The somewhat bizarre decision by the British National Party to change its whites-only membership rules to comply with equality law strikes us as being driven purely by financial necessity.
The BNP is not, if readers will pardon the pun, changing its colours. It simply cannot afford to fight the court proceedings being brought against it by the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
The BNP’s leader Nick Griffin has now pledged to revise its constitution so its rules on membership no longer discriminate on the grounds of race and religion. We have no doubt the change will happen. Mr Griffin and his cohorts have no choice. But it is mere window dressing. The BNP is a far-right party with policies that drip with the venom of racism and discrimination. It will remain so no matter what its constitution might say.
Mr Griffin, now an elected MEP, continues to attempt to coat his party with the veneer of respectability. Thankfully the majority of British voters continue to see through the disguise and recognise the fascism that lurks beneath it. This is a party, let us not forget, that believes people like the England footballer Ashley Cole, born and bred in this country, are not British because of the colour of their skin.
There is a simple way to test the BNP’s apparent new commitment to equality. A great many black Britons should apply to join the party. Racism may no longer be written into the BNP’s membership rules but it will remain at the root of every one of its actions and policies.