October 16, 2009

South Oxhey Community Choir snubs British National Party cash

Members of the South Oxhey Community Choir have rejected a much-needed £1,000 donation offered by a British National Party (BNP) councillor.

The group, featured in the recent BBC programme The Choir: Unsung Town, was offered the money by South Oxhey county councillor Deirdre Gates, elected earlier this year. Like all of the council's 77 representatives Councillor Gates has been given £10,000 to distribute to worthy community groups. The choir’s members, however, decided they could not take money from associated with the right wing party.

Committee member Russ Clancy told the Watford Observer why the group decided to reject the offer: He said: “Obviously we would really like this money but we discovered that if we took it that our name would be used in BNP literature in the future. We’ve worked really hard as a group to be inclusive of everybody and promote an ethnically diverse choir. We don’t feel the BNP shares those values so, as group, we decided to turn the money down.”

Councillor Gates was not available for comment this morning. The retired legal secretary has, however, made a £250 donation to the Three Rivers Neighbourhood Watch group, which has been accepted.

Watford Observer


Pete Green said...

“Obviously we would really like this money but we discovered that if we took it that our name would be used in BNP literature in the future...”

Amazing how everything the BNP offers has an exploitative angle to it.

Anonymous said...

To be fair, it's the county council system thats plain wrong here...we were advised that:

"it is possible that any county councillor can refer to these grants in any publicity that they or their party might issue in the future"

We didn't want to take the risk of being associated...

eric the fish said...

Well done that choir!

Let's hope they get donations four fold as a rsult of not taking Nazi gold.

AndyMinion (BatsMan) said...

Seeing as how this money comes from a fund for individual Councillors to distribute, surely it'd be a good idea if someone from a real party were to step in and make a donation?

Better yet, Councillors from ALL the big three to chuck in a thousand each.

Jamie The Antifascist said...

BNP slaughtered in yet another by-election:

Great news from Barnsley last night. The BNP was well and truly trounced in the St Helens by-election last night, with their share of the vote falling from 30% in 2008 to 23% now. The Labour vote increased from just over 900 votes to 1520 this time.

This was a fantastic result in one of the BNP's strongest areas. More importantly, it was a victory for the HOPE not hate campaign which ran possibly its most intense by-election effort to date. Well over 100 people got involved in our campaign over the last two months, with 45 out on Saturday alone. So, congratulations to Paul and Lorraine and everyone at HOPE not hate Yorkshire.

I'll end on a poem written for the campaign by Ian McMillan, the poet laureate of Yorkshire and official poet of Barnsley F.C. It appeared on one of our many leaflets.

Hope not Hate
by Ian McMillan

The voices clamour in the noisy debate
And there's shouting and pointing and passion's high
But a still, small sound says 'Hope, not hate'
And let's just look each other in the eye
And say 'Welcome' and 'Hello' and 'How are you?'
And extend a hand of friendship not a high-raised fist
Because people talk to people because that's what people do
So let's just see things clearly and not through hatred's mist
And we can all decide, before it's far too late
That what we really need round here is Hope not Hate.

Brummie said...

As a musician, the TV programme that featured this choir was compulsive viewing for me a few weeks ago. The TV programme featured choir member Dee, a black single mum who had her confidence knocked by racist taunts from local yobbos outside her house late at night. She told the cameras this was her first ever racist experience in her life, but thankfully, just like other choir members the Choir has come to her rescue. SO, a racist county councillor giving a donation to this South Oxhey success story would be like a propaganda coup for the BNP.

The formation of the South Oxhey Choirs (there are two of them I believe representing all ages plus a blokes choir!) is a good thing to have happened on the estate. The BNP was a bad thing, and judging by the results of the recent Hayling ward by-election (part of South Oxhey) they'll be in the history books soon!

Anonymous said...

Well done to the choir.

I hope that other councillors will step in with donations.

Andrew said...

All credit to the South Oxhey Community Choir - who I had never heard of before now. They are obviously a small organisation for whom every penny counts, and had they decided to take the money, in spite of the adverse publicity, I for one would have found it difficult to condemn them too much, especially under the current economic climate.

However, despite their small budget they still recognise that £1000 is a lot of money but a good reputation, once aquired, is worth much more.

Something the Huddersfield branch of the Royal British Legion should have a good long think about.

Anonymous said...

Well, well done the choir !

Is there an "Paypal" account or BAcs or IBAN Number we could use to make a donation ?

Old Sailor

Who wants to make a donation.

Antifascist said...

'Is there an "Paypal" account or BAcs or IBAN Number we could use to make a donation ?'

I tried earlier but the PayPal link on their page doesn't work.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to make a donation - details pls.

NewsHound said...



NewsHound said...




Anonymous said...

I've been sitting watching the BBC news on television and wonder how on earth these racists and fascists are being given time to present themselves in a 'normalising' way. Very scary. It is music to my ears that the choir has principles. I shall be donating in support.

Anonymous said...

With regards to donating to The South Oxhey Community Choir. Please contact us through our website www.southoxheychoirs.org
With kind thanks x

Oxheyresident said...

Well done to the choir. You're to be congratulated on not taking this nazi money - as night follows day they'd have splashed it all over the freesheets they shove through letterboxes in the area.

We don't need hate like that on the estate.

In the meantime I'm making a small donation of my own. More power to you.