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In The News

Labour, the BNP and UKIP: getting the facts straight

Cllr Trevor Maxfield, Labour convert from the BNP

A pro-UKIP blog – anticipating an “anti-racist” smear campaign at the Heywood & Middleton parliamentary by-election – has decided to get UKIP’s retaliation in first by attacking a North West Labour councillor’s past membership of the BNP.  In doing so, the Nope not Hope blog – whose story was also picked up by the American-based online news magazine Breitbart.com – shamelessly plagiarised several stories published on this website as long ago as 2010.

More seriously, the pro-UKIP blog made no fewer than five basic errors: quite an achievement when the (correct) basis of the story is copied from someone else’s work.

Error 1: Trevor Maxfield was never a BNP councillor.  As we wrote in our original article on his defection to Labour, Cllr Maxfield (or ‘Max’ as he is known to his friends, whether in the BNP, Labour or Darwen’s pubs) was a BNP organiser in his home town about a decade ago – but not a BNP councillor.  (In fact the BNP has only ever had one councillor in Blackburn with Darwen: Robin Evans, elected in a Mill Hill ward by-election in 2002.)

Error 2: ‘Max’ was never a member of the England First Party (EFP).  He was on the verge of defecting to the EFP in 2006 after the party’s two council victories, but Darwen politics was then turned upside down by the decision of millionaire (and former Lib Dem) Tony Melia to launch the ‘For Darwen Party’, campaigning for a separate town council.  ’Max’ became one of For Darwen’s most important organisers, and in 2007 was elected as a borough councillor for Earcroft ward on Blackburn with Darwen council – not for the BNP, but on the For Darwen ticket. He also became a town councillor for Earcroft on the new Darwen Town Council that was created as a consequence of For Darwen’s campaign.

Error 3: The Nope not Hope blog put themselves at grave risk of legal action by falsely stating that ‘Max’ was “described by his predecessor as being one of the ‘drug dealers and football hooligans’ who made up the local branch of the BNP.”  Former BNP councillor Robin Evans did make this statement, but he was not talking about ‘Max’!  He was referring to a group of Blackburn BNP activists led by Andrew Wells, a well-known football hooligan later imprisoned for under age sex offences.

Error 4: While keen to throw as much mud at ‘Max’ as they can, Nope not Hate‘s Ukippers clearly don’t know that their target’s nationalist associations go back a lot further than a decade.  During the late 1980s he was involved with the ‘Flag Group’ faction of the National Front.

Former BNP organiser Trevor Maxfield (now a Labour councillor) appropriately standing far left at the bar during the 2006 Heritage and Destiny Christmas social!

Error 5: The photograph highlighted by Nope not Hate was taken at a Heritage and Destiny social event in Blackburn, not Bradford.  Moreover the blog claims that a “luminary of the far right” called “Dave Smith” was also in the picture.  Presumably they mean the late Dave Brown, whose obituary accompanied the photo.  Dave Smith is another Labour councillor in Darwen: he has no connection with the BNP, Heritage and Destiny or any other nationalist organisation.

So aside from all these basic errors by Nope not Hate, what are the actual facts of ‘Max”s association with the Labour Party?

As we explained in 2010, For Darwen – including ‘Max’ – ended up in a coalition with Conservative and Lib Dem councillors ruling Blackburn with Darwen.  However after a row over council cuts – specifically over the closure of a swimming pool in a white working class area – ‘Max’ and one of his For Darwen colleagues effectively overturned the council leadership in September 2010 by voting with Labour.

‘Max’ himself later defected to Labour and in 2011 was re-elected as a Labour councillor for his ward, as we again reported at the time.

It’s quite obvious why Blackburn Labour Party ignored Max’s political record: he held the balance of power and put them back in control of the council! This really had nothing at all to do with Liz McInnes, as she is a councillor in Rossendale, which although sharing a constituency with Darwen is in a different council. (Rossendale & Darwen is one of those constituencies that cross council boundaries.)

The closest connection between McInnes and Max is that they both gave endorsements to Jack Straw’s son Will in his (successful) campaign to win the Labour parliamentary nomination for Rossendale & Darwen.

In many ways the most bizarre aspect of the story is UKIP’s pious pretence of ‘anti-racism’, which leads them to attempt a futile ban on ex-BNP members – even though a prominent UKIP activist in Scotland is a former member of the ultra-hardline American national socialist movement National Alliance!

The truth is that UKIP has many ‘racist’ members and officials, but their ‘racism’ is of a petty, reactionary kind.  Essentially UKIP is a neo-Thatcherite party, most of whose policies and attitudes are symptoms of (not cures for) our national problems.

 

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