The Dunston and Teams by-election in Gateshead is underway and Labour's strategy for holding onto the ward is to talk up the BNP vote.
I have just picked up the Labour leaflet in which the Labour candidate Gary Haley (who holds the record in the Gateshead Labour party for being defeated the most times at the polls - currently running at 5) claims "Not voting, or voting LibDem or Conservative could let the extremist BNP is."
The claim is of course absolute rubbish. The BNP are third on the ward and even though it has been their top target in the North East, their performance there has been poor. The BNP are a busted flush in the ward. Their candidate from previous elections has thrown in the towel and their hopes of a breakthrough have been dashed.
We are in 2nd place in this ward which in most circumstances is strongly Labour. So Labour should not have to be talking up the vote of the fascist fringe to hold on. There are 2 main reasons why Labour are resorting to this tactic. Either the Labour party are just plain stupid or they really are concerned about their vote. Perhaps they have looked at the abysmal polling record of their candidate and seen how he has a tendency to cause the Labour vote to slip and the Lib Dem vote to rise!