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Posts Tagged ‘UKIP

Standing up to UKIP? A Critical Appraisal.

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Will this Defeat UKIP?

Some on the left remain in mourning for the failure of the Scottish referendum to “bring their country into the world of free and sovereign nations”. Some console themselves that Alba is already a “transformed, empowered country.” (Neil Ascherson. Observer. 21.8.14.)

Westminster Centralism appears on the wane. A large constituency demands a “grant of real responsibility to local communities.” This means, they say, a change in the structure of the British constitution, perhaps an English parliament, certainly greater control for regions and cities inside and outwith Scotland’s borders.

Constitutional issues are not the preserve of Scottish nationalists or the new regionalists. UKIP has made its transition from pressure group to serious political contender by demanding that Britain be ‘free’ from the legislative power of the European Union. The issue of sovereignty is the central concern of Nigel Farage’s party. UKIP is, first and foremost, anti-EU. It wants ‘independence’ for the British people from ‘Brussels’. It is not ‘Eurosceptic’; it is Europhobic.

The Scottish separatists want to see the back of ‘Westminster’, for the good of their own people. Some, notably in the SNP, claim to see the European Union as a positive force that would help them towards that aim. With their common concern with national power we can call both parties, despite this major difference on the EU, “sovereigntists.” The party once led by Alex Salmond believes in a limited degree of pooled sovereignty in order to ‘save the nation state’ (as Milward called it), UKIP is simply wants to shore up the nation state. (1)

Stand up to UKIP.

Left-wing activists, called to support the campaign Stand up to UKIP, which plans a major demonstration outside the Party’s conference next weekend, can be forgiven for forgetting the word “independence” in the title. The launch of this campaign, after all, declares,

“It has built up its electoral base by both presenting itself as a party opposed to the European Union, but more importantly by spreading poisonous lies and hatred towards migrants and MuslimsWe believe UKIP is a racist party. This may be something Farage and the party’s leadership is quick to deny. But in the run up to the European elections UKIP’s mask slipped. UKIP presents the anti-racist movement with a major problem – dragging British politics to the right.”

Let us leave aside the claim that UKIP specialises in ‘anti-Muslim’ campaigning. This will come as news to the Bangladeshi organisers of the Ipswich ‘Multi-cultural festival’ at the end of August this year, who included a full page UKIP advertisement, along with Labour and Tory endorsements, in the day’s programme. It will also be a surprise to anybody reading official UKIP material, which does not single out the topic of Islam, but instead includes it within a blanket condemnation on multi-culturalism – the real reason to be astonished at the Ipswich anomaly.

Andy Jones argues, “UKIP is the main organised expression of the new anti-immigrant racism.” (International Socialism. June 2014. No 114) Nobody can deny that it has gained support for its hostility towards migration – their leaflets warning of a mass Bulgarian and Rumanian invasion are still fresh in people’s minds. Robert Ford and Matthew Goodwin point to their ability to “recognise and often moblise public resentments of immigration and ethnic minorities among the white majority” (Page 159 Revolt on the Right. 2014). 

Is this part and parcel of a “party of bigots, sexists, Islamophobes and homophobes”? Perhaps. But does this imply that they have won votes as this kind of party? Stand up to UKIP clearly seems to think that “exposing” them as such will eat away at their support. Others consider that this is part of their appeal.

Ford and Godwin state that UKIP’s “electoral base is old, male, working class, white and less educated, much like the BNP’s (Ibid). Their analysis of the attitudes within the group they identify would tend to support the view that many of UKIP’s less attractive and prejudices attitudes have an echo within their constituency. Others note that the Stand up to UKIP list of bigoted opinions, slightly more politely expressed, is shared with middle class and upper class voters, the readership of the Daily Mail, Telegraph, and the Times. That UKIP voters are by no means largely working class. (2) 

In the publicity for the 27th demonstration at UKIP’s conference it’s stated, “UKIP likes to say it is the “people’s army” in opposition to the political elite in the mainstream parties. But it is a racist party that blames migrant workers for the problems in society it is acting as a shield for the bankers who are really responsible for the economic crisis.”

Is shouting “racist party” outside the UKIP meeting going to change anybody’s opinions?  I say shouting, but screaming ‘racist’ is the likely prospect. The involvement of Unite Against Fascism (UAF) signals the direction the protest is taking. This Sealed-Knot re-enactment of the Anti-Nazi League (ANL) demonstrations of yesteryear is a dead-end. The chorus, conducted by the Socialist Workers Party (Stand up’s main initiator) is not going to win over anybody outside their ranks. 

Revealing the role of UKIP as “shield for the bankers” is as unlikely undermine their support as “unmasking” them as an unsavoury load of old racists. The competition created in the labour market by migration is  - on at least some evidence deliberately encouraged by employers – is the material basis on which people ‘blame’ foreigners for low wages.

A trade union approach is to set a standard, the Living Wage, and high social benefits and work protection for all. Only unions are capable of grappling with these problems directly, bringing the actual and potential UKIP voters together with migrants on the basis of common interests. The left needs to focus on campaigns by the TUC and its affiliates, to prevent the bosses from setting one group against another. It is the European Union which should create the conditions for continent-wide higher wages and social benefits, a strategy of upgrading standards. Any form of sovereigntist politics, from UKIP, the SNP (which advocates lower corporation tax in Scotland) to the Conservative Party’s own Eurosceptic policies (the most direct threat), is an attack on this internationalist approach.

Defeating UKIP.

After Douglas Carswell’s resignation from the Tory party and decision to stand for UKIP in Clacton on the 9th of October the party is rarely out of the headline. Polls gives Carswell a wide lead. The group now has 39,143 members. The left has to think, deeply and seriously, without yelling, about how to deal with UKIP’s appeal. 

UKIP’s biggest weakness is not that it is a party with an exceptionally high membership of obsessives, xenophobes and oddballs. Having set out on a ‘populist’ path, that is, with the call for the British to rise up against the Brussels elite, its focus anti-European policies cut if off from the large numbers of people who (correctly) identify the ‘elite’ with a domestic Establishment. Many in these circles, including those who are virulently opposed to ‘Brussels’, are attracted, with a degree of ‘cultural cringe’ to the United States. They are prepared to cooperate with Washington and Wall Street in enterprises like TIIP, which open the way to an even greater extension of free-market power.

Farage’s organisation does not combine their prejudices with a degree of ‘social’ demands (protecting ‘the British worker’ ‘our NHS’). It opts for hard-line free-market policies. Continental populists, by contrast, are often opposed to ‘globalisation’ and ‘neo-liberalism’. Some European ‘populist’ parties, like the French Front National, have even tried to influence trade unions (3). This may reflect their middle class base, although the French FN equally benefits from electoral backing in middle class and wealthy areas (the traditional fiefs of the right and extreme-right in cities like Paris). 

Yet UKIP’s electoral success (27.5% of the vote in the European elections) has had exactly the same effect: a constant drag towards the right, hauling political players towards its brand of patriotism.

That they are braggarts, demagogues, that their xenophobic policies (directed against other Europeans) have racial overtones (against any ‘foreigners’ – that is, including British citizens, ethnic minorities), is important. This should be brought out and attacked.

But the only way Farage’s party will be sent back to the margins is by facing up to the issue of Sovereignty. To Stand up to UKIP is to stand up for the European Union, to engage in the transformation of its structures and to build a European Social Republic.

****

Note: for a real anti-racist campaigning group see Hope not Hate which has covered everyday racism, UKIP, the BNP and other UK far-right groups, including Islamists.

(1) The European Rescue of the Nation State (1999) by the late Alan Milward.

(2) “The data on which Ford and Goodwin base their analysis of Ukip voters consists, as they acknowledge, of people who intend to vote Ukip, rather than those who have. On the occasions when Ukip’s vote increases dramatically (such as in European elections) their new or temporary voters are more likely to be middle-class, financially secure and from Conservative backgrounds. And, while Ukip did indeed attract more former Labour voters during the later New Labour years, they have won a substantially higher proportion of Tory voters since the coalition came to power.

So there might be another explanation for the high Ukip vote in Labour areas. As the BBC’s political research editor, David Cowling, points out, in Labour’s safest seat in the country at the 2010 election, 28% of voters still supported other parties. This is not because Liverpool Walton is peppered with enclaves of bankers and stockbrokers; it’s because a substantial section of the working class has always voted for parties other than Labour and now that vote is going to Ukip. Ford and Goodwin argue that Ukip’s success has reduced the swing to Labour among old, poor and male voters. But that’s different from saying that Ukip is eating into the existing Labour vote, as it clearly is into the Conservatives’.” David Edgar.

(2) See the collection of articles in Nouveau Visages des Extrêmes Droites. Manière de Voir. Le Monde Diplomatique. 134. Avril Mai 2014.

Update: SWP Party Notes,

Stand Up to Ukip: Doncaster 27 September
Ukip look odds on to win their first MP in the Clacton by-election on 9 October following the defection of Douglas Carswell to Ukip from the Tories.
Nigel Farage hopes to exploit the tensions inside the Tory party together with rising Islamaphobia to increase Ukip’s influence. This will drag politics further to the right, further boosting racist scapegoating.

The demonstration outside Ukip’s conference in Doncaster on Saturday 27 September is a key step in developing campaign against Ukip.

Every branch needs to think about transport to Doncaster. Approach trade unions for sponsorship and to publicise the demo and we should produce tickets to sell. (a template is attached). We should leaflet FE colleges and universities as they return. Using the Stand up to Ukip statement, which has an impressive list of ‘big’ names on it around work and with people we know locally is a good way to talk to people about the importance of coming to Doncaster and showing that there is organised opposition to Ukip.

More transport has been put on over the last week – including from Huddesfield, Chesterfield, Nottingham, West Midlands, Newcastle, Derby. For the full list go to standuptoukip.org

There are SUTU public meetings tonight in Manchester and Cambridge.

To order colour 2-sided A5 leaflets advertising the demo in Doncaster, emailinfo@standuptoukip.org – 1,000 cost £15.

Ipswich Tories, including former Leader, Defect to UKIP.

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Ex-Tories Fall for UKIP Politics.

Controversial former Tory council leader Dale Jackson is attempting to make a comeback in this year’s borough elections in his old ward – for UKIP.

Mr Jackson, who left the council after falling out with his Conservative colleagues, has been selected as UKIP candidate for Castle Hill ward.

It is a seat that his new party is targeting – the party’s James Crossley won the Whitton and Whitehouse county council division last year and that includes part of Castle Hill.

Mr Jackson will be up against former Conservative leader Chris Stewart who stood down earlier this year after a split in his group during the borough’s budget debate.

The Castle Hill ward will now be a key battleground – with Mr Jackson well known in the area.

He was Conservative leader in 2004 when the party took control of the borough in coalition with the Liberal Democrats, but stepped down as council leader after he became subject of a Standards’ Board investigation into claims that he had sent an inappropriate letter to the teenage daughter of a fellow Conservative councillor.

He was cleared of wrong-doing, but the group did not allow him to return as leader. After that he fell out with other Conservatives, and ended up sitting as an independent councillor.

Evening Star.

Dale, from the lunatic fringe of the Conservative Party, has plenty of other skeletons in his cupboard. 

This may well be worth looking into (from UKIP Ipswich’s Twitter account),

La persona más de mis amigos es , escribe de media un Tweet cada 2 minutos

Then there is this, from the Best Blog based in an outhouse in Ipswich :

Three weeks ago Jose Esteves was canvassing with the Ipswich Tories. Yet now he is a UKIP candidate for Alexandra Ward. I have ascertained that the Tories knew nothing of his defection, though intelligence suggests that another local blogger may have been aware of it.

There is a theory held by some Ipswich Tories that Jose was in fact a UKIP spy. But I don’t think Ipswich UKIP are organised enough to indulge in such espionage. I think that the more likely thing that has happened is that Mr Esteves worked out he was working hard for the Ipswich Tories, not being appreciated for his hard work and being taken for granted like a lot of their foot soldiers are. Then UKIP offered him a candidacy and he took it.

There are 14 UKIP Ipswich candidates standing, that is out of 16 Borough wards.

So, it’s no longer just Algar and his mate in Bridge who’ve gone UKIP.

No doubt many of the others are complete nutters as well.

We also learn that comrade Paul Anderson, former Tribune Editor,  is standing as a Labour candidate for Bixley.

Paul Anderson is a University Campus Suffolk lecturer and writer who lives in Woodbridge Road. He grew up in Dorchester Road in Bixley in the 1960s and 1970s and went to Britannia primary – and his mum lives in the ward. He’s Bixley to his bones: he used to buy sweets from ITFC legend John Elsworthy’s shop at the roundabout and took the number 4 bus into town.

He knows what Bixley residents need from the council – decent bus services, reliable rubbish collection, better social services support for old people, protection of the heaths from housing development – and will campaign for all that and more on the borough council.

Vote Anderson!

Vote Labour!

Written by Andrew Coates

April 25, 2014 at 10:54 am

UKIP: Racist Party Hates Foreigners and Unemployed.

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Builder_48sheet_1.jpeg

UKIP: Hatred of Foreigners and…Unemployed. 

UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage has defended his party’s controversial election campaign ahead of the May European elections, after its posters were called “racist”.

The party’s economic spokesman, Steven Woolfe, announced the campaign on Twitter on Sunday, and said the giant posters would be “coming to you soon”.

One billboard depicts a man dressed as a builder begging for spare change next to the words: “EU policy at work. British workers are hit hard by unlimited cheap labour.”

Another poster reads: “26 million people in Europe are looking for work. And whose jobs are they after?” alongside a giant hand pointing at the viewer.

Others complain that 75 per cent of British laws are made in Brussels, and that UK taxpayers fund the “celebrity lifestyle” of EU bureaucrats.

Figures across the political spectrum soon posted tweets opposing the campaign, and accused the party of scare-mongering.

There were also comparisons to posters released by the far-right British National Party which carried the slogan: “British Jobs for British Workers” next to men dressed in high-vis jackets.

Labour MP Mike Gapes said they were “racist” and appealed to “all decent British Commonwealth and EU citizens” to register to vote in May’s polls.

Independent.

For a party so concerned about jobs and unemployment in the UK this is the attitude of their party towards  the out-of-work – April  2014. (link).

After Scrapbook exposed sick comments from a UKIP councillor on banning unemployed people from voting, the party’s most high-profile new recruit has rushed to his defence, claiming Cllr Tom Bursnall “has a point”, going on to say it is “dangerous” to let unemployed people vote.

Having defected from the Tories, 23 year-old Alexandra Swann was the star turn at UKIP’s recent conference in Skegness — with party leader Nigel Farage proudly declaring that “the Swann has migrated”.

But appearing to agree with Cllr Bursnall, who as the former chair of Conservative Future is also a defector from the Tories to UKIP, she continued:

“allowing people to vote on how other people’s money is spent — if they dont contribute — is dangerous”

With these views, Scrapbook was unsurprised to learn that Swann idolises anarcho-Libertarian philosophers and is completing a PhD in social Darwinism.

And this Guardian (March 2013)

Some long-term benefit claimants would be banned from using their benefit cash to buy cigarettes, alcohol or satellite TV subscriptions under proposals due to be presented at the UK Independence party’s spring conference on Saturday.

In the same year UKIP described the unemployed as a ” “a parasitic underclass of scroungers”.

UKIP’s welfare policies include forced unpaid work for all Housing and Council Tax Benefit claimants, Incapacity Benefit (now ESA) slashed to Job Seeker’s Allowance rates and childcare support for working parents demolished.

To add to this UKIP Welfare Policy is also 

• Non means-tested “basic cash benefit” for low earners and unemployed. Jobseekers allowance and incapacity benefit is scrapped.

• Child benefit for the first three children only.

• No benefits for anyone who has not lived in the UK for five years.

For the  2014 elections (UKIP site) these policies stand unchanged :

• Enrol unemployed welfare claimants onto community schemes or retraining workfare programmes.

That is, unpaid workfare.

• Make welfare a safety net for the needy, not a bed for the lazy. Benefits only available to those who have lived here for over 5 years. 

That is, yet more scapegoating of the out-of-work – and ‘foreigners’.

It’s not surprising that the  lunatic fringe of the Tory Party – in East Anglia and elsewhere – is attracted to this far-right anti-welfare, anti- foreigner party.

working parents demolished.

Written by Andrew Coates

April 22, 2014 at 10:51 am

Leading Ipswich Tory Calls for UKIP Vote.

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Leading Ipswich Tory and Former Brain of Britain Jumps Ship.

 

Voters Should Vote UKIP in Bridge Ward

Posted on April 15, 2014by 

I agree with James Spencer here where he says

It is tough to persuade voters who have invested some of their identity with a party that the town’s interests, a Labour defeat, means lending your vote to another party…….

…..So with the European elections coming up vote for your party in the European elections where you won’t be wasting your vote and vote for the party most likely to beat Labour in the local council.

In Bridge that means UKIP.

 Algar continues,

“It’s a case of none of the other parties being capable of beating Labour. The Tories can’t win Bridge and neither do they want to. So UKIP are the only option.”

So, having slagged off Ipswich as a “dump” Holy Roller Kevin Algar is now preparing to abandon his own party.

We confidently predict that many other Tories, and not just eccentrics like Algar and his friend Spencer (who left the Conservatives in opposition to gay marriage) will shift over the xenophobic far-right UKIP.

Like rats deserting a sinking ship? 

Written by Andrew Coates

April 15, 2014 at 4:17 pm

UKIP: UK Now Has Real Far-Right Populist Politics.

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CABU

French Left’s Dilemma After Front National Breakthrough in 1984.

Like Cabu’s Grand Duduche  you start by feeling that you don’t want to have anything to do with anybody who voted UKIP.

This came to me when the BBC’s Look East showed a chippie in Great Yarmouth. That town elected UKIP Councillors to Norfolk County Council. The chip-shop owner was vociferous in his UKIP support, as were many others in the seaside resort.

I like Yarmouth chips. They sell them with a choice of sauces. Inspired by Belgium custom  you can get mayonnaise and curry, amongst other flavours.

I will make a point of not going to Yarmouth for my annual day-trip.

The party now has 15 councillors in Norfolk  and scored 23.47% of the county vote - Conservative 32.6pc, Labour 22.75pc, Liberal Democrat 10.97pc, Green 6.55pc, Independent 3.27pc, Christian People’s Alliance 0.13pc, United People’s Party 0.02p

They got a councillor in Ipswich too, in Whitehouse and Whitton.

I will not feel comfortable in the company of anybody who backed James Crossley, or those , 20% of the electorate across town  (and they didn’t stand in 2 divisions) who voted for them in Ipswich.

But that’s a reaction, not a strategy.

A Strategy?

We need clarity on how to deal with UKIP.

For a long time people on the left have been convinced that the threat from the far-right came from the BNP and the English Defence League.

Principally that there was a “massive surge” in hostility towards Muslims.

This view was reinforced by a whole industry of speculation  about the Islamic ‘Other’.

This was always a skewed analysis: there is a little evidence that the masses were ready to engage in a wholesale attack on Muslims.

‘Islamophobia’ was also used by those who took this line to denigrate those who backed the secularists, feminists and trade unionists who, after the Arab Spring, have had to face right-wing Islamist governments.

Now we have a party that has focused on an ‘Other’ that is lot closer to home: the Eastern European hordes from Bulgaria and Romania.

Standing in, of course, for the ‘foreigners‘ already here.

In place of abstract ruminations about the Other, we had better look at an older anti-racist idea: scapegoating.

This is not a vote of the ignored’ working class’s expressing their real needs.

It is the result of a conscious attempt to deflect people’s anger at austerity, stagnating  wages, and mounting personal debt, onto an easy target.

Foreigners, we know, are not the only thing UKIP are about.

They want to make life easier for British capitalists, they attack trade unions and the poor, and their cultural views are a mix of Norman Tebbit, Jeremy Clarkson and the US Tea Party.

They are dyed-in-the-wool free-marketeers.

UKIP councillors will no doubt often make fools of themselves.

But we cannot count on their ability to self-destruct.

We, the left, need to attack them where they are weak: are they for austerity or are they against it?

What will they do to help working people defend their rights?

Will they support the Living Wage?

Will the fight against tax breaks for companies and the rich?

Will they back the NHS?

Internationalism.

Before anything else the Left should shout, loudly, its internationalism!

Against hatred between the peoples!

For European unity of the peoples, the workers and the poor!

For a European Social Republic: level wages and benefits upwards!

Down with the Xenophobes!

Down with UKIP!

UKIP Campaign in Ipswich on Hatred of Foreigners.

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Cat Herdsman. 

Massive Threat to Our Local Services.

No it’s not the cuts, austerity, or the recession.

UKIP leaflets distributed in Ipswich over the weekend begin by stating,

Within a year, 29 million Romanians and Bulgarians will gain the right to live, work and draw benefits here.

Only UKIP is taking seriously his massive threat to out local housing, schools, health and council services.

Ipswich Spy downplays UKIP’s potential here.

Certainly after reading press reports over the weekend  we come away with the – justified – view that a bigger gaggle of cranks, nutters, racists and venomous right-wing extremists would be hard  to find.

The Spy  points out that,

Locally UKIP don’t have a branch in Ipswich. They have branches all over the Eastern Region, but none in Ipswich. The UKIP agent is from the Bury St Edmunds branch, although he was the UKIP candidate here in Ipswich at the last General Election and he lives in Stowmarket. So they don’t have the huge numbers of activists the Liberal Democrats could boast before they came into Government.

One could add that their candidate, Mark Tinney (for St Helen’s)  has a shaky grasp on what local councils do.

His main policy plank is to “try to reduce parking charges and extended free parking in the town centre”.

These are County Council elections.

Parking is the responsibility of the Borough Council.

His other ideas are more police visibility and encouraging  “more business for Ipswich”.

We suspect that nobody will read this part of the leaflet.

They will alight on the ‘threat’ of hordes of Bulgarians and Romanians descending on Ipswich.

We consider, based on what Ipswich people say,  that they will have more of an echo than Ipswich Spy thinks.

Informed people may well ‘ridicule” UKIP’s claims.

But the Tories and the right-wing media have relentlessly pursued the line that migrant workers are a ‘menace’.

They have continually attacked ‘Europe’, the EU’s social policies, the ‘regulation’, the ‘bureaucracy’ and the ‘waste’.

It’s no good bleating about what a bunch of odd-balls UKIP are.

They have feathered the UKIP nest.

Much of the  Left too has failed to stand up for Europe.

Sections of the  organised left have attacked the EU to such a point that they fail to distinguish between the free-market policies of the present Commission (backed by all the major states, and only feebly challenged by the French left government), and the potential of a Continent-wide union of the peoples.

If they want to get rid of the European Union what would they replace it with?

Many on the left go very quiet at this point.

Do they seriously think an “Independent” Socialist Britain  or an “independent” Socialist Scotland would come about from leaving the EU?

To challenge the hatred and division spread by  UKIP and the Tories,  we need the politics of internationalism.

Unity between the peoples, between the working classes and the poor, across Europe.

For this we stand for a European Social Republic!

Rotherham and Croydon: Earthquake for Respect?

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Respect: Plans Gang aft agley.

On the eve of the election this appeared on the Respect Site.

We are on the edge of a political earthquake in British politics. In polling conducted at the weekend, the Respect candidate in the Rotherham by-election, Yvonne Ridley, has the lead over Labour. Labour has panicked and launched a vicious and negative campaign of dirty tricks against Respect but this has been sidelined by our magnificent positive campaign with the Respect battle bus, advertizing truck and campaign groups in every ward.

Polling conducted in the Croydon North by-election suggests that Lee Jasper, the Respect candidate, is now neck and neck with the Labour Party to win the constituency.

This is what happened (including the Middlesbrough by-election),

“Labour has won three by-elections, holding Croydon North, Middlesbrough and Rotherham parliamentary seats.

It increased its share of the vote in all three seats, but its majority was down in Rotherham, where the previous MP had quit over expenses claims.

The UK Independence Party came second in Middlesbrough and Rotherham, and finished third in Croydon North.”

How did Respect fare?

Rotherham by-election, 29 November 2012
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Sarah Champion 9,866 46.25 +1.62
UKIP Jane Collins 4,648 21.79 +15.87
BNP Marlene Guest 1,804 8.46 -1.96
Respect Yvonne Ridley 1,778 8.34
Conservative Simon Wilson 1,157 5.42 -11.32
English Democrats David Wildgoose 703 3.30
Independent Simon Copley 582 2.73 -3.58
Liberal Democrat Michael Beckett 451 2.11 -13.87
Trade Unionist & Socialist Ralph Dyson 261 1.22
Independent Paul Dickson 51 0.24
no description Clint Bristow 29 0.14
Majority 10,462 27.89
Turnout 21,330 33.89
Croydon North by-election, 2012
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Steve Reed 15,892 64.7 +8.7
Conservative Andrew Stranack 4,137 16.8 -7.3
UKIP Winston McKenzie 1,400 5.7 +4.0
Liberal Democrat Marisha Ray 860 3.5 -10.5
Green Shasha Khan 855 3.5 +1.5
Respect Lee Jasper 707 2.9 +2.4
Christian Peoples Stephen Hammond 192 0.8 N/A
National Front Richard Edmonds 161 0.7 N/A
Communist Ben Stevenson 119 0.5 +0.2
Monster Raving Loony John Cartwright 110 0.4 N/A
Nine Eleven Was An Inside Job Simon Lane 66 0.3 N/A
Young People’s Party Robin Smith 63 0.3 N/A
Majority
Rejected ballots
Turnout 26

Labour won.

This is a good thing.

That is despite (as Toby says) the fact that the Labour winners in Rotherham and Croydon are part of the hidebound right-wing of the party.

It is still an anti-Coalition result.

The sensation of these elections is of course the UKIP vote.

These ‘fascists in blazers’ are the weevils of the British politics.

What for the left?

TUSC (261,  1,22 % in Rotherham and 277, 1,6% in Middlesbrough) and the Communist Party (119 votes)  did not do well at all.

Ridley’s votes (1,778, 8, 3,4%)  are  far too many for any socialist to rejoice about.

Somebody who says this, ““[Respect] is a Zionist-free party… if there was any Zionism in the Respect Party they would be hunted down and kicked out. We have no time for Zionists.” She explained that government support “goes towards that disgusting little watchdog of America that is festering in the Middle East”. She went on to attack the Tories and Lib Dems, saying that all the mainstream parties are “riddled with Zionists”” represents forces that have no part in the labour movement.

Still one cannot but smile as ‘Rapper Jasper’s’ result: 707, 2,9%, that is, a lost deposit.

And at the pitiful attempts to draw comfort from their result by Respect supporters (wonder how long this link will last before these ‘democrats’ take it down).

The obvious fact is that Respect have drawn from the old (and now unused) Liberal Democrats’ by-election strategy: publish boosting made-up door-step reports and ‘polls’ just before an election.

And the truly magnificent score of the Rotherham Liberal Democrats (2,11% below an Independent, 2,73%) brings a spring to the step.