August 24, 2009

BNP faces court case over membership rules

Equality and Human Rights Commission believes far right party discriminates against 'potential or actual members on racial grounds'

The British National party is being taken to court over claims its membership criteria breach human rights law.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission said it had issued county court proceedings against the party leader, Nick Griffin, and two other officials today over the BNP's membership rules. The party's constitution limits members to people who are "'indigenous Caucasian' and defined 'ethnic groups' emanating from that race".

The commission first wrote to the BNP in June stating that it believed the party is in breach of the Race Relations Act. The far right organisation responded by saying it intended to clarify the word "white" on its website.

However, the commission said today that it believes the BNP is still discriminating against "potential or actual members on racial grounds".

"The BNP has said that it is not willing to amend its membership criteria which we believe are discriminatory and unlawful," said John Wadham the commission's group director. The commission has a statutory duty to use our regulatory powers to enforce compliance with the law so we have today issued county court proceedings against the BNP."

Wadham said the BNP could still avoid court action if it moved quickly to change its membership rules.

However, a spokesman for the party said it intended to fight the move, claiming the action was politically motivated.

"It is strange that this is happening now when these rules have been in place for a long time," said the BNP's deputy leader, Simon Darby. "And we certainly resent the fact that some unelected body which is 70% ethnic can accuse us of racism."

The commission said it had decided not to take action on two other grounds set out in its original letter to the BNP after the party agreed to comply with the law.

Guardian

37 comments:

irishtony said...

I am trying to imagine what it must feel like for senior BNP nazis

It must feel like witnessing a slow puncture and not been able to do anything about it

I have only two words for them

Fuck Them

John P said...

Too little too late and I think it's going to backfire on them

Anonymous said...

How come Nick Griffin and Simon Darby hold all the top Jobs between them in the BNP?

Denise said...

@ John - agreed

John P said...

They have put themselves in a no win situation, if they win the case the BNP will garner more support because of it and if they lose they give the BNP another layer of legitimacy and opens the way for many other groups to decide to become white only.
I think I'm going insane and I think I need to lay in a dark room for a while but I'm just about to agree with something the BNP say, this is a politically motivated case due to their so called success at the elections in June.
The BNP have had the same criteria for joining for many many years and it's only now that action is being taken.
Stupid, shortsighted and it's going to give them more publicity and support at a time when they are in deep trouble.
Yet again the media pick up on stories like this rather than the disgusting report in the News of the World.

Anonymous said...

A coupe of points on this.

Firstly, what member of an ethnic minority would want to join a bunch of hate-filled racists like the BNP anyway? Even if they did I suspect that they'd be made to feel so uncomfortable by their "comrades" that they'd quickly leave anyway. Sitting in a rented room above a pub, being ignored doesn't seem very inviting.

Secondly, I'm sure that there are those in the BNP that would want to fight this and resist rolling over and amending their membership criteria. This could cause further splits and ruptures that can only be a good thing. Gri$$in, I have always suspected, doesn't seem to have much backbone and is the type who will quickly fold if the going gets tough. He gave a speech at the RWB in which he basically admitted that the BNP would have to amend it's rules.

It seems that electoral success is turning into something like a poisoned chalice for the BNP.

Anonymous said...

"I have always suspected, doesn't seem to have much backbone and is the type who will quickly fold if the going gets tough. He gave a speech at the RWB in which he basically admitted that the BNP would have to amend it's rules."

Would also say Gri£$in has little stomach for a fight BUT it may not be the action he shies away from but the warth of his own members at him letting in black and asian people. He is between a rock and a hard place actually.

Thinking allowed said...

This is a blunder which can only reinforce the siege mentality of the typical BNP member/supporter. It helps continue to give the BNP its victim status; bullied and persecuted by a Labour government. The BNP could have been (successfully) challenged on this matter years ago. To do so now, after the two MEPs were elected suggests to most objective spectators like myself that this is a case of politically motivated spite and an act of folly. Any legal action will take months, if not years to be resolved and public interest will wane after tomorrow's newspaper headlines.

Anonymous said...

Great another opportunity for the BNP to gain more publicity and sympathy.

So if the constitution is amended so that any non white people who join have zero power what is the point i.e. Life term for the chairman, who is then solely responsible for appointing the A/C.

Denise said...

This was a panicked, knee-jerk, must-be-seen-to-do-something reaction, not by the near useless EHRC, but by Harperson, who forced it upon them.

I keep saying she is part of the problem that gave us the BNP, not the solution.

Nobody who reads LU will be under any illusion that the BNP stalled badly in June. Its vote share rose by a mere 1.6% in the midst of what Griffin claimed to be a "perfect storm", and it just scraped two MEPs thanks to disgusted voters staying at home.

To all intents and purposes it had gone into electoral reverse, and we may be certain that in normal conditions that 1.6% would have been in the negative.

All the BNP's local election votes since then (where they can be measured against previous outings) have shown dramatic falls of between 50-60%.

The party would now be in the midst of internal turmoil were it not for the lucky chance of Griffin and Brons' elections.

And now Harman hands them an opportunity to play the victim on the national stage with no certainty of victory.

Ill thought out and badly judged, like most things that come out of Harman's out-of-touch brain.

We had the BNP beaten in June. The same people who handed them their "victory" seem intent on doing it all over again.

piper said...

The BBC can always be trusted to devote plenty of airtime to the BNP.

Funny how the allegations recorded by the NoW don't make the six o clock news, but allowing Gri££in to have his tuppeneth, always makes the news.

The BNP are favoured by the establishment.

Think OF THIS what you like!

John P said...

And it gives Griffin a legitimate cause for another begging letter which people will respond to rather than the usual crap that people see through.

Anonymous said...

I would agree that this is far to late, but I dont think that this will give them martyrdom.

A few swinging fines and sequestration of assets for contempt of Court, and under the proceeds of crime act should do the job.

The hardened fools seek martyrdom so carry on and if Lee Barnes wishes to pour petrol overhimself and set fire to it on Rochester Bridge, well tell me when so that I can contribute to the whip round for the petrol !

It would also be an occasion to demonstrate that I would not urinate on him even if he was on fire.

Old Sailor

John P said...

Anonymous said...

I would agree that this is far to late, but I dont think that this will give them martyrdom.

A few swinging fines and sequestration of assets for contempt of Court, and under the proceeds of crime act should do the job.

The hardened fools seek martyrdom so carry on and if Lee Barnes wishes to pour petrol overhimself and set fire to it on Rochester Bridge, well tell me when so that I can contribute to the whip round for the petrol !

It would also be an occasion to demonstrate that I would not urinate on him even if he was on fire.

Old Sailor

9:49 PM, August 24, 2009

The BNP are at a point where they are moribund and financially crippled.
They are not even standing in by-elections where they have done before.
Their vote has fallen away sharply.
Their glorious RWB festival was a washout.
Their accounts are way overdue.
Their supporters are starting to see what the party is about (for instance the green marrow has had a go at BNP management in the last couple of days?
We have the Sadie Graham court case coming up in the next couple of weeks or months if it goes to Crown Court.
We have people within the BNP knowing that they are being lied to about how their MEPS can use their expenses and they are just discovering it.
And what do we get as a kneejerk response to a situation they caused in the first place, draconian legal action which the BNP cannot fail to lose from whether they win or lose.
They now have a legitimate reason to feel aggrieved in the run up to a general election.
Do some sections of the Labour Party want the BNP to do well because this crass stupidity and lack of thought and political nous looks like it to me.
They have been given a rallying point where even the people who are against Griffin in the party will fully support and help fund.
Win or lose.

John P said...

The BNP have to be beaten democratically and not through the use of courts or changes in legislation and particularly not by a government that have such a wonderful ideal about our rights and freedoms.

irishtony said...

It was inevitable that the BNP would face a series of legal challenges on issues ranging from discrimination and employment law to possible criminal offences, following two candidates' election to the European parliament.

The party's constitution, which says membership is "strictly defined within the terms of … 'indigenous Caucasian' and defined ethnic groups emanating from that Race" is a breach of the law against discriminating in membership organisations, according to legal experts.

"An unincorporated association like the BNP which has genuine screening for membership cannot unlawfully discriminate," said Gavin Millar QC, who specialises in election and discrimination law. "There will inevitably now be legal challenges to this.

There was also a proportional increase in complaints after the election of two MEP's.

You can't brag about been mainstream ( which they are not) and then expect to operate outside the law.

Already we have had the pleasure of listening to loony Barnes rant about this on BBC radio, sounding more like an angry football supporter than a legal representative.

I don't believe this is a win win for the BNP, I suspect it will act as a catalyst to fractionalise its members cause in fighting and leave the BNP smouldering in nationalist ashes like the NF.

I may be wrong but I look forward to seeing how this pans out.

Lest we forget this is about a political party not an association

Barbara said...

I agree with irishTony. A political party seeking legislative power over all Brits cannot exclude some Brits from becoming members of that party. Citizens have the right to be part of the legislative process under which they are expected to abide, surely?

Anonymous said...

Most of the commentators here are correct. The BNP have had their day. They certainly should have done better in June but the whiff of bad odour hangs around them which puts the majority of sympathisers off from voting for them (we must accept however that such people voted for UKIP and the ED's and permantly disaffected).

Denise was also correct in fingering (pardon the pun) Harmen. This Government is floundering in the polls and is constantly looking for a cause to win favour. She has chosen this legal action which frankly, whatever Irish Tony would likle to happen, will not hurt the BNP but bolster them. Few people will support the idea of forcing people to accept their 'friends' in an association (which most people regard a political party since it is purely voluntary). Thus the BNP will gain sympathy (and possibly win over the sympathetic vote - see above -at certain moments) and their members will rally round Gri££in.

The latter will only fight it if the money is there if not he'll concede (and keep the leftovers). Martyrdom status will accrue, few ethnic minorities will join but enough to santise them (and rules will be in place to scupper succesful entryism and everyone will support dictatorship because it will be portrayed as defensive).

Well done Harriot we now know why this Government is bankrupt in every way.

Anonymous said...

What is worse is that it may drive people to join the BNP. If a campaign is launched to get BME people to join Griffin could respond to any shift in power by trying to encourage more white people to join to maintain a white majority. This would bring in more money to the BNP from donations and membership.

Second if a campaign is launched to get BME people to join it would put more money in the pockets of the BNP. Plus the BNP could respond by changing the membership rates i.e. renewing members keep the existing rate but new first year members of any race have to pay an increased one off fee of say £500 in the first year to price out the unwanted BME people, or bring loads of money in to the party if people stump up the huge first year membership fees. This would of course discourage new white members, but they could be directed to make a donation instead of joining so income would not be lost and the constitution could be changed so that non paid up members can stand in elections.

Well done Hatty!

Anonymous said...

I have been told on the grapevine that they have no problem with this, and if necessary will drag it out in the European court. Remember there are parties just like this one all over Europe, so not sure how this can possibly work. The worry is that people will think this has been done because parliament is scared they might get MPs at the next election, which will anger a lot of people. And another worry is that some people, who would just join the party and become activists, will start marching through the streets because their voice has gone. As we found from that leaked list, they have supporters from all walks of life so this doesn’t look like a good move really. People don’t like being told how to vote or what to do.

Anonymous said...

The proposed trial may or may not elicit some sympathy for the BNP but those who oppose it are missing the point that you can't allow an overtly racist political party to operate a form of aparthied, regardless of whether non-white people would want to join or not. If the BNP ever got control of a council would people on here think it would be okay for them not to employ non-whites? Obviously not but that's what they'd try and do and would claim that as people had voted for a whites-only party they'd also voted for a whites-only workforce. You can't throw enough shit at the BNP.

Burgerman said...

If there are just two or three "Uncle Toms" joining the party, most party members will leave overnight, however, as they will lose most of their hard line neo-nazi appeal to the football hooligan element who were present as the majority of people at the RWB.

Anonymous said...

The BBC can always be trusted to devote plenty of airtime to the BNP.

I am extremely surprised not to see Nick Griffin in the celebrity line up for the next series of 'Strictly Come Dancing'

"Dancing the Goose-Step, would popular politician Nick Griffin and his Polish immigrant partner please take to the floor"

Anonymous said...

"they might get MPs at the next election"

You can rest assured that the bnp will not be getting any MP's at the next election - Saved deposits are the best they can hope for. Some in the BNP believed that "Reverend" West would get elected in Norwich last month - He got 2.74%.

Anonymous said...

Burgerman said...
If there are just two or three "Uncle Toms" joining the party, most party members will leave overnight, however, as they will lose most of their hard line neo-nazi appeal to the football hooligan element who were present as the majority of people at the RWB.

1:36 PM, August 25, 2009

Beleave it or not Griffin was thinking of taking ethnic minorities into the party 4yrs ago. But the some members but not all voted against it. And to be honest members will be even more inclined to stay, and people that may not have joined, will. The Lady I know in the party is in no doubt that this will not harm the party but encorouge people to rally. Funds are not even talked about because unfortunately they have some good backers.

Jerry said...

I disagree! ALlow non-white minorities into the BNP and Gri££in will lose his backing from the Worldwide White Supremacy scene.

dodo said...

David Duke would not be giving any more cash to the BNP when they stop being a whites only organisation. Believe me!

Which will lead to a unbearable number of beggig letters to members that you don't get in other far right parties like the English Democrats.

Hardly a selling feature for cash-strapped potential members being hounded for their hard-earned money if they join the non-Don Black-funded BNP.

... said...

Back to the topic of football hooligans, inbetween reports of the violence at the West ham game, was a timely advert for "The Firm", the latest immoral film glamorising football hooligans.

And people wander why football hooliganism (including the BNP's own fash-friendly football thugs) have increased in numbers.

Why the merry fuck is the film industry encouraging football hooliganism?

John P said...

Anonymous said...

The proposed trial may or may not elicit some sympathy for the BNP but those who oppose it are missing the point that you can't allow an overtly racist political party to operate a form of aparthied, regardless of whether non-white people would want to join or not. If the BNP ever got control of a council would people on here think it would be okay for them not to employ non-whites? Obviously not but that's what they'd try and do and would claim that as people had voted for a whites-only party they'd also voted for a whites-only workforce. You can't throw enough shit at the BNP.

I agree totally with what you say but why is it being done now?
How many times could it have been done in the past?
Why wasn't it done in the past?
The Labour Party in the last 12 years and the Tories before them could have done this legislation but they didn't until now.
It's a politically motivated, headline grabbing solution to help show that the government is doing something about the BNP and it is going to backfire no matter what the result and it hinders the amount of pressure put on the BNP by many different groups and people who are opposed to the BNP.

I would like to hear a Searchlight, HNH, UAF response to this legislation and the timing for their take on it.

Irish Tony usually sums up election nights quite well so apologies to him as I paraphrase what he usually writes:-
60ish odd councillors out of 22000ish
2 MEPs out of 70ish
3 county councillors out of 4000ish
Still less than 10000 members and a reup take of membership of 60% after the first year.
Financially crippled and in no state to fight a general election as
the local funds have been raided yet again this year to pay for the Euro campaign.

Anonymous said...

This action against the BNP can only succeed if it inflicts fatal damage on the party before the next election.

If the BNP can drag proceedings out until up to or after the election, then the prosecution could backfire on the government.

Anonymous said...

Green Arrow resigns form the BNP. Somethings up big time in the BNP, could be a split before long.

Anonymous said...

An earlier comment is absolutely right. I have on pretty good authority (I have a neighbour who is a member) she said that after the leaked list fiasco some people did not re-join but sent their membership money as a donation instead. So they may have fewer members, but the same money coming in. Their membership is a mixed picture. Quite a lot of money is collected at meetings, with one member recently giving £5000. So saying they are broke is a little wide of the mark unfortunately.

Anonymous said...

I can imagine the scene now, 2010 RWB, large bonfire, Nutzis, God help any black people they let in, it won't be soft toys on the fire, :-(

Anonymous said...

One thing that must be taken on board here is that upwards of a million people voted for that party. They will not just fade away. If anything this will encourage rather than discourage more people to vote for them. They will take this to the wire, and it will all be played out in the media. Griffin and Darby will be given air time, and it greaves me to say this, but they are both very credible on TV and radio. So how will this help turn people off the BNP whatever the outcome?

Anonymous said...

Court case to drags on past election. Labour lose election. Tories start get to grips with immigration and PC brigade. Tories abolish EHRC and drop case. BNP withers away because mainstream rightwing policies douse the support of BNP.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Green Arrow resigns form the BNP. Somethings up big time in the BNP, could be a split before long.


If the BNP splits it won't be over the Green Arrow. He's only a legend in his own mind.

Anonymous said...

"I can imagine the scene now, 2010 RWB,"

There wont be a 2010 RWB - read wankfileds blog. Also remember the bnp didnt push this years one. They'll use the excuses of poor attendance and now the counter demo saying it is not cost effective and is more trouble than its worth. Griffin did no preperation for this years rwb and had no stall there. Last year he pushed the Griffin food hall for weeks going on about that great british snack the panini - he doesnt need to grub around for cash now he's a mep and so doesnt require the rwb. He'll get shot of it like he does people who have helped him but he no longer has any use for.