The Young BNP, followed by the short-lived “BNP Crusaders” and now “Resistance” are intended to represent Nick Griffin’s personal ideological legacy to the “movement”.
Having temporarily succeeded in masking elements of his own dubious political history, Griffin is trying to forge the future of his party on a quasi-paramilitary outfit for people aged 18 to 30 with lashings of hearty, white Britishness thrown in. These new “Young Turks” are presented as driven by the wholesome love of their country and untainted like so many of their peers by Nazism and racial hatred.
Since its inception, the BNP’s youth wing has been surrounded by older gun nuts and heavy drinkers. The YBNP with its Nazi volk imagery was supposed to encourage teenage party members to adopt a healthy outdoor lifestyle by playing with knives and airguns while dressed in paramilitary costumes. Around camp fires junior nazis got drunk and engaged in “healthy” teenage debauchery.
After a series of national newspaper exposés, the YBNP morphed into the BNP Crusaders as the party continued to search for a long-term replacement for Griffin. Because of that wider context, a position in the leadership of the youth, or now “young adult”, wing of the BNP is an honour for young white patriots who can thereby present themselves as the future leaders of the BNP.
Among the alumni of the BNP’s youth leadership are Mark Collett, who disgraced himself on national television (more than once), Griffin’s daughter Jennifer, the argumentative Danny Lake, who was sacked by a text message telling him to “p*** off”, and the party’s appalling karaoke recording “artist” Joey Smith. But now, raise your right arms for the fiery star of Channel 4’s 2010 documentary Young, Angry and White, Kieren Trent.
Trent, who is articulate and working class, was seen as something of a boutique acquisition for the party. Certainly angry and white, Trent had been filmed contemplating the temptations of the rival National Front and “autonomous nationalists” of the now-defunct English National Resistance.
Trent’s personal life was a bit of a gift to amateur psychologists. His mother had fled two abusive relationships with Kieren in tow while his father made a new life with a new wife and family elsewhere in the country. Trent, 20, also exhibited a puritan view on sex and relationships, castigating open-mouthed friends as “degenerate”, in particular on the issues of homosexuality and inter-racial relationships, courting unchallenged controversy in a bid for further attention. He even went as far as to check his girlfriend’s ethnicity.
Someone so young with so many insecurities and hang-ups was ideal to head the BNP’s youth section. In February, Trent was named as the leader of the latest incarnation of the young BNP, Resistance, at its launch in a London pub.
His elevation came despite a strange incident the previous month. An interest in European fascism and trips to Europe with other BNP officers and members had stirred Trent’s interest in his own Irish ancestry, always a tricky subject in the BNP. In January he tried to attend a Bloody Sunday commemoration meeting in Conway Hall, London, held jointly by the Republican Network for Unity and the Irish Republican Prisoners’ Support Group, both of which campaign, among other things, for recognition of dissident Irish republican prisoners.
Recognised by the stewards and barred, Trent entered into a long and pained discussion in which he portrayed his membership of the BNP as his own struggle for national liberation, likening it to membership of Irish republican groups. Not only could he reconcile the two, he claimed their interests were mutual. He also offered up some less than complimentary opinions about members of his party, but was still given short shrift.
However Trent has developed other new and potentially dangerous interests.
It seems the girlfriend whose ethnicity Trent doubted has been kicked to the kerb to be replaced by an older woman well known to BNP watchers. The new belle on Trent’s arm is none other than the North East organiser Cheryl Dunn from Hartlepool. This “love match” has caused no end of problems for Trent and the BNP as Dunn already had a partner, the one-time Hartlepool BNP organiser Peter King.
King was convicted last year for racially aggravated harassment and possessing an offensive weapon. Dunn described her relationship with King, a man blessed by a notoriously short fuse, as “violent and abusive” on an internet forum.
With Dunn at Northumbria University and King working in London, opportunity knocked and Dunn and Trent started an affair, sharing as much time together at BNP events as possible.
Eventually the inevitable happened and King found out.
When Trent and Dunn attended a recent BNP event in London together, King confronted the couple, violently assaulting Trent in front of several BNP members. The police were called and King was arrested and remanded in custody. Trent’s injuries were so bad that he was taken to hospital.
Another rising young star is Jordan Pont from Sheffield, the Yorkshire organiser of Resistance. Pont, 21, is known for his Facebook rants against people he feels are holding him back from achieving his ambitions in the party. In a high risk strategy, he even described some of Griffin’s most trusted lieutenants as “useless” when he was demanding last year that he be imposed on the BNP’s Sheffield branch as its organiser.
Now safely ensconced in this role, Jordan has become a loyal Griffinite, but initially toyed with joining the BNP Reform group, which wants to depose Griffin as leader. After a change of heart he dramatically stormed out of a meeting addressed by the party renegade Eddy Butler who is touring the country trying to organise the anti-Griffin movement.
Keen on self promotion, Pont filmed and posted on YouTube his own (dreadful) party political broadcast in support of his campaign to get elected to Sheffield council in East Ecclesfield. He is also a keener participant on internet forums, where he drives home his extreme dislike of Muslims and Islam. In one attack on a critic of the party, Pont rounded on an accusation that the BNP admired Adolf Hitler. Exploding into another of his semiliterate rants, he raged. “How can you say we admire Hitler. Hitler enjoyed having muslims [sic] in his SS, He loved the Islamic Faith! The BNP aren’t to [sic] fond on Muslims and i [sic] for one is against the Islamic Faith.”
Pont’s rise up the BNP ladder has cost him one friendship. Tom Holmes, another young party member with a rather colourful online persona, has taken to posting articles attacking Pont on the internet in a bid to draw unwelcome attention to Pont and thwart his ambitions.
Holmes and Pont initially fell out when Pont accused Holmes of grooming a young girl. Holmes did not deny it but said he had been duped. Holmes now spends time on the British Democracy Forum, Facebook and Indymedia website, posting messages against Pont and the BNP generally, which he feels has overlooked his own brilliant leadership potential. Their dispute could rumble on for a while yet.
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