May elections see far right fail but the hostile environment remains

On 6th May a large number of elections took place across the UK, including for councilors and Police, Fire and Crime Commissioners (PFCCs) in NorSCARF’s area. Overall, the far right did very badly both locally and nationally, with one highlight being former Britain First leader – Jayda Fransen – securing a measly 46 votes in the seat she contested in Glasgow.

In our area there were attempts made by UKIP, the Heritage Party, and Reform UK (formerly Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party) to win votes. Nine far right candidates campaigned for seats in Stafford and North Staffordshire; in six of those they came last and in the remaining three they came second to last. Brian Silvester – who previously stood as a prominent member of the fascist For Britain group – has rebranded himself as the leader of ‘Putting Crewe First’, but only managed third place in the two wards he campaigned for in the town. Unfortunately, Derrick Huckfield – the ex-UKIP group leader for Newcastle – won a seat in Keele, Silverdale and Knutton ward by standing as a Tory. Finally, the two Reform UK candidates who stood in Staffordshire and Cheshire for PFCC both came last, with one of them – Nick Goulding – making his position clear when he said that Black Lives Matter is ‘not relevant in Cheshire’.

See the bottom of this page for a full list of all local far right candidates.

The bulk of the far right candidates were in the Stafford area and so campaigning against them was focused there, with anti-racists and anti-fascists handing out and posting leaflets, as well as holding a great ‘Vote Against Racism’ flash mob in the town centre.

Whilst the downfall of the outwardly fascist far right in the election results is a good sign for campaigners, it is clear from the current policy agenda within government that the Conservative Party has moved to the right. This is most evident in the hardening of immigration law, the denial of institutional racism, the increasing of police powers and clampdown on protest and civil liberties, as well as the discourse being peddled by the likes of Priti Patel and more locally, Jonathan Gullis (MP for Stoke North, Kidsgrove and Talke).

This means that many of the ideas typically promoted by far right parties are now being adopted by the Conservatives, leaving little room for fascists to win votes. This is a worrying turn for anti-racists and anti-fascists. Whilst events like the heroic efforts of residents in Glasgow against the Home Office’s immigration enforcement officers should be celebrated, there is still a great need to widen this kind of sentiment across the country. The great #KillTheBill protests around the country, including ten protests so far in Stoke, are a way to build up opposition to the systemic racism our government presides over. And in the coming week that marks 12 months since George Floyd’s brutal murder by police, towns and cities across the UK will be taking action to say the #UKIsNotInnocent. This includes in Stoke where a Memorial Day event has been called for Tuesday 25th, the day that the murder took place last year. We would encourage all NorSCARF supporters to go along and take part.

Full list of far right candidates who stood in elections in our area;

Stafford Area

Eccleshall Edward Whitfield (UKIP) – last

Stafford Central Paul Williams (UKIP) – second to last

Stafford North Philip Smith (UKIP) second to last

Stafford South East Harvey Wain-Williams (UKIP) last

Stafford West Craig Morton (Heritage Party) and John Jeffrey (UKIP) – last and second to last

Stone Rural Daniel Bentley (Reform UK) last

Newcastle Area

Newcastle Rural William Woodward (Reform UK) – last

Newcastle South Gary Fedtschyschak (Reform UK) – last

Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner

Staffordshire PFCC Michael Riley (Reform UK) – last

Cheshire PFCC Nick Goulding (Reform UK) – last

Crewe

Crewe West (Cheshire East Borough Council) Brian Silvester (Putting Crewe First/formerly For Britain) – third

West Ward (Crewe Town Council) Brian Silvester (Putting Crewe First/formerly For Britain) – third

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