The Battle for Barking records an historic moment in British politics through the microcosm of one East London constituency. As it chronicles the rise and fall of the far-right British National Party, it gives a fascinating insight into the inner workings of the “BNP family” and the working class disillusionment with the Labour party that fuelled the BNP campaign.
The film is an honest, moving and humorous portrait of a white working class community forced to face the changes brought by new immigrant populations and decide whether the BNP could ever provide an answer to their despair.
Filmed over the course of a year, and with extraordinary access to both camps, the film follows two very different political opponents as they battle towards the 2010 General Election. Long-standing Labour MP Margaret Hodge is a stalwart of the New Labour establishment and, as the daughter of a German Jewish refugee, a strong advocate of community cohesion. Running against her is Nick Griffin, the BNP leader and self-styled “voice of the ordinary people”. Griffin is a controversial figure, with a conviction for inciting racial hatred, who nonetheless wields considerable support.
Following the candidates and their respective teams right up until election night, the film takes you behind the scenes of both campaigns and as the election draws nearer follows the action as violence escalates on the streets.
Filmmakers: Laura Fairrie
Runtime: 83 mins