Stronghold, what stronghold ?
Any residents of Frizington who look at political websites, particularly if they are part of more than 72% of voters in the division who voted for someone other than the British National Party, may be slightly surprised to find themselves described as living in the "BNP Stronghold of Frizington" on the local BNP blog.
Most parties use the expression "stronghold" to describe somewhere we win.
The election in that county division last year was affected by tragic circumstances: the Conservative candidate, who had planned to campaign, was unexpectedly taken seriously ill just after the close of nominations. He spent most of the campaign in the West Cumberland Hospital and sadly died later last year.
He still came within four votes of keeping the BNP in third and last place. Labour won that division with a majority of 343 votes.
Overall in the divisions wholly within the Copeland Constituency the results were
CONSERVATIVE, 8,979 votes (39.2%)
LABOUR 7,900 votes (34.5%)
BNP 3,250 votes (14.2%)
LIB/DEM 1,558 votes ( 6.8%)
GREEN 559 votes ( 2.4%)
INDEPENDENT 477 votes ( 2.1%)
UKIP 180 votes ( 0.8%)
This slightly understates the Conservative position, overstating those of Labour and the BNP, because it does not include two Conservative wards which we really can describe as strongholds but which are part of county divisions which are split between Copeland and Workington constituencies. Nobody can be quite certain how the Cockermouth East and Cockermouth West divisions, both easily won by the Conservatives, split between the two parliamentary seats. Pete Whitehead estimated here on the "Vote UK Discussion Forum" thread about Cumbria County Council elections that the votes cast in the Copeland parliamentary constituency as a whole in the county elections were:
CONSERVATIVE 9,787 votes, (40.5%)
LABOUR 8,103 votes, (33.5%)
BNP 3,250 votes, (13.4%)
LD 1,691 votes, ( 7.0%)
GREEN 682 votes, ( 2.8%)
INDEPENDENT 477 votes, ( 2.0%)
UKIP 180 votes, ( 0.7%).
All the mainstream parties need to address, in a non-inflammatory, constructive and non-racist way, the issues which have made 14% of electors in Copeland cast a vote for the British National Party. And there is no room for complacency. But when the BNP are reduced to claiming Frizington as a stronghold and "the highest ever result for the party in Cumbria here least (sic) June" it is worth remembering that they are talking about 501 votes cast and a vote share of 27.2%.
Ironically the BNP blog shows some of their activists posing by "The Griffin" PH in Frizington. I wonder if they knew that until recently this pub gloried in the entertaining if self-contradictory name of "The Old New Griffin." Says it all, really, doesn't it?