April 30, 2007

BNP launches lying attack on 18 year-old Maryport anti-fascist

16 Comment (s)
When the then 16 year-old William Hague spoke at the Conservative Party's Annual Conference back in 1977, the media loved it. Here was a (very) young man, politically-savvy and, like him or not, an excellent orator, taking part in the political process. An unusual sight then and a lot more unusual now. Even where they disagreed with him and his views, the media had the good sense to attack his views and not him as a person, judging that a vitriolic personal attack on a youth, no matter from which part of the political spectrum he hailed, would be counter-productive and would be deemed as, in some indefinable way, tacky and unnecessary.

The BNP though - as we've seen on numerous occasions - will attack anyone with whom they disagree. Or rather, anyone who has the courage to speak out against the fascist party.

While most of the country is applauding the government's decision to allow 18 year-olds the right to stand in elections, the BNP seems to be doing its utmost to shut at least one 18 year-old up by making untrue allegations on its website about Jonathan Wood, anti-fascist campaigner who, with his friend Duncan Money, has contributed to the formation of Maryport Against Racism.

Jonathan and Duncan have come in for a lot of crap from the far-right since the media reported on their activities. Their photographs and personal details have appeared on a number of websites including Redwatch - intimately linked to the exceedingly violent Combat 18 and run by the poisonous little nazi bastard Kevin Watmough. Redwatch exists for one reason only - to encourage violence against the people who appear on its pages. The British National Party has NEVER condemned Redwatch for posting the pictures and details of these two teenagers. Nor will it.

This week, furious at the continuing great coverage that the two are getting for their anti-fascist activities, the BNP decided to go on the offensive itself - by making up a load of lies about Jonathan. Before it did that, it made sure that he was clearly identifiable in the article, pointing out precisely who his parents are (two councillors) and which council they serve on. The BNP might not be Redwatch but it can sure act like it.

Having identified him clearly, it then went on to state that, according to its less than impeccable sources, he had been arrested on four separate occasions; for car theft, joyriding, vandalism and drug offences. This information, it claimed, was provided by one of Jonathan's former classmates at Netherhall School, who described him as 'a bit of a looney'.

Just one snag. Well actually quite a few snags. Jonathan has never been a student at Netherhall School and he has never been arrested.

Clearly the whole article has been made up by either the BNP itself or the BNP member who provided the information. This isn't the first time the BNP and its myrmidons have lied to the press and public about those who oppose them. The dirty tricks department must be the busiest part of the British National Party. That and the money-laundering department.

Well this time they were quickly proved wrong. Let's hope the apology arrives or is posted up on the BNP website before the election, or at the very least the article is removed. But don't hold your breath. The party has never yet resorted to the truth where a lie will serve its purpose and we don't expect it to start now.

Ex-BNP Member Fights Race Hate

0 Comment (s)

A FORMER BNP organiser turned anti-racism campaigner has been in Coventry promoting the fight against hate crime.

Andy Sykes spent a week in the city leading anti-racism training for police, youth workers, Youth Offending Services staff, Victim Support officers and firefighters.

The aim of the training was to promote awareness of racism and give people confidence to challenge it when they see it.

It is also hoped they will feed their training back to other people in their organisations and the communities in which they work.

As part of the training, participants had DNA samples analysed to reveal their ethnic background.

Alison Quigley, Coventry City Council's hate crime reduction officer, who organised the training, found she is genetically linked to people in Russia, Iran and Romania.

She said: "One of the key points of the training is to make clear that there is no such thing as people being biologically British.

"The anti-racism training drives home the importance of not just challenging racist behaviour but also having the background knowledge to pinpoint the factual inaccuracies that lie behind many racist beliefs."

Andy Sykes joined the BNP in 2001, thinking it was a progressive party concerned for the future of the nation.

He quickly became disillusioned and worked as a mole, passing information to the Trades Union Congress.

In 2004, he worked with an undercover BBC reporter on a documentary that provoked national debate about the far-right party.


Gays Among Minority Groups Targeted in BNPs Secret Plan for ‘Apartheid’ in Britain

2 Comment (s)
LONDON, April 30, 2007 – Former British National Party activist, turned anti-fascist campaigner, Matthew Collins, Director of Searchlight's Operation Wedge, has revealed the inside truth about the BNP’s plans for apartheid in Britain, and how to defeat the far right.

He was interviewed by human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, on his weekly TV programme, Talking With Tatchell at the weekend.

The neo-Nazi British National Party is fighting a record number of seats in the May 3 local, Scottish and Welsh elections – over 800 seats in total. It is aiming to double its number of councillors.

Mr. Collins reveals that the BNP’s makeover as an ostensibly respectable British patriotic party is a con.

The BNP may have discarded its ‘bovver boot’ image in favour of slick city suits, and toned down its street thuggery, but behind the smiling face of its leader Nick Griffin lurks a hateful Islamophobia, racism and homophobia, Mr. Tatchell said.

The BNP is a menace to democracy and to minority communities; posing a particular threat to the security of Black, Asian, Jewish, Muslim and gay people, he suggested.

Mr. Collins explained the BNP’s strategy: it preys on deprived white working class communities; exploiting and manipulating their grievances – often fabricating claims of preferential treatment for immigrants and asylum seekers, in order to stir up a white racist backlash that it can then take advantage of.

The key to defeating the BNP is youth education in diversity and tolerance, the promotion of multicultural projects where people of all races work together to benefit all sections of the community, and government action to address the neglect and deprivation that prompts some alienated white working class people to turn to the far right, the programme suggested.

Mr. Collins also warns that in order to win broader electoral appeal the BNP has, at least publicly, dumped its more extreme policies, such as the repatriation of non-white people.

Now, he revealed, it has a more subtle, covert strategy to drive black people out of Britain – a secret plan for a regime of de facto apartheid, whereby non-white people will face gradually ever-increasing restrictions, exclusions and deprivations.

The BNP’s aim, Mr. Collins suggested, is to make life in Britain so unbearable for black people that they will want to return to the countries from which their forebears migrated.


The chilling documentary broadcast that once and for all, exposes the BNP as sinister Adolf Hitler-style nazis, secretly preparing Nuremberg Laws, be viewed by clicking the following link: -


New laws could give BNP members employment rights

0 Comment (s)
New employment laws that came into force today could pave the way for political activists – including members of the British National Party (BNP) - to bring religious discrimination claims in the workplace, experts have warned.

Stuart Chamberlain, an adviser at Consult GEE, an employment consultancy, said that following changes to the Employment Equality (Religious or Belief) Regulations 2003: “Employers need to tread carefully as the potential to discriminate has widened. From today, the regulations will mean that refusing to employ someone or treating an employee differently because of their philosophical beliefs could result in a discrimination claim," he said.

The relevant change concerns the statutory definition of “religion or belief”. Under the previous laws, this was defined as “any religion, religious belief or similar philosophical belief.” However, from today, the word “similar” will be removed with the definition amended to “any religion, or religious or philosophical belief.”

The change means that members of the BNP, such as Mr Baggs, whose religious discrimination claim against a medical practice that refused to interview him failed, could now be successful. Lawyers for Mr Baggs claimed that he was entitled to protection under religious discrimination laws because his membership of the BNP amounted to a “similar philosophical belief” to a religion or other religious belief.

However, the claim was dismissed after the employment tribunal ruled that the word “similar” meant that the philosophical belief in question must be similar in nature to a religious belief and that membership of the BNP did not meet this test. But according to Cath Thorpe, an employment partner at Reynolds Porter Chamberlain: “Under the amended regulations, the Baggs case may well have been decided differently.”

Other lawyers warned the amendment could extend to cover those with other beliefs.

Audrey Williams, an employment expert at Eversheds, said: “While this is a relatively minor amendment to the regulations, there could be far-reaching consequences. For example, it is possible that due to the changes, people who adhere to any shared, philosophical belief system such as animal rights activism or Marxism could also be protected from workplace discrimination.”

However, Consult GEE’s Mr Chamberlain said there are circumstances where it remains possible for an employer to discriminate on the grounds of belief.

“The regulations include a safety net of genuine occupational requirements to avoid situations where it would be unrealistic to expect an employer to not be able to discriminate on the grounds of religious or other belief. For example, a socialist publication is likely to be able to appoint a columnist with socialist views and not fear a discrimination claim from applicants of other political leanings.”

Times Online

Many minorities 'live in poverty'

0 Comment (s)
Some 40% of people from ethnic minority backgrounds are living in poverty, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation has said. The figure is twice as high as it is for white people, and rises to 65% for those of Bangladeshi origin, it says. The charity's research also suggests minorities are still overlooked in the workplace compared with others, despite often having better qualifications.

It says government policy needs an "urgent rethink" but ministers insist new measures are being considered. The foundation classifies individuals and families with incomes 60% of the national average as living in poverty, a measure also used by the government.

Equal opportunity

The foundation said more thought needed to be given to how assistance was targeted to minority groups to ensure equal opportunity in the workplace.

Publishing a series of reports examining the link between poverty and ethnicity, the foundation said 40% of people from minority backgrounds were currently living in poverty. This figure rose as high as 55% for those from Pakistani backgrounds and 45% for black Africans. Almost one in three of those from Indian and black Caribbean backgrounds are below the poverty line.

Success in raising educational standards among minorities had not been rewarded by commensurate progress in the workplace, the reports found. Pakistani and Bangladeshi men with degrees were less likely to be employed than their white counterparts while women from Asian backgrounds suffered high levels of unemployment.

These problems were not confined to first generation immigrants, it concluded, with British-born individuals from minority backgrounds less likely to be in work than their white equivalents.

Ministerial summit

"Although the past decade has seen some improvements, there are still some very serious problems which remain unsolved," said foundation director Julia Unwin. "This research shows how policies need to address the different situation of each group and be followed through on a practical level."

Employment and Welfare Reform Minister Jim Murphy said the lives of ethnic minority groups had improved over the last decade but acknowledged more needed to be done.

"The City Strategy programmes, a new partnership between government and providers, will help to tackle worklessness amongst ethnic minority communities," he said. "The Ethnic Minority Employment Task Force will be proposing new ways of tackling employer discrimination ahead of a ministerial summit early in the summer."


Quilt recalls horrors of Nazi cruelty

0 Comment (s)
Quilts are pieces of cloth sewn together that in many cases tell history. Not all are designed to remember happy times. For Rosa Freund, the quilt she recently completed looks back on when she and others lived through the tyranny of Nazism.

A Holocaust survivor who started her life in concentration camps when she was 17 years old, Freund gathered patches from friends and then created a quilt to be a silent witness of those terrible days more than six decades ago when she was taken from her home on the outskirts of Budapest, Hungary.

One of the patches is of blue and white stripes, the colors of the uniform she wore in one camp. On the patch is a pocket that bears a gold number 672. "That was my work number," the small-framed woman said.

Above the pocket is a candle of remembrance, which Freund said is important for her. It marks the horrors she saw at places such as Birkenau, Auschwitz and other death camps.

While 672 is a number she remembers, Freund almost had another number. She was one of about 800 people standing in line and was near the place where her arm would have been tattooed with a number. "They ran out of ink before they got to me," she said.

So, unlike untold hundreds of thousands who were "inked" crudely with a number, Freund was not. She also took an old photo of her brother, Moshe; her sister, Klara and her taken before they were sent to concentration camps and had it transposed on a white piece of cloth and sewn to the quilt. The photo was discovered after World War II and was in her brother's possession. He was living in Israel.

Perhaps the most telling of her personally designed patches is one of three smokestacks and the buildings that those who were to be killed entered.

"I lived three blocks from the crematoria," Freund said.

Years later, those days of being near the crematoria came back in a haunting way. Freund said she was at a doctor's office in the United States because of a skin problem. The doctor decided to burn off some of her dry skin. The smell of her own burning flesh rose to her nostrils, bringing back the stench of bodies being burned more than 60 years ago.

Freund was one of five Holocaust survivors who made a trip recently to Fort Huachuca and Sierra Vista to speak about the time of death and destruction unleashed against Jews and others in Europe by Germany's Nazi regime.

The program was part of an educational process of the Holocaust survivors of southern Arizona who meet weekly at the Jewish Family and Children Service of Southern Arizona. For the past five years, the group has come to the post to speak to military members, civilians and schoolchildren. This year's event was called "Children in Crisis, Voices of the Holocaust."

Exhibits about the Holocaust from the Afikim Foundation, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to furthering Jewish life, also are on display.

Freund completed the quilt just before April 15, Holocaust Day. The quilt's appearance at the fort was the first of many planned for outside Tucson.

Tucson Citizen

The 'Toytown Nazi' BNP get uppity with columnist Richard Littlejohn

1 Comment (s)
The BNP's National Press Officer, Dr. Phil Edwards (or Stuart Russell, depending on who he's talking to), is currently in something of a tizz about Richard Littlejohn, the Daily Mail columnist who on April 27th described the BNP as 'Toytown Nazis' in an article that made it very clear where he stood with the party. The appropriate section of the column is reprinted below:

'...While we’re talking rubbish, a couple of weeks ago I asked where were the candidates in the local elections who would promise to keep or reinstate weekly collections. If you look down the list in the Mail of those councils who have scrapped them, all three main parties are guilty.Since our campaign started, it has become the big election issue. A number of people have written to tell me that the BNP is pledged to empty the bins every week. For quite a while, I have been concerned that decent people are contemplating voting BNP because they think that Labour, the Tories and the LibDems are all as bad as each other. This column doesn’t go in for endorsing any party. It’s up to you how you cast your vote. But I would implore you not to vote for the BNP. They may have been to Man at C&A, but underneath they’re still the same unpleasant bunch of racist, anti-Semitic skinheads they’ve always been. If you want to protest, try UKIP or the English Democrats, or the Monster Raving Loony Party, for that matter. Anyone but this bunch of disgusting Toytown Nazis. Democracy encompasses the right not to vote. That’s also a protest against the system. I don’t care if the BNP promise to empty the dustbins twice a day. Frankly, I’d rather put up with an overflowing wheelie bin, full of six-month old waste, crawling with rats. It’s bad enough having vermin in our rubbish without having them infest the Town Hall, too.'

As much as any decent person must despise Littlejohn for much of the tosh he comes out with, it must be admitted that on occasion he produces an interesting phrase or two.

Edwards, describing Littlejohn as a 'tiresome hack', was furious but managed to get his revenge instantly. Just a day or two before, he had received the following email from Atlantic Productions:

'I am writing to you to request an interview with Nick Griffin for a Channel 4 programme we are producing. I hope you are able to pass on the request (below) and we look forward to hearing from you...We have been commissioned by Channel 4 to produce a one-hour documentary on anti-Semitism. The programme is authored by Richard Littlejohn, the newspaper columnist, and will air at peak time later in the year...In the film, Littlejohn will look at the causes of anti-Semitism and examine how it is no longer only associated with far right neo-Nazi extremists but is also finding a home with extreme Islamists and elements of the political Left. He will explore the complex relationship between this new form of anti-Semitism and attitudes in Britain towards the state of Israel and its foreign policy.'

Although he doesn't actually say this in his reply to Atlantic Productions, Edwards states on his blog:

'The BNP have no policies which espouse or encourage anti Semitism, so why they should contact us illustrates just how out of touch are the likes of Littlejohn.'

Perhaps we can help him out as his memory seems to be at fault - possibly due to the copious amounts of beer he claims to be able to down. Maybe Atlantic and Littlejohn did a quick five-minute search of the internet for 'nick griffin' and 'jews', which would have found them these little snippets:

'He [Griffin] had become editor of The Rune, an antisemitic quarterly produced by Croydon BNP. Griffin was opposed to attempts to modernise the BNP, accusing those who wanted change of "rainbow Conservatism". He also announced that the BNP should prioritise denying the Holocaust to schoolchildren.'

'A Griffin publication, Who are the Mindbenders?, claims to prove that the minds of British people are brainwashed through Jewish control of the media. The booklet includes a list of all known Jews working in the media as though they are working together for a joint cause. He proves Jewish control of the BBC by naming a mere 19 Jews who work for the corporation. He has never repudiated this work.'

'In another article he said, 'I am well aware that the orthodox opinion is that 6 million Jews were gassed and cremated or turned into lampshades. Orthodox opinion also once held that the earth is flat… I have reached the conclusion that the "extermination" tale is a mixture of Allied wartime propaganda, extremely profitable lie, and latter-day witch-hysteria.' (Carlisle Two Defence Fund Bulletin)

'In 1997 he told an undercover journalist that he had updated Richard Verrall's Holocaust denial book Did Six Million Really Die?. He also described his former MP, Alex Carlile, QC, who had reported The Rune to the police, as "this bloody Jew... whose only claim is that his grandparents died in the Holocaust."'

'Despite Griffin's new moderate image, he remains a Holocaust Denier. He has attacked fellow Holocaust denier David Irving for being too moderate (!) for admitting that some Jews did indeed die during the Holocaust claiming the "True Revisionists will not be fooled by this new twist to the sorry tale of the Hoax of the Twentieth Century."'

'On his farm in Wales Griffin has, according to Wales on Sunday, two pigs one called "Anne" and another called "Frank" - a crude anti-Semitic parody of Anne Frank, the young Jewish girl whose wartime diary, written whilst she was in hiding in Amsterdam is a world famous indictment of Nazi persecution of the Jews. Anne Frank was later betrayed and died in a concentration camp. Apparently Griffin thinks this is funny.'

That may be why Atlantic contacted the BNP about anti-semitism. It may also explain why Littlejohn referred to the BNP as 'disgusting Toytown Nazis'.

Curiously, Edwards didn't seem to find the implied accusation of anti-semitism inaccurate enough to complain about, choosing instead to get his revenge on Littlejohn for the perceived insult to the BNP. Here's his reply:

'Further to your request for an interview with Nick Griffin for a Channel 4 programme you and Littlejohn are producing about the causes of anti-Semitism, I would like you to read the following comment by Littlejohn in his scurrilous Daily Mail column of April 27:

"Please don’t vote for these Toytown Nazis...While…..[truncated] It’s bad enough having vermin in our rubbish without having them infest the Town Hall, too"

Neither Nick Griffin nor anyone else in the BNP would wish to associate themselves with the likes of Littlejohn. I will put this correspondence on the BNP web site under Columnists and Doc’s Diary for all to see just how unpleasant are Littlejohn and all his works. Please do not contact the BNP again on behalf of Littlejohn.'

So an accusation of anti-semitism is okay but being referred to as 'vermin' isn't? The mind boggles.

April 29, 2007

BNP candidate's nazi shame

3 Comment (s)
A British National Party activist who claims he is a respectable businessman is really a Nazi fanatic who dresses in German uniform and flies a swastika flag.

Window firm boss Karl Newman, 47, a candidate for the far-right BNP in Thursday's local elections, denies he is a racist or Nazi sympathiser in campaign leaflets. But, in fact, he dresses in World War Two Wehrmacht uniforms and has a sick fascination with Hitler.

He has spent years restoring two wartime troop carriers built by Jewish concentration camp labour. One has a giant swastika on the bonnet and he flies another of the Nazi flags from the back. Newman even takes out six-year-old son William in the vehicle at weekends.

Pictures on his website show him in Nazi uniform. In one a cardboard cut-out of Hitler is driving one of the vehicles, called Kubelwagens.

Confronted by the Sunday Mirror, he said: "I am aware they were built by slave labour - but I can't do anything about that."

Newman, standing in Greenlands ward of Redditch Council in the West Midlands, added: "OK - so the BNP is only for white people, but that does not mean I am a racist." Claiming to be a Christian, he said his Nazi obsession was "just fun".

Labour councillor Mark Shurmer said: "These pictures are disgusting."

Sunday Mirror

LMHR guerilla gigs and mass UAF leafletting on May Day

0 Comment (s)
LMHR guerilla gigs and mass UAF leafletting on May Day - in link-up with PCS civil servant's union - to say 'Make your vote count - stop the fascist BNP'.

On Tuesday 1st May Love Music Hate Racism (LMHR) and Unite Against Fascism (UAF) are joining forces with the PCS (civil servants) union, who are taking national strike action that day, in their “Make Your Vote Campaign” to encourage people to get out and vote on Thursday 3rd May, to stop the fascist BNP gaining any further ground.

MayDay will be a carnival of anti-fascist and trade union resistance. The BNP already have 49 council seats - 49 too many! We will be putting on a “gig on a truck” at key places around Leeds & West Yorkshire, and Dudley, Birmingham and Sandwell, stopping off to distribute Unite Against Fascism leaflets which expose the thuggish racist reality behind the BNP’s suits and weasel words. It’s a fun way to tackle a serious issue and it works!

UAF & LMHR speakers will also address PCS strike rallies in other parts of the UK - trade unions unite people of all colours, religions and nationalities, while the BNP are seeking to divide us.

PCS members and other trade unionists, bands/DJs/MCs, and anyone who wants to join the opposition to the BNP is urged to come along and take part.

Tuesday May 1st

Dudley: 9am-10am, PCS picket lines, The Waterfront, Merry Hill, Dudley.
Birmingham: 11am Chamberlain Square, PCS strike rally
Birmingham/Sandwell/Dudley, 12noon-4pm
West Midlands events contact: Lee Billingham 07838 156052 westmids@lovemusichateracism.com

Leeds: 9am PCS picket lines HMRC Castle House / DWP
Leeds: 11am PCS rally, Queens Hotel
Morley: afternoon, venue tbc
West Yorkshire events contact: Alison 07828 150735 alison@lovemusichateracism.com


April 28, 2007

Stars unite in anti-BNP campaign

0 Comment (s)
Falklands hero Simon Weston has added his voice to a campaign against the BNP in the Assembly elections. He has been joined by Twin Town star Rhys Ifans.The pair have added their support to the campaign by Unite Against Fascism.

The group claims that in English towns where the controversial party has been successful, racist attacks have increased. Unite wants to stop the BNP securing any seats in the Assembly next Thursday.

Simon Weston said: "I am against bigotry of all forms and I hate people using race to whip up fear and intimidation. I urge people not to propagate that kind of rhetoric."

Notting Hill star Ifans added: "To Nick Griffin and the BNP - the ethnic communities you dare to vilify in Wales are speaking Welsh, feeling Welsh and will forever be welcome in Wales."

South Wales Evening Post

Addressing the threat of the BNP: A student debate (Lancaster University)

0 Comment (s)
Click on image for full size
A pdf file of the double-sided leaflet (423k) can be downloaded from here.

Addressing the threat of the BNP:
A student debate (Lancaster University)

Addressing the threat of the BNP: A student debate
As part of Love Music Hate Racism

Furness Lecture Theatre 2
5:00pm – Monday week 2 (April 30th)
(Followed by ‘Love Music Hate Racism’ at Sugarhouse from 8:00pm)

Behind the facade of suited respectability, the BNP is a fascist organisation in the tradition of Hitler's Nazis. It was created from a split in the openly fascist National Front and is funded from neo-Nazi donations, festivals and music sales. Its aim is an all-white Britain, which could only be created using mass violence and an end to democratic freedoms. Many of its members have convictions for violence and racial hatred. Nick Griffin, the BNP leader has been convicted of incitement to racial hatred after he denied the reality of the Nazi Holocaust that resulted in the murder of 15 million people including Jews, trade unionists, Roma, black, lesbian, gay and disabled people.

The fascist BNP is standing a record number of candidates in local council, Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly elections on 3 May, including one in Lancaster. The BNP's vote has increased by more than 75 fold in just six years - from just over 3,000 votes in 2000 to over 238,000 in 2006.

The BNP can be stopped - The vast majority of people oppose the BNP's politics of race hate, violence and division. The fascists rely on a low voter turnout to win elections, so by supporting anti-racism events like this and going to vote on May 3rd you are sending out a message that the BNP are not welcome either on campus, in Lancaster or anywhere else.

Speakers from: National Union of Students, Amicus, Love Music Hate Racism and Unite Against Fascism (UAF).

April 27, 2007

Muslim community unites with anti-fascists to call for vote against the BNP

0 Comment (s)
Today the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) will call for a vote against the fascist British National Party (BNP) during Friday prayers and distribute leaflets, produced jointly with the Unite Against Fascism campaign, to highlight the danger of the BNP to the Muslim community.

The BNP has vilified the Muslim community, calling its local election campaign last year a "referendum on Islam". It has spread racist myths about Muslim men 'grooming' white girls for sex and asserts that Islam has expanded by rape and violence. BNP leader Nick Griffin has labelled Islam a "wicked vicious faith". In the run up to this May's elections the BNP has whipped up Islamophobia to oppose plans to build mosques in Dudley in the West Midlands and in Stratford in London.

In 2006 the BNP gained a record 238,000 votes, which brought its councillors up to an unprecedented 49 seats.

A strong alliance between the Muslim and the anti-fascist majority including the trade union movement has been crucial to defeating the BNP previously in Tower Hamlets and Oldham.

Dr. Abdul Bari, Secretary General of the MCB said:
"The Muslim community is an integral part of British society - fascism is not. We believe that it is both a civic and Islamic duty for Muslims to use their votes, to defend democracy and to oppose hatred. We are proud to join the diverse coalition of Unite Against Fascism to stand against fascism - we call on all Muslims, and fellow Britons everywhere, to use their vote on May 3rd."

Denis Fernando Joint Secretary of Unite Against Fascism said:
"The fascist BNP are utilising the same tactics as the Nazis did before them - attempting to make electoral gains by whipping up hatred against minority and vulnerable communities. A recent Gallup poll showed that almost three quarters of Muslims had a loyalty to Britain, whilst less than half of non-Muslims shared the same view. UAF is proud to work with the Muslim community to oppose the extremist policies of the BNP which pose a threat to Muslims, and all those who value democracy."

Muslim News

UNISON to 'stop racism' in anti-BNP campaign

0 Comment (s)
UNISON is preparing to take its campaign against the BNP and other far-right parties to the streets of Scotland this weekend.

The union's branches are organising a number of initiatives in different parts of the country on Saturday April 28 to take the message out to the public that 'racists have no place in Scotland'. It's part of their UK-wide campaign to prevent the organisation building on its 2006 ballot gains.

UNISON has produced large numbers of leaflets and posters urging its members to be careful with their vote on May 3.

Scottish organiser Dave Watson said: "UNISON members care for the whole community in Scotland; we won't allow racists to wreck Scotland's economic and cultural future. The BNP preach their message of hate, but try to hide it under a veneer of respectability. They use lies and rumour to pedal myths about, migrant workers and asylum seekers. We have been working to expose those myths and welcome much needed workers into Scotland."

He pointed to a recent economic report which found the influx of migrant workers into Scotland had boosted the economy, saying that without them the building trade would collapse, the catering and tourist trade would suffer and the health service would fall apart.

With the new proportional representation system, particularly in the local elections, there is a danger that low turnout could lead to BNP candidates being elected by default, Mr Watson said. "We are urging our members and the general public to get out and ensure they cannot destroy our democracy."

However, Dr Phil Edwards, National Press Officer for the BNP has accused UNISON of hypocrisy.

He said: "Most members do not tell the union what political party they are in. There are many members in the union who support the BNP and they are appalled by this. It is not democratic for them to campaign against us but not stand for election themselves. They get hundreds of thousands of pounds of funding from other people's money - we haven't got any money. How can you define racism? We are not racists - we are race realists."


Is 'Christian nation' rhetoric aiding the far-right?

0 Comment (s)
Christian denominations and church groups have been falling over themselves to denounce the British National Party (BNP) in the last few weeks, ahead of the impending local elections.

During the last European elections, I was taking part in a BBC phone-in on political extremism when the BNP's press officer called the programme. Not only was the BNP a Christian party, he claimed, but the institutional church had let the country down. His party would defend British culture because churches had failed to do so.

Since then there have been two noticeable changes. First, the BNP has stepped up its religious rhetoric. In recent local elections, the party's literature included copies of the controversial Mohammed cartoons. It also helped establish a 'Christian Council of Britain'. The goal is apparently to appeal to those in the population who identify with Christianity, but feel panicked both by 'liberal secularism' and the growth of Islam.

At the same time, leading figures within the Church of England have also become far more vocal in their calls to stem the tide of secularism, and to defend the predominant 'Christian culture' of Britain. The uncomfortable fact is that this puts the Church into the position of arguing the same political point about national identity as the BNP.

Of course the rationales of these messages are very different. The agenda behind the BNP's claims is essentially a cultural one - partly in opposition to an alleged liberal elite, and partly in an attempt to whip up fear of minority faiths. In contrast, few would question the commitment of the Church of England to combating racism. But the time has come to face the fact that when it uses 'Christian nation' rhetoric, it risks encouraging support for right-wing extremists.

It may be no coincidence that it has been the Church's two most senior black leaders, Archbishop Sentamu and Bishop Nazir Ali, who have made the most prominent pronouncements against 'the secular tide'. The Church must surely be aware of the dangers of its arguments. But it is doubtful that this will limit the damage, with the BNP also now claiming (no doubt disingenuously) some non-white members.

These problems look likely to get more uncomfortable. The BNP now has 47 councillors in the UK, and church schools could face BNP representatives appointed to their governing bodies. Local authorities, after all, have a duty to nominate some governors from different local political parties. If this happens, they may find these representatives wholeheartedly endorsing the admissions policies that many church schools run, favouring Christians over others in local communities, as a strategy for encouraging social division.

But the terrain is changing. A recent Tearfund survey found that just 53% of the population identified in some way with Christianity. That is a colossal drop compared to the last national census, when 72% did so.

This is tough news for a Church that wants to rely on 'cultural capital'. But there is another way. Instead of adopting a defensive stance which pleases those seeking to make political capital out of civic 'de-Christianization', the Church has an opportunity to refocus on the vocation of Jesus - which means costly discipleship, not cultural dominance.

It is easy to make a claim to speak for the sentiments of an, albeit dwindling, majority of the population. It is far harder to mount a practical stand for justice, and base one's political authority on the quality of one's actions in the here and now. But in an increasingly religiously plural society, it will be the quality of contemporary political witness, not appeals to a bygone age, which will sort the sheep from the old goats.


Race hatred behind No.10's mosque petition

0 Comment (s)
THE RACE HATRED of a woman behind a Downing Street anti-mosque petition can now be revealed.

No.10 refused to act over Jill Barham's petition despite being bombarded with emails objecting to the threat of "terrible violence and suffering" against Muslims if the mosque goes ahead.

Blink reported earlier this month that far-right organisations were backing the petition.

We can now reveal that Barham spouts vile racial hatred on her blog under the name "English Rose." She has also posted links to a number of extreme-right websites.

Blink has now send another email to Downing Street's webmaster requesting that No.10 take action over the petition, as many of the 39,000 signatries would be horrified by Barham's race-hate views.

The UK English Rose blog includes a string of tirades against Islam including "Muslims who rape western women", and has a link to the Battle for Britain which has a picture of two monkeys which it calls Trevor Phillips and Diane Abbott.

In an email to Downing Street's webmaster today, Blink wrote: 'We are extremely concerned that many of the people who signed Jill Barham's petition were unaware of her racial hatred, which is displayed on her blog.

'It is obvious that many of the signatories would not have signed the petition if they had known this. As the petition has been fatally undermined, we call for it to be taken down immediately.
'We also object strongly to the name "KILL ALL NI**ERS" who is listed on No.10's website signing this petition. It is outrageous to have such unbridled racism should be published on the Prime Minister's website.

'We reiterate that the petitioners reference to "terrible violence and suffering" is a clear implicit threat of violence against Muslims should the so-called mega mosque be given the go-ahead.'

Blink urges our readers to email Downing Street at: webmaster@pmo.gov.uk to urge that this petition is amended to remove the reference to "terrible violence and suffering" and that the words "KILL ALL NI**ERS" are removed from the signature list.

Blink (Black Information Link)

April 26, 2007

Still alive and kicking

0 Comment (s)
This year's local elections fall near the seventh anniversary of the Oldham race riots - and the BNP is trying to make headway in new territory.

By David Ward

Watch it: the British National party has not gone away. Nick Griffin and his crew are hard at work canvassing across the north-west of England as they seek to woo the voters. In previous years, they have not grabbed a vast number of seats - but they have won a worrying number of votes.

This year's local elections fall almost on the seventh anniversary of the race riots that erupted in Oldham, Greater Manchester, in May 2001. The BNP has tried to exploit the situation and has campaigned to seduce the Oldham electorate every year since. But, faced with tough campaigning by both Labour and the Liberal Democrats (parties with a long history of mutual antipathy in these parts), it has made no headway and never topped a poll. Not even Griffin could win a seat, although he did pick up more than a quarter of the votes in Chadderton North ward in 2003.

This year the BNP appears to be going through the motions by fielding just four candidates in Oldham. But it hasn't given up in Burnley, the east Lancashire town also hit by disturbances in the summer of 2001. The BNP, which won its first seats the following year and now has seven councillors, is fielding 10 candidates this year (including councillors seeking re-election), the largest group in any council in the north-west of England.

The Burnley BNP has gone through several leaders, shed a councillor who struck Griffin's minder in a brawl and lost another who decided that, far from being a racist, she was a fan of Nelson Mandela. It has made little impact in the council chamber.

But local activists have cleverly exploited the fears of more prosperous white people, who live in the nice parts of town and have voted for the party to keep members of the Asian community out of their districts. The party could engineer new victories this year, which could give new concern on a council on which no party has a majority.

Significantly, the BNP is also trying to make headway in parts of Greater Manchester other than Oldham, and is putting up a total of 44 candidates in the region's nine metropolitan boroughs, with eight each in Bury, Wigan and Tameside and seven in Stockport. This is a serious onslaught and it remains to be seen whether the onward march of the far right can be halted.

The party has only one candidate in Tory-controlled Trafford and just two in Manchester, where the BNP has never done well. But Griffin and co are making a determined assault on Liverpool, where they are fielding candidates in nine wards, and on Blackpool (seven candidates), where it staged its conference this year. Where the party stands on the loss of the supercasino to Manchester remains to be seen.

Not content with major centres, the party continues to flirt with the greener parts of Lancashire in Pendle and Ribble Valley - it has several times held its Red, White and Blue festivals in fields near Clitheroe. The BNP also has its eyes on Cumbria: six party candidates are standing in Carlisle and two in the rock-solid Labour stronghold of Maryport on the Cumbrian coast, where members of ethnic minorities are thin on the ground. Will local mainstream party activists be able to keep this lot at bay?

Additional research by Rumeana Jahangir

David Ward

BPP man guilty of racial abuse

0 Comment (s)
A self-confessed racist distributed offensive posters - including one of a burning cross - in an area where many Asians live

John Steven Stead, 32, was spotted putting the stickers on lampposts in the Murray Street area of Hartlepool, a court heard. The posters, from the British People's Party, carried messages such as "Rights For Whites" and "Immigration - Open Your Eyes". Another had images from the war and said: "They did not die for a multi-racial Britain." One sticker depicted a burning cross.

Town man Stead stood trial at Hartlepool Magistrates Court yesterday after pleading not guilty to racially aggravated behaviour and a public order offence. But he admitted he was a racist and said he had concerns about "multi-culturalism" in Britain.

The court heard that on the evening of December 1 last year, Javeed Rasul had been in Murray Street and spotted Stead putting the stickers on lampposts and called the police.

Mr Rasul told the court: "It was disturbing. It's the 21st Century now and I didn't think we would have that in Hartlepool. I could not sleep that night thinking about it. It's hatred. My two uncles died in the war fighting for England."

Stead, who was wearing camouflaged clothes on the night in question, was later arrested and in police interview said causing distress was the last thing on his mind.

Lynne Roberts-Plowman, prosecuting, said: "Mr Stead said he had put the stickers up with the sole purpose of giving other British people a voice." Ms Roberts-Plowman said he then told police: "I don't hate anyone, but if you mean by am I a racist am I concerned about the British people then yes, I plead guilty to that."

Donald MacFaul, defending, argued the posters were neither threatening, abusive or insulting, and said they had not caused harassment, alarm or distress.

He said: "The posters expressed a point of view. One may not agree, one may even find it offensive, I suggest that is not enough." He added there was no evidence of hostility and said it was a case of: "I disapprove of what you say, but I defend your right to say it."

District Judge Stephen Earl said people from many countries joined the allied war efforts during the two world wars - including Gurkhas, black South Africans and Indians. Judge Earl told Stead: "They all came to France to fight, didn't they."

He said that over the centuries the British people had been made up out of numerous nationalities. He added it was clear Stead knew he had placed the stickers in an area that would cause alarm or distress.

Stead, unemployed, of Bruntoft Avenue, Hartlepool, who had no previous convictions, was found guilty of racially aggravated behaviour likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress, and a lesser public order offence. He was sentenced to 60 hours unpaid work and ordered to pay £250 prosecution costs.

Hartlepool Mail

Could candidate apathy allow in the extremists?

0 Comment (s)
Widespread disinterest in standing for parish council seats could leave the door open for extremists to take them, it was warned this week.

In 43 of the parish wards in East Herts, electors will not get to vote for a local representative on May 3. Too few people have been nominated for a poll in 22 of them and the exact quota has come forward in another 14, which also negates the need for a vote. Only seven wards - Aston, Brickendon Liberty, Cottered, Little Berkhamsted, Walkern, Westmill and Widford - will require an actual vote.

And while town councils generally attract electoral interest, this time there are only five candidates for 12 Sawbridgeworth Town Council seats.

The situation has prompted former Bishop's Stortford mayor Keith Barnes, whose four-seat town Central ward has four British National Party candidates standing among a list of 13, to say: "You could have had an extreme group get in without a vote being cast or someone from the Monster Raving Loony Party."

In Albury, where six seats are up for grabs, only Paul Cole has put his name forward. The situation is similar in Standon, where Henry Davies stands alone for the three spots. In Braughing, the trio of Andrew Peat, David Williamson and Peter Boylan know they already form half of the council.

The new parish councils will have to co-opt new members after May 3 to get up to full strength. If the field of candidates number less than a third of the seats available, a re-election is necessary. If the same happens again, the district council can appoint people.

By comparison, the number of independents standing this year for East Herts Council is on the rise to five - and a former Tory has changed allegiance.

Deborah Clark is a former Conservative who has switched to being an independent in the same Hunsdon, Eastwick and Gilston ward. She said she had tried fighting for change from within but found it difficult to speak out on important matters as a member of a political party, stating: "The resistance to change was frustrating."

Also seeking election in Sawbridgeworth for the district council is her husband Nigel Clark, better known as secretary of Stop Harlow North campaign. He said there was a lot of support to take party politics away from providing basic local services at district level, although at a national level his personal values were Conservative.

Keith Barnes has been an independent in Central for 24 years and former Ratepayers' Association mayor Eric Marshall is back in the fray in Stortford All Saints after more than a decade.

Retired social worker Mary Wilkinson, of Westland Green, is contesting Little Hadham for East Herts as an independent.

Herts and Essex News

Vandals paint pony with Nazi signs

1 Comment (s)
Yobs who daubed swastikas over a miniature Shetland pony were today condemned by the animal's distraught owners.

Julie and Ken Bassett were horrified to find vandals had drawn Nazi symbols on the forehead and side of two-year-old Lucy. The tiny pony, who stands less than 34 inches tall, had to be scrubbed and have her forehead shaved to remove the graffiti.

The Bassetts keep Lucy, along with 18 other ponies, in fields off Bluebell Road, near the University of East Anglia. The couple take in unwanted or mistreated Shetland ponies, paying for their keep out of their own pockets.

Mrs Bassett, 41, of Parr Road, said: “I'm absolutely disgusted, particularly because of the sign they have put on her. Lucy has got deformed legs and wouldn't have been able to run away like any of the other ponies would have done. She's the sweetest little pony and so trusting. So many people love to come down and see the ponies and for somebody to be so cruel to poor Lucy is unfair.”

The crime happened between the evening of Wednesday, April 18, and 6.30pm the following day.

The Bassetts gave Lucy a home as a foal two years ago, when her previous owners realised she was deformed. She would have been destroyed otherwise.

Mrs Bassett said: “We finally got it off but we had to shave her little forehead. Luckily she's losing her winter coat so it wasn't too bad to get out. We don't know what it was, either spray paint or a thick black felt tip pen.”

The couple have made a home for Shetland ponies from all over the country, from private owners or from the RSPCA. The first pony they took on was Jasper, who Mrs Bassett spotted tethered without food or water in a field while out walking her dog six years ago. He belonged to travellers and she offered to buy him because she felt so sorry for him.

Sophie Wilkinson, of the RSPCA, said: “People can make their statements, but there is no reason why they should be using a living animal to write anything on. It's going to cause a huge amount of distress to a pony to have anything written on it.”

Norwich Evening News

Bishop urges voters to unseat BNP councillors

0 Comment (s)
A senior Church of England bishop who has a number of British National Party (BNP) councillors in his diocese, has written in an anti-fascist magazine, urging Christians to vote against the party in the forthcoming local elections.

The comments from Rt Rev Nicholas Reade, Bishop of Blackburn, who was writing in 'Searchlight' magazine, make him the latest in a long line of church leaders and denominations to publicly urge votes against the BNP in the local elections next week.

In 2003 the BNP briefly became the official opposition in Burnley, which is in the Bishop's diocese. They now have just seven seats on the council. The bishop said that Lancashire voters should now completely reject the “poison of racial and religious hatred”.

“Sadly there are a small minority of candidates seeking election on the basis of politics that seek to divide,” the Bishop said. “They prefer the poison of racial and religious hatred to the challenge of co-operation. Christians and non-Christians, peoples of all faiths and none, should reject them.

"They should reject them by refusing to vote for them, by pointing out to others the true nature of their poisonous policies, and by turning out to vote for candidates who are committed to constructive co-operation.”

The Bishop also pointed out that the Church of England’s ‘parliament’, the General Synod, unanimously backed a motion from Lancashire that called on Christians to boycott racist parties. The motion was passed in 2005, in response to “the recent success of the British National Party in local elections in parts of Lancashire”.

“The national Church took notice of that warning, and said it must not happen again,” the Bishop said.

He added: “Of course, this is not just a Church matter. Just as I welcome opportunities to meet, discuss and work together with people from other faith communities, so the advantages of co-operation can be celebrated wherever people work together for good.

“I’m always encouraged when I find priests and politicians working co-operatively for the benefit of the communities they serve. I welcome the growing willingness among our local authorities to work in partnership with all the faith communities.”

Writing in a special pre-election newspaper produced by ‘Searchlight’, the anti-racist organisation, the Bishop said Christians regard racism as ‘sin’. “In the Christian community it’s the strongest word we can find. In terms of racism it means something not only off limits to people, but also to God.”

The Bishop said he was honoured to meet leaders of other faiths in Lancashire and to encourage discussions for honest debate and acceptance between the faith communities.

“Racism seeks to poison such acceptance,” he said. “In the Church of England in Lancashire we have taken a strong stand against it.”


Migrants 'deceived and exploited'

0 Comment (s)
Migrant workers are being lured to Britain by deception and are forming a new exploited underclass, a BBC investigation has discovered.

Undercover Lithuanian journalist Audrius Lelkaitis discovered a new form of people trafficking, systematic underpayment and exploitation. Human trafficking experts said the conditions suffered by some migrant workers was "modern-day slavery". All companies targeted by the investigation deny exploiting workers.

Mr Lelkaitis, working as part of the BBC News investigation, posed as a migrant worker seeking a job in the UK. He paid hundreds of pounds to agencies in Lithuania and London in return for the promise of a job in Hull which did not exist.

After being offered work with licensed gangmasters Focus Staff Limited in Hull he was paid below the minimum wage two weeks in arrears. After three weeks, he received £97 for 20 hours' work in his first week, although £50 was deducted for accommodation costs. He also had money deducted for accommodation without it being shown on his payslip, which is illegal, and was forced to live in overcrowded accommodation.

Mike Wilson, chief executive of the Gangmasters' Licensing Authority said the withholding of wages when workers were already in debt sounded "suspiciously like a bonded labour situation which certainly we would not agree to at all".

Mike Dickenson, director of Focus Staff Limited, denied any illegal practices. "I don't underpay my workers," he said. "Everything I do is legal and above board," he said.

'Bonded labour'

Deputy Chief Constable Grahame Maxwell, programme director of the UK Human Trafficking Centre, said the opening of Europe's borders had brought with it a new kind of people trafficking. He said: "This quite clearly is labour exploitation. Certain elements are there; there's a deception and there's a movement of people with an expectation of being paid a reasonable and appropriate wage. This is a kind of forced or bonded labour. This is modern day slavery."

Aidan McQuade, director of campaign group Anti-Slavery International, said trafficking to exploit labour involved a number of factors.

These included the use of deception, intimidation, the removal of documents, excessive charges for accommodation and transport, the exploitation of someone's irregular immigration status or the fact they are in debt, in order to force them to work in conditions they do not agree to, he said. He added: "Some of these mechanisms are reported in this BBC News investigation."

You can watch the report here.


Hatewatch: for the week of April 25th 2007

0 Comment (s)
Former National Alliance leader convicted of hate crimes
Shaun Walker, the former national chairman of the neo-Nazi
organization National Alliance, was found guilty along with two other
NA members of conspiracy in racially motivated attacks.

Jury awards $9 million dollars in Billy Ray Johnson case
A civil jury in Linden, Texas, assessed $9 million in damages against
four white men who beat a mentally retarded black man and left him for
dead beside a garbage dump.

SPLC calls for investigation of professor
The Southern Poverty Law Center urged Cal State Long Beach officials
to investigate psychology professor Kevin MacDonald, whose writings
about Jews are widely used by white supremacists, including David

City supervisor placed on leave for making Klan jokes
A Chicago Department of Transportation project director allegedly
referred to black employees as "mambo" and paraded around with a red
tablecloth over his head while calling himself the "Grand Wizard."

Southern Poverty Law Center

Seeds of amity

0 Comment (s)
Promoting community cohesion among the voters of tomorrow has become a priority in towns where fringe political groups are taking root

When Noma Moyo, a refugee from Zimbabwe, stands in front of a school assembly to tell her story, she always asks pupils what they think about asylum seekers. At Tong high school in Bradford, the general consensus seems to be that the words "asylum seeker" and "illegal" automatically go together.

It's a misapprehension that teacher Hayley Clacey is keen to debunk, which is one of the reasons why she has invited local charity Retas (Refugee Training and Advisory Service) to the school. Throughout the day, refugees from Russia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Cameroon will work with children and class teachers to explain why people have to flee their own countries and what life is really like for those seeking refuge in the UK.

Bradford has two BNP councillors and 17 more candidates from the party seeking election next week. This political climate is something of which the school is keenly aware. With a catchment drawn primarily from two poor, predominantly white council estates, teachers are using the freedom of their hour-a-week tutorial programme to combat racism. The workshop offered by Retas gives children who have limited experience of other cultures a chance to interact with people whom they might otherwise only learn about via the headlines of their local paper.

As the class gradually begins to realise that asylum seekers tend not to live in big fancy houses, are prohibited from getting a job rather than being workshy, live off shopping vouchers and have often had to leave their families behind or even seen relatives killed, 30-odd pairs of eyes widen and there is the occasional audible gasp.

This is the kind of initiative now being promoted in towns across the north west of England where the BNP has gained a foothold and is now seeking to expand.

Influencing the voters of tomorrow while they're still young has also become a priority in Burnley, which, together with Oldham, experienced violent race-related disturbances in the summer of 2001. Around £250m has been spent on a total overhaul of Burnley's education system, with entire schools being closed, demolished, restructured and rebuilt.

"There was definitely a problem with the way that schools were organised in this town," says Labour councillor Mark Townsend. Of three councillors in his ward, Gannow, two are BNP - including the longest serving BNP councillor in the country - and he is keenly aware of the threat to his own seat.

Because of the way school catchment areas had been set historically, he explains, Burnley's secondary schools had been either overwhelmingly white or overwhelmingly black. The white schools got good results and were oversubscribed, and the minority ethnic schools got poor ones. All this is changing, partly as a result of a report published last summer on the reasons for the disturbances.

"The county council is completely reorganising the schools, including the catchment areas, so there is a better mix of pupils," says Townsend. "Five new schools have just opened and we've got rid of all the old ones so the kids now have the chance to grow up together. The BNP are latching on to that and calling it forced integration. Of course you can never force integration, but you have to give people who would be open to that the chance to experience it."

There are also community and interfaith events being held on a regular basis to bring people together and foster understanding between various factions in the Burnley population. But as Townsend points out, "to be honest, the people who vote BNP don't go to events like that, so you've really got to start in the schools".

In Stoke-on-Trent, where the BNP has five councillors and 10 candidates standing for election this time round, Labour councillor Pervez Mohammed, who holds the community cohesion portfolio, says the council has joined forces with organisations such as NorScarf (North Staffordshire Campaign Against Racism and Fascism) to encourage more people to make their voice heard in local elections and so dilute the effects of fringe party candidates.

"We are doing a lot of work to encourage people to vote," he explains. "We need to get the message out that not voting will not bring solutions to people's problems." In fact, he suggests, things could get worse if more members of the fringe parties get elected.

"It's also about getting people to realise what fringe parties stand for. They play on fears about issues such as housing, jobs and immigration, send out misleading information and contribute absolutely nothing. Meetings are sometimes attended but they do not normally speak at these or make any positive contribution."

A NorScarf spokesperson says that despite their door-to-door anti-racist literature drops, community meetings, awareness-raising street stalls in town centres and a variety of schools activities illustrating the evils of fasism and racism, he's concerned for Stoke's future.

"I'm not terribly optimistic at the moment. They [the BNP] have five councillors already, and the risk is there'll be more. The worry is that we'll end up like Barking and Dagenham, with a BNP opposition. I don't see any easy answers at the moment, else we'd be doing it."

It might be a long-term strategy, but back at Tong high school in Bradford, it's clear from the children's faces that the refugees' stories have sunk in. Starting to challenge opinions when children are young, before fears and misconceptions have been reinforced by prejudiced media messages, appears to be working.


April 25, 2007

The dark side of Facebook

0 Comment (s)
The social networking website has become popular with political activists - including the British National Party.

Over the last three months, it seems like the bulk of the British political and media establishment has moved on to the social networking site, Facebook. And I'm not just talking about politicians jumping on a new way to meet voters - journalists and commentators from Hugo Rifkind to Andrew Neil and Jonathan Dimbleby are Facebook members.

"Site" seems like an off-hand description. With more than 20 million registered users, "phenomenon" is perhaps more appropriate. Facebook is a small but active battlefield in May's elections, and perhaps more so for the Labour party leadership and deputy leadership elections. It provides the facility to organise your contacts and events and to network and discuss issues with people who share similar interests, whether they be serious or trivial.

Facebook is by no means the only online social networking facility, yet it has become "the one" for politics, far beyond any use of MySpace or LinkedIn. It's hard to pin down why Facebook has achieved this pre-eminence, though I'd put my money on the layout. The pages are laid out neatly and with a clean and neutral colour-scheme and there is limited scope for personal customisation. So while Facebook was originally designed for university students, it is entirely accessible to adults of all ages. And together with the ability to organise canvassing sessions, fundraising events, and policy debates, it's no surprise really that political activists would see the benefits.

Yet mainstream political parties are not the only campaigners to mobilise using this effective resource. The British National Party has recently developed a number of presences on the system. A search for BNP returns 98 groups, though a number of these are unrelated or anti-BNP. But still, those that are supportive of the BNP are disturbing to read.

Danny Lake and Mark Wain, the Young BNP National Organiser and National Secretary, have set up the most official-looking BNP group, which boasts 75 members and publicises a detailed BNP manifesto. Another group has 76 members and the Newcastle University BNP group, managed by John Lilburne and Preston Wiginton, has 49 members. There also are numerous smaller groups.

These may not seem like significant numbers, yet these are people who are willing to have their names and photographs - and often email addresses and mobile numbers - publicly associated with their endorsement. If this is not disturbing enough, Facebook has the facility to form "secret" groups that don't show up on listings, and there is no doubt that the BNP is capable of taking advantage of this.

Providers of internet services, whether they are email systems or social networking sites, try to varying degrees to maintain a hands-off approach to content, regarding themselves as the canvas rather than the painting, which is provided by the user. Facebook certainly has an acceptable use policy, though a little careful manoeuvring from the BNP would enable them to circumvent this without difficulty.

The question remains: should Facebook and other networking sites be responsible in any way for the activities and ideas promoted and facilitated by their services? If a hate crime is committed and is found to have been incited on Facebook, will the company be open to prosecution?

There is, however, some hope. The number of groups and individuals opposing the BNP and its ideology of hate massively outweighs those in favour. One comment amid the bile on a BNP Facebook page raises a smile instantly. In a reference to the founder and owner of the site, a young woman says: "Let me add this up. You guys hate Jews yet you're on a Jew's networking site? Irony!".

Would it be prejudiced of me to assert that no BNP supporter could ever have the mental capacity to come up with a concept or a system that will ever have the potential for political change enjoyed by Facebook? With a head full of poison and hate, what room is there for anything else?

Comment is free

BNP - the stupid and the sinister

0 Comment (s)
Betraying in every respect the low calibre of this year's crop of BNP local election candidates, it was with a good deal of merriment that we read of Windsor candidate Matt Tait's assertion to his local newspaper that: "We should not allow mass immigration, especially in the Thames area, because the more immigrants there are, the less drinking water there will be." .

Immigrant-induced droughts aside, the fact that the likes of Matt Tait (who was too coy to be photographed by his local paper) are being touted as credible election candidates by the BNP shows just how deeply the racist party is scraping the barrel.

Did I say "racist"? Not according to Hastings BNP's Nick Prince: "We are not a far-right party and we are not racist."

Mr Prince is either delightfully deluded, or telling porkies. He might like to have a word with former colleague Sharon Ebanks to find out what the BNP thinks of people who aren't quite "white" enough, especially when it finds them in its own ranks. It's not a pretty story.

The BNP can always be relied upon to produce far more than its fair share of jokers - which is just as well, because it can also be relied upon to produce far more than its fair share of characters who definitely aren't jokers.

One such is Simon Charles Smith, sitting BNP councillor for Great Bridge ward of Sandwell council.

Councillor Smith is more like your true BNP man - one thing in public, and quite another in private.

In his election campaign Smith perhaps neglected to tell his prospective voters of his obsession with Holocaust Denial, or, for their delectation, to compare Adolf Hitler with Jesus Christ, and was still less likely to admit, "I want White Denmark to beat the mongrel 'England' [football] team…" We won't mention his apparent belief in UFOs or suggestions of starting a new religion.

Smith posted all this and more on the Nazi Stormfront website, hiding behind the nom-de-plume "Steve Freedom". Not being quite as bright as he believes himself to be, "Steve Freedom" left so many clues as to his true identity on Stormfront that it was only a matter of time before he was outed as Cllr. Simon Smith, and the people at Ministry of Truth were happy to perform that service.

Cllr. Simon Smith could never tell his constituents - that's Joe and Josephine Public to him-: "The reason why Blacks disproportionately don’t vote is that the frontal part of the brain associated with postponing immediate gratification is not so well developed as in other races."

But "Steve Freedom" could and did say that. Which isn't so very far on the stupidity scale from saying that hordes of immigrants are about to drink the Thames Valley dry or a failure to notice that there aren't many black people in the BNP.

Thus far Cllr. Smith comes over as something of a chump, but behind the standard-issue idiocy lies something more sinister.

On Stormfront Smith posts:

I’d certainly agree with the notion that "holocaust denial"... should be avoided amongst Joseph and Josephine Public.. but then again anything that challenges the average attention span should be as well… One idea forming in my mind lately is think and study deeply but communicate superficially, touching on what sales people call the "hot spots"…

Which suggests, as Ministry of Truth notes, no very great admiration on the part of Smith for the people ("sheeple") who voted for him.

He also maintains: "The 'Holocaust' is the biggest lie of all time…." (a stock phrase amongst neo-Nazis) put about by "The Globalist Elite" - Jews, to you and me.

Cllr. Smith is never explicit in telling us what his real ideology is, unless we can read something into his remark: "As you say we are 'Nazis' whatever…." But maybe Cllr. Smith is merely communicating superficially with his like-minded comrades on Stormfront, where admissions of swastika admiration aren't really necessary.

So there we are - from the stupid to the sinister in one easy lesson: a racist BNP candidate presumably hoarding all the bottled water he can lay his hands on, a BNP organiser who apparently doesn't believe his racist party is racist, and a Holocaust-denying racist BNP councillor who seems to have made a study of the brains of black people relative to ethnic voting patterns.

Anybody for a big blue pill?

(The full exposure of Simon Smith is at the Ministry of Truth.)

Anti-racism music festival moves to Finsbury Park

0 Comment (s)
The anti-racism music festival, 'Rise: London United', which going to take place on Clapham Common in South London on Sunday July 15, will now take place in Finsbury Park, North London.

The decision to the change the venue was taken in order to ensure the scale and range of activities at Europe's largest anti-racist festival could be maintained.

London Mayor Ken Livingstone said: "Although we wanted Clapham Common to host this year's Rise: London United, it would have been necessary to reduce the number of stages and the event would have been smaller.

"I hope we can stage the festival on Clapham Common in the future. In the meantime, in a period when even greater numbers need to show they are opposed to racism, I would like to invite people living in south London, as well as across London to come Finsbury Park on 15 July, to reinforce the message that all Londoners stand together and will not accept racism in the most diverse city in the world."

Cllr Lib Peck, Cabinet member for environment and culture on Lambeth Council, said: "We fully endorse the Rise festival and while it is a shame that it’s not possible to hold it in Lambeth this year, the council supports the decision to move it to Finsbury Park.

"It became clear that the festival was too large to be held safely on Clapham Common without scaling it down, so the decision to move it was sensible and the right one.

"I hope as many people as possible from Lambeth will still attend the festival to show, as Londoners, their support for harmony and diversity and abhorrence of racism in all its forms."

Rise: London United is a free event backed by the Mayor of London, Trades Union Congress, National Assembly Against Racism and diverse community organisations.

This year's festival will feature a wide range of music, performance and other activities. Past performers include De La Soul, Graham Coxon, Common, Buzzcocks, Roy Ayers, Sway and the Wailers, with stages featuring African, Asian and Cuban music, Dub and hip hop DJs, comedy acts and the annual Poetry Slam organised in conjunction with the Poetry Society.


BNP Mosque leaflet dismissed as "rubbish"

0 Comment (s)
A plea for racial tolerance has been made after a British National Party (BNP) leaflet claimed people in a West town had been denied the chance to comment before a 'mosque' was given planning approval.

Plans for an Islamic centre above and behind a kebab shop in Yeovil was given planning permission in 2003 after an application was made for a change of use from office to religious meeting rooms.

The BNP leaflet claimed the public should have been told the use was specifically for an Islamic centre or mosque, and that failure to do so showed a "culture of institutionalised silence and deceit" by officials and councillors. The leaflet, promoted by Robert Baehr, a BNP candidate in South Somerset district council elections, has already been delivered to hundreds of homes in Yeovil.

Candidates from other parties yesterday dismissed the BNP's claim as "rubbish".

John Grana, one of 12 candidates standing under the banner of the Central Committee, Local Residents Working Together, said: "This sort of leaflet is laughable and divisive.

"We stand for religious tolerance and freedom of thought. Yeovil welcomes people from everywhere. If I trace my own ancestry, I find Italian, Irish, Scottish and English blood. There is a richness in the mix we have."

Simon Gale, the council's head of development and building control, said: "In planning terms there is no requirement to state the distinctive religious use."

A BNP candidate has sparked a row by seeking jobs in two constituencies - 450 miles apart.

Michaela Mackenzie, 55, is chasing election as a Scottish MP for the seat of Mid-Scotland and Fife, which covers an area north of Edinburgh. But she is also standing for election to South Gloucestershire Council in the South West.

Western Daily Press

Usdaw launches new national anti BNP leaflet in Blackpool

0 Comment (s)
Retail union Usdaw who are holding their annual conference in Blackpool have launched a new national anti-BNP leaflet to be distributed in council elections across the UK where the far-right party are standing candidates.

The leaflet highlights the complete failure of BNP councillors to represent local electors after they win seats and that despite the respectable façade the BNP is still a fascist party dedicated to racist ideas.

The leaflet will be offered to Labour candidates who are taking on the bogus idea that the BNP is the party of law and order.

“The BNP like to present themselves as the party of law and order despite the fact that many of their leaders and members have criminal convictions for serious offences including assault, inciting racial hatred and even bomb-making,” says Usdaw General Secretary John Hannett. “Usdaw has been coming to Blackpool since the war and our members from a range of different backgrounds have always been given a warm welcome here as the resort is an open-minded place which is the exact opposite of what fascists like the BNP stand for.

“Our leaflet reminds voters that in the few places where the BNP have been elected, they have been shown to be totally incapable of effectively representing voters. They’re incapable of taking any intelligent part in the democratic process and voters quickly see through their thinly disguised messages of hate, turning back to strong Labour candidates who can effectively represent every voter regardless of their background.

“This new leaflet reminds Labour voters that the BNP are hopelessly out of their depth when they are elected and that the only place to really hurt them is in the ballot box by voting Labour.
“Labour councils are the best way to ensure decent local services but a vote for the BNP isn’t the answer to often legitimate local concerns as time after time they fail to offer to contribute to any coherent ideas once they actually have to make tough decisions.”

Download the USDAW leaflet here.


April 24, 2007

When is an elected councillor not an elected councillor? When he's not elected.

8 Comment (s)
The National Front and its supporters are currently making much of the fact that they have just acquired their very first councillor. To much praise, no doubt for all his hard work during the bitterly-fought campaign, Simon Deacon is currently being overwhelmed with congratulations from all sections of the far-right. Over on the increasingly stupid Stormfront nazi forum, cries of 'Well done' and 'Congratulations' are being shouted from the cyber equivalent of the rooftops. A tickertape parade would seem to be in order.

Just a couple of snags. Deacon was not elected to his St Alban's seat, there was no bitterly-fought campaign and there was certainly no hard work. Quite simply, Deacon walked into his parish councillor role by default because no-one stood against him.

Without a single vote being cast - which is the only way the National Front would get anywhere politically - Simon Deacon has walked into a position (from May 4th) as parish councillor for St Alban's Markyate ward.

The NF has obviously learned its electoral lessons from the British National Party. Only a couple of weeks ago the BNP was crowing over the fact that it had managed to get another six (parish) councillors, including Carol Collett, mother of the despicable Hitler-worshipper Mark Collett, 'without a single ballot paper being marked'. Democracy, huh?

As we pointed out in our article about the BNP's very quiet parish council infestation, there are a number of rules to which parish councillors are expected to adhere. One is to 'promote equality by not discriminating unlawfully against any person' while another is to 'treat others with respect'. We confidently expect the National Front's Simon Beacon to fail miserably on both fronts.

Curiously, considering the sneaky way Deacon managed to get a seat on his parish council, the National Front has a lot to say about democracy on one of its introductory pages. It even makes a veiled sideswipe at the BNP's highly undemocratic structure;

'...The policies of the party are determined by the members at Annual Conferences and unlike some other parties, such decisions are binding upon the party.'

Unfortunately it goes on;

'The National Front is a party of genuine democracy...The NF seeks to promote in Britain a genuinely democratic political system...'

One wonders then, why the NF has allowed Deacon to bypass the democratic process completely despite never having been voted in. Could it be that all this waffle about democracy is worth about as much as that espoused by the BNP - a party that has blatantly and on numerous occasions attempted to subvert the democratic process?

BNP Welsh broadcast pulled by BBC...

1 Comment (s)
...but has the BBC been manipulated?

The BBC has pulled the plug on a BNP broadcast due to air tonight on BBC Radio Wales, on the grounds that the broadcast defamed the Chief Constable of North Wales Police, Richard Brunstrom.

The BNP were told that the broadcast could not go to air unless references to Brunstrom were removed.

It is highly irregular for political parties to use election broadcasts to attack non-political individuals, particularly public servants.

In a whining justification published on their website the BNP says:

The broadcast does indeed focus on the record of the Chief Constable, one of the most politically correct cops in the country and is justifiably scathing about his forces’ handling of the Wrexham riots in the summer of 2003 but as a senior public figure funded by taxpayers he is in a position where he expects to be robustly criticised in the same way government ministers and senior politicians of all parties expect criticism.

Which would be all very well if Brunstrom were to have equal air time set aide to him to answer the BNP's smears - but the BNP knows full well that won't happen.

In fact the BNP must have known from the beginning that to use election air-time to attack Brunstrom would be unacceptable.

There is more than a suspicion that the BNP has deliberately engineered this outcome, happy to sacrifice a broadcast very few will hear in favour of gaining much-needed headlines from having it banned.

Ever ready to play the victim, expect the BNP to claim that its "free speech" has been infringed, and to work up a nice little conspiracy theory to explain the ban.

But don't expect them to thank the BBC for saving them the horrendous costs of a libel suit from Brunstrom.

That's not the game they're playing.

Far-right targets the suburbs

0 Comment (s)
Revealed: How the far-right targets suburbs by stealth

A community action group campaigning to save local shops and running a May Fayre sound harmless. But its leader was a prominent member of the National Front...

Forty miles apart, two different election candidates are presenting two different faces of the Right. Ian Anderson, a community activist standing for election in Epping, is talking about the need to save the town's small shops, the iniquity of fortnightly refuse collections, and the inadequacy of the local council. But he has a past that not all his voters might know about.

An hour and a half round the M25, on this St George's Day afternoon, several members of the BNP, 'Britain's foremost patriotic party', are more than half-way through their most patriotic endeavour yet: to become local councillors to the Queen.

For the first time in history, and much to the consternation of the locals, the BNP is standing candidates in the expensive environs of Windsor. From one of the wards they are contesting, you can see the Royal Standard fluttering over Windsor Castle as Her Majesty winds up her Easter break.

'I would like to feel the Queen approves of what we're doing,' says Matt Tait, 22, the BNP's own standard-bearer in Windsor's Clewer North ward, generously overlooking the fact that Her Majesty is herself of German ancestry. 'One of the main issues is to keep Windsor as an English town. We do not want to become like Slough.'

The Queen can, in theory, vote in this election, although she does not seem to be on the register (her husband is listed, under the name 'HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh'). It does, however, seem rather unlikely that she, or many other Windsor residents, will be turning out for the BNP.

The racist party's presence in this middle-class town is the result of a kind of accident: the three days of disturbances last year that followed firebomb attacks on a Muslim-owned dairy that was seeking planning permission to add an Islamic education centre on its site.

It is also supposed to symbolise what is being called the BNP's 'push into the suburbs', with far-Right candidates fanning out from their traditional council-estate territory into such unlikely places as Shrewsbury, Harrogate, and Henley-on-Thames.

In the South-East alone, the BNP is standing in 20 councils, including Horsham, parliamentary seat of the Tory chairman, Francis Maude, where the party won 13 per cent in a council by-election only five months ago.

But what Windsor actually turns out to symbolise is the BNP's enduring Achilles heel. For while it has sharpened up its suits and slickened up its rhetoric, the party is still finding it difficult to field credible candidates.

Unprecedentedly for a man seeking election, Mr Tait refuses to have his picture taken for fear of being identified. He said: 'I would rather keep my job, at least until the election. I'm not too sure my boss would want one of his staff as a BNP candidate.'

He also told a local paper that immigration will cause London to run out of drinking water, saying: 'We should not allow mass immigration, especially in the Thames area, because the more immigrants there are, the less drinking water there will be.'

The vast majority of the more than 700 BNP members standing in next month's local elections are, like Mr Tait, paper candidates, standing simply in order so that the party can claim itself to be a national force.

And even in areas where they are elected, BNP candidates' performance is often lamentable. Many have criminal records, giving new meaning to the term conviction politics; the chances of their appealing to middle England remain quite limited.

At least as worrying, perhaps, is the growth of another political species: former members of the far-Right who are re-entering politics new, respectable and community-friendly guises.

In the Essex town of Epping, there is a new party called the Epping Community Action Group (ECAG) standing candidates for the local town and district council. It seems quite unexceptional: it organises a popular annual 'May Fayre' on a recreation ground in the town, it campaigns to save local shops and wants to open a community centre.

ECAG's officers include a former mayor of Epping, Audrey Wheeler, and it has formed some links with local Liberal Democrats. It is well supported in the town, with 270 members, and says it is confident of winning at least one seat in next week's elections.

But the thing about ECAG is that its guiding light, Ian Anderson, was for more than 25 years a senior activist in the National Front. In the 1980s, he was a frequent attender of 'white power' demonstrations and stood trial after leaflets inciting racial hatred were found in his flat (he successfully argued that the flat was used by others and said he had no knowledge of the leaflets' content. He was acquitted).

His car was firebombed in a dispute between NF members over money. From 1990 to 1995 he was the NF's chairman, before leaving to form a new far-right party, the National Democrats, for whom he contested a parliamentary by-election in 1997.

The National Democrats' manifesto at that election advocated repatriation for blacks. 'We believe it will never be possible for the large non-white population currently resident in Britain to retain their culture and identity and to live harmoniously with the white population,' the document says. 'Their presence, through no fault of their own, is detrimental to the unity and cohesion of the nation and threatens our traditions and way of life.'

Members of the existing mainstream parties in Epping Forest, where there are also six BNP councillors, are deeply concerned about ECAG's rise, though none would go on the record about it.

Mr Anderson, for his part, told the Standard that he has not been involved in far-Right politics for at least 10 years. 'I think my opponents are using my past as an excuse,' he says. 'They can't attack us over anything else, so they're dragging that up.'

He insisted that he would not ally with the BNP if he was elected next week. 'I wouldn't touch them with a bargepole,' he says. In the claustrophobic world of the far-Right, the National Front and the BNP were mortal enemies.

But when asked if he had changed his views, he replied: 'Only to the extent that times change and practical politics have changed. There were sillinesses that went on with the NF – stupid marches in silly areas. It was a very negative organisation. We are trying to do something positive here.'

The Standard has established that, according to its latest official return to the Electoral Commission, Mr Anderson remains chairman of the National Democrats, an avowedly racist party, although an inactive one.

He also publishes a journal entitled The Flag, a name also once used by the journal of the National Front. Back issues include articles on topics such as 'Ethnic diversity – Britain's timebomb?'

And the current issue proclaims: 'The world is overpopulated – but not by us. Every day there are an extra 221,000 on our planet, almost all from underdeveloped countries.'

One of Mr Anderson's colleagues in the Epping Community Action Group is Tony Bennett, who was expelled from the UK Independence Party in 2004 after publishing a pamphlet describing Mohammed as a paedophile.

Yet Mr Anderson insists that his political ambitions no longer extend any further than the town boundaries. And he may well have good grounds for confidence in the forthcoming election.

Among the people of Epping, his racist history is of little interest. 'I do know about them and I think they are doing good work,' said Tony Baker, a local resident. 'As far as I'm concerned all that NF stuff is in the past.'

But what the people of Epping should know is that ECAG is just one of a number of respectable-looking community organisations set up by former members of the National Front.

In the borough of Hounslow, the Isleworth Community Group now has six councillors, and actually runs the council in coalition with the Tories. The Isleworth Community Group is controlled by Phil Andrews, a former NF activist with a criminal conviction for a race-hate attack on a black policeman.

In Havering, a party called the Third Way has sprung up with a community-based agenda to save local shopping centres and fight 'overdevelopment'. Third Way's leader, Graham Williamson, is a former senior activist in the NF.

'Epping is a small market town,' says a leading member of one of the other political parties. 'People don't really want to believe that anything as nasty as the NF and the BNP is taking hold in their community. They want to think well of people. But the trouble is, you vote for the ECAG and you really don't know what you're getting.'

Islamophobia Watch