THE new leader of the National Front in the UK has won a seat on a community council in one of Aberdeen’s most multicultural areas after securing just 18 votes.

Dave MacDonald, a Holocaust-denying neo-Nazi who left the BNP because it wasn’t right-wing enough, beat three other candidates to get a place on the Garthdee Community Council at the end of October, despite anti-fascist campaigners posting thousands of leaflets through doors.

Now a local councillor is worried MacDonald and the National Front’s presence could be intimidating people in the community and stop them using the local community centre.

“I have a level of concern with his profile rising because Garthdee is a very multicultural area, and this is polarising the area,” said Councillor Gordon Townson.

“There is a conflict between his position and the make-up of the area where there’s Nigerian, Malawians and all races right across Garthdee who use the community centre. That gives me a measure of concern.”

Garthdee is home to the city’s Robert Gordon University, where there are more than a 1,000 international students from over 65 countries, mainly Indian, Chinese and Nigerian.

Paul O’Connor, the chair of the community council, believes people who live in Garthdee are unaware of the views of MacDonald.

“I know my community isn’t full of racist people,” he said. “Garthdee is full of good, hard-working decent people.”

He added: “As a community council, as a community centre we don’t tolerate prejudices, discrimination or hate in any way shape or form. It’s not who we are. It’s not what we represent. We were powerless to stop it.

“It just goes against the grain with me. I just want to sit there at the meeting and say, ‘look here you little bastard’. I can’t help it. I’m sitting there with someone that’s so openly hate-filled and it’s really difficult. Something’s going to explode in one of the meetings. He’ll say something wrong and it’ll just hit the button. The council are all good people, they’re not shy folk and they care really about this community. They really care.”

MacDonald told The National that he was elected fairly and legitimately by local residents. “The local councillors are irrelevant as they are not elected on to the community council whereas I and another 11 were elected by the residents,” he said.

“As for the different nationalities living in Garthdee who may feel uncomfortable about me representing them – tough. They have no say in this as other residents voted me on to the community council.”

MacDonald has attended two meetings of the council so far and has clashed with fellow elected representatives after the group tried to help a Nigerian family with housing problems.

Margaret Woods, spokeswoman for United Against Fascism in Scotland, said they were “appalled” by McDonald’s election. “We always hope that these people will never gain any position in society. A community council is there to help communities, to bring cohesion, to represent people in all sorts of grassroots issues and to represent all the people. Clearly a fascist is the antithesis of that. They are divisive, they are hate-filled, they foster hatred against all sorts of different groups.”

Woods added: “They are the direct opposite of what a community councillor should be.”

MacDonald was appointed national chairman of the National Front in November after previous leader Kevin Bryan was injured in a car crash. MacDonald has been the group’s leader in Scotland for the last few years.

Professor Paul Cairney from the University of Stirling said that it was unlikely MacDonald’s election victory was significant: “There always seem to be about 200 willing to vote for the very far right in main elections in Scotland. I wouldn’t see this as part of a trend, it seems like a function of a very low threshold.”

The National View: The election of a neo-Nazi is a timely warning to us all