September 21, 2008

BNP looks for cracks in the Potteries

Part of the BNP rabble listening to Nick Griffin talking crap
The British National Party has been rallying support in Stoke-on-Trent in Staffordshire

The far-right party has been emboldened by its recent successes in local elections - it has nine councillors in Stoke. But it has also been angered by the death of local BNP activist Keith Brown, who was killed by his Asian neighbour.

On Saturday the party handed out leaflets and held a rally to voice its belief that society ignores or plays down violence against whites by non-whites. Mr Brown's killer, Habib Khan, was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to eight years - but the party believes that had their roles been reversed, Mr Brown would now be serving life for murder.

The rally was on an industrial estate in the Fenton area, in a car park off a busy main road. About 300 people attended, at most - mainly tattooed males with shaved heads, but also young couples - some with babies - young women and a few quiet-looking pensioners. There were flag wavers, banner holders and placard carriers. Passing drivers were encouraged to honk their horns, and quite a few obliged.

From a "Truth Truck", speakers including BNP leader Nick Griffin addressed the crowd. Speaking over loud applause, Mr Griffin said they day's activities "tell the establishment in Stoke-on-Trent, and across the length and breadth of the country, that they can no longer brush the attacks on British people under the carpet, because the BNP will be there, not to cause trouble, but to cause a fuss".

Stoke-on-Trent is to hold a referendum in October to decide whether or not to retain its elected mayor. If it votes to keep it, then the BNP clearly fancies its chances.

"We have very, very good councillors and I have no doubt that we're the front runners for the elected mayor position, which is why Labour is trying to get rid of it," said Mr Griffin, speaking away from the rally in the Meir area.

He puts his party's rise in popularity in the city partly down to the "lazy and corrupt" Labour administration. But what does the wider community think?

Clearly, Stoke-on-Trent is a place ill at ease with itself. Ravaged by a huge drop in the core industries of mining, pottery and engineering, its proud heritage and identity, which made the Potteries a name familiar across the world for its skill in ceramics, is under threat. Many of its citizens appear worried about making a living and angry at the state of the city in which they live. Unemployment, cuts in health services and substandard housing are just some of the complaints on the street.

Meir resident Alan Hough, 62, angrily asks why the police cars parked nearby, clearly keeping an eye on the BNP leader, "aren't out catching criminals". Mr Hough says he has voted for Labour all his life, but says he will vote for the BNP in future.

"My father will be turning in his grave, he fought the fascists for six years," he says. "But Labour aren't doing their job, and that's why people are voting for the BNP, they're desperate. There's no alternative, people won't vote Tory and they're fed up with Labour."

But Labour MP for Stoke-on-Trent South, Rob Flello, says the claim that Labour has done nothing "flies in the face of reality".

"BNP politics are about setting communities against each other," he said. "We're trying to build communities, and strengthen them. We're trying to attract people to the city and bring jobs here. Having a BNP presence makes it seem as if it's a place torn by conflict, with community against community, and that's simply not the case."

There are no non-white people to be seen in Meir, so a taxi ride over to the Shelton area is necessary to find an Asian point of view. Standing outside the local mosque is Abu Kinza, 30. He thinks there are deep divisions within the city's communities, which are partly down to education.

"Stoke-on-Trent's nature is not as aware as other cities," he said. "Asians and whites don't mix. There is lots of racism and the Asian community does suffer. The BNP has support in this city because of a decline in Christian values. That makes people more materialistic and selfish and they don't care about their community. Also, people here aren't educated. Ask them if they've read a book in the last year, the last five years. A lot of them haven't. People from outside of the city say it's one of the worst areas to live in, that it's backwards and that the BNP are strong here. Its presence damages the city's reputation."

Elsewhere in the city a peace vigil was held in opposition to the BNP. It was organised by the group United Against Fascism, with speakers and a march. National campaigner Donna Guthrie said: "It went brilliantly, and hopefully will show the unity the people of Stoke-on-Trent have with each other, which goes against the grain of what the BNP wants to do."



Anonymous said...

Only 300 hundred turned up.That just shows how few real activists they have.

Ben Trunch said...

Where does the BNP get the figure of 500 from? Counting passers-by? Babies in pushchairs? "Absent friends"?

I checked with the police and 300 is the agreed number...

BNP - the "no spin here" party. Right!

Essay writer said...

"Only 300 turned up"

The Minus side: Having looked at a few sites I was a little shocked and surprised that for a moribound party rife with division as many as that turned out (and in all honesty Id have to say in some photos 300 looks an underestimate. I guess for this rally the rifts would temporarily be healed but I doubt that will be permanent.

The positive side: Like I say I have looked at a lot of photos of this event and am struck that it looks like a gaggle of football supporters rather than a bunch of serious politicians. And as such despite the numbers who went and despite the quantity of leaflets put out, and despite the tmeporary alliance in the BNP it caused, this demo WONT have done their image much good amongst serious voters in Stoke. I mean what other party contending for Mayor would huddle like a hooligan firm.

Does Anti-fascist or Denise think this turn away from electioneering to a return to mass rallies show a sign of frustration within the BNP at its lack of electoral wins and is show a strength aimed more as a tonic for its 'troops' rather than garnering support from potential voters.

In short a sign even the BNP knows at the polls its had its day?

She's a Model said...

Was Lauren Mcavoy, the "model" who wholeheartedly backs the BNP (allegedly) there?


Wing and a Prayer said...

Not a mention on Martin W*nkfield's blog about Stoke and the BNP's big day. Wonder why that may be?

Was Mart & Tina Tin Tin the ex skin bird there? Were they on another holiday overseas or just sulking because of the 'leaders' meddling in the layout and content of the party "newspaper".

Being the family man he is, allegedly, despite taking someone elses wife, you'd have thought he would have shown up to lend his support and with his kids in tow.

Have they ever been to a BNP event, the Wingfield sprogs? If not, why not?

gary glitter fan club said...

Even less after paedo boy molests his latest underage girl.

Anonymous said...

our best asset against the fash is they still protect peado boy can they be a party of law and order and look after him?????????????????????

PINKY said...

Just do a leaflet using the BNPs own photos of its Stoke Rally called "The REAL BNP". This lot want to be politicians, seriously!

mikey said...

Bumnbrook looks for (arse) cracks in the Potteries.

ex-bnp said...

To turn a man's death into a cheap stunt just to scrape together a little publicity is truly despicable. Would a real political party act like this?

Gri££in is a desperate gimmick on legs, pretending and playing politics, little else. If there was any decency and respect left in that Gri££in-cult party they would have simply had a minute silence and then got down to the business of representing the people that they bang-on about representing!
Then again with such generally useless and unaccountable collection of councillors, that is highly unlikely.

Take a good hard look at the insincerity etched on Gri££in's boat-race as he holds up that crass and moronic leaflet. Is that the face of a man that anyone could trust? He can’t even cover his lies up anymore!

iliacus said...

Stoke is a slightly weird and rather troubled city.

It has lost (or largely lost) three major industries - ceramics, coal and steel - without finding a new role.

Its people are - generally - immensely insular, even among themselves !! [The "city of Stoke on Trent" is a relatively new idea, 1920s, bringing together six towns which still don't trust - or like - each other!]

Although the BNP has got councillors elected they are all from the southern part of the city - they have yet to make any breakthrough in the northern part of the city.

They have been helped by the crazy world of Stoke politics - 7 groups on the Council; two different Independent Groups; even the Lib Dems have flaked one councillor off to "Libertarian" !!

a very public sociologist said...

My take on the anti-fascist events in Stoke on Satday here

Biggles said...

"Does Anti-fascist or Denise think this turn away from electioneering to a return to mass rallies show a sign of frustration within the BNP at its lack of electoral wins.
In short a sign even the BNP knows at the polls its had its day?"

Could be right, Darbey's blog includes a quote about Stoke heralding "the return, with a vengence (?) of the BNP to street activity" ending with the phrase "get your maps out"

Too late, the BNP has taken a wrong turn, is off on diversions and has seriously lost its way.

Unless it should have read "get your baps out" as Darbey loves his food. Or maybe baps has another meaning entirely for the BNP swinging set.

All in all no matter how many went to it, the BNPs Stoke rally is good news for anti fascists if it means more BNP time spent pounding pavements pushing out badly designed, hysterical over the top leaflets and less election work.

It will also cause burn out of their top activists, something shifty Grifty complained about when challenging JT for leadership so why he's keen to return to it who knows

Guttersnipe said...

"BNP return to the streets".

Looks like they've finally arrived, in the gutter of British politics.

Anonymous said...

What a flop. After weeks of winding up the membership only 300 turn up.