September 03, 2009
Posted by Antifascist
The EHCR alleges that the BNP’s “whites only” membership policy is in breach of the Race Relations Act.
At the last moment the BNP changed solicitors, and barrister Jonathan O’Mahony received instructions only the night before the case was due to be heard on September 2nd, forcing Judge Paul Collins to grant an adjournment until October 15th.
The judge told the BNP that it must bear the costs of the delay, which may cost the cash-strapped party thousands of pounds.
The reason for the BNP’s costly delaying tactics at first seemed inexplicable, but suspicions deepened today that Nick Griffin intends to withdraw from a case the BNP has very little chance of winning – in fact there have been suspicions all along in some quarters of the BNP and even the anti-fascist movement that Griffin did not wish to fight the case but was forced to do so due to strength of feeling among his members.
This evening Griffin warned the BNP that the final cost of fighting the EHRC case could be more than a million pounds, and that in any case the forthcoming Equality Bill will “simply and unavoidably ban any political party from discriminating on grounds of ethnicity”.
Disingenuously, a post on the BNP’s website, clearly authored by Griffin, then says: “The entire court case is therefore pointless even from the CEHR’s position, and is clearly designed only to bleed the party of its funding.”
What he means is that the court case is pointless from the BNP’s position.
The post continued to back-pedal, Griffin acknowledging that the BNP constitution will have to be rewritten to comply with the law, which per se means that the party will have to accept non-whites into its membership, should any wish to apply.
Couching what amounts to surrender in a form designed to make the poison pill easier to swallow, Griffin said: “Adapt or die is the only decision left to make, for failure to adapt would lead either to our being bled white through the courts or crushed by new criminal laws. Party unity is priceless, because a party of brothers standing shoulder to shoulder can be persecuted, but it can never be beaten or broken.”
Clearly signalling an intent not to contest the EHRC case further, Griffin continues: “We will be going into legal battle against Trevor Phillips and the rest of the ‘curs’, but it will be fought on ground that we choose, at the time that we appoint, and with our maximum strength directed against their weakest point.”
Cynics have pointed out that Griffin tested the waters on changing the BNP constitution to admit non-whites several years ago, long before any threat of legal action was mooted. Accusations were levelled that Griffin, knowing that the BNP would never take power, and seeing the party, in his own words, as “a business”, was more concerned with preserving the lucrative “business” by opening up its membership to non-whites than he was with upholding the BNP’s core beliefs.
We can’t comment on that, but we do predict that Griffin’s surrender will lead to serious internal ructions within the BNP. In late August hardline racists centred around the Jackson4leader dissident group held a meeting in the Midlands to discuss a leadership challenge to unseat Griffin, and already BNP members are making comments on the internet that they will leave the party rather than accept ethnic minority members. Needless to say, the heavily moderated main party website is filled with comments of a grudging “so be it” variety, many of them seeming to have been posted by the site’s admin under different names to shore up the Griffinite position.
We at Norfolk Unity must admit that at first we believed the EHRC case to have been a hastily cobbled together panic measure, reacting to the election of two BNP MEP’s in June. We still believe that, and continue to have little faith in an organisation that has had years to tackle the BNP – but if the self-surrender of the BNP leads to the demise of organised racism in Great Britain, well, we can live with that.