English Democrats Embarrassed in Oldham

Before the by-election in Oldham & Saddleworth, numerous commentators had predicted an increase in the vote for fringe ‘right-wing’/’far-right’ parties. The usual reasons were trotted out: ‘disillusionment with politics’; ‘the economic climate’; ‘tuition fees’ among many other tired excuses.

What was interesting was that it was not just the BNP or UKIP that were receiving this attention. The English Democrats were also being mentioned, as in this Rod Liddle column in the Spectator:

“The BNP did very well in Oldham five years ago, but their support locally (and nationally) has dwindled since then. They are competing with the English Democrats for the disillusioned Labour vote; UKIP take votes mainly from the Tories.”

Here Liddle appears to suggest, albeit somewhat optimistically, that the Eng Dems were in pole position to woo disillusioned Labour voters. Has he not noticed that the Lib Dems were supposed to do that?

What is more interesting is what Liddle perceives it is about the Eng Dems that makes them a specific target for leftist voters. Looking through their manifesto/policies, it is difficult to locate a specifically modern-left policy among policies such as these:

3.19.1 The English Democrats share the public concerns as to the harm caused to our society by political correctness.
3.19.2 The English Democrats unreservedly condemn this intolerant creed. We reject the self-righteousness of political correctness and condemn the ideology as an evil. Political correctness is incompatible with a free and democratic society.

The polar opposite of the left, in fact. Liddle continues:

“My guess is the BNP will still narrowly win this private three-way battle… But you do wonder if the English Democrats will overtake the BNP sooner or later.”

As it transpires, in Oldham,  they did not. Both UKIP and the BNP marginally increased their share, taking close to 10% of the vote between them. Other political parties registered a respectable result… but the Eng Dems? Well, one need only look at the numbers.

Results in full

Labour: 14,718 (42.1%)

Lib Dems: 11,160 (31.9%)

Conservatives: 4,481 (12.8%)

UKIP: 2,029 (5.8%)

BNP: 1,560 (4.5%)

Green Party: 530 (1.5%)

Monster Raving Loony Party: 145 (0.4%)

English Democrats: 144 (0.4%)

Pirate Party: 96 (0.2%)

Bus Pass Elvis Party: 67 (0.1%)

Yes, an inferior turn-out to the Monster Raving Loony Party.

It would be all too simple to blame ‘disillusionment with politics’, but there is clearly more here than this superficial analysis would merit. The English Democrats struggled because they did not make themselves particularly distinctive in a crowded political landscape. One need only look at their key poster in Oldham for evidence of this.

Not a meaningful slogan in sight. Where are the statistics about the sheer volume of English people who would support an English Parliament? Where are the promises and ideals? How does this connote a distinctively English identity?

Far from being a wake-up call to any of the major parties, the Oldham by-election has proved to be a strong exhortation to the minor parties: find a place in the line-up of bland asinine candidates, assert an identity and above all, stress the message.

If the likes of the English Democrats don’t, we will all be waiting for proper representation for England for a good deal longer.

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About Byrnsweord

I am an Englishman. Constantly striving for the truth and to conserve what is good about England. You can find my on flickr at http://www.flickr.com/people/byrnsweord/ my blog over at byrnsweord.wordpress.com/ and my Twitter account at twitter.com/byrnsweord Byrnsweord is min nama.
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8 Responses to English Democrats Embarrassed in Oldham

  1. nicola says:

    That “slogan” was rubbish.

    I thought you would be an English Democrat or are you but feel free to criticise the party.

  2. Wyrdtimes says:

    You have to campaign on the issues and there are plenty of them.

    Tuition fees
    Care for the elderly including English folk paying for care that’s free elsewhere in the UK and having to sell their homes to pay for care.
    Prescription charges
    Eye tests
    Road and bridge tolls
    English asset sales
    Dental check-ups
    Barnett Formula funding
    Lack of recognition for England
    Enforced regionalisation
    Lack of parliament and consequences
    Hospital parking
    School dinners and education in general

    The list goes on and on.

    Even “Sick of getting a raw deal because you’re English? Vote Eng Dem” would have been more effective than the posters they went with.

  3. Junius says:

    There is no need to take it personally Nicola – Any party needs to be criticised for what they get wrong; People can be for an English Parliament, even support the English Democrats on principle – but can not agree with all that is done in it’s name. And there is much to criticise in the English Democrats – that does not mean that I would not like it to do well – I want it to succeed which is why I am ready to point out what does not work in my opinion in order for them to do better.

  4. Rod says:

    ARE THE ENGLISH DEMOCRATS SET (OR FIT) TO FILL THE VOID?

    The State of British Politics in 2011

    There was a time when you could rely on the Conservative party being for the merchants’ and the middle classes, the Labour party was for the ‘workers’ and the Liberals were for the err, well everyone else who didn’t fancy the other two!

    Today there is a huge void in British politics, right where the old THREE PARTY SYSTEM used to be. A huge empty political hole that’s just waiting to be filled. Imagine if another political group could determine what was missing and provide those missing bits, they could step straight into their shoes. A party that is neither on the Right nor the Left, but firmly on the side of the English.

    England; the only nation in the United Kingdom that does not have its own parliament. England; the only nation in Europe that does not have its own parliament.

    England: The only country that suffers injustices and is discriminated against because of this. Injustices such as –

    Do you have children hoping to go to university – is it fair that we English will have to pay £9,000 for our children to go to university?

    Do you have parents creating wealth for the British State only to have that same state destroy their pensions? And who may now have to sell everything they have worked for to fund their own aged care? They are treated far, far better in Scotland because you, the English taxpayer pays for it!

    The English Democrat manifesto is crammed full of just the type of issues that the old conservatives used to appreciate – Issues like:

    Europe. We pay £45million PER DAY to the European Community. How many schools in Devon or Norfolk will that sort of money build? How many hospital beds in Somerset or Lancashire will that sort of money fund?

    How many Post Offices, both rural and urban, would that sort of money keep open? Do you remember the old Post Offices? The centre of the community in the majority of cases. How much more are our rural communities going to have to suffer because of European Community Directives?

    Do you want out of the EU? So do the English Democrats. It is committed to a referendum on this issue and WILL listen to what the people say. Unlike David Cameron, who promised a referendum until he was in power and then reneged on that promise.

    Defence: A strong defence force which will continue to retain our own independent nuclear deterrent. Do you think that we should be fighting wars for other nations – or should we be defending our own shores? Should we be putting the interests of our nation at risk by scrapping our capitol warships – or should HMS Ark Royal stay in service at least until her replacement is ready? Should we be reducing our once proud Royal Air Force to the status of the Belgian Air Force – or should we be maintaining our own ability to defend our own skies?

    Education: Should we be allowing a Politically Correct culture to dumb down the education system for our children – or should we have an education system that produces people capable of carrying the nation forward to great achievements in the future?

    Should we settle for mediocrity in our schools, where everybody is the same – or should we have an education system that recognises that people DO have different capabilities and that those who are able to shine, SHOULD be encouraged and supported to do just that.

    Immigration: Should we allow unlimited immigration from within the EU – or should we insist that anyone coming into this country is needed, qualified, can support themselves, can speak English and will give allegiance to the Crown?
    The Coalition has put a cap on the number of immigrants from outside of the EU only. The British government has NO control over the number of EU residents who want to come to this country.

    The Health Service: Do you think that the NHS is a Sacred Cow and should always be allowed to simply absorb money – or should it be controlled with a priority placed on nursing and care as opposed to bureaucracy? Is it right that despite the vast amounts of money invested into the service that people STILL die in filthy wards? Still we suffer from nurses leaving because they can no longer accept that they are NOT there to care for people but to meet targets? How much confidence would you have in your medical practitioner if that individual can hardly string together a full sentence in English?

    Law & Order: With the crime rate climbing, can you see any sense in the Coalition government drastically cutting the number of Police Officers and support staff? Can you understand the eagerness of the Justice Minister wanting to close THREE prisons – or do you believe, as we do, that some people are just so rotten that they DESERVE to be in jail? Do you believe that criminals need to be ‘helped and supported’ as Cameron & Clegg think – or do you think that , as we do, the victim should be helped and supported and that the punishment should fit the crime?

    Is it justifiable for prisoners to riot and destroy an open prison because the staff wanted to breathalyse some of them – or should it not be possible to smuggle drugs, booze and women into a prison?

    David Cameron’s hero is Tony Blair, and that is with his own admission. He is proud of the fact that he models himself on Blair, again his admission. Cameron is NOT a conservative. Cameron IS a Liberal. The Liberals promised that they would fight for free university education and the majority of them even signed the pledge to that effect. But one whiff of ‘power’ and they also reneged on this and other promises.

    I could go on but you get my drift. So what is stopping the English Democrats from filling that void? What is stopping them from taking on the mantle from the Old Conservative Party, and filling that ‘huge political hole’ that has opened up?

    To get to this answer I need first to ask you another question. What response do you invariably get from the public when you say that you are from the English Democrats? No, I don’t mean when they say ‘Who?’ – I mean when they say ‘You’re just like the BNP aren’t you?’ or ‘Are you racist then?’

    But why do they ask those questions? The answer is unfortunate but true. It is because we have the word ‘English’ in our title and because we proudly fly the Cross of St George, both of which have been kidnapped over the years by racists and the right wing. Some people still associate our flag with scenes of hooliganism at football matches etc. The PC and anti English brigade have done a superb job of dirtying the name and the flag of our nation, which leaves us the task of spending the first five minutes or so of practically each and every political conversation we have with the public trying to persuade them (with mixed results) that we are not rabid fascists. I have even had a CofE vicar from a local church call me ‘right-wing’ as he stood below the tower of his church which was proudly flying the Cross of St George. Even when this was pointed out to him, he could not see the irony of it!

    So, what is the solution? Well, it could be something very simple BUT if it were to happen, it would require a giant leap of faith by Party members. First, we need to ask ‘Where do we want to be in five years time?’ My answer to that is an emphatic ‘We want to be in Office’. I didn’t join this party to ‘play’ at politics; we want to be able to change the direction that England is being quietly dragged down by the Lib/Lab/Con party. It would be nicer to be able to say that she is being dragged ‘kicking and screaming’ but she is not. How many pleas to the people have you made for them to wake up and smell the coffee?

    I believe that the answer could simply be a change in our name. Change the name of the party to reflect where we want to be. And where exactly do we want to be? We want to be in Office of course.

    I realise that it is asking a great deal but be honest, how long is it going to take us to persuade the majority of people that we are not those rabid fascists, in the face of a hostile media?

    I joined the English Democrats because I wanted to help save my country from destruction, for the sake of my grandchildren – not for me. I believe that we will stand a much better chance if we quietly adopt a more recognised title that people will feel comfortable with as opposed to being perceived as antagonistic. The aims of the party will remain the same, we must still argue for an English Parliament, even though we could become a UK wide party.

    The results from Oldam are depressing on a number of fronts. It amazes me that ANYONE can still vote for the Labour party, let alone increase their majority! However the biggest shock to me was the share of the vote that the English Democrats won. You will see from the table below that despite the supreme efforts of Stephen and his team in Oldham (it was the first time we have stood there and in no way can it reflect on them); we still managed to win ONE LESS vote than the Monster Raving Looney Party! That is truly awful and we need to learn something from that – and soon.

    Candidate Party Vote
    Debbie Abrahams Labour 14718
    Elwyn Watkins LD 11160
    Kashif Ali Con 4481
    Paul Nuttall UKIP 2029
    Derek Adams BNP 1560
    Peter Allen Green 530
    The Flying Brick Loony 145
    Stephen Morris Eng Dem 144
    Loz Kaye Pirate 96
    David Bishop Bus-Pass Elvis 67
    TURNOUT 48%

    I don’t believe that we can take any solace from the fact that we beat the Bus-Pass Elvis Party.

    I love my country and my flag with a passion. I fear for my country, as I fear for my grandchildren and I am sure that every member of this Party feels exactly the same way. I wonder if it is not more sensible to put the word ‘English’ away somewhere very safe, until we are in a position of strength, when we will be able to start changing people’s perception of our country and our flag. To rebuild the pride that once was so prevalent.

    The Conservative Party is full of discontented members, including MPs and supporters, so now are the Lib/Dems. Within 12/24 months we could be thinking seriously about forming the next government. The future for England could be much brighter and a lot sooner than we thought possible. I am becoming more and more convinced that we need to change our name and make an all out effort to capture that ground vacated by the Conservative Party.

    I must stress that I am not intending to abandon ‘England’ – far from it. I would put my life on the line for her if necessary, I’ve done it before. Quite simply, I do not believe that we will make that breakthrough whilst we are still painted as ‘Extreme Right Wing’ etc because of the use of the name of our country. However, if we were able to capture that vacant ground, we could be in a position to really achieve our goals, which surely is why we are in this party in the first place. We would probably attract donations and funding a lot easier as well and if it means that we had to take control of the ‘British’ government in the process, then I could live with that.

    I do not want this cause to go the same way as the BNP!

    What about a suitable name? I have a couple of suggestions for a name but this is where I am having difficulty. Some suggestions are;

    THE NEW DEMOCRATIC CONSERVATIVE PARTY. Well the ‘New’ worked for Labour but will the Democratic remind people of the Lib Dems and all that they stand for – if anyone’s figured that out yet!

    THE REAL CONSERVATIVES. But then there are also a great number of Labour supporters who are disillusioned with their party but would never consider voting ‘Conservative’.

    THE INDEPENDENT DEMOCRATS. Possibly the best suggestion so far. It does what it says on the tin. A ‘Free’ party that will represent the people – democratically.

    What do you think?

  5. archaism says:

    That poster is such a terrible clutter of ideas: it serves only to undermine its message as well as perpetuate confusion as to its own identity. It might just be my memory misfiring, but I am reminded of Richard Huggett of the Literal Democrats.

    Of course, this is just my opinion on the direct presentation, which is unsurprising as coming from an analyser of texts. Nonetheless, the idea that a party needs a solid, understandable identity is important: I am constantly tempted to call UKIP head office and ask their policy on education: I’ve never heard it.

    Eng Dems: tell us what you want to do. Only then can I agree or disagree with you. Such leads to votes.

  6. Val Morris says:

    I wouldn’t say Embarrassed, disappointed maybe as its seems the nationalist supporters did not turn out to vote but not embarrassed. The result was okay for the first time standing there. In fact Stephen has gone out every night this week so far delivering leaflets and will continue for the rest of the week. I think the billboards were really good, when you compare them to the others in the area. You fail to mention that the billboards rotated so only had a certain amount of time to get your information across, therefore cramming them with information you suggest above just wouldn’t work. Positioning and type of billboard must all be taken into account when they are being drawn up. We will never please everyone. You can see a video of the timing of the billboard on this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wSTUGu71DBI

  7. Roger says:

    The meaningful slogan is: “Putting England First!” but on the poster it is in the smallest lettering and features on the wavy horizontal part of the Cross of St George, rendering it hard to make out.

    I think a better poster design would retain the standard English Democrats Cross of St George logo but the only other text should be “Putting England First!” and “English Democrats” in large lettering, with perhaps the web address in smaller lettering as on the existing poster.

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