Stoke-on-Trent's Mayoral Elections

Overview by Steve Batkin

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Part 1

Blair created - 'extremists' opportunity!

The year was 2002 and the much promising Labour Party had been in Government for five years since 1997. Tony Blair was Britain's Prime Minister and had basically not done what he said he was going to do while campaigning in the run up to the 1997 British national general election. Having won the election he pledged change and by 2002 it had become obvious that change was not going to happen, in fact it was even worse than when the Conservative Party (Tories) were in office. Mr Blair was a very good actor who seemed to even convince his own mind that fantasy was reality. This man initially generated massive support across the country for the Labour Party, in fact I think he was one of their most popular ever leaders. It was all a deliberate media created illusion which eventually left millions of British people very disappointed. Bearing in mind this was before the iniquitous Mr Blair went on to tell astounding lies about the illegal military attack on Iraq with a following occupation by Britain and its allies, creating the eventual deaths of an admitted vast amount of people. In Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire we witnessed the continued (supposedly Tory) global 'free market' destruction of our manufacturing base: for years prior to 1997 while out of office the pretentious Labour Party had been able to hide behind a smoke screen, ridiculing the Tories at every opportunity, now a large section of the community was in shock observing the post 1997 continued remorseless socioeconomic destruction. Stoke-on-Trent looked like the global bankers' created Second World War bomb sites of London, Coventry, Berlin and Hamburg. Now the bankers were carrying on their carnage in a different form -- the deliberate wrecking of British industry. This selfish act of stupidity went hand in glove with an 'all party' Labour/Tory/Lib-Dem agreed large influx of cheap labour immigrants from all over the world. Needless to say by 2002 the community (proletariat) felt let down, angry and at that point were prepared to rebel at the ballot box.

2002 Mayoral election

Stoke-on-Trent's first Mayoral election was in 2002 and couldn't have come at a better time for small parties trying to make a political break through. I stood for the British National Party which was perceived as insignificant by the national and local political establishment at that juncture and therefore unable to effectively take advantage of the changing times. This was actually true on a basis of available campaigning resources, we had barely any money and therefore few active volunteers, canvassers, leafleters, vehicles, quality literature, window advertising posters etc. Our opponents, particularly the Labour Party, had the advantage by having more of all the aforementioned campaign necessities plus staffed offices, trade union representatives, biased media in their favour etc. The legal Mayoral election candidate qualifying stipulations were to live or work in the city but you did not have to be born in the city. The reason I have mentioned that is because some politicians and journalists made a point of asking me if I was born in the city of Stoke-on-Trent; had I not been born in the city I am sure they would have tried to use it against me. The Electoral Commission had a monitoring officer but Stoke-on-Trent City Council oversaw the running of the whole election process which was in the autumn and did not coincide with any other elections. Most elections in Britain are run in or around the month of May which is the time the bankers' Second World War conflict with Germany ended. The usurers' media use very carefully chosen Second World War propaganda at this specific time to brainwash the electorate.

2002 Mayoral election candidates

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All smiles -- money bags!

Behind the smiles are cunning, deceitful politicians who are in the game of politics for no other reason than big money. On the left is former Stoke-on-Trent South Member of Parliament (MP) and also Member of European Parliament (MEP) George Stevenson. Mr Stevenson was the Labour Party candidate and the favourite to win the Mayoral election in a city dominated by the Labour Party. On the right is a man who shouldn't need any introduction, Tony Blair when he was Britain's Prime Minister and had the nation fooled good and proper -- in 2002 his ill gotten popularity had quite rightly waned dramatically. Mr Stevenson had been a local MP for ten years at that point, he knew his party had faded badly but still refused to espouse popular political sentiments. He was hoping he would get away with it; on the evening of the 17.10.2002 the Mayoral election result was balanced on a cliff edge. Mr Stevenson began to give me side glances which culminated into menacing stares. Maybe he was beginning to have regrets (he didn't have to side with the degenerative 'New Labour') because he suddenly realised the voting contingent of down trodden 'proles' had eventually 'sussed' him. It was a closely fought contest between the Labour Party, an Independent and British National Party. Mike Wolfe was an Independent who had initiated the election by a signature campaign followed by a referendum. Mike had regular access to the local media through his work with minority groups and figured he was in with a good chance. He proved to be right because he went on to win the election by a second preferential vote. To cut a long story short the voting system chosen for this election gave the public two votes for two different candidates. After the tellers counted all the votes for each candidate first and second were tallied up. Mr Stevenson got the most primary votes but Mr Wolfe got the most tallied votes. The convenient rule for the political establishment was that only two candidates with the most primary votes went through for a run off should No 2 have more secondary votes than No 1. Mr Wolfe got less primaries than Mr Stevenson but more secondaries, he then won on aggregate. As BNP candidate I was closely in third place on primaries but certainly looked to have the most secondaries. My secondary votes were never counted because their rules said I could not go through. It's not an easy voting system to understand and that was the case for all the candidates and election officials at the count on election night.

Ban the 'fascists'!

There were problems from the very start, George Stevenson (pre-election) went down to Stoke-on-Trent's Civic Centre which is annexed to the old Stoke town hall, walked into the election officer's office and tried to lay down the law. Mr Stevenson, in fascist mood himself, demanded that the BNP must not be allowed to stand a candidate. The election officer told him he had to abide by the rules and do what the law required at that point in time. Mr Stevenson went to the media and was given air time to propagate his view point that 'fascism' had no place in British society. This was just a few months prior to his party launching a savage illegal attack and occupation of a sovereign country, Iraq: to my knowledge Mr Stevenson has remained quiet about all Britain's military offensive attacks against other countries and clearly knows how to play the game to suit his own ends. This is typical throughout Britain's political establishment with barely a soul who can be described as honest. The reason for this is personal gain and until the system is changed politicians from all parties will remain muted.

Was it deliberately late?

The political establishment knew after an election had been called no party or candidate could possibly leaflet a quarter of a million people in a short space of time. They decided the best way to get around this problem was to create a booklet with all the candidates' election viewpoints inside (election addresses). This was done through an arrangement councils and the Government have with Royal Mail. Obviously it was very important that each party and candidate's manifesto reached the electorate before voting took place: the contemplating voters would surely want to read about all their options! Thousands of voters never got their booklet on time and actually voted 'blind'. Some days after voting, people received their booklets and were 'phoning the radio stations saying they wanted to change their vote. They were not allowed to do this and many people started to say: "the council have sabotaged it". The council blamed the printers saying they could have got the job done in time. My past experience with printers is, if they are given plenty of time to do a job then there is no problem. In any case why wasn't the election date put back when it was known there had been a 'mess up'. The only people who could benefit from this 'mistake' were the three big establishment parties who had for decades got the lion's share of media publicity. They did not need a booklet the way obscure small parties did because they were very well known.

BNP probably won!

The British National Party (BNP) officially came 'third' although it was widely perceived by many people present that the BNP got the most second preferential votes. I have previously explained in this article that only the first two candidates with the most primary votes could qualify for a run off. The BNP's second preferential votes were not counted and quickly hurried out of the counting venue (Fenton Manor Sports Complex) just in case it was discovered the rules had been interpreted wrongly! There were other technicalities apart from the aforementioned one like the fact that the election was an all city postal vote which had to be witness signed as a valid vote. The ballot papers were numbered and after the voters applied their crosses or ticks for their favoured candidates; requested a witness signature from a family member, neighbour or somebody on the Stoke-on-Trent electoral register; then the completed ballot paper had to be matched and inserted into the correct numbered envelope before sealing and posting. Unforeseen problems occurred because obviously many households had several electors in the house so received more than one ballot paper and envelope; many had erroneously stuffed the wrong numbered ballot paper in the wrong numbered envelope. The election officials present at the count had to deliberate for some time with the rule book and decide whether to use them; apparently the council's Chief Executive had the final say. Initially they said they were invalid votes but there were far too many for comfort. In the end Stoke-on-Trent City Council's Chief Executive went on to add them on to the existing vote by means of pen and paper. We were told nobody was allowed to witness the tallying of these substantial amount of votes (only the Chief Executive) and there is strong suspicion that the BNP were cheated! Even George Stevenson who appeared to have a legal representative with him was not allowed to look at the results of this 'secret' tallying process. It was a farcical election process more associated with Third World countries and should never have happened in Britain!

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Independent Mike Wolfe defeated Labour

Times had certainly changed when Mike Wolfe (above), an Independent won beating the bitterly disappointed Labour Party candidate George Stevenson. Having conceded defeat Mr Stevenson continued to give me menacing glances which gave away his hatred of right-wing free speech. In typical style he vented his anger against the BNP and made constant references to 'fascism'; he wasn't decent enough to admit the BNP deserved the protest vote. Mike Wolfe in all honesty should have thanked the BNP for his victory because it was the party I stood for which took many votes from disgruntled Labour voters in a form of protest. Of course Mike knew this but was not about to say it in public; on the contrary he condemned the BNP as he always had done. The following year when I was elected as a city councillor I found Mike a friendly person willing to speak to 'fascists'. Mr Stevenson on the other hand was thoroughly obnoxious and unwilling to accept any guilt because political times had changed for the worse. To be truthful he did and still does the Labour Party a disservice by coming across as greedy and bitterly rude. George the former working class 'rights for the under privileged campaigner' now lives comfortably in Spain with his MP, MEP pensions. He sold out on the dilapidating industry wrecked city of Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire and the mass unemployed British working class!

Electorally British people rebelled!

Elected: MIKE WOLFE (Mayor 4 Stoke)
Electorate: 182967
Turnout: 43985 (24.04%)

First count
Steven Batkin (BNP) 8213 (18.67%)
Paul Breeze (Ind) 1349 (3.07%)
David Chatton (Ind) 926 (2.10%)
Harry Chesters (Ind) 453 (1.03%)
Roger Ibbs (C) 4417 (10.04%)
Adrian Knapper (Adrian Knapper Independent Party) 708 (1.61%)
Fred Morrow (LD) 2408 (5.47%)
Geoffrey Snow (Ind) 3975 (9.04%)
George Stevenson (Lab) 9752
Patricia Whitehouse (Ind) 1280 (2.91%)
Graham Wilkes (Ind) 1157 (2.63%)
Mike Wolfe (Mayor 4 Stoke) 9356

Eliminated: Steven Batkin, Paul Breeze, David Chatton, Harry Chesters, Roger Ibbs, Adrian Knapper, Fred Morrow, Geoffrey Snow, Patricia Whitehouse, Graham Wilkes

Second Count
Distribution of Batkin’s, Breeze’s, Chatton’s, Chesters’, Ibbs’s, Knapper’s, Morrow’s, Snow’s, Whitehouse’s, and Wilkes’ votes
George Stevenson (Lab) 2627 (28.14%)
Mike Wolfe (Mayor 4 Stoke) 3337 (28.85%)

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Tories did not capitalise

Conservative Mayoral candidate former councillor Roger Ibbs above left, with his long time former councillor Tory colleague Ross Irving. Both men are well known left-wing enthusiasts who voted with the Labour Party and Lib-Dems at every City Council meeting. The Tories and Lib-Dems did not pick up too many lost Labour voters' crosses; they have subsequently done better in Britain's primary national general election than a localised Mayoral election. The various Independents apart from Mike Wolfe did not do very well either; Mike had a lot of media publicity when he was a minority group's spokesperson, this clearly makes the difference. Even with the city's manufacturing base wrecked a huge amount of people (75.06%) didn't bother to vote for the obvious reason many of them are not particularly bothered about change. Basically the very same people don't vote in a local election either but it changes in a general election. Why do many people who don't normally vote decide to vote in a general election -- the last one 2010 (53.2%)? An even better question is, why do by far the largest percentage of them vote Labour? Welfare benefits! The community feels nationally they will get a better deal on welfare benefits than from the Tories. What a humiliation! Stoke-on-Trent a once great and proud industrial hub of Great Britain having to grovel for more welfare benefits. Even then what the people see is a political illusion; the electorate are not aware that the very same global bankers are controlling the Labour/Tory/Lib-Dem political party coalition. The bankers' duplicity controlled media spin sways the election game in their own favour fooling many naive voters.

Public confidence vital

I cancelled out the BNP 'on the take' possibility by promising not to take the exorbitant Mayoral salary if I won. Had I won I would have curtailed my salary to the level of unemployment benefit; I saw this as vital for party stability reasons. I was the only candidate to do this and it created enemies for me both within the BNP and politics in general -- it still does! The public in general expect this type of altruistic stance and won't except any silly excuses. The bankers will fight altruism tooth and nail because they know their puppets will desert them; eventually power would fall into the hands of the people!

Special thanks of appreciation

I would like to say a special thanks of appreciation to Kevin and Trevor from way up there in the North East of England for their selfless act of endurance. The North East lads offered to sleep at my flat for a week and help to deliver 6,500 large newspapers prior to the 2002 Mayoral election. The weight of a large bag of newspapers which have got to be carried around for many miles and delivered to a tight deadline is no easy task but we accomplished the job on time. We got the grueling job done before the lads had to travel back home to their proud part of the country. It's unpaid selfless volunteers like Kevin and Trevor who make small heretical right-wing parties a professional political electioneering reality. We focussed the newspapers primarily on the Longton North ward and it helped to pay off when we got our first elected councillor into office in that ward the following May 2003. The high energy lads are living proof for all people who care about the future to follow a fine example and once again many thanks for the big effort.

People Power!