Battle of Barking and Dagenham 2010


I’ve just received the latest issue of Searchlight. It is fairly self-congratulatory, but deservedly so. After all, Searchlight’s Hope not Hate campaign in Barking and Dagenham contributed to the glorious crushing of the BNP’s hopes to gain their first Westminster seat and control of a local authority.

I regret that I didn’t get out there so that I could feel like I played my part. All my political campaigning activities have been restricted to within half a mile of Jako Towers for the last six months. Obviously I would have felt awful if the BNP had been successful. Therefore I’m satisfied with being slightly regretful.

I was disappointed to hear that Nick Griffin plans to step down as BNP leader in 2013. With his history of blatant Hitler-fancying, his ability to provoke even his closest allies into wanting to kill him, and his clear incompetence and general weirdness, we anti-fascists must be concerned that the BNP will find themselves a decent leader to replace him. However, that seems unlikely.

Anyway, congratulations to Searchlight. Surely everyone must now recognise the wisdom of Searchlight’s strategy of long-term engagement in local politics, winning the support of trade unions and other community groups and co-operating with Labour as the party most likely to beat the BNP in places like east London and Stoke.

Praise be that Searchlight were in Barking and Dagenham and prepared to patiently carry out all the canvassing and leafletting that they did. The ‘tactics’ of Unite Against Fascism – organise a noisy demonstration and more often than not these days end up fighting the police –  are worse than useless.

Searchlight is undoubtedly the top dedicated anti-fascist campaigning organisation in the country, perhaps even the world. Good on them.


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