THE LEVELS of reported hate crime – motivated by racial or religious hate – has risen significantly in areas throughout Britain where the neo-Nazi British National Party has won council seats, according to research on police statistics conducted under the Freedom of Information Act by the Guardian newspaper.
Incidents of hate crime have increased in wards in the West Midlands, London and Essex after the election of a BNP member in local council elections while generally throughout the country the rate of reported hate crime has decreased.
The BNP last weekend increased its canvassing activity in these areas and especially Barking and Dagenham where it hopes to win a parliamentary seat at the coming general election by defeating Labour Minister of Culture Margaret Hodge.
BNP member Terence Gavin was jailed last week for 11 years after police found nail bombs and 12 firearms at his home in Kirklees, west Yorkshire – where the BNP has councillors.
In east London in Barking’s Eastbury ward racially motivated violence, theft and criminal damage more than doubled in the year after BNP member Jeffrey Steed won the seat in May 2006. Hate crime rose again in that ward the following year with 45 racial incidents reported in 12 months.
The BNP is reported to be planning to stand more than 1,000 candidates in the general election.
They are also planning to put their own seals on ballot boxes – in addition to those placed by election officials. They have invoked the Ballot Act of 1872, which allows candidates to put their own seals because they say they fear that Labour-supporting town hall officials are likely to tamper with ballot boxes to prevent a BNP candidate being elected to Parliament.
Meanwhile in all the areas where the BNP plan to stand, the Hope not Hate campaign will be fielding thousands of anti-fascist campaigners from trade unions and other progressive bodies to counter the BNP lies and hate on the doorsteps.
The campaign says: “We have proved in recent council by-elections that we can beat the BNP in its strongest areas. However given the scale of the threat we cannot hope to do this alone. The 2010 Hope not Hate campaign will be our biggest yet. For it to be successful we need everyone to get involved.”
The campaign can be contacted via its website www.hopenothate.org.uk or phone 020 7681 8660.