Wednesday 17 September 2014

Heywood & Middleton Labour candidate and her BNP colleague

Labour Heywood & Middleton candidate Liz McInnes -
remember her association with the far-right when she
starts shouting 'racist' at UKIP
Spare a thought for Labour candidate for Heywood & Middleton, Liz McInnes. There she was, all set to call UKIP 'racist', 'fascist' and 'nazis', and she seems to have forgotten one of her colleagues.

For Liz is a councillor in Rossendale. The neighbouring Borough is Blackburn with Darwen. Both are covered by the same constituency Labour Party, known as Rossendale and Darwen after the parliamentary constituency.

Former Nazi turned Labour Mayor -
and colleague of Heywood & Middleton
Labour candidate Liz McInnes
Blackburn with Darwen's current councillor for the Earcroft ward is Trevor Maxfield. Maxfield  was originally elected as a BNP councillor for the ward, before defecting to the Labour Party, which rapidly changed its mind about him being a 'racist', 'fascist' and 'nazi' - so much so that they made him Mayor of Darwen.

Maxfield had a long history with the BNP. He was appointed local organiser by no less a person than
then BNP leader Nick Griffin back in 2004 when he was described by his predecessor as being one of the 'drug dealers and football hooligans' who made up the local branch of the BNP. He didn't defect straight to Labour though - first he joined the white supremacist 'England First Party'. Of course, had he been a member of UKIP, we'd have read about all this on the front page of the Mirror and the Guardian, and Hope not Hate and UAF would have been picketing his house. But, since he eventually joined Labour, that's alright then. As a fellow Labour councillor said when he was made cabinet member for culture, "To be fair to Trevor, he’s quite a good bloke. I think his BNP stuff is in the past". Not that far in the past, as he is pictured at a 'Heritage & Destiny' meeting in Bradford in 2006 with various other luminaries of the far right, including Eddy Morrison and Dave Smith. Its a strange world indeed where Maxfield is not just accepted but promoted within the Labour Party despite his far right links, while he would not even qualify for membership of UKIP because of his past associations. And they call us racist!

Still, things work a bit differently in Rossendale & Darwen. The local Labour candidate - they lost the seat to the Tories in 2010 - is none other than William Straw, son of former Home Secretary Jack. Readers may recall that back in 1998, he was cautioned by police for selling cannabis, something which would have stopped anyone less propelled by nepotism from being selected. Local Labour councillors have rallied around him since his selection, with Liz McInnes saying how wonderful he is just above a similar endorsement from Trevor Maxfield.

Will himself did plenty for race relations, which is probably why a former BNP councillor speaks so highly of him. After all, Will caused no little controversy shortly after his selection when he was attacked and decried as a racist after being pictured with two fancy dress goers who had 'blacked up'.

So when Labour start slinging the usual slurs at John Bickley, the UKIP candidate, it is worth recalling that their own local party has quite a lot to answer for itself.

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