August 31, 2010
The EDL is to demonstrate in support of Geert Wilders, the Dutch anti-immigrant firebrand, with a recently launched French Defence League and Dutch Defence League, modelled on the English group, to join them along with other anti-Islamic militants from across Europe.
Formed in 2009, the EDL has held over a dozen often rowdy marches and demonstrations in cities across Britain over the last year. Protests that attracted only a couple hundred militants at the end of last year are now bringing thousands out. On Saturday (28 August) a rally in Bradford, West Yorkshire, home to the second-largest community of south Asians in the UK, turned ugly when members clashed with police and pelted anti-racist activists with bricks, bottles and smoke bombs. Thirteen were arrested, according to media reports.
Anti-racist watchdogs call the EDL one of the most worrying developments on the far-right scene in the UK since the 1970s and the days of the National Front, an openly white supremacist and neo-Nazi political party. The group now appears to be meeting with some success in exporting its novel brand of nativism to the continent, a combination of anti-Muslim vitriol, agressive street marches and attempts to rope in football hooligan gangs by holding rallies around the same time as matches.
Graeme Atkinson, European editor of Searchlight magazine, a UK anti-fascist journal, says that the group is "tapping into a widespread and growing Islamophobia in society," in a way that other far-right groups, weighed down with explicitly fascist iconography and discourse, have not been able to. He warns against panic regarding the new group, but says authorities should not be blind to the growth of such movements, describing the new formation as "an utterly socially divisive, politically toxic ideology."
New kind of far-right outfit
Distinct from the traditional far right, the EDL, which originally grew out of the "football casual" subculture, claims to be multi-ethnic, to target "jihadism" rather than Muslims, and employs a rhetoric more in keeping with the fringes of neo-conservative anti-Islamism than the nostalgia for Nazism of other far-right formations.
The group's mission statement declares that anyone is welcome, so long as they are "integrated:" "We are non-racist/fascist and anyone is welcome if they want to live under English values and fully integrate into our way of life."
"English Defence League members recognise that this threat is one that must be stopped at all costs. Our Christian, Jewish, Sikh, and Hindu friends all have tales to tell with regard to Islamic Imperialism," the group's "Exposing the myths" page reads.
One of its leaders is Guramit Singh, a Sikh born in Britain, and it says it is, like Mr Wilders, strongly pro-Israel and maintains both Jewish and LGBT "divisions" while backing a ban on the building of mosques and seeking the burqa to be outlawed. Its LGBT wing was set up after the Dutchman visited the UK in March when he had been invited to show his short anti-Islam film, Fitna, in the House of Lords. At a demonstration in Bolton in March, a man held up a pink triangle alongside anti-Islam placards and banners. Its LGBT division has 107 members at the time of writing.
In what would normally be anathema to traditional, antisemitic far-right outfits, the group has taken to brandishing the Israeli flag at rallies and, according to the Jewish Chronicle, its Jewish division had signed up hundreds of members on its Facebook page until the page was recently deleted, though Jewish leaders in the UK actively discourage young people from joining, with the Board of Deputies of British Jews describing the organisation as "built on a foundation of Islamophobia and hatred which we reject entirely."
Links to BNP, Swedish Democrats
As with other formations in Europe that far-right monitoring organisations describe as "far-right-lite," notably Mr Wilders, Denmark's People's Party and the late Pim Fortuyn, some in the EDL try to distance themselves from, in the words of the group's website, the "Adolf-worhipping neanderthals."
But these same monitors say that while the EDL is not an outright "fascist" or neo-Nazi formation, links with the traditional far right remain, with many leaders being ex-members of the British National Party. Its leader, Tommy Robinson, is an ex-BNP activist. One of the organisation's main strategists is 45-year-old IT consultant Alan Lake, who has advised the far-right Swedish Democrats on tactics.
Meanwhile, at every demonstration but two in the last year, dozens have been arrested. The group's marches regularly involve anti-Muslim sloganeering and frequently descend into violence. At a rally in Dudley in July, a Hindu Temple was attacked as well as a number of shops, restaurants, cars and homes.
Figures for the size of the organisation and its supporters are hard to pin down and no figures have emerged for the new continental franchises. The group claims it has "thousands" of supporters and has spawned a Scottish Defence League and a Welsh Defence League, both of which have held rallies in their respective countries, as well as an Ulster Defence League. Police meanwhile reckoned that 1,500 to 2,000 EDL demonstrators marched in Newcastle upon Tyne in May this year, one of its bigger rallies.
Ground Zero 'Mosque'
The EDL has received endorsements from Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller, two of the main agitators behind the right-wing movement opposed to a Muslim community centre being built two blocks away from the site of Al Qaeda's attacks on New York in 2001, the so-called Ground Zero Mosque. Geert Wilders, for his part, is scheduled to speak at a protest in Manhattan on 11 September this year by Stop Islamization of America (SIOA) against the building of the community centre.
Although Mr Wilders is not thought to have direct links with the EDL, SIOA is an affiliate organisation of Stop Islamisation of Europe (SIOE), which has marched alongside the English hooligan movement. SIOE itself was founded in 2007 by Anders Gravers, previously the leader of a tiny Danish party called Stop the Islamisation of Denmark (Stop Islamiseringen af Danmark), in reaction to the Jyllands-Posten Mohammed cartoon controversy. On 11 September 2007, the SIOE staged a demonstration in Brussels.
Other affiliate organisations have been created in 10 European countries including Denmark, Russia, Finland, France, Germany, Norway, Poland, Romania, and Sweden and the United States of America. Mr Gravers is reportedly on friendly terms with Mr Wilders, is his "friend" on Facebook and will be speaking alongside him at the anti-Mosque rally in New York.
The demonstration in Amsterdam is due to take place on 30 October, according to the EDL website. Mr Wilders heads to court at the end of next month on charges of inciting racism. The case begins 5 October, with a verdict expected 2 November.
Joining them there will be members of the recently formed Dutch Defence League' and French Defence League, both modelled on the EDL. The latter draws its members from the ranks of far-right supporters of the Paris Saint Germain football club, known in France for long harbouring a far-right element among the club's supporters, although elsewhere on the continent, according to EDL spokesman Steve Simmons, not all the defence-league-linked groups have their origins in football hooliganism.
Paris Saint Germain supporters
The French Defence League, which employs both an anglophone version of its name and "Ligue Francaise de Defense," founded in May and more latterly takes the name Ligue 732, after a group of Paris Saint Germain supporters, that, according the outfit, "tries to unify all French Casuals, Ultras and French Fans to fight against Radical Islam."
The 732 figure references the year that the French king Charles the Hammer, the grandfather of Charlemagne, won a victory at the Battle of Tours halting Islamic expansion in western Europe.
Mr Simmons told EUobserver that militants from the "anti-Jihad movement" in Germany, Belgium, Switzerland and "other European states" will join them in Amsterdam for the launch of what is termed the "European Defence League" or, alternately, the much cuddlier "European Friendship Initiative."
"I would also like to take this opportunity to announce a new demonstration that is to take the English Defence League global," Tommy Robinson, the pseudonym of the group's leader, Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, a former member of the BNP, wrote on the EDL website in a missive in July.
"You may be aware that the great man Geert Wilders is in court for race hate charges," he continued. "The EDL has been in contact with our European brothers and sisters and we have decided that on Saturday, 30 October the European Defence League will be demonstrating in Amsterdam in support of Geert. We hope that all of you will be able to join us for this, what promises to be a landmark demonstration for the future of the defence leagues."
"We feel that freedom of speech is being eroded and a lot of appeasing of radical muslims and Islam in general. Geert has the courage to take this on and we want to support him," the group's spokesman, Steve Simmons, told EUobserver.
In June this year, the EDL sent two representatives to Counter-Jihad 2010 - a conference in Zurich held by the International Civil Liberties Alliance, which does not focus on civil liberties at all but is instead an anti-Muslim movement. It was the fourth such pan-European conference in as many years.
The Zurich conference may have been where the idea for a European Defence League originated. According to an EDL report back from the meeting, which attracted "counter-Jihad" activists from Denmark, Sweden, France, Germany, Norway, Austria, Switzerland, the UK and the US, the conference "built on the important work that had already been done as well as doing the groundwork for new initiatives and the inclusion of new organisations and activists in the work of the global counter jihad."
Mr Simmons for his part in a slight detour from the announcement of Mr Robinson, told EUobserver that the Amsterdam rally will see the launch of the "European Friendship Initiative," and that a "European Defence League" will be just part of this broader alliance of "Defence-League"-branded movements.
He said that talks are ongoing with in particular German, Dutch, Belgian and French groups ahead of the Amsterdam demonstration. Already, in April this year, the EDL took part in a small pro-Wilders rally of 100 people in Berlin outside the Dutch embassy, organised by the Burger Bewegung Pax Europa (Pax Europa Citizens' Movement).
He also explained why the EDL and allied groups are heading to the Netherlands: "We feel that freedom of speech is being eroded and there is a lot of appeasing of radical muslims and Islam in general. Geert has the courage to take this on and we want to support him."
He downplayed the group's rowdy reputation: "We want to turn it into a sort of celebration rather than a protest, with food, drink and entertainment."
He claimed that off-duty serving UK, Dutch and German soldiers which had joined "Armed Forces Unite," (which grew out of "Armed Forces Defence League," a Facebook group for EDL-supporting soldiers and sailors) have offered to help Dutch police to steward the event.
The city of Amsterdam government for its part is aware of the plans for a demonstration and is tracking developments, but will not discuss details of preparations due to "security considerations."
In Bradford over the weekend, in what was a massive police operation, some 1,600 officers from 13 forces took part.
August 30, 2010
The protest organised by the Unite Against Fascism (UAF) group took place at the same time as a demonstration by the English Nationalists Alliance. A Sussex Police spokesman said members of the UAF march clashed with police. Fourteen arrests were made for public order offences, assault and to prevent a breach of the peace. Two police officers and a protester were treated for minor injuries.
The force spokesman said: "Police attempted to ensure that both protests took place in a safe location, but close enough to one another to enable them to make their points peacefully. Unfortunately a small group from the counter-demonstration resisted this and threw missiles at the police. At no time did either group have the opportunity to physically confront one another, the only disorder being directed towards the police."
Chief Superintendent Graham Bartlett said: "It is our aim to allow protesters the freedom of speech to express their views safely, without causing disruption and disorder to residents, visitors and businesses in the city."
August 29, 2010
Thirteen people were arrested after far-right activists threw missiles and attacked officers during a protest organised by the English Defence League at the weekend, police confirmed today.
A hail of smoke bombs, bricks and bottles hit anti-racist supporters and residents in Bradford on Saturday as about 700 EDL activists held a "static protest" in the city centre. Despite the violence, fears of a repeat of the riots that devastated the city in 2001 proved unfounded, and politicians, the police and community leaders today praised the reaction of residents in the city.
Chief Superintendent Alison Rose said none of those arrested lived in Bradford. "The mood of the district in general has been one of calm, and local people have co-operated and supported the police by behaving sensibly and avoiding conflict. Although there has been some disruption to the city centre, we are returning to normality and the people of Bradford should be proud."
Martin Love, a Green party councillor in Shipley, said there was a sense of relief in the city. "An awful lot of people heeded the warnings to stay out of the city centre. Ignoring the EDL shows them what people here really think and that has wider potential. If we can prevent them causing trouble in Bradford, other places which they target will take heart and follow our example."
The home secretary, Theresa May, authorised a ban on one march this month after a 10,000-strong petition from local people. But police and politicians claimed they were powerless to prevent the far-right group holding a "static protest" in Bradford.
Paul Meszaros, a co-ordinator of the Bradford Together campaign, which collected the petition signatures, paid tribute to people in Bradford.
He said: "In the face of that provocation and racist chanting, the way all the people of Bradford, but the particularly the Muslim people, reacted – the way we stood by this city – was wonderful. Hopefully this means we can finally put the events of 2001 behind us."
More than 1,600 officers from 13 forces were involved in the police operation on the day. The EDL, which has held demonstrations in urban areas across Britain over the past 12 months, formed in 2009, and has since become the most significant far-right street movement in the UK since the National Front in the 1970s.
The EDL says it is a peaceful, non-racist organisation, opposed only to "militant Islam". But many of its demonstrations have ended in confrontations with the police following activist violence, as well as racist and Islamophobic chanting.
The group had predicted that thousands of its supporters would turn out in Bradford at the weekend for what was dubbed "the big one", but the police said there were about 700 people. Coachloads of far-right activists arrived in the afternoon chanting anti-muslim abuse, and skirmishes continued throughout the day between EDL supporters and the police.
August 28, 2010
Far-right activists threw smoke bombs and missiles and fought with the police as trouble flared in a protest organised by the English Defence League.
Bricks and bottles and smoke bombs were thrown at anti-racist supporters and police as around 700 EDL activists – including known football hooligans and BNP members – held a "static protest" in Bradford city centre. Mounted officers and others in riot gear were attacked as they pushed the EDL into a penned area. Skirmishes continued as EDL speakers addressed the crowd and there was more violence as its supporters were put back on coaches.
More than 1,600 officers from 13 forces were involved in the police operation amid fears the demonstration would descend into violence. Police said there had been five arrests.
The EDL, which has held demonstrations in towns and cities across the country over the past 12 months, had predicted that thousands of its supporters would turn out in Bradford for what was dubbed "the big one", but police said there were around 700 people.
Earlier in the afternoon coachloads of EDL activists had chanted "Allah, Allah who the fuck is Allah?" and "Muslim bombers off our streets". One of the coach drivers said: "I didn't expect a job like this when I came to work this morning. We're a five-star firm. We don't usually take scumbags like these."
Thousands of anti-racists and local residents joined counter-protests and events organised around the city. Mohammed Khan, 29, said: "We want to show the people of the UK that Bradford is a united and peaceful place, where Asians, white people – everyone – gets along. Nobody here wants these people. They are just trying to divide this city and provoke trouble."
Several hundred people gathered at a community celebration at Infirmary Fields near Manningham, where running battles between youths and police took place in 2001. "Everyone wanted to join in to tell people how good this city is," said Surhra Bibi from Bradford's Fairbank Road. Hundreds of other demonstrators joined an event organised by Unite Against Fascism in the city centre.
Earlier this month Theresa May, the home secretary, authorised a ban on the march but police and politicians claimed that they were powerless to prevent the far-right group holding a "static protest".
Yesterday, as the demonstration came to an end, fights broke out among rival gangs within the EDL and local teenagers and anti racist campaigners were kept back by mounted police. A West Yorkshire police spokesman said: "Missiles have been thrown in the area around the Bradford Urban Gardens; however, this has been contained and the police are utilising their resources to manage the current situation."
The decision by Bradford council to seek a marching ban followed a formal request by West Yorkshire chief constable Sir Norman Bettison, made after his force carried out a risk assessment of the proposed event. Bettison said he was taking the action after considering the "understandable concerns of the community".
David Ward the local Liberal Democrat MP, who attended the event in Infirmary Fields, said the city had moved on in the past nine years.
"This is a celebration of all that is good about Bradford. We're not so much a big city as a collection of villages – communities which get along and today have got along. I want no part of the hatred some people are showing in our city centre. We have moved on from 2001. I hope today is the day that is made clear."
The EDL, formed last year, has become the most significant far-right street movement in the UK since the National Front in the 1970s. It claims to be a peaceful, non-racist organisation opposed only to "militant Islam". But many of its demonstrations have ended in confrontations with the police after supporters became involved in violence and racist and Islamophobic chanting.
In May, the Guardian revealed that the EDL was planning to step up its Islamophobic street campaign, targeting Bradford and Tower Hamlets in London.
Faisal Nawaz Khan has good reason to remember the last time the far right sought to parade through his home city. He was just 15 when rioting erupted in the Manningham area of the city on the night of 7 July 2001.
In what was the latest pulse of violence to hit the North of England that summer, youths threw stones at police, a pub was burnt and a luxury car dealership was attacked. David Blunkett, who was Home Secretary, had stopped the NF demonstration planned for earlier that day – just as Theresa May has acceded to police requests to do the same with the English Defence League (EDL) this time. Yet trouble still flared and today it will be left to the police to keep the "static" gatherings of many hundreds of EDL supporters and their opponents from Unite Against Fascism under control.
Despite the ban on marching, the planned protests have already succeeded in rekindling unwanted memories in an area still rebuilding itself after riots in both 2001 and 1995. Mr Khan was convicted of throwing a stone at the height of the last disturbances and was sentenced to five years in prison – one of 200 people jailed from the community for a total of 604 years. Then a promising student today he hoses down cars for a living in the shadow of the burnt-out Upper Globe pub which remains derelict after being torched during that long night of violence.
"They put all the blame on us as if we were the culprits and wanted to burn these buildings down," he says. His friend agrees. "The fascists and racists came here 10 years ago to tear down the town and why have they been given permission to do that again?" said the older man who did not wish to be named. Rumours have already been swirling around, they say. A story of an Asian woman being attacked by white youths is circulating, possibly started deliberately to stoke up tension, the men working at the car wash believe.
"It's already escalating," said the older man. Mr Khan believes young Asians will be reluctant to go into the city centre today where police will corral the two rival protests into separate areas out of sight of each other. "We have told our community to stay at home. But we have received anonymous letters through the letterbox saying they want us to go into town and get into trouble. I don't know who it is but they say go there and fight and defend yourselves. But it is Ramadan and we will be fasting."
His friend Asif Khan, 25, said: "This is causing flashbacks for everyone. We don't want a repeat of what happened. They should ban them from coming here all together."
Opposition to the EDL has been well organised since news of the planned march broke. In Bradford city centre, Maya Perry, 35, was gathering signatures for a group called We Are Bradford. It is planning a multicultural celebration as the EDL gather at the newly created urban park – an area of land on the edge of a giant hole in the city centre which is to become a huge retail complex. She was doing brisk trade gathering signatures from passers-by putting their names to a statement denouncing the EDL as Islamophobic, adding to the 10,000 already gathered demanding the march be stopped.
Having grown up in Bradford but now living in London, she too recalls the effects of previous riots but believes people need to stand up and be counted. "We know that when there hasn't been any opposition such as in Stoke the far right can rampage through the town centre, attacking Asians and destroying businesses. They say they are against Islam but in Dudley they attacked a Hindu temple. They are violent racist thugs," she said.
For Bradford's traders, today promises to be one of lost business. Ayaz Muhammad, 33, who sells luggage in Kirkgate market, said he was planning to be there though others would not be opening their stalls. "No one wants trouble. The elder at the mosque has been giving us a lecture for the last two weeks not to go into the town centre. He has been warning us that it is like a fire. The dry sticks can ignite even the green wood. They fear everyone could get caught up if a few get involved," he said.
At the Oastler shopping centre Keith Taplin, 54, was manning his butcher stall which has been run by the family since before the War. The Union Flags on display were there to mark a recent sausage promotion and he said his customer base included as many Asian shoppers as white. "This is going to cause a lot of trouble. There are two or three different groups and that is going to cause a problem no doubt whatsoever," he said. Despite the planned presence of an extra 30 security guards at the market customers were getting their shopping in early. "We have seen a lot of our Saturday regulars already this week. Everybody is keeping out of the way. And who can blame them?"
August 27, 2010
One of the strangest characters ever to grace the extreme-Right stage is Tony Lecomber (pictured above, in his natural element). Few know quite what to make of him. There has long been speculation in fascist quarters that Lecomber was "turned" during one of his spells of imprisonment, and has ever since supplied information to the Special Branch; a variation on the same theme has it that Lecomber is, or was, a wholly-owned puppet of "the state", bent on destroying the BNP's best branches, promoting division, earning the party bad publicity, and generally keeping it restricted in size and unthreatening to "the state" BNP members believe lives in terror of them.
They do love a good conspiracy theory in the BNP.
We don't know the truth of that or of much else surrounding Lecomber, though there is more than a suspicion that in the past he has been helpful to agencies operating beyond the reach of the BNP. What we do know is that he is not to be trusted.
Lecomber was probably more responsible than Griffin for the success of Griffin's long-laid plans to capture the BNP leadership from founder John Tyndall. He operated for years as Griffin's second in command, and played a crucial role in the long roll-call of expulsions and divisions that have characterised the Griffin leadership.
When disgruntled members ask "Where has all the talent gone?" they should keep in mind that Lecomber stands squarely next to Griffin as the man bearing most responsibility for the purging and bullying that saw it off. Griffin routinely ousted talent that he saw as a future threat to his own position, together with those who - as so many in the BNP have belatedly come to realise - became aware of the shady financial business going on at the top of the party. Tony Lecomber was Griffin's willing accomplice, if not, in some cases, the instigator.
Lecomber fell from grace due to his alleged involvement in a "death plot" (see here), but was not formally proscribed by Nick Griffin (and then in glowing terms) until after he attacked Eddy Butler at Loughton rail station - something that has never been properly explained. Even then, it was clear from early on that Lecomber remained involved with the BNP and was on the best of terms with Griffin.
With a record involving possession of explosives and various acts of thuggery, at first glance Lecomber appears little more than a violent loon, but he is that rare thing, a violent loon in charge of a brain that sometimes operates at a close to normal temperature, from which he derives the organisational ability and the nose for plotting and scheming which kept him at the top of the Griffinite BNP for so long.
Lecomber is one of those lurking in the background of the current dispute, presenting himself as an honest broker, and claiming to have offered advice to Griffin and Butler. He affects disappointment with Nick Griffin, saying that he advised Griffin to go directly after the Question Time debacle, and rather surprisingly admits that "only Eddy Butler" can save the BNP. In the manner of a despairing wife finally confronting the reality of a failed marriage, he complains on the increasingly crowded British Democracy Forum that he just doesn't understand Nick any more.
That says "maybe". Lecomber has a well earned reputation for double-dealing, such that those with experience of him immediately, and wisely, go on their guard when the ex-con approaches with his hand outstretched and friendly words tumbling from his lips. They wonder what his game is.
Though Lecomber doesn't admit to criminal wrong-doing in regard to the BNP's finances, he does come close to admitting the probability. Like most of those previously close to Griffin and who are now laying all manner of accusations at his door, Lecomber claims to have heard nothing and saw nothing that aroused his suspicion.
Well, he would say that, wouldn't he? Tony doesn't really have much of a choice.
[As a sidelight to this, I have an email from a Lecomber victim in which the sender wonders whether the former second in command isn't using the British Democracy Forum to subtly but publicly remind Griffin that he knows where the bodies are buried, Lecomber no longer enjoying the financial considerations that were once his. It's a thought - unlikely, but worth noting.]
Wherever in the current troubles Lecomber really stands, he does occasionally (amid much self-serving distortion) slip in information which appears to confirm that which reaches us via secondary sources, sometimes (apparently) gratuitously so.
Visitors to this and the Hope Not Hate websites will recall Sonia Gable's recent article "BNP leadership may have pocketed party bequests", which reported on a meeting of the Reform Group:
The meeting heard that questions had been raised over bequests and other large donations that had allegedly been paid direct to the leadership. It was unclear whether the party had benefited from these bequests and probate information would be obtained to investigate these rumours.A short while after this a cryptic, anonymous comment was left here and moderated out (we don't wish to become part of the battleground on which the BNP factions fight, or to spread the rumours both sides attempt to plant here). It spoke of a bequest that would (from memory) "give the BNP a lifeline". Lecomber today (Friday) claims that the BNP is in line for two bequests which will prevent the party from going, as he puts it, "belly up", at least in the short term.
These bequests must be of a substantial amount, though it is difficult to believe that together they could total more than the minimum £500,000 the BNP needs to crawl out of the financial mire into which Nick Griffin has plunged it. Perhaps there will be enough to cover some smaller debts and to make goodwill payments to the larger creditors, who will be staved off by promises to pay by installment. Even so, the BNP, shrinking, demoralised and barely active, is still left with the problem that even the most basic daily expenditure continues to outstrip income.
It would appear, then, that reports of the BNP's early death are greatly exaggerated. There will be a slight recovery, but the prognosis remains terminal unless the party can clear its debts and cut expenditure to match its greatly reduced income. It can probably keep going long enough to outlast whatever danger is posed by the Reform Group, which is showing distinct signs of flagging together with what may prove a fatal loss of direction - the Reform Group's failure to fund legal challenges on behalf of suspended members, or even to challenge - as promised - the rigged nominations procedure, is hardly helping morale. They could still do both and may yet surprise us, but as supporters begin to lose confidence in a Reform leadership that has huffed and puffed to little real effect for the last near four months, the possibility seems remote. We won't write them off just yet, however, as there are several jokers in the pack and they have been dealt several. They only want for the will to play them.
In the matter of the two bequests mentioned by Lecomber, what is more interesting is his clear imputation that there must have been others which have gone unrecorded, and which, by implication, must have found their way into Griffin's hands.
Lecomber, taking his customary swipe at the loathed John Tyndall, explains thus:
... the BNP pre-Nick had a couple of legacies. One was quite substantial. Tyndall blagged it as you know, quite legally. Nick is aware of how that particular trick worked.The legacy "blagged" by Tyndall, incidentally, is a matter of ongoing dispute. For what it's worth, Tyndall always claimed the legacy was made over to him to disburse as he saw fit, and one can see that a convinced Tyndallite might want to endow his fuhrer with the means to propogate the cause in a wider, unrestricted and independent manner rather than to sink funds into an inefficient party machine. Tyndall, after all, represented far more than the BNP could ever admit to, and every Tyndallite knew it.
...with a [pre-Griffin] party that numbered between 1,500 and 2,000 getting a legacy every 3 or 4 years and with its membership demographic being primarily poorer older folk and young 'herberts'; how is it that a party with a considerably larger membership (3x - 7x) and with a more up-market demographic not had any legacies at all over all the period that the Electoral Commission has wanted published accounts? These legacies should show up either under a heading saying 'bequests' or as a humungous donation.
...So for 7 years we haven't had a single legacy. Now in 2010, as the need is dire, two show up at once just like buses. It stinks. And I'm furious.
And if this is the way of it, then the real reason that Nick can't step down is that someone will want to know why legacies are hitting the party account and going straight out again [my emphasis]. Of course, if it's the case that the party Will Packs (which I devised) have been logged and those people asked to alter their Will to favour a person rather than the party, then that is legal. Though the person doing it should be taken to the back of an open sewer somewhere and decapitated.
Whatever the truth of that, there is no escaping the fact that Tony Lecomber clearly believes that a number of bequests have come the way of the BNP, and have managed, somehow, to escape attention. He also strongly hints that those lodging an intention to leave a bequest to the BNP may have been quietly asked to name the beneficiary as Nick Griffin.
We may be missing something here, but isn't it a little odd that Griffin's long-time second in command and close friend has only now noticed the complete absence of bequests over the past seven years? And isn't it even odder that Lecomber, who claims to want the best for Griffin, a man he is still quick to praise, should go about it by adding substantially to the doubts surrounding his honesty?
It is altogether a curious business, but then, Tony Lecomber is a curious and interesting fellow. Why has he, a divisive and toxic figure, as he happily acknowledges, suddenly come up from between the floorboards to inject himself into the current troubles when there is so little apparent need? He is trusted by almost nobody, carries no real weight, has no future in the BNP or with the Reform Group, and can only harm the cause of whichever camp he sides with.
Perhaps we should ask the old lag directly - what is occurring, Tony?
Set up, like all organisations established by the BNP, solely to strip the party's gullible members of any disposable income Nick Griffin hasn't already begged or conned off them, Solidarity scores extra brownie points on this occasion because it not only has a meeting that is attended by just a tiny handful of idiots, but it also manages to squeeze a nice little mistake into its banner - or should I say 'it's banner'?
Well done, Solidarity.
August 26, 2010
In India, ordinary people collected much needed funds to finance the building of Spitfires to join the battle and in tribute, many RAF squadrons were named after Indian cities. But of all the nations that joined the RAF, it was Polish pilots who in particular distinguished themselves, losing more lives proportionate to their numbers than any single other nationality in the Battle. United for freedom, against fascism.
Philosophy Football have produced a commemorative shirt (above) to honour the Polish contribution, listing the Poles who gave their lives to join the 'few', with the symbol of the Polish airforce they carried on their Spitfires and Hurricanes, and the words 'For Freedom'. Wear it with pride, against fascism then and now.
August 25, 2010
The ban also covers any anti-fascist march but there will no doubt be a static counter-demo with members of UAF, Antifa and local Muslim youth – who have proved themselves to be very militant in the past. The Hope Not Hate campaign have been calling for people not to demonstrate whilst UAF and more militant antifascists have said the opposite. Whatever your opinion there will be a lot of tension in town that night with the EDL attempting to inflame the local Muslim community and the cops and local youth responding with physical force, although obviously not for the same reasons.
The English Defence League are not defensive but provocative. Why else go to Birmingham, Bolton or Bradford except to wind up the large Asian communities? It is crucial to understand that the EDL are ‘taking liberties’ which is very much part of the football hooligan mentality which they share. Taking liberties means occupying the opposition’s pub, smashing it up, taking over part of the home fans’ end or some other gesture. The idea of going into areas with large Asian communities and provoking them is part of this mentality, i.e., getting away with it. Consuming large amounts of lager from the local Wetherspoon’s (who seem perfectly happy to be the unofficial HQ of the EDL), shouting a lot and goading each other on to break the police lines is the point. And the more publicity the better. The EDL is a vanity operation and the thugs love to get their (masked) faces on the TV or photos in the paper so they can glue them into their little scrapbooks. Their use of ‘black and white unite’, Israeli flags and ‘peaceful protest’ is heavily ironic but also another example of ‘taking liberties.’
The EDL still claim to have nothing to do with the BNP despite their leaders being exposed as former members. Many dislike being called ‘Nazis’ and indeed many are not, the EDL has a broad political spectrum from conservative through to neo-Nazis. There are posters on the neo-Nazi forums who support the EDL for taking to the streets. Batty Lee Barnes, humiliatingly sacked from the BNP last week, has also been telling the EDL how best to organise on his blog. But he is mad so they may not take much notice. Other Nazis are less enthusiastic and see the EDL as a Zionist front. But they say that about everything from the BBC to Marxism. The fact that they utilise the same tactics as Moseley’s British Union of Fascists seems to have escaped the EDL: lots of bullyboys marching into a targeted area to intimidate residents, lots of inflammatory rhetoric and lots of public disorder and consequent publicity. The EDL have also been turning up at anti-EDL meetings attempting to disrupt them much like the BUF did with communist and anti-fascist meetings. So the EDL are not fascist by name – only in everything they say and do. Most EDL members would say they weren’t fascists because they do not understand the ideology and they are out simply for a beer, a scrap and taking the piss seeing as they can’t do it at football anymore.
Despite the EDL’s ‘multiracialism’ and Jewish division the vast majority on the demos are aggressive white males. The EDL have managed to get about 2,000 out but recent demos have been less successful hence the trumpeting of Bradford as the ‘big one’ to make sure we all know they are still there. Despite their paper membership on Facebook the only ones who count are the ones who turn up on the day. The EDL have been on about their Jewish division, gay division and now Anarchist division which is so contradictory it has to be a wind-up. They only count on the cobbles. Any idiot can sign up to Facebook.
The EDL have been reckless on their demos and many of them have been arrested and charged, filmed, photographed or had their details taken by plod. The EDL are helping the state monitor and contain far-right extremists whilst echoing the anti-Islamic sentiment that is required for the ongoing tragedies of Iraq and Afghanistan (and Iran in the future!). The EDL’s politics are nonsensical to say the least: they claim they are against extremists in the various communities but do not name any; they claim they are against Sharia law which does not affect them in any way; and they claim they are protesting against militant Islam which is a media-created moral panic with which they are happy to collude.
The EDL claim they are not racist and point to their 1 Sikh member and their mixed race youth leader but these characters remain unconvincing and appear confused. The EDL represent a more modified form of popular racism – Anti-Asianism. In hooligan history black firms like the Man City Kool Kats or the mixed Birmingham Zulus have shown they are game and therefore ‘alright.’ The influence of black players and black popular music has also ratified this status. However, Asian players and Asian music have made little impact on the lives of the EDL and they tend to see everyone with a brown skin as a ‘paki’ regardless of where they are from. They view the Asian communities with suspicion and use the guise of ‘militant Islam’ as a cover for their Anti-Asianism in the same way other right-wingers use anti-Israeli sentiment as covert anti-Semitism.
So what will happen this weekend? There will be a large counter-demo of local people and activists; plod will probably prevent a lot of EDL coming in, as they have done in the past; the static protest will go ahead but with limited numbers; and if the EDL are feeling particularly perky they will no doubt attempt to break the police lines like they did in Stoke and Dudley to get at the counter-demo and/or the Asian community. The result? Lots of publicity, the EDL egos revived after recent disappointments and ‘legal trouble’, the cops being very heavy handed with everyone and a large bill for the local community to pay for. Well done!
If Tina or anyone else feels the urge to send in some more images that take the piss out of Porky Griffin's rampant egomania, we'd welcome them. :-)
August 24, 2010
Councillor Ellie Walker has become a member of Stoke-on-Trent City Council's new Community Voice group after several months spent as a non-aligned councillor. Mrs Walker quit the British National Party in March, along with husband, and former group leader, Alby Walker. But Community Voice leaders told Mrs Walker they would only accept her if she issued a public statement distancing herself from the far-right party.
And the Abbey Green ward member, who was elected as a BNP councillor in May 2007, has now said: "I was misguided to have ever been a member of the BNP and admit that I was part of an organisation that held racist views and that my association with the BNP reflected badly on me personally. During my time as a councillor, working closely with the community and all sorts of people from all sorts of backgrounds, I have come to realise that the views of the BNP are wrong."
Mrs Walker also revealed her daughter-in-law is Sri Lankan, and that her grandchildren are of mixed race. She added: "While a member of the BNP, I realised that it was not what I thought it was, with many individuals only interested in hate and lies. Stoke-on-Trent is a fantastic, diverse and tolerant place to live and represent [and], if it is to move forward, it must continue to be so."
Community Voice's lead spokesman, Councillor Mick Salih, said he had no problem accepting Mrs Walker's application to become the party's sixth member. He added: "Community Voice despise and is totally opposed to the BNP and everything it stands for. Racism, indeed any discrimination, has no place in a modern, tolerant city like Stoke-on-Trent. Ellie has put all that behind her and earned admiration from all political parties across the city council when she not only left the BNP but exposed the hidden extremism."
The addition of Mrs Walker to the fledgling party makes it the fourth largest group on the council. It is behind 26-member Labour, the nine-strong City Independent Group and the eight-member Conservative and Independent Alliance. It is also now one place ahead of the five-member BNP group and the four-strong Liberal Democrats.
Current BNP group leader Councillor Michael Coleman said he was aware of Mrs Walker's move to Community Voice, but was sceptical about her denunciation of her former far-right connections. He said: "This has to be the biggest political conversion in the history of Stoke-on-Trent – to go from hard right to hard left. I have known Ellie a long time and all I can say is that her views fitted in well with the BNP and she was an outstanding councillor for us. I wish her well in her new group, but I don't accept any of her accusations about our party. She was elected on a BNP ticket, and I do wonder whether voters in her ward will accept her conversion or feel betrayed by it. I suppose this shows that we are gradually gaining political acceptance, as until now no other party would have accepted a former BNP member."
This is Staffordshire
Report on the BNP's Summer School by John of Gwent, one of Green Sparrow's mob.
Also, isn't it strange that, with an alleged 160 hanging off His Lordship's every word, the only photograph of this event that has been released to the world at large, shows a grand total of NINE in the audience (and one of them looks like he just died).
However, this might be explained by the only other picture we could find of the weekend, this being a picture of the site itself, swarming with Griffin-loyalists.
Is Griffin's BNP dying on its arse? You decide. Just ignore the tumbleweed blowing across the site and the wind howling through the empty, cobweb-covered tents.
August 23, 2010
People oppose the EDL because of what it is, not because of what some EDL activists say they'd like it to be, and the facts are simple - the EDL is being used as a Trojan Horse by Nazis and BNP activists.
Whether EDL leaders planned it that way is a moot point, but EDL leaders Stephen Yaxley-Lennon and Chris Renton (aka John Sheridan) are BNP, Jeff Marsh (aka Joe Casuals) promotes Nazi music in his blog and says he supports voting BNP, Paul Ray says he's NOT anti-BNP but he was shunned by EDL leaders for opposing Renton linking with Nazis, Joel Titus says he opposes the BNP but accepted BNP activists as friends on You Tube, and EDL poster-boy Guramit Singh is a proven racist. Other movers and shakers in the original EDL include NF activist David Tull and BNP activist David Cooling. With that kind of leadership, of course it's the EDL's fault Nazis turn up at EDL demos!
Since being exposed in this video, Welsh Nazi Calan Llwyd has changed the name of his Facebook profile to "Calan Redkiller Mccommiesmasher" lol, and restricted access to his photos. Sorry mate, WAY too late! ;)
August 22, 2010
Tactical firearms officers were involved in the arrest earlier this week of 50-year-old David Lucas, of Lakenheath – just two months after he admitted possessing ammunition and gunpowder at Ipswich Crown Court.
Mr Lucas was arrested on Wednesday after police officers executed warrants at properties in the Mildenhall and Thetford areas.
A police spokeswoman said the arrest was made on “suspicion of possession of firearms without a licence”.
She said he had since been released on police bail until September 28.
Speaking about the involvement of firearms officers, she said: “Officers from the tactical firearms unit were involved, but for their skills in gaining entry to properties and searching rather than firearms deployment.”
Last month, Mr Lucas quit his role as a member of Lakenheath Parish Council.
Marilyn Banks, clerk to the council, confirmed a letter of thanks had been sent to Mr Lucas, who last year stood as a candidate for the BNP in the European elections.
No by-election for his parish council seat will be held.
Mr Lucas was given a 12-month prison sentence suspended for 12 months in June in connection with an incident in April 2009, when police visited a static caravan at Black Dyke Farm, near Lakenheath.
Police found a plastic tub containing a small amount of gunpowder and 2,500 rounds of ammunition that Mr Lucas was not authorised to possess, Ipswich Crown Court heard.
Mr Lucas, of South Road in Lakenheath, admitted possessing gunpowder without an explosives licence, two offences of possessing prohibited ammunition and one offence of possessing ammunition without a firearm certificate.
Sentencing Lucas, Judge David Goodin said the offences crossed the custody threshold but agreed to pass a 12-month sentence suspended for 12 months after coming to the conclusion that Lucas was eccentric rather than a danger to the public.
He ordered Lucas to pay £250 towards prosecution costs and ordered him to reside for 13 weeks at his mother’s house.
At the time, Jonathan Davies, for Mr Lucas, said his client’s attitude had been “negligent and indifferent” rather than a flagrant disregard for the law.
East Anglian Daily Times
Nick Griffin, who recently appointed himself acting London regional organiser for the racist party, visited Chris Roberts at his City Hall office on Friday to discuss “GLA work” according to a report on the BNP’s London Patriot website. Roberts is employed by the Greater London Authority as an assistant to Richard Barnbrook, who earlier this month resigned the BNP whip until “allegations of serious wrong doing concerning senior British National Party officials” are investigated.
Griffin’s attempt to influence Roberts to work in the interests of the BNP rather than for the member he is paid to assist is highly irregular. The previous night Griffin told a party meeting in Barking and Dagenham, from which many dissident longstanding activists had been excluded, that he himself would be taking charge of the party’s campaign for the London Assembly and mayoral elections in 2012.
“To be successful, the BNP need a high profile candidate who can generate the publicity needed to mobilise the capital’s remaining demoralised traditional British population to come out and vote,” wrote Martin Wingfield, Griffin’s communications officer following the meeting. But that’s not all, once elected the BNP representative must be influential within the Assembly chamber and make sure that the patriotic voice of British Nationalism is heard at every opportunity,” an implied criticism of Barnbrook’s failure to do so.
London Patriot also reports that Griffin had a long meeting on Friday with solicitors to prepare for the next round of the Equality and Human Rights Commission court case over the party’s racist constitution.
“Mr Griffin will be representing himself in court against a renewed attack from the EHRC which has included a request to have the BNP leader imprisoned,” according to London Patriot. Whether this is because the impecunious BNP cannot afford a barrister or because no barrister is prepared to act for the dictatorial BNP leader is not stated.
The Barking and Dagenham meeting was treated to more of Griffin’s lies in response to questions about serious irregularities in the party that have emerged during the course of Eddy Butler’s unsuccessful leadership challenge.
The raising of the nominations threshold for a leadership challenge – to 20% of members of at least two years’ standing – was, he claimed, not his decision but that of the members at a party general meeting on 14 February this year, which adopted the new party constitution.
In fact members were only shown those parts of the constitution that had been amended in response to the Equality Commission legal action. Griffin slipped in the new rules on leadership challenges without even showing those clauses to members expected to vote for them and the amended constitution could only be accepted or rejected as a whole.
He said he would now ask for changes to the constitution to give the party leader a longer term of office, in other words abolishing the right to challenge him each year.
Griffin was cagey in response to questions about the party’s contract with Jim Dowson, the fundraising consultant with a string of criminal convictions whom Griffin brought in at great expense at the start of 2008. One questioner pointed out that the contract Dowson produced at an employment tribunal hearing over the sacked BNP employee Michaela Mackenzie had ended at December 2009. Griffin said that was not true. He claimed that Dowson’s help had been “invaluable” and said he would extend the contract with him if he felt it was in the party’s interests to do so.
Many in the BNP believe that Griffin will extend Dowson’s contract if it is in Griffin’s and Dowson’s personal financial interests to do so, but those who might say that openly had been kept out of the meeting.
Griffin also blamed the BNP’s current dire financial state on those who had called for members to stop giving money to the party until there was greater financial transparency, claiming this had cost the party around £300,000, an unlikely figure, and an attempt to divert attention from the fact that it is Griffin’s reckless pursuit of hopeless legal actions and Dowson’s huge salary and commission that are the largest contributing factors to the BNP’s debt mountain, now believed to be around £600,000.
Hope not hate
August 21, 2010
Butler's personal blog report on the events of the evening constitutes one of his most savage attacks on the beleaguered BNP leader to date, employing the word "lie" seven times, "lies" six times, "liar" three times, and "lying" once, in a statement that leaves Nick Griffin looking deeply foolish and very guilty.
The "reform" leader repeatedly sneers at Griffin and brazenly attacks his personal integrity in what appears to be a transparent attempt to goad Griffin into taking precipitate action against himself and his supporters.
Butler relates how, despite being warned by letter not to attend the Dagenham meeting on pain of disciplinary action, "Everyone turned up!" while "A group of suspended members waited outside the venue with gags on their mouths, holding up placards reading ‘Gagged for telling the truth’."
"Griffin sneaked into the venue and locked himself into the meeting room for forty five minutes sweating with his security entourage," Butler gloats, then details that Griffin put his security goons (who included Clive Jefferson) on the door armed with a revised list of those to be refused admittance.
"Pandemonium broke out," says Butler, but in the disorder several reformers got past the goons, one threatening to call the police if Griffin's men laid a hand on him, though some were hauled out of the meeting room.
One of those refused entry was former goon Jay Slaven, who our readers will remember hustled Griffin away from the egg throwing incident outside parliament last year, and who brutally chopped the throat of an innocent (black) female pedestrian engulfed by Slaven, Griffin and several other panicking fascists, who then trampled her body as she fell to the ground.
Interestingly, Emma Colgate, one of the BNP's last remaining councillors in the south east, was also refused entry. Colgate has kept a low profile so far, but her transformation from BNP to "independent" councillor in Thurrock cannot be long in coming.
Butler and ourselves (via another source) agree that about sixty people eventually got into the meeting, leaving between fifteen to twenty excluded. As many attending came from outside London, this turnout tells us much about the woeful condition of the BNP in the capital.
In his hubris, Nick Griffin claimed that ninety attended the meeting, which he described as "long and productive". In fact Griffin talked and talked, and lied and lied (as Butler has it), leaving almost no time for questions.
Describing this, Butler is scathing. "A poor excuse for a man," he says of Griffin, adding that the BNP leader's speech was "boring and nervously delivered by a perspiring and stammering excuse for a man", and "Virtually every word than came out of Griffin’s mouth was a lie."
Griffin's account, needless to say, differs markedly from that of Butler and a "reform" supporter who sat through the meeting. Griffin claims (or, being careful, says he was "told") that he spoke for an hour and answered questions for two, which is not what we have been hearing.
On the BNP website a report, detailing the organisational changes to be made in the London region, has the same flavour as the legendary tale of the man who re-arranged the deck-chairs on a sinking Titanic. Griffin has split London in to five new "regions", with Griffin trusties installed as local organisers - though he clearly trusts none of them enough with the post of regional organiser, which he retains. What, exactly, these new organisers will organise isn't clear at all.
Butler's report can be found on his personal blog, and speaks for itself. It is angry, contemptuous, and above all provocative, viz:
GRIFFIN IS A LIAR – VIRTUALLY EVERTHING HE SAYS AT A BNP MEETING NOW IS A LIE.News from the north east, that was also news to us, is to be found at the head of Butler's report, where he claims that "twenty five long standing members – officers, candidates and activists from South Tyneside and Morpeth" resigned en bloc from the BNP on Thursday in protest at Griffin's "tyrannical actions", which included the sacking of regional organiser Ken Booth.
HE CANNOT FACE ME IN FRONT OF BNP MEMBERS AS HE KNOWS I WILL DESTROY HIS LIES AND LEAVE HIM A PATHETIC AND WASTED WRECK IN FRONT OF EVERYONE IN THE AUDIENCE.
IF GRIFFIN HAD THE COURAGE OF HIS CONVICTIONS HE WOULD NOT ACT LIKE THIS. HE IS A COWARD.
In the north east Adam and Mark Walker are looking increasingly isolated as the local membership evaporates around them, and were recently obliged to import a small number of the similarly evaporating Liverpool activist base to help out in Adam Walker's campaign for election to Spennymoor Town Council - a campaign the BNP has perhaps misguidedly hyped beyond its importance, most especially in light of Walker's disgraceful comments prior to VJ-Day that Japanese war criminals "were doing what they thought was right at the time", which is returning to haunt him.
Also helping out (or was he really being guarded?) in Spennymoor was Richard Barnbrook, also isolated, though for different reasons, and since cast adrift.
Barnbrook appears to have acquired either a ghost-writer or an extremely helpful "friend" to help him keep his barely-regarded blog up to date, and continues to labour under the delusion that he has any use at all to Griffin and the BNP.
In a "Message to voters and supporters", Barnbrook, with touching sincerity, says that he had despatched a missive to "head office" (by which he means Nick Griffin) in which he set out his own observations of the current disputes and suggestions on their resolution.
This missive is so naive and child-like we can only assume Barnbrook's ghost-writer had great troubles in maintaining a straight face as he tapped it out. We have no way of knowing whether the following suggestion gestated in Barnbrook's mind or that of his unseen helper, but as part of the drive to root out infiltrators Barnbook recommends that polygraph tests be imposed on everybody at the level of regional organiser and above, apparently including (rather cheekily) Nick Griffin.
"I have not yet had any response which indicates to me that action will be taken on the points that I raised," Barnbook concludes.
Richard just doesn't get it, does he?
August 20, 2010
The home secretary, Theresa May, today authorised a ban on a planned march by far-right group the English Defence League (EDL), due to take place in Bradford later this month. The blanket ban prevents any marches in the city over the August bank holiday weekend, when the EDL had said it was planning to stage a demonstration members described as "the big one".
The Home Office said: "Having carefully balanced rights to protest against the need to ensure local communities and property are protected, the home secretary gave her consent to a Bradford council order banning any marches in the city over the bank holiday weekend. West Yorkshire police are committed to using their powers to ensure communities and property are protected, and we encourage all local people to work with the police to ensure community cohesion is not undermined by public disorder."
The decision by Bradford council to seek a marching ban followed a formal request by West Yorkshire chief constable Sir Norman Bettison, made after his force carried out a risk assessment of the proposed event. Bettison said he was taking the action after considering the "understandable concerns of the community".
"Having carefully considered the issues arising from any planned or unplanned march by protesters in Bradford, I have decided to apply to Bradford council for an order prohibiting the holding of a public procession on that day," he said.
However, police and the Home Office say there are no powers to prevent the EDL holding a "static demonstration", as they have done in other towns over the past year.
Anti-racist group Unite Against Fascism is planning to hold a counter "demonstration and carnival" in the city on the same day as the EDL's static protest. That event will also come under the home secretary's blanket ban on marches.
In a letter to the council, crime prevention minister James Brokenshire said the government "fully understands local concerns" that the EDL demonstration "has the potential to spark public disorder and to impact on community cohesion, particularly given the disturbances in Bradford in 2001". He wrote: "The application from the chief constable of West Yorkshire police is clear that the activities of some who attend English Defence League protests – and indeed counter-protests – has little to do with freedom of expression.
Brokenshire said the police had the power to impose conditions on the size, location and duration of a static protest if they believe it will result in serious public disorder. Officers may also be needed to escort groups to and from the protest, but "any such escort would be to safeguard local communities and should not be misinterpreted as a breach of the ban on marches".
Earlier this week a spokesman for the EDL said that although it may have to "modify its plans slightly", if the ban was granted, the Bradford demonstration would "most definitely still go ahead".
The decision to ban the march follows a campaign that saw more than 10,000 people in Bradford sign a petition which also received the backing of community and political leaders.
The EDL formed in Luton last year and has become the most significant far-right street movement in the UK since the National Front in the 1970s. It claims to be a peaceful, non-racist organisation opposed only to "militant Islam". But many of its demonstrations have ended in confrontations with the police after some supporters became involved in violence, as well as racist and Islamophobic chanting.
In May the Guardian revealed that the EDL was planning to step up its Islamophobic street campaign, targeting Tower Hamlets in London and Bradford.
Jonathan Bambro, prosecuting, told magistrates that Hakim Kadir was at work at Godfather's, in Cockerton, when he noticed a drunken Elstob at the window. Mr Bambro said Elstob then shouted a string of racial abuse and as he did so he began to stick BNP stickers on the window.
Mr Kadir, who works as a delivery driver was later confronted by Elstob after he got in his car. The 18-year-old opened the door of the Nissan Micra and punched Mr Kadir and then kicked and punched the car, causing £500 worth of damage.
He was later arrested and in interview gave no reply until he admitted to officers he had a problem with black and Asian people working in the UK. Elstob, of Eggleston View, Darlington, also admitted being in breach of a 12 month conditional discharge for possession of cannabis.
Mike Clarke, mitigating, said Elstob claimed there had been an injustice when his stepbrother was hit with a rolling pin by one of the take-away workers. He said Elstob was also having difficulty after his mother had been given a "substantial" prison sentence for drugs offences.
Elstob was given 26 weeks in custody, suspended for two years, with a 12 month supervision order and 150 hours unpaid work. He was also handed a restraining order stopping him from approaching or entering the shop, or molesting its staff.
He was also ordered to pay Mr Kadir £250 compensation.
August 18, 2010
Bob Gertner, a former Croydon BNP organiser, received an email from Mark Walker of the BNP’s “political admin office” telling him that the special organisational meeting was “open only to members and supporters who wish to put recent disputes behind us and move on in a wholly positive fashion”.
Writing on behalf of Nick Griffin, who recently appointed himself the party’s acting London regional organiser, Walker continues: “You are one of a small number of individuals whose behaviour or alleged behaviour in recent weeks has led to a large number of people at present viewing you with suspicion. Whether or not this is justified, I therefore judge that your presence at this meeting would not be conducive either to its smooth running or to the moves for the private addressing of genuine concerns and to work towards reconciliation which will be made separately.”
Walker’s explanation is bizarre in that it bans a longstanding activist even if “suspicion” is unjustified and that it appears to suggest that Gertner’s concerns, which led to him supporting Eddy Butler’s challenge to Griffin’s dictatorial leadership of the fascist party and are shared by many, are not to be discussed in a members’ meeting.
Griffin took over as acting London organiser from Chris Roberts, another activist who fell out of favour after voicing concerns about the financial mismanagement in the party, the way Griffin constantly falls out with “hard working dedicated nationalists” and the influence in the party of non-members such as Patrick Harrington, a leader of the tiny Third Way party and a former comrade of Griffin in his National Front “political soldier” days. Roberts too supported Butler’s challenge.
Griffin’s only connection with London is that: “I pass by while on the way to Europe”, as he said on Twitter announcing that he was putting together “a great new London management team” and would be acting as their organiser “while they find their feet”.
Clearly Griffin was unable to identify a single Griffin loyalist in London willing and capable of organising the region, following several suspensions of activists and widespread disillusionment.
“Vital we organise now to maximise chances in 2012 gla election,” Griffin’s tweet continued, hoping party members would forget his statement after the BNP’s defeat in Barking and Dagenham in May, when he wrote off fighting elections in the capital saying that by the next general election London would be “completely unassailable” and “no longer part of Britain”.
Elsewhere the three BNP councillors who have turned independent have left the party with only 24 council seats compared with nearly 60 a year ago. Deidre Gates, who was the organiser of the party’s West Hertfordshire group, had actively supported Butler but resigned from the party on 17 August, not heeding Butler’s call to continue the fight from the inside. She was elected to Hertfordshire County Council last year, one of just three BNP county councillors, of whom only one now remains. Seamus Dunne, who sits on Three Rivers council in Hertfordshire, has resigned the BNP whip but remains in the party.
Sonia Gable at HOPE not hate
August 17, 2010
In a strongly worded statement, the police say they believe the risk to public order is enough to warrant a ban on the racist march. This will be the first time any police force has applied for a ban since the EDL tried to march in Luton in summer 2009.
Bradford City Council will now formally request a ban from the Home Secretary and a decision will be announced early next week. However, Home Office officials told HOPE not hate last week that it was highly unlikely the Home Secretary would ignore a request if one were made by the police and council and the stringent criteria for a ban were met.
While there is still a possibility that the EDL might hold a static protest in Bradford, a ban on a demonstration is a major success. The EDL had hoped to march down Manchester Road, a predominantly Muslim area of the city. It is also likely that as news of the ban spreads support for an EDL static protest will dampen.
The decision by West Yorkshire Police is a victory for the HOPE not hate campaign and the thousands of people who signed its Bradford Together petition. “Some people said that a petition was fruitless but we have proved that, when mobilised, ordinary people can exert pressure on the authorities,” said HOPE not hate co-ordinator Nick Lowles.
“While the EDL threat hasn’t completely gone away our campaign has contributed to the racists being kept away from Muslim communities in Bradford. This is a victory for the people of city and especially the 10,700 who signed our petition.”
The HOPE not hate campaign and its Bradford Together initiative will not stop here. If the EDL reapplies for a static protest then we will hold a peace vigil in Bradford City Centre on Friday 27 August. But even if the EDL stays away altogether we shall seek to build on this fantastic campaign to make Bradford Together a lasting initiative.
“I would like to thank everyone who has supported us,” added Paul Meszaros, who ran the campaign in Bradford. “Over 10,000 local people signed our petition. That’s over 10,000 successful conversations we have had with ordinary local people.
“We still might face a static EDL protest but this is a significant victory and one we should all be proud of.”
The move came on the heels of the news that two more BNP councillors had declared themselves "independent" and the highly dubious suspension of Griffin gofer Paul Golding came to light.
Clearly not trusting local London officials, even those he had just hand-picked, at around 10 p.m. Griffin tweeted: "Busy evening putting together a great new London management team. I'll be acting as their Reginal [sic] Organiser while they find their feet. I pass by while on the way to Europe anyway, so a bit of hands on leadership won't be too hard. Vital we organise now to maximise chances in 2012 gla election. I did the same in the North West before handing over to Clive Jefferson. It worked well."
Distrust and disaffection for Griffin is so advanced in London that imposing himself as the top regional official is more likely to entrench existing divisions and create new resentments than it is either to bring the bickering factions to heel or to initiate a period of calm in which some attempt at reconciliation can be effected.
In fact, reconciliation appears to be the last thing on Griffin's mind. London, and particularly East London, being one of the hotter spots in the BNP's fevered post-election discontent, is ripe for a thorough pruning, and it would seem that Griffin is placing himself in the best position possible to oversee it.
Griffin's careless attitude towards the BNP's dwindling number of elected assets was exemplified in his obvious contempt for the newly "independent" Richard Barnbrook, expressed via his Twitter account: "Disappointed by Richard. Have appealed to him to do decent thing and either come back to fold or . . ."
Since even Griffin might think Barnbrook's honourable suicide a step too far, he presumably means that Barnbrook should resign his GLA seat.
Griffin's contempt for Barnbrook long predates the current troubles, but Barnbrook also earned the open contempt of the Butler camp when, with the intervention of the oleaginous Patrick Harrington, he back-tracked on earlier promises to support the Butler camp and allowed himself to become a stooge candidate for Griffin. Barnbrook was quickly discarded when his usefulness ran out and has no political friends left. Even if - and it is a possibility - he were to further humiliate himself and return to the fold, his inglorious career in racist politics will end with the next GLA elections.
Shrugging off the BNP label with better grace than Barnbrook, West Hertfordshire organiser and county councillor Deirdre Gates has also resigned from the party. Three Rivers district councillor Seamus Dunne has declared himself an "independent", but remains a member of the BNP.
Gates may have sought to pre-empt her own purging, but in resigning from the party has defied the advice of her friend Eddy Butler, for whom she was a prominent campaigner. Why Gates took this course is open to speculation unless or until she makes a public statement explaining her actions. There is a suggestion that Gates's time as a county councillor may have have had a maturing influence on her, something that has happened in the past when BNP councillors have glimpsed political life beyond the BNP's inane world of Marxist plots and Muslim takeovers, but, equally likely, she may know something of Butler's plans which would render her continued membership of the BNP superfluous.
The suspension of one of Nick Griffin's chief lackeys, Paul Golding, was greeted with derision by the Butler camp, suspicious of every move made by the embattled BNP leader. Golding was apparently suspended for abusing the official BNP e-mail lists, which he used to promote the infamous "attack blogs" and for transmitting a personal attack on Eddy Butler.
According to Butler: "Obviously Paul Golding will not really be punished for these ‘transgressions’. It is sop designed to imply that the leadership will be even handed when they try to expel certain people who supported me during the recent leadership challenge. It is a blatant fig leaf."
Butler also claims to detect the hand of the sneakingly ubiquitous Patrick Harrington in the ploy, since: "Harrington knows that Paul Golding’s unwise attack e-mail gave grounds for other members of staff who were the subject of abuse, to claim constructive dismissal if no action was taken."
Griffin is clearly positioning himself to take decisive action soon. Will he pick off Butler's people piecemeal, or will there be a bloodbath?
Griffin's reckless behaviour suggests to us that he really doesn't care, and would rather see the BNP's last councillors jump ship and the membership dwindle to a few Green Arrow-type fools before he will allow those oh so well guarded account books to fall out of his control and into the hands of a deeply interested membership.
August 16, 2010
August 15, 2010
They are all also even going to visit "Yasukuni, a Shinto shrine in the capital that honours Japan's war dead, including 14 class-A war criminals".
I listened to this mumbling apologist for the mass murder, torture and starvation of British and Commonwealth 2nd World War prisoners (and the murder and rape of countless millions of other victims of Japanese racist aggression) as he tried to defend the indefensible. By coincidence on Thursday I visited the three military museums in Edinburgh Castle and can vividly remember the many harrowing accounts and pictures of Japanese executions and deliberate cruelty to Scottish Prisoners of War.
Putting aside mere common decency and humanity for the moment - how on earth can anyone who claim to support our armed forces and be a patriotic Brit possibly support the BNP after this latest crass exposure of its deep rooted Nazi cultism?
Hat-tip to Paul for YouTube video.
John's Labour blog
Thanks to Old Sailor for the heads-up.
The committee “has been tasked with examining the structure of the treasury department and making concrete moves to ensure that there is a clear division between those who manage the accounts and those who authorise outlays,” according to the party.
The establishment of this committee is clearly an attempt to dispel the widespread accusations of financial impropriety in the BNP. As well as the party’s incompetent treasurer, Dave Hannam, its members include the party’s East Midlands regional organiser Geoff Dickens, the Wales regional organiser Brian Mahoney and the East Midlands regional treasurer James Mole.
According to Nick Griffin, the party leader, Dickens and Mahoney have “decades of experience in managing business with bigger turnovers with the BNP and will bring their expertise to bear on the committee”. Mole has also been appointed as the BNP’s new “regional treasurer”, whose job will be to act as treasurer for those regions (most of them) that cannot run their own finances.
However the very limited role of the scrutiny committee means it is unlikely to restore party members’ shaken confidence in the BNP’s dire finances. In fact Griffin himself gave away its true purpose: to protect Hannam. “This committee has been given the mission to transparently study everything so that the national treasurer can be completely protected from malicious allegations,” Griffin said.
Although Griffin stated that the party’s finances were the main focus of the Advisory Council meeting, it does not appear that Hannam made the party’s detailed financial records available for inspection, as Ken Booth, the North East regional organiser had requested before being peremptorily sacked by Griffin.
Interestingly Griffin ascribed the party’s serious financial situation to the party growing faster than its systems could cope with, an excuse he has used before but which differs from what he puts in his begging letters, in which he blames the legal action against the party’s racist constitution brought by the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
The true cause, which Griffin never admits, is that he has brought the party to insolvency by pursuing reckless legal actions and making idiotic decisions with expensive consequences such as to use the image of a jar of Marmite on the party’s general election broadcast.
Rumours continue to circulate that the party is about to be put into liquidation by its numerous creditors, which include HM Revenue and Customs, various firms of solicitors and Michaela Mackenzie, a former employee to whom Griffin agreed to pay an undisclosed sum of compensation for unfair dismissal but failed to do so by the due date of 14 July.
The meeting also heard that its new member dropout rate – people who join the party but fail to renew their membership after the first year – was critically low. According to Griffin the party’s Belfast call centre had ascertained that the main reason was the lack of contact after joining the party.
Griffin blamed this on local units. However many of his critics have said that the call centre has failed to pass on details of many inquiries to the call centre and where information is passed on it is inaccurate and unusable.
The party had previously said that the establishment of the Belfast call centre, under the control of the convicted criminal Jim Dowson, who controls most of the BNP’s operations and assets, had successfully increased the membership renewal rate, but this now appears to have been a lie.
The revelation casts doubt on the party’s claimed membership figure of 14,000. The party’s 2009 accounts, which would include a statement of the number of members at 31 December 2009, remain unavailable.
The Advisory Council meeting also heard that the party intends to relaunch its campaign against the Afghanistan war in the autumn with “leaflets, petitions and online campaigning”, in a bid to “start recruiting again in earnest”.
Sonia Gable at HOPE not hate
Graham Partner, one of two BNP members elected to North West Leicestershire District Council in May 2007, supported Eddy Butler’s failed challenge to Nick Griffin’s leadership because the party was not “being managed in an open and honest way”.
The final straw for him was Griffin’s dismissal of two members of the party’s Advisory Council and Richard Barnbrook’s decision to renounce the BNP whip on the London Assembly this week.
“On Monday I shall submit my official letter to County Hall informing them of my decision while remaining a member of the party in order to retain the right to speak and vote against its wrongful management,” wrote Partner on 13 August.
Two days earlier he had accused those BNP members who supported Griffin’s continued leadership of the party of being “morons who voted for Herr Griff” and described the leadership nomination process as: “cheating, fraudulent, despicable”.
Attacking Griffin’s dictatorship, Partner added: “His actions have brought about several court cases costing us hundreds of thousands of pounds, his arrogance towards other members and officials knows no bounds.
“He appoints lap dogs to key positions who will follow his instructions blindly and gets away with repeatedly lying over the accounts with a little help from puppet Dave [Hannam, the BNP’s incompetent treasurer].”
Meanwhile, 37 supporters of Butler’s failed leadership challenge met near Windsor on 12 August to discuss how they could “rescue” the BNP from its “inevitable failure and destruction” under Griffin’s leadership, reports Simon Bennett, the BNP’s former webmaster. They included many of the people whom Griffin has suspended for supporting Butler.
Those present blamed Griffin for the £500,000 of debts that have put the party in a dire financial state, likening him, wrote Bennett, to “the farmer who had opened the door of the chicken house to the fox, a shadowy and wily fox with a criminal past and a history of appealing for monies from donors who believe in their causes, the monies seemingly then enriching the pockets of that fox rather than being utilised for the cause. The resulting carnage, now that the fox had been allowed to virtually take over the Party by the farmer, was all too apparent.”
The fox in this tale is Jim Dowson, the man who owns the BNP – a fact first revealed by Searchlight – whose involvement with the party Butler and many other activists have vigorously condemned and want to bring to an end. Not only has he taken over the party’s assets and administration, he has been accused by many activists of bullying and threatening violence against anyone who dares to disagree with him, and a young BNP member has made allegations of sexual assault against him, which Griffin has refused to investigate.
The meeting heard that questions had been raised over bequests and other large donations that had allegedly been paid direct to the leadership. It was unclear whether the party had benefited from these bequests and probate information would be obtained to investigate these rumours.
The party has not notified any individual large donations to the Electoral Commission since the end of September 2009. Donations above £7,500 (£5,000 up to 31 December) to the central party and above £1,500 (formerly £1,000) to accounting units or to individual officers have to be declared.
Delegates also explored how they could force an independent examination of the party’s financial records to establish whether there was any truth in the widespread allegations of financial irregularities and to “disclose where all the party’s funds had disappeared, and if there were signs of fraud”.
The meeting decided to establish a new Reform Group website and attached forum which would focus on “the rescue of the party” and provide “information which members would not get from official party channels”.
The group is also considering legal action over the BNP’s leadership nomination rules that the party leadership imposed to make it impossible for a challenger to succeed, something that Butler recently rejected despite suggesting it during his campaign. The meeting also decided to organise a class action on behalf of all the members who had been “unconstitutionally and illegally suspended”, which will put the BNP’s new constitution under the spotlight and could result in yet more legal costs for the party.
Butler himself appears not to have been present. The group intends to hold a bigger meeting in September.
Sonia Gable at HOPE not hate