It's been about three months since Richard Barnbrook, of BNP infamy, managed to set up a MyTelegraph blog account. The blog has proved to be a valuable resource in exposing how dishonest the BNP are, and after a period of relatively sanitised posts that followed 'Blame the Immigrants', it has begun to give readers a clearer view of the party's racism. One thing in particular exposes this better than any other, the Mothers Against Knives campaign.
London's Mothers Against Knives
In terms of openness and honesty, the campaign got off to a bad start. Despite being called 'Mothers Against Knives', it was set up by Richard Barnbrook himself, who as far as I know isn't actually anyone's mother. The aim of this was pretty clear - to link something from the BNP to something external by giving the impression of being a grass roots organisation set up by mothers of victims, like Mothers Against Violence, Mothers Against Murder And Aggression or especially, Mothers Against Knives.
That's right. There was already a campaign group called Mothers Against Knives set up by victims' mothers, which had already had national coverage in the press, and more importantly, copyrighted the name. Mothers Against Knives were less than happy to have their name used by the BNP, and wrote to the BNP and the Barking and Dagenham Post to say so, demanding that the BNP stop using the name.
Although it may be possible that the BNP were unaware that there was already a group with their name and didn't actually bother checking, their response removes any doubt about their lack of honesty. The campaign is now 'London's Mothers Against Knives', with the word 'London's' in a different font on the campaign's petition, which will only make it look as though the BNP's group is the London branch of the original group - something the party is no doubt counting on.
The petition as it appears on Barnbrook's blog was changed to show the new name of the group - but this is not the only change to the original post that has happened.
Originally, Barnbrook had uploaded a copy of the actual signature page of the petition to his blog. The wording above the potential signatures was wonderfully vague, saying only that the people signing supported 'tough new measures' to tackle knife crime, without actualy saying what those measures would be. The page disapeared after I pointed this out in the posts's comments.
This vague wording rang alarm bells for me, especially as Barnbrook had been showing off on his blog about asking questions in Mayor's Question Time regarding how many black people were accused of knife crimes. Could it be that the petition would end up being used to call for draconian measures to be taken against black people? I have asked this question several times in the blog's comments. Barnbrook has never bothered to answer.
Or at least, not directly. On 27 August, one day after arguing that including two maquettes in the London Assembly building - one of Nelson Mandela and another commemorating the abolition of slavery - were somehow equivalent to WWI agression, Barnbrook published 'Smile - we've all just been mugged.'. The post argued that funding the Notting Hill Carnival was like being collectively mugged, and more importantly, threw the figures for black people accused of knife crime into the mix to argue that:
'Perhaps my question to Boris Johnson should demand an explanation as to why for instance the Notting Hill Carnival cannot, likewise, be suspended until the African Carribean community learns to control its violent and aggressive young men.'
So, knife crime figures are already being used to argue for something that Barnbrook clearly feels will collectively punish black people. Once Barnbrook has what he thinks are enough signatures to present the petition to the London Assembly (or wherever), it seems pretty obvious that it will be connected to calls for something to be done to black people until the 'African Carribean community learns to control its violent and aggressive young men.'
With any luck, the Assembly will have been paying attention and will know that the people signing the petition will have been misled by:
- Not being told that there is no grass roots organisation set up by anyone's mother.
- Not being told that 'London's Mothers Against Knives' is not the London branch of 'Mothers Against Knives'.
- Not actually being informed of exactly what the petition will be used to call for.