Dis­be­lief as BNP en­ters by-elec­tion

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY RACHEL FLETCHER

RES­I­DENTS OF a di­verse North Lon­don bor­ough were shocked this week as a Bri­tish Na­tional Party can­di­date stood in a lo­cal by-elec­tion.

The BNP’s Howard Stud­ley is run­ning for the po­si­tion of coun­cil­lor against four other can­di­dates — in­clud­ing two Jews and a Mus­lim — in Canons ward, Har­row, on De­cem­ber 13. Ac­cord­ing to the 2001 cen­sus, Canons is 36 per cent Jewish and 23 per cent Asian and black.

The elec­tion is be­ing held af­ter the death of Jewish Con­ser­va­tive coun­cil­lor and for­mer mayor Janet Cowan.

Gu­lab Gandhi of Canons Park Newsagent, said: “On this street there are busi­nesses owned by Turk­ish, Ir­ish, Ar­me­nian, In­dian, Bangladeshi and Jewish peo­ple. I don’t think the BNP would win.”

His col­league Douglas Ox­ley added: “The BNP must be sui­ci­dal to stand here. Find­ing an ‘English’ per­son like me is very un­usual. I think peo­ple will re­act with dis­be­lief. I def­i­nitely won’t vote BNP.”

Lo­cal busi­ness­man Sailesh Solanki said: “I don’t think the BNP would win, but voter ap­a­thy al­lows them to get in more than any­thing else.”

Labour can­di­date and Bel­mont Syn­a­gogue mem­ber Richard Har­rod told the JC: “What I fear is that not many peo­ple will vote, and BNP sup­port will seem big­ger than it re­ally is. I want peo­ple to get out there and vote, it doesn’t mat­ter for whom, as long as it’s not the BNP.”

Lib­eral Demo­crat can­di­date Anne Di­a­mond — also a Bel­mont mem­ber — said: “I think if we had to place de­posits, as with gen­eral elec­tions, they [the BNP] would have sec­ond thoughts about field­ing can­di­dates. Per­haps they are try­ing to en­cour­age those with­out po­lit­i­cal lean­ings to vote: there have been Jewish BNP can­di­dates in the past. Per­haps they are try­ing to en­cour­age Jews to be­come mem­bers.”

Con­ser­va­tive can­di­date Hu­sain Akhtar said: “I think the BNP is just try­ing to demon­strate its pres­ence. I am sure they won’t win. Peo­ple in Har­row, es­pe­cially in Canons ward, are very sen­si­ble and fair-minded peo­ple. I have con­fi­dence in peo­ple’s judg­ment to see what is in the best in­ter­est of Har­row.”

BNP press of­fi­cer Si­mon Darby said: “Many Jewish peo­ple are not sup­port­ers of mul­ti­cul­tur­al­ism. We have at least one Jewish coun­cil­lor and dozens of Jewish mem­bers, Sikh and Hindu, even one or two Mus­lim sup­port­ers.

“We are try­ing to con­test as many elec­tions as we can. Just be­cause there are many Jews and Hin­dus in an area is no rea­son not to con­test it. We are a main­stream phe­nom­e­non.”

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