March 31, 2008

Max Mosley faces calls to quit as Formula One chief after ‘Nazi’ orgy

8 Comment (s)
Max Mosley, one of the most powerful men in world sport, was under pressure to resign as boss of Formula One’s governing body last night after he was exposed enjoying a Nazi-style orgy with five prostitutes.

Jewish groups condemned the behaviour of Mosley, 67, whose father, Sir Oswald, was the leader of the British Union of Fascists and a friend of Adolf Hitler.

Mr Mosley was caught on video by the News of the World with five women in an underground “torture chamber” in Chelsea, where he spent several hours allegedly indulging in sado-masochistic sex. The Oxford-educated former barrister, who is president of the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), reenacted a concentration camp scene in which he played the role of both guard and inmate.

Speaking in German and brandishing a leather whip, he beat the women after allowing himself to be subjected to a humiliating inspection for lice and an interrogation in chains.

Mr Mosley, a close confidant of Bernie Ecclestone, who holds the commercial rights to Formula One, paid £2,500 cash for the sex services, the Sunday newspaper claimed.

His antics stunned Jewish leaders and motorsport insiders. “This is sick and depraved,” Karen Pollock, chief executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, said. “For anyone to be in such a position of influence and power beggars belief. I am absolutely appalled.”

Stephen Smith, director of the Holocaust Centre, said: “As Mr Mosley has condemned the racism in motor sport he should live up to the standards he sets. This is an insult to millions of victims, survivors and their families. He should apologise. He should resign from the sport.”

Sir Stirling Moss, the former world champion racing driver whose father was Jewish, said: “I don’t see how he can continue. I hope he can, frankly, because I think he’s very good at what he does. I suppose what goes on behind closed doors is his business but when a thing comes out like this . . . it’s an absolute shocker.”

Mr Mosley, whose two years in Germany as a young teenager gave him fluency in the language, has helped to turn Formula One into a multi-billion-pound business since he became FIA president in 1993. The FIA is a nonprofit association that represents the interests of motoring organisations and car users worldwide.

Mr Ecclestone said that he was shocked by the allegations but did not expect Mr Mosley’s position to be affected. “I’ve known him an awful long time. If somebody had told me this without the evidence I would have found it difficult to believe,” he said. “Assuming it’s all true, what people do privately is up to them. I don’t honestly believe [it] affects the sport in any way. Knowing Max it might be all a bit of a joke. You know, it’s one of those things where he’s sort of taking the p***, rather than anything against Jewish people.”

Mr Mosley, who lives in Monaco, is understood to be pursuing legal action against the News of The World for breach of privacy. His spokesman said: “This is a matter between Mr Mosley and the newspaper in question and the FIA has no comment.”

Martin Brundle, the driver-turned-pundit who was recently the subject of a libel action brought by Mr Mosley, said: “It’s not appropriate behaviour for the head of any global body such as the FIA.”

Mr Mosley, who once harboured ambitions to be a parliamentary candidate for the Conservative Party, is known for being eccentric and outspoken. Nicknamed “Mad Max” by some in motorsport, he once said he didn’t mind flak because he came from a family used to getting it all the time. Hitler was present at the wedding of his father, Oswald, and mother, Diana, which took place in Joseph Goebbels’s drawing room. They were interned in Holloway and Brixton prisons for their Fascist connections.

Most recently, Mr Mosley stood up against racism in Formula One by giving warning of immediate sanctions if there was a repeat of the abuse against Lewis Hamilton, the only black driver on the circuit, in Barcelona during testing this season.

The wit and wisdom of Max Mosley

He goes around dressed up as a Thirties music hall man. He’s a certified halfwit”
On Sir Jackie Stewart (a dyslexic)

There was always a certain amount of trouble until I came into motor racing. ‘Mosley, he must be some relation of Alf Mosley, the coachbuilder'. And I thought to myself, ‘I’ve found a world where they don’t know about Oswald Mosley’. And it has always been a bit like that in motor racing: nobody gives a darn”
On being the son of Sir Oswald Mosley

There is always somebody new. If it wasn’t him it would be one of the other new stars . . . There is a tendency to exaggerate the importance of Hamilton”
On British motor racing star Lewis Hamilton

Times Online

A tale of two campaigns

3 Comment (s)
Although the London Mayoral and Assembly elections are attracting the most political attention, contests are taking place across the country that will give a further indication of the potential strength of the British National Party for next year’s European elections.

The BNP’s own focus on London could adversely affect the party’s efforts in these council elections. Conversely, there is a danger that anti-fascists could devote so much of their resources and energy to London that the BNP is left to make substantial gains elsewhere.

There are 70 council wards which the BNP could win on a 10% swing or less. In addition, there are 10-15 wards where either the BNP did not field a candidate last year or no elections were held, where the BNP must fancy its chances.

But if pre-election activity (or inactivity as is more often the case) is anything to go by, many BNP branches are squandering yet another opportunity to make an electoral breakthrough in the party’s key areas.

Over the past few months Searchlight has reported on the BNP’s internal wranglings. Although the rebellion has petered out in most places its impact seems to have reduced the BNP’s readiness to contest its key target wards. This is certainly the situation in West Yorkshire, one of the BNP’s strongest areas nationally. Most branches sided with the rebels and while some, such as in Leeds, have returned to the fold, other groups, such as York, Hull and elements of Bradford, appear to be outside the BNP altogether and may well stand as independents against the party.

Most of the key personnel in Kirklees still sympathise with the expelled rebel leaders but have decided to stay within the party, at least until the May elections.

Although the rebellion has lost momentum across Yorkshire, the political infighting has left most local branches inactive in recent months and few have done anything like the amount of preparation that would be expected of an election winning operation.

The West Midlands has also enjoyed mixed fortunes. The BNP threat in Stoke-on-Trent remains very strong, and is growing in some areas, with the BNP putting out a localised version of the Londoner, but other areas are on the slide. This is certainly the case in Sandwell, once the party’s strongest area outside Barking and Dagenham. The resignation of Simon Smith, the local organiser, coupled with the humiliating exposé of councillor James Lloyd has led to morale collapsing and activity ceasing.

It is in the North West where the after effects of the rebellion have had greatest impact. Former BNP activists in Oldham, Tameside and Stockport appear to be about to stand as independents. Oldham is particularly interesting. The BNP appears to be struggling to find any local candidates after its former organiser, Martin Brierley, defected to the England First Party and his predecessor, Anita Corbett, decided to contest her Royton seat as an independent.

Other branches have also been severely affected by the party’s internal divisions. Blackburn and Manchester branches have all but collapsed and Wigan, though fielding candidates under the BNP banner, remains loyal to the rebellion.

Even in Burnley the BNP is not going into these elections in a positive manner. After recently losing a High Court case over a disputed election result last year, the BNP enters the campaign in a weaker position than for some years.

In Thurrock, Essex, where the BNP stood in every ward last year and averaged 24%, there has been little if any serious work done in recent months.

One of the few key areas, apart from Stoke-on-Trent, where the BNP has been active is Epping Forest. Here the BNP is vigorously defending three seats and hoping to get several people elected to Loughton Town Council.

Newly emerging risk authorities are Barnsley, Nuneaton & Bedworth and Wrexham, all of which have seen considerable BNP activity in recent months.
No complacency

The BNP appears not to have learnt the lessons of its electoral failure last year, when it did too little campaigning too late. While this is good news for anti-fascists it would be wrong to be complacent. Few of the conditions that have helped the BNP gain support have disappeared. Most of the BNP’s key target wards are held by Labour, which is losing support, if the opinion polls are to be believed.

The work by anti-fascists and the best placed political parties in the key wards has been mixed. Last year’s results followed a poorly targeted BNP campaign combined with increased effort by the main parties. This has continued in some areas but not in others.

The readiness of the main parties in key areas such as Dudley, Barnsley and Epping to take on the BNP is questionable. In some other areas complacency over last year’s results could endanger the gains made.

Over the next few weeks there will be a frenzy of activity across the country. Although the BNP will be directing activists to London, with two key weekends of action planned in the capital, it will also carry out considerably more work in its key target wards. Searchlight will be working with anti-fascists in all the key areas to hold activities, conduct telephone canvassing and election day turnout campaigns. It is vital that as many people as possible get involved.

The BNP’s fixation with London gives us an opportunity to reinforce the gains we made across the country last year. Conversely, if we focus too much on London then we risk squandering last year’s results and giving the BNP a perfect platform to launch its European election campaign.

Searchlight has produced a new range of anti-BNP material for use in the 2008 election campaign. See the magazine for details.

Stop the BNP

Searchlight and Militant Entertainment Proudly Present...

0 Comment (s)
Searchlight and Militant Entertainment Proudly Present:

"A Night of HOPE"

Sunday 6th April 2008
The Grave Maurice, Whitechapel Road E1
(10 metres from Whitechapel Underground)
19.00hrs - 01.00hrs

Featuring Live Sets From:

The KRAK (former members of the Babyshambles)
The Mentalists (accoustic set)
The Screaming Blue Jays
Skinny White Boys (DJ'ing reggae/ska/whatever)

Showing Films:

Who Shot The Sheriff (Directed by Alan Miles)
Hope Not Hate 2007 Tour (Gregg McDonald & Searchlight)

£7 on the door or £5.50 in advance
(It is strongly recommended tickets are bought in advance to avoid disappointment)



Proudly Supported By
Trade Union Friends of Searchlight, Labour Friends of Searchlight, GMB Young members, Philosophy Football

The BNP have moved Big Ben

3 Comment (s)
One of my colleagues on Gateshead Council got his hands on a copy today of a glossy mailing posted out by the BNP to people who, it can only be summised, were regarded by the BNP as supporters. Complete with begging letter was a magazine, issue 1 of "Hope and Glory".

When I looked at it, something did not appear to be quite right on the front page which was filled by a hugh picture of the Houses of Parliament. And then it struck me, Big Ben had been moved and airbrushed into a different place. For some reason it is now where the St Stephen's entrance is.

Quite why the BNP should wish to redesign one of our great British buildings in this way is not clear.

Thumbing through the pages reveals no surprises. The usual BNP rants about foreigners, asylum seekers and immigrants. And an awful lot about Nick Griffin, the BNP chairman. The sheer weight of promotion of the chairman would almost suggest that he had been having difficulties within his party recently!

The back page is devoted to BNP must-have mercandise from "Excalibur". Indeed, Chairman Nick in one of his articles writes, "A big restocking is now under way at Excalibur, which aims to provide a much bigger selection of attractive gifts showcasing our wonderful Celtic, Anglo-Saxon and Norse heritage..."

Mmmmm, now let me just consider this a moment...... I seem to recall from my study of history that the Anglo-Saxons and Norsemen (better known as the Vikings) were all immigrants who forcibly made their way into Britannia. Interesting to know that BNP are exhibiting a significant degree of inconsistency on immigration!

Or perhaps this is all a bluff to make the great British public think the BNP actually like immigration and that the nation can benefit from the movement of people to our shores who can bring skills and new cultures. Or perhaps the BNP has a secret policy to remove all immigrants and their descendents. Quite where all the Anglo-Saxons and Norsemen (and women) will go is not clear!

Jonathan Wallace's blog

March 30, 2008

The watchdog that did not bark

9 Comment (s)
Sonia Gable reveals more about the BNP’s dodgy financial dealings and the Electoral Commission’s failure to respond

“No party financial records were shredded. They are held in electronic format, and cannot be shredded,” proclaimed the British National Party after Jon Cruddas MP exposed the party’s dodgy financial dealings in the House of Commons on 18 December.

By 13 February, following the broadcast of the BBC’s File on 4 investigation into the BNP’s finances, the BNP had changed its tune. Said John Walker, the BNP treasurer: “The bag of shredded items produced in the studio to me which the listeners were expected to believe the BBC’s claims, appeared to be in the main, working copies of the print outs of the book keeping software and draft accounts. To suggest I shredded cheques and invoices is ridiculous, why would I destroy invoices, as I would not have paperwork to cover the expenditure as required by the auditor.”

The BNP works on the principle that if one lie is exposed, try another, and hope no one notices the contradiction. Apart from the fact that Walker now admits that the BNP does have non-electronic records, Searchlight’s perusal of the shreds has revealed numerous pieces of original receipts and cheques, clearly identifiable by their various colours, typestyles and handwritten details.

They include numerous references to various family members of Nick Griffin, the BNP leader, which may bolster the allegations from across the political spectrum that Griffin treats the party as his “cash cow”.

Another name that appears on several of the bits of paper is Vanguard Promotions. This is the private printing business in Leeds owned by Mark Collett, the party’s unpopular and incompetent graphic designer and star of the Channel 4 television documentary Young, Nazi and Proud. His imprint appears on many BNP leaflets and many people have questioned the relationship.

Walker was also rather coy about the BNP’s failure to include a donation of £5,315 from Steve Johnson on its return to the Electoral Commission for July to September 2007. “Only one donation for the 3rd quarter of 2007 … was missed,” glossing over the fact that this was 50% of the total number of donations. “It was not reported to my regional treasurer at the time,” he continued, protecting another seriously incompetent BNP officer David Hannam, “and as soon as the Electoral Commission brought this matter to my attention it was duly reported to the satisfaction of the commission”.

Walker does not explain how the Electoral Commission knew about the donation to bring it to his attention before he reported it. Perhaps he does not want to admit that he found out about the omission from Searchlight’s Stop the BNP website.

Reporting a donation late is not the unique preserve of the BNP. The Electoral Commission publishes a list of donations reported in the fourth quarter of 2007 that should have been reported previously. Donations to all three main parties and others are on it, but not Johnson’s, which has simply been added to the BNP’s quarterly list as if it had been reported on time. It is unclear why the BNP receives such apparently preferential treatment from the Electoral Commission.

The BNP reported three donations received in the final three months of 2007, from Sheila Butler, Charles Wentworth and Adam Champneys. Each gave precisely £5,000. Champneys, who has made large donations to the party before, appeared on the BNP’s list of candidates for the South East in the 2004 European election. Butler is new to the donors’ list. It is not known whether she is the same Sheila Butler who made donations to the UK Independence Party in the South West in 2003 and 2004.

The shredded financial records had originated from John Brayshaw, Walker’s predecessor as BNP treasurer. Before resigning he refused to sign off the party accounts because he had not been given access to all the records he wanted to see. He told the Electoral Commission that he had resigned as BNP treasurer “as a number of irregularities had come to light”. Explaining that he had seen Walker and Hannam shredding the documents and been told to burn them, he declared: “I have not seen what the party sent to the commission but do not believe it is a full and accurate set of accounts for the BNP”.

But the Electoral Commission was unconcerned. It took just two weeks to dismiss the matter, without even asking to see his evidence. Its response to him was blunt: “with regard to a breach of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act, we currently have no reason to believe that such a breach has taken place”.

Jon Cruddas MP was similarly unable to persuade the Electoral Commission to take complaints against the BNP seriously. In a letter dated 28 January 2008 the Commission pointed out that the BNP had paid the “appropriate fine of £1,000” for the late submission of its 2006 accounts, in other words end of story. As for the BNP’s attempt to solicit donations from overseas via its front group Civil Liberty, the Commission dismissed the concerns stating that there was not “sufficient evidence to establish that ‘Civil Liberty’ was an organisation of any significant scale, that it raised any substantial funds from any source, or that it passed funds to the British National Party”.

Civil Liberty is not a limited company and has no obligation to make its accounts public. How exactly did the Electoral Commission investigate what funds it had raised? Did the Commission do any more than ask the BNP and/or the BNP officers who ran Civil Liberty, Kenny Smith and Kevin Scott? On this the letter is silent.

“The Commission does however monitor the activities of political parties and associationed [sic] organisations and individuals, and keeps matters under review,” the letter concludes. We are not reassured.


Forty years after the shot rang out, race fears still haunt the US

0 Comment (s)
Life has changed beyond recognition for many Americans since an assassin's bullet killed Martin Luther King in 1968. Yet despite the rise of a black middle class and Barack Obama's challenge for the White House, the racial divide still exists - and for an urban underclass, things have only got worse.

Room 306 at the Lorraine Motel in downtown Memphis, Tennessee, looks frozen in time. The sheets of the beds are rumpled, undrunk coffee stews in cheap cups, a meal seems half-eaten. It is a re-creation of the room as it was at 6.01pm on 4 April, 1968. That was the moment when, on the balcony outside, the room's most famous guest, Martin Luther King, was shot dead.

King died four decades ago at the end of an era of civil rights victories that ended racial segregation and won black Americans the vote. It was a struggle that finally cost him his life, felled at the Lorraine by a white assassin's bullet from across the street.

But though Room 306 - preserved as part of a museum - is unchanged from that bloody day 40 years ago, black America itself is almost unrecognisable from King's time. It has been transformed, both for the better and for the worse. Some positive developments would have been unimaginable for King. Senator Barack Obama is running for President and could become the first black person to hold the job. Black politicians hold top offices in cities and states across the continent. They are buoyed by a large black middle class every bit as wealthy, suburban and professional as its white counterpart.

Yet, since 1968, much of black America has also been beset by disaster. A vast underclass inhabits America's ghettos, mired in joblessness, drugs and gang violence. In the inner cities half of all black males do not finish high school. Six in 10 of those will end up in jail by the time they reach their mid-thirties. These people grow up in an environment often more segregated, more hopeless and more dangerous than the Jim Crow era of the Deep South.

It is perhaps one of the greatest paradoxes facing modern American black leaders such as Charles Steele, now president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, which King founded and used as his tool to bring civil rights to America. 'If Dr King was alive now, he would be distressed and disappointed in America,' Steele said. 'America is still racist to a large degree. More so perhaps. It's subliminal and embedded in the system.'

That is pretty much the view of Thelma Townsend, 68, who should be retired but still works as a nurse in the suburb of Orange Mound. The suburb is a landmark in Memphis, built for black Americans more than 100 years ago on the 5,000-acre site of a slave plantation. Once it rivalled New York's Harlem as a centre of black culture and economic power. But now it has been hit hard by drugs and gangs and unemployment. Many houses are dilapidated and abandoned. Townsend snorts in disgust at the past 40 years in black America. 'It ain't changed for the better that I can see,' she said. 'Drugs are rampant, so killings are rampant. If anything, it's got worse around here.'

This is the bad side of black America since King died, and it exists in cities across the country. In Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Washington, Kansas City, St Louis and many other places, once proud black neighbourhoods have fallen prey to the ravages of crime and drugs. Even King's hometown neighbourhood of Auburn Street in Atlanta is a wreck and shadow of its former self. Orange Mound and other black Memphis inner-city suburbs are typical. Gangs with such names as Vice Lords and the Gangster Disciples boss the local drugs trade. Killings and shootings are common. Drug addicts seem more common than jobs.

The roots of this decay partly lie in the fatal shot that felled King. His murder sparked race riots in 125 cities that left 46 people dead, 2,600 injured and 21,000 arrested. Entire black and inner- city neighbourhoods were burnt down overnight. Many never recovered. The violence quickened the process of 'white flight', destroying the tax base of many city cores.

At the same time new civil rights laws allowed the black middle class to flee too. What was left behind became the underclass, deeply vulnerable to the wave of drugs such as crack and heroin that invaded in the Seventies and Eighties and hit by the decline in manual jobs as America's manufacturing industry disappeared overseas.

Statistics indicate that things are getting worse. More black people are being jailed than a decade ago. Only 31 per cent of black children born to middle-class parents earn more than their parents, compared with 68 per cent of white children. More than half of black workers are stuck in low-paid jobs.

Many experts think there is little prospect of the underclass's plight changing at all. 'The outlook is very bleak,' said Professor Jerald Podair, an expert on civil rights history at Lawrence University. near Appleton, Wisconsin.

Yet that is also far from the whole picture. Obama's run for the presidency has energised even those with little hope. 'Obama does make me proud,' said Townsend. But it also shows the successes of the black middle class, fulfilling King's dream of black Americans taking their rightful place in the nation.

For Obama is far from alone in seeking high office. New York state and Massachusetts boast black governors despite both states being in New England, far away from traditionally southern centres of black population. Big cities such as Atlanta, Washington, Philadelphia and Newark have black mayors who have based their appeal on the same sort of 'post-racial' consensus that is powering Obama's campaign.

At the same time, the successes of such mayors and governors have undercut the traditional power of 'old style' black leaders such as the Reverend Jesse Jackson and the Reverend Al Sharpton, whose roots lay in black churches. Now modern black politicians are perhaps more at home in the boardroom than the pulpit. They self-consciously - and successfully - woo white voters as much as they appeal to their black base.

Now Obama is trying to make that case on a national scale. Though recent weeks have seen Hillary Clinton's supporters and Republicans try to raise race as an issue, Obama has fought back with a bold speech challenging America to have a frank and open debate about race. 'Race is the question in America that has still never really been asked,' said Podair.

Not everyone is ignoring it, though. Wendi Thomas, 36, is asking the race question in Memphis. She is a local black columnist on the city's Commercial Appeal newspaper who deals with racial issues. Now she is setting up a project called Common Ground to encourage Memphis citizens of all races to come together at weekly meetings and talk frankly about the race issues that bother them. At the end of it the 'graduates' will be encouraged to go out into the rest of the city and break down racial boundaries. Her first pilot scheme with 200 places has rapidly filled up and will begin meeting on 24 April. 'I just wanted to actually do something, rather than just write about it,' Thomas said.

Memphis is a city much in need of such a project. The city is split almost 50-50 between black and white. Yet it feels like a segregated place whose two halves rarely meet, maintaining their own neighbourhoods, schools and parks. It is a city where the issue of race lies constantly under the surface, boiling below a patina of tourist-friendly Southern charm. 'Race underlies everything in this community. We need to have these discussions, even though they are painful and messy,' Thomas said.

That is true. The fact remains that even middle-class black people and whites have fundamentally different perceptions of America. While many whites are flocking to Obama's campaign on the base of its post-racial appeal, that is not how many blacks see it. As he sweeps up more than 90 per cent of the black vote in the Democratic race, there is a clear feeling of racial pride in his candidacy. Indeed fervour and hope for Obama have become a keystone of black America in 2008. 'It is unreal. It is surreal. I hate to hope too much. But I genuinely think that King would be bursting with pride,' said Thomas.

But there are many other points on which black and white Americans differ. Many whites were outraged when Obama's former pastor, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, said the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington were 'chickens coming home to roost'. They saw his words as conspiracy-minded, unpatriotic and anti-white.

But many blacks reacted with a collective shrug, pointing out that much of what Wright said - even some outrageous claims about government conspiracies - were fairly common in some urban black churches and always had been.

The news would have come as less of a shock if black and white Americans (both of which groups are deeply religious) worshipped together. But they do not. Thomas, a Memphis native, has spent years looking for a racially mixed church to go to each Sunday. 'I still have not found one,' she said. That sort of de facto segregation has kept black and white America very much apart. After all, both have had such a different experience of the country. With the black middle class there is still a certain ambivalence about America; about whether they have truly been accepted. And there is a lot of evidence to say they have not been,' said Podair.

Ironically, one of the main reasons blacks and whites may start addressing race is in the growth of the Hispanic community in America. Hispanics are now America's largest ethnic minority, overtaking blacks, and numbering about 44 million people. They have pioneered communities all over the US, fundamentally changing the dynamics of race in a country that has long seen itself in terms of literal black and white.

Even in Memphis the issue has begun to appear. It is thought the number of Hispanics in the city could top 50,000 people. One in 10 babies in the city born last year was Hispanic. There is a Spanish-language local newspaper, Spanish radio stations and churches offer Spanish-language services. If black and white Americans really want to have a discussion about race, some think they need to hurry up and start talking before the conversation changes entirely.

For Steele, the man who now wears King's old mantle as head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, such concerns are for the future. On Friday, he, the leadership conference and dozens of other groups will be holding ceremonies to remember King. Though many whites despised or feared King when he was alive, he is now a national American hero.

Those memorials will now take place against the backdrop of Obama's bid for the White House and it might be tempting to see a straight line linking the two. But for Steele many Americans were missing one of the most overlooked points of King's career. The fact is, by 1968, King himself had moved on from purely racial issues. Yet again he was ahead of his time. His final campaigns were focused on fighting poverty and labour disputes. He came to Memphis in support of striking workers.

'He was killed in Memphis because he had started to focus on poor folks, regardless of their colour,' Steele said. That was 40 years ago. As Obama's campaign changes the American political landscape, it might be wise to remember that race is not the only controversial issue that mainstream politics still tends to shun. There is the thorny issue of class, too.

'If you thought having a talk about race was difficult in America, then having one about class is even harder,' said Podair. Yet 40 years ago King tried to start that debate as well. A bullet cut short his ambitions. Room 306 at the Lorraine was not the only thing his death left frozen in time.


March 29, 2008

BNP fail in bid to stop postal votes

18 Comment (s)
The British National Party has failed in its bid to stop postal voting in Kirklees.

The BNP has three members on Kirklees Council but their supporter’s bid to halt the postal vote at the forthcoming May elections was rejected. The action by the BNP member was turned down at Bradford County Court. At the hearing yesterday the application for an injunction to stop the Returning Officer from issuing postal ballot papers was refused by the judge, who also made the BNP pay the council’s costs.

The BNP’s application was later condemned by council leader Cllr Robert Light, who said it had been a futile waste of time and a cheap publicity stunt.

Cllr Light said: "This was simply a gimmick by the BNP to get cheap publicity. Postal voting is part of electoral law that all councils follow. All the BNP has done is waste the time of council officers by going through the process of addressing what was always going to be a futile action by the perpetrators of this bogus case. The judge clearly considered that the application was ill-conceived by not only rejecting the application but also in awarding the council its costs against the BNP. It is an absolute waste of time to challenge statute in this way.”

BNP group chairman Cllr Roger Roberts said it was a move made by an individual member, not a councillor.

But he added: “I would personally support the idea. Postal voting is fine for the disabled and the elderly but it is very open to fraud. When you get 20 votes coming out of a one-bedroom flat, it is patently wrong.”

Huddersfield Daily Examiner

English nationalist rival moves in on BNP territory

0 Comment (s)
As the elections for London’s Mayor and the London Assembly approach all eyes are on the British National Party. Looking ahead to the 2009 European elections, the North West promises to be a particularly fraught battleground as the BNP comes up against a determined anti-fascist campaign.

Another hurdle the BNP will have to contend with in the North West is a resurgent England First Party (EFP) whose message of unabashed white supremacy continues to threaten the hegemony of the BNP in the region. With Nick Griffin arrogantly disregarding the wishes of local party members by appointing himself regional organiser instead of the preferred candidate Chris Jackson, there will be much more to play for than seats in European Parliament. Griffin will also be putting his personal reputation on the line in an area where his political opponents on the far right are strongest.

The EFP was founded in 2004 by Mark Cotterill, a former chairman of the American Friends of the British National Party (AFBNP), which channelled tens of thousands of dollars into the BNP before a change in UK electoral law made it illegal to raise money abroad. Cotterill, who had been involved with the nazi National Alliance while living in America, was subsequently deported because his fundraising also contravened US law. Upon his return to England he fell out with the BNP, Griffin seemingly unwilling to reward his endeavours with a commensurate party position. Disaffected, Cotterill moved to Blackburn, Lancashire where he formed the EFP.

The EFP makes no bones about its white supremacist ideology which marks the party out as more vocally extreme than the “modern” BNP. The EFP wants to “win back” the country from hordes of “immigrant invaders”. To do so requires the “repatriation of all immigrants to their lands of ancestral origin”, which will not be a voluntary matter.

To the EFP ethnic minorities are unassimilable and unwanted, their very presence creating friction: “… their clothes, their food, their culture, their psychology, their biology, their physiology and their history challenges ours at every point of the compass”. To reenergise the sense of national identity it believes has been corrupted by these “aliens”, the EFP advocates the teaching of “the Aryan histories of Western Europe” in schools and “the abolition of the Islamic faith and the demolition of all mosques”.

Many BNP members agree with these sentiments but they would perhaps be loath to couch them in such uncompromising terms. The EFP regularly operates in tandem with both the National Front and the openly nazi British People’s Party. Its meetings are graced by individuals such as Lady Michele Renouf, David Irving’s chief cheerleader who is particularly close to Peter Rushton, deputy editor of the EFP’s magazine, Heritage and Destiny.

Another barrier is the genuine ideological difference between the EFP and the BNP over “English” and “British” nationalism which, though it might seem of minor importance outside far-right circles, certainly contains the potential for a major ideological split. There are certainly people in the BNP who would prefer to “ditch Scotland” if not Wales, especially since the recent internal crisis in which Scottish activists were prominent opponents of Nick Griffin, the BNP leader. The BNP’s monthly magazine Identity has recently attempted to jump on the “English” nationalism bandwagon so as not to be usurped by the EFP not to mention the larger English Democrats party, which recently adopted Matt O’Connor, founder of Fathers 4 Justice, as its candidate in the London mayoral election.

By virtue of its very existence the EFP impedes the progress of the BNP in its main Blackburn base and is beginning to pose a threat elsewhere. Griffin was furious when Cotterill and his fellow EFP candidate Michael Johnson, a local publican, were elected to Blackburn council in 2006, not least because Cotterill again trounced the local BNP organiser in the process.

Cotterill’s triumph did not last. Within a year he had resigned and Johnson had left the EFP, joining the For Darwen group on the council. Cotterill cited the offer of a job in Preston as the reason for his departure not only from the council chamber but also as party leader. He remains actively involved behind the scenes, however, as the party’s nominations officer and, more importantly, as the editor of Heritage and Destiny.

The departure of Cotterill and Johnson does not seem to have diminished support for the EFP in certain areas of Blackburn and Darwen. Although the EFP has not won any more council seats in Blackburn, in May 2007 it polled strongly in Higher Croft (15.2%) and in Mill Hill (18.2%), where it beat the BNP candidate.

Steve Smith took over the reins from Cotterill. Smith had previously been the chairman of Burnley BNP and is widely credited with orchestrating the party’s breakthrough in the town between 2001 and 2003. John Tyndall, the BNP’s founder and veteran nazi leader, was certainly impressed, writing: “Steven Smith is the most successful branch organiser in the history of the British National Party”. Smith alas was unable to enjoy the fruits of his labours. He was arrested and jailed for forging signatures on BNP nomination papers.

The BNP rapidly moved to dissociate itself from its erstwhile hero. Smith claims that Griffin was motivated by vanity, fearing paradoxically that the rise of the BNP in Burnley threatened his own position as chairman. Similar sentiments have been voiced in connection with the expulsion last December of Sadie Graham, another capable organiser now outside the BNP.

With Smith at the helm the EFP expanded its base of operations into Burnley with the intention of taking it back from the BNP. His first move was to stand in a by-election in Daneshouse with Stoneyholme in February 2007. He came third with 141 votes (7%), beating the Conservative candidate into third place. In this predominantly Asian ward Smith never had a hope in hell of being elected and knew it. His candidacy was meant to deliver a simple message: Smith was back in town.

In May 2007 Smith stood in Cliviger with Worsthorne. He came second with 372 votes (17%), though a long way behind the victorious Conservative candidate. More importantly, however, Smith utterly thrashed the BNP candidate Dave Shapcott, who had taken over from Smith as Burnely BNP organiser, beating him into third place. Between them the far-right vote was 29% and Smith appears bent on capturing it all. In Queensgate ward, Simon Bennett polled a creditable 26% for the EFP, coming third.

Smith also has his eye on Brunshaw ward, which once yielded a strong vote for the BNP and returned one BNP councillor. BNP support has dissipated since those heady days and Smith believes he can displace the BNP as a “nationalist” alternative to the Liberal Democrats. Smith fired the opening salvo in October 2007 with “Operation Blanket Burnley” – his plan to saturate the town with 25,000 “wonderfully controversial” leaflets, which stated, “England is being deliberately destroyed by cowards, liars, anarchists and traitors” and alleged that white Britons were “becoming an ethnic minority in their own land”. The Burnley Police hate crime unit is currently investigating the leaflets’ content for incitement of racial hatred. Not that this has stopped Smith handing them out: he claims he only has 8,000 left to deliver.

Shapcott is not amused by the support the EFP is gaining and even less amused by his own members fraternising with the EFP despite its proscription, something surely of concern to the BNP leadership.

The EFP has also begun picking at the bones of other areas in which the BNP has begun stagnating. Since May 2007 it has moved into Wigan where it has won the support of Ian Hague, the former Wigan BNP organiser, and Oldham, where the former BNP organiser Martin Brierley has joined up, another sign that the EFP is gaining in areas where the BNP has failed to capitalise on what was once fertile ground.

The party has also begun to move southwards, establishing a presence in Hastings, Sussex, through the good offices of Alan Winder, another BNP renegade. The EFP fielded a candidate in Whaddon ward, Milton Keynes in June 2007, which caused some strife for the BNP. Anna Seymour, the EFP candidate, came third of six beating the Liberal Democrats, UK Independence Party and an independent candidate. Her campaign drew support from local BNP members including Barry Taylor who has since been expelled.

It is important not to exaggerate the threat posed by the EFP to the BNP. It remains a minute outfit in comparison to its rival. It is, however, the only far-right party capable of mounting a serious challenge to BNP hegemony in the North West. Smith appears to have reenergised the organisation following Cotterill’s “departure”. Shapcott and Griffin have been left bristling with annoyance as the EFP encroaches on its former power base in Burnley. And although there is no indication at present that the EFP are on the cusp of displacing the BNP in Burnley, Smith’s zeal and organisational ability must be a cause for concern within the BNP and indeed for anti-fascists too.


Have you heard the one about...

3 Comment (s)
A quick look at the lunatics of the far-right (the BNP)

We are all accustomed to the fact that the idiots in the BNP tell some of the biggest whoppers around. However some tell bigger whoppers than others.

Take Alan Girvan for instance,Dewsbury East BNP candidate. Can you spot the lies in this coverage on Alan from 2005? Just to help any fascists who might be looking in, we've highlighted the bullshit in bold text (which is pretty apt).

Bush's man makes independent bid for Yorkshire seat

A former advisor to American president George W Bush is fighting the Dewsbury seat as an independent.

Alan Girvan said today he thought he could be the right man in the right place for fed-up voters. Father-of-two Mr Girvan, 36, was born and educated in Heckmondwike. He is a film director, writer and producer and recently left his job as IT sales account manager at AA Training, Batley, to fight the election. He was immediately involved in the United State's response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001 when he was called on by Mr Bush's former cyber security chief, Richard Clarke, to create a secure airport computer system.


Mr Girvan said he had been previously been invited to the US to create an alternative to the Internet.

"It was when I was working on that, the 9/11 attacks took place and I was one of the people they called in to ask about setting up a secure computer system for airports."

The idea was rejected by Congress because of the cost.

Mr Girvan said of his decision to stand in Dewsbury: "I think there is a sense of apathy and despair but you don't have to vote for the same old parties. I am standing on a number of issues, important to Dewsbury, chief among which is the state of the hospital. Taxpayers are paying a lot of money, yet they still might have to spend £40 on a taxi to get to Pinderfields, or get six buses. I am also concerned about the future of Dewsbury Market and our estates, which need funding. The people have long lost out to a Huddersfield-centred Kirklees."

He added that the politicians had over-estimated people's feelings about Iraq.

"It might be a bigger issue down south but in this area I think people are more bothered about heroin addicts shooting up in the street, or burgling to feed their habit."

Other candidates are Shahid Malik (Lab); Sayeeda Warsi (Tory); Kingsley Hill (Lib Dem); Brenda Smithson (Green); Alan Girvan (IND) and David Exley (BNP).

Yorkshire Post

Yet another Yorkshire BNP criminal

It is getting hard to keep up with the felons that call themselves the BNP.

On March 17th at Leeds Magistrates Court John Powell was found guilty of assault by beating/battery of it is believed his wife.

Powell who stood as a BNP candidate in Beeston & Holbeck in 2004,Garforth and Swillington in 2006 and Killingbeck and Seacroft in 2007 received a 12 months community order. It isn't known if the BNP in Leeds intend to stand Powell again in this Mays council elections.

Of course Powell isn't the first BNP member to raise his hand to his wife. Brian Turner from Burnley was convicted of attacking his wife and a police officer whilst a councillor yet the BNP refused to disown him. In fact they even defended him by issuing a statement saying: “we are not in the business of persecuting our members because the state considers someone guilty.”

Brave patriots attacking women.

Nick Cass sends threatening email to councillor

Here is an email Mama Cass sent to local Labour councillor David Sheard

From: kirklees BNP
To: Cllr David Sheard
Sent: Monday, March 10, 2008 7:45 AM

Your a traitor to your own people David.

I will never forget your childish behaviour in the Old Hall last year when you made a complete prick of yourself pissed out of your head. If we had been half as bad as you and your pathetic leaflets make out I would have kicked you down those steps and not just asked you to leave when you gate crashed our party looking for trouble..

Still time will tell wont it and this area under you and the other traitors in the 3 'main' parties is not going to get any better that is for sure. And you can continue kissing the arses of the local Muslims and do deals with your fellow traitors in the Lib-Dems and Greens to try and win the ward for all we care.

That just shows the contempt you have for the real local folk.

This country is falling apart because of the likes of you, but its not finished yet, and let me assure you that like the rest of the people who have sold our people and way of life down the drain for a few shekels, in time when we take control, you and the rest will be facing trial for treason and ultimately the rope.

Nick Cass

Our thanks to our mates at Kirklees Unity for the heads-up

March 28, 2008

Solidarity and the mysteries of copyright

12 Comment (s)
Patrick Harrington, currently bosom buddy of the BNP's Nick Griffin and General Secretary of the miniscule and ineffective 'trades union' Solidarity, has launched an attempt to get our friends at Norfolk Unity to remove a picture of the top table at the recent Solidarity AGM by reporting them to Blogger for infringing his copyright.

Breaching copyright, as most of us know, is classed as a form of theft - very similar to the theft of a PayPal account and website while hijacking a union or indeed stealing the union itself - and is absolutely identical to pinching the logo of an established and important trades union like the original Solidarity and messing about with it a little before claiming it as ones own.

As we have noted before, the hypocrisy of those on the far-right knows no bounds.

Well we anti-fascists actually do believe in solidarity and we will stay solid on this one all the way to the courtroom if necessary (and oh boy, wouldn't that be a laugh). The picture is at the head of this post and there it stays. If our readers happen to spread it around all over the internet, that's a matter for their own consciences.

Rat alert London

14 Comment (s)
The rats will be out of the sewers this weekend 29-30 March. The BNP is holding a national weekend of action as part of its campaign to get members elected to the London Assembly.

This time the fascists are targeting two areas on both days. In the west they are meeting up at Hillingdon tube station at 11am. On the east side of London they are meeting at the Express Holiday Inn car park off junction 1A southbound on the M25 near Dartford between 11.00 and 11.30am.

South of the river they are likely to fan out in Bexley, Eltham and parts of Greenwich. In Eltham no doubt they will be hoping for some foot-slogging from the wannabe gunman Ellis Hammond, the disgraced former Police Community Support Officer, whose beat took in the site of the murder of the black teenager Stephen Lawrence in 1993.

Dennis Pearce will be running the show for them in Hillingdon and Richard Barnbrook will probably be making his usual balls-up of such events in southeast London.

The four-page glossy Londoner leaflet the BNP is handing out and similar leaflets in other areas are under investigation by the a number of police forces, so if one drops on your doormat hand it in to the police with a complaint.

Hope not Hate

Keep BNP out, Welsh voters are warned

8 Comment (s)
Welsh voters have been urged to vote in the May elections amid fears that the British National Party (BNP) could otherwise make substantial gains. All councils in Wales will be holding elections on May 1.

This week, Alun Hughes, national secretary of the Communist Party of Wales, said he was extremely concerned that the BNP could make gains in May.

“They are making huge inroads, especially in north east Wales. They have been saying that they are more nationalist than Plaid Cymru [the Welsh national party] and people are falling for that, which is dangerous,” warned Dr Hughes.

He added that he thought the BNP may make considerable gains in some parts of Wales, such as Wrexham and Cardiff, in the elections.

“I’m concerned that they might do quite well in certain parts of Wales, and many of them are just yobs,” claimed Dr Hughes, urging people in Wales to use their vote to stop the BNP. “All the regular parties in Wales are involved in the National Assembly, so a vote for any of those parties is preferable to voting for a fascist party,” he declared.

Several high-profile BNP members live in Wales, including party leader Nick Griffin who lives in mid-Wales, and the party’s treasurer, John Walker, who lives in North Wales. It is thought that Arthur Kemp, the author of March of the Titans, in which he praises Hitler and Nazi Germany, also lives in North Wales. As reported in last week’s JC, Mr Kemp was alleged to have been involved in the assassination of South African anti-apartheid activist Chris Hani in 1993 and previously co-ordinated the BNP’s London Mayoral efforts.

Gerry Gable, London-based publisher of the anti-fascist magazine Searchlight, told the JC it was believed that the BNP’s merchandise operation —Excalibur Products — is administered from North Wales.

“It’s the duty of everyone to get out and defend democracy, and to vote for any party other the BNP,” Mr Gable told the JC this week.

He added that Searchlight had a strong presence in Wales, where it is supported by the mainstream parties.

“There is a lot of activity against them [the BNP] and hopefully all the campaigning that’s going on will have some impact.”

The Jewish Chronicle

BNP attempts to poach English Democrat's Mayoral candidate

6 Comment (s)
Terrified at the thought that the ridiculous and insignificant English Democrats may pinch one or two of its votes, the British National Party has decided to attempt to solve the problem by stealing the ED's Mayoral candidate Matt O'Connor.

O'Connor, famed for his 'work' with Fathers for Justice, is being appropriately targeted. One part of the email to him (leaked earlier this evening to blogger Iain Dale) describes the BNP as the most 'father-friendly' party in Britain. This from a party containing gang-rapists and potential child molesters.

Mind you, the English Democrat's don't have much too offer an aspiring politician either. They recently polled an astonishing eight votes in a by-election - two less than signed the nomination paper.

The full text of the email is below:

Dear Matt,

I am surprised, and disappointed, to see that you are considering standing as London Mayoral candidate for the English Democrats. In view of your concern for justice for fathers when it comes to family separation and the custody of children, you must surely be aware that the British National Party is the ONLY party to clearly state, in its national manifesto, that "Divorce and family laws and maintenance arrangements discriminate against men" and to have the policy pledge to "make joint custody of children the norm in divorce cases"...

...The BNP is the most 'father-friendly' party in Britain. Of course I know that there are loads of lies and smears directed towards us, but if you read our manifesto you will see that the modern BNP is a sensible, democratic and non-racist party and one which I am sure you could support.

The English Democrats are, frankly, a miniscule fringe group who are using you. You will know that last year they received fewer votes in a parliamentary by-election that the Official Monster Raving Loony Party, and the other week in a by-election in Lambeth the EDs received a mere 8 votes - less than the number of people required to fill in the nomination form!

If you are genuinely concerned about England's representation within the Union, then you will see from our manifesto that it is the BNP's policy to "introduce an English parliament within the United Kingdom". As you can see the BNP is the party which best represents the views you are seeking to promote. Instead of allowing yourself to be used by the English Democrats for their own ends you should come over to the party which genuinely cares about families, fathers and children. The BNP is growing at a tremendous rate. While the EDs were obtaining a mere 8 votes in Lambeth the BNP won a council seat in Havering. People are realising that the BNP is not as it has been misrepresented by our opponents in other parties and in the media. We are a friendly party with the best interests of the British people at heart. Our policies are based on traditional values and commonsense.

Please do contact me if you would like to discuss this or if you have any questions.

Kind regards,

Nick Eriksen
BNP London Organiser

Racists rejected in Redwell West

10 Comment (s)
Wellingborough is a pretty average sort of town. Sitting in the heart of Northamptonshire, it is the usual small-town mix of light industry and suburban housing, and has a population of over 50,000, of which 10% are believed to belong to the ethnic minorities (we have no figures for recent European immigration).

It's also one of those places where the Labour Party is in disastrous decline. Wellingborough Borough Council has a chamber of 36 seats representing 16 wards. In the 2003 local elections the then opposition Conservative Party gained 13 seats, to give them a majority of 18. In 2007 the Conservatives came away holding 30 seats, ousting the Labour group leader and his deputy into the bargain - a majority of 24.

Tonight we're interested in Wellingborough's Redwell West ward, where the BNP are fielding a first-time candidate. In May 2007 Redwell West voted as follows:

Con 836
Con 818
Lab 243
Lab 237

The two Conservatives were elected with 77.5% of the vote, but one of them, David Old, resigned in February - six weeks after moving to Canada. Old claimed that he had made his mind up about emigrating after becoming the victim of a mugging, but his tardiness in failing to resign promptly (before Christmas) has left a bad taste in the mouths of many local voters. It seems that Old had been talking about leaving the country for at least two years and put his house up for sale in June - shortly after winning re-election to the Redwell West seat. "We feel duped," one voter told the local press.

Nobody seriously expects the Conservatives to lose Redwell West tonight, but party activists usually prepare themselves to take a "punishment hit" when councillors resign in dubious circumstances - and there is the added element of a fuller field of candidates to take into account.

In addition to Labour, the Greens, Liberal Democrats, UKIP and the BNP are all contesting. The Labour vote is clearly vulnerable, as they have no realistic chance of taking the seat, and it is pretty certain that Green and Liberal Democrat votes will come from them. Both the BNP and UKIP are more than capable of eating into the Tory vote, which, from its May 2007 high of 77.5%, is overdue for a fall.

Wellingborough BC Redwell West ward result (percentages in brackets):

Con 665 (59.01)
BNP 177 (15.71)
Lab 169 (15.00)
L-D 40 (3.55)
UKIP 39 (3.46)
Grn 37 (3.28)

Total 1127

On a slightly increased turnout the Conservative vote fell by exactly 18.5% and Labour by exactly 7.5%.

The bald figures suggest that much of the BNP vote came from the Conservatives, and very little from Labour. A vague pattern does appear to be emerging of the BNP taking Tory votes in safe Conservative wards where either Labour or the Liberal Democrats have little or no chance of winning.

Even so, this being such a safe Tory seat voters had nothing to lose by taking a chance on the BNP - something they signally failed to do. We're becoming accustomed to seeing the BNP taking the neither-here-nor-there 15%-ish territory on first outings, but we have very rarely seen them sustain or improve on that figure in subsequent contests.

So, last week's nasty surprise in Havering behind them, it's as you were for the BNP as the voters of Redwell West turn the volume back down on the "quiet revolution".

It's unfortunate that I couldn't find anything more interesting to say about this particularly uninspiring by-election - so I'll leave you with a link to Wellingborough councillor Tony Sharp's blog, where you'll find the BNP's whinging Rob Walker pleading that whatever else the BNP might be, racist it isn't. Honest.

March 27, 2008

Christian anger at march

7 Comment (s)
Cultures clashed on Easter Sunday when Muslims marched in the streets to celebrate the birth of their prophet Muhammad.Leaving Memorial Park at 1pm, men, women and children marched through the town lead by Imam, Mazar Hussain Gilani, from Walthamstow, London.

Shouting "Allah is great" and "Long live the Prophet" while waving Islamic flags, worshippers from across the country joined Surrey's first Mawlid procession. But in Brighton Road, the 450-strong crowd were confronted by Union flags and banners held by two opposing packs of protesters.

Holding placards reading "Onward Christian Soldiers" and "Our Lord's Day", four members of the right-wing British People's Party stood watching the parade pass. And member of church pressure group Christian Voice bellowed Bible verses from a megaphone besides two of his members as the chorusing crowds went by. Irfan Akhtar, 32, from East Walthamstow, London, was handing out leaflets to spectators during the march and said: "This is a historic day for Surrey. We just want to show our beliefs. We're not looking to upset or intimidate people. Islam is a peaceful religion."

But the marchers were accused by the protesters of being provocative by choosing Easter Sunday for the event.

BPP members Pete Williamson, 41, from Brighton, said: "Why have they chosen today of all days to hold this march? We heard that they [the Muslim population] wanted to hold a demonstration and we're here just to make people aware of what we stand for."

Christian Voice leader Stephen Green, 56, said: "Jesus is our living saviour and for them to be marching on this holy day of the Christian year is disrespectful to say the least. I think it's intimidating."

But march organiser Mohammed Khalid, head of the Redhill Islamic Centre, said the procession wasn't a deliberate attempt to upset people. He said: "It was a peaceful procession to mark the birthday of Muhammad and it's happening [in towns and cities] all over the UK today."

He added: "I wish a happy Easter to all my Christian fellows."

The procession finished at Redhill Islamic Centre in Earlswood Road, Earlswood, at 2pm where the worshippers met for prayer.

This is Surrey Today

Infirmary patient in bid to stop BNP site

2 Comment (s)
A Huddersfield hospital patient is calling for the BNP website to be banned from bedside computer terminals over claims its content is too extremist.

The patient, from Newsome, says she was appalled during a recent stay at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary to find she was restricted from viewing the video website YouTube, but could log on to the homepage of the right-wing British National Party.

The woman, who did not wish to be named, said the decision to ban some sites was “hypocritical”.

She said: “I couldn’t believe they had blocked something as entertaining as YouTube but you could still get on something as extreme as the BNP website. Yes it is political, but some of its views are too extremist. I was shocked and disgusted. ”

The service, run by Patientline, offers bedside facilities to patients including television, telephone and internet access. Today a spokesman confirmed the restriction on YouTube was for purely technical reasons.

A spokesman said: “Patientline provides hospital patients with some of the entertainment and communication services they would enjoy in their own home, and this includes internet access. While Patientline does not censor websites, those sites which feature inappropriate material are restricted, as this is a legal requirement. Websites that require a large bandwidth, for example YouTube, are not available on bedside consoles simply because these would slow down the service for other users.”

Heckmondwike’s BNP councillor David Exley said banning political sites defeated the whole democratic process.

He said: “People should be given the right to make their own minds up. Whether they like it or not, it is a legitimate party website. People perceive it to have extreme views, but if it did, it would be banned. This is just daft and narrow-minded. People should be allowed to look at what all political parties have to offer.”

Huddersfield Daily Examiner

BNP’s York MP hopeful 'quits'

18 Comment (s)
A British National Party member who tried to fight an election in York and in Scotland at the same time has now "quit" after his own party took an injunction out against him.

The BNP has taken legal action against six former officials including a man from York for alleged misuse of party data.

Chairman of the BNP, Nick Griffin, has secured an injunction from Manchester High Court, preventing the group from using party property including a list of all its members. Among the six who have contested the injunction is Ian Dawson, the party's former Group Support Officer. He stood in the City of York Council election for Acomb in April last year as one of nine BNP candidates while also hoping to win a seat in Scotland, through the regional party list system. He failed to win in either city.

The former Yorkshire Secretary and former York Organiser announced his "resignation" from the BNP on the internet in December, while challenging the internal management of the party. His decision to stand down, and the latest court action, follows months of internal wrangling within the party.

The other five former party officials involved in the court proceedings are Steve Blake, Sadie Graham, Matt Single, Kenny Smith and Nicholla Smith.

Simon Darby, a BNP spokesman, said: "We, as a party, sought an injunction against the use of party equipment by the six people. The injunction was granted."

He said the equipment concerned included the party membership list as well as mobile phones, digital duplicators and computers. Another hearing is expected to take place in April.

"We were bound under the terms of the Data Protection Act to take this action," he said. "There are thousands of names on the list. They have been using it since December. It upset a lot of people."

He said the group was contesting the injunction and another hearing is expected to take place in April.

"The technicalities of our injunction were that they can't use anything that we have asked them not to use. They can currently publish things, but they can't use our membership list. They can't use the duplicator."

He was unsure how long the process would take.

Mr Dawson, who is in his mid-20s, attended York College before working as a self-employed administration systems manager. When contacted by The Press, he said: "I don't want to make any comment on it, not for the time being. I don't want to get involved in saying things out of turn."

The Press (York)

'Inhumane and oppressive': the final verdict on Britain's asylum policy

0 Comment (s)
The most comprehensive examination of the UK's asylum system ever conducted has found it "marred by inhumanity" and "not yet fit for purpose".

The report, published by the Independent Asylum Commission, is a damning indictment of the Home Office's failure to deal fairly with those applying for sanctuary in this country. The commission found that Britain's treatment of asylum-seekers "falls seriously below the standards to be expected of a humane and civilised society". Its interim report will be delivered to the Home Office today by a delegation of asylum-seekers.

The report details how the "adversarial" system is failing applicants from the very first point of interview, with officials accused of stacking the odds against genuine claimants. "A 'culture of disbelief' persists among decision-makers," it said. "Along with lack of access to legal advice for applicants this is leading to perverse and unjust decisions."

The findings are the result of the most thorough look at the system in history, with testimonies from every sphere of society, including three former home secretaries, more than 100 NGOs, 90 asylum-seekers, the police, local authorities, and hundreds of citizens.

All-day hearings were held in seven major cities, where hundreds of people gave evidence, from those who brand the system too lenient to those who think it is a blot on the country's human rights record. As well as this current information, an independent academic body was tasked to gather all documents already published on the issue in the past five years, from both sides of the political spectrum.

Three areas of the system came under particular fire. The use of detention centres – especially to lock up children, pregnant women and torture victims – was condemned, as was the often brutal handling of removals, and the use of destitution as a tool to drive claimants out of the country.

Sir John Waite, co-chair of the commission said: "The overuse of detention, the scale of destitution and the severity of removals are all areas which need attention before the system can be described as fit for purpose".

The commissioners found that locking up those seeking asylum was costly and often completely needless. "The detention of asylum-seekers is overused, oppressive and an unnecessary burden on the taxpayer," they said. The detention of children was in turn branded "wholly unjustified".

Sir John called for "a thorough re-examination" of the detention and bail system, which he said treated asylum-seekers like criminals. "The justification for such a system is the fear of absconding, and that fear is, in our opinion, grossly exaggerated," he said.

According to the commission, factors such as post-traumatic stress were not considered enough when asylum-seekers had their initial interviews with border officials. Victims of rape and torture who might initially find it difficult to describe their experiences sometimes had their cases overlooked because they only described these incidents in later conversations.

"Some of those seeking sanctuary, particularly women, children and torture survivors, have additional vulnerabilities that are not being appropriately addressed," it found.

Cuts in the legal aid budget have also made it more difficult for those with complex cases to find lawyers to take them on, resulting in many genuine claims being overlooked. Removals by private security firms were described by the commission as being carried out with "unnecessary violence and carelessness". The commission said it had heard testimony of the "very severe handling" of claimants, and criticised the absence of any monitoring system to follow-up on the fate of those removed.

The Liberal Democrats' home affairs spokesman, Chris Huhne, said: "The whole system is fundamentally a mess and broken, and this report makes a pretty good job of summarising that. The asylum system combines incredible complexity with systematic incompetence, and thousands wait for a decision year after year".

Donna Covey, chief executive of the Refugee Council, said: "This is an important set of findings from an independent commission, which presents overwhelming evidence that the asylum system is still not fit for purpose.

"It is surely now time for the Government to take a long hard look at the way it treats people seeking sanctuary on our shores. We must treat people with basic decency, and the system must get asylum decisions right – they are a matter of life and death."

While the report disclosed the initial findings of the commission, further publications in May, June and July will also include recommendations on how to deliver reform and rectify problems in the system.

Yeukai Taruvinga, 25: 'I found the treatment very brutal. I was expecting to receive sanctuary'

Yeukai Taruvinga, has seen first hand the iniquities of the asylum system. A student activist from Zimbabwe, she fled to the UK in 2001, after persecution for her support of the opposition party Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

When she arrived in Britain she thought things would improve, but life was not as she'd hoped. "I was expecting to receive sanctuary, but when I came to the UK it was a completely different scenario. I found the treatment of asylum-seekers was very brutal and inhumane".

"I was detained several times without committing any crime – just because I was an asylum-seeker," she said. "My treatment by officers was very rough, and in one centre I was put into a cell with no windows and a dirty bed. If you needed help there was no way of calling because the reception was so far away. All we could do was bang on the door."

She has been transported around the country between three different detention centres, never knowing if they were sending her home or moving her on. "It was very traumatic and they never explained why they were moving me", she said. "I kept thinking they were about to take me back to Zimbabwe".

Ms Taruvinga has not been in detention now since 2005, but when she was first released she was left with nowhere to go and nothing to eat. After being told she was not entitled to any support, she was forced to beg from churches to find food to eat.


March 26, 2008

BNP 'is to blame' for web racism

4 Comment (s)
Campaigners against racism have accused the British National Party of using the internet to create racial tension over the bid to establish an Islamic cultural centre in Solihull.

During the past fortnight, comments on Solihull Muslim Community Association's plan - some of them obscene - have been posted on the Facebook social networking website. The Solihull Unite Against Fascism group claimed the postings were part of a hate campaign orchestrated by the BNP and said they were "arguably an incitement to racial hatred under the Public Order Act".

It added the BNP was "responsible for publishing these comments if not directly speaking them".

A spokesman for the group said: "The BNP's campaign against the so called Islamification of Solihull is clearly racist and is intended to direct hate against a particular section of the community. It is in clear breach of the Facebook terms of use and the site owners should take urgent action to close it down."

SMCA applied for planning permission to build a cultural centre containing a prayer hall in Dog Kennel Lane, Shirley, but withdrew the application earlier this month for "technical reasons".

The association has been searching for a home for more than 20 years and several previous planning applications have been turned down by Solihull council.

Commenting on the website postings, Ken Meeson, leader of the council, said he would condemn any attempt by a political organisation to stir up controversy over a religious group.

"We have good community relations in Solihull and we don't want them to go sour," he said. "It looks as if the BNP is reverting to type but I would warn there are laws in this country concerning incitement to hatred."

Councillor Meeson (Con, Dorridge & Hockley Heath) also criticised Solihull's Liberal Democrat MP Lorely Burt for suggesting that he and other political leaders on the council should help SMCA find a suitable site for a cultural centre.

"She is wrong to expect the council to do this," he said. "We wouldn't do it for a Christian church, the Hindus, Sikhs or anybody else, so why a Muslim group? If we did we could be accused of discrimination."

Simon Darby, deputy leader of the BNP, denied the claims the party was inciting racial hatred on the Facebook website.

"The law stipulates there is a difference between religion and race. If we are accused of incitement by a named person we will sue for libel."


The Upper Beeding by-election - the BNP analyses the result

22 Comment (s)

Another instant classic from Zaskar. Caution - very bad language!

More Zaskar films here.

Udo Voigt, leader of German far-right party, charged with defamation

6 Comment (s)
Udo Voigt (second from left) at a neo-nazi conference with a bunch of friends.
Regular readers may recognise Nick Griffin's old mate Roberto Fiore (centre)
The head of the main German far-right party was charged Tuesday with incitement and defamation for allegedly publishing a pamphlet before the 2006 soccer World Cup that prosecutors said called into question whether non white players should be on the national team.

A prosecutor, Simone Herbeth, said in a statement that Udo Voigt, head of the National Democratic Party, had been charged with incitement and defamation over the pamphlets. The party spokesman, Klaus Beier, and a prominent member, Frank Schwerdt, have also been charged, Herbeth said.

"The indictment charges that the accused are responsible for publishing pamphlets ahead of the 2006 soccer World Cup which, through a picture of the No. 25" - a number that was worn by a black player at the time - "called into question whether this player, as well as other non white-skinned players, were worthy of representing Germany as national players," Herbeth said in a statement.

The pamphlets showed the traditional white German jersey with the No. 25, worn at the time by the defender Patrick Owomoyela. They read: "White, not just a jersey color! For a real NATIONAL team!"

Owomoyela, who has a German mother and a Nigerian father, plays for Werder Bremen but is no longer a member of the German national squad.

The National Democratic Party called the charges "absurd" and "political" in a statement issued on its Web site.

"The German justice authorities are ever more zealous when it comes to pursuing and persecuting the national opposition," the statement read.

Beier said in an interview by telephone that the use of No. 25 was "pure chance" and insisted that the quality of the printing was unclear, meaning that the number could be interpreted as a 26 or even a 23. "Everyone can see their own favorite number in it," Beier said.

Backed by the German soccer federation, Owomoyela filed suit against the party in 2006 over the pamphlets, some 70,000 of which were confiscated by the authorities during a search at the party's national headquarters.

Prosecutors charge that the party then printed another series of pamphlets showing 10 white and one black player in German national jerseys under the question, "German National Team 2010?"

International Herald Tribune

National Democratic Party (NPD). Germany’s leading nazi group. NPD leaders deny the Holocaust took place and revere Adolf Hitler. The NPD shares many of its activists with the outlawed Blood and Honour skinhead movement. In August 2002 Griffin attended a festival put on by the NPD’s newspaper Deutsche Stimme (German Voice), where he was photographed with Voigt and the former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke. Later that month he took part in an NPD summer school with Mahler and Voigt. In May 2003 Griffin was billed to speak alongside Voigt, Fiore and the NPD’s lawyer Jürgen Rieger, but failed to turn up.

Griffin organised a BNP demonstration outside the German embassy when the German government tried unsuccessfully to ban the NPD. When Griffin and other BNP officers were arrested in December 2006 on suspicion of causing race hate, the NPD website called for support for them.

Boxer wins praise as Muslim 'role model'

2 Comment (s)
Boxer Amir Khan has been hailed as a "wonderful role model" for UK Muslims in a rebuke to a radical preacher who criticised him for wearing the Union flag.

Exiled preacher Omar Bakri Mohammad told a newspaper that the boxer was committing a sin and set a bad example to Muslims for showing allegiance to the UK flag. The comments were branded "bizarre" by the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB). Inayat Bunglawala, assistant secretary general of MCB said: "Amir Khan is a wonderful role model.

"He's a hugely successful boxer, proud of being Muslim and British. I can see why that could upset Omar Bakri, but to hundreds of thousands of British Muslims, Amir Khan is a wonderful role model."

The Commonwealth lightweight title-holder is draped with the flag in photos on his official website and often wears shorts featuring the emblem.

Bakri said: "Amir Khan is not a good example for Muslims. He wears shorts with the Union Jack. That is a sin. He should not be wearing the flag because sovereignty is for God. His only allegiance should be to the Prophet Mohammed. The ideal situation would be to have a Muslim team not registered to any state so he can represent the Islamic community."

Mr Bunglawala said: "Bizarre. These comments are typical of Omar Bakri. He doesn't live in this country and frankly his views are of no concern to British Muslims."

Omar Bakri Mohammad lives in Lebanon after leaving London in 2005.

Khan, 21, is due to fight Martin Kristjansen for the WBO lightweight world championship in his home town of Bolton, in Lancashire, on April 5.

Yorkshire Post

March 25, 2008

Letter from former BNP supporter, Pat Pattison. 'The BNP IS racist...'

33 Comment (s)
Letter from Pat Pattison

I went on your link 'The BNP's worst councillors' a few moments ago. I do wish people would get their facts straight before running other people down. We all make mistakes in this life and this is how we learn.

My mistake was joining the BNP. They assured me that they were a non racist party. Well, I can assure you they are racist. They refer to anybody who is non white as 'Pakis'. This shows their ignorance.

At first when racial remarks were made at meetings, I put this down to sheer ignorance and bigotry but in the short time I was a member the situation became intolerable and the last straw came when I tried to help a Pakistani family who are also Muslims.

Now, the BNP hate all Muslims with a vengeance. They don't think that there is good and bad in everyone.

It is funny how they say, 'They sacked me' when I have got proof that I have had no dealings with the BNP for sometime before my alleged 'sacking'. I have it in writing from Bill Murray the Welsh Regional Secretary that I constantly put the phone down on him as soon as I knew it was him on the phone. He also relates to me informing the Landlady of the 'Hopeside Hotel' (in Colwyn Bay where they hold their monthly meetings) and informing her that I do not want to speak to anyone within the party and that I do not want anything to do with the party.

This is obviously how they got wind of the fact that I was about to resign so they thought they would get in first claiming I do not meet their standards. Well, that is a joke in itself. The only standards you need in the BNP is to be a racist but people should not under estimate them. They have friends in high places, they are known within the party as 'friendly's. They are a highly dangerous and misleading organisation and I can assure your readers that I will do my utmost to let everybody I come in contact with, know just what they are up to.

I will close now but if I can be of any further assistance please do not hesitate to contact me as I am not scared of the BNP or anybody else for that matter.

I would appreciate it if you could put this information on your website as soon as possible.


BNP circus rolls into Colwyn Bay for court hearing
BNP cllr sacked for helping Asian family

Network Solutions pulls anti-Koran website

0 Comment (s)
Network Solutions has pulled the plug on a promotional website for a film made by extreme-right wing Dutch politician Geert Wilders.

Wilders film is expected to very critical of Islam - last year he called for the Koran, which he compares to Mein Kampf, to be banned.

Network Solutions said it had taken action because it received complaints that the website breached its terms and conditions and Wilders refusal to discuss the matter with them. The company said it acted in response to Wilders public comments for planned content for the site.

The company said: "If the customer provides Network Solutions with the content and it is determined that the content does not violate the Acceptable Use Policy, then the customer will be permitted to post the content. However, if it does violate our policy, then the customer is free to post the content using another number of other avenues, but not with Network Solutions."

It said it did not proactively police content unless a complaint is received.

A video clip entitled "Fitna - part 1" which was uploaded to YouTube today has been removed for "terms of use violation".


Apathy could give BNP a foothold

1 Comment (s)
The British National Party's results in a string of recent elections demonstrate it is no longer a force simply to be ignored.

Although the party has yet to succeed in securing a single councillor in Sussex, it is fielding more candidates than before who are receiving a growing share of the vote. Elsewhere in the country, BNP councillors are becoming increasingly entrenched in the political landscape. But name-calling is not the answer, says local government correspondent Lawrence Marzouk. Voters must wake up to the fact that apathy is the ally of the BNP.

In April 2002, French Front National candidate Jean-Marie Le Pen scooped an extraordinary 20 per cent of the popular vote to enter a second round run-off against the then president Jacques Chirac. France was convulsed by the shocking result. Protesters took to the streets in disgust at the ageing extremist's anti-immigration policies and in guilt at the apathy which resulted in a record low turnout.

Le Pen was beaten convincingly at the second trip to the ballot box.

But the lesson of the first round was clearly learnt as, five years on, 85 per cent of the adult population performed their democratic duty at the next presidential election and the far-right's share of the vote was halved.

In Britain, we continue to dismiss the British National Party as an irrelevance.

The party does not have the political clout the Front National in France does but the parallels are there, and this particular French lesson seems to have been lost in translation.

Mainstream politicians have failed to convince swathes of the public of their message on immigration. Labour, Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats still do not to field candidates in some byelections. And the voting public continue to operate on the assumption that their votes count for nothing as politicians, and the policies on offer, are all the same.

In February, BNP member Donna Bailey missed out on the hotly-contested Upper Beeding Parish Council seat in West Sussex by just 20 votes.

In last weekend's Arun District Council by-election, BNP candidate Albert Bodle, who runs the Selwood Lodge guest house in Victoria Drive, Bognor, polled third with 205 votes. Second was Lib Dem David Jones with just seven extra ticks at the ballot box. Labour failed to field a candidate.

The BNP has fielded candidates for a raft of by-elections in the past year, scoring hundreds of votes each time, and is expected to play a part in May's local elections.

Its success remains modest compared to the big three and should not be overstated.

But a strategy of targeting minor by-elections where major parties often fail to field candidates and turn-out is poor ensures the party takes a disproportionately large slice of the vote.

These results strengthen the BNP's claims that they are now part of mainstream politics and, consequently, their appeal to a wider audience.

But their improved showing is also a result of the public's disenchantment with politics and a feeling the BNP is the only party to be fighting for the rights of white, British voters who are under siege from a growing alien population.

This is fuelled by a sometimes irresponsible media, which peddles negative stereotypes of asylum seekers and pushes the idea that Britain is a soft-touch for "foreign scroungers".

Statistics have become so politicised that it impossible to separate fact from fiction.

The BNP has stepped into this political vacuum following a comprehensive makeover in recent years. The public rants have been replaced by carefully crafted statements, which do not talk of race explicitly.

The party is presenting a face of reasonable, educated, middle aged men and women who do not hate foreigners but are fighting for traditional British values.

This veneer of respectability has brought the party out from the margins of society and opened the door for quiet sympathisers to become loud supporters and voters. A strong line against immigration and those who remain illegally in the country clearly has resonance among many voters.

But behind the slick websites and new image, many of the policies remain as abhorrent as ever to the bulk of the British public.

The party continues to advocate that you cannot really be British if you do not have the "British genotype".

This argument, along with the use of an arbitrary definition of what constitutes an indigenous British person, is just xenophobia dressed up as laughable pseudo-science. The genetic make-up and cultural norms of those living in Britain are nebulous concepts, constantly evolving under the influence of a range of factors, including immigration.

There has been a disorienting speed of change concerning immigration over the past 50 years and this should not be ignored.

Mainstream politicians must show convincingly that they are protecting and enhancing British culture and society and promoting integration and the English language.

Immigration should also be dealt with head-on with credible policies so it cannot be hijacked by the BNP.

The country is not being "swamped" by new arrivals but the perception is as damaging as the reality and clearer independent statistics need to be successfully communicated.

As a hard-working, proud, British citizen, born to an English mother and Lebanese father, I find the suggestion that I am somehow undesirable in this country, and that my children will never be British, ridiculous and insulting.

The BNP may tell you it is not racist but its views on discouraging mixed marriages and shipping out as many foreigners as possible to preserve the purity of the "British genotype" are about as extreme as they come.

These are not the views of a mainstream party offering sensible policies on the issue of immigration.

Vigorous campaigning and fighting voter fatigue will ensure the very real concerns about immigration do not translate into a vote for extremism. We ignore the BNP at our own peril. Apathy could create a British repeat of Le Pen's shock election result.

The Argus