March 31, 2007

BNP activist took part in terror campaign

6 Comment (s)
· South Africa bomb past of web expert revealed
· He says now: 'I was young. I made a mistake'

A white supremacist who planted a bomb at a mixed-race school in South Africa as part of a campaign of terror designed to destabilise the post-apartheid government has become a leading figure in the British National party's online operation.

Lambertus Nieuwhof, who now lives in Hereford, was given a suspended sentence after he and two other men tried to bomb the Calvary church school in Nelspruit in 1992. The bomb, which was made from 25kg of stolen explosives, failed to go off.

Now it has emerged that Mr Nieuwhof, who moved to the UK in 1994, has helped set up a number of BNP websites through his company Vidronic Online, as well as helping to establish a BNP branch near his home last November.

Researchers at the anti-fascist organisation Searchlight, who uncovered Mr Nieuwhof's terrorist past, say his appearance is part of a wider trend. "We know that several far right extremists have left South Africa and have put down roots among groups such as the BNP and pose a growing problem," said Gerry Gable of Searchlight.

At his home this week, Mr Nieuwhof admitted his role in the bomb plot. "I was a young man and impressionable. It was in the evening and we were trying to make a point because it was a mixed-race school, not hurt anybody." He said he had turned his back on violence and now believed in the "power of the pen and the ballot box".

"Everyone should be allowed a mistake," he added. Mr Nieuwhof was an activist in Eugene Terre' Blanche's rightwing Afrikaner Resistance Movement [AWB], which in the early 1990s engaged in a terror campaign aimed at provoking a race war. When the bomb he planted failed to go off one of his fellow AWB activists handed himself in, naming Mr Nieuwhof as one of his two accomplices. Mr Nieuwhof says he received a 12-month suspended sentence.

Mr Nieuwhof is not the first far-right South African to turn up on the political scene in the UK. He told the Guardian that he is close friends with another exile, Arthur Kemp, who has played a key role in several BNP campaigns since moving to the UK. Mr Kemp was linked to the murderer of the South African Communist party leader Chris Hani in 1993.

He was one of a number of far-right activists arrested after Hani's death, but was released without charge. However, information drawn from a list of names produced by Mr Kemp and said to have been passed to the wife of far-right South African MP Clive Derby Lewis was found at the home of Polish-born Janusz Walus, who was convicted of shooting Hani. At the trial Mr Kemp admitted producing a list of names but denied having knowingly supplied a "hitlist".

"He is a very good friend of mine," said Mr Neiuwhof yesterday.

Mr Nieuwhof's company is involved with a number of BNP projects online, including the website for Barking and Dagenham, the party's most successful branch, where the party has 11 councillors, and he is the administrator for the BNP's online members' forum. He is also named as the administration organiser for the Solidarity trade union set up by senior BNP members to protect the rights of "British" workers.


Unions’ new fight against racist parties

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Trade unionists are campaigning to oust racist political parties from East Lancashire - days after the British National Party announced plans to field a new council candidate.

BNP members met in Hyndburn last week and have agreed to form a branch in the borough, with the intention of possibly putting a candidate up for the next local elections.

The political organisation says it has received help from Accrington residents in the past while canvassing in Burnley. It is now looking to gain further backing in the area through a leafleting campaign.

However, these could be falling through letterboxes at the same time as leaflets being distributed by the Hyndburn and Rossendale Trade Union Council, part of the national Trades Union Congress. The TUC is targeting the BNP during its Anti-Fascist Fortnight, which runs until April 7. TUC leaflets are being delivered in all areas where the BNP are looking to establish political roots.

Peter Billington, Hyndburn and Rossendale secretary, said: "We will be distributing anti-racist leaflets opposing the BNP and other racist and fascist parties to households in any part of the two boroughs where these parties are likely to stand candidates in the local elections in May. It is a coincidence that our leaflet campaign and that of the BNP appear to be happening at the same time, but hopefully this will make our message even stronger."

Mr Billington added: "Trade union members in Hyndburn and Rossendale want to make sure that these people are exposed for what they are. They are not part of a decent community."

David Jones, North West BNP spokesman, said: "We have been looking at starting a group in the Accrington area with the potential of putting a candidate forward in the May elections, if we push ourselves. We have had significant support in this area in the past."

About 20 people attended the meeting and now plan to meet on a monthly basis.

Blackburn Citizen

Maryport will be rocking against racism this Sunday

4 Comment (s)
Anti-racism concert for local bands

Jonathan Wood, 17, and Duncan Money, 18, who set up a group opposed to racism in the town, have organised the concert, which will feature local bands. It is due to start at Grasslot Working Men’s Club just after 5pm.

The concert will be opened by Workington punks Band, Substance, followed by Six String Revolution, who are influenced by protest singers. Next in line is Maryport rock band AWOL, who have appeared at the Maryport Blues Festival and the Silloth Beer Festival.

Ionian is a Maryport and Keswick band who played at the Maryport Blues Festival and Solfest in 2006, and were regional winners for Cumbria and Lancashire in the Rockidol 2006 competition. Next is Speeding Bee, from County Durham.

Duncan, who is studying at Oxford, will talk about the group he and Jonathan set up – Maryport Against Racism – and the reasons behind the gig.

News and Star

March 30, 2007

Hope not Hate: Luton United Against Mark Collet meeting

1 Comment (s)
Luton United Against Fascism, an organisation supported by both the town's MPs as well as faith and community groups, trades unions and local residents, is appalled by the prospect of a meeting in the town to be addressed by BNP youth leader Mark Collett. Some of Collett's more choice comments reveal all we need to know about him.

On Winston Churchill: "Churchill was a f*****g c**t who led us into a pointless war with other whites [i.e.The Nazis] standing up for their race".

On the Prince of Wales: "He's a f*****g traitor."

On the Royal Family: "The Royals have betrayed their people. When we're in power they'll be wiped out and we'll get some Germans to rule properly."

On whether British-born blacks are British: "Just because a dog is brought up in a stable doesn't make him a horse."

On Aids: "A friendly disease because blacks, drug users and gays have it."

On Jews: "There's not a European country the Jews haven't been thrown out of. When it happens that many times, it's not just persecution. There's no smoke without fire."

On Adolf Hitler: "Hitler will live forever; and maybe I will."

Anyone expressing such appalling views has no place in the political process of this country.

It appears that a secret meeting is planned for later this week in a Luton pub, with the BNP having used an invented name to ensure that the booking has been taken.

The presence of someone of Collett's background is an insult to the people of Luton. He can only be coming here to whip up racial tension and to peddle lies and racist propaganda to whoever is sad and sorry enough to think about going to hear him. In a town with a proud history of integration it is outrageous that any such meeting could take place.

The BNP is led and supported by individuals with a record of convictions for violence against black people, Muslims and Jews, homosexuals – in fact anyone who does not fit their outdated idea of what constitutes the 'indigenous people' of this country. On those occasions when they have gained seats as councillors in other parts of the country, their attendance record has been abysmal and their contribution to debate and discussion non-existent.

If they should decide to stand for office here – and it is difficult to think that anyone living in Luton would wish to do so – then it is up to the voters of the town to show that they support the true representatives of their community who are saying 'no' to the BNP

The Luton Unite Statement is produced below.

Luton Unite: Public Statement March 2007

We call, as a matter of the greatest urgency, for the broadest unity against the alarming rise in racism and fascism in Britain today.

We note with concern that in the past 6 months the National Front (NF) have tried, and failed, to march through Bury Park thanks to the strength and unity of local opinion.

The British National Party (BNP) has also attempted to hold secret meetings – only to be exposed in the press through the vigilance and dedication of local activists.

Both the BNP and NF are now trying to present themselves as 'respectable' organisations. In fact they are extremist parties seeking to attract votes on the basis of racism, prejudice and the vilification of refugees and asylum seekers.

These groups also stand for the expulsion of Black and Asian people from this country and the elimination of basic democratic rights. This makes it all the more disturbing to find them on the brink of standing candidates in the May council elections.

We value our rich and diverse local community, which draws strength from traditional Luton values of mutual understanding and respect. These values are undermined by the activities of racist groups and we, the undersigned pledge to combine all our forces and unite in a broad and common front against this threat that they pose.

Margaret Moran, Luton South MP
Kelvin Hopkins, Luton North MP
Cllr Hazel Simmons, Leader of Labour LBC Group
Cllr Joan Bailey, Lewsey Ward
Cllr Robin Harris, Limbury Ward
Cllr Lynda Ireland, South Ward
Cllr Sheila Roden, Leagrave Ward
Paul Moffatt, Eastern Region Secretary Communication Workers Union
Christina Beddows, Branch Secretary LBC Unison
Jon Berry, UCU Campaigns Officer Hertfordshire University
Lord Bill McKenzie
Buton Fazal, Kick Racism Out of Football
Klazina Coleman, Labour candidate Limbury ward
Gillie Sharp, Chair: Luton Action Against Poverty
Reita Clarke MBE, Board of Trustees Luton Law Centre
Mobeen Queshi, Kludmat
Shaid Koyes, Bangladeshi Youth League
Nick Bell, Transforming Luton
Kelly Paul, NUS President, University of Bedfordshire
Srah Allen, Chair, Luton LGBT Steering Group

City gets message as bands sound note against racism

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Liverpool's Victoria monument was the backdrop to an anti-BNP concert yesterday.

The city’s only black woman councillor Anna Rothery was among the speakers at a rally ahead of the free Love Music Hate Racism event, in Derby Square outside the Queen Elizabeth II law courts.

Liverpool youth bands including all-girl R&B trio Miss Africa, Indie five piece We See Foxes, and GK and the Renegades all performed.

The event was organised by the national Hope Not Hate campaign, which aims to send a message that racists should not be elected. It coincided with anti-fascist week, organised by the Merseyside Coalition Against Racism & Fascism.

Spokesman Alec McFadden said: “We are well aware that the BNP is intending to stand candidates in the local elections and we are ‘getting our retaliation in first’ to quote a football saying. Wherever the racist parties stand in elections or distribute leaflets, a rise in racial tension and racist violence takes place.

“We are proud that no fascist has ever been elected to any public office in Merseyside and we intend for Merseyside to remain a fascist free zone.”

The national Hope Not Hate campaign is supported by actor Ricky Tomlinson, the magazine Searchlight, the Trades Union Congress and Trinity Mirror, which owns the Mirror newspapers and the Liverpool Daily Post, and sister title the Liverpool Echo.

Liverpool Daily Post

Stop bigots, voters urged

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Voters have been urged by religious leaders to use the ballot box to help tackle racism.

Representatives from the Christian, Muslim, Hindu and Jewish communities signed a declaration asking Greater Manchester people to reject all political parties that advocate racism in May's local elections.

The document was signed at Trinity United Church in Cheetham Hill Road, Manchester, which is used as drop-in centre for refugees and asylum seekers.

Bishop of Manchester Nigel McCulloch said: "Manchester's faith community leaders agree strongly on this subject. It is a very important moment and a strict warning against racism."

The statement reads: "We stand for a society of mutual respect and care where the hearts of all are heard and met through good neighbourliness at every level and in every circumstance. In particular, we regret that the British National Party now has 49 seats on local authorities in this country. Those who advocate racist policies cannot do so in the name of any of our faith communities."


The community leaders were inspired by the similarities of their different faiths when they devised the statement.

Dr Muhammad Junejo, Muslim representative for Greater Manchester, said: "We meet fairly regularly to discuss the important issues affecting our communities. One thing our religions all have in common is the commandment to love your neighbour. Racism is strongly at odds with this idea and we need to stand against it."

The statement was signed by Bishop McCulloch, representing the Christian community, Louis Rapaport, president of the Jewish Representative Council in Greater Manchester, Dr Junejo, for the Muslims, and Mr A. K. Sinha, of the Hindu community.

Mr Rapaport said: "This statement is immensely important, particularly to the Jewish community. Members of extremist parties have changed from being unruly mob-members. They are making themselves look respectable by wearing suits. It is reminiscent of Germany in the 1930s and we need to stop them."

The statement has already been signed by Dr Ranjit Singh Sumra from Manchester's Sikh community.

Manchester Evening News

e-petition to ban the BNP

4 Comment (s)
Some of our readers may want to sign the e-petition on the 10 Downing Street site, to ban the BNP.

The petition reads: We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Ban the British National Party (BNP).

The BNP is a party whose 'values' go against the core values of the British People: respect for your fellow humans, equality for all regardless of race, creed, religion etc. This is a party who likes to prey on people's fears and try to create divisions in society rather than build i urge you to sign this petition and make the BNP history!

Never mind the waffle, point me at it!

Hope not Hate blog: Football healing Oldham's divisions

0 Comment (s)
What a privilege to see Manchester in sunshine! A really beautiful day - great washes of sun across a bright blue sky as we headed up to the Oldham Athletic stadium at Boundary Park early this morning.

We were met by dozens of kids from a local primary school who are taking part in a special Football in the Community project and took a stadium tour with them.

Oldham's problems with racial tensions have been well covered and don't need re-hashing here, but these were a group of children from all different ethnic backgrounds, and the guy running the project, James Mwale, explained that football was a brilliant way to get different messages across.

If kids play together in teams they tend to stop noticing each others' skin colour, and once they get to know young people from other backgrounds they realise what they have in common. It challenges their ideas (or more importantly their parents' ideas). Their school is in an area where substantial numbers of votes go to the BNP in local elections which is why this work is so important. A couple of the kids said they had experienced racist bullying, but said the project was helping them to integrate with the other kids.

Anyway, the kids loved the stadium tour, and even the Man City and United supporters enjoyed meeting Oldham Athletic Centreback Neil Trottman - an FA cup goalscorer no less...!

It was fascinating to see what a football club looks like behind the scenes, the kitchens and TV rooms and a faint whiff of Eighties' aftershave lingering in the air.

After Oldham I wanted to go to Bernard Manning's Embassy Club with the loudhailer, but we were short of time and had to get right across Manchester to Salford by 11.45 to meet champion boxer and Olympic silver medallist Amir Khan at the gym he trains at. It was a much bigger gym than yesterday's and the air was thick with fresh sweat, deep heat and adrenaline. There's something good about boxing gyms though, and I think it's the contrast to posey sort of London healthclubs, which are all lycra bodysuits, blonde wood and hairdryers. These were men and women in ordinary unfancy kit sweating their guts out on battered equipment.

Amir's workout was phenomenal: the skipping alone deserved an Olympic medal. His concentration was absolute and his feet seemed to bounce in perfect time like a metronome. He has an amazing manner about him, a very direct honesty. He leapt up into the driver's cab of the bus and signed our Hope not Hate flag and spoke brilliantly to our film crew about why racism made no sense. Even racists must have cheered when he won that silver medal. He's a one-man pint-sized retort to bigotry.

After Amir, we screeched off (well crawled) to Granada Studios, home of Coronation Street, where the bus was honoured to receive such luminaries as Hayley Cropper (Julie Hesmondhalgh), Kelly Crabtree (Tupele Dorgu) and Jerrry Morton (Michael Starke, or, frankly, Sinbad), household favourites one and all.

Each person spoke movingly and articulately about racism, about standing up for what you believe is right. As Tony the driver said: "Who needs a script if you can talk like that?"

Brilliant end to a top day out - thank you Manchester!

Hero of the day: Amir Khan. Beautiful boy, beautiful soul, astonishing ambassador for Britain.

Observation of the day: Among anti-racists it seems the rule is that every third man must have a beard.

Beard of the day: We're not sure if it was a beard or a cat.

Revelation of the day: The Corrie stars.... soapstars should get on their soapbox more often instead of those endless bloody clipshows of the world's 7,000 worst cop shows....

Smell of the day: Deep heat at Amir Khan's gym in Salford. It was as if the walls were drenched in it.

Tune of the day: Theme from Corrie... altogether now... "duuuh, duh, duh, duh-duh, duuuuur..."


Get your May 3rd local election leaflets NOW

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Click on images to see them full size

The full range of Hope not Hate leaflets can be obtained from here.

There's a complete list of UAF resources here. Leaflets can be ordered by contacting national UAF.

Phone 020 7833 4916 or 020 7837 4522
Write UAF, PO Box 36871, London WC1X 9XT

March 29, 2007

Spinning the truth - the BPP and the 'White Nationalist' (nazi) Forum

5 Comment (s)
The British People's Party (BPP) made much of the proposed White Nationalist Forum that was long-planned for Saturday March 24th. It was to be a get-together of senior nazis to discuss how they could work together to achieve whatever insane plans they have at the moment. It was to be, we were told, an example to everyone in how groups with similar aims but disparate methods could work in unison.

The BPP took the leading role in this forum, planning it and advertising it everywhere they could. They even persuaded Gunter Deckart, the Holocaust-denier, to fly over from Germany especially for the meeting.

As expected, the BPP reported on its website that the forum was 'a resounding success', attended by people from the National Alliance (NA), the BPP and the England First Party's only remaining member, its leader Steve Smith (about to stand in the local elections on May 3rd in the Cliviger with Worsthorne ward on Burnley Borough Council). Steve Smith of course is famous for being uncle to Luke Smith, ex-BNP councillor, football hooligan and violent thug, and for being the former organiser for Burnley BNP and doing six months for electoral fraud as a result.

Gunter Deckart must have been disappointed (like we care), having flown from Germany expecting to speak at a 'conference' only to find himself stuck in the back room of a pub with seventeen idiots, at least one of whom was drunk and abusive. According to a report we've seen, Sid Williamson (pictured), for it was he, was 'pissed out of his head' and caused havoc at several points in the meeting, apparently yelling that he was second in command of the BPP on several occasions, much to the irritation of all there.

Sid, you might remember, used to be a moderator on the appalling VNN nazi forum but was forced out last year when he unaccountably joined the BNP. His dalliance with Nick Griffin only lasted a couple of months. Although Griffin was prepared to ignore Williamson's racist rants against blacks, Asians and Jews on the swastika-strewn VNN, he drew the line at an attack on the Irish and was promptly thrown out of the squeaky-clean British National Party.

The forum was rather more interesting for who wasn't there - Kevin Watmough, the leader of the BPP and the nazi creep who runs Redwatch, Unsteady Eddy Morrison, the alcoholic 'National Political Advisor' of the BPP (who had apparently been on a bender all week and was unable to attend because he was still sloshed), just one from the Nationalist Alliance (but none of its leadership), no-one from the British First Party/N9S, no-one from the Wolf's Hook White Brotherhood and no-one from the British Movement (or whatever's left of it).

In fact, despite the BPP's claim that the forum was a 'resounding success', it seems to have been a complete washout, the only bright moment being when Sid nearly fell off his chair, then suddenly jumped up and demanded to speak.

Sadly, this laughable event has only been reported on the BPP's main website, Nobody has posted about it on the BPP's forum, which hasn't seen a new post in over a month, and no-one has bothered to send a report in to Stormfront. You can't blame them really.

Hatewatch: for the week of March 28th 2007

2 Comment (s)
Gay man’s murder spurs campaign to update laws
Detroit Free Press
March 21, 2007
Prompted by the beating death of 72-year-old Andrew Athos, state and federal lawmakers introduced legislation to expand the definition of hate crimes to include attacks on gays and lesbians.
Read more

Fort Bragg skinhead killer dies in prison
The Fayetteville Observer
March 22, 2007
James Burmeister, 31, one of two racist skinheads convicted in 1997 of randomly murdering a black couple while serving in the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division, died of natural causes in prison, ten years into a life sentence.
Read more

National Vanguard organizes 'White Pride' rally
East Valley Tribune
March 21, 2007
Several members of the neo-Nazi group National Vanguard's Arizona chapter held "White Pride Worldwide" banners at a busy intersection in observance of a United Nations-designated "Harmony Day."
Read more

White supremacists arrested for murder
Inland Valley Daily Bulletin
March 24, 2007
Two members of the Riverside Skins allegedly shot to death a drug dealer they feared would become an informant.
Read more

Neo-Nazi march cost city $32,000
Columbia Tribune
March 20, 2007
City agencies spent more than $32,000 on security for a 45-minute march by two-dozen members of the National Socialist Movement near the University of Missouri-Columbia on March 10.
Read more


Jewish leader pushes on nazi archive

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A Jewish leader who survived the Holocaust as a boy by hiding in basements and attics urged countries on Wednesday to speed the opening of millions of files on Nazi concentration camps and their victims.

Leo Rechter, president of the U.S.-based National Association of Jewish Child Holocaust Survivors, told Congress that Nazi war records stored in Bad Arolsen, Germany, should be opened urgently for a dying generation of survivors.

'Of all the public archives in the world, what possible justification can there be to prevent us from learning the truth about what happened to our families during the Holocaust?' he asked, according to testimony prepared for delivery to the House Foreign Affairs Committee's Europe subcommittee.

Rechter, an Austrian Jew whose family fled to Belgium and survived the Nazi occupation after his father was deported and murdered in Auschwitz, spoke at a hearing aimed at stepping up pressure on an 11-nation body that oversees the secret Nazi archive. Wednesday's hearing follows the approval by a House panel Tuesday of a resolution urging the countries to speed up ratification of plans to open the archive to researchers.

This month, the nations overseeing the archive set procedures in motion to open the records by the end of the year. Before the material can be accessed, all member countries must ratify an agreement adopted last year to end the 60-year ban on using the files for research.

The Associated Press, which has been granted extensive access to the archive in recent months on condition that victims are not fully identified, has drawn attention to the importance of the documents.

Witnesses testifying Wednesday expressed frustration that the commission has waited so long to release the files.

'We survivors cannot understand why the world powers would have made a conscious decision to withhold all of the facts about our history from us,' said David Schaecter, president of the Holocaust Survivors Foundation.

Some expressed incredulity that the release still faces diplomatic negotiations for final ratification.

'The timetable for this project is not a diplomatic timetable,'' said Paul Shapiro, director of the Washington Museum's Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies. ``Every month of additional delay means more survivors gone - an irreversible benchmark of the consequence of delay.'

The State Department said Wednesday that Britain recently joined the U.S., Israel, Poland and the Netherlands in completing ratification. Germany and Luxembourg have said they would ratify before the commission meets again in May. The positions of France, Belgium, Italy and Greece were unclear.

National Association of Jewish Child Holocaust Survivors

Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies


18 race crimes every 24 hours in Scotland

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Shocking figures have revealed a rising tide of racist crime in Scotland. Police recorded 6439 racist crimes last year - that's 18 a day. The figure was up sharply from 5732 the previous year and 4556 in 2004. More than half of all the victims were of Asian origin.

Offences ranged from "racially aggravated conduct" - usually verbal abuse - to vandalism, fire-raising and serious assault.

The figures were set out in the first Scotland-wide report into racist crime, published by the Executive. Justice Minister Cathy Jamieson admitted that more action was needed to tackle the "sickening" trend. She said: "Crime in Scotland is falling but there remain key issues we need to tackle. Today's figures show that racist crime is one of them.

"All crimes are an affront to the values we hold dear, but crimes committed against someone because of the colour of their skin or their country of origin are particularly sickening."

The main target was Scotland's 32,000 Pakistanis, the biggest ethnic minority. There were more than 1500 racist crimes against Pakistani Scots last year. But there were also more than 1000 racist crimes committed against "white British" people.

Most incidents took place in the street or in a shop. But more than 800 people suffered abuse or attack in their own homes.

There were also 451 incidents in takeaways, 185 in pubs, 71 in schools and colleges, 61 in hospitals or surgeries and 29 at places of worship.

Incidents peaked on Friday and Saturday nights, suggesting some were fuelled by alcohol. The racists were usually male and more than half were under 20. The rising trend did not indicate an "explosion" in racism in Scotland, officials said.

Police have become more rigorous in recording racist crime since new laws came in in 2004. Ethnic minorities have also become more confident about reporting incidents.

But Bashir Mann, president of the Muslim Council in Scotland, said: "I think racism is on the increase in this country and in the UK as a whole. There has been a rise in Islamophobia and this has been aggravated by the anti-terrorism legislation introduced by the Government. There is not much the Muslim community can do about it because we do not have the resources."

Daily Record

March 28, 2007

Unions and the far right

2 Comment (s)
This is part of a briefing document for members of the Public and Commercial Services Union

Unions and the far right

'(Trade Union members are) fixated on nonsensical Marxist dogma about equality and anti-racism something that makes these time-servers a menace not just to their members but to the whole of our society': Quote from BNP website

Why unions oppose the far right

Far right political parties may attempt to project themselves as 'respectable' politicians but they are fundamentally opposed to democratic politics and the values and objectives of both PCS and the trade union movement as a whole.

Despite the diametric opposition between union values and those of the far right, there are fascists who want to join unions and who are already members of unions.

It is crucial that unions are welcoming, safe and inclusive organisations. The involvement of the far right inevitably puts this proud ethos in considerable jeopardy.

Members of far right organisations within trade unions present problems. Even though they carefully attempt to distinguish between their overt out-of-work activities and what they do in the workplace, some have access to personal information on civil servants, local authority workers and the public. Members of far right organisations can capitalise on their positions within trade unions, with the chance that they will abuse positions of authority and discriminate against certain social groups. This not only has a likely effect on the prospects of promotion, training, and so on for black and ethnic minority members, but a more general negative effect on the climate of the workplace by creating cultures of fear and intimidation.

The far right try to join unions

Research by anti fascist organisations has shown that there are increasing numbers of people belonging to far right organisations joining trade unions. Searchlight magazine in April 2003 revealed that the British National Party (BNP) is actively encouraging its members to join trade unions.

The far right are urging their supporters to join trade unions to win large damages when they are expelled. PCS believes that the far right think that once trade unions realise they are going to be pursued for compensation they will stop criticising the far right and cease expelling them, thereby clearing the way for fascists to organise unimpeded within the trade union movement.

PCS policy

PCS has the constitutional and legal capacity to deal with members who are found to exhibit behaviour or ideas that are incompatible with our values of equality and social justice.

PCS rule 3.17 states:

'Any person who is, or becomes, a member of an organization which the NEC considers to be a fascist or racist organization, or who supports, or speaks or circulates material on behalf of, any organization concerned with disseminating racists beliefs, attitudes and ideas, or who undertakes actions against others (whether or not members) designed to discriminate on the grounds of colour, race, ethnic or national origin, nationality, creed, religion, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, age, disability, shall be subject to the disciplinary procedures under these Rules and may be expelled from the Union.'

In order to strengthen the above rule, the following motion to enable a rule change is being submitted by the NEC to the 2004 PCS Annual Delegate Conference:

'That this conference agrees that in order to adopt the recommendations of the TUC Stephen Lawrence Task Group and to bring the PCS Rule book in line with TUC Congress policy, the following changes to the PCS Rule Book should be made:

1. Delete rule PR1(f) and replace with new rule PR1(f):

To promote equality for all:

Through collective bargaining, publicity material and campaigning, representation, union organisation, and structures, education and training, organising and recruitment, the provision of all other services and benefits and all other activities including the union's employment practices; and

By opposing actively, all forms of harassment, prejudice and unfair treatment whether on the grounds of sex, race, ethnic or national origin, religion, colour, class, caring responsibilities, marital status, sexuality, disability, age or other status or personal characteristic.

2. Delete rule 3.17 and replace with new rule 3.17:

Any person who is, or becomes a member of an organisation which the NEC considers to be a fascist or racist organisation, or who supports, or speaks or circulates material on behalf of any organisation concerned with disseminating racist beliefs, attitudes and ideas or who undertakes actions against others (whether members or non members) designed to discriminate on the grounds of sex, race, ethnic or national origin, religion, colour, class, caring responsibilities, marital status, sexuality, disability, age or other status or personal characteristic, shall be subject to disciplinary procedures under these Rules and may be expelled from the Union.'

TUC policy

The 2002 Trades Union Congress sent out an unequivocal message that it would stand shoulder to shoulder with unions who expel fascists. The motion passed by Congress reads:

'Congress deplores the policies of the BNP and all racist and fascist organisations which are incompatible with the principles of the trade union movement. Congress commits to support affiliates who deny membership to, or expel from membership, members of the BNP or other fascist organisations.'

Legislation to stop the far right infiltrating unions

Currently the Employment Relations Bill is going through the House of Commons and the House of Lords. PCS and the TUC welcome the clause which was introduced at Committee stage and which will amend the laws on exclusion and expulsion of workers from unions so that where they are members of far right political organisations the union can choose not to allow them to join, or to expel them from membership.

This amendment is needed to change outdated Conservative laws. It will also remove the current provision of a minimum award of £5,900 where an expelled or excluded person wins a case against the union.

Currently the provision applies where the member has behaved in a way which was contrary to union rules. Many unions have preambles or statements in their Rule Books about promoting diversity and tackling discrimination, rather than actual rules. The TUC is seeking an amendment which would broaden the scope of the clause to include union's objectives. The TUC has discussed this with the Government and is hoping that the following could be included: in Clause 32, in section 4(1B) the phrase 'contrary to the rules of the union' should be replaced with 'inconsistent with the rules and objectives of the union'.

Advice and Support

Where individuals are found to be union members and exhibit values that are contrary to the above, members should report individuals to their branch officers and seek advice from their PCS Headquarters official or the Equality Health and Safety Department. In order not to fall foul of the law, it is important the individuals acting against the Union's equality values are properly dealt with in line with the union's rules and procedures.

The Prison Service as a public service employer has introduced as part of its terms of employment rules that allow them to dismiss anyone who is found to be a member of a racist organisation. Departmental Trade Union Sides in areas such as the DWP and Customs & Excise have also engaged in negotiations to adopt similar provisions in contracts of employment.

Get involved in campaigning against the far right.

If you are interested in getting involved in campaigning against the far right, PCS, together with many other trade unions, supports the broad and inclusive 'Unite Against Fascism' campaign.

Mark Serwotka, General Secretary
Janice Godrich, President

For further information, please contact:

Unite Against Fascism
PO Box 36871
London, WC1X 9XT
Tel: 020 7833 4916


Racism row over BNP song

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A BNP councillor has been accused of attempting to incite racial hatred in a song he wrote for his Irish band. Dewsbury East councillor Colin Auty wrote the song Savile Town, Where's It Gone? in reference to a mainly-Asian community in the town he serves.

Now Labour MP for Dewsbury Shahid Malik has said Coun Auty is guilty of deplorable behaviour and he has made a complaint to the local authority watchdog, the Standards Board for England.

Coun Auty plays in an Irish band called Red Claire with Bradford BNP councillor Paul Cromie and other BNP members. The song snipes at the perceived loss of British ideals. It also berates the community as a place rife with "smack" and even hints at paedophilia within the town.

Mr Malik, who claimed the councillor's choice of song was akin to that of a preacher of hate, said: "The straightforward message behind the lyrics is that Savile Town is populated by foreigners who do not speak English. That it is a place where residents openly sell heroin and that these people are paedophiles."

He added: "As an elected member, Auty is in a position of responsibility, trust and authority and by writing and performing lyrics such as these he is bringing his position and suitability into disrepute and question. Coun Auty has fallen so far beneath the required mark that I felt it was my duty to refer the matter to the Standards Board to investigate."

But BNP spokesman Nick Cass defended the song.

He said: "It has come to our attention that Dewsbury MP Shahid Malik has contacted the Standards Board and submitted a Press release to newspapers and radio stations about a song which was printed in the BNP's newspaper the Voice of Freedom, written and produced by BNP Coun Colin Auty. The song is a generalisation of what has happened to Dewsbury and the rest of Britain in the wake of mass immigration. It points out how British culture and the British way of life has been replaced in certain areas by another culture from another country. It is about how mass immigration creates a country within our country and replaces our ideals and heritage. We make no apologies for this song as every word in it is true, and can back up with argument any of the points raised within the song. If Mr Malik would like to contact us we will even sing it to him."

Yorkshire Post

Hope not Hate blog: Balls to poverty...

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Day four and we're in Lincoln as I write this in a very quiet, engine-noise free cafe by the Cathedral, filling up on caffeine before our next stint in the bus up to Sheffield where we're spending the night.

This morning found us in a school playing field on the edge of Nottingham, suffering slightly from the effects of the previous night's hotel pub quiz (we were robbed) and being mobbed by hundreds and hundreds of primary school children...

We were there at the invitation of an initiative called Balls to Poverty run by the inspiring Head of Football at South Nottingham College, Joe Sargonis. He also coaches at Nottingham Forest and was helping train a team in South Africa when he came up with the idea of sending footballs to Soweto.

This year he's taking 7,000 balls to 7,000 children all of whom will receive coaching from his 22 player squad of footballers at the college. Today was a practice run with kids from the local Cotgrove primary school and they loved it even on a cold misty morning, running around the playing fields and cheering the bus as it pulled up.

They all had tours of the bus and photographs taken and we kicked some footballs around with them. By 11am we were glad to get back on the bus for a rest...

Next stop was Lincoln, where we pulled up right outside the Cathedral with the Bishop's express permission. Some of the blue rinse brigade weren't best pleased by us spoiling the view, but we were supported by well-wishers and by a completely astonishing and very sprightly 87-year-old war veteran who told us how he'd fought the Nazis in Germany in the 40s and wasn't about to stand for it now in Lincoln.

As a Wireless Operator for the Manchester Bombers in WW2 James Taylor had been shot out of the sky over Germany and dropped to earth on a parachute. He described it so beautifully you could almost see it - him floating down in falling snow with the sound of the dogs barking down below. His last action on the plane had been to eat the piece of rice paper that had all the codes for the German radios on it, as instructed by Bomber Command. His fellow airmen were killed, but he landed safely into wet muddy ground to be captured by the Germans. He then spent years in six different POW camps including the one on which the Great Escape is based. I could have talked to him for hours about his life. You don't get to meet that many people truly deserving of the word hero.

Bishop John was also impressive, explaining why the BNP's ideology is completely at odds with the teachings of the New Testament and how it was important for clergy to make a stand. The BNP are standing in a few wards in Lincoln in the May elections, so it's a real frontline issue for people there.

Lincoln Cathedral is completely beautiful, an architectural masterpiece listed as one of the six most important buildings in Europe. The sun shone on us at last and against a blue sky it was an inspiring sight. It has amazing details like 365 steps up to the top of the tower, the Bishop said, one for every day of the week.

Tomorrow, Sheffield....

Character of the Day: Known locally as the Flying Bishop, John - the Bishop of Lincoln - explained he got his nickname because he has a habit of throwing himself out of planes and off buildings for charity.

Question of the Day: why oh why are there so many low bridges in Lincolnshire? Do they have something against double decker buses round here? Like Maggie Thatcher, our bus is not for turning...

Hero of the day: James Taylor

Tune of the day: Calvin Harris, "I got love for you, if you were born in the Eighties, the Eighties...."

Quote of the day: "They've got a great big bus... a BUS I tell you... outside the Cathedral... Just like that, as if it's perfectly okay to put a great big huge RED bus in front of the Cathedral, a historic building... It's advertising something. Hope apparently..."

U-turn of the day: John the photographer's sat nav took us into a field.


Fascists Target Blackpool

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THE British National Party is to put forward a record number of candidates in Blackpool's local elections, it emerged today.

Seven BNP candidates – including a former school governor and a married couple – are to stand in May's local elections in Blackpool.

James Clayton – who is just 18 – will also fight for a seat in Cleveleys. The BNP has never put forward more than one candidate in Blackpool before. Roy Goodwin, fighting for power in Highfield Ward, South Shore, told The Gazette: "We are getting stronger in Blackpool and the other parties know it. People are saying 'What is happening to our country?' and they see it right here on their doorstep in Blackpool. English people are tolerant people but if you rub their noses in the dirt, they will get up like a bulldog and bite you."

Four of the BNP candidates will fight for seats in the north of Blackpool, while three will stand in wards in southern Blackpool.

Mr Goodwin refused to reveal some of the seats his colleagues would fight for in fear of a "dirty tricks" campaign by opponents. Taxi driver Irene Cain battles for power in Hawes Side while Susan Kelly – a former Norbreck Primary School governor – is the candidate for Bispham.Mr Goodwin – who got 1,113 votes in the 2005 General Election when campaigning to become the MP for Blackpool South – said around 200,000 BNP campaign leaflets would be delivered to homes on the Fylde coast in the run up to the local election in May.

He said his party would focus on crime, drugs and immigration: "We used to have 10 or 15 people come to our meetings. Now it's 70. You can't put a cigarette paper between the policies of the other parties because they are no different. The other councillors have had their own way for a long time and they want to keep it that way. Our candidates are hard-working family people – not two-headed monsters."

But Eddie Collett, deputy leader of Blackpool Council, said: "The BNP tries to cloak themselves with respectability at election times but everyone knows what they stand for and are linked with the Nazi party of the past. Any right-minded person would not vote for extremism."

Gordon Marsden, MP for Blackpool South, said: "The BNP tried in the General Election and attracted a derisory selection of votes."Any votes for the BNP are a sad reflection of their extremist policies. I trust the people of Blackpool will give them the critical scrutiny they deserve and show them the door."

Tory councillor Henry Mitchell, whose seat in Bispham will be contested by BNP candidate Susan Kelly, said: "Anybody is entitled to stand if they wish. "I always keep an open mind about the BNP and I will take nothing for granted. It's up to the voters." And Tory councillor Lily Henderson, for Highfield, said: "I don't think their leafleting will make much difference. "We live in a democratic country but I do not feel the people of Blackpool will support them.

"The BNP held its annual party conference at the New Kimberley Hotel on New South Promenade in November under a veil of secrecy. Anti-fascist protesters picketed outside the hotel as around 250 BNP members attended the conference but the event passed off peacefully.

Ketlan Ossowski, of Unite Against Fascism, was concerned by the number of BNP candidates in Blackpool. He said: "We are aware the BNP has a strong following on the Fylde – but this is disturbing."

Preston Today

My Life Of Fear On Whitley Streets

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One of London’s top Muslim police officers has told of his fear when racist thugs threw a pig’s head in his garden while he was stationed in Whitley – what he calls “the BNP heartland of Reading”.

Ali Dizaei, chief superintendent in Hounslow for the Metropolitan Police, spent five years walking the beat in South Reading and Coley Park in the late 1980s. Chief Supt Dizaei later went on to the Met and was famously acquitted of two corruption charges at the Old Bailey, after a £7 million investigation that also saw him accused of drug taking, frequenting prostitutes, spying and using steroids.

The Iranian-born officer has now written a book, Not One Of Us, which attacks his accusers and contains allegations of racism inside and outside of the force during his time in Reading.

In the biography, Ch Supt Dizaei complains that of 15 probationary officers in the Thames Valley in 1986, he was the only one stationed in Whitley – which he describes as the BNP heartland of Reading.
He writes: “I was an Iranian immigrant and a copper – and in Whitley that was like being black twice over.”

His nightmare began when he was stationed in a police house in Hartland Road, which was overrun with rats and had been damaged by squatters.

When he bought homing pigeons, they were stolen, but flew back.

“I was upset, but not nearly as upset as when I came home one night and found, ‘Pakis out of Britain’, painted on my front door,” he adds.

The Muslim officer says that on another occasion a pig’s head was thrown into his garden. Chief Supt Dizaei says he later struck up a friendship with another officer living in Whitley, Denzil Macintosh, who also suffered racism when thugs defecated in a jam jar and threw it through his bedroom window while he slept.

“We were the only two probationers in Reading who weren’t white, and for some reason, we had been put in the area where we were absolutely guaranteed to be resented, threatened and abused,” he continued. “I resented the fact that Denzil and I were a two-man ghetto, suffering daily racist abuse, living in fear.”

The book also contains numerous examples of racism within the force, including one PC telling Ch Supt Dizaei that he had seen his wife walking up the road with a monkey under her arm – the monkey being his new baby.

Another section describes a PC who urinated on the road while listening to an Asian taxi driver’s description of being attacked by a passenger.

While working at Coley Park with a black officer, he said they were referred to as the “ethnic response unit”, which led to a brawl between him and another PC. Ch Supt Dizaei later set up a racial harassment forum, to help victims in the town.

He writes: “At the end of 1988 Shahin came to me: her family was being abused by a local racist gang, but it hadn’t been possible to gather enough evidence to make an arrest. She needed police protection. I pushed, and managed to get the installation of covert CCTV cameras approved outside her house. On Christmas Day 1988, those cameras spotted the gang putting a petrol bomb through her door.”

March 27, 2007

Anti-fascism Around The Country

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Anti-fascists around the country have started campaigning against the threat posed by the British National Party (BNP) at the elections on 3 May.

Activists in the Yorkshire and Humberside region of Unite Against Fascism went leafleting last weekend in Leeds, Barnsley, York and Scarborough calling on people to use their votes against the Nazi BNP.

In the West Midlands, Unite leafleters, including Labour and Liberal Democrat councillors, covered Redditch’s Winyates ward. The BNP’s David Enderby gained a council seat there last year – but has since been convicted of assaulting his wife.

Unite campaigners in Luton will blitz the Farley Estate with anti-BNP leaflets this Saturday. Luton Unite is calling on people to assemble at 10.30am at the Farley Community Centre on Delphine Way.

Meanwhile Love Music Hate Racism (LMHR) has kicked off a national tour of universities to build support for the movement against the Nazis.

Full details of the tour are available at

LMHR has also teamed up with the NUT and NASUWT teaching unions to launch a range of anti-fascist educational material for schools. This includes a CD compiled by Drew McConnell of Babyshambles which will be distributed free to schools across Britain.

Activists in the GMB trade union in Barking & Dagenham, east London, turned out last Saturday to campaign against the BNP in nearby Thurrock, Essex, as part of the Daily Mirror’s “Hope Not Hate” tour.

Tom Baillie, branch secretary of Barking GMB, told Socialist Worker, “The majority of people in this borough reject the fascist politics of the BNP – and we’re out to show that.”

Socialist Worker

BNP Libel Claim Thrown Out Of Court

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A libel claim brought by a British National Party member over a leaflet published when he stood as a candidate in a local election was struck out by a judge because of abuse of process. BNP member Sidney Chaney had sued Searchlight Information Services and journalist Gerry Gable, who edits the anti-fascist magazine Searchlight, as well as Mr Gable's wife, who had nothing to do with publication of the leaflet.

The leaflet referred to Mr Chaney's correspondence with Frank Beck, who was serving five life sentences for sexual offences against children. But Mr Justice Tugendhat struck out his action for two reasons. The first was that Mr Chaney had failed to obey an order to pay costs of more than £22,000 which the defendants had incurred - he had repeatedly claimed that relatives in Australia would arrive and pay the costs for him.

The second was that Mr Chaney's distribution of a statement made by a defence witness, which was filed with the court but had not yet been put in as evidence, was an abuse of process.

Mr Justice Tugendhat held, in a decision on March 15, that Mr Chaney had not brought the proceedings to clear his name. By circulating the witness statement, which included information which reflected badly upon the witness and himself, he had demonstrated that he was prepared to blacken his own name in order to discredit the witness.

Mr Chaney had also written to the witness threatening to circulate the statement - although he had already done so. Mr Justice Tugendhat said Mr Chaney had failed to conduct the case in accordance with the overriding objective of the Civil Procedure Rules, which govern the conduct of civil litigation, to enable the court to deal with cases justly. The judge also refused Mr Chaney permission to appeal.

Mr Chaney started the proceedings in April 2005, suing Searchlight Information Services, Mr Gable, and his wife. The case against Ms Gable, who had played no part in the publication of the leaflet, was struck out in February 2006. At the end of May 2006, a default costs certificate for £18,136, plus interest, was issued in respect of Mrs Gable's costs.

In July, Mr Chaney lost an application for further information following the filing of a witness statement, and was ordered to pay the defendant's costs of £1,200, plus VAT.

Mr Chaney subsequently applied to suspend the default costs certificate, saying he had relatives coming from Australia who could pay his costs.
The application was refused and he was ordered to pay further defendants' costs of £1,500 plus VAT.

In mid-October Mr Chaney asked for the postponement of a scheduled hearing, saying he had suffered an injury. He subsequently claimed on a number of occasions that he was ill and unable to attend court hearings, although the only medical evidence he produced was a prescription for a pain-killer which can be bought over the counter.

On November 10, Mr Justice Eady stayed the claim and ordered Mr Chaney to pay the outstanding costs of £22,130 by December 31.

During the hearing the judge saw part of a Channel 5 documentary called "OAPs on Asbos", which featured Mr Chaney, and was broadcast in 2005. In the documentary, as he explained how he defrauded banks of more than £100,000 by opening credit card accounts in the names of his pets, Mr Chaney demonstrated to the camera how he gained the sympathy of bank staff by feigning frailty and illness.

Mr Chaney, who did not attend that hearing, and had claimed again that relatives in Australia would be able to pay the costs, then threatened to distribute the statement made by one of the defendants' witnesses, although such use is prohibited by the CPR.

Despite warnings from the defendants' lawyers, he wrote to the Crown Prosecution Service, quoting from the statement, and wrote an open letter to all nationalists using information from the statement.

The defendants were represented by Guy Vassal-Adams of Doughty Street Chambers, instructed by Mishcon de Reya.

PA Mediapoint (Press Gazette, UK)

N9S rebrands itself - though it's still nazi

12 Comment (s)
Oh dear. The very smart though utterly hopeless leader of N9S, Kevin Quinn, must be getting desperate. Following countless months of stagnation and a complete lack of ideas, he's fallen back on the mainstay that sees most far-right parties through extended periods of inactivity - he's changed the party's name.

The chubby Quinn obviously sees some advantage in naming his party after the fast-failing England First Party, recently two councillors lighter after the defections of the party leader and one of his drinking buddies, so has renamed N9S the British First Party.

The old name, N9S, was a direct reference to Kristallnacht, which referred to the events that took place in Germany and Austria on the night of November 9–10, 1938, when Jewish homes were ransacked in numerous German cities along with 8,000 Jewish shops, towns and villages, as ordinary citizens and stormtroopers destroyed buildings with sledgehammers, leaving the streets covered in smashed windows — the origin of the name 'Night of Broken Glass'. Jews were beaten to death; 30,000 Jewish men were taken to concentration camps; and 1,668 synagogues ransacked with 267 set on fire.

Which shows pretty clearly where Quinn and his micro-party stand on the subject of Jews.

It's not too difficult to guess then where Quinn and co stand on the subject of blacks, Asians and gays either. And your guess would be correct. Back in February 2006, N9S was infiltrated by a Sunday Mirror reporter, Stewart Maclean, who reported;

During my time with the hate-filled skinheads, there were organised street fights, random violent attacks and paramilitary training camps. Evil leader Kevin Quinn, a father-of-four from Bedford, is serving a nine-month suspended prison sentence after admitting possessing violent Nazi literature.

But the threat of prison didn't stop him from a verbal attack on a Jew in the street last week, which I witnessed after joining the gang for an afternoon rally in Central London.

As I secretly filmed, the bully, 40, picked out a young passer-by in broad daylight and yelled: "Juden Raus!", a Nazi slogan meaning "Jew out". Another party member - dad-of-two Jason Okane, 36, from Hastings, East Sussex - yelled: "A Jew! What shall we do, get the noose?"

The shocked victim crossed the street to avoid a fight. Later unmarried Quinn made it clear he preferred to use violence to enforce his evil message.

He told me: "We need to fight any way we can. I'm all Nazi, a total Nazi. We've got to look after ourselves and we need to get people trained up. Now we've got the Muslims and the blacks here we need to stop it. Let's fucking do it. I'll fight for Britain forever."

Maclean's report goes on;

The highlight of their social calendar is a celebration of Hitler's life - held in a secret location every April. They wear Nazi uniforms, swear allegiance to National Socialism and read passages from Hitler's Mein Kampf. Eaton told me: "What he done was right, he just done so much right, didn't he?"

The Electoral Commission, with whom the N9S/British First Party (BFP) are registered, holds the party's latest submitted accounts, which only go as far as December 2004. This peculiar document showed that in the twelve months to that date, the party delivered or handed out 100,000 leaflets. At the end of the year, it had achieved the grand total of 32 members (if the accounts are to be believed, £320 was received in membership subscriptions at £10 a go) though another part of the accounts states that;

In 2004, the membership rose from 350 people to 980 when we introduced a free membership period, this hopefully will generate income when members pay their yearly subs.

Apparently not.

Quinn's ridiculous little nazi party also seems to encourage youngsters into it. According to Maclean, some members of the forum were as young as twelve - certainly too young to vote, too young to belong to a political party and way too young to be hanging around with a bunch of nazi thugs.

The name change is only part of what the BFP is up to. As far as we could see there are no longer any mentions of national socialism, no swastikas and all the verbal attacks have been toned down and will soon, no doubt, disappear altogether from the website.

All this is very reminiscent of the way Nick Griffin has rebranded the BNP. The old hatred, violence and criminality are all still there but, like Griffin, Quinn has swept them under the carpet in an attempt to fool the public into believing that their respective parties are respectable. They're not. They are both, the leaders and the parties they represent, the BNP and the BFP, Holocaust-denying fascist criminals.

British government says Jewish-Muslim inter-faith dialogue vital

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The British government has revealed that it wants an inter-faith framework to bring the country’s Jews and Muslims closer together.

Hazel Blears, the Labour Party chairman, told a conference of UK rabbis and imams in Manchester on Monday that the Government wanted the event - and a further conference run by Jewish and Muslim women later this week - to be the springboard for greater inter-faith cooperation between the religions.

The relationship between the British Jewish and Muslim communities has long been icy cold, with disagreements mainly over perceived Islamic anti-Semitism and disputes over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict leading to virtually no public dialogue between the faiths.

Only recently have relations appeared to thaw, with the first ever speech by Inayat Bunglawala, assistant general secretary of the Muslim Council of Britain, to a Jewish community group in London calling for major reconciliation.

Speaking to the National Imams and Rabbis Conference on Monday, however, Blears said the event, held in Manchester, should be a springboard to future cooperation. The conference is held to promote rare scholarly dialogue between Islamic and Jewish leaders.

"The Government sees this conference, and the women’s conference, as being the next step towards establishing a nationally recognised framework for interfaith dialogue and co-operation between the Muslim and Jewish communities," Blears said, in a speech to the conference entitled ’Building Alliances, Respecting Differences.’

Good place to live

Also in her speech, Blears said that - despite the threat of racism, Islamaphobia and anti-Semitism - Britain remains a good place to live for ethnic minority communities.

"I do not deny the pernicious influence of racism, Islamophobia and anti-Semitism," she said. "I know that many families have suffered at the hands of racist bullies and thugs. I do not dismiss the threat to community cohesion presented by the BNP (British National Party) and other right-wing organisations. But Britain remains a fair, tolerant country, where communities respect one another and people live in peace.

"That success is anchored in a simple approach: we respect religious differences, but are united in a transcendant belief in democracy, human rights and the rule of law. No religion should face persecution or prohibition by the state. But no individual citizen should face barriers or discrimination within their religion either. We have a right to religious freedom, and we all have a right to other freedoms too, including free expression, but not at the expense of other people’s rights and freedoms."

Moderate image

Earlier this month, Bunglawala ended years of glacial relations between Muslims and Jews by appearing to call for reconciliation between the faiths in an interview with the European Jewish Press, which followed his address to the Jewish Community Centre for London.

In the interview, Bunglawala declared that there was "an enormous amount" that Muslims could learn from the way Jews have integrated into the UK, demanded an end to Islamic anti-Semitism, and hinted that the Muslim Council of Britain could recognise Holocaust Memorial Day for the first time.

The move by Bunglawala towards reconciliation is likely to be partly motivated by a desire to be seen in the moderate camp of the British Muslim community, and shed the MCB’s previous image of being too extreme.

The MCB has recently fallen out of favour with government ministers in the UK, who regard it as doing too little to combat Islamic radicalism within Britain. Ministers are currently working on a way of getting a greater amount of ethnic minority funding straight to communities themselves, and bypassing big organisations which they fear are doing too little to combat extremism.

European Jewish Press

Racists target Norfolk in local election campaign

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For some time Norfolk (and East Anglia generally) has been the destination for thousands of migrant workers from within the EU, notably East European and Portuguese workers who are valued for their work ethic and prepared to take jobs for which local labour is unavailable.

The influx has had a striking effect on many small market towns, but is most obvious in places such as King's Lynn, East Dereham, Swaffham, and Great Yarmouth.

The most cosmopolitian town of them all is the resort of Great Yarmouth, where at least 4,000 Portuguese workers have come to live, in addition to Poles and other East Europeans. The town also has a sizeable refugee population, many of the refugees originally dumped there by London boroughs unconcerned at the often Rachman-style landlords they handed them over to.

Despite this very sudden influx race relations in Great Yarmouth and Norfolk in general have been notably harmonious and there have been few incidents to marr the overall picture.

Attempts to stir disharmony - perversely - initially seemed to come from the race relations "industry". They gleefully trumpeted exaggerated figures for the numbers of migrants settling in the county, claimed to find "racism" here, there, and everywhere (when nobody else could), and caused a storm of protest in Great Yarmouth with the divisive demand that the Portuguese community be given a special say in the town's affairs. To some extent this "industry" continues to meddle (they have jobs to justify, after all), but for the most part Norfolk is getting on with the business of integrating - because, left to their own devices, that's what people tend to do.

Racist organisations have been notable by their absence in Norfolk, but recently there have been ominous stirrings - tales of leaflet drops made under cover of darkness, sticker campaigns, loose talk in public houses, and hints on internet forums.

Nick Griffin's lazily updated "Chairman's Blog" tells, in cod-travelogue style, of a trip to Norfolk in mid-March. Griffin's first stop was in King's Lynn. According to him there were "more than thirty people [at the meeting]. One carload have come over from Norwich to support their fellow Norfolk comrades, and a few are from smaller neighbouring towns like Dereham, but the vast majority are local. Some are regular activists, others are recent enquirers."

As with most things Griffin says, this can be taken with a large pinch of salt. If there is one thing noticeable about the BNP organisation in King's Lynn it is the fact of its virtual invisibility - unsurprising, as you can count the number of activists on your fingers. One hand will normally do.

Griffin then reaches Norwich for an evening meeting. This he says was attended by "some eighty people" - perhaps. Diplomatically, Griffin calls this "the Norfolk meeting", as the BNP organisation in Norwich could never muster so many. In fact it could have been called the "Norfolk plus" meeting, as the disputatious "eighty" were clearly augmented by many from beyond the county's borders.

The next day Griffin lighted upon Great Yarmouth, which is "another hitherto ‘unenriched’ town which is being transformed by a torrent of immigrant scab labour". Exactly how these hard-working people may be described as "scab labour" is something Griffin leaves unexplained - as well he might, since locals aren't falling over one another to work in East Anglia's harshly disciplined poultry-processing factories to hack turkeys and chickens to pieces for a living.

Griffin claims twenty people for the Yarmouth meeting, which, given what we know of the BNP in Great Yarmouth, seems rather many (especially as this was a lunch-time meeting). No matter. Giving the blogger the benefit of the considerable doubt that Yarmouth has anything approaching twenty active BNP members, we'll pass on to Nick's purpose.

The BNP has long salivated over its prospects in Great Yarmouth, prospects only hampered by the fact that it has had next to no organisation in the town. The National Front does have a small presence, and its chairman, Tom Holmes, lives locally. Holmes stood in the Borough's Regent ward - its poorest - in last May's local elections and scored around 20% of the vote - something not unnoticed by Griffin.

"We desperately need to stand candidates here for the first time," writes Griffin, "and I work as hard as I can to convince the still doubt-filled local ‘possibles’ to make a firm commitment to stand. The little meeting may just have done the trick."

There can't be much decent potential candidate material available at a meeting attended by a mere twenty bigots (which goes a long way towards explaining their lamentable performance elsewhere), but if Nick has "done the trick" then the BNP faces something of a dilemma.

The only Yarmouth ward likely to elect a racist councillor is Regent ward - a strange political division that encompasses much of the northern seafront, but also contains some of the Borough's worst poverty - in fact it is one of the most poverty-stricken areas of England, - and houses numerous refugees and immigrants alongside large numbers of benefit-dependent whites.

The BNP have for some time gazed longingly upon Regent ward, but the National Front beat them to it and now consider it "home turf". They intend to contest this ward. So will the BNP impolitely step in to antagonise the NF and wreck any chance either of them ever had of winning?

That remains to be seen.

What is certain is that the BNP is coming to Norfolk. They are unlikely to stand more than a handful of candidates through lack of manpower, but the candidates they do stand will be injected into communities which - despite all the difficulties - have remained relatively peaceful and harmonious

We must ensure our communities remain that way and that BNP membership in our county does not grow by exposing the mindless bigotry of the BNP for what it is, by exposing the disgraceful record of criminality, fraud and violence that characterises their councillors and candidates, and by exposing the BNP's own internal corruption and division. See you on the door-knocker!

Voice of reason

Stop the BNP in Wales

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Click image for full-size view

March 26, 2007

Hope not Hate blog update

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The Daily Mirror Hope Not Hate bus launched today, kicking off our campaign aimed at spreading goodwill ahead of the May elections, on a journey from London to Glasgow that will cover 1600 miles and many different communities in the UK.

It was a bright cold day, and the bus was unmissable, parked up on a South London pavement by the market at Merton Abbey Mills. It had arrived from Wales that morning and it was the first time we had seen it in its red and yellow livery and experienced the reactions it gets. Lots of thumbs ups, waves and cheers, people at bus stops looking a bit puzzled because they're expecting the 38 not the Hope not Hate. The very occasional v-sign from people who don't like the idea of hope (what kind of person hates hope?).

We'll be spending 15 days on the bus in total, travelling from London to Glasgow in a strange curly scribble of a route that takes in all the communities who wanted to organise something for our fortnight celebrating the diverse and tolerant country in which we live. Our itinerary is still quite sketchy at this stage, but the route takes in Dagenham & Thurrock, Northampton & Leicester, Nottingham & Lincoln and Sheffield before we even get to Tuesday.

We're all really looking forward to visiting the different communities along the way. The celebrity support we've had so far has been overwhelming, but it's the real people we want to see. There's so much planned - from colliery brass bands to Welsh male voice choirs to school events and food festivals - that will be a real privilege to see.

It's not often you get the chance to take a journey like this, especially not on a 1964 Leyland Titan double decker. We realised today that it's going to be very cold, as there's no heating on the bus, and very slow (top speed 38mph and that's downhill with a favourable wind), and the bus lurches like a drunk on the top deck. But it's also going to be a fascinating insight into what makes up modern Britain.

We were all shocked today by the reaction of the BNP to the trip, which is aimed at nothing more earth-shattering or radical than celebrating the diverse country we all live in and see outside our windows and on our televisions every day.

There were quite a few phonecalls yesterday when a special eight page supplement launched the campaign, making offensive - and frankly factually wrong - comments about non-white communities and complaining about the "evil" Nelson Mandela.

Then today the BNP's official website took issue with our campaign and a piece I wrote for the supplement: "Clearly the writer has never stepped out of his or her ivory tower into the ghettos of Tower Hamlets, the killing fields of south London where various tribes of African descent are wagging (sic) war with one another, the no go areas for native Britons in Birmingham, Peterborough and Glasgow."

The thing is, I live in the 'Killing Fields' of South London and I love where I live. Part of the reason I love my street is that it is filled with different vibrant cultures. And I am far more concerned by what I've read on the BNP website today than by any of my neighbours.

I've also reported many times from the scene of all kinds of gun deaths and urban tragedies across Britain, and I can tell you that poverty is the defining factor here, not race. Poverty afflicts immigrant communities and white communities the same, and its presence is writ large over every gun death and knife death and drug death I've seen in the UK. Clapham North where a 15-year-old schoolboy was killed in cold blood last month is not 'no-go', but an affluent middle class area with pockets of poverty. His parents were decent working people whose son was trying to break free of a culture of criminality that afflicts people of all races who live in poverty.

The last time I went to a 'no-go' estate, in Glasgow, it was to cover the story of a white child in a predominantly white school collapsing from sniffing heroin at her desk. That tragedy was rooted in poverty too.

Anyway, I'm partly acknowledging this reaction as I expect this blog to attract the attentions of some of the same people who rang the paper yesterday, and I wanted to warn genuine readers that some of the comments posted below may well be by people with extreme views.

Mostly I'm shocked that the BNP are so blatant. I thought they went round knocking on people's doors pretending to be a mainstream political party these days?

Funniest moment of the day: Finding two European tourists on the bus taking photos of each other and presumably hoping to be driven to Hope, the destination on the front of the bus.

Best moment of the day: Meeting the cast of Rafta Rafta at the National Theatre who came out to support us in the rain by the Thames.

Song of the day: The wheels on the bus go round and round.

Weather: Wintery

Multicultural event of the day: Mr Singh who called to say he was wearing his special St George's red and white turban in honour of our campaign.


Hope not Hate: Bill aboard!

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Hope not Hate 2007: Sun Hill and Eastenders stars on the Mirror's anti-racism battlebus

The stars have been turning out to back the Daily Mirror Hope Not Hate bus as it continued its journey around Britain. Cast from The Bill stood on the open top and waved to crowds when the anti-racism battlebus arrived at an estate where they were filming.

Roberta Taylor, who plays Inspector Gina Gold, said: "We're really proud to support the Hope not Hate campaign if it helps spread the message across the country. Racism is caused by a culture of ignorance and is totally outdated."

Andrew Lancel, Det Insp Neil Manson in the show, added: "There's absolutely no excuse for racism in this day and age."

Bill colleagues John Bowler and Daniel Flynn, who play PC Roger Valentine and Supt John Heaton also added messages of support at the scene in Merton, South London.

The bus began its round-Britain journey from London to Scotland on Friday - launching an anti-racism fortnight that runs until Easter. It visited communities in London, Essex and Northampton. Yesterday it arrived in Leicester's golden mile, renowned for its Indian restaurants.

EastEnders star Petra Letang, who plays Naomi Julien, boarded the bus and said: "This campaign is very close to my heart. We have to make a difference for the young people coming up. I grew up in East London and I'm proud to be from here."

Hope not Hate is aimed at spreading a message of goodwill in the build-up to the local elections in May - The 1964 Leyland Titan bus, emblazoned with the Hope not Hate message, has been welcomed everywhere.

Former boxing champ Lloyd Honeyghan met it in Dagenham, Essex. He told the crowds: "We should deal in love not hate. There's only one race, and that's the human race."

MP Andrew Mackinlay said: "Community relations owe a great to deal to the Mirror for this campaign. It's allowing local people to make a powerful stand against racism."

Messages of support have come in from celebrities including Corinne Bailey Rae, Goldie Lookin Chain, the Sugababes, Sir Alan Sugar, Beverley Knight, Just Jack, Shilpa Shetty, and Brian Harvey. Singer Ms Dynamite added: "Racism is about greed, money and fear."


'Quebec's Le Pen' likely to make major election gain

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A young conservative populist sometimes described as Quebec's Jean-Marie Le Pen is likely in today's election to throw a spanner into the separatist versus federalist competition that has dominated Quebec politics for decades.

Polls indicate Mario Dumont's Action démocratique du Québec (ADQ), a small fringe party for the past three elections, is about to seize the balance of power in the first minority parliament in 129 years. The ADQ has side-swiped the separatist Parti Quebecois and the ruling federalist Liberals, led by Jean Charest, by exploiting a backlash against multiculturism, especially Muslims.

Adebate has developed throughout the province about what constitutes reasonable accommodation to the cultural and social practices of expanding ethnic communities. It was fuelled when, for example, a conservative Hasidic synagogue forced a sports centre to paint the windows of its swimming pool so students would not see people in swimming costumes.

Muslim headscarves and niqabs have also become a subject of controversy, especially when an 11-year-old girl was thrown out of a football match for wearing one. Quebec's chief electoral officer has ordered that Muslim women must bare their faces if they want to vote, after an outcry over his original ruling that face coverings were acceptable.

M. Dumont, who describes himself as an autonomist wanting more power for Quebec, will probably tonight be in a position to implement many of the rightist, inward-looking policies on which he has campaigned. Both M. Charest and the Parti Quebecois leader, Andre Boisclair, seemed oblivious to the issue until polls showed M. Dumont was surging ahead.


March 25, 2007

Hope not Hate: The BNP and the ‘big lie’

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A common tactic of the BNP is the promotion of the ‘big lie’. The issue might vary from place to place but the concept is the same.

The BNP will tap into a local issue or concern and give it a racial twist. They will repeatedly peddle this lie to portray the other parties as out of touch and to promote their own racist agenda.
  • In Barking & Dagenham they tapped into concern over a lack of cheap affordable housing by claiming there was a secret ‘Africans for Essex’ scheme in which non-whites were given £50,000 grants to buy property in the area.
  • In Sandwell the BNP claimed that a local library building was going to become a mosque.
  • In Amber Valley they claimed that a local 15-year-old white girl had been sexually attacked by three asylum seekers.
  • In Thurrock they claimed that Hackney council had struck a secret deal to ship over 3,000 asylum seekers.
On each occasion the BNP lied.

This BNP tactic might be no great surprise but how you deal with it can win or lose you an election. Ignore it and not only does the myth quickly become a fact but the BNP then portrays the other parties as running scared on the issue. Sometimes there might be an element of truth in the BNP claim. If there is, fine, admit it. Issuing a denial which can easily be disproved will only reinforce the BNP message.

However, the manner in which you reply to it can make or break your campaign. There is a danger that simply a denial from the council or the local MP will not be enough, especially if they themselves are not trusted. It is more important that you find local people, especially those not identified with party politics, to speak out.

Hope not Hate

March 24, 2007

Race-hate letter link to hoax bridge bomb

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Police are linking a hoax bomb found strapped to a bridge by Nazis and race-hate letters sent to schools.

Traffic ground to a halt last month as bomb disposal experts exploded a suspect package on the A27. Detectives found a swastika nearby while a pro-Nazi group is believed to be behind the stunt.

Now it is thought the same culprits are responsible for sending hate letters to faith schools in the area. Police have refused to reveal which schools have been sent the letters on request of the headteachers.

Hampshire police spokesman Neil Miller said: 'I can't say which schools have had letters delivered, but they are all in the Havant area. On the content of the letters, at this time all we can say is that the motive of the content is to provoke racial tension or hatred. It is a very sensitive issue and police investigations are being thoroughly conducted. We will deal with those responsible in a robust manner.'

The A27, near Havant, was brought to a standstill on February 7 after all three lanes were closed in both directions.

A member of the public reported a suspect package on the bridge alongside a 3ft by 2ft cardboard sign with a red swastika on it. Below the Nazi sign was the website address of the far-right extremist American group, the National Socialist Movement.

Police say there is a definite link between the bomb and the letters.

Havant's district commander, Chief Inspector Gary Cooper, said: 'We have had a hate crime reported in the form of letters. Some of the same details left with the hoax bomb also appear on the letters. Some kind of pro-Nazi extremist organisation is behind the letters, which are forming part of the investigation into the fake bomb.'

Investigating officer Detective Constable Rob Lowe, from Waterlooville CID, added: 'We are treating it very seriously. These letters have been getting our full attention.'

The News

CRE calls on local groups for 'zero tolerance' in election campaigns

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Political parties will be challenged by local groups who use race as a campaign tactic to ignite community tensions and conflicts warned the Commission for Racial Equality today.

The CRE is urging local groups to take a 'zero tolerance' stance against racist activity that seeks to divide local communities in the run up to the election period.

Local partners can play an important part in monitoring organised racist activity, identifying trends, coordinating a local response to increases in racist behaviour, and making sure that victims get the support they need.

Racial hatred is not confined to any single community and where this arises it must be challenged head on. MPs, MSPs, AMs and political leaders will be reminded by the CRE that their campaigns should not use negative stereotyping or misinformation about race to boost votes.

CRE Chair, Kay Hampton said:

The CRE may be the regulators of the Race Relations Act, but our role is not just to wave a big stick. We also expect local authorities to confront the myths, or misinformation others may use and we look to local groups and organisations to act as the 'eyes and ears' within communities.

Together, we must remind political parties of their responsibility to ensure that loose words in the heat of the campaign do not ignite conflicts. We need to nurture an environment in which everyone feels they have a stake in society and we must fight to guarantee that everyone's issues and concerns can be aired in the political arena fairly and accurately.

Promoting good race relations requires leadership and real interaction between and within our communities. It is essential that people are encouraged to support inclusion and reject separatist ideas. This is about changing everyone's attitudes no matter their cultural background or nationality.

Cllr Richard Kemp, vice chair of the Local Government Association, said:

As the only body directly elected by local people to represent them, councils have a duty to ensure that everyone in their locality feels respected and lives with a sense of responsibility and belonging. Local authorities must take the lead in creating safe and cohesive communities where people can thrive, regardless of race, colour or creed.

Councils accept that, particularly at election times, things can be said which people later regret. More worryingly, things can be said which people do not regret and which can undermine community relations and inflame local tensions. At this time councils must be especially vigilant in tackling myths, lies and misdirection wherever they appear.

The CRE has also organised a series of seminars on myth-busting and the law for local authorities and lawyers to help challenge the inaccuracies, racism and misrepresentation that seek to decide to divide our communities.


March 23, 2007

Commemoration day to recall slave trade and make UK face up to past

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· Call for subject to be put on school curriculum
· Prescott compares slavery to the Holocaust

An annual commemoration day is to be held to recall Britain's role in the slave trade, and the fight against it, John Prescott, the deputy prime minister, has told the Guardian.

He expected the day to be held in common with the rest of Europe in June so that modern day slavery - human trafficking - could also be recalled and combated.

Mr Prescott said the commemoration day would provide a chance for national and local government, as well as schools, to think how they could help modern day Africa. He likened slavery to the Holocaust and expressed his deep personal regret.

The government has refused to make a full apology for Britain's role. Mr Prescott argued that Africa didn't want this, but that it was time Britain faced up to the past. "Like the Holocaust, we are learning to talk about the slave trade openly and more honestly. Tragic and terrible as it was, the slave trade defied anyone to discuss it because it was so horrendous."

He said he believed Britain was about to go through the process of self-examination that the US experienced with the publication of Alex Haley's Roots in the 70s. He said: "The book had an effect on Americans who are now going back to Ghana and turning the slave dungeons in Elmina in Ghana into a shrine.

"I think this anniversary is beginning to make us think again in the same way as the US. There is a sense of shock and horror at what went on in our history, and the sheer brutality of it. It has not yet fed into the schools. Indeed it has been kept out of the curriculum.

"We need to get the proper history told, including the good, the bad and dreadful. For instance we need to recall that parliament for the best part of a century facilitated slavery. It did not just have an overnight intellectual conversion. Public opinion made the change and forced the change on parliament. We have fed it into our minds that a Christian from Hull, William Wilberforce, came along and changed the law in 1807. It was remarkable, but the real change came from working people.

"It is one of the reasons why I would like us to pick a date every year. The legacy of this 200th anniversary should be a permanent date when we ask whether there is more we could do, so that every year, like Holocaust, we remind people of the horrors. Each year we should think about it and commemorate and rededicate ourselves to helping people on which such horrors were inflicted."

Mr Prescott was speaking the day before Britain signs the European convention against human trafficking, publishes an action plan to fight modern day slavery and he hosts the visit of Owen Arthur, the prime minister of Barbados, to Hull, the birthplace of Wilberforce.

Tony Blair is to deliver a pre-recorded address to a ceremony in one of the slave ports in Accra at a ceremony on Sunday. A national memorial service will be held at Westminster Abbey on Tuesday and the former secretary general of the UN Kofi Annan, a Ghanaian, will address both houses of parliament in May .

Critics have suggested the country needs to apologise for slavery, a phrase that has led to legal actions in the US for compensation. The mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, has apologised and the prime minister has expressed his deep sorrow.

Mr Prescott said the country had to express "more than regret" for its role in the slave trade, but argued the issue of an apology was not being raised in Africa. He has been to Ghana and Sierra Leone in the past few months to visit the jails from which slaves were transported. He said he had met children in Ghana who had told him: "Not every white man was guilty and not every black man was innocent."

"That has started a debate about whether you really want the native chiefs really to apologise for selling their own people. The traders only had to go to the ports and the slaves were delivered from inside Africa. The Ghanaians said 'We don't want apologies. We want people to think what we can do to help us. What our ancestors did was horrific, but everyone feels we need to learn and move on from that experience'."

He said he would never forget how shocked he felt visiting the slave prisons of Elmina in Ghana. "Even 200 years after the slave trade you can still feel the pain the dark stench, the horror, the cold and the hole in the wall, the point of no return."

Mr Prescott said the climate of awareness in Britain was changing, pointing out that black youngsters in St Pauls, Bristol, had demanded that the name of the new shopping centre should not be called Traders or Merchants. "To those black people it meant the language of slavery. A more open debate about this is necessary. We have properly spent a lot of time talking about Muslims, but there are a lot of black people in Britain who feel their history has not been recognised."

He said it was vital that the government went ahead with changing the national education curriculum so that there was a proper presentation of slavery in its true abhorrent sense. He argued that abolition was closely associated with white people, but there were many black heroes.