BNP leader, in maiden European parliament speech, claims parties using taxpayers' money 'to fund own militia which breaks up opposition meetings'
The British National party leader, Nick Griffin, [yesterday] delivered his first European parliamentary speech, using a debate on the crisis in Iran to denounce alleged human rights violations against "nationalist dissidents" in Britain.
As the UK government declared it would have no truck with those "who are clearly racist and extremist individuals" and barred Griffin and his fellow BNP MEP, Andrew Brons, from a Strasbourg reception tonight, he accused labor, the Tories and the Lib Dems of routinely deploying "intimidation and violence against nationalist dissidents in Britain". He claimed they were using taxpayers' money "to fund their own militia, which breaks up opposition meetings and attacks their opponents with bricks, darts and claw-hammers" and described the Unite Against Fascism movement as an "organisation of far-left criminals".
Griffin told the Strasbourg chamber that vested interests in the west and the Middle East were itching to go to war against Iran and were using human rights as a new "casus belli". He said "warmongers" were preparing for a "third illegal attack on the western world" and invoked Elvis Costello's song Oliver's Army to protest against the prospect of British youth being sent to die in Iran.
"Do not leave the war – which hypocritical rhetoric will help to justify and unleash – to the usual brave British cannon-fodder: 18-year old boys from the Mersey and the Thames and the Tyne," he said. "Instead, send out your own sons to come home in boxes, or without their legs, their arms, their eyes or their sanity. Or mind your own business."
Glenys Kinnock, the new Europe minister, said the government had decided to supply the BNP with "day-to-day" information but would otherwise minimize contact.
"They've been told what they will get," she said. "If they don't know, they're not listening ...we do not have dealings with racist, extremist parties like the BNP."
Griffin complained that the government was treating the elected representatives of the BNP as "second-class citizens". Speaking in the same debate, Richard Howitt, the labor MEP, said that he was ashamed, as a Briton, that the BNP was taking part in the European Parliament. Griffin's part in a debate on Iran was particularly objectionable, Howitt said, because the BNP leader last week said Islam was "a cancer that should be removed by chemotherapy".