Extremes in politics are clearly not a good thing. I was first elected as Councillor for Furnace Green in 2003 in an election that also saw the first BNP (British National Party) candidate stand for election in Crawley, gaining 15% of the vote. Subsequent years saw more BNP candidates stand in local elections both in Crawley and across the country.
The peak of the BNP’s success was in the final year of the last Labour Government in 2009, electing an MEP in both the North West and in Yorkshire & the Humber. Thankfully, the threat from the far-right has vastly reduced in the UK and the BNP is now virtually finished as a political party, with their last remaining elected representative, a Councillor in Lancashire, not defending his Council seat in May’s local elections.
While those of us who dislike political extremes will welcome the BNP’s demise, there is the other extreme in politics which is arguably a bigger threat because it actually has a chance of real power. That threat is from the far-left who are consolidating their power within one of our Country’s two main political parties of Government - the Labour party. Somewhat disturbingly, former BNP Leader Nick Griffin is now publicly endorsing Jeremy Corbyn and posted last week on Twitter he’ll vote Labour.
Those of us around in the 1980s remember the far-left Militant Tendency and how Labour had a party within a party trying to take it over. Sadly, history is repeating itself with the far-left Momentum organisation fighting an internal battle within the Labour party to try and gain full control.
Because we need some transparency about this, I asked a question at Crawley’s April’s Full Council meeting whether Councillors should declare on their Register of Interests as to whether they are members of Momentum. Hopefully where needed to, these Register of Interests will now be updated. What I have noticed however is that there are some Labour local election candidates in Crawley whom I personally know are members of Momentum and yet their election leaflets fail to mention this. Where is the openness?
Councillor Duncan Crow, Leader of Crawley Borough Council Conservative Group
18th April 2018