January 31, 2009

The BNP is no friend of British workers

7 Comment (s)
The BNP is trying to exploit the protests in Lincolnshire for its own racist ends by turning an issue about contracts and jobs into a racist one.

Everyone should be alert to the dangers of this protest spiralling out of control, as the BNP would wish, setting worker against worker rather than tightening employment rules to ensure that employers cannot use one group of workers to undercut another – of whichever nationality or race they may be from.

It is also vital that people are not fooled by fascist propaganda. Their policies would crash the British economy. Millions of Britons depend on foreign-owned firms for the jobs. If the BNP got their way and all non-whites and foreigners were booted out of the country then why wouldn’t all these foreign-owned companies pull out as well?

Despite the announcement of 2,500 job cuts this week, the steel company Corus still employs 24,500 people in Britain. When the BNP kick its Indian management out of the country they would be throwing these people onto the scrapheap.

Then there are the hundreds of thousands of British workers who rely on British companies winning overseas contracts. If it’s “British jobs for British workers” then will the BNP support the American aviation industry withdrawing all work from British Aerospace and Rolls Royce and giving it to American companies?

And finally, what about the millions of Britons living and working abroad? If the BNP kicked out everyone in Britain who they did not like why wouldn’t other countries do the same?

We live in a complex and interwined global economy. As we have so graphically seen during the recent financial collapse what happens in one country quickly affects another.

What we need is for workers to enjoy the same rights and conditions across Europe and for people to be paid the rate for the job in the country they are working in. This, together with proper trade union organisation of all workers – British and “foreign” – and not racial scapegoating is how we stop exploitation of workers and undercutting of wages. The BNP is no friend of the British worker.

HOPE not hate

BNP festival could be coming to a village near you

4 Comment (s)
A controversial BNP festival could be coming to the Maldon district.

The three-day Red, White and Blue Festival has previously been held in Codnor, Denby, Derbyshire, but a spokesman for the British National Party confirmed they were considering moving it to Essex and possibly an un-named site in the district in August.

The festival has attracted problems in the past, including clashes last year between riot police and anti-BNP protestor, so organisers are looking at alternative arrangements.

Simon Darby, press officer for the BNP said: “There is a site in Essex where we might be having the festival, a site in your area which we have a lot of interest in. It is looking like a very interesting region for us politically.”

Mr Darby also confirmed that party chairman Nick Griffin is a fan of the countryside in the district.

Rumours that Mr Griffin may be coming to the Maldon district on St George’s Day - April 23 - could not be confirmed. Mr Darby told the Standard that Mr Griffin currently plans to be at an event in West Bromwich for St George’s Day but that it is not impossible that he will also come to visit party supporters in the district.

Maldon Standard

January 30, 2009

Churches: don’t vote for BNP

0 Comment (s)
Church leaders have issued a joint statement telling people not to vote for the BNP in next week’s crucial Newton by-election. They fear that if a BNP councillor is elected it will ‘threaten the heart of the community’.

A letter signed by half-a-dozen clergy in Hyde has been sent to voters urging them not to vote for the far-right party.

The by-election on Thursday follows the death of Labour councillor Margaret Oldham last month. In last May’s elections the BNP took second place. And with the recession biting, worries are mounting voters may turn their backs on the mainstream parties.

The Rev Richard Lamey, of St Mary’s Church, Newton said: "We are intending to deliver this letter to as many people as possible in the ward to urge people to go out and vote on 5 February — and to vote for parties which do not foster fear and hatred. We are concerned at the possibility of a BNP councillor in Newton, hence our taking this unusual step."

In the letter, the church leaders condemn the ‘racist history and policies’ of the BNP. It states: ‘We believe that the election of a BNP councillor would threaten the heart of a community which is essentially open and welcoming, kind and hopeful. Whoever we elect in Newton next week will have a major impact on our daily lives. And when you do vote, think about the type of society you want Newton to be, and then vote for a party which does not rely on racial hatred and the fostering of division. Newton is better than that.’

The letter is signed by: Fr Philip Bennison (St Stephen’s Church, Flowery Field); The Rev Nic Bentley (Rosemount Methodist Church); The Rev Alan Bolton (Rosemount Methodist Church); The Rev Eric Breeze (Flowery Field Church); The Rev Richard Lamey (St Mary’s Church of England Church, Newton); Fr Denis Maher (St Paul’s Roman Catholic Church, Hyde).

Anthony Jones, local BNP spokesman, said: "These men speak only for themselves from an unelected position. They are cossetted against the current economic climate. They don’t have any real fears over losing their jobs. The council and the clergy are clearly worried the BNP will win that seat."

Tameside Advertiser

January 29, 2009

Police constable named in BNP list is back on the beat

10 Comment (s)
A police officer who was named on a leaked list of BNP members is returning to work

Joe Cutting, a constable in Southwark, was suspended in November after he featured on a list of 12,000 members published on the internet. He is now being allowed to return after an internal Metropolitan police investigation found there was no evidence to justify sacking him.

The force said Pc Cutting, who was due back on the beat this week, had been "exonerated" by the inquiry, but declined to explain how his name had come to appear on the BNP membership list.

The decision will raise new concerns about alleged racism within the force following a spate of discrimination claims in recent months and allegations from the National Black Police Association of continuing prejudice. It will also present an immediate challenge for the new Met Commissioner, Sir Paul Stephenson, who was appointed yesterday.

Some of Pc Cutting's fellow officers were reported to have had serious concerns about his return to duty. It is not known if Sir Paul was informed of the decision taken by the Met's directorate of professional standards, which is headed by Commander Moir Stewart. Pc Cutting appeared on the BNP list with a Met volunteer special constable. Fellow officers are said to have marched Pc Cutting out of Southwark police station after stripping him of his warrant card.

It is understood that at least one disciplinary hearing was held at which witnesses for Pc Cutting, who has been in the Met for about four years, managed to convince investigators that he was not involved with the far-Right BNP. One unconfirmed explanation that is thought to have been offered is that his name was added to the membership list after he wrote a cheque on behalf of another person. The Met confirmed that Pc Cutting had been cleared to return to work and said that a full investigation had found "no evidence to prove" that he was a member of the BNP.

A spokesman added that the matter had also been referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

In a statement, the Met added: "On 21 November 2008 two serving Metropolitan police officers were suspended following the publication, on the internet, of a membership list for the British National Party. One of these officers was a full-time police constable and the other a volunteer special police constable. The Metropolitan Police's Directorate of Professional Standards commenced an investigation into this matter. Following this investigation both officers have been exonerated and are returning to full duties with immediate effect."

Police officers are banned under the legally-binding 2003 Police Regulations from membership of the BNP, the National Front and Combat 18. They are also prohibited from engaging in activity which is deemed "likely to interfere with the impartial discharge of their police duties".

A separate policy introduced by the Association of Chief Police Officers in 2004 also states that officers cannot be members of the BNP on the grounds that this would conflict with their duty to promote racial equality.

The new controversy follows a series of high-profile discrimination claims against the Met from senior Asian officers, including the former Assistant Commissioner Tarique Ghaffur. His claim, which was strongly denied by the Met and former Commissioner Sir Ian Blair, was settled out of court with no admission of liability, while a second, equally prominent case involving Met Commander Shabir Hussain, in which he claimed that there was a "golden circle" of white officers in the force, was ultimately rejected by a tribunal as unfounded.

Despite this, the National Black Police Association last year called for potential ethnic minority recruits to boycott the force, claiming that it was racist and that senior managers were not tackling the problem seriously.

Supporters point out that the Met has significantly increased the number of ethnic minority recruits entering the force and now has one of the best records in the country for improving diversity.

Investigations into other names on the leaked BNP membership list have suggested that some were wrongly included with the total number of more than 12,000 individuals listed on the document thought to be considerably higher than the party's actual membership.

Evening Standard

Rabbis may halt Vatican talks over Holocaust-denying priest

2 Comment (s)
The Chief Rabbinate of Israel has threatened to break off normal dialogue with the Vatican over its decision to lift the excommunication of a Catholic priest who claimed that no Jews died in gas chambers during the second world war.

In a letter to Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Holy See's Commission for Religious Relations with Jewry, officials from Israel's supreme religious governing body warned that without a public apology from the priest it would be "very difficult to continue dialogue with the Vatican as before". The letter called on the priest, British-born Richard Williamson, to recant his "deplorable" statement.

The letter said: "You will appreciate that under such circumstances it would be wiser for us to postpone our next meeting in Rome at the beginning of March until this matter is clarified."

It is the fiercest criticism yet of the papal decree, issued last weekend, aimed at rehabilitating members of a traditionalist Catholic order - the Society of St Pius X - one of whose clerics is a Holocaust denier.

Williamson, who now lives in Argentina, had claimed in a television interview that historical evidence was "hugely against six million having been deliberately gassed in gas chambers as a deliberate policy of Adolf Hitler ... I believe there were no gas chambers."

Alongside three bishops, Williamson was excommunicated 20 years ago after being consecrated by French archbishop Marcel Lefebvre without papal consent.

The letter, signed by Oded Weiner, the director of the Chief Rabbinate, said: "Even if the move in itself was not intended in any way to relate to the church's relationship with the Jewish people, when it involves the embrace of someone who publicly expresses such odious and outrageous opinions, then it definitely does affect our relationship."

Yesterday Weiner told the Guardian the Rabbinate was demanding an explanation from the Vatican. "This relationship is very important for us and the Holy See. We have not cut ties with them. We are saying the matter has to be clarified. They are aware of the pain and sensitivity and they will consider it and send it up to the highest authorities."

His comments came as the pope made his first public remarks on interfaith relations. Referring to his recent commemoration of the Holocaust, he highlighted how at Auschwitz "millions of Jews were cruelly massacred, innocent victims of blind racial and religious hatred". At his weekly audience, yesterday Benedict XVI told thousands: "I once again affectionately express my full and indisputable solidarity with our brothers and sisters who received the first covenant. I trust that the memory of the Shoah will induce humankind to reflect upon the unpredictable power of evil when it conquers the heart of man."

The row, however, shows no immediate sign of abating. The Nobel peace prize winner and death camp survivor, Elie Wiesel, said that the pope, by lifting the excommunications, had given credence to "the most vulgar aspect of antisemitism".

In an interview with Reuters, Wiesel said: "What does the pope think we feel when he did that?"


January 28, 2009

UK party leaders sign Book of Commitment to mark Holocaust

1 Comment (s)
The leaders of the three main British political parties commemorated Holocaust Memorial Day on Tuesday by signing the Book of Commitment in Parliament.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Conservative leader David Cameron and Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg signed the book, which contains a pledge to remember the Holocaust and join together to fight all forms of discrimination. The book was placed in the House of Commons by the Holocaust Educational Trust (HET) on January 14. To date, over 150 MPs have signed it.

Established in 1999, Holocaust Memorial Day is an annual national event in the UK.

Gordon Brown also welcomed Holocaust survivors Ben Helfgott and his sister Mala Tribich, together with HET chairman Lord Janner, at his Downing Street residence to mark the commemoration.

"The whole world should remember and never forget - remember courageous men and women, and also remember the evil that was done," Brown said. "As [Nobel laureate] Elie Wiesel said, 'Because I remember, I despair. Because I remember, I have the duty to reject despair.'"

"It was a great honor and privilege to meet the prime minister, and particularly that he found the time for us when he is so deeply busy," Helfgott said. "It is a great tribute to him that, in spite of the current challenges, he found the time to sign the Book of Commitment to ensure that the Holocaust will never be forgotten."

A parliamentary motion in support of the day was also tabled by Labor MP Phil Wilson and co-sponsored by Conservative MP Greg Hands and Liberal Democrat MP Alistair Carmichael.

In Parliament on Monday, Brown praised the work of the HET and particularly the government-supported program that enables high school students from across the country to visit Auschwitz and educate fellow students about the Holocaust.

"We are delighted that so many MPs are supporting Holocaust Memorial Day. This and Holocaust education are more important now than ever, and this year's theme, 'Stand Up to Hatred,' highlights the importance of joining forces against hatred, prejudice and intolerance," HET chief executive Karen Pollock said. "At the HET, we endeavor to impart the history of the Holocaust to young people, across all communities, so they can see where hate and racism can ultimately lead."

To mark the memorial day, the National Union of Teachers (NUT) has joined the HET in publishing a new school resource.

Martin and Erica's Journey, a book that tells the story of Holocaust survivor Martin Stern and his sister Erica, was launched at a reception at the NUT headquarters in central London on Tuesday evening.

"The NUT has a proud history of supporting race equality and diversity, its importance and the lessons that can be learned from history," said Christine Blower, acting general secretary of the NUT. "This is an invaluable personal record of the horrors of one of the 20th century's worst atrocities."

She added, "We hope that this powerful story will help young people understand the consequences of prejudice and racism and in turn challenge all forms of discrimination."

Meanwhile, the Muslim Council of Britain boycotted official Holocaust memorial events in protest of Israel's offensive in Gaza.

The MCB, which represents 500 Muslim organizations in Britain, did not send any representatives to any of the official memorial events. The decision was made at an MCB committee meeting last week.

"There was no one in that [committee] meeting who was prepared to attend [Holocaust Memorial Day] this year without making a visible protest about the genocide in Gaza," the council said in a statement Tuesday. "It was agreed that the MCB does not wish to minimize the tragedy of the Holocaust or demean or disturb its annual memorial by attending and protesting about the genocide in Gaza, and it was therefore decided to abstain from the Holocaust Memorial Day this year."

The statement concluded, "The MCB believes that the memorial for the victims of the Nazi Holocaust is to ensure that we make the cry 'Never again' real for all people."

In 2007, the MCB called off a boycott of Holocaust Memorial Day that had been in existence since 2003, when then-MCB secretary-general Iqbal Sacranie claimed that the memorial ignored the plight of the Palestinians.

"Regrettably the memorial ceremony in its present form excludes and ignores other ongoing genocide and human rights abuses around the world, notably in the Occupied Palestinian Territories," he said.

Jerusalem Post

January 27, 2009

Stand up to hatred for Holocaust Memorial Day 2009

4 Comment (s)
Hate. We think we know it, but most of us will never face it. Hatred is a corrosive force, able to ruin lives, wreck co-operation, destroy communities, or races, or nations. It is present in small ways in daily life, but it is at its most lethal in prejudice, discrimination, racism, anti-Semitism and Islamaphobia.

In this lethal form it was the driving force in Nazi Germany, in Pol Pot’s Cambodia, in Rwanda in 100 days in 1994, in Bosnia and in other places at other times. And so it is in Darfur today. The past is powerful, from it we can learn to protect ourselves and our communities from the forces of hatred.

Britain today is not Nazi Germany, nor Cambodia, nor Bosnia at the time of genocide. But the evils of prejudice, discrimination and intolerance are still with us. We categorise, stereotype, discriminate, exclude, bully, persecute, attack - because of race, religion, disability, sexuality. We damage, and are damaged, as a result of our refusal to accept our common humanity. Acts of hatred always involve making a choice. We choose to attack, to abuse, to exclude, to stand back and do nothing - or we choose to resist, to respect, to protect.

Holocaust Memorial Day 2009 (HMD09) challenges us all to Stand Up To Hatred. It urges all of us to look at our behaviour to others; to understand how hate is directed against different minorities in Britain today; to explore how each of us can help make our communities stronger and safer.

HMD09 is an opportunity to forge links across ALL the diverse strands of local community lives, to build understanding and to unite in a common cause.

Expressing Hatred

Germany between 1918 and 1932 was wracked by turmoil, civil wars, coups and endemic violence. It was rife with discrimination against Jews.

Psychiatrists canvassed the ideas of forced sterilisation and euthanasia. During periods of economic crisis inmates of asylums and sanatoria were virtually starved and work was increasingly required as both ‘therapy’ and a reason for feeding.

So, the seeds of the rise of the Nazi Party were set. But that same German Government also liberalised the law and, for some of the communities soon to be targeted by the Nazi regime, this was a period of growth and cultural achievement. Many Jews played important roles in art, music, architecture and politics. Jewish politicians were members of the German government including Hugo Preuss, Minister of the Interior and Walter Rathenau. Despite homosexuality remaining illegal and arrests taking place, there was a distinctive gay scene in Berlin. The German Gay and Lesbian Community of the 1920s published newspapers, ran public education work and was active in political campaigning. Disabled and deaf people formed associations and in August 1932 the deaf community released a film entitled Verkannte Menschen (Misjudged People). Progressive trends in mental health treatment and care, although not dominant, began.

Diverse communities were developing their own culture and, at the same time, the Nazi Party was growing in popularity. In 1925 Adolf Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” was published laying out the ideology of racial supremacy. After the Nazis were elected in 1933 racist and anti-Semitic campaigns became widespread and theories of racial superiority were expressed in posters, newspapers, school and medical text books and even children’s literature and games. Anti-Jewish propaganda became common. The hatreds which had previously been confined to speeches and political literature now became mainstream, with posters calling for the protection of racial purity.

The weekly newspaper Der Sturmer was best known for its anti-Semitic articles and cartoons, but also anti-Catholic and anti-Communist propaganda. Its popularity grew from 27,000 copies a week in 1927 to 480,000 copies a week in 1935. Hatred had become normal.

The Role of Law and the State

The laws and agencies of a nation can be used either to fan the flames of hatred and discrimination or to quench them and encourage equality, fair treatment and respect.

As soon as the Nazi Party came to power in Germany in 1933 legislation aimed at preserving racial purity and attacking those considered as “untermenschen” (sub-human) was passed. The Nuremberg Laws of 1935 explicitly removed Jews from German citizenship and prevented marriage between Jews and non-Jews. These laws were also applied to Germany’s Gypsy population. New laws allowing for the forced sterilisation of disabled and Black people were also introduced.

In Cambodia legislation was introduced to bring about the Khmer Rouge ideal of a one-class state. All religions were outlawed, banking, finance and currency were abolished and private property was confiscated. While the Interahamwe in Rwanda were not members of Government, the state-owned radio station broadcast encouragement and incitement to attack Tutsis. The US Government, and others, hold the Sudanese Government directly responsible for genocidal attacks in Darfur.

Since 1945, the idea that Governments have a duty to protect citizens against racism or discrimination has gathered force. After WW2, Britain played a key role in developing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Since the late 60s there has been a slow process of progressive law reform, gradually affording rights and protections on the basis of gender, race, disability, sexuality, faith, and age.

In many countries, including the UK, laws exist making incitement and expression of hatred towards particular groups a “hate crime”. This is any crime committed against a person, or property, that is motivated by hatred because of:
  • Race, colour, ethnic origin, nationality or national origins
  • Religion
  • Gender or gender identity
  • Sexual orientation
  • Disability
However, it was only in 1999, after years of struggle, that the Public Inquiry into the racist murder of Stephen Lawrence finally brought to national consciousness the extent of institutional racism in the police and led to root and branch reform across the country.

The UK and Devolved Governments have indicated their intention to equalise the protection against hatreds offered to different groups and individuals. But many groups and communities in the UK still face prejudice, discrimination and exclusion, law or no law.

The Impact of Hate

Hate takes many forms, it can be specific, it can be based on experience, it can be felt and not acted on. It can be focused against a group, it can be political, it can be racist, anti-Semitic or Islamaphobic.

Hundreds of thousands of people in Britain live with hate activity, individuals are damaged by it and communities are scarred. Over the past five years:
  • Johnny Delaney, a fifteen year old traveller from the North West of England was kicked to death - 2003.
  • Kriss Donald was murdered in Glasgow by a gang looking to attack a white person – 2004.
  • Brent Martin had severe learning disabilities and was killed in Sunderland - 2007.
  • David Morley, a gay man was murdered in London - 2004.
  • Anthony Walker was murdered in Merseyside for being black – 2005. His killers spray painted Nazi symbols on local walls after the attack.
50,000 hate crimes were reported to the police in 2006, but estimates put the true figure closer to 260,000. 712 individual hate crimes take place every single day of the year. Every time a shop window is broken because of the nationality of the owner, every time graffiti is sprayed on a place of worship, every time someone is verbally abused for being different a hate crime has been committed.

Islamaphobia is widely regarded as the most common form of religious and racial hatred in the UK today. The Community Security Trust records that anti-Semitic incidents have increased from 219 in 1997 to 594 in 2006. 1,097 Homophobic hate crimes were reported to the Metropolitan Police in 2007. 16% of disabled people in the Scottish Highlands reported that they had been physically abused because of their disability.

Political rhetoric has been used to highlight differences between different communities. Enoch Powell’s “Rivers of Blood” speech in 1968 is still referenced by anti-immigration campaigners 40 years on. Reaction to the Wolfenden Report’s recommendations on the decriminalisation of homosexuality included newspapers claiming "Freeing adult males from any penalties could only succeed in intensifying and multiplying this form of depravity.” Today newspapers and political parties continue to express views attacking travellers and campaigning against the building of mosques.

Laws do not have to be broken for hatred to be expressed. Often long before crimes occur and laws are broken, hatred has been allowed to flourish and discrimination against minorities has become normal.


In Germany, Jews resisted the attempt to exterminate and, mostly, perished in the attempt. Groups such as the White Rose student group distributed political literature which challenged Nazi policies. Individual Jews joined partisan groups or fought in the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. Jehovah’s Witnesses refused to renounce their faith despite the danger to themselves.

Dutch Communists organised a strike to protest the treatment of Jews. To date 21,758 individuals have been recognised as “Righteous among the Nations” by Israel for risking their lives to rescue Jews.

In Rwanda, Tutsis were hidden by neighbours including Beata Uwazaninka who was shielded by a Muslim neighbour who refused to hand Beata to the Interahamwe despite the threats to his own family.

In the UK, we face a much less threatening and extreme time. But we can still challenge hatred, prejudice and discrimination. Stonewall was established by a number of gay and lesbian activists including Sir Ian McKellan who were campaigning against Section 28 - the only example of a post-war British government passing a law which did not in some way liberalise the rights of a minority. After the murder of Stephen Lawrence his mother Doreen campaigned to have the issue of institutionalised racism in British society recognised and tackled. Disabled activists and groups such as the Disabled People’s Council have campaigned for equal employment rights.

Today in Britain we can all choose to Stand Up To Hatred and:
  • Refuse to stand by and allow others to commit acts of hatred
  • Recognise the language of hatred.
  • Challenge newspapers and public figures when they are using the language of hatred.
  • Stop using language which is discriminatory and stop others when we hear them doing the same.
  • Recognise when hate crime is taking place and report it
  • Recognise that a crime does not have to be committed for hatred to be expressed
  • Learn from history that the ultimate result of unchecked and unchallenged hatred, prejudice, discrimination and racism is genocide.
On Holocaust Memorial Day 2009 make the choice to Stand Up To Hatred.

Go to www.hmd.org.uk for more information or to watch ‘The Hate Game’.

January 26, 2009

Hain hits out at BNP bid to boost recruits

1 Comment (s)
The British National Party has come under fierce attack from Neath MP Peter Hain after it set up stall in the heart of his constituency.

BNP members were in Neath town centre at the weekend, handing out copies of the party's newsletter - which heavily criticises Mr Hain and calls for him to be sacked - as part of an ongoing national recruitment drive.

Party official Brian Mahoney said: "The reaction has been very positive. We have had the occasional bigot, but most people have been very sympathetic and interested. There is dissatisfaction with Labour in particular, but also Plaid and all the old gang. Those political parties have become disgraceful in the way they have let this country down and sold us out. We are getting more and more support in South Wales, Mid Wales and North Wales, and all over the country."

Mr Hain said he was very concerned to hear the BNP had been active in Neath.

"They are a force that has to be confronted and defeated whenever they appear from beneath their stones," he told the Post. "Their poisonous influence is disastrous for any community where they gain a foothold. We have seen where it has happened elsewhere. We have seen hatred spread and in every possible way. It's terrible news for any community - especially a God-fearing, respectable place such as Neath, which has a fine tradition of community caring, of respect for people whatever their background, whatever their beliefs and whatever the colour of their skin. I will be consulting party colleagues and others to make sure they are confronted wherever they appear next."

Mr Hain dismissed a BNP assertion that it was gaining ground on Labour as a fantasy. He was also dismissive of its newsletter, which features his well-publicised failure to declare election expense donations on time. It says the requirement to apologise to the Commons is not punishment enough and calls for Mr Hain to be sacked.

"I'm treating that with the contempt it deserves," said Mr Hain. "The support I have had from the people of Neath has been absolutely magnificent."

This is South Wales

The biggest anti-fascist campaign ever

2 Comment (s)
The BNP is looking to exploit the recession to win Euro seats; but thousands of people will thwart its message of hate

Over the next few months Searchlight and its HOPE not hate campaign will be gearing up to prevent the BNP from winning seats in the European elections. We anticipate mobilising thousands of activists and delivering over 2 million leaflets and newspapers in what will be the biggest and most intense anti-fascist campaign in history.

And it is needed. The BNP poses a threat in six Euro regions, with as little as 7.5% required in the North West, where the party leader, Nick Griffin, is standing. With Ukip faltering, few local elections and the economy hurtling into recession, we will need everyone who opposes the BNP's message of hate to play a part. A BNP victory will change the political landscape in Britain.

The last few years have seen the British National Party make significant electoral gains across the length and breadth of the political landscape – often off the radar of the political and media class at Westminster, which has remained preoccupied with a very small part of the electoral map that decides Westminster elections: so-called middle Britain.

Quietly but steadily the BNP has been building its support. While many commentators have focused on its traditional heartlands in the Lancashire and Yorkshire mill towns, the BNP has been widening its base across the country. In 2007 the BNP stood 742 council candidates, averaging 14.7% of the vote. Last year they averaged 13.9% in 642 wards. The regional average vote is fairly consistent across the country.

The critical element to this palpable support for the BNP is that it has occurred against the backdrop of extraordinarily benign macroeconomic conditions. Well over a decade of continuous quarter-on-quarter growth, low interest rates, falling unemployment and general prosperity have obscured the economic and cultural issues the BNP has focused on. It has tapped into a deep sense of alienation among many who have not prospered in the good times, a corresponding fracture of working class identity, and indeed demonisation in popular culture – all refracted through the prism of race.

On 15 September last year, when Lehman Brothers went for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the US, the world changed. More specifically the world changed in terms of the climate within which the BNP is seeking to gain political traction. Any cursory reading of history suggests that recession and depression breed extremism; everything else being equal, the BNP will expect to benefit from the suffering and the insecurities that will intensify over the coming months and years.

Jon Cruddas and Nick Lowles
Comment is Free

Obama online team hired to help fight BNP

0 Comment (s)
The firm behind President Barack Obama's online election campaign have been signed up to help anti-racists take on the British National party in the European parliament elections in June.

Blue State Digital (BSD), which used the latest internet technology to mobilise millions of people behind Obama, has been employed to help create a grassroots network across the UK as part of the campaign to stop the BNP leader, Nick Griffin, becoming the far-right party's first MEP.

The firm began work last week and has already signed up thousands of supporters and donors. As part of the first stage of its campaign BSD and an anti-fascist magazine, Searchlight, has sent thousands of emails asking each recipients to forward it to five friends and make a small donation. The software means campaigners can then track who opens the emails, where they are sent and what happens when they arrive at the other end - tailoring future emails to groups and individuals

"The crucial thing about this campaign is that everybody is given a task so they become activists with a stake in what we are doing," said Nick Lowles, who is leading the Hope not Hate drive. "The software allows us to tailor emails to different groups and get information out there to hundreds of thousands of people. We have had more small individual donations in the past two weeks than we have had in three or four years and the technology is already allowing us to build a vibrant, bottom-up activist movement."

The BNP is standing candidates across the country in the European elections and analysts believe they could be on the verge of an important breakthrough.


January 25, 2009

Pope stirs up Jewish fury over bishop

3 Comment (s)
The Vatican is reinstating a British priest who denies millions died at the hands of the Nazis

Tension between the Vatican and Jewish groups looked set to explode yesterday after Pope Benedict XVI rehabilitated a British bishop who has claimed no Jews died in gas chambers during the second world war.

Benedict yesterday welcomed back into the Roman Catholic Church Richard Williamson and three other men who were excommunicated in 1988 after being ordained without Vatican permission. The three had been appointed by breakaway French archbishop Marcel Lefebvre. The Vatican decree issued yesterday spoke of overcoming the "scandal of divisiveness" and seeking reconciliation with Lefebvre's conservative order, the Society of Saint Pius X, which opposes the modernisation of Catholic doctrine.

But Jewish groups have warned the Pope that the decision could damage Catholic-Jewish relations after Williamson claimed in an interview, broadcast last week, that historical evidence "is hugely against six million having been deliberately gassed in gas chambers as a deliberate policy of Adolf Hitler ... I believe there were no gas chambers".

Shimon Samuels, of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre in Paris, said he understood the German-born pope's desire for Christian unity but said Benedict could have excluded Williamson, whose return to the church will "cost" the Vatican politically.

In an interview taped last November and aired last Wednesday on Swedish television, Williamson said he agreed with the "most serious" revisionist historians of the second world war who had concluded that "between 200,000-300,000 perished in Nazi concentration camps, but not one of them by gassing in a gas chamber". Williamson added he realised he could go to jail for Holocaust denial in Germany.

British Jewish groups condemned the decision and said they feared it could damage social cohesion. "The Council of Christians and Jews have said that in recent years there has been a considerable increase in antisemitism from some of the eastern European churches," said Mark Gardner, spokesman for the Community Security Trust which monitors attacks on Jewish people in the UK. Gardner said he hoped the Vatican would make it clear it abhors Williamson's comments about the gas chambers.

"Jews will be extremely alarmed by the lifting of this excommunication on somebody who holds such extreme anti-Jewish views," Gardner said. "I hope the Vatican will speak out on this particular aspect of Williamson's ideology."

Elan Steinberg, vice president of the American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors and their Descendants, warned last week the Vatican's actions would play into the hands of those seeking to stir up trouble. "For the Jewish people ... this development ... encourages hate-mongers everywhere," Steinberg said. Rome's chief rabbi Riccardo Di Segni said that revoking Williamson's excommunication would open "a deep wound".

Senior Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi fought back yesterday, telling the Observer: "Williamson's statements are not agreed with and are open to criticism, and they have nothing to do with the lifting of the excommunication. One is not connected to the other. The Society of Saint Pius X has itself distanced itself from these statements."

Relations between the Vatican and Jewish groups are already strained by the row over Pope Pius XII, who was pontiff during the second world war, and is being considered by the Vatican for beatification. He is accused by some historians and Jewish leaders of failing to speak out against the Holocaust.

Israeli officials recently protested when a senior cardinal said Israel's offensive in Gaza had turned it into a "big concentration camp".

It is not the first controversy for Benedict. His decision to allow freer use of the old Latin mass, including a Good Friday prayer for the conversion of Jews, caused widespread anger. His reintroduction of the Latin mass earned him criticism from Jewish groups but brought him closer to the Swiss-based Society of Saint Pius X, which opposed many of the changes introduced in the 1960s by the Second Vatican Council, including holding mass in local languages.

The society's leader, Lefebvre, was still at odds with Rome in 1988 when he ordained four new bishops, including Williamson, without permission from the Vatican, earning excommunication both for himself and all four bishops. Lefebvre died in 1991.

Benedict has pushed to normalise relations with the society, meeting the current head, bishop Bernard Fellay, shortly after becoming pope in 2005. In its statement yesterday, the Vatican said Benedict was bringing the bishops back into the fold "with the hope that full conciliation and shared communion is achieved as soon as possible".


One Flew Over The Pig Farm: the BNP and us in 2008 - June

17 Comment (s)
Sexuality and Aids and the concept of a relationship, how does a man and a woman relate, going through history, between Captains Scott and Oates, between Christ and John the Baptist and the Mother Earth walking through carrying the flag...it's almost like a still-born child, how does people relate to each other...it was dealing with the bigotry of attitudes towards people.
Before you conclude that Barnes had been at the funny fags again, the quote was actually Richard Barnbrook speaking to the Independent, as posted by a bemused Antifascist.

Even by the standards of the extreme Right Barnbrook is an exotic oddity. Antifascist noted:
There are certain snippets in the interview that reveal rather more about Barnbrook than the general membership of the BNP might care to know. He presents himself for the interview in a sand-coloured linen suit (with matching socks) and a gold tie. His ex-council house home, we are told, has cream carpets and visitors have to remove their shoes before entering. His television is covered by a cream throw and his mobile ringtone features a chorister singing Jerusalem.
But the oddest thing about Barnbrook (to that date) concerned his claim to have had a relationship with the actress Tilda Swinton, which Ms Swinton - not unnaturally - vehemently denied. Barnbrook's response was: "I've got DNA proof that I went out with her."

What the nature of this proof was, Barnbrook didn't tell - or if he did, the Independent thought it too disgusting the publish. Perhaps future girlfriends should be advised to back off at some speed if approached by a Barnbrook armed with a cotton bud?

Barnbrook's lucky elevation to the Greater London Assembly also elevated him above the BNP's small number of common or garden district and borough councillors, and made him, after Nick Griffin, the BNP's best known personality.

Things like that make Griffin twitchy, and sensing future danger to his position the BNP leader immediately saddled Barnbrook with deputy-leader and toady-in-chief Simon Darby as one of Barnbrook's "researchers". Acting, we believe, more as his Nickship's eyes and ears than as a researcher for Barnbrook, this at least gave former the rubber magnate something approaching real work to do, though we imagine Barnbrook would soon tire of Darby exclaiming "Yes, Nick, superb Nick, marvellous Nick" at least thirty times a day on one of his extensive collection of mobile phones.

Antifascist commented:
Barnbrook has become the BNP's most high profile member - of far more interest to the membership and the media than its leader Nick Griffin. Which really should make Barnbrook nervous. The last time someone became unaccountably more popular than Griffin - the BNP's then 'Cultural Officer' Jonathan Bowden - the attack dogs were set on him and he was forced into resignation. Griffin has never liked competition and will destroy anyone who looks set to usurp his position.

Barnbrook is clearly setting out his stall for both the assault on Parliament and leadership of the BNP. My guess is that if the former doesn't work out in two years time, he'll go full pelt for the latter.
Barnbrook's keen interest in the preservation of DNA is shared by the police, who used it in evidence against BNP supporter Kevin David, of Leytonstone. David was convicted for sending a hate letter to local councillor Maria Pye, who is disabled. DNA from David was found on the envelope. In language not a million miles removed from that found on many BNP blogs, David wildly emoted:
I see you talk a lot about the regeneration of Leytonstone and how there are going to be new shops and businesses. But the whole world can see how these scumbags are pushing the British people out. There are five million of these scumbags wanting to live here and open shops here.

Leytonstone has become a cesspit and ghetto for these scum. I see you walking around with a walking stick. Why don't you f**k **f you f** c**? Now there are 50 million scumbags in the UK. BNP for ever. Don't look for the real cockneys because they have already left. Asians out. Africans out. Europeans out.
Later David, with an existing conviction for ABH, was given an 18-month supervision order, and ordered to attend a six-month rehabilitation course. He was also ordered to pay £100 in compensation to Maria Pye and £70 in court costs.

We had cause to revisit the world of fantasy and fiction inhabited by Patrick Harrington and his tiny band of Third Way/National Liberal Party supporters when this strange confection of old National Front failures and tall-story tellers lighted upon the (stolen, of course) idea of bringing down upon their greying heads the proceeds of a "Money Bomb" for "liberty".

Patrick Harrington (or PA Sharp as he prefers to be known when conducting certain financial transactions) apparently being blessed with the ability to "order" a website into existence at a time of his choosing, a tacky website duly appeared calling upon 10,000 of the internet's most credulous dimwits to donate £10 each in return for a vague promise that "Everything given will go towards promoting a Liberty Party in the UK".

We said:
Exactly what the Third Way/NLP is intended to achieve - aside from cushioning Patrick Harrington from the truth of his own abject irrelevance - is unclear. For an organisation (if so large a word may be employed to describe something so insubstantial) to find itself with only twenty members after eighteen years of existence is the clearest of proofs that its only achievement has been utter failure.

However, even in the fantastically unreal world of Third Way/NLP there persists a belief that there is money to be made from the gullible and the deceived, and Mr Harrington and his colleagues have fixed themselves to make it through the mechanism of an appeal warped into the guise of a "mass donation" for "Liberty" aimed at putting £100,000 into the Third Way/NLP purse.
Or more specifically putting it into the pockets of certain Third Way/NLP individuals via the servicing of regular expenses claims.

After our story went up, something wonderful happened on the hitherto lifeless Third Way/NLP scam website - people began donating. Allegedly.

At the end of play the bogus appeal had supposedly raised £3,510, 10,000 credulous dimwits not being to hand. This was a mere £96,490 short of the extravagant £100,000 target, but we're sure that Mr "PA Sharp" ("it's my married name") and his little troop of fellow fantasists will account for every penny when they file the Third Way/NLP's returns with the Electoral Commission this year.

Also on the scrounge was Mr Sharp's friend Nick Griffin, who also prefers to deal in large sums of money but has a better chance of obtaining it. Nick thought that the British people needed to be told "the truth", and decided that the best way to do it was to haul a terrifying picture of Nick Cass up and down the by-ways of the country on the back of a 7.5 ton lorry. To this end he needed £39,000 sharpish and the begging letters went out. The "Truth Truck", as Nick christened it, would be brand new and would incorporate a state-of-the-art PA system together with light display features. Stormfront cynics with healthier bank-balances than the average appeal-prone BNP member were quick to label Griffin's latest wheeze the "Lie Lorry". As the truck eventually purchased was not new and incorporated neither a state-of-the-art PA system or light display features, the cynics were proved right, and the name "Lie Lorry" has ever since stuck as fast as Nick Cass's grinning face to the mobile propaganda project.

As the campaign to stop the BNP holding its annual Red White and Blue festival at Denby in Derbyshire continued, the one BNP member in the world who had no intention of going got into a strop when the police objected to the festival on public order grounds. This was Paul Morris, better known as the Green Arrow, who - perhaps with an empty whisky bottle rolling around his feet - angrily typed out the following into his blog:
Denby Police, sh*t eaters, who will one day have their pensions stripped from them by a vengeful British Public [read: fascist BNP] who never forget.

The UAF, pathetic sad losers who must blush with shame when they take their pieces of silver from their government pay masters. Rest assured we will not forget them.

The BNP learns the lessons of history and never forgets and will use the same tools against those who assist in the betrayal of the British People. Think about that Plod if you are capable of thought. We are watching you watching us.
Morris illustrated his point with a large picture obtained from a pornographic website catering to those with a deep interest in "scat" activities. This was removed by Blogger following complaints, followed by the entire post when the idiotic Morris realised that the BNP candidate in the Henley by-election was due to hold his press conference, and might be asked awkward questions about his fellow BNP member's blog. A chastened Morris replaced the post with one using an image of a beheaded young Muslim girl, and with his heroic friends resumed a campaign of intimidation and abuse against a young woman of Pakistani extraction who - it was the most curious thing - found herself unable to heap praise on the BNP or to show respect for its members in their ancient online mission to connect their feet with their mouths at every available opportunity.

Financial probity and the BNP having much the same relationship as ships that pass in the night (a very dark night, and at a very great distance), it was never going to be very long before yet another tale of BNP economic woe arrived to fill our pages. This came with the news that treasurer John Walker (left, a suspect in the later membership list leak scandal) had been removed from his post and shifted sideways into the gloriously titled position of National Dispatch and Logistics Manager.

Opening a well-written piece on some strange goings-on, Antifascist reported:
There's more chaos in the British National Party this weekend as branches reel from the news that once again their accounts have been rifled to prop up an incompetent and extravagant party management.

Furious fundholders have been in touch with us to complain that their local accounts have been raided again because head office has disastrously overspent and can no longer manage to balance the books without thieving from the branches. Another fundholder with a direct line to the treasury has revealed that the main BNP account has hit rock-bottom and stood at less than £3000 a few days ago - not a great deal for a so-called 'major' political party.
It's a measure of the distrust endemic within the BNP that many of the party's officials place more confidence in their enemies here at Lancaster Unity than they do in their own organisation, and are prepared to rely upon us getting out truths that would otherwise be buried beneath Griffinite spin and bluster.

In respect of the unpopular raid on BNP branch funds, Antifascist wrote:
Incompetence in the BNP is endemic but nowhere is it more evident than in the treasury. The File on Four programme, broadcast by Radio Four back in February, produced a whole raft of accusations of mismanagement, skullduggery and incompetence against Walker and his merry band of idiots, including the revelation that the BNP is behind with its PAYE payments (that is, the tax it takes from employee's wage packets that it is then supposed to pass on to HM Revenue and Customs). Naturally, the party still hasn't paid the bill and part of the reason for the sudden attack on branch funds was that Her Majesty was getting a tad ratty about the lack of revenue coming from the BNP. Not that the raid helped all that much - last month alone, the party paid out nearly forty thousand pounds on wages, expenses and part of the debt to the Revenue plus a further part-debt to Royal Mail.
Just how rocky the BNP's finances were was revealed in internal documents that fell in our way later in the year.

Walker's sideways shuffle into the post of National Dispatch and Logistics Manager, based at the then secret Deeside Excalibur merchandising operation, attracted the attention of disaffected BNP councillor Colin Auty, whose leadership challenge was clearly failing as Griffinite intimidation deterred members from signing his nomination papers. Antifascist believed that John Walker had been moved rather than sacked to buy his silence. Auty was more forthright:
He has been privy to a great deal of the shady and downright deceitful dealings of Mr Griffin over the last couple of years, so much so in fact that Griffin has been, for sometime, completely perplexed on how he is going to get rid of him without risking John doing the honourable thing and exposing the corruption and pressure that he has himself been compliant with for so long.
Auty wasn't backwards in coming forwards in the matter of Griffin's purging tendencies, either:
'He would merely isolate the victim by concocting lies about them concerning financial ‘irregularities’ (somewhat ironically), aimed carefully at his victim before unleashing his attack-dogs to finish the job with personal attacks and slanderous gossip. Occasionally the victim would then be pulled apart at an Advisory Council meeting in their absence complete with the customary ‘such a shame’ crocodile tears. Without being afforded the opportunity to defend themselves, the victim would be cast out as a leper from the Party. Those sat around the AC table, however shocked or confused that the ‘evidence’ spewed out regarding one of their comrades is entirely unsubstantiated, would very often sit in silence though fear of becoming the next victim. This is a standard Griffin modus operandi, as many of his decent and hardworking victims have been only too happy to confirm and share with us.'
Auty threw in the towel a few days later

With Richard Barnbrook hauling his exalted carcass about the corridors of City Hall, the leadership of the BNP group on Barking and Dagenham Council fell to f-word specialist and megaphone expert Bob Bailey, who was not best pleased with Barking College for hosting a Love Music Hate Racism event. Confronting principal Ted Parker, Bailey darkly warned of "trouble" if the college continued to host such events. Mr Parker told the Barking and Dagenham Recorder:
He was perfectly civil but he was obviously agitated. He seemed to be saying our students were in danger. As he left he said 'you have been warned', which sort of stuck it my mind. I thought it was a little strange. We have been involved with LMHR for a couple of years now. We oppose racism and promote harmony between people of all backgrounds, that's our ethos.
Bailey told the Recorder that "people should be able to speak freely without fear", just as he did when yelling obscenities at the paper's staff.

"Speaking freely without fear" is not a concept readily encouraged within the BNP, where "fear to speak freely" are the usual watchwords to heed unless you are possessed of a pressing urge to attract accusations that you are State, a Searchlight mole, in the pay of Lancaster Unity, Red, Nazi, mad, bad or any permutation thereof.

The scales fell from the eyes of the party's Scottish webmaster Paul Johnson after less than a year of membership. Johnson was shocked when an inquiry he made on behalf of another member was answered with a mixture of contempt and paranoia by Simon Darby. All Johnson's friend had wanted was a copy of the BNP constitution, an item always available to members of other political parties, but in BNP-land wanting to see the much revised and Griffinised constitution is akin to an act of treason.

Johnson said: "His [Darby's] words on the subject were why do you want it? Just tell him to "F*$k Off!" He is only a 'red' trying to wind you up!"

Johnson's resignation statement began:
What have I learned about the BNP in almost a year of being a paid member and as a BNP Scotland official, that a lot of the rumours are true and the party is corrupt, and is not democratic in any shape or form. Infact one might go as far to say that its not necessarily British but more of lets follow Griffin and blow smoke up his arse!

The party is full of a lot of lemmings that think Nick Griffin/ Mark Collett are some sort of 'Gods' in the making. I suppose when you surround yourself with lemmings it is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that you are the greatest person who walked the earth.
Before jumping to the conclusion that Johnson is a fundamentally decent man, he came to notice again on The Croft blog at the time of the membership list leak:
Paul also has a nice sideline in making cheerful wee button badges extolling such wonderful sentiments as:

England: Love it or leave it!
There Is No Black In The Union Jack!
White Power!

…as well as some fetching SS badges, Enoch Powell Was Right! badges and the ubuiqitous No To Immigration!

Lovely stuff!

Surely Mr J isn’t a white settler himself? Coming over here, taking all our racist badgemaking jobs…

To be continued...

January 24, 2009

Harman warns of BNP Euro victory

24 Comment (s)
The far-right British National Party could win its first seat in the European Parliament by claiming just 8% of the vote, Labour's deputy leader Harriet Harman will warn.

Ms Harman is expected to say it would be "shameful" for the UK to elect a BNP MEP in the June 4 polls, just months after the US elected Barack Obama as its first black president. She will warn that Labour's analysis of recent council elections shows the BNP winning and coming second in seats traditionally held by all three main parties from the North West and North East to the Midlands, London, Yorkshire and Essex.

Speaking to the Progressive London conference, Ms Harman is expected to promise that Labour will use the 2009 European Parliament elections to "draw a line in the sand" against the advance of the BNP, which she denounced as "a party of racial hatred".

The proportional representation voting system used for Euro-elections increases the BNP's chances of winning a seat, she will warn.

"In the North West, where Nick Griffin, the BNP chairman, is standing, Searchlight estimates they only need about 8% of the vote to break through into the European Parliament," Ms Harman is expected to say. "That would be shameful for Britain just as the US shows the way forward by electing an inclusive, progressive president."

And she will add: "The BNP threat cannot be ignored. A new Labour analysis of council elections shows that even where they are not winning they are coming second in areas which are Labour, Liberal Democrat and Tory-held. Their poison is spreading. They are winning and coming second in the North West, the North East, the Midlands and London - from Yorkshire to Essex.

"Labour will, with a vigorous door-to-door campaign, not allow the BNP to peddle their pernicious lies that people have been 'abandoned by Labour'. It is Labour on the doorstep which will show this to be false and the run-up to elections on June 4 will be seized as an important opportunity to do this."


January 23, 2009

BNP last as Liberal Democrats hold seat in Mid Sussex election

4 Comment (s)
The BNP finished last in the poll as Liberal Democrats retained their seat in the district council Bentswood ward by-election at Haywards Heath.

British National Party candidate Tony Brewer polled 92 votes as Liberal Democrat Irene Balls won with 514. Not elected: Richard Goddard, Labour, 456 and Andy Mackintosh, Conservative, 332. Liberals also retained their seat on the Haywards Heath Town Council, with Claudette Furminger polling 545. Not elected: Derek Booker, Labour, 430, Andy Mackintosh, Conservative, 389.

Voting was on Thursday January 22 and the results were announced today at Clair Hall, Haywards Heath. The results leave the political make-up of both councils unchanged.

West Sussex Gazette

Jewish leaders urge Pope not to rehabilitate Holocaust-denying bishop

1 Comment (s)
Jewish leaders on Friday urged Pope Benedict not to rehabilitate a traditionalist bishop who denies the Holocaust, saying it would foment anti-Semitism and open a deep wound in Christian-Jewish relations.

Italian media have said the pope could this weekend revoke the excommunications of four traditionalist bishops from the Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX) in his latest attempt to heal a 20-year-old schism in the Roman Catholic Church. The rift became a crisis in 1998, when the late French archbishop Marcel Lefebvre illegally consecrated four bishops in defiance of the late Pope John Paul. One of the four bishops, the British-born Bishop Richard Williamson, has made a number of statements denying the full extent of the Nazi Holocaust of European Jews, as accepted by most mainstream historians.

In comments to Swedish television broadcast on Wednesday, he said: "I believe that the historical evidence is hugely against 6 million having been deliberately gassed in gas chambers as a deliberate policy of Adolf Hitler...I believe there were no gas chambers".

Williamson said he agreed with "revisionists" who say that "between 200,000 and 300,000 Jews perished in Nazi concentration camps, but not one of them by gassing in a gas chamber".

Elan Steinberg, vice president of the American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors and their Descendants, said the possibility that the pope would accept Williamson back into the mainstream church "has been received with shock and consternation".

"For the Jewish people and all persons who feel the pain of the terrible years of the Shoah, this development marks a dangerous blow to interfaith dialogue and encourages hate-mongers everywhere," he said.

Rome's chief rabbi, Riccardo Di Segni, said he was "shocked by such a horror of denial, which is even more grave since it comes from a bishop".

Di Segni told the newspaper La Stampa that Williamson's re-admission into the Church would open "a deep wound in dialogue with Judaism".

The traditionalists bishops reject many reforms of the 1962-1965 Second Vatican Council, notably its decision that Mass should be said in local languages rather than Latin, and its advocacy of dialogue with other religions.

A statement from the traditionalists said the implication they are racist was "entirely false and unjust". But it said the group had the right to "pray for conversion (of Jews) to the true faith, to study their recent and tragic history, or to question some of their political objectives".

At the end of the Swedish interview, William says he realizes he could go to jail for Holocaust denial in Germany.

Pope Benedict has already made several gestures of reconciliation to the schismatic group, including allowing the unconditional return of the old-style Latin Mass. That move angered Jews because the ceremony includes a Good Friday prayer for their conversion.


Republication of Nazi-era newspaper draws lawsuit

0 Comment (s)
German authorities launched legal action yesterday against a British publisher who reprinted and sold a Nazi newspaper featuring fiery remarks by Adolf Hitler's propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels.

The paper - the Voelkischer Beobachter (People's Observer), from March 1, 1933 - is the second in a series of Nazi-era newspapers republished in annotated facsimiles that has sparked a row in Germany over press freedom. The latest edition in the series hit German news-stands early yesterday, with a photograph on the front page of the Reichstag parliament building in flames, seen as a pivotal moment in the rise to power of the Nazis.

The fire was used by Hitler, who had been sworn in as chancellor four weeks earlier, to "prove" that Communists were hatching a plot against the German government and justify a swift crackdown.

"Murder, terror, fire and destruction: these are the terrible things this fanatical party [the Communists] leaves behind it," Goebbels writes in the commentary on the first page.

"We've had enough," cries the headline. "Now we're going to take ruthless and dramatic measures."

Bavaria's finance ministry, which holds the rights to all publications from the main Nazi publishing house, said in a statement it would seek to press charges against the publisher, Peter McGee, for copyright infringement. In addition, it would lodge a civil action to stop future papers being published.

On Jan. 16, the ministry issued a order banning any further publication of Nazi material but the publishers ignored the instruction. Bavaria said it is concerned about the possible offence to Holocaust survivors and the potential misuse of the material by neo-Nazis. While the publication of excerpts of documents from the period was allowed, the complete reprinting of these papers "risks being misused and is not acceptable," the ministry said.

Sandra Paweronschitz, chief editor of the series, said the argument the papers could fuel extremist activity was "as short-sighted as it is wrong." She pointed out that the republications are accompanied by commentary from leading historians putting the papers in their proper historical context.

"We will fight this attack on the freedom of the press with all legal means -- if necessary not only in civil courts but also before the Federal Constitutional Court," she said.

Charlotte Knobloch, head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, said she supported the publication of the paper but hoped people would also read the historians' comments.

"As a Holocaust survivor, these texts are much more to me than just interesting historical documents. They are part of a harrowing reality that I can still recall," she said in a commentary on the publisher's Web site. If people read only the propaganda, she acknowledged, it could be "disastrous."

With many financial commentators comparing the current economic crisis to the Great Depression of the 1930s, the paper also contains a headline about the "American financial scandal" that would not be out of place in today's news.

The Mellon bank -- now known as Bank of New York Mellon -- was ordered to pay US$400-million in a tax-evasion scandal, the paper reports under the headline: "Banking crisis expands even further."

The row over the republished papers follows a similar spat last year over the republication of Hitler's autobiography Mein Kampf ("My struggle"), which has been banned in Germany since the end of the Second World War.

National Post

A reminder of the threat

4 Comment (s)
If anyone needed a reminder of the growing BNP threat then it was there for all to see in the East Wickham ward by-election, which is in Bexley, yesterday. The BNP missed out on taking the ward by just eight votes. It was the Tory vote that really collapsed, dropping from 1362 when the ward was last contested in 2006 to 798 now. The BNP came second with 790 votes, up from the 601 they polled in 2006. Labour came third with 700 votes, down from the 931 votes in 2006.

Last Saturday the HOPE not hate team was out, delivering a very strong anti-BNP leaflet throughout the ward. It would be nice to think that we persuaded enough people to vote to make a difference.

By all accounts this was a really intensive BNP campaign, with as many as 10 different leaflets being distributed. (There will be a detailed article about this result in the next issue of Searchlight).

There was better news in Essex, where the BNP were trounced in another by-election.

With several key by-elections coming up around the country, including Newcastle, Tameside, St Helens and Carlisle, there is certainly no room for complacency.

HOPE not hate

January 22, 2009

Islam film Dutch MP to be charged

5 Comment (s)
A Dutch court has ordered prosecutors to put a right-wing politician on trial for making anti-Islamic statements. Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders made a controversial film last year equating Islam with violence and has likened the Koran to Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf.

"In a democratic system, hate speech is considered so serious that it is in the general interest to... draw a clear line," the court in Amsterdam said.

Mr Wilders said the judgement was an "attack on the freedom of expression".

"Participation in the public debate has become a dangerous activity. If you give your opinion, you risk being prosecuted," he said. Not only he, but all Dutch citizens opposed to the "Islamisation" of their country would be on trial, Mr Wilders warned. "Who will stand up for our culture if I am silenced?" he added.

The three judges said that they had weighed Mr Wilders's "one-sided generalisations" against his right to free speech, and ruled that he had gone beyond the normal leeway granted to politicians.

"The Amsterdam appeals court has ordered the prosecution of member of parliament Geert Wilders for inciting hatred and discrimination, based on comments by him in various media on Muslims and their beliefs," the court said in a statement. "The court also considers appropriate criminal prosecution for insulting Muslim worshippers because of comparisons between Islam and Nazism made by Wilders," it added.

The court's ruling reverses a decision last year by the public prosecutor's office, which said Mr Wilders's comments had been made outside parliament as a contribution to the debate on Islam in Dutch society and that no criminal offence had been committed. Prosecutors said on Wednesday that they could not appeal against the judgement and would open an investigation immediately.

Gerard Spong, a prominent lawyer who pushed for Mr Wilders's prosecution, welcomed the court's decision. "This is a happy day for all followers of Islam who do not want to be tossed on the garbage dump of Nazism," he told reporters.

In March 2008, Mr Wilders posted a film about the Koran on the internet, prompting angry protests across the Muslim World. The opening scenes of Fitna - a Koranic term sometimes translated as "strife" - show a copy of the holy book followed by footage of the bomb attacks on the US on 11 September 2001, London in July 2005 and Madrid in March 2004.

Pictures appearing to show Muslim demonstrators holding up placards saying "God bless Hitler" and "Freedom go to hell" also feature. The film ends with the statement: "Stop Islamisation. Defend our freedom."

Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende said at the time that the film wrongly equated Islam with violence and served "no purpose other than to offend". A year earlier, Mr Wilders described the Koran as a "fascist book" and called for it to be banned in "the same way we ban Mein Kampf", in a letter published in the De Volkskrant newspaper.

Mr Wilders has had police protection since Dutch director Theo Van Gogh was killed by a radical Islamist in 2004.

Correspondents say his Freedom Party (PVV), which has nine MPs in the lower house of parliament, has built its popularity largely by tapping into the fear and resentment of Muslim immigrants.


Taking the fight to the far right

3 Comment (s)
Blue State Digital's strategy and production teams are supporting Searchlight's "HOPE not hate" campaign in the UK to stop the fascist British National Party winning a seat in June's European election.

BSD will be working closely with Searchlight – developing messaging, email and fundraising campaigns to help supporters organise and mobilise - and then fight back against the BNPs message of racism, intolerance and hate.

Through BSD tools HOPE not hate supporters have already invited thousands of people to join the campaign – why not join them now – HOPE not hate

Blue State Digital

January 21, 2009

Canvey Island Football Club angry at BNP election leaflet photo

2 Comment (s)
Canvey Island Football Club claims the far-right British National Party is using the club to boost its chances of winning a by-election. The BNP is one of four parties challenging for the vacant Canvey East town council seat in tomorrow’s by-election.

Gulls officials are furious about a BNP election leaflet, which shows the party’s candidate, John Morgan, standing by the St George’s flag, painted on the gates of the club’s Park Road ground.

In December, players gave their support to the football industry’s anti-racism campaign, One Game One, Community and the club has stressed it does not want to be associated with the party.

Gulls publicity officer Glenn Eckett said: “The leaflet makes it look like we support the BNP, which we certainly do not. It didn’t ask if it could take the photo. Had it asked permission we would have said no. The BNP has extreme views which we don’t support. We want to highlight the fact we welcome people of all races and religions at Park Lane.”

The BNP has denied the leaflet suggests it has the support of the football club. Spokesman Simon Darby said: “The football club is a landmark on Canvey and the picture was just to localise the leaflet. If we had a picture taken outside a mosque, it wouldn’t mean the Islamic population supported us.”

Its candidate, Mr Morgan, 42, of Gwendalen Avenue, Canvey, won 18.5 per cent of the vote when he stood for the BNP in the Canvey North ward at the borough council elections last May. The Echo repeatedly tried to contact Mr Morgan, but he failed to get back to us before we went to press.

Also standing in the election tomorrow are:

* Colin MacLean, 37, an estate agent, of Lottem Road, Canvey – Conservative
* John Payne, 76, retired, of Komberg Crescent, Canvey - Labour
* Nicola Pontius, 62, retired, of May Avenue, Canvey – Canvey Island Independents

The polling station, at Leigh Beck Junior School, in Point Road, Canvey will be open from 7am until 10pm.

Echo News

Waddon byelection: BNP candidate quizzed by police in 2006

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The British National Party candidate for Waddon was questioned by police over possible election fraud in 2006.

Charlotte Lewis stood in the May elections for a ward in Sutton, despite living in Thornton Heath. Electoral rules dictate candidates must live or work in the borough they intend to represent, but Miss Lewis did neither. She had placed on her nomination form an address in Lind Road, Sutton, as her home residence – only for a London newspaper to expose the address as false. Miss Lewis claimed she was in a relationship with a resident at that address at the time but admitted she did not live there full time.

Speaking ahead of the Waddon byelection, Miss Lewis said she had been “taken advantage of” by a party organiser who has since left the organisation. She said: “It was down to the previous branch organiser. There was a guy who lived in Sutton who was supposed to stand but he disappeared. I was drafted in at the last minute. I very much regret what happened in 2006. I was taken advantage of and it won’t happen again. I am wiser and that person who cannot be trusted has gone.”

The 36-year-old said she had got confused as the Greater London Assembly constituency combines both Croydon and Sutton. She added: “I did not have time to familiarise myself with electoral law.”

Miss Lewis was questioned by the police at the time but the incident was not taken up by the electoral commission, nor the local council, and no charges were brought against her.

Your Local Guardian

January 20, 2009

Nazi death camp survivor tells pupils of the horrors

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Born in a German concentration camp just three days before it was liberated by the Americans, Holocaust survivor Eva Clarke has a remarkable story to tell.

Speaking yesterday at a Holywood grammar school, the 63-year-old held her teenage audience in rapture as she told her family’s story of life – and death – in Nazi occupied Czechoslovakia, Poland and Austria.

Almost all of Eva’s family were killed in concentration camps during World War Two, only a few survived – including her mother Anka who will be 92 this year. She spoke of her mother’s three-and-a-half years as a prisoner in Nazi camps Terezin, Auschwitz and Mauthausen and how she survived to give birth to Eva at the gates of one of the most notorious camps just days before the end of the war.

Starting with the gradual stigmatisation of Jews, she continued, with the aid of photographs and artefacts, to show how her parents were called to a warehouse from which they were taken to Terezin. They were lucky. Young and healthy they were able to work which kept them alive.

But they were separated and when Eva’s mother heard her husband had been moved to Auschwitz she volunteered to go after him, unaware of the horrendous nature of the camp. She never saw him again, but was lucky enough to survive the camp and was sent away to Dresden with a group of women to build V1 bombs.

From there she was sent to Mauthausen, where at just five stone, she gave birth to Eva as she climbed off the coal train at the entrance to the camp. Taken in a cart filled with the sick and infirm up the steep hill to the gates, she managed to give birth to her 3lb daughter.

The story is just one of many poignant and sad moments – from the comments from the Nazi officers and so-called doctors who carried out experiments, to the instances of luck and good fortune which enabled her mother Anka to survive.

And her message certainly got through to the pupils at Sullivan Upper in Holywood, where she spoke to junior and senior pupils.

Eva Clarke is in Northern Ireland on behalf of the Holocaust Educational Trust. She will be speaking at Fermanagh County Museum in Enniskillen today and tomorrow.

Belfast News Letter

January 19, 2009

MoD investigates race hate on web

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Facebook remarks said to be from serving soldiers - Comments follow row over Prince Harry video

The Ministry of Defence launched a fresh inquiry into racism in the army last night after the Guardian uncovered a series of extreme and offensive comments on the social networking site Facebook.

The racist remarks were posted by people claiming to be serving soldiers. One writer's espoused political idea was to "kill the paks", while another listed having an interest in "ethnic cleansing" and enjoying "SS marching music".

Many of the remarks referred to "Pakis" and "ragheads", and on one discussion thread someone from the West Midlands claimed there was deep-seated hatred of immigrants in the UK among many troops, who were, the writer thought, sick of seeing people burn flags and preaching hate on British streets.

The comments follow the publication of a video of Prince Harry last week in which the third in line to the throne described another soldier as a "Paki".

The prince's remarks drew widespread criticism from equality campaigners, and the Equality and Human Rights Commission demanded an inquiry. A spokeswoman said the watchdog would press the armed forces to dismantle its racist "barrack-room culture".

The Guardian has given the commission a dossier containing the comments from the social networking site.

Many of those who wrote on this Facebook site expressed support for the far-right British National party. One gave an army number and base before asking others on the message board: "Anyone fancy a spot of Paki bashing?"

Others joined a thread called "I'm a soldier why should i fight for stealing immigrant scum".

Equality campaigners said that the level of racism and extremism expressed underlined the need for the army to take immediate action.

"These comments show quite clearly that racism still exists within the army," said Mohammed Shafiq, chief executive of the Ramadan Foundation, a Muslim youth group. "There has undoubtedly been a huge change in attitude among senior ranks and ministers but this shows that has simply not trickled down to the rank and file ... If the army truly wants to start recruiting more people from an ethnic minority background this has got to be addressed as a matter of urgency."

The MoD said it would investigate the remarks, insisting it was committed to "a working environment which is free from harassment, intimidation and unlawful discrimination".

A senior military source told the Guardian that anyone found to "hold the views" expressed by those Facebook correspondents would be "hunted down and dealt with most severely" if it was clear they had not met the army's "required high standards of behaviour". The source added: "If these people are soldiers and do genuinely have these opinions I don't think there is any genuine soldier or officer who would want them in their army. But I know from my experience they represent a tiny, tiny percentage ... in the UK's armed forces."

The MoD claimed progress in tackling racism, saying the percentage of forces from an ethnic minority background rose from 5.9% last year to 6.3%, though the target was 8%. It aimed to employ forces staff "from all of the UK's diverse communities so we reflect the society we serve".


Church asked to ban BNP members

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The Church of England is to be asked to ban clergy from joining the British National Party (BNP).

The general synod - the Church's parliament - will be urged to adopt a similar policy to other bodies which forbid BNP membership, like the police.

The move comes after the leaked publication of the names of 12,000 BNP members in November. The list contained five "Reverends" but the Church said none was a licensed or serving clergy member.

The Association of Chief Police Officers policy states that no member of the police service may be a member of an organisation whose constitution, aims or objectives contradict the general duty to promote equality. It specifically mentions the BNP as one such organisation.

At the meeting of the synod next month one of its members, Vasantha Gnanadoss - who works for the Metropolitan Police - will submit a private members motion calling for a similar policy to apply to all clergy, candidates for ordination and lay persons speaking on behalf of the Church.

She said the policy would make it more difficult for organisations like the BNP to exploit the claim that there are members of the Anglican clergy that support them.

"Of specific relevance to this motion are some of the tactics adopted by the BNP, which in recent years has sought to identify itself as Christian and sometimes specifically with the Church of England, in order to further its agenda," she said.

William Fittall, secretary general of the general synod, said it was already Church of England policy that people should not enter ordained ministry if they held racist views. He added, however, that it would be harder for the Church to enact a formal policy aimed at the BNP.

"Not long ago the synod passed the Clergy Discipline Measure, which specifically said you could not discipline a member of the clergy for political views or membership of a political party," he said.

A BNP spokesman said the party was aware of the efforts of Ms Gnanadoss and denied it was racist.

"There are members of the general synod who are sympathetic towards us," he said. "This is a disgraceful way to politicise the Church. The Church has got far more important things we feel to worry about... rather than a vindictive campaign against a perfectly legitimate political party".


One Flew Over The Pig Farm: the BNP and us in 2008 - May

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If the plans we have in place to prevent electoral fraud via the spoiling of ballot boxes works then I expect three BNP officials to be elected in London. If their is fraud then only Richard will get elected.

Around the country I expect 40 new councillors to be elected and us to come second in about 120 other places.
So wrote political genius and legal mastermind Lee John Barnes as polling for the local and GLA elections began on May 1st.

Mocked by many as the BNP's most suitable case for treatment, Barnes's remarks were derided for being hopelessly optimistic and quite in keeping with his usual predictive extravagance, but what shouldn't be forgotten is that - demented though he may be - Barnes is close to the core of the BNP leadership, and would have had a good idea of the party's private expectations.

Keeping their expectations secret was part of the BNP's game in the run up to the elections, but we have a fair idea that Barnes (himself possessing all the political acumen of a brick) was merely passing on what the leadership believed it could achieve in near perfect political and social circumstances for the racist party. The leadership wasn't alone: the BNP's keyboard army continually referred to 2008 as "the year of the BNP" and their hopes at times verged on the stratospheric.

Opinion amongst anti-fascists was divided as to how well (or badly) the BNP would do. As discontent with the Labour government reached new heights, as migration scares broke almost daily in the press, and as the BBC's infamous "White" season climaxed, it did seem to some that May 2008 really could see the BNP make its long-predicted breakthrough. At Lancaster Unity we exercised restraint, keeping in mind the BNP's failure of the previous year (also prematurely hailed as "the year of the BNP"), and having reported on a mostly uninspiring series of BNP local by-election results during the course of 2007 and early 2008. It wasn't that we didn't harbour concerns, but our experience told us not to expect a political earthquake on May 1st.

Following the dud that was the BNP's 2007 local election performance, and coming as another bout of internal feuding rumbled on, Nick Griffin and his inner circle were deeply concerned that another bad BNP performance would see the end of his leadership as the more astute among the membership tired of Griffin's endless "jam tomorrow" promises. Their plan to circumvent dissention and bolster morale was tried, tested, simple - and guaranteed to work on a party membership remarkable for its gullibility and lack of political perception: everything, no matter how trivial, would be claimed as a BNP victory, even if the polar opposite were true.

To that end members were encouraged to stand in the most paltry of parish and town council elections, and especially to stand in obscure parishes where the BNP's candidate could expect to be returned unopposed. This gave the party the opportunity to brag that it had so many councillors "elected" here or there even before a ballot had been cast on May 1st. That these parish councillors had little or no power was never highlighted, and the party was always careful to omit the all-important word "parish" before that of "councillor".

It was simple trickery, mostly designed to fool the BNP membership, and it worked handsomely.

On election day we experimented with "live" blogging, and the Lancaster Unity community rallied round to support us in what proved to be a long and interesting night.

May 1st 2008 represented the culmination of the BNP's biggest push to date, but as the results began to come in it was obvious that all their effort and bluster was bringing in but scant reward. Searchlight later reported:
On election day the BNP predicted it would win 40 new councillors and three seats on the London Assembly. However, when the first results came in, it quickly became clear that this was too optimistic. As the night continued the size of the BNP failure became apparent.

The BNP won three seats in Stoke-on-Trent and two each in Amber Valley, Rotherham and Nuneaton & Bedworth. It also took one seat in Thurrock, Three Rivers, Pendle and Calderdale. It also successfully defended seats in Epping and Burnley. This takes the number of BNP councillors to 55, up from 45 before these elections.

However, it also lost two seats it was defending in Epping and one in Kirklees.

In most areas the BNP share of the vote was well down on last year, which in itself was down on the previous election, particularly in its traditional heartlands.
An increase of ten councillors and a falling vote was hardly a glittering success and certainly not what a nervy Nick Griffin wanted to hear. Barnes quickly backtracked on his "40 new BNP councillors" statement, claiming that he had in fact meant 40 new parish and district councillors, and that was enough to satisfy the majority of BNP troops, who convinced themselves that they had somehow made an historic advance, with one of their better known but more moronic bloggers postulating that in future May 1st might be renamed "BNP Day".

Knowing that the more savvy and rebellious of his members would see straight through the hype, a threatened Griffin desperately hoped to pull a Barnbrook out of the hat in the GLA elections, which were counted on May 2nd.

The BNP could only win seats on the GLA (which, for their purposes, they elevated to something close to the fount of all power) through the party top-up system, and initially believed they were on course to take three GLA seats through these back-door means. As it became increasingly obvious that the party would be lucky to break the 5% barrier necessary to give them a single seat, so the expansive predictions were reined in and an anxious day began for Nick Griffin.

Lancaster Unity again "live blogged" the results with the help of our own loyal community (and as large an audience of BNP lurkers). For much of the night it seemed that the BNP's Richard Barnbrook would not pass the 5% threshold, and while we waited the BNP contented itself with euphoric celebrations on the news that Conservative Boris Johnson had ousted Labour's Ken Livingstone in the mayoral race. Lee Barnes commented incisively:






Barnes was more than premature in believing that the BNP had secured a GLA seat, since it was by no means certain at that hour that they had. Richard Barnbrook's appalling performance in the mayoral contest, where he had picked up a derisory 2.9% (not something Barnes dwelled on), suggested caution.

At one in the morning, however, it became clear that Barnbrook had crept into the London Assembly on 5.4%, and the online element of the BNP erupted with jubilation at their victory, egged on by Griffinites determined to gloss over the uncomfortable fact that in the most ideal circumstances possible the party had stalled in the local election polls and failed by a long way to achieve its GLA targets.

Naturally we weren't delighted with Barnbrook's election, but it wasn't the end of the world, given the pre-poll fears of many that London's PR system might provide the BNP with the electoral breakthrough it craved. We were also happy that the BNP's man on the Assembly was Barnbrook, who immediately demonstrated why in an incoherent slurry-shouty (not to say lonely) speech that set the tone for his GLA tenure.

Barnbrook's election was almost certainly the single most important factor in saving Nick Griffin's leadership bacon. The man had, after all, yet again presided over what were a generally uninspiring set of election results, the only real high point being Barnbrook's GLA seat. In consequence, the hyping of Barnbrook continued apace, but just in case any awkward BNP members of rebellious bent should point out that 5.4% wasn't really very good at all, the party came up with a tale of “massive and organised ballot box tampering”, claiming 400,000 votes went west, a lie quickly nailed by Searchlight.

It was at this moment that the most unlikely (and ill-timed) challenge to Nick Griffin's leadership was announced by disaffected Kirklees BNP councillor Colin Auty. Soon after that, an email of disputed provenance was passed on to Lancaster Unity. Allegedly from the irrepressible Lee Barnes in his capacity as Director of the BNP's Legal Department, the missive certainly hit all the usual Barnsian notes:
I have been instructed to inform you of a bogus and illegal leadership challenge and the disciplinary measures we are now putting in place to squash this diversionary and divisive activity in the bud. This is a deceitful and cynical attempt to divert the party’s attention away from the historical victory last week in London and to derail the activist’s attention away from the all important European Elections next June.

This is a sham nothing and more than a forged challenge devised by the liars, thieves and splitters who tried to wreck the party in December 2007 before their unsuccessful coup was successfully thwarted by quick action from the Party’s own security, legal and intelligence departments. The challenger claims is to be Councilor Colin Autty from Kirkless in Yorkshire, a decent man who is known to many of you but he is being used as a puupet by the gang of malcontents who stole party emails, stole party property, stole thousand of pounds of party monies, spread malicious rumours about the Chairman, myself and other senior party officers on bogus Blogs and through a series of bogus bulletins which they prepared using stolen membership lists which they then passed on to our enemies in MI5, The Special Branch, The Labour Party and the Searchlight organisation. They then tried unsuccessfully to set up a rival political party. It is a cylical attempt by our enemies to try and derail the Party and to stop activities to get BNP members electd to the European Parliament.
The dust had hardly settled after the local elections when three of the BNP's newly elected (unopposed) town councillors in Colwyn Bay resigned from the party for reasons not entirely clear, but protestations on the part of one of them, John Oddy, that "I have never been a racist" indicated a belated opening of eyes to what the BNP is really all about. That, however, proved not to be the case. Oddy had just been fined £100 for using a mobile telephone while driving his car, but later still he told the North Wales Daily Post:
“I feel as I have become more high profile I have clashed with the hierarchy in the party and this has now come to a head and led to my resignation. I am at odds with the opinions of the Welsh branch of the BNP, although I have no quarrel with the party nationally.”
Paul Harley, who resigned with Oddy, said: "I have found out more about the party and I am not happy with what I have found out."

Better late than never, but was that the whole truth? Antifascist wasn't convinced:
All three remain members of the local golf club, a place where the Colwyn Bay glitterati meet, confer and make deals which, in the words of one of our correspondents, is full of BNP sympathisers, covert supporters and party members, and none of the three protagonists have showed any sign of feeling the need to disassociate from the club - which leads one to believe that this evolution from BNP to Independent is nothing but a cosmetic change, designed simply to allay the fears of the locals that the Colwyn Bay trio may be too close to the BNP and thus they might get grubby by association.
The BNP met with a humiliating rebuff in Stoke-on-Trent, where Lord Kamlesh Patel was to discuss violent extremism with local community leaders. Refusing to speak to Alby Walker, BNP group leader on Stoke City Council, Lord Patel said:
"I make no apology for refusing to meet with the BNP during my visit to Stoke. My work is focused on looking at what positive actions local communities can take to prevent extremism. I do not believe that any party with extremist views has anything constructive to contribute to this agenda."
With a leadership challenge pending, Griffinite spin on the BNP's election performance reached new heights (or depths, as you will), with the party's website grandstanding the headline: "Tories, Plaid Cymru and Lib Dems trounced in Swansea". The problem was that the BNP had also been trounced, not winning a single seat. A spokesman for the Welsh Tories told the Swansea Evening Post: "These absurd claims fly in the face of the facts. The BNP's divisive, extremist views were rejected by voters in Swansea and every other part of Wales."

At Stafford Crown Court the trial of Stoke-on-Trent man Habib Khan opened. Khan was charged with the murder of Keith Brown, a BNP activist who had subjected the Khan family to "years of racial taunts, threats and violence", as The Times reported:
Mr Brown and his family, none of whom worked, were said to have been jealous of their industrious Pakistani neighbours and to have inflicted a spiral of abuse on them. Habib Khan is accused of stabbing Mr Brown to death with an eight-inch kitchen knife.
Keith Brown's tragic death the previous June was the culmination of a series of violent incidents between the neighbouring Brown and Khan families, one the BNP spun for all it was worth. Nick Griffin, who appears never to have met Keith Brown, cynically turned up at his funeral, which became little more than a BNP propaganda exercise as its leader gave a tearful interview to the risible "BNPtv News". The party shamelessly ignored sub-judice as it "reported" its version of events, which cast Brown in the light of a martyr to Muslim violence.

This was very far from the truth, as Stafford Crown Court heard. Habib Khan, described as a "mild and calm-mannered family man", had taken a knife to threaten Brown, who had hold of one of his sons. The trial judge said that Khan had acted "in the honest belief that he needed to protect his son" but in doing so had killed Mr Brown.

Khan was cleared of murder but found guilty of manslaughter and wounding, and later received an eight-year prison sentence.

Nick Griffin and Colin Auty
Meanwhile, alleged BNP elections "guru" and erstwhile Griffinite Eddy Butler waded into Colin Auty's leadership challenge in a strange, hectoring email that spoke in one moment of "our Parties [sic] openness and commitment to democracy" then talked of "anyone who has the temerity to wish to stand for leadership". The "temerity to wish"?

Butler gave out strong hints that the BNP's rules might need to be changed to preserve Nick Griffin's position: "There will be pressure, perhaps unstoppable pressure, to change the rules so that leadership challenges can only take place every four years." No prizes for guessing where the "unstoppable pressure" would originate.

As it later turned out, the Griffin-inspired notion of allowing challenges only every four years was a con being worked on the BNP membership, who would be got - through a bogus compromise - to give Griffin what he really wanted.

Butler, possessed of a very Stalinist idea of "democracy", called on members not to sign Colin Auty's nomination forms, referred to the councillor as a "joke candidate" and recommended that the leadership election "should be carried out in the most rapid manner possible with zero publicity allowed" to Auty.

Paranoic Griffinite attrition on Auty was relentless. The BNP's own secret forum banned any pro-Auty discussion, while its dirty tricks department marched around the internet spreading black propaganda. BNP branches were instructed not to invite Auty to speak at their meetings, and branches which had booked troubadour Auty to sing cancelled.

Auty's campaign manager, Roger Robertson, the BNP's former South-East Regional Organiser, was told that he faced disciplinary proceedings, much as Mike Easter (Chris Jackson's manager the previous year) found himself subject to a Griffinite fit-up.

The intention was clearly to dissuade BNP members from signing Auty's nomination papers, the implied threat being that they, too, would face expulsion. It was a telling measure of the febricity infecting the top of the BNP that this vicious overkill was deployed to protect Nick Griffin from a challenge everybody knew he would walk.

In the meantime Richard Barnbrook made an utter fool of himself when he threatened to stampede into London mayor Boris Johnson's office with "100 young people". The brown-suited one had been to Sidcup, hoping to exploit the murder of Robert Knox. In a since deleted blog post he wrote:
I have invited all of the young people there to come down to City Hall this Tuesday for 9:30 in the morning. This knife crime has to be stopped. If I have to bring a 100 young people into Boris's office then that is what I will do.
Barnbrook and his aides stood waiting outside City Hall at the appointed time, ready to greet the throngs of incensed young militants rallying to his call. He waited, and waited, and waited, vainly scanning the horizon for signs of massed greasy hair and acne on the march, but saw only the familiar face of self-inflicted humiliation grinning directly back at him.

To be continued...