Back in April, the BNP was criticised by Margaret Orman, the licensee of the Whitmore Arms in the Essex village of Orsett, for including a picture of her pub on one of their tatty leaflets used, in that particular instance, in the doomed campaign to elect Derek Beackon, the BNP's first-ever councillor originally elected to Tower Hamlets council way back in 1993.
Mrs Orman was uncompromising in her criticism of the far-right party. She said at the time: 'It's making us look like we're supporting what they are doing and we certainly don't...that man (Beackon) hasn't even had the courtesy to walk through the door and introduce himself.'
Just a week ago, Mrs Orman was back in the news, reacting angrily after leaflets were delivered to neighbouring properties stating that the party was planning to hold a meeting on her premises this coming Saturday. Again, her response was very much to the point.
'I’m really upset about this. I heard they were distributing leaflets and immediately went out to confront some representatives of the BNP who were putting out a different leaflet. They said the meeting leaflet had nothing to do with them but I don’t believe them. It’s disgraceful that they can slur my name by association with their views.'
The leaflet that was delivered on this occasion looked to target local Conservatives and was being held, it said, for 'Orsett residents who oppose the local Conservative councillor’s plans to diversify the village with ethnic minorities'.
Shortly after seeing this, Mrs Orman received an email from a group claiming to be local anti-fascists. It stated 'unless you call off this event we will arrive at your pub in huge numbers and disrupt the meeting'.
We have been unable to find any evidence that local anti-fascists have contacted the pub at all and even if we had, we're damn sure they wouldn't have written in such terms. And, it seems, they didn't. Earlier today, we received a comment to the most recent article on the blog regarding the Whitmore Arms. It said:
'I know for a fact that the party booked in under a fake name just to cause aggro to the landlady because she pissed them off a few months back when she complained about them. Either they actually booked or just said they booked I dont know. There were no antifast calls to the pub threataning violence either. Same thing, to piss her off.'
If the BNP has indeed booked the pub, it certainly won't be under its own name - most likely it will be as English Heritage, British Heritage, the Trafalgar Club or some name related to the BNP's idea of all that stands for England, containing one or more of the following words, Excalibur, Nelson, Victory, Christian or St George. Lacking the courage to stand up for its own convictions (possibly because its members have so many), it rarely books meetings in the name of the party.
That the party has apparently targeted the Whitmore Arms, angry at Mrs Ormans outburst at its picture being used in the BNP's 'literature', is outrageous. Whether this action has been instigated locally or nationally and whether or not it has been sanctioned by the local branch of the BNP is a matter that should be ascertained without delay and the offending officers/members should be thrown out of the party immediately. If possible, criminal charges should be brought against those responsible - Mrs Orman has deliberately and maliciously been subjected to 'harassment, distress or alarm' as defined under Section 5 of the Public Order Act.
We've seen the BNP's dirty tricks in the past - as active anti-fascists we've come to expect them - but using them on an unwitting member of the public whose only crime is to have been annoyed by the party being its usual underhand self, is despicable.