Sam reports from Manchester
Around 60 demonstrators from Unite Against Fascism gathered outside the Euro election count at Manchester Town Hall on Sundy night for a noisy, joyful protest against the BNP. They were joined by Labour and Green Party candidates and campaigners.
The night was fairly uneventful until around 10pm when the police began to set up a corridor of metal barriers leading from the town hall steps to the road. Clearly Griffin was on his way.
He arrived about 20 minutes later and was immediately surrounded by protesters. He cowered underneath the arms of his bodyguards and appeared to be a bit soggy, even though it was not raining. The police then escorted him towards the town hall.
The metal barriers started to move and more protesters surrounded him. The police pushed them back and placards flew in the confusion. Again and again along the 200 metres of the sterile area the metal barriers were moved out of the way.
One BNP member was taken to hospital and two UAF members were arrested, including Paul Jenkins UAF’s regional organiser. Protesters surrounded the police van where Paul was being held, sat down in front of it and behind it chanting “Let him go”. The police cleared them aside.
Shortly afterwards Griffin conceded defeat. His vote collapsed to 32,000. That is 70,000 less than he polled when he won the North West seat in 2009.
The BNP managed to keep their only North West council seat in Pendle with just 339 votes. In the atmosphere of racism whipped up by all of the main parties on immigration, and with the success of UKIP, we cannot ignore the possibility that the BNP will recover or that a new fascist formation will emerge. All across Europe fascist and right wing populist parties are growing. But for now the BNP is severely damaged, a shadow of the party it was five years ago.