February 26, 2010

Black Farmer gets on his high horse over BNP hustings row

Wilfred Emmanuel Jones refuses to share a platform with the racist BNP
The West’s most prominent black would-be MP has refused to share a debating stage with his rival from the British National Party, to avoid race becoming an issue at the election.

Wilfred Emmanuel Jones told the organisers of tonight’s (FRI) hustings event in Bradford-on-Avon he would boycott the event if the far-right BNP candidate Michael Simpkins was allowed to take part. So the organisers of the event, the Bradford-on-Avon Senior Citizens Forum, decided they would rather have Wilfred than the BNP and barred the BNP man.

Mr Emmanuel Jones, who runs a food-producing business called The Black Farmer, is standing for the Conservatives in the new Chippenham seat, which promises to be a key marginal battle between the Tories and the Lib Dems.

Mr Simpkins is one of the handful of BNP councillors in the West – his ‘election’ to Corsham town council after no one stood against him in a by-election sparked a major demonstration by anti-racism campaigners and locals.

Hustings organiser Alan Knight, from Bradford’s Senior Citizens Forum, told Mr Simpkins that every other candidate had agreed to take part in the debate if the BNP were included, except Mr Emmanuel Jones. Mr Simpkins, whose party doctrine claims to describe the Birmingham-born businessman as ‘not British’, blasted Mr Emmanuel Jones as ‘a coward’.

“I am very disappointed with the outcome but thank the committee and other candidates for at least being prepared to allow me to join in the debate,” said Mr Simpkins.

“Emmanuel Jones claims to be proud to be British but has yet to learn the British sense of fair play. The man is a coward and is obviously scared to debate the real issues that are affecting this country,” he added.

Chippenham’s Liberal Democrat candidate Duncan Hames said the BNP’s policies were ‘disgusting’ but that he wanted the opportunity to ‘demolish’ them.

“I’m not afraid of the BNP and would relish the opportunity to confront them and demolish their arguments,” he said.

“None of us like the BNP and find much of what they say disgusting but it is important that our own feelings do not deny the public the chance to question the candidates,” he added.

A spokeswoman for the local Tory association backed their candidate’s refusal to take part if the “intolerant and racist” BNP were also involved.

“The Chippenham Conservative Association has a clear position that it does not wish to give legitimacy to a political party which promotes intolerant and racist views that to most people in Wiltshire, including ourselves, are unacceptable,” she said.

“Wilfred is quite prepared to debate with the mainstream parties and answer questions from local residents which he will do,” she added.

Mr Emmanuel-Jones surprised shoppers on Chippenham High Street by riding through the town centre on a shire horse. He was out on the streets answering locals’ questions about the proposed development at Bird’s Marsh - an area of woodland north of the town which could be earmarked for hundreds of new homes. Frankie the shire horse has previously been used for children’s horse rides to raise funds for local charities.

South West Business


Anonymous said...

"Mr Emmanuel-Jones surprised shoppers on Chippenham High Street by riding through the town centre on a shire horse."

Sounds like the sort of brain-dead stunt the BNP would do.

Pyris said...

Whilst I can certainly sympathise with his position, refusing to share a platform isn't defeating the BNP, it's giving more weight to their claim that they're being purposefully excluded from the democratic process.

Whilst I also sympathise with this aim, it risks acting as a recruiting mechanism for the BNP.

Refusing to debate with the BNP isn't defeating them, it's driving their activities more and more underground - and that, I fear, could be more dangerous than debating against them in the open.

Anonymous said...

"Refusing to debate with the BNP isn't defeating them"

Gotta disagree, my friend. Debating with fascists is like debating with your potential executioner! Sharing a platform with a fascist only gives him legitimacy and makes him appear part of the mainstream body politic, whose arguments are worthy of consideration and respect. Fascists use democracy and free speech now so that they can end both in the future.

ex-fascist said...

"Debating with fascists is like debating with your potential executioner! Sharing a platform with a fascist only gives him legitimacy and makes him appear part of the mainstream body politic"

Absolutely right here. My personal belief is that is acceptable, indeed desirable, to engage with fascists on an individual level in the hope that they can be made to see the error of their ways. But you should never, ever legitimise their organisations by sharing a platform with them. This is an astoundingly simple differential that many anti-fascists seem to struggle with.

Ben Trunch said...

I see the BNP keyboard trolls have infested the site hosting the original report... Like a cancer they are...

If people really want to hear what the BNP have to say, there is an awful website they can visit. But we don't need these Nazis in rural England, thank you.

Pyris said...

I see your point, but must sharing a platform always mean legitimising?

Surely debating publicly with these people is the best way to win the argument, and make them reveal their true colours (when disguised).

Most people have the sense to identify fascism when they see it, and most have the sense to condemn it. But for those who aren't able to spot it, or who don't realise the error of their ways, surely seeing fascist views dismantled and critiqued in public would be of humongous benefit?

We can't engage with all fascists on an individual level, because we have no idea who votes/supports the BNP, NF, etc, let alone knowing how best to engage with them.