Part Two : Rochdale report - General Elections and Local Elections, 1992.
General Election : April 9th. 1992
On the 1st.April 1991, we sent a letter to the Commanding Officer of Rochdale Police , pointing out that the Anti-Nazi league (ANAL) and Anti-Fascist Action (AFA) , two groups who actively promote violence against their opponents (See RED ACTION newspaper of AFA dated July/August 1992, of which we have a copy). Where organising to come to the Town in large numbers.
These two groups form an 'umbrella' for the various left wing groups from the local Labour Party and their Labour Party Rochdale candidate David Williams, to anarchist groups and AFA; who have active IRA supporters/bombers among their ranks [2006 Note: Leading ManchesterAFA and top gangster at that time was Dessie Noonan, a member of Sinn Fein/IRA. Noonan was murdered by a black 'yardie' fairly recently over a drug dispute.] So we can see definite links to the political and criminal underworlds here.
Officially these groups were organising to illegally distribute several thousand smear leaflets. We can hazard a wild guess as to their real intent. Their actions behold their real intent.
After the Parliamentary and Local elections were completed, the returns of all the duly nominated candidates in the elections have been examined, and it was found;
1). That neither the Anti-Nazi league nor Anti-fascist Action had a candidate standing in the local areas for election,
2). That none of the Candidates who were duly nominated as standing, and were entitled to issue or authorise the issue of printed material in the Constituency/wards, which would be calculated to influence the outsome of those elections , did not indeed adopt those costs of these leaflets , numbering thousands, as part of their election expenses.
Therefore offences had been committed .
We had forewarned Rochdale Police , in the event, they failed to uphold the Law.
I would draw your attention to a number of letters in the Rochdale Observer newspaper, during the election period from members of the public, in effect, over a period of several weeks. Letters from the public complained about these 'left wing mobs' who were harassing and haranguing shoppers and passers-by in Rochdale Town centre.
Letter writers complained of the use of violent language through portable megaphones, the sheer amount of numbers of them crowding the bottom of Yorkshire Street, and preventing passers by walking and having ‘stickers’ placed on their person and leaflets thrust in their faces - in these cases illegal leaflets and these leaflets were designed to influence the elections.
A few of these letters published in the Rochdale Observer criticised the Police for standing around doing nothing. Many offences were pointed out to the Police , but the Police sadly did nothing.
Our letter to the Police informed them that these people were organising again to distribute illegal leaflets intended to subvert the democratic process, as is explicit under;
House of Lords v. Luft and others 1975 precedent.
In this case Mike Luft of Failsworth, Oldham , and others , mainly other jewish/communist activists, were involved in distributing thousands of illegal leaflets at the 1974 General Elections including in the North West against British nationalist Candidates. These offences were investigated by Scotland Yard Fraud Squad detectives and Special Branch. Their investigations led to the successful prosecutions against Luft and others, and the convictions quoted in the aforementioned case.
A Parliamentary General Election is a fundamental part of our democracy, and we feel very strongly that the Authorities responsible for upholding the Law , without fear nor favour, would take steps to make it clear that they will not tolerate the electoral process to be subverted or corrupted by means of unlawful acts.
All this was pointed out to Rochdale Police, and they were fully aware of the House of Lords v Luft precedent.
Rochdale Police said in a curt reply to Mr.Henderson, in writing, that they would uphold the Law. They didn’t !
Rochdale Police’s past performance in regard to election offences leaves a lot to be desired .
In 1982, in spite of ‘prima facie’ evidence , a letter published in the Rochdale Observer , Wed. 18th.August 1982 in the letters page. A letter by one Peter Atkinson , who was at the time the leader of the local Communist Party , admitted in the letter that he, and others, handed out these illegal leaflets.
Rochdale Police refused to take any action, and we had to resort to the use of again writing to the Chief Constable - still the Police would not take any action ,or indeed explain why they had dropped the case.
General Election 1992 and attempts to hire a Public Hall in Rochdale
As you will know it is explicit in the Representation of the People Act. Local authorities must make arrangements so that duly nominated are able to avail themselves of these facilities, suitable premises to hold a Public meeting.
You will also be aware that when the BNP tried to avail themselves of a school for a meeting in early 1991 (in this instance a compromise venue of Greenbank School was agreed) in order to hold a meeting, the Chief Executive John Pierce was threatened 'with the sack' by the ruling Militant led Labour Council .
Pierce held out as long as he could , to try and deny the BNP it's rights .
Ex- Rochdale MP Sir Cyril Smith ,and the Home Office Minister Anne Widdicombe, had to come out in support of Mr.Pierce and the rule of Law, in the face of an all out sustained attack from the local Labour Party Council which was led by MILITANT TENDENCY member, Cllr. Richard Farnell .
This is the background to Mr.Ken Henderson , the duly nominated BNP Parliamentary Candidate’s attempts to hire a public hall.
In 1992 , the Rochdale Chief Executive, John Pierce flouted the Law by denying Mr.Henderson from exercising his democratic rights under the Representation of the People Act.
When Mr.Henderson having his patience exhausted again since Mr.Pierce refused to meet Mr.Henderson, or to answer his phone calls or letters, he had no recourse other than to go to Law.
Surely here, the Individual would be protected from Town Hall bureaucracy and high-handedness. Surely here the Law would be abided by ?
Next part ……. Part 3: to the High Court ! Posting next week..