11 January, 2011
Trouble at t'Mill
A number of people, among them The Quiet Man and Dick Puddlecote, have picked up on the exclusion of the BNP (and EDP) candidates from a hustings at Delph for the Oldham East and Saddleworth by-election.
The BNP spin on the story is that their candidate, Derek Adams, took his place on the platform, at which point a local Labour councillor played the "no platform" card, the Old Bill were mustered and our Del was out on his ear.
The Saddleworth News website paints a different picture. The organizers claim that Derek Adams was not invited to participate in the first place. His group were invited as audience members; Derek taking a seat on the platform was actually a "sit in" stunt.
The reasoning is interesting.
The event was put on by the Delph Community Association and Delph Traffic Group. In a statement tonight, the organisers said: “No hustings or candidates’ question time in this constituency has ever had all the candidates on the platform and there is no legal requirement to do so. On Thursday night the Oldham Chronicle organised a question time with just three candidates on the platform.”This is either disingenuous or naïve. If there are indeed practical limits on numbers, then there are ways of making the cut in a self-explanatory and defensibly democratically reasonable manner. In the present case, one might
The statement continued: “It is simply not practicable to hold a question time with more than five speakers and with ten candidates a choice has to be made. On Sunday the three main candidates were joined by the Green candidate Peter Allen, whose party has a councillor on Oldham Council, and Paul Nuttall the UKIP candidate, who is also an elected member of the European Parliament for the North West.”
- — Invite only the "big three".
— Invite the "big three" plus the established minors: Greens, UKIP, BNP and arguably EDP, while excluding the two joke candidates and the Pirates.
— Invite all ten.
Messy. On balance I'd say the BNP win the propaganda skirmish on points.
Update: This comment at Saddleworth News from Stephen Morris, the EDP candidate, sheds further light.
Cllr Hulme’s [organizer of the hustings, apparently in an email reply to Mr Morris] reason for only inviting 5 – “5 candidates have been invited – all those from parties with councillors sitting on Oldham Council – Green, Labour, Liberal Democrat and Conservative plus a sitting MEP from UKIP who is standing as a candidate. Clearly these are the candidates who could be in a position to assist us in achieving our objectives after the by-election is long gone.”They're making it up as they go along, aren't they?
The English Democrats have absolutely no history of campaigning on local issues like traffic in our area and as this meeting is first and foremost about local traffic issues it does not seem appropriate to invite yourselves to the meeting.”
It contains (and without a hint of irony) the words
"Free speech has no place in our society where the BNP are concerned".
Adolph and Joe smiled up from Hell.