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Monday 19 April 2004

UNISON to mobilise anti-BNP vote

Scotland's largest union announced that its major campaigning priority for the next year would be to mobilise votes from their members and others to combat the threat posed by British National Party candidates standing in the forthcoming Euro elections on June 10.

UNISON's UK President, Dave Anderson, speaking in a debate on racism and fascism at the STUC Congress said "The campaign to stop the BNP will be our major priority in the coming year. We have seen how dangerous they are to communities and services where they have managed to get councillors elected. Scotland should take this opportunity to stop them now."

The BNP are standing four candidates in the Scotland Euro Constituency (they were standing 5 but one has already withdrawn). UNISON is a 'registered third party' in the election and will be campaigning with its members and others to maximise the vote and to ensure no racist candidate slips in by the back door.

The union is producing material to expose the racist and fascist nature of the BNP. Dave Anderson said "The BNP likes to portray itself as 'respectable'. But we know that many of their key organisers and candidates have criminal convictions. They preach a message of hate and division - where they get elected, as in Burnley - race crimes have risen by 29%. Yet Nick Griffin - the party leader has the gall to try and exploit the horrific murder of Kris Donald by his unwanted and provocative visit to Pollokshields."

UNISON has already distributed a briefing about the far-right parties candidates to its branches, ordered UK campaigning material, and will be producing material specifically opposing the BNP in Scotland. They are concerned that, with the proportional nature of the Euro vote a low turn-out means that even a relatively small racist vote risks them picking up a seat.


For Further Information Please Contact: Dave Anderson (UNISON President) 07909 680 832(m) Chris Bartter (Communications Officer) 0845 355 0845(w) 0771 558 3729(m)


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