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By LGC political correspondent Varya Shaw in Burnley ...
By LGC political correspondent Varya Shaw in Burnley

On the day of the count Burnley, ringed with green hills and bathed in sunlight seems calm but around 100 media organisations are about to descend. There has been great concern the BNP will get through, because boundary changes mean every seat is being contested at once. Voters are confused because they have three votes. At one polling station, two out of every seven voters admit to voting BNP. 'I'm only voting for one reason, to get Pakis out,' says Sean Ericson, 18. Those who aren't voting BNP are vague about why. 'I'm against all that,' says one young woman.

Whatever the mainstream parties have done, they haven't done enough. Three BNPers are to become the first elected politicians since Derek Beacon gained a seat at Tower Hamlets LBC 10 years ago. He was on his own and soon dropped out through sheer incompetence. These BNPers are similarly inept - rushing from the count in wordless terror upon learning they had won a seat - but they will be able to give each other moral support once they begin active service.

Lee Jasper, Ken Livingstone's race advisor, has been drawn to Burnley by his concerns. 'The worst night of my political life and I'm not even from Burnley,' he laughed. There's a carnival atmosphere. The BNPers with their bouffant hair, dark glasses and poor social skills are clown-like. But, Lee Jasper adds: 'They have learned that by moving to the voters, picking up their worries and echoing them, they can gain power. They've learned this from Labour.'

Mainstream politics and society at large have a serious problem on their hands.

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