Cllr. Wayne McDermott is the BNP's Regional Elections Officer for the East Midlands. Here he gives his analysis of the Party's performance in Leicestershire:-
"Firstly,I would like to thank every one who stood as a candidate as without these people we would not have achieved what we did.
"Across Leicestershire we contested 48 out of the 52 wards which was fantastic. The target was always to have full slates in NW Leicestershire, Charnwood, Melton and Blaby; to also have a full slate standing in Hinckley was an added bonus and for the first time ever to contest seats in Harborough and Oadby & Wigston was a welcome boost.
"An incredible 26,279 people voted BNP across the county, a record number. In NW Leicestershire we polled 18.5%, Charnwood 15.1%, Blaby 14.9%, Melton 13.7% & Hinckley & Bosworth 13.5%; these vote shares were across the whole district, not, as previously, just across our best seats in the area.
"In the totally new areas we polled Oadby & Wigston 9.3% (14.5% in Wigston alone), Harborough 8.2%.
"In NW Leicestershire we were within 2% of coming second overall, really closing the gap on Labour beyond what we expected and putting us within a chance of becoming the 2nd party at the next District Elections in 2011, which would mean opposition status, something which has only been achieved in Barking & Dagenham so far.
"Of course the result we will all remember is Coalville: the first ever BNP County Council victory in the East Midlands and 1 of just 3 across the country. The people of Coalville electing Graham Partner has really put us on the map; although Graham and the Party can not yet form a group (until we win a County Council by election), just being on there will gain us vital experience and Graham has already been put onto other committees, helping him and us learn more about the system we one day hope to run.
"The one thing most of you are not aware of and what makes this victory even sweeter is the story behind the BNP contesting Coalville at District level 2 years earlier. As you will know the target seat that year was Whitwick where we had been working for sometime. During the build up to the election our ‘Friends’ at Searchlight, issued the BNP’s target seats, and where we must be stopped. On this list was Coalville. Until that point we were not even going to contest the seat as we had no candidate, but at the last minute we got a candidate and contested the seat coming 3rd and failing to get elected by a handful of votes; since then its been one of several seats we hoped to come close in at county level. So some of the thanks must go to Searchlight - I am sure if they hear of this they will be kicking themselves.
"Other highlights this year were:-
"5 seats with above 20% vote shares: Coalville, Whitwick, Ibstock, Syston Fosse, & Enderby Meridian. These are all seats we have contested before, either at County or District, and shows we can build on past results when the right work goes in. 3 of these seats also have local District Councillors and shows how we are building on the success of 2007 when we first broke through.
"Another 4 big votes above 19% and just missing the 20% target were Thurmaston, Syston Ridgeway, Forest & Measham and Earl Shilton; all these areas having some decent campaigning going on.
"What did shock us were the areas where we have done very little in the past couple of years yet still polled extremely well. The best example of this is in Groby & Ratby where we polled 18% without a leaflet or a campaign of any sort
"The two second places in Melton (remember at the last County Election we came last in every seat we contested) were another huge step forward and we should be looking to break onto the council in the next elections.
"The average vote across the whole of the county, including the areas where we did not have a candidate, was an impressive 12.1% and grabbed the Leicester Mercury headlines along with our victory in Coalville. This proved beyond all doubt the huge effort to contest so many seats was well worth while. I now feel we have broken the ‘Extremist handcuffs’ and we have become part of the electoral system in Leicestershire.
"In 2005 our best result was in Whitwick, 11.1% (Councillor elected 2 years later) and Syston Fosse 11% (Councillor elected in East Goscote part of the ward 2 years later). Well, we have 38 seats where we polled above these percentages.
"Although this sounds amazing remember the elections in 2005 were on General Election day so our results would have been held back slightly. I would still expect several councillors to be looking very nervously at us and wondering what we will be doing next.
"Looking at the bigger picture now these elections are over we need to set the plan for the coming two years; I will be meeting with a couple of people from each district in Leicestershire to set the plan and make sure these new target wards are worked, not just at election time but all year.
"We need more people to come forward and stand as candidates. If you are thinking about it talk to any of us that stood this time; remember, time is ticking and we need more councillors sooner rather than later. Unless we continue to fight hard and continue to put forward more candidates we will not be able to harvest the potential we have just set it place.
"Election 2009 has been good but we need your help and support to make these next 2 years an even bigger success. We are getting used to winning now so lets carry on the trend and win in 2011.
"Just a brief note on the Euro Elections campaign and a thank you to our Regional Organiser and Leicestershire Branch Organiser. 2 years ago Geoff started breaking parts of Leicestershire off to form independent BNP groups, a move which split one of the best Branches in the country. A brave move that some thought was maybe wrong, do these results prove anything about this move? Was it the right thing to do?
"Well, when you compare the progress of each of the 40 districts across the East Midlands from Euro 2004 election result to the vote we received this time, the top 3 out of all 40 were the 3 areas which were broken off by Geoff:
"Melton, who increased it’s 5% vote in 2004 to 9.9% - Relative increase of 97.8%
NW Leicestershire, 8.3% to 14.4% - Relative increase of 72.9%
Charnwood 6.8% to 11.7% - Relative increase of 71.7%"
An excellent report, thank you Wayne.