the local authority to act on the will of the people and would name and shame any elected councillor or civil servant acting against the will of we the people. The people working in opposition to we the people would by consensus of the people be removed from their positions.
After all he who pays the piper should call the tune.
Unlike at present where the Council dictate often in an oppressive manner to we the people.
We will put the power where it should be, in the hands of we the people.
We would now have an actual civil service instead of the uncivil dictators we now have.

On a National level, if someone was to put forward abolition of the TV licence fee. If the vote was unanimous. Our elected MP's would canvas Parliament to carry out the wishes of we the people, if Parliament was to refuse, our elected MP's would then start a nationwide campaign if enough votes were cast and Parliament made the decision not to act, Our MP's would then call for civil disobedience on the basis that the Government of the day was acting against the will of we the people.

In a true Democracy Government is by the people for the people.

At all times people would be able to vote for or against changes of these sorts and would be able to put forward their own ideas, we the people would have what we have never had in this Country, Democracy.

This would I am sure cause many problems in the political arena in the short term, but nothing that could not be sorted.

It would empower we the people.

Those who now feel disaffected and those who suffer from political apathy would now have a voice, they would not feel their vote was a wasted vote.
It would breathe new life into the political strata of life and politics would no longer be the preserve of the elite for their own benefit to the detriment of we the people.

It is time to take away the power of politics from the politicians and give it to the people to whom it belongs.
Re Council Tax: Our personal thought is that the council tax should be much lower than half.
Re The Licence Fee, we believe it should be abolished but are not averse to providing money from general taxation, while working towards self sufficiency.