A survey in Barking and Dagenham, in east London, reveals that 94 % of teachers would not want to work for a BNP-led council. 75% of those surveyed by the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and Hope Not Hate would consider no longer working in Barking and Dagenham
The fascist British National Party already has a group of councillors in the borough. It aims to take control of the council in the 6 May local elections. Nick Griffin, BNP leader, is standing for Parliament in local constituency on the same day.
The survey highlighted teachers’ concerns that a BNP gain would impact negatively on the morale of teachers and have a detrimental effect on the education of children in the area.
One teacher commented "I think it would be the worst thing in the world. I would be frightened for people’s safety. I see the ethnic mix of this borough as a positive thing for me and my children. Please stop them." Another simply said ‘Disaster!’
105 local NUT members participated in the online survey. Some of them spoke of the need to stay on in the borough and continue to fight against the BNP.
Christine Blower, General Secretary of the NUT, said:
"This survey shows that teachers have a genuine fear of the consequences that a BNP-led council would bring to schools in Barking and Dagenham and the threat it will pose to ensuring our schools are protected as havens of tolerance and community cohesion. The growth of far-right organisations in recent years is of grave concern to the NUT, particularly when this means they could have influence on schools, and the lives of our members and the pupils they teach."
The NUT has a political fund, which is used to campaign against the BNP. The union is currently funding campaigns to help stop BNP candidates being elected on 6 May, in Barking and Dagenham and elsewhere.
Hope Not Hate said: "This poll graphically illustrates the danger of the BNP. Would you want your child's education in the hands of a party that praises the Nazis and claims the Holocaust never happened? Their politics of division, extremism and hate have no place in our classrooms."
Alex Snowdon is a Counterfire activist in Newcastle. He is active in the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Stop the War Coalition and the National Education Union. He is the author of A Short Guide to Israeli Apartheid (2022).
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