January 31, 2011

BNP announces candidate in Illsley successor race

22 Comment (s)
A female community worker has been selected as the BNP candidate in the by-election to replace Eric Illsley.

Enis Dalton was announced as the candidate in a party meeting at Farm Road Working Men's Club in Kendray, attended by leader Nick Griffin. There had been speculation that he would be the candidate, compounded when the party's press spokesman refused to deny it last week.

Anti-BNP Protesters gathered outside the meeting.

Barnsley Chronicle

January 30, 2011

St Ethelwold’s Church, Shotton, criticises BNP and EDL Islam centre opposition

5 Comment (s)
A church leader has criticised the British National Party’s (BNP) leafleting campaign against the proposed Shotton Islamic centre.

St Ethelwold’s Church was pictured in the leaflet co-ordinated by BNP community councillor John Walker without authorisation. And vicar Rev Steven Green wants to make it clear the church does not support the far-right organisation’s opposition to the controversial plans.

Within the leaflet Cllr Walker said: “With declining church attendances and the local clergy falling over themselves to welcome other religions into the area, what future does Christianity have in Deeside?”

Mr Green said: “I would suggest the author of this letter should be better informed, as all the churches on Deeside work well together and are involved in many projects such as Fairtrade, community development and many other initiatives. The Christian communities are faithful and confident in their own faith, but that faith reflecting the love of Jesus seeks to welcome and offer hospitality. Church life on Deeside is in good heart, supported by loyal, faithful and generous Christians who stand for peace and tolerance on our streets and respect for all people of peace and goodwill.”

Mr Green also criticised the English Defence League’s town centre protest on Saturday.

“I find it difficult to believe such a demonstration has anything to do with the people of Deeside,” he said. “Deeside people are warm, generous and tolerant people who have witnessed and adapted to many changes over the last 30 years.”

The Flintshire Chronicle

Thanks to NewsHound for the heads-up

January 29, 2011

My father, the racist

5 Comment (s)
Illustration by Jackie Parsons
Chris Fox and his Indian partner are having a baby. Her family are thrilled and so are his – all except his father, who votes BNP and can't see past skin that isn't white

A baby's birth is surely the most joyous of all family events. With a new life and fresh innocence, the bonding of two families cooing over the new arrival seems inevitable. My partner is expecting our first child and her liberal Indian family have gone into overdrive to help us prepare for the baby and move to a new home. They are carrying boxes, buying appliances, giving us things for the baby and delivering unbelievable homemade Indian food.

We're grateful, not just for the amazing dishes, but for the support they have given us during the stress of house-buying and pregnancy.

In contrast, I'm getting the opposite of support from my father.

I've always know my dad was racist. I've disagreed with him all my life, not that he's noticed. No one else in the family shares his views, but he is oblivious to the opinions of others.

When it became clear that Mira and I were committed to being together, I tried to ease my father into the news, first telling him of my Indian friend, who was born in Kenya. He wasted no time in registering his objection. "Don't introduce her to me. I'm trying to send them all back," he harrumphed, about the sweetest girl I'd ever known.

Meanwhile, I was meeting, and being welcomed by, Mira's family. We went to her cousin's wedding in Gloucestershire and I was struck by the fondness between the elder uncles and aunts and the young nieces and nephews. Everyone mucked in to help, all the generations danced and celebrated together. It hit me that this is what a family is supposed to be like. They had a lot of love for each other and weren't shy about showing it. They also knew how to enjoy themselves. The laughter and dancing went on all night, and one or two of the old boys could be seen loitering by the door in the hope that the young ones were smoking more than tobacco. The ladies howled as a saucy aunt took the opportunity to cop a feel of my backside as I shook my generous booty.

On returning to London I visited my parents. After spending three happy days with Mira's family, it only took an hour with my dad for me to despair. I was subjected to a relentless torrent of bitterness about the government, immigration, television, the NHS, Tuesdays … it was all terribly, irredeemably foul. And it was all better in his day when you could leave your door open and be a hateful racist without anyone batting an eyelid.

Out of earshot of Mum, my dad told me I should "be careful" with Mira. It was a bit late for that, as we had just found out we were to have a baby, though it was too soon to make an announcement. His warning wasn't based on any knowledge of the person she is but on his assumptions about race and immigration. He suggested I would soon be putting up her relatives, and, even more absurdly, harbouring terrorists.

Depressed by his descent into risible paranoia, I took my leave, wondering how he had become such an ogre.

"He wasn't always like this," Mum said at the door. "I don't know what happened to him."

My dad was born into a large, poor, south London family in the 1920s. Seventeen at the outbreak of the second world war, he became a stoker in the Royal Navy. By the time he was 21, he had sailed round the world, been sunk twice, seen good friends die and earned the eternal thanks of his country. By the time I was 21, the greatest suffering I had experienced was bleaching my hair.

When he introduced my mother to his parents, my grandfather walked out. My mother's from Tipperary and the Irish were "coming over here, taking our jobs" and all that jazz. A generation on, not much has been learned.

Dad worked hard all his life and retired in his 50s. He had no idea what to do with himself without work to define him and, still haunted by his experiences in the war, he became an alcoholic. It took the threat of divorce from his devout Roman Catholic wife to drag him back from the brink.

Since then, his world has narrowed. He mourns a lost England, unable to recognise the multicultural country it has become as the one he fought for. "That's not patriotism," I tell him. "It's nostalgia."

In the last couple of years, he's spent all his time in a wheelchair and has only left the house to vote – for the BNP. The Daily Mail, television and the occasional like-minded visitor inform his perspective. So he has become a sour, entrenched, dogmatic bigot who only hears views that chime with his own racist – and even fascist – position.

With Mira pregnant, I knew I had to introduce her to my parents before announcing our news, lest I expose her to an even more difficult scenario. ("Hi Hitler. Let me introduce you to the mother of your Indian grandchild.")The reaction of friends and siblings to our happy surprise has been joyous and life affirming. I was a little nervous about telling my 23-year-old daughter, Dixie, that she was going to have a brother or sister but she was pragmatic and honest. She didn't know how she would feel about sharing her father for the first time, but she wanted to be involved. She is the reason I know how uplifting raising a child is. She constantly fills me with pride, not because she's doing so well, but because she's a great addition to the world.

Her first reaction was, "Ha! Your life is over." Her second was, "What did Granddad say?"

Mum assured me Dad would behave when I brought Mira over to meet them. He would only have to be civil for five minutes before the three of us went out. "You're different to what I expected," he said, shaking her hand. "I heard you were from Kenya, so I thought you'd be a 6ft Zulu with a bone through your nose."

Really. That's what he said. And that's him on his best behaviour. If only Prince Philip had been there to laugh. He asked a few questions about her family background – very important to any self-respecting doctrinaire – and we parted. The introduction had gone well. Mum thought Mira was lovely and Dad hadn't expressed an opinion. I couldn't ask for more.

Mira had said it would be harder for me than for her, and she was right. She was untroubled before the visit and untroubled afterwards. She hasn't experienced much racism since coming to London at the age of nine and has a soft spot for old duffers. She's not easily offended and was quite happy to meet my dad and engage him, should he kick off. It might have been better than the faux civility.

Having breached introductions, it was time to drop the bombshell. I enlisted my brother and sister to join me, mostly so my dad could see how normal people react to good news.

Loyalty, respect and decency are central to his generation's values: loyalty to the country and your family. So could I expect him to be loyal, respectful and decent when I arrived to tell him that, after 23 years, I was to be a father again?

There's really only one way to put it. "Mira and I are going to have a baby!" Cue almost universal joy, screams and congratulations. Mum was thrilled and my brother and sister were delighted. "That's wonderful!" Mum said.

"Is it?" huffed my dad, who wheeled himself out of the room to calm down. The only person not to have congratulated me on the news was my father. He stewed all day, silently.

Meanwhile, Mira's family were cranking up to hysterical levels. Offers of help abounded and stamp-duty money was proffered for our new home. Food deliveries were increased, and I was getting progressively larger portions.

I was even more endeared to them by a tale from Mira's childhood. During the summer holidays, the extended family would cram into a car, including aunts, uncles and cousins. The kids would be in the boot and the adults squeezed into the seats as they headed excitedly for the airport. There they would sit in the departure lounge and watch the unfolding drama of people parting, while they had a picnic. For a treat they would go to arrivals.

I had to wait some weeks before my dad could broach the subject. He was "disgusted", he told me, that I was having a child "out of wedlock".

I laughed. "How could I marry an Indian girl with you?"

"I wouldn't come!" he barked, thinking it quite rational that I should marry because of his sudden bout of religious propriety, even if he wouldn't attend. But I knew it was his way of protesting without mentioning his real objection – her ethnicity was the problem.

There have been many mixed marriages in Mira's family, so race is not an issue for them. They, too, would like us to be married but accept that it is our choice.

Dad said he couldn't believe how "daft" I'd been, not even considering that I might be happy. He wanted nothing to do with it. He didn't want to know anything about the baby's progress. He maintained it was my Roman Catholic mother's feelings that concerned him, as according to him, she was secretly disgusted too.

That he hadn't even spoken to my clearly delighted mother about their imminent fifth grandchild seemed inhuman to me. I resented his lying about her to express his own opinions. I returned a similar level of vitriol, making clear that it was he, not me, who should be ashamed of his behaviour. We left it there. I told him not to bother getting in touch if he wasn't going to apologise and, predictably, I haven't heard from him.

For the first time in my 49 years we're not talking. We've never had much in common, but talked most weeks, making each other laugh about football and family. I wasn't surprised, or that hurt, by his diatribe, but I was disappointed to see his lack of interest in my happiness and disrespect for my choices. He didn't ask about the woman who will be the mother of his grandchild, or how happy we are. His concern was how he felt about my situation: a triumph of ideology over parental concern.

Some have questioned the wisdom of a dispute with a father who is 88, in case "something happens". I can understand that, but it doesn't allow me to forgive the unforgivable. Having provided for it, he has dominated the family, laying down the law, mostly unchallenged. I'm not going to allow him to disrespect the woman I love, her family and our unborn child, and then go on to chat about the woes of Charlton Athletic.

It's a shame he won't know Mira. He would love her to bits if he could see past the colour of her skin. To me, it's shameful he has attempted to poison such a proud and blessed moment in his son's life. I can only hope the sight of a new baby will soften his silly head, but I'm not confident.

It took another generation to put it into perspective. As my daughter Dixie said: "Think of it this way, Dad – he'll be the last racist in the family."

Names have been changed

Guardian

January 28, 2011

It’s not all what it appears

15 Comment (s)
A strange night in Luton last night. Not long after midnight word came that joint EDL leader Kevin Carroll had been the victim of a gun attack on his family home. According to the EDL's facebook administrator, Carroll had been shot at several times by Muslim gunmen and armed police were sealing off the area.

Twenty minutes later, "straight from the horses mouth" it was reported that Carroll's window had been broken and that Kevin Carroll had chased the assailant/assassin in his van and then on his return home was shot at by a man (no longer Asian?) and Kevin suffered a broken toe.

Not to be left out, and not for the first time, Tommy Robinson (Stephen Yaxley Lennon) then reported that armed police were at his house (again) and that the Luton demo would still go ahead "even if one of us was killed." Indeed, as relayed by Wigan EDL, "it's Fucking on!"

By the time the BBC were reporting the event this morning, Carroll had merely gone to "investigate (his broken window) and saw a man who appeared to be holding a shotgun. No shots were fired."

Of course, the truth has come too late as for hours and hours now and as far away as America, it is being reported that Muslims have tried to assassinate an EDL leader. The vile outpouring of anger and threats from those who have swallowed the false story of an assassination attempt is a real cause for concern.

Still on the EDL facebook page they're reporting "that Kevin Carroll lead the gunman away from his family thru gardens & expected to die when landed poorly. His ok and said nothing has changed for Luton... A true soldier & joint leader to the cause!"

And of course, there is a reminder that there still remain a few tickets left for the trip to Luton. They write that "After the events of last night I hope the people that werent (sic)going to Luton are changing their mind." And for those unsure, the £20 they charge for the trip gets you there (Luton) "and back!"

Draw your own conclusions as to how and why things have gone bump in the night.

Hope not hate

MPs urge crackdown on internet hatred

0 Comment (s)
MPs have urged the European Union to take the lead in cracking down on antisemitic sites from far right and Islamist groups.

At the first major debate on antisemitism last Thursday at Westminster Hall, John Mann, chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group against Antisemitism, said he was frustrated with progress on the issue. He said: "Is it beyond the EU to have some common standards relating to the internet that would greatly enhance what has happened in this country? "

But he warned: "Despite the history of the origins of the EU, the Commission has never, ever seen antisemitism as part of its remit, which must change. Addressing the internet would be a good start."

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport is preparing a ministerial conference on dealing with internet hate. Noting a US initiative to challenge Google and Microsoft over antisemitism online, Mr Mann observed: "I am certain that if our colleagues in the US Congress can organise such meetings, we will in some way be able to get representatives, too."

His call was backed by LibDem MP Sir Alan Beith, who said: "Internet service providers will have to do a lot more to prevent the internet and social networking tools, which are of such immense value to so many people in the world, from becoming a source of terrible evil and a means by which evil is spread."

Mr Mann pointed to the success of prosecuting Simon Sheppard and Stephen Whittle, convicted of inciting racial hatred by posting stories such as"Tales of the Holohoax." It was the first case the Crown Prosecution Service brought involving the diffusion of race hate via the internet.

Louise Ellman raised concerns that those sites which went unchallenged were generally Islamist, coming from places like Saudi Arabia,, rather than those on the far right. But Denis MacShane said he did not believe antisemitism online was confined to extremist websites, saying: "I could bring to the House cartoons and articles in our main newspapers - our liberal newspapers, our left newspapers and our conservative newspapers - that precisely draw that moral equivalence between Israel and Nazism, which attempt to typecast all Jews as supporters of Israel who thus have a double loyalty."

Tom Watson was greatly concerned by rhetoric in the media, particulary that of TV host Glenn Beck of Fox News, whose shows are available in the UK. Last year, he noted, "Mr Beck and his guests invoked Hitler 147 times. Nazis, an additional 202 times. Fascism or fascists, 193 times. The Holocaust got 76 mentions, and Joseph Goebbels got 24."

A CST spokesman said: "This was an excellent debate that showed cross-party support for tackling antisemitism and a real understanding of our community's concerns. We must not forget or underestimate just how many good friends we have fighting our corner."

Jewish Chronicle

BNP plays musical chairs

8 Comment (s)
Nick Griffin has reshuffled several of the top positions in his dysfunctional British National Party in an attempt to maintain control, reward his supporters and sideline any criticism of his dictatorship.

Chris Beverley has been sacked as regional organiser of the big Yorkshire and The Humber region, one of the two that elected BNP representatives to the European Parliament in 2009. His replacement is Ian Kitchen, the party’s Wakefield organiser and Griffin loyalist. The BNP claims this will allow Beverley to spend more time on his European constituency job for Andrew Brons, the region’s BNP MEP.

Eddy Butler, who was expelled from the BNP after unsuccessfully challenging Griffin for the leadership last year, took a more jaundiced view. Claiming the party was desperate for Beverley not to show up Jefferson by achieving a better result in the coming Barnsley by-election than in Oldham, he added: “Chris Beverley was one of the last remaining competent Regional Organisers, one of the last capable election campaigners and one of the last independent voices left on the Advisory Council. As such his replacement was inevitable and long overdue.”

Stephen Squire has taken over as the party’s London organiser after serving a six-month apprenticeship under Griffin himself, who stepped in as the acting London organiser after the party’s May election debacle and the departures of a series of previous organisers.

Clive Jefferson has given up his job as North West regional organiser, to spend more time on the elections department, according to the BNP. The party’s elections function is sorely in need of competent leadership after a string of by-election failures, but whether Jefferson will be able to devote any more time to it is unclear. He also heads the BNP’s failing treasury department, which for three years has failed to maintain anything near adequate financial records, resulting in the party failing to achieve clean audit reports for 2008 and 2009, with 2010 expected to be similar.

In addition Jefferson, who has difficulty writing coherently, has just been appointed editor of the party’s Voice of Freedom newspaper, replacing Martin Wingfield, who Butler says is very “much out of favour”, though he remains communications and campaigns officer for Griffin’s European constituency.

Jefferson’s replacement in the North West region is Mike Whitby, the party’s Liverpool organiser. Whitby became Liverpool organiser at a heated branch meeting last July when Jefferson kicked out all the existing officers in a purge of dissidents. They had committed the crime of supporting Butler’s challenge.

Whitby seems suitably qualified to move the party towards the “increased militancy” that Griffin promised last December. After clashes between BNP activists and anti-fascists in Liverpool, which resulted in an assault conviction for one BNP man, Whitby promised that anti-fascists’ identities would end up on “a website far worse than Red Watch”, the hate site that encourages supporters to attack anti-fascists and their homes and families.

Another post Jefferson has given up is National Organiser, which has gone to Adam Walker, who also regains his job as staff manager. Walker works closely with Patrick Harrington, Griffin’s old mate from their days in the National Front Political Soldiers. Harrington was appointed the BNP’s head of human resources last autumn, but appears to act more as a general manager for Griffin. Many party members resent Harrington’s presence at the helm because he remains leader of a rival political party, albeit a very small one.

Butler claims that Walker was promoted “just to boost his profile in case he is needed as an alternative Chairman, should something ghastly in the realms of the judiciary happen to Nick Griffin”.

Finally, Jennifer Matthys, Griffin’s eldest daughter, is gradually assuming a greater role and now runs all party operations from a small office in Wigton, Cumbria. But according to Butler, “not enough money is coming in each week to cover the basics, via the appeals that Pat Harrington is now tasked with producing”. Perhaps engineering the departure of Jim Dowson, Griffin’s fundraising consultant, and Paul Golding, the party’s former national communications officer, was not one of Harrington’s smartest moves.

After Griffin announced last summer that he would relinquish the leadership of the party in 2013, speculation mounted that he was grooming her as his replacement, following the example of Marine Le Pen, who has just succeeded her father as leader of the National Front in France. However unlike Ms Le Pen, a lawyer who has held senior roles in the party for over 12 years and has built a firm political base as a regional councillor, Matthys has few qualifications for leadership and is unlikely to be accepted by party members in that role for some considerable time.

Searchlight / HOPE not hate by Sonia Gable

January 27, 2011

Simon Darby On The Daily Politics: Is That The Best They Can Do?

8 Comment (s)
Simon Darby – whose precise function within the BNP appears open to question these days – has appeared on the BBC's “Daily Politics” show to talk about the current state of his Party.

Presenter Andrew Neil (not exactly anyone's idea of a leftie. Unless you sit him down next to Simon Darby, that is) began by asking a fairly reasonable question about Nick Griffin's recent pronouncement that one thing that would help the BNP vote would be for an “Islamic dirty bomb” to go off. Darby's response to this was that it was “a typical example of the BBC taking something and blowing it out of proportion using simple and emotive rhetoric”.

Right.

So, in a world where rolling news channels can get a good few hours coverage out of David Miliband making an aside to Harriet Harman at the Labour Conference, or discuss the mysterious darkening of Cameron's hair colour at length, the fact that a Party Leader says the silver lining to a hypothetical situation in which many people die is that he could pick up a few votes is “blowing it out of proportion”?

Asked about BNP comments that the EDL are “Zionist-backed”, Darby squirmed and didn't answer. He didn't like that one at all although, on the plus side, it had at least got him off the hook about a question on the dismal state of the Party finances.

Overall, and possibly limited by time constraints, Darby got off lightly. He was even allowed to go unchallenged on a couple of outright lies (about Derek Adams being ejected from an Oldham hustings and the reasons behind their being taken to court by the EHRC).

To read the comments on various BNP boards, however, you'd imagine a very different outcome. In their alternative universe, Simon Darby is the intellectual powerhouse of Nationalism, crushing all before him through sheer will and the forensic logic of his gigantic mind.

These are, of course, the same people who would praise any party spokesman appearing on tv as a cross between Proust, Bertrand Russell and Richard Dimbleby in his prime. Just so long as they remembered to form sentences while looking at the camera, didn't drool and managed to keep their trousers on.

And, once again, this adds up to another reason why the BNP can't be considered a “real” political party:

“Real” parties face hostile interviewers and difficult questions every day. It's what we expect. Remember the general sense of outrage when Tony Blair would choose to be “interviewed” by anyone who could guarantee him an easy ride and a couple of questions about the X Factor when most of us wanted to see him held down and beaten with blackjacks until he started telling the truth about the Dodgy Dossier?

Would anyone think political discourse had been well served if David Cameron were allowed to get away with not answering questions about Andy Coulson? Or if Nick Clegg went unchallenged about the promises he's prepared to break for a sniff of power?

Currently, the BNP are banging on about the “unfairness” not being invited back onto Question Time. They say they want to appear on a “normal” edition, where a range of policies are discussed. Given that no-one ever joined or voted for them for any reason other than immigration and race, I personally wouldn't mind seeing Griffin flounder, sweat, twitch, giggle and generally be completely outclassed by even a sub-par panel if asked about anything else.

There are voices saying “Andrew Brons – he's the one to put on QT!

Ah yes: Andrew Brons – self-styled elder statesman of the BNP...

Even if Griffin were to allow someone other than himself to take centre-stage on primetime telly (which, in itself, is about as likely as his allowing a real accountant to look at the books), it's always fun to see Brons' discomfort whenever the inconvenient matters of membership of Colin Jordan's National Socialists, Holocaust denial and his criminal conviction come up.

They want the platform and the coverage alright, but only so long as they can go unchallenged. Once again (as they like to do every so often, just so we don't forget), the BNP have shown why they can never be considered a “real” political party.

Holocaust Memorial Day – January 27th

4 Comment (s)
Each year on 27 January the world marks Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD). HMD has been held in the UK since 2001 and the United Nations declared this an International event in November 2005. 27 January was chosen as the date for HMD because it was on this date in 1945 that the largest Nazi killing camp Auschwitz-Birkenau was liberated.

HMD is about remembering the victims and those whose lives have been changed beyond recognition of the Holocaust, Nazi persecution and subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and the ongoing atrocities today in Darfur. HMD provides us with an opportunity to honour the survivors but it’s also a chance to look to our own lives and communities today. Genocide doesn’t happen overnight, it’s a gradual process which begins when the differences between us are not celebrated but used as a reason to exclude or marginalise. By learning from the lessons of the past, we can create a safer, better future.

Each year, we announce a theme for HMD which provides a focal point and a shared message for the hundreds of events which take place around the UK. The theme for HMD 2011 is Untold Stories.

Anyone can organise a HMD activity and we provide free resources to enable you to do so. Order our free Campaign Pack to find out how you can become involved. There’s no such thing as a right or wrong HMD event – whether events are for invited guests in a council chamber, open to the general public in a large public space or a closed event within a school or college – each event marks HMD as a key date in the equalities and human rights calendar.

HMD is a day for everyone. It’s an opportunity for all the diverse strands of our communities to come together. It’s also an opportunity for groups or organisations to remember the past and commit to creating a better future. HMD can be commemorated individually or collectively.

HMD has taken place in the UK since 2001. It was established at a meeting on 27 January 2000, when representatives from forty-four governments around the world met in Stockholm to discuss Holocaust education, remembrance and research. At the conclusion of the forum, the delegates unanimously signed a declaration. This forms the HMD Statement of Commitment which is used a basis for HMD events internationally.

Holocaust Memorial Day Trust

Two people sought over Portsmouth Jami Mosque protest

3 Comment (s)
Detectives released pictures of a man and a woman they wish to speak to
CCTV images have been released of two people sought by police over disorder outside a Portsmouth mosque.

A protest was held at the Jami Mosque on 13 November in response to the burning of poppies by Muslims Against Crusades in London on Armistice Day. Hampshire Constabulary released pictures of a man and woman they wish to speak to in connection with allegations of bottles being thrown.

One man has already been charged with affray and assaulting a police officer.

BBC

Labour councillor says we must oppose the EDL

0 Comment (s)
Sian Timoney is a Labour councillor in Luton’s Farley ward, where the EDL is planning to assemble on 5 February. She spoke to Socialist Worker.

‘The EDL’s presence will be intimidating for the vast majority of people. The estate is mixed—over 20 percent of the people who live here are Muslim. There are groups of Turkish and black people living here too. And the majority of white people don’t support the EDL. So why should EDL supporters be allowed to gather and drink here?

The EDL wants to create the impression that it owns this town and this estate. It doesn’t. The British National Party has tried to organise here and now the EDL is.

EDL leader Kevin Carroll lives in the area and has been photographed and filmed drinking in the Parrot pub, where the EDL wants to assemble. And, EDL leader Tommy Robinson has also been filmed drinking here.

The vast majority of Lutonians aren’t racist. That’s why I agree with UAF that anti‑racists should be in St George’s Square on the day, not the EDL. The police could put the EDL in Stockwell Park. But they won’t do that because it isn’t what the EDL wants, and they are scared of losing control.

In the meetings I have been in with the police they seem to imply that the problem is UAF because they want a counter‑protest. It’s like they are shifting the blame onto UAF. But I think UAF and the people in Bury Park have every right to protest, and I think UAF is doing the right thing by standing in solidarity with them.

I was involved in the making of the Channel 4 expose of the EDL. We can be under no illusions—it is violent and racist. We need to oppose it.’

Socialist Worker

Thanks to NewsHound for the heads-up

January 26, 2011

Call for Rangers to probe fans' racist song

6 Comment (s)
Rudi Skacel in his Southampton days
Rangers have been urged to carry out a full investigation after their fans sang a racist song at Hearts star Rudi Skacel.

Czech Republic international Skacel, 31, was the target of the taunt from Gers fans as he was substituted towards the end of Hearts' 1-0 victory at Tynecastle on Saturday. The chant suggests he is a "refugee" and is sung to the tune of The Beatles' song Yellow Submarine. The tune could be loudly heard as the attacking midfielder left the pitch during the televised encounter.

Ged Grebby, chief executive at Show Racism the Red Card, called for a full investigation to be carried out by both clubs and the SFA.

He said: "On Thursday we had a big meeting at Hibernian's Easter Road, to push the Show Racism the Red Card message, so to hear of songs like this being sung just two days after is very disappointing. Abuse against Eastern European players is becoming an increasing problem."

Edinburgh Evening News

January 25, 2011

C4 'Come Dine With Me' contestant stood against Jack Straw for BNP

7 Comment (s)
Kicking back with a cold one yesterday to watch his favourite TV show (Come Dine With Me), Jack Straw may have recognised one of the contestants. A star of the East Lancashire edition of the fly-on-the-wall cookery programme, “old-fashioned plumber” Nick Holt is in fact one of the region’s most notorious BNP activists and stood against Straw in the 2005 general election.

Holt is certainly no stranger to Conservatives in the area. CCHQ found itself fire-fighting in 2009 after Local Tories were exposed by the Lancashire Telegraph’s Tom Moseley for approaching the BNP activist to stand for them in council elections. Holt even attended a party planning meeting alongside then Conservative PPC – now MP for Rossendale and Darwen – Jake Berry.


With a menu featuring the suspiciously French-sounding beef bourguignon, Scrapbook assumes Holt did not clear his cuisine with party headquarters prior to broadcast.

Political Scrapbook

January 24, 2011

HOPE Not Hate Proudly Presents BILLY BRAGG

3 Comment (s)

HOPE Not Hate Proudly Presents
BILLY BRAGG


+ Special Guest

Briana Corrigan

Saturday 12th March 2011

MANCHESTER ACADEMY 2
in MANCHESTER UNIVERSITY UNION
OXFORD ROAD
MANCHESTER M13 9PR



Click here for tickets from ticketline

Click here for tickets from seetickets

January 23, 2011

The time for games is over

9 Comment (s)
Paul and Lynda Cromie
Several councillors and media outlets in Bradford have recently received an email from Paul and Lynda Cromie, the two BNP councillors from Queensbury ward, alerting them to a planned National Front activity in Bradford on 20 April, the anniversary of Adolf Hitler's birth.

Pulled up on their own political allegiance the two councillors claimed that they are not currently BNP members. Have they finally changed their views or simply not got round to renewing their membership? I guess only they can tell us.

You'll forgive me for being slightly sceptical of the Cromies' real motives. Over the past three years there have been a number of occasions when Paul and Lynda looked like they were going to ditch the BNP, only for them to scurry back into the fascists' nest.

I, for one, have had enough of their games. It's time they dropped the BNP publicly or Lynda, who is up for re-election in May, will face a national HOPE not hate campaign to oust her.

Hope not hate

January 22, 2011

EDL supporters fined for on-train racist abuse

4 Comment (s)
Three English Defence League supporters have been ordered to pay more than £350 each after being found guilty of subjecting rail passengers to serious racist abuse.

Tracey Hurley (33), Stuart Parr (28) and a 17-year old youth, who cannot be named for legal reasons, appeared at Wigan Magistrates’ Court on 20 January for trial.

The court heard that, on Friday 25 June last year, the trio had attended an EDL march in Bradford and had been on their way home when they travelled from Manchester Victoria to Wigan on a Northern Rail service. During the journey they became abusive and intimidating, subjecting several passengers to a torrent of racist abuse.

The abuse began when the three sang songs relating to the EDL and Taliban. At Salford Crescent an Asian man boarded the train and was immediately targeted by the group who shouted derogatory remarks about Allah to the man.

PC Tony McGibbon, of British Transport Police, said: “The abuse continued for some time and was directed at anyone on board the train who the three perceived to be anything other than white British. The behaviour of the three was offensive in the extreme, completely unacceptable and made everyone on the train feel incredibly uncomfortable.”

A passenger advised a member of rail staff who reported the behaviour of the three to BTP officers. After witnesses were spoken to the three where arrested and interviewed. During interviews they admitted having been at the EDL march and drinking heavily, but denied making any racist remarks or behaving in a racist manner.

PC McGibbon added: “Despite their initial denials, there is no doubt that these three behaved in a deeply offensive manner and subjected rail passengers to unacceptable and unwarranted abuse. BTP, the rail industry, and the wider criminal justice system, takes a dim view of anyone who behaves in such a way and the sentence handed out should serve as an example and warning to others.”

Hurley, of Kingsley Avenue, Goose Green, was fined £150, ordered to pay £200 costs and a £15 victim surcharge after being found guilty of a racially aggravated public order offence. Parr, of Golborne Place, Scholes, was fined £150, ordered to pay £200 costs and a £15 victim surcharge after being found guilty of a racially aggravated public order offence.

The youth, from Ashton-in-Makerfield, was fined £150, ordered to pay £200 costs and a £15 victim surcharge after being found guilty of a racially aggravated public order offence.

British Transport Police

No prosecution for burning Koran

0 Comment (s)
Seven men accused of burning a Koran in a pub car park and posting the video online will not be prosecuted.

Wendy Williams of the Crown Prosecution Service said the majority of people would find the inflammatory incident "repugnant". But she added there is not enough evidence to create a realistic chance the men would be convicted of any offence.

Mrs Williams said: "If any further evidence comes to light and is sent to us, we will look at it."

Police arrested seven men on suspicion of inciting racial hatred after a video recording was posted on YouTube last September. It showed a group of young men in hooded tops or wearing scarves over their faces pouring petrol on a book and setting it alight. They cheered as the book bursts into flames during the incident in a car park behind a Gateshead pub.

Those involved later told police they did not intend to offend anyone and very few people saw what happened at the time.

The men may have been copying Terry Jones who threatened to burn the holy book on September 11. The Florida-based pastor sparked an international outcry but did not go ahead with the provocative plan.

Prosecutors said police could not identify who recorded the video and posted it online and there was not enough evidence those involved were threatening anyone. They added that the men could not be charged with a religiously aggravated public order offence because they could not prove anyone was there who was distressed.

Belfast Telegraph

January 21, 2011

Is No-One Being Held To "Account"? (See what I did there?)

8 Comment (s)
The 2009 Accounts are finally out and in the public domain.

And now we see Nick Griffin's finely-honed BNP operation at it's finest and most dynamic. No; not in their sucking it up, presenting a brave face and putting a positive spin on a set of thrown-together figures so dodgy you'd imagine they were dreamed up in an alternate universe where Polly Peck's Bookkeeper was Robert Maxwell, but in a far higher and more noble cause...

Stopping the Membership – at any cost - getting the slightest inkling of what's going on.

We begin our survey with the Leader's own Facebook and Twitter pages.

Passing Cambrai, first place that tanks were used in battle...”

Ah! There you go, then: The proof is out there that the BNP are no longer a going concern (as suspected by even their own Auditors), and Griffin gives us a fascinating history lesson.

Later, he reaches his Welshpool home (with its £33,519 “security systems”) and his poetic soul really goes into overdrive: “A gloriously sunny, frosty day. Red kite over the hills. Pigs happy. Dog bouncing. Great to be home.”

This, of course, elicits the kind of response he likes from his cringing Faithful. Whereas many might be tempted to respond with “**** the livestock and the weather report, Griffin – where's the ****ing MONEY?!”, I feel that “Noel Thfc Rushton” speaks for many simple folk with unenquiring minds with the touching sentiment “Every day is a good day to be British :)”.

Having established that the pets are happy to see him, Mr Griffin helpfully fills us in on the state of play with his Estate, helpfully illustrated with a photograph: “One of 100 hazels I planted two years ago. Hope the pic shows the new buds (It does, Mr Griffin – it does!). As the Bard said, If winter comes, can...”

And, by the way, it wasn't the Bard, it was Shelley.

But of the Accounts; nothing. (Not that this bothers “Pierce Daly”, whose comment is a touching “Go nick!!!”. Unless that's meant as an instruction rather than an endorsement.

On to the official BNP Facebook page, where surely the membership will have been discussing little else...

Oh dear. Not a sausage. At time of writing (about 1.10pm), there's a bit about the latest Peer to be caught with his fingers in the till (well, not so much “the till” - I prefer to think of it as my bloody pocket...), the burning question of the day about the BNP's non-appearance on Question Time (over which, to be fair, they should think themselves lucky), the usual parade of non-stories regurgitated from the Mail and the Express (“Not Racist – But Number One With Racists!”), and a bizarre rant from Paul (“Green Arrow”) Morris headlined “Will The Boy Scouts Be Getting A New Uniform?”.

From what I hear of that man's surfing habits, I guess he's hoping for one in soft leather, cut high on the thighs.

Discussion of the Accounts that show Griffin to be a serial liar, an inveterate chancer and possibly a thief?

Zero.

Discussion of the discrepancy between the claimed Membership figures and the dismal reality?

Zilch.

Discussion of the mysterious disappearance of the “Truth Truck” (claimed to be “needing a service, tax and MoT...)

Zip.

Over the next few days and weeks, I expect that something for Member's consumption will appear concerning the accounts. And I'm perfectly sure it'll be the standard concoction of spin, blame and outright lies.

I'm also perfectly sure the wilfully naïve Faithful with fall for it...

Again.

(Looking forward to the 2010 accounts? Expect them sometime in 2012. If the BNP survive that long.)

January 20, 2011

BNP’s delayed accounts reveal financial disaster zone

12 Comment (s)
The British National Party’s treasury department appears to have “lost” nearly £90,000 of funds belonging to its local groups, according to the party’s 2009 accounts, released today.

The BNP’s national and regional accounts were submitted to the Electoral Commission on 6 January, two days before the fines for their late submission would have doubled to £2,500. They reveal the full horror of the disaster area that is the BNP’s treasury department.

Even Griffin could not deny it. “The patchiness of our professionalisation programme inevitably produced internal stresses and gaps, including in due course the late submission of accounts,” he wrote in his introduction.

Clive Jefferson, the BNP’s fifth national treasurer since the start of 2009 – four are listed in the accounts, Jenny Noble being omitted – spoke more plainly. “From what I have been able to determine, the root of the problem was the inability of central treasury and accounting unit staff to implement new system adequate to cope with the massive increase in income and expenditure in 2009, compounded with the failure of professional accountants brought in to address the weaknesses they were expected to rectify. Both I and the party Chairman are frankly at a loss to understand why this was the case”.

It was not of course the moronic Jefferson’s fault. “I was appointed the Party’s Treasurer on 28th October 2010, which was subsequent to the records for 2009 being made available to the auditor. I can provide no information of any value regarding the accounts.”

The “professional accountants” were those supplied by Jim Dowson in Belfast, until late last year the much hyped fundraising and management consultant, until he fell out with Griffin and Patrick Harrington, Griffin’s old comrade from his National Front political soldier days, who now helps Griffin run the BNP.

The regional accounts, which bring together the income and expenditure of all the party’s local groups, similarly include an “I know nothing” claim by the new regional treasurer James Mole, who took over from David Hannam in mid September 2010. No doubt he is hoping not to be blamed for the dire consequences of the party’ inability to maintain bank reconciliations and account properly for its income and outgoings. A reconciliation of branches’ and groups’ balances on the very last page of the regional accounts shows that only £4,496 is available to meet the £93,579 the party supposedly owes its branches, which means that local units are only “entitled to 4.8p in the pound”.

No explanation is given for how this happened. But on 16 January, Eddy Butler, who last summer failed in his challenge to Nick Griffin for the party leadership, wrote: “I recommend that all local units open their own bank accounts … If you want to be able to hold on to your locally raised money it is vital, no it is essential, that you do this. …

“If you pay into the BNP bank account your hard earned money will be drawn out and wasted by Nick Griffin to pay for the court cases he has negligently embroiled the BNP in.”

That wastage is not yet apparent in the 2009 accounts, which show only £52,122 spent on “legal costs”. Far more can be expected in 2010, which includes the damages paid over the stupid Marmite copyright breach, and 2011. However, in his introduction to the national accounts Griffin gave full vent to his hate for the Equality and Human Rights Commission, which took legal action to force the party to end racial discrimination in its constitution. “Parallel to the officially sanctioned mob violence against us [a reference to the demonstrations against Griffin’s appearance on Question Time in October 2009], a campaign of ‘legal’ persecution was also launched,” wrote Griffin, an action “motivated not by genuine concerns about alleged ‘discrimination’ but by political malice”.

Griffin also reveals his continuing anger at having to admit ethnic minority members, who were “hitherto excluded primarily in order to provide at least one forum in which members of the indigenous community could discuss the problems inflicted upon them by the ruling elite’s policies of enforced multiculturalism”.

Griffin judges that 2009 was the party’s “best year ever” because of its European election success, but that victory held within it the seeds of the party’s subsequent decline. Admitting that the party’s activity had fallen off in the second half of 2009, Griffin ascribes it largely to the “energy that had to be expended at the top of the party getting to grips with the mechanics and responsibilities of representing British interests in the European Parliament”. In other words he accepts the criticism Butler has voiced recently that being an MEP means he cannot lead the party properly.

“Several new members of staff were brought in with the intention of avoiding this new focus leaving a management gap back at home, but by November it was becoming clear that this measure had failed and that clearing the problem up was likely to involve tough decisions and key personnel problems early in 2010,” Griffin continues. The results, in terms of legal expenses and settlements with former employees, will no doubt be revealed in the 2010 and 2011 accounts.

The audit report, by Silver & Co, who have audited the party’s accounts for many years, is surprisingly less devastating than the previous year, considering the admitted failures to keep adequate records, many of which are detailed in the accounts. Unlike in 2008, they consider that the financial statements “give a true and fair view of the state of the Party’s affairs as at 31st December 2009 … in so far as a full disclosure of the facts has been made in these accounts. But they cannot be classed as ‘true and fair’ under the usual definition of that term.”

Quite what that means is anyone’s guess, especially as the audit report goes on to state: “we have to accept that we cannot form an opinion as to the completeness of the financial statements, as we have had to base them on the information submitted, and controls were not in place to ensure the information on which these financial statements are based is complete”.

One suspects that the fudge of a report was the product of long and hard negotiations between Jefferson and the auditors to avoid a second wholly negative judgement and another investigation by the Electoral Commission of the party’s failure to comply with the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000.

As for the accounts themselves, they confirm that the party did indeed increase its income to nearly £2 million although only £1.3 million is shown donations, the result of the controversial appointment of Dowson’s Midas Consultancy. The figures may be way out, however, as “whilst details of donations made were entered into the membership data base that information was not reconcilied [sic] to the bankings”.

Membership income rose from £166,006 in 2008 to £626,180, although membership numbers only went up from 9,801 to 12,632. Noting the inconsistency, the accounts add: “The figure shown seems high and may include an element of donation income”.

Income from commercial activities is well down – from £130,000 to under £30,000. Partly that is due to the party apparently not being able to sell a single copy of its two publications, Voice of Freedom and Identity. Income from “merchandise” – books, mugs, t-shirts, etc under the Excalibur operation – is down because it was franchised out to Arthur Kemp, the party’s South African website editor, during the year.

Costs of commercial activities grew to £450,000, resulting in a huge loss. However a note admits that this is the result of the party not having systems in place to split the huge costs of printing, postage and delivery between commercial activities and election material. If that split could not be made, it must surely follow that the party’s return of expenditure for the European election, which showed £283,000, cannot be correct. The accounts themselves declare £271,000 spent on the European election.

The list of admitted accounting failures goes on. “A considerable amount of the ‘Trafalgar Club’ costs could be considered to be more to do with printing costs. The total cost covered is £23,900,” another note states, adding: “In the nominal ledger the ‘description shown’ is either ‘inv Held by D Hannam’ or simply ‘D Hannam’, indicating that the invoice is not available within the Party’s records.

Hannam was widely derided as incompetent at the time of the internal rebellion in winter 2007/08 when he was regional treasurer, but was promoted to national treasurer in February 2010 and in July boasted that everything was in place to ensure all financial statements were submitted on time. By October he was out of the job.

Simon Darby, the BNP’s former deputy chairman, also failed to account for expenditure, with “no documentation” available to cover a payment of £3,000 for “security costs” during the period while he was treasurer.

And in the first four months of 2009 a total of £37,450 was “entered in the Purchase Ledger as J A Walker payments” for which “No documentary evidence was put through the records to show what these payments covered”. John Walker has held various jobs in the party, including national treasurer, and is currently on the staff of the BNP’s MEPs, paid out of European Parliament funds. The unexplained payments to him occurred while Noble was treasurer, but the accounts for some reason avoid mentioning her name.

The accounts also show the party spent £168,000 on additions to its vehicles, equipment, fixtures and fittings, much of it the result of appeals during the year. Such an investment might be expected to stand the party in good stead for the future, except that “The Treasurer is in the process of reviewing the schedules which back-up the schedule above, which the auditor has provided, both in terms of what assets were in existence at 31 December 2009, and after the current re-organisation of the Party and the closing of certain offices”. In other words the BNP has no idea whether its assets still exist or ever existed, and many have been scrapped because the party has closed most of its offices, including the Belfast call centre, which was under the control of Dowson.

Writing off the doubtful assets in the 2009 accounts would of course have increased its loss of £57,202 for the year, a far cry from the profit the party has at various times claimed it achieved in the year. The loss increased the party’s net insolvency to £361,000, as a result of which it owed over £355,000 to suppliers and £37,000 to HM Revenue and Customs in PAYE tax and national insurance on staff wages and VAT.

Among those owed money was “Ad Lorries Ltd”, actually Adlorries.com Ltd. The accounts confirm what Searchlight revealed many months ago, namely that “a considerable amount of transactions were paid through and processed through” this company, which is owned by Dowson. The full amount the party was invoiced by Dowson’s company in 2009 was £741,290, which included £58,680 of management fees for running the Belfast call centre, part of the £162,000 a year Dowson was paid by the party. However even Dowson had to wait for his money. At 31 December 2009 the BNP owed his company £71,967, the accounts reveal.

The amount going through Adlorries represents a huge proportion of the party’s total expenditure of just over £2 million, justifying Searchlight’s accusation that Dowson virtually owned the BNP. Another accusation that the accounts prove correct is that the party massively inflated its payroll, providing jobs for those in Griffin’s favour. Expenditure on staff costs more than doubled to £660,000 in 2009, though this includes around £100,000 of consultancy fees paid to Dowson.

One person who always gets whatever he wants from the party is its chairman. During 2009 the party spent the huge sum of £33,519 on installing a security system for him. Andrew Brons, the party’s Yorkshire MEP, only merited £9,136, as did a person by the name of “Ms E Uttley”.

Jefferson states that a programme has been agreed with the auditor to ensure that the 2010 accounts are submitted on time and that “we are able to repair to a large extent any possible deficiencies in the operation of the Treasury department in 2010”. Deficiencies in the party’s finances will be harder to repair. The party ended 2010 unable to pay its printers, with staff waiting for their wages and mounting legal expenses from failed court actions and employment tribunal cases.

On 18 January 2011 Griffin was required to pay £45,000 into court as a result of having to withdraw a court case against four former employees. The total cost is expected to be £115,000. He failed to make the payment. And with donations drying up and demoralised members deserting the failing party, the BNP is unlikely to dig itself out of its deep financial hole.

Thanks to Searchlight / HOPE not hate by Sonia Gable

Edit The BNP's Statement of Accounts can be found here

Carlisle man arrested after 'Koran burning' in city centre

3 Comment (s)
A police officer next to the burning book
A man has been arrested after he allegedly burned the Koran holy book and made an anti-Islamic speech yesterday in Carlisle city centre.

One eye witness who spoke to the News & Star described seeing the man standing in the city centre, near to the market cross, loudly making anti-Islamic pronouncements in front of a large crowd. He then set fire to the book he was holding, which said the witness was a Koran, before discarding it and hurrying away.

Police arrived at the scene a short time later and are now investigating. A spokesman for the force confirmed that a man has been arrested.

The incident came just a day before a controversial American preacher, who had threatened to burn copies of the Koran on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks in new York, was told he would barred from visiting the UK.

A spokesman for Cumbria police said today: “Just after midday on Wednesday, January 19, police received reports that a Koran was being burned by a man in Carlisle city centre. Police have seized the remains of the book and a 32-year-old male has been arrested on suspicion of using racially aggravated threatening words or behaviour. The man remains in police custody where he is helping officers with their inquiries.”

Police confirmed that the man was arrested at his home address in Carlisle.

A woman who saw the book burning incident said: “There was a big crowd gathered in the city centre and he was basically burning the Koran in the middle of town. He was carrying the book around while it was burning and then threw it on the floor for a second and then left. He was shouting anti-Islamic comments. People were horrified. It was a bit shocking to see that in Carlisle city centre. The whole thing lasted about three or four minutes.”

Meanwhile, Pastor Jones said today that he was disappointed to be barred from the United Kingdom, describing his exclusion from the country as “unfair”. Speaking after the Home Office announced it would not allow him to enter the UK, he insisted he was not against Muslims or Islam, only the “radical element of Islam.”

News and Star

Might UKIP succeed where the BNP has failed?

5 Comment (s)
By Dr Robert Ford of the University of Manchester and and Dr Matthew Goodwin of the University of Nottingham, co-editor of The New Extremism in 21st Century Britain. The authors would like to thank Joe Twyman at YouGov for assistance with the data.

The BNP’s attempt to become a ‘modernized’ radical right party has failed. The party is in turmoil, and Nick Griffin faces a growing grassroots rebellion. A disappointing general election, empty war chests and costly legal battles have left its foot soldiers demoralized and divided: some demand a re-launched (and Griffin-free) BNP; others have deserted to establish a rival party; and some are even calling for a merger with their arch rival, UKIP. Even Griffin concedes they are ‘sick and tired of losing’ and, in an attempt to quell the rebels, has announced he will step down by 2015.

To add to his problems, at the recent by-election in Oldham the party saw its support slump to 4.5% (down from 11% in 2001), even losing its deposit in an area it once described as “our territory”. The party was also pushed into fifth place by UKIP, a particularly hard pill for BNP activists to swallow. Despite a decade-long effort by Griffin to rehabilitate his party, upwards of 80% of Britons continue to express negative feelings toward the BNP. Put simply, the BNP will never be seen as an acceptable option by most voters. As one BNP blogger urged his fellow members, ‘it’s time to wake up’.

But if the BNP declines, the causes which propelled its rise – public anxiety about Islam and immigration and hostility to the political mainstream – remain in place. Since 2001, they have also been joined by a financial crisis, parliamentary expenses scandal and, more recently, seemingly ‘new’ issues such as ‘Muslim sex gangs’. These issues look set to remain salient. Will public concern over them find a new outlet if the BNP falls apart?
Analysts of British politics have long suspected (though never proven) that UKIP is the ‘second home’ for far right voters, and is seen by a larger portion of the electorate as a ‘polite alternative’ to the toxic BNP. Academics suggest that while both parties share a mutual hatred of each other, they are ‘part of the same phenomenon’, and recruit supporters who share a similar profile and are concerned about the same cluster of issues.

Nigel Farage rejects the ‘BNP in Blazers’ tag, but has recently ‘cautiously welcomed’ comparisons with the far more successful radical right model of the French National Front (FN), now led by Marine Le Pen. But is UKIP really all that different from the BNP, and could it join the successful radical right family?

As we show in our study, despite Farage’s protestations the reality is that both UKIP and the BNP are drawing on remarkably similar bases of support. Not only is UKIP well positioned to hoover up the BNP vote, but it is also well placed to attract a broad and relatively diverse coalition of voters, like those mobilised by radical right parties in Austria, France and the Netherlands.

UKIP draws its strongest support from middle-aged, financially insecure men who formerly identified with the Conservatives. While these voters are of course very hostile to the EU, UKIP is not simply a haven for Eurosceptics. Contrary to what many Conservatives might like to believe, UKIP is not a single-issue party. It is also successful attracting to its banner Britons who are hostile toward immigration, feel threatened by Islam, and disaffected with the mainstream parties.

Indeed, we find two very different kinds of UKIP supporters. On one side are ‘strategic defectors’, who vote UKIP at European elections, but then return to the Conservatives at domestic general elections where more is at stake. These voters tend to be more economically secure, more middle class and motivated mainly by their Euroscepticism. On the other side, however, are the ‘core loyalists’ who vote UKIP in Westminster elections as well as European Parliament polls. It is the ‘core loyalists’ who have most in common with BNP supporters: they are poorer, more working class and more dissatisfied with the main parties. This electorate resembles those voting for far more successful radical right parties elsewhere in Europe.

UKIP also has an important advantage over the BNP – it is not tainted by a violent, fascist past. Free of extremist baggage, it is able to appeal to groups of voters such as women who regard the BNP as unacceptably extreme. Evidence of UKIP’s broader appeal can already be seen: it won nearly twice as many votes as the BNP at the 2010 general election; and nearly three times as many votes at the 2009 European elections.

So what does all this mean for the Conservatives? It suggests UKIP has now emerged as a potent competitor on two very different fronts. On the one hand, UKIP is tapping into widespread Conservative scepticism about Europe to win over large numbers of Tory voters at European Parliament elections. But in Westminster elections, UKIP is also attracting a very different following. The party is becoming an outlet for the frustrations of voters who are angry about rising immigration, anxious over the presence of ‘threatening’ Muslim communities, and cynical about mainstream politics, but repelled by the BNP’s reputation for racism and fascism. For example, more than seven out of every ten UKIP voters in our sample agreed councils allow immigrants to jump the queue for social housing, believe immigration has not helped the economy, and do not trust their local MP. Also, almost two thirds think Islam poses a serious danger to Western civilization.

If UKIP chooses to embrace this electorate, its future looks bright: continued public concern over immigration, growing anxiety over settled Muslim communities; and continuing popular outrage over issues like bankers’ bonuses provide a rich array of domestic issues to capitalise upon. Clearly, UKIP is aware of the potential appeal of radical right messages: like the BNP, at the general election it advocated a halt on immigration (via a five year freeze), the ending of policies to promote multiculturalism and bans on the burka and niqab. It also invited the Dutch populist politician Geert Wilders over to show an anti-Islam film in the House of Lords.

UKIP has already demonstrated the electoral power of Euroscepticism in the last European Parliament elections, where it overtook Labour to secure second place. If the party chooses to focus on a broader populist agenda - embracing the concerns of voters buffeted by economic insecurity, alarmed by the challenges of immigration and Islam and hostile to a Westminster elite they see as complacent and out of touch - they could also prove a potent competitor to the mainstream parties in domestic elections.

The established parties ignore this challenge at the peril – in recent years populist right wing parties have pulled off dramatic victories across Europe, dramatically altering the political landscape in longstanding bastions of moderation such as the Netherlands and Sweden. One day soon, UKIP might pull off the same trick here.

Conservative Home Comment

Lady Warsi claims Islamophobia is now socially acceptable in Britain

4 Comment (s)
Conservative chairman believes prejudice against Muslims is seen by many Britons as normal

Islamophobia has "passed the dinner-table test" and become widely socially acceptable in Britain, according to Lady Warsi, the Conservative chairman.

Warsi, the first Muslim woman to attend Cabinet, is expected to use a speech at Leicester University today to raise the alarm over the way in which she believes prejudice against Muslims is now seen by many Britons as normal. She will also warn against the tendency to divide Muslims between "moderates" and "extremists", which she contends can fuel misunderstanding and intolerance.

Warsi is expected to say that terrorist offences committed by a small number of Muslims should not be used to condemn all who follow Islam. But she will also urge Muslim communities to be clearer about their rejection of those who resort to violent extremism.

"Those who commit criminal acts of terrorism in our country need to be dealt with not just by the full force of the law," she will say. "They also should face social rejection and alienation across society and their acts must not be used as an opportunity to tar all Muslims."

On the matter of portraying Muslims as either "moderate" or "extreme", she will say: "It's not a big leap of imagination to predict where the talk of 'moderate' Muslims leads; in the factory, where they've just hired a Muslim worker, the boss says to his employees: 'Not to worry, he's only fairly Muslim'.

"In the school, the kids say: 'The family next door are Muslim but they're not too bad'. And in the road, as a woman walks past wearing a burqa, the passers-by think: 'That woman's either oppressed or is making a political statement'."

The peer will also blame "the patronising, superficial way faith is discussed in certain quarters, including the media" for making Britain a less tolerant place for believers.

Warsi raised the issue of Islamophobia with Pope Benedict XVI during his visit to Britain last year, urging him to "create a better understanding between Europe and its Muslim citizens", according to extracts of the speech obtained by the Daily Telegraph.

Guardian

January 19, 2011

Koran-protest US pastor Terry Jones excluded from UK

7 Comment (s)
Controversial US pastor Terry Jones has been excluded from the UK for the public good, the Home Office has said.

The pastor had been invited to the UK to give an address to the right-wing group England Is Ours in Milton Keynes.

Mr Jones gained international attention for threatening to burn a copy of the Koran outside his church in the US on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

A Home Office spokesperson said the government "opposes extremism in all its forms".

He said: "Numerous comments made by Pastor Jones are evidence of his unacceptable behaviour.

"Coming to the UK is a privilege not a right and we are not willing to allow entry to those whose presence is not conducive to the public good.

"The use of exclusion powers is very serious and no decision is taken lightly or as a method of stopping open debate."

Mr Jones - who is pastor of the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida, which has fewer than 50 members - came to prominence in September after he announced plans for his "International Burn a Koran Day".

His plan was internationally condemned and sparked many demonstrations around the world. He eventually called off his protest.

BBC News

BNP man in court

11 Comment (s)
A LEADING BNP activist has claimed he was provoked into assaulting a man who was picking on him because of his far right views outside a Gwendraeth Valley workingmen’s club.

Kenneth Roger Phillips, of 52 Cae Glas in Cross Hands, admitted attacking Adam Margetts outside the village club on December 20 but said he was not a racist, a fascist or a Nazi.

Phillips, the south Wales co-ordinator of the BNP, claimed he was repeatedly abused by Mr Margetts because of his political views.

Llanelli Magistrates were told that Phillips, aged 43, had gone to the Cross Hands Workingmen’s Club in the afternoon and drank two pints and a glass of brandy.

Gerald Neave, prosecuting, told the court that Mr Margetts was already at the club with friends and even though there was a long-standing animosity between the two men, Phillips sat next to Mr Margetts.

A row erupted and Phillips was asked to leave, but as he did so he pushed Mr Margetts.

Later that evening, Phillips returned to the club to find Mr Margetts smoking a cigarette outside.

Phillips punched Mr Margetts in the face, knocking him to the ground.

He was then said to have kicked his victim as he lay helpless on the floor.

In interview, Phillips claimed he returned to the club to discuss the earlier incident with the steward but that when he saw Mr Margetts he "lost his cool and hit him once or twice".

He denied kicking Mr Margetts on the ground.

He claimed that Mr Margetts had regularly subjected him to abuse because his BNP membership.

Andrew Isaacs, defending, told the court that Phillips had not expected Mr Margetts to be at the club when he returned and that Mr Margetts had blocked his way.

"He admits he lost his cool," said Mr Isaacs.

"He does wish to apologise but he did receive a significant amount of abuse throughout the day.

"He has political affiliations, but is not racist, not fascist and not a Nazi."

Magistrates gave Phillips a 12-month conditional discharge and made to pay £85 costs.

He was also ordered to pay Mr Margetts £50 compensation.

South Wales Guardian

January 17, 2011

Recession politics: The HOPE not hate campaign in 2011

28 Comment (s)
The coming year will be dominated by economic hardship as the austerity measures begin to bite. Job losses, increased taxes and rising living costs will put everyone under strain and, as history has taught us, when people feel under pressure so resentment, fear and hate rise.

Against this background the HOPE not hate campaign is more important than ever.

May's local elections will once again be the main focus of our campaigning year as we ensure that the British National Party is unable to make any political breakthrough. Despite its current problems the BNP will be looking to exploit economic hardship and growing pessimism.

All-out elections will take place in Stoke-on-Trent and across much of the East Midlands, areas where the BNP has previously done well. Other key areas include Greater Manchester and South and West Yorkshire. There are also signs that the BNP vote is recovering in places where the fascist party made its initial breakthroughs during the 2002 to 2006 period but was subsequently beaten back.

We are also likely to see an improvement in the BNP vote in areas where the Liberal Democrats have performed well in recent years, often on an anti-BNP ticket. These include wards in Burnley, Pendle, Bradford and Kirklees.

The Welsh Assembly, contested under proportional representation, offers an opportunity for the BNP, especially in the North Wales constituency where it missed out only narrowly in 2007.

Much of our work will consist of providing support and guidance to broader campaigns. We have to ensure that those fighting the cuts and trying to keep communities together are equipped with effective tools to fend off racists and allay people's fears. We must be prepared to join with other groups to defend local communities. This is not about politicising the HOPE not hate campaign, but about recognising that divided and weakened communities open the door for extremists.

The BNP enters 2011 in a dreadful state but we must guard against complacency. Politics can change very quickly and as people really start to struggle suddenly we could be faced with a resurgent BNP. Its success in recent years has been achieved in a relatively benign economic climate. If it can somehow overcome its present problems then we could be in trouble.

Violent incidents sparked by the English Defence League would be another potential trigger for a resurgent right. While the EDL has no political outlet, its brand of provocative marches and violence whips up tensions and trouble in communities and can quickly lead to communities becoming polarised and so susceptible to a racist message.

Over the past six months the EDL has emerged as the principal far-right threat in the UK today. Its anti-Muslim message has given it a wider appeal as it taps into a general and growing Islamophobia, which is both widespread and acceptable in a way that the BNP's hardline racism is not.

The threat of the EDL poses new challenges. The EDL is not a fascist organisation and we have to deal with the EDL differently from how we deal with the BNP. Our campaigning needs to be peaceful and non-confrontational, and involve longer term work in communities to break down division and suspicions. We also need to be clear that we oppose all extremism that tears communities apart. We will be launching a new national campaign on this theme later this year.

Last year was one of amazing achievements for anti-fascism. The current demise of the BNP stems from its humiliation in Barking and Dagenham, which was itself a product of the most intensive anti-fascist campaign to date. Over 1,500 people got involved on the ground and almost 7,000 donated online.

This year the challenges will be different but they are certainly there. As people struggle in these difficult economic times there is an even greater need for anti-fascists to be active and involved.

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Hope not hate

Law needed to tackle hate speech on Internet

4 Comment (s)
Turkish civil society organizations are demanding a new law regulating hate crimes and hate speech, saying racism and xenophobia are spreading fast on the Internet.

At the beginning of this week, Ankara hosted a meeting of the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI), a body within the Council of Europe (CoE). The meeting brought together national and international experts to discuss the implementation of the ECRI's recommendations to combat discrimination based on race, ethnicity, religion or other characteristics, and one of the main topics was discrimination and racism on the Internet.

Turkey, like most countries of the world, is not free of crimes against minorities and disadvantaged groups. Among these, crimes motivated by a victim's background or identity are defined as hate crimes. The Turkish Penal Code (TCK), however, includes no such category, and civil society organizations are fighting to have it added.

Despite the lack of such a category in the TCK, Parliament ratified a bill this week that introduces new regulations for broadcasting. According to amendments to the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) law, broadcasts will not be allowed to instigate hate and broadcasts that discriminate on the basis of race, language, gender, class, sect or religion will not be allowed. However, regulations regarding the Internet are not included for the time being.

Yaman Akdeniz, an associate professor at Bilgi University's school of law, told Sunday's Zaman that Turkey has signed the Convention on Cybercrime but not the additional protocol “concerning the criminalization of acts of a racist and xenophobic nature committed through computer systems.”

The additional protocol defines racist and xenophobic material as “any written material, any image or any other representation of ideas or theories, which advocates, promotes or incites hatred, discrimination or violence, against any individual or group of individuals, based on race, color, descent or national or ethnic origin, as well as religion if used as a pretext for any of these factors.”

Even a quick look at the social networking website Facebook is enough to show that there are many groups which spread hatred and even call for the mass killing of certain groups.

The additional protocol asks for its members “to adopt such legislative and other measures as may be necessary to establish [hate crimes] as criminal offences under its domestic law,” but, as Akdeniz, pointed out, this is no easy task. Akdeniz said it is easy to spot criminal material such as child pornography that is posted on the Internet, but not so with hate speech because it includes written material also.

He added that websites such as YouTube and Facebook are trying to implement controls and monitoring mechanisms and that it is possible for users to report discriminatory or racist content, but it is very easy to repost banned material on the digital platform after simply changing the name and/or content just a little.

Akdeniz also underlined that there is a very fine line between hate speech and political discourse, another fact that makes the fight against hate speech and hate crimes very difficult.

In interview with Sunday's Zaman earlier this week, ECRI Chairman Nils Muiznieks said discrimination and hate speech on the Internet is a very important issue they are trying to tackle; however, the general recommendations for fighting hate speech, racism and discrimination are outdated and technologically inadequate.

He said the countries most successful in fighting racism and intolerance on the Internet are those with the best cooperation between NGOs, Internet service providers and authorities; however, the level of cooperation is not at desirable levels everywhere and the fine line between freedom of expression and discrimination is very important.

“You need groups that monitor discrimination on the Internet. You need service providers who are willing to listen and engage in dialogue. And you need authorities to step in and punish the bad guys. It is clear that our own tools used to cope with this are outdated. This is a very rapidly developing field. Until very recently MySpace and Google were not willing to talk to organizations such as the ECRI. But they are now beginning to change a little,” he said.

Öztürk Türkdoğan, chairman of the Human Rights Association (İHD) underlined that there is a serious gap between regulations on hate crimes and hate speech in general but also on the Internet and that the fine line between freedom of expression and hate speech should be drawn very carefully.

“The measure should be the decisions and the case law of the European Court of Human Rights [ECtHR], but the Internet should not be used as a platform for any form of violence,” he told Sunday's Zaman.

Akdeniz also pointed out that the difficulty of tackling the issue should not prevent civil society from fighting against it, saying that some measures can be taken.

“In order to combat hate speech and discrimination, banning entire websites or networks is not the right solution. This is only pretending that some measures have been taken. Closing platforms should not be considered a solution. Racism and discrimination on the Internet is very much related to the level of racism and discrimination within society. To tackle it, we must raise awareness, though this is no easy task. Fighting racism is similar to fighting terrorism, and both need careful handling and a delicate approach,” he said.

Today's Zaman

Thanks to Anon for the heads-up

White Supremacist Site MartinLutherKing.org Marks 12th Anniversary

0 Comment (s)
Recently, a diverse group of New York City high school students was assigned to write reports on Martin Luther King, Jr. Searching the Internet, several students learned that the renowned civil rights leader had in fact been a drunken philandering con man. Others concluded that the federal holiday marking King's birthday should be repealed.

Where in the www did these kids search?

Google, for starters.

If you enter "Martin Luther King, Jr." as a search term, the site netting the third-highest ranking is martinlutherking(dot)org, which purports to be "A valuable resource for teachers and students alike." Visit the site and you can read the "truth" about King -- communist, wife-beater, plagiarist, sexual deviant and all-around fraud. There are flyers to the same effect that children can download, print and bring to school.

As you have probably guessed, this site is not run by the King Center, the memorial established in 1968 by Coretta Scott King to the advance her husband's legacy (TheKingCenter.org ranks seventh on Google). Rather, MartinLutherKing(dot)org is a spinoff of Stormfront(dot)org, the "white nationalist" online community created in 1995 by former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard Don Black. Stormfront's Web forum now claims nearly 214,000 participants. Black registered martinlutherking(dot)org on January 14, 1999, later adding MLKing(dot)org and MLKing(dot)com.

A Google spokesman told me, "Our search results are generated objectively and are independent of the beliefs and preferences of those who work at Google. A site's ranking in Google's search results is automatically determined by computer algorithms using hundreds of factors to calculate a page's relevance to a given query. The only sites we omit from our search results are those we are legally compelled to remove or those maliciously attempting to manipulate our results."

MartinLutherKing(dot)org also ranks third on Yahoo and Bing.

According to sociologist Jessie Daniels of RacismReview, "The decision to register the domain name 'martinlutherking(dot)org' relatively early in the evolution of the web was a shrewd and opportune move for advocates of white supremacy."

While proponents of the King Center message would love to pull the plug, they face multiple obstacles, not least of which is the First Amendment. Unless the Web content contains libel, a credible threat or incitement to imminent lawless action, the law offers little recourse. In a 2008 Atlanta Journal-Constitution interview, King Center CEO Isaac Farris, Jr., cited the "thin line between opinion and slander," adding, "You never authorize a lawyer to do whatever it takes because that could be a black hole."

The law also insulates Internet Service Providers from liability to the same extent telephone companies aren't responsible for crimes committed over their wires. Per the Telecommunications Act of 1996, "No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider."

Providers may prohibit racist or bigoted messages of their own volition, however--such prohibitions don't violate constitutional rights because a commercial provider isn't a government agency. MartinLutherKing(dot)org's ISP, Dallas-based SoftLayer, has a strict acceptable use policy. "We try to be as proactive as possible in eliminating any and all content from our network that breaches the terms of this policy," a SoftLayer spokesperson told me. "But this is not always an easy task. In aggregate we have nearly 80,000 servers under management, and we host millions of domains."

Daniels sees general awareness about the way propaganda works online as a more effective agent of change. "We have to get smarter about racism," she says.

Adds educational psychologist Brendesha Tynes, "We need media literacy programs that foster the development of a critical lens to help children recognize the difference between propaganda and legitimate sites."

Toward that end, the Anti-Defamation League offers a Combating CyberHate Toolkit that suggests steps to counter pernicious sites, including posting videos, counterpoints, or comments that oppose offensive content--for example, constructing counter-MartinLutherKing(dot)org programming on YouTube or Facebook.

And as Martin Luther King, Jr., said, "All progress is precarious, and the solution of one problem brings us face to face with another problem."

Huffington Post

Thanks to NewsHound for the heads-up

Hindus, Jews Ask Pope to Abandon Double Standards on Roma Apartheid

2 Comment (s)
Hindus and Jews claim that Pope Benedict holds double standards on the issues of Roma (Gypsy) apartheid in Europe.

Hindu statesman Rajan Zed; and Rabbi Jonathan B. Freirich, prominent Jewish leader in Nevada and California in USA; in a statement in Nevada today, said that despite their repeated requests, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI had not come out openly to support the 15-million European Roma who faced apartheid conditions. But in a message for "19th World Day of the Sick, 2011", posted on Holy See's website on January 15, Pope says (as per Zenit.org translation): "...know how to recognize and serve him also in those brothers who are poor, sick, suffering and in difficulty, who have need of your help".

The Pope also points out in this message: "A society unable to accept its suffering members and incapable of helping to share their suffering and to bear it inwardly through 'com-passion' is a cruel and inhuman society". And he quotes in this message: "As I have loved you, so must you love one another" (John 13:34).

Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, and Rabbi Freirich argued that it was a travesty to silently watch Roma suffer day after day for the last about 1200 years, and do nothing about it. Roma apartheid occurred right under the Pope's nose in Europe. Hindus and Jews had been regularly appealing to the Pope to openly support the Roma cause and come up with a White Paper on their plight, and yet the Pope continued to ignore these reasonable requests for justice in Europe for the Roma.

Rajan Zed and Rabbi Jonathan Freirich further said that the alarming condition of the Roma people was a social blight for Europe and the rest of the world as they reportedly regularly faced social exclusion, racism, substandard education, hostility, joblessness, rampant illness, inadequate housing, lower life expectancy, unrest, living on desperate margins, language barriers, stereotypes, mistrust, rights violations, discrimination, marginalization, appalling living conditions, prejudice, human rights abuse, and racist slogans on Internet.

The Pope needed to make a public statement against persecution of the Roma, Zed and Freirich added.

Rajan Zed and Rabbi Freirich pointed out that religions shared a conviction to help the helpless, defenseless and downtrodden. The Pope should recognize, acknowledge and affirm the Roma as children of God who deserved to be treated like all other people-as equals. Roma apartheid was shocking, reprehensible, hazardous and immoral. As the most powerful religious leader in the world, the Pope's must lead in upholding the moral obligation to make efforts to stop the frequent human rights violations suffered by Roma.

Hindu Rajan Zed and Jewish Jonathan Freirich offered help to the Pope, if asked, to support the Roma cause.

Sify News

Thanks to NewsHound for the heads-up