Incredulous gasps and indignant muttering at some of the most egregious statements of the BNP, a smattering of applause as they were challenged, the audience buzzing as they left the theatre: The Battle for Barking certainly got people engaged!
The movie followed the attempt by the leader of the British Nazi Party - oops make that the British National party - to take the seat in Barking Dagenham from the long-time Labour MP. Surrounded by his team of tough-looking security men, Nick Griffin toured the riding urging the British people to take back their country by chucking out the immigrants, to cut foreign aid to zero, to bring the troops home from the Middle East. Feeding on the insecurities of the people struggling with unemployment, Griffin lays all Britain's problems at the feet of immigrants. On the other side, the recently widowed Margaret Hodge does her own share of scare-mongering about the dangers of the BNP being elected.
The movie cheated a bit for dramatic effect, portraying the race as rather close by giving equal weight to BNP partisans, and by showing some early polling that suggested the BNP might have over 70% of voters in some wards. However, in the end, Labour won handily (almost 25,000 votes, to Conversatives' 8,000 and BNP's almost 7,000). As Hodge phrased it, they didn't just beat the BNP, they smashed them. Nick Griffin stepped down as leader after the election.