May 10, 2009

Senior Labour MP accuses BBC of 'whitewash' over coverage of BNP rise to power

BBC bosses are under fire for going soft on the far right British National Party.

News chiefs at the corporation were accused of a ‘whitewash’ for delaying an investigation into the extremist views of the BNP until after the European elections next month. The poll on June 4th could see the neo-fascist group gain British seats in the Brussels Parliament for the first time.

Campaigners and MPs said that politically correct liberals at the BBC are ‘being played like fools’ for treating the BNP like ‘any other political party’. The party’s leader Nick Griffin has already been offered a one to one chat with the BBC interviewer Andrew Marr if his party acquires its first MEP.

The anti-fascist campaign group Searchlight called for an explanation of the BBC’s decision to postpone the broadcast of an investigation into a senior British National Party activist with links to the South African security services. The shelved investigation, being produced by BBC Wales, features Arthur Kemp, the South African head of BNP election distribution, who was arrested following the murder of anti-apartheid activist Chris Hani, in 1993.

Although subsequently released, Kemp admitted producing a list of names of prominent ANC activists that was found at the home of one of Hani’s killers.

Searchlight is also angry that a Newsnight report titled ‘the rising power of the BNP’ broadcast last week concluded: ‘It looks like a more moderate BNP courting voters this spring.’ The programme failed to mention that Clive Jefferson one of the BNP activists it interviewed was arrested two years ago for an alleged public order offence, following a complaint from a member of the public that he had been threatening and abusive whilst distributing BNP literature.

A second BNP figure featured in the report, Martin Wingfield, was arrested, prosecuted and imprisoned in 1985 under the Race Relations Act, following distribution of racist literature. His criminal record was not mentioned either and BNP Deputy Leader Simon Darby advised his members to watch the broadcast, claiming it was, ‘not a bad piece overall’.

Senior Labour MP Jon Cruddas has written to Helen Boaden, the director of BBC News to call for a change of tack, after it also emerged that BNP spokesman have also been interviewed by a BBC camera crew for a second Newsnight piece on ‘British Jobs For British Workers’, a phrase used by Gordon Brown but now appropriated as the BNP’s election slogan.

He wrote: ‘It seems to me that there is total confusion within the BBC regarding editorial policy towards the British National Party. Membership of the BNP is proscribed in a number of public sector organisations, such as the Police and the Prison Service. It is not, ‘just another political party’.

‘There is no attempt to scrutinise the BNP on their extremist policy platform, their membership, their links to other extremist organisations, or their extremist philosophy.’

Mr Cruddas said: ‘Their activists are featured, but not challenged. Issues favourable to their agenda are analysed on national news and current affairs outlets. Invitations are extended to their spokesman indicating they are to be treated as if they are a mainstream political party. And programmes which expose their extremist and racist agenda are shelved. It is imperative that common sense and clarity are brought to the Corporation’s editorial policy towards this neo-Fascist organisation.’

A Searchlight spokesman added: ‘The BBC are being played like fools by the BNP. The Newsnight broadcast was a whitewash, and now they’re axing programmes because of pressure from Nick Griffin and his thugs.

'If the BBC want to cover the BNP that’s fine, but they have to challenge them and properly expose their agenda of prejudice and hate.’

Daily Mail


N said...

'Rise to power'? What rise to power? That's the stupidest headline I've ever read.

Anonymous said...

There is something very odd and potentially very nasty going on behind the scenes.

Whatever one thinks of Searchlight they have years of experience and expertise in combatting the far-right at elections. There are rules that guide what can and cannot be said by the media during the build up but Searchlight understand the complexities of these rules and would be able to provide advice.

For whatever reason the BBC and other media are hiding behind these rules to consciously big up the BNP. Why?

Ben Trunch said...

If the BNP is a regular political party, why does it not disclose the location for tomorrow's press conference? What has it got to hide?

If the BBC has information about the shady and dodgy side of the BNP; they have a duty to broadcast it so we the voters can make up our minds about the BNP.

The BNP are not a joke. They take themselves very seriously (when it suits them to hoodwink the electorate).

How can the BNP youth "leaders" have passed Enhanced Disclosure vetting with the CRB? These adults who use children for their sexual (power) gratification should not be allowed anywhere near other people's children...

Exactly what is going on with the people who should be exposing and regulating the BNP?

LU, Searchlight and others are doing a wonderful job in exposing the unsavoury side of the BNP - come on BBC, we licence fee payers deserve better!

Anonymous said...

While I am sure that the BBC documentary including Arthur Kemp will be interesting I am also 100% sure that they do not have the full story - it will actually explain a lot. He may not have directly worked for the British security establishment in the past but he sure as hell passed information to them. One can only wonder whether this is not still the case.

He immigrated to the UK in 1996 on the basis of an ancestral visa. He left in 1999 leaving behind a string of unpaid debt. He returned in 2007, presumably using an ancestral visa yet again (thought that there was a restriction on how many times you could play this card?). He came with a rather nasty background and it may be that he lied in his application about staying in the UK previously. Either way he did a duck and left debt behind and he should have been on some sort of list flagging his sort of undesirables, however once again he was welcomed into the UK.

Maybe it is because he still serves a useful purpose for the government. One should also question how he maintains himself - I believe that he left South Africa penniless and although he worked illegally in the USA while he was there, presumably he now lives of the proceeds of his "books". Even if he is not just a "volunteer" for the BNP as he claims, and is paid by them for his efforts with their website, can this really support his present lifestyle?

Makes you think!

The BBC would have done well to pay for a reporter to take a trip to SA to discuss this with the many people who he double crossed there. He is not particularly welcome in right wing circles in SA for some obvious and then not so obvious reasons.

Mr Fister said...

Hi All,

Just to let you know I'm back....

Bigger Picture said...

Changing Centigrade to Fahrenheit is straight forward. C over one hundred equals F minus 32, all over one hundred and eighty. To get a Fahrenheit number from a Centigrade number, multiply the Centigrade number by nine, divide it by five, and then add thirty two to the result. Simple, really.

However most of us don’t have developed abilities to understand simple calculations quickly. So it may be as well to state the more or less obvious about percentages. To express a part total as a percentage of an overall total, divide the part total by the overall total and multiply the result by one hundred.

BNP 10 votes, Lab 30 votes, Lib 30 votes and Tories 30 votes. The overall total is 10 plus 30 plus 30 plus 30 equals 100 votes. The BNP percentage of the votes would be part total ten divided by overall total one hundred, the result being multiplied by one hundred to get the percentage. The two 100s in this simple example would cancel each other out, making the BNP percentage ten per cent.

A good turn out would not improve the BNP vote. Only committed head bangers vote BNP. If there was a good turn out, the votes of the parties might be BNP ten, Lab fifty, Lib fifty and Tories fifty, producing an overall total of ten plus fifty plus fifty plus fifty, making 160. The BNP percentage would thus become 10 divided by 160, the result being multiplied by 100, making a 6.25 BNP percentage.

SO WHERE ARE WE WITH THIS? Every single individual non BNP vote in proportional representation elections would be an effective and important vote against the BNP. And the distribution of the non BNP votes would be fairly unimportant. Forget threshold technicalities. Every individual non BNP vote in the Euro elections would count as an effective and important vote against the BNP, the overall total of votes being the important factor.


Ex-AC member said...

Just more evidence that the BNP is now the latest establishment safety valve. It was UKIP in 2004, this year it's Gri££in's compliant BNP and hand on heart you anti-fash have nothing to worry about. The BNP is being shunted in a direction which sits well with both the Establishment and the Mr and Mrs. Average Nice Person who is voting/donating/joining the BNP. The same kind of peeps who were duped into backing UKIP in 2004. There wont be any anti-Muslim pogroms or the like - the State have everything under control. Just a tragedy that the Powys pig farmer will have his snout in the EU trough.

Face it - the BNP will have a minimum of 3 and perhaps a 4th MEP in 4 weeks time. Nothing can happen in this country without approval/co-operation and in last measure coercion by the State. I've been told by a very reliable source that Gri££in has been promised a regular column in Taki's Spectator if he secures a Brussels seat.

Anonymous said...

I think you are underestimating the BBC - I suspect they are just getting the facts and boy are there some!

Green Gordon said...

It isn't true that any vote for any other party works against the BNP. To Keep the BNP out of Europe, another party has to beat them. If you vote for, say, Labour instead of BNP and Labour are not going to get the last seat because of how many they already have elected in that region, then, your vote for Labour does not work against the BNP. IF there was a threshold the BNP had to reach, this may be different, but there isn't. To vote strategically against the BNP you need to vote for the party that will deny them a seat by winning that last seat.