An enlightening analysis of the candidates standing for the EDP.
By Jonathan Snelling
I promised the EDP election analysis would appear so I will make a start. There are reasons for being late – not just that I’ve been very busy, but also their status is “complicated”.
Headline news is how few candidates the English Democrats are standing. From 76 in the last County elections they have exactly halved to 38. They have stood around 100 candidates in other annual elections over the last 3 years. It’s a pretty spectacular collapse after their continuing claims that they are still growing.
The other interesting news is the mysterious disappearance of all those former BNP activists. Will add details below – please chip in with any observations, additional info, corrections etc.
WHERE HAVE THE BNP GONE?
It was here that we first calculated that figure last year that 43% of their candidates were ex BNP or similar (I think there were about 4 that were not BNP but something equivalent or worse such as NF). There are a few here that I do not know for sure, but it seems that with just 38 standing (+ 1 Mayor and 3 of the same people standing in by-elections for lesser councils) the figure will fall to less than 10% by the same criteria. I believe there are 3 main factors:
1 Some of their new far right brethren have already gone. They have been shedding members from both ends – older members going because of BNP/EDL links etc and new ones going because it’s not as racist as they hoped, or they don’t like the English independence strain in the party – or more often because they were lied to. Some of them were told the party was much bigger, better organised and had some money. One or two were dismayed to find candidates are expected to fund their own campaigns. Some fascists have left in London, Essex and N Yorks – some of them straight back to BNP or NF (so they were well vetted!)
2 Simply a lot of the new far right members live in areas without elections this year – Barnsley, Leeds, Southend, Liverpool, Solihull etc
3 The above does not cover it. There has clearly been a decision to withdraw them. Some were even mentioned as candidates in earlier postings. Most of them are still there, but the failure to defend their only County Council seat in Three Rivers, Herts (BNP defector) or stand anyone in Boston, Lincs where EDP have their only 2 district/borough cllrs were bizarre choices. Both local parties are thoroughly BNP infested. Also Chris Beverley has been promising a strong campaign in N Yorks for at least a year, but not a single candidate – could have always been a bluff, but for what purpose?
DISAPPEARANCE OF THE EDP
To start with the absences, the pathetic 38 County candidates are contesting just 8 different Counties – at least 1 less than the Official Monster Raving Loonies!. This is down from 16 counties 4 years ago. They are not contesting anything in the 8 unitary authorities up for election, nor the Tyneside Mayoral or, as of now, the South Shields by-election where nominations close on Friday. 23 are standing in Kent. Only 2 other counties are fielding more than 2. Among the places where the Eng Dems have previously been active for years that have no candidates – Bristol, Wiltshire, Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Lancashire, North Yorkshire and Hampshire (where the party was closed down after the Eastleigh by-election).
Only a few weeks ago, Tilbrook was calling for 394 candidates to qualify for an Election Broadcast. It is unclear whether they have that many members left – certainly nothing like that many activists.
LAST STAND IN DONCASTER
The EDP was clearly the 2nd biggest party in Doncaster by number of activists 3 years ago. Now they have a handful of members left. Most of the best activists had gone long before Peter Davies resigned, but their only parish cllr Mick Glynn was among those to leave with him as well as the leading figure of the local party (sometimes praised in Tilbrook speeches) Roy Penketh – who is Davies’ agent. David Allen joined 3 years ago and is a recent activist as is his agent John Brennan. It’s only a handful of these relative newcomers and some of the older knuckledraggers left now. Mayoral elections are notoriously unpredictable like Police ones (that’s why EDP love them both), and I would find it hard to predict what % they will get or where they will finish – could be anywhere from 3rd to 10th, but it will be miles behind Davies and the Labour candidate Ros Jones.
I will quickly tidy up the 6 counties with a very limited Eng Dem presence. Firstly the biggest collapse outside those places that have disappeared completely is in Essex. They have fallen from 10 candidates to just 4. Of these, 3 are members of the Tilbrook family – and the only other one is veteran campaigner John Hayter in Rayleigh North. None of these have known far right connections apart from Robin Tilbrook himself who has chosen to lead his party into alliances with every bunch of half a dozen thugs and nutters Steve Uncles can make contact with. Hayter was once part of a strong group in Rochford & Rayleigh, but he is the only one standing now.
A couple of lone party members who have been around for a while have popped up as sole candidates in Somerset and Surrey – Stephen Wright in Ilminster and Daniel Beddoes in Godstone. I have no interesting information on either. The pointless David Ford Lane has led his West Midlands area to the stage where he is now the only candidate – standing in Bede in Warwickshire. Similarly Charles Vickers has seen the existing Hertfordshire party collapse. He is now the only candidate in Letchworth NW. None of the new BNP contingent are standing in St Albans or Three Rivers. Lastly, former Tory councillor in Peterborough, Stephen Goldspink, has moved to the Fens and he and his wife Maria are standing for Whittlesey North & South between them.
That just leaves the interesting case of Northamptonshire – and the VERY interesting case of Kent……
FAR RIGHT LIVE ON IN NORTHANTS
So to Northamptonshire. This is the 2nd biggest field for the Eng Dems with 5 candidates and throws up some interesting points. Firstly there are the no-shows which include Alan Bennett-Spencer (funny how people vanish very quickly once they have taken over as party treasurer) and David Wickham – their mad-keen new activist who stood in the Corby by-election.
Area organiser Derek Hilling stands in Windmill ward and Victoria Hilling keeps up the party’s family theme in Clover Hill while former parliamentary candidate Terry Spencer stands in Croyland & Swanspool. The interesting part is the other two.
As discussed earlier in this thread, it is clear that a decision was taken to hide their far right members this year. Perhaps it was a ruse to make Peter Davies’ resignation look silly and allow them to score points off Labour and UKIP in particular for running former far right candidates. However, everyone knows they are still there and all they have done is admit they are an embarrassment – as well as meaning they will not contest most of their best prospects.
The thing is that Northants either never got the message or chose to defy it as former NF activist Kevin Sills stands in Desborough and former BNP organiser and parliamentary candidate Rob Walker stands in Hatton Park. So there are at least 2 far-right candidates running.
Also Northants are contesting 3 borough council by-elections as D Hilling, Sills & Walker all double-up. Sills is even contesting a 3rd one in a town council by-election.
There are lots of council by-elections getting tidied up on May 2 but I have not come across any more where EDP are standing. The party has not published a list of candidates (wouldn’t take long really) and have only promoted the Donny Mayor and a few Kent campaigns by name.
So with 38 County, 1 Mayor and 3 borough candidates (always exclude parish/town from such analysis) that is 42 candidates and 9.5% ex far right this time thanks to Northants
BENT IN KENT
OK then lets tidy up Kent. Four years ago they got their best results here including 6 2nd places and some good shares of the vote well above 20%. In many ways this was better than their Doncaster result, which was frankly a bit of a freak. Since then, dozens of their best activists have left and they made no progress at all at the General Election or other elections.
However, 23 of their 38 national candidates are standing here – so we can say that it is their only substantial slate of candidates and Uncles will use it to show he has worked hard where every other regional organiser has gone to sleep – and he will have a point!
He claims there are 25 candidates. This is because 2 of the leading Kent members will be contesting the 2 seats in HerneBay as New England. It was one of the parties that merged to form the EDP and they retain the name along with a few others. Seems they are experimenting with brand names after turning the current one toxic. Veteran Mike “The Tibster” Tibby who has moved to Herne Bay and Hitler enthusiast and Death Wish fanatic Nathan King, who is still in Dartford, are still very much EDP members but are not part of their party list.
Of the 23 that are standing, there are no figures with known far right history. The notorious trio of Eddy Butler, Claudia Dalgleish/Bryan and Paul Golding were all slated as possible candidates on an earlier Uncles list – may have always been a bluff. There is also no appearance of the promised Citizen Steve, the god-awful nationalist singer songwriter known from several nationalist rallies and events. Even under any assumed name, none of the candidates’ pen pictures mention their musical career.
Here are the statements from them all. Or at least the clumsy, copy and pasting, barely literate attempts from Steve Uncles:-
I won’t bore you with all the others. There are a few EDP regulars, most of the Uncles family and most of “Sir Michael Walters of Eastligh”’s work colleagues plus a few new names. Tellingly, apart from Uncles and his missus, just 3 return from the 24 candidates 4 years ago. Among those missing – the parliamentary candidate in their main target of Dartford, Gary Rogers.
However, the real interest lies in the 5 candidates listed for the Tonbridge & Malling district….
Firstly they stand their teenage candidate in Malling North. Standing as Lee Jon, he is not using his real name. Least of the issues!
In Malling Rural East, Liz Uncles is standing. Not knowing the Uncles family I cannot claim he does not have a relation called Liz. However, I do not believe it likely that she is living with Mike Walters in Rochester as shown on her nomination paper. Why put a fake address unless she does not live in Kent at all?
In Malling West we have Helen Stevens (a new name with no EDP history). However both names have appeared in previous Uncles online fantasies and her home address shows she lives in Dartford with Nathan King. Not to be so mean as to wonder whether anyone would live with Nathan, I would add his FB status is still single.
In Malling Rural NE we have someone called “Steves Uncle”. Could be a typo. The real Steve Uncles is standing in Swanley, but there is nothing to stop him from standing in every ward in Kent if he can get himself nominated. However Steves Uncle lives at the same address as Michael Walters and Liz Uncles in the sitcom from hell.
Lastly in Malling Central we have Anna Cleves. The entries on Uncles’ blog have changed the spelling of her surname several times, changed her first name to Teresa and changed her sex to male! Her address has been checked by several people now and does not seem to exist. Of course, the most puzzling thing is why the former wife of Henry VIII is standing at all after nearly 500 years. She wasn’t even English!
Illegally entering fake people on the electoral register, producing forged signatures on an electoral nomination and deception over addresses used on an electoral nomination all carry prison sentences. This is all now under investigation.