April 20, 2010

Billy Bragg clashes with BNP's Richard Barnbrook

Billy Bragg confronts Richard Barnbrook in Dagenham
Singer and activist engages in finger-pointing row with the BNP's London assembly member in east London

Billy Bragg was engaged in a finger-pointing row with a senior member of the British National party during a day of action in London, telling him his "racist fascist" politics offered no help to voters. Bragg was leafleting in Barking and Dagenham, one of the BNP's top target areas in next month's elections, when he bumped into the BNP's London assembly member, Richard Barnbrook, who has attacked the singer on his blog.

Bragg, who was born and raised in Barking, told Barnbrook: "You do not represent the people of Barking and Dagenham," as the pair became embroiled in a heated argument. "You are exploiting the genuine concerns of people here and you are making the problems worse."

Barnbrook, who was elected to the London assembly in 2008, accused Bragg of "mouthing away" and said the "ballot box will determine what happens".

The exchange came during a day of action against the BNP which saw 541 volunteers deliver 91,000 Hope Not Hate newspapers.

The BNP is due to launch its manifesto this week and has claimed it is on the verge of causing a "political earthquake". It claims it has a chance of taking control of Barking and Dagenham council and of gaining two MPs – in Stoke Central and Barking.

However, the far-right party's campaign has been beset by problems, and it appears to be floundering in the polls. Internal criticism over Nick Griffin's leadership came to a head earlier this month when publicity director Mark Collett was arrested on suspicion of threatening to kill him. In Stoke, the party's number two target, Alby Walker, who led the BNP on the local council for four years, is standing as an independent in the general election.

Walker said he was leaving the BNP because of a "vein of Holocaust denying within the BNP that I cannot identify myself with."

Meanwhile Griffin, who is standing in Barking, has been forced to change the BNP's whites-only membership policy following a legal battle with the Equalities and Human Rights Commission. Last week the Electoral Commission announced it was launching a formal investigation into the party's 2008 accounts. These difficulties appear to have hit the party's ability to stand candidates in next month's local elections.



Anonymous said...

Good on Billy and Hope not Hate for mobilising so many people. It is so encouraging and gives hope to us all to continue to drive the message home and stand up to the BNP and continue to expose and isolate them.
I doubt if there is any political party in the UK that could mobilise 500+ people like that for one day and for one specific geographical area.
Hope not Hate will always have their critics (usually the far left who could not fill a broom cupboard and not much else), but good on them.
Keep it up and lets hope the residents of Barking and Dagenham give the fascists a bloody nose on May 6th and drive the buggers into the Thames estuary once and for all.

Anonymous said...

Abrilliant short video on what was a truly brilliant day.

But lets just take a moment to set down in black and white once and for all.

Dicky Barnbrooks acquittal? he was only acquitted on a technicality, in that the Appeal board stated he was NOT acting as a Councillor when he made the video.

He was NOT acquitted of lying, in fact there is a public document which clearly states this.


Anonymous said...

Barnbrook is an admitted, proven liar. How can you take anything he says seriously.

Anonymous said...

Barnbrook is trying to pull off the 'Hitler Youth' look with that haircut and brownsuit. Odd as he must be in his forties.

Anonymous said...

Bumbrook's an arsehole!

Salma Yaqoob Queen Of Hall Green said...

THE best ever contemporary anti-fascist video I've ever seen. Would love to have seen Bragg expose the even more dangerous subversive that is Robert Bailey. That would have been interesting to watch...

ex-fascist said...

I'm a former fascist activist myself and perhaps unsurpisingly I've never historically been a fan of Billy Bragg, but I saw him in a completely different light watching that video.

He showed Barnbrook up for the lightweight racist twat he is and, better still for me, wasn't shy to acknowledge that his own party had let people down and left potentially difficult issues unaddressed.

There is nothing more disspiriting and depressing than listening to some New Labour clone trying to justify himself while the BNP invades our communities with its politics of hate.

It is reassuring to hear that humility and acceptance that real people need real answers if they are not to have their heads turned by the fascists, not a load of spin, lies and bullshit.

Fair play to Billy Bragg, what a top bloke. I might even invest in some of his music as a gesture of solidarity - even though he can't sing.