“A Third World slum colonised by millions of African and Asian immigrants, facing the growing certainty of eventual civil war between an ever-growing Muslim community and everybody else”.This is how Nick Griffin, the leader of the British National Party, which claims to be not racist, described Britain in an email to supporters on 23 June appealing for money to help him fight the continuing action by the Equality and Human Rights Commission over the BNP’s racist constitution.
In the email, which also described Trevor Phillips, the chair of the EHRC, as an “immigrant Marxist” and a “black Marxist”, Griffin said he was “ready to go to prison” for his beliefs. Outrageously he invoked Winston Churchill, the “heroes of D-Day” and “Spitfire pilots” in a blatant attempt to win sympathy and persuade supporters to open their wallets yet again for him.
Griffin has often referred to an impending civil war in Britain, especially after electoral failure such as in last month’s elections. After the BNP failed to win any MEPs in the 2004 European election despite gaining 800,000 votes, Griffin said the party might have to consider alternatives to the ballot box. The following year the BNP’s general election manifesto called for adults who have completed a period of military service to be “required to keep in a safe locker in their homes a standard-issue military assault rifle and ammunition”, a policy the party has never renounced.
A number of BNP members have tried to turn Griffin’s talk about civil war into action. They include David Copeland, the London bomber, and Robert Cottage, who was convicted for possession of explosives.
In raising the prospect of imprisonment Griffin no doubt also has his eye on Eddy Butler’s challenge to his leadership of the BNP, announced on 18 June. Griffin may hope that party members would hardly desert a man who was prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice for them.
However most BNP members are likely to see through this ploy. Growing numbers want a new party leader because of Griffin’s incompetence in producing electoral results, dubious financial dealings and his insistence on handing over administrative and financial control of the party to the “consultant” Jim Dowson, a militant anti-abortion campaigner with criminal convictions for violence.
Butler, the BNP’s national elections officer until he was peremptorily sacked at the end of March, is now trying to collect the signatures of 20% of BNP members with at least two years’ membership, which he needs to force a leadership election. Several party branch organisers are calling local meetings so that members can sign the forms.
BNP activists all over the country are beginning to support Butler’s challenge. One of them is Danny Lake, former leader of the Young BNP. Echoing the views of many party members, he describes Griffin as “a man who has brought the party far but remains stunted by a damaged reputation”. Griffin is standing “with a set of disastrous election results behind him”, Lake points out, before expressing the view that Griffin will not allow a clean fight.
For more detailed analysis of the challenge to Griffin’s leadership, see the July issue of Searchlight.
Hope not hate