The BNP was attacked last night for attempting to exploit Scottish veterans
Speaking to The Sunday Post in a brief visit to Scotland, Nick Griffin, the controversial leader of the far-right party, boasted how he hoped to use former soldiers to bolster his vote. He was in Hamilton to discuss a potential £100,000 donation to veterans’ charity Forward Edge of the Battlefield.
He said, “It’s politically beneficial for us to be seen with these organisations. We are also involved in other veteran organisations such as Help For Heroes and Soldiers Off The Street. It definitely doesn’t hurt the party to be connected to these groups.”
Mr Griffin also offered to pay for veterans to visit World War 1 battlefields in France. However, his efforts were slammed by former SAS Deputy Commander and past president of FEBA, Clive Fairweather.
He said, “It’s distasteful that a racist organisation is targeting veterans. The army is the exact opposite of racists, I would argue it was one of the least racist organisations going. Our soldiers live, fight and work in foreign lands often side by side with foreigners. Veterans charities should not accept funds from any political parties, from the SNP to the BNP.”
However, Tommy Moffat, the founder of FEBA, has said the organisation has turned to the BNP after being rejected from all other avenues. Tommy, a retired corporal in the Queen’s Own Highlanders, said, “We are a non-political organisation and certainly not racist. We have turned to the BNP because all other funding has not materialised despite assurances from various MPs that it would.”
So far FEBA has received a donation of equipment from the political party which had two people, including Mr Griffin, elected to the European Parliament in June. However, FEBA has said members of the BNP hierarchy will travel to Hamilton this week to thrash out firm details on a cash donation believed to be around the £100,000 mark.
The BNP’s infiltration of the veteran community has recently been attacked by a number of senior military figures. Three ex-heads of the Army were among those to put their names to a letter accusing “those who seek to hijack the good name of Britain’s military”. However, the BNP has said it will continue to use military symbols and pictures of Winston Churchill in its campaigns.
You’ll have a BNP MSP at next election
The controversial leader of the BNP claims the party will have at least one MSP at the next Scottish elections.
Nick Griffin believes his party is increasingly “electable” north of the Border. And he revealed he plans to use forces veterans to help bolster the BNP vote, promising one Scottish group a donation of £100,000.
Mr Griffin made a brief visit to Scotland last week as part of an attempt to galvanise support for Charlie Baillie, the BNP’s candidate in the Glasgow North East by-election. Although Mr Griffin concedes the party has little chance of winning the seat, he says its base of support in Scotland means they could easily return an MSP via the list system.
“The sort of turnaround we are looking for is as little as a two per cent rise in support,” he said. “That is highly achievable. We did it last year at the European elections and in Scotland our support is gathering momentum. Realistically we have little chance of winning the Glasgow North East election. We have a good candidate but Labour is too strong in the area. The SNP have a huge support too and it will be contested by those two parties.
“Traditionally we got very little support in Scotland. However, in recent months this has changed. Where once we got perhaps one positive response per 1000 leaflets, we’re now getting 15 to 16. Although anecdotal, this is usually a decent indicator of levels of support.”
During his visit Mr Griffin was accused of “bottling out” of a by-election campaign visit to Springburn, after an interview at a local radio station in Hamilton resulted in an egg-throwing demonstration. Instead, while the press made their way to Springburn, he visited FEBA, a Hamilton-based charity run for and by veterans. The Sunday Post understands this had always been part of his itinerary.
The charity, the brainchild of former soldier Tommy Moffat, has courted the far-right organisation for funding after alleging several prominent members of the Labour government promised to help fund them, only to change their tune.
On arrival, Mr Griffin was flanked by burly minders who guarded the doors of the charity together with a number of police officers. However, the steady stream of elderly women who were visiting the centre’s cafe all failed to recognise the Euro MP. He spoke to veterans and had a go on the punchbags in the gym — Mr Griffin claims to have been a member of the university boxing team at Cambridge.
But Tommy Moffat was keen to pin him down on a specific donation. Party leaders had told the press they would give the charity £50,000, but Tommy says they’ve only had some equipment and a boiler. Tommy also criticised Mr Griffin for “hijacking the Union Jack” which he said belonged to soldiers who had fought and died for the country, not any political organisation.
But Nick Griffin continued his charm offensive, promising to fund a trip for FEBA veterans to the battlefields of World War 1 in France next year. In a private meeting he also offered Tommy £100,000 in funding, with party officials travelling to Hamilton this week to hammer out details.
Eventually his minders let the press know where he was. Earlier he’d been overheard telling veterans that “the press are all scum”. But speaking to this member of the press, he gave his backing to an independence referendum, while warning that any break up of the UK would be “phoney independence”.
He said, “If Salmond wanted real independence he would split from Europe, where power really lies. Democracy is a decentralisation of power and Scotland has this with devolution, as does Wales and Northern Ireland. We believe Scotland is stronger as part of the UK.”
He also claimed he had received widespread support after his controversial appearance on Question Time two weeks ago. He said, “When I landed at Glasgow Airport a member of the public came over and said the way I had been treated was horrible and that it was tantamount to bullying. He told me he had counted how many words I had managed to get out before I was attacked by someone else. That number was eight. It was a shocking personal attack.”
The Sunday Post