Paul Jenkins, UAF north west organiser
In May 2014 we will have an opportunity to put the final nail in the BNP's coffin. Its leader Nick Griffin will try and hang on to his seat in the European Parliament that he won with great fanfare in 2009.
We have a good chance to strip him of his seat as MEP representing the North West, but we have to work hard because he can use the Euro elections' proportional representation system to his advantage. It is worth noting that when Nick Griffin failed to win the North West MEP seat in 2004, his vote then was actually higher than when he won the same seat in 2009.
In last May's council elections in Maryport, Labour pipped the BNP by only 94 votes. And in a number of recent by-elections the BNP have beaten the Lib Dems, whose vote appears to be collapsing. In 2009 the LibDems received 14.9 percent of the North West vote. If this is halved, the BNP could easily trump them.
Neither should we think it is inevitable that UKIP will steal the final seat from the BNP in the North West. A look at how the vote in the Euro elections is divided up shows why. One recent national poll put UKIP at 24 percent. Even if the party gained as much as to win a first seat, its vote would then be halved for a second seat, giving it 12 percent, and then it would be divided by a third for the third seat (4 percent).
At this point, the BNP would only need 4 percent to beat UKIP. Griffin's vote in 2009 was 8 percent. The fact that the BNP has lost a number of its activists is no grounds for complacency either
The key running for the Euro elections is the cash available to the candidates. He will also receive a free mail-shot. The constituency has over 5 million voters, and covers 39 different local authority areas. The BNP is desperate to hang on to this seat. We have a shot at stopping it.
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