June 23, 2009

BNP: Commission takes action over potential breach of race discrimination law

The EHRC has today written to BNP over possible breaches of anti-discrimination law.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has today written to the British National Party over possible breaches of anti-discrimination law. The Commission has demanded that the party address potential breaches related to its constitution and membership criteria, employment practices and provision of services to the public and constituents.

The letter, sent to the party chairman Nick Griffin, outlines the Commission’s concerns about the BNP’s compliance with the Race Relations Act. The letter asks the BNP to provide written undertakings by 20th July that it will make the changes required by the Commission. Failure to do so may result in the Commission issuing an application for a legal injunction against the BNP.

The Commission has a statutory duty, under the Equality Act 2006, to enforce the provisions of the Act and to work towards the elimination of unlawful discrimination. This duty includes preventing discrimination by political parties.

The Commission thinks that the BNP’s constitution and membership criteria may discriminate on the grounds of race and colour, contrary to the Race Relations Act. The party’s membership criteria appear to restrict membership to those within what the BNP regards as particular “ethnic groups” and those whose skin colour is white. This exclusion is contrary to the Race Relations Act which the party is legally obliged to comply with. The Commission therefore thinks that the BNP may have acted, and be acting, illegally.

The Commission has required the BNP to provide a written undertaking that it will not discriminate contrary to the Race Relations Act in its employment and recruitment policies, procedures and practices.

The BNP’s website states that the party is looking to recruit people and states that any applicants should supply a membership number. The Commission thinks that this requirement is contrary to the Race Relations Act, which outlaws the refusal or deliberate omission to offer employment on the basis of non-membership of an organisation. The Commission is therefore concerned that the BNP may have acted, and be acting, illegally.

The letter asks the BNP to provide a written undertaking that it will amend its policy on recruitment accordingly so that it complies with the Race Relations Act.

The Commission is also concerned that the BNP’s elected representatives may not intend to offer or provide services on an equal basis to all their constituents and members of the public irrespective of race or colour. The Commission thinks that this contravenes the Race Relations Act and the Local Authority Model Code of Conduct and that the BNP may have acted illegally and may act illegally in the future.

The Commission’s letter asks the BNP to provide a written undertaking that its elected representatives or those working for them will not discriminate on grounds of race or colour in the provision of services to members of the public or constituents.

John Wadham, Group Director Legal at the Equality and Human Rights Commission said:

“The Commission’s statutory role includes a duty to investigate possible breaches of discrimination law and take action where appropriate. The legal advice we have received indicates that the British National Party’s constitution and membership criteria, employment practices and provision of services to constituents and the public may breach discrimination laws which all political parties are legally obliged to uphold. We await a response from the BNP to our letter before deciding what further action we may take. Litigation or enforcement action can be avoided by the BNP giving a satisfactory response to our letter.”

Equality and Human Rights Commission

32 comments:

KO said...

The letter the EHRC sent to Nick Griffin can be downloaded from here (Word document 278kb)
http://www.equalityhumanrights.com/uploaded_files/letter_before_claim_final.doc

Simon said...

BNP please go away

equal rights for all

god save the queen

Anonymous said...

This could be interesting....

Barbara Suzuki said...

About time these prejudiced people were held accountable for their racism, homophobia, misogyny and general nastiness.
Well done the lawyers!
At last.

Anonymous said...

"The Commission thinks that the BNP’s constitution and membership criteria may discriminate on the grounds of race and colour, contrary to the Race Relations Act. The party’s membership criteria appear to restrict membership to those within what the BNP regards as particular “ethnic groups” and those whose skin colour is white. This exclusion is contrary to the Race Relations Act which the party is legally obliged to comply with. The Commission therefore thinks that the BNP may have acted, and be acting, illegally."

It's been said before but it's worth saying again, we need to organise some black anti-fascists to make a concerted effort to join the BNP. The results could be useful.

Anonymous said...

They will go to the European court, which will take ages. As there are many other parties in the EU that are the same, don't think this will work.

Bilbo said...

According to the Guardian

"The BNP said it had passed the letter on to its legal team."

That's okay then. Lee Barnes will just tell them to fuck off and we can get this shithole of a party closed down.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the BNP will relax its rules enough to take on a token black it can parade alongside its token Jew, Pat Richardson.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't normally encourage people to join the BNP but it wouldn't take that many non-white people to join en masse and completely scupper them. Imagine if a mosque got all its worshippers to join and then voted to appoint a non-white BNP candidate for the next election. Result? The racists would leave and there'd be no BNP vote as the racists wouldn't vote for them and neither would non-whites as they'd know it was a piss-take. Someone should organise this.

Also, look at the Telegraph website and it lists the top 10 constitiuencies according to the MP's expenses being checked. Three of them are Barnsley East, Oldham East and Stoke South. I'd guess it's the BNP doing the checking as they'll be targetting these constituencies at next year's general. So we can guess where they'll be active and can pop along and say hello to them.

irishtony said...

As a result of this.Is it true that Excalibur are NOW selling the old REM single
"Is this the end of the world as we know it"

Joy of joys

Anonymous said...

I'm in two minds over this. I think this sets a dangerous precedent towards allowing them to be seen as a 'legitimate' political party. You cannot temper their Nazi ideologies and declaring their membership criteria illegal will only serve to reinforce their Nazi ideologies.

Their current membership criteria spells out clearly that they are a racist organisation and it is something that allows us anti-fascists to expose their fascist ideologies clearly and easily.

On the other hand their membership criteria also allows them to garner support by using this as smokescreen to cover up their true Nazi ideology and claim they are just supporting the white working class. In this sense they would be undermined slightly, but ultimately as a previous poster said, they would just use this opportunistically and hide their true ideology, like they do with Pat Richardson.

Anonymous said...

I want to join the bnp.


Akmed J'mal.

Anonymous said...

"Perhaps the BNP will relax its rules enough to take on a token black it can parade alongside its token Jew, Pat Richardson."


That's exactly what they'll do, and I said on here a while back that this will lead to the BNP becoming more popular. When people see the token black member being paraded, they will assume the BNP are not racist.

We should be careful what we wish for. I think this legal action will be disastrous for us but some people on here are just happy to see the BNP inconvenienced at any opportunity without thinking things through.

Denise G said...

I think the EHRC has been prodded into action by worried politicians, rather than doing this of its own volition.

Those of us with experience of EHRC have too frequently come away with a sense that it seems to exist only to maintain its own overblown bureaucracy. Case after clear cut case has been put to it - names, addresses, dates, solid evidence - only for EHRC to claim it is unable to investigate. How could it possibly be unable to investigate the cases put to it, when when the whole point of its existence is to investigate, build a case and then prosecute?

Though I'm pleased with the news, I have yet to be convinced that EHRC has its heart in this.

Assuming this does go anywhere it will be good to see the BNP sued into oblivion when the first membership applications bearing the name Mohammed are turned down.

However, as others are warning, this could be a double-edged sword.

Anonymous said...

The idea of encouraging anti-Fascists (of whatever colour) to join the BNP is insane and very poorly thought through.
What would it achieve?
Lots of extra money for the BNP, lots of new (paper/token) members, which it will parade on the Electoral Commission website as 'proof' of how popular it is, lots of new non-white members which will be used to prove it is not a racist organisation.
And will they select a non-white BNP candidate? No, because local branches only select candidates with Herr Gri££ins permission - he, and his sycophantic controlling assembly - decide who will be candidates, right down to parish council level, if there is any sort of conflict about who stands, Gri££in decides.
Black BNP members don't get to vote on policies (Gri££in decides what policy items will be voted on, and Gri££in decides which members will be allowed to vote). The Advisory Council is selected by Gri££in, as are organisers, regional representatives, party spokesmen ect.
If several non-Whites joined, were the BNP forced to accept them, then the few non-Whites already in tow with him (Pat Richardson and a few other non-practicing Jews, Rusteem the half-Turkish councillor, the half-Armenian who stood in Bradford two years agom his pet Sikh and, no doubt, a handful of others) would be given token positions, one or two put on the Advisory Council, and hey presto! The BNP is a mainstream party with no racist background, just a 'concerned' group of all races who hold 'common sense' views.
Anyone suggesting getting people to join the BNP on the grounds of their colour is either a fool or sorely misguided.
This move by the EHRC is also, imo, doomed to fail anyway. As previously said here, it will be held up in European debate for years, will probably die a death by being strangled by red tape, will be oppossed in the EU by several governments (Austria, Holland, Italy and Belgium all spring to mind, probably several others as well) and the BNP will receive massive free publicity, will position themselves as the 'poor little underdog' fighting a 'fascist government' whao are taking the action because they lost 'democratic elections' and that this move takes away the 'rights' of people who voted BNP.
Tbh, I can't see an upside to this, unless very strong action is going to be taken, very quickly, with a guarantee of success, a guarantee that it will be supported by the entire media, and only then if the BNP panic and start shouting nazi nonsense rather than rolling with the blow and selecting a few tokens to meet the legal necessities.

Anonymous said...

Too little too late. It's apparent from the letter referred to by KO that this is a kneejerk reaction to the entirely foreseeable (except by the EHRC) election of BNP MEPs.

It's also apparent from the letter that the BNP has been in violation of the law for many years, and yet no action has been taken previously.

To inflict damage upon the BNP, litigation should have been started several years ago, before they achieved their present prominance. What they will now do is spin the process out as long as possible, milking it of every drop of publicity, and portraying themselves as David against the Goliath of the state. (That's assuming they don't mind taking on the role of a nice token Jewish boy.)

This is unlikely to harm the BNP before the next General Election, but will simply devour many square miles of coniferous forest to produce newsprint reporting the case. Not so much the oxygen of publicity as the CO2 of publicity.

Horses and stable doors come to mind.

Kev Scott loves The Jam said...

irishtony said...

As a result of this.Is it true that Excalibur are NOW selling the old REM single
"Is this the end of the world as we know it"

Joy of joys


Did anyone tell REM..... they might have something to say about it!!

Anonymous said...

As some people heve said this is not good news. It's a clumsy stick to beat the BNP with and arms them with an array of spin options. To expect them to just stonewall it and implode is pretty wishful thinking - this might be handing them respectability on a plate.

Anonymous said...

I didn't read the post about the mosque taking over the local BNP branch as anything other than tongue-in-cheek. The idea of loads of non-whites joining the BNP just to fuck them off is impractical. Non-whites just wouldn't want to join in numbers but if just a few did - and the French FN has non-white members - then the Fuehrerprinzip by which Griffin racially purifies the party policy-wise could be held to account by the law if Griffin imposes whites-only policies.

This will be a long-term legal war of attrition. It will fuck off some of their members and supporters who will only support a white-supremacist party. There could be a backlash in sympathy of the BNP but it could also sap the party's fight and resources. However there's no way the BNP should be allowed to be so overtly racist without sanctions. If a pub or shop banned non-whites you'd hope it would be prosecuted so why shouldn't the BNP get the same law thrown at it? THE BNP practises segregation and the civil rights movement in the American south still attracts a backlash but that's not an argument to leave segregation alone.

Mayia said...

The comments on here are right. Griffin will take it to the European Union. I can't beleive they have done this. Griffin must think it's three perfect storms in one. It will be in the media right up to the next election.

Anonymous said...

Love the Google ads on Darby's blog.

One of them reads British Nationalist Party
Thinking of buying? Compare 100s of retailers' prices at Shopping.com


[funny in itself because much of the non-BNP far right seems to believe that the BNP has already been "bought"]

And a link from there offers to take us to Fancy Dress Superstore

As one particular saddo of the far right might say - lulz.

Anonymous said...

if it is perfectly legal to discriminate in favour of/promote the interests of/have an organisation/political party to promote the interests of 'indigenous' folk/celts/norse/anglo-saxons or other such euphemism for 'white/our people' as the griff is arguing it is in defence of the legality of his party then what's all this guff about white peeps being 'second class citizens' ?

citizenship is made up of civil, social and political rights. if it is legally, civilly and politically possible (as griffin argues it is) to have an organisation such as the BNP with its whites only/white focus it rather shoots itself in the foot when it comes to its political rhetoric that whites are somehow 'viciously discriminated' against.

somehow I don't think this contradiction (or any of its other claims) will be explored by politics/media/public culture ...which is why such an incoherent project can gain a public platform.


The BNP is essentially a failure of thinking.

geemecks said...

About time!!!

The electoral commission if they had teeth should have acted years ago, but we all know they have let the BNP off the hook so many times, it's deliberate, rather like the BBC's championing of the BNP come election times.

stand-up comic said...

Nobody will be fooled by a handful of uncle toms joining the party, if it ever happens. What should ultimately happen is the BNP being banned by the electoral commission proposing new rules about democratic transparency in parties which would threaten Cyclop's grip on power.

This would have Cyclops shitting himself from the bottom of his brown-stained pants.

The BNP need to be attacked from all directions simultaneously until they collapse like a salted slug, with gooey green pus shooting out in all directions.

Most of all, they need to become butt of all jokes, the Morris Minor/Skoda/Robin Reliant of the comedy world, who nobody would dare become a member of, for fears of ridicule and isolation from their peers.

griffin's knob cheddar said...

Asked if that meant a black Welshman would be welcome in the party, the cheesy-cocked cyclops replied to the press association: "There is no such thing as a black Welshman. You can have a black Briton; you can't have a black Welshman. Welsh is about people who live in Wales since the end of the last ice age."

There were no human beings living in Wales when the ice age ended, but cheesy-cocked cyclops doesn't have anything resembling a brain in his thick skull.

armadillo said...

Shame the Metro sought to publish such a bullshit headline in its article entitled "Younger Voters To Turn To The BNP: -

http://www.metro.co.uk/news/article.html?Younger_voters_to_turn_to_the_BNP&in_article_id=690150&in_page_id=34&expand=true#StartComments

One in 20 young voters is not a trend. There probably have always been such a number of racist young voters, so there is defo no rise in racism amongst young people.

The up-its-own-arse Metro ought to receive the Sir Wankalot Award For Alarmist Reporting.

Anonymous said...

so what they are saying is that they want ethnic minorities to join the bnp ,so if a thousand join at 30 quid each its 30 grand for their coffers are they for real also it means they will claim they are no longer racist and will get even more votes ,what bright spark thought this one up ,come on lancasterunity you must have some influence with these people have a word in their shell likes and tell them to get a grip it would take away the best weapon we have against them if they complied with this ,i despair i really do

Dicky's Arse Dildo said...

Anyone know what Dicky Bumbrook's been up to? He's been very quiet lately.

Bumbrook's up for using the occasional thick black leather fake appendage to help make the BNP appear erotically multicultural.

iliacus said...

"No such thing as a black Welshman" ?

Colin Jackson
Glen Webbe
Nigel Walker
Gerald Cordle
Martin Madden
Rob Earnshaw
Robert Blake

and that's just in sport ...

Griffin .... prat. Or lembo, as we say in Welsh.

Anonymous said...

I think the bnp should go to africa & buy a token black as a mascot.

Anonymous said...

No such thing as a black Welshman" ?

Colin Jackson
Glen Webbe
Nigel Walker
Gerald Cordle
Martin Madden
Rob Earnshaw
Robert Blake

and that's just in sport ...

Griffin .... prat. Or lembo, as we say in Welsh You really don't have the brains you were born with, the whole of europe are a white race FACT

Kev Scott loves The Jam said...

@ Anon at 5:35
the whole of europe are a white race FACT

Where do you draw the line for Europe? Do you include Turkey, Spain,Portugal?
Do you consider them "white"

Where did the first Humans to arrive in 'Europe' come from?
Striaght out of Africa, or possibly Asia.

What were you saying about brains? Off you pop, go and drag your knuckles elsewhere, only intelligent conversation here.