January 31, 2007

Call for boycott of BNP hotel

0 Comment (s)
Trade union bosses are calling for the boycott of a Blackpool seafront hotel which opened its doors to the BNP. The New Kimberley Hotel on New South Promenade hosted the BNP conference in November following a veil of secrecy.

Today, the Lancashire Association of Trades Union Councils (LATUC) urged visitors to refuse to stay at the hotel in protest. Peter Billington, secretary of the Lancashire TUC, said: "We are supporting Blackpool, Fylde & Wyre TUCs' call for trade union members and all decent people not to use this hotel. There are 2.7 million workers in the North West and 34 per cent of them are trade union members. We have written to the national TUC and asked it to circulate the hotel's details to all UK unions so that members can avoid this place."

Mr Billington said the hotel had knowingly supported for "a group of violent, racist, criminal thugs". He added: "It shouldn't be forgotten that two Lancashire BNP members, one of them a BNP local council candidate in last May's elections, are currently in custody awaiting trial on bomb-making charges."

The BNP has vowed to return to Blackpool for its annual conference this year after hailing November's conference a huge success. Members of the far-right group staged the two-day conference at the New Kimberley Hotel on South Promenade in secret.

The Gazette quizzed Kimberley Hotel boss Peter Metcalf in the days before the conference but he denied the event would be held at the hotel. Anti-fascist demonstrators staged a protest outside the hotel but the conference passed off peacefully.

BNP bosses today promised this year's conference would be "even larger" despite being issued with "stay away" messages from council chiefs.

Roy Goodwin, from Blackpool's BNP, said: "The TUC is interfering with the democratic rights of a perfectly legal political party to hold its conference where it wishes. The amazing thing about what they are doing is that they are doing it under the banner of the UAF (United Against Fascism). I feel that a great deal of the British public may come to the conclusion there is a distinct odour of hypocrisy surrounding them."

The Gazette contacted the Kimberley Hotel but no-one was available for comment.

Blackpool Gazette

Yet another BNP councillor keeps job despite assaults

0 Comment (s)
Civic leaders have reacted with anger after a BNP councillor who assaulted his estranged wife and a police officer as well as shouting racist abuse kept his job.

Coun Brian Turner, who was also convicted of football-related violence, was cleared of bringing Burnley Council into disrepute after the Standards Board for England (SBE) said the convictions related to his private life. But the decision has angered Burnley's MP, council leader and a domestic violence group. They said Coun Turner's conduct was not fitting for a person holding a public office.

Coun Turner, who represents Cliviger with Worsthorne, said he was pleased at the decision and that he was standing down as a councillor in May's local elections.

The decision of the SBE was made following a High Court ruling last year that the Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, did not abuse his position when he called a Jewish photographer a concentration camp guard after he was photographed leaving a social event.

Council leader Gordon Birtwistle said: "If you can beat your wife up and a police officer and still be a fit and proper person to be a councillor there is not a lot we can do about it. It is the decision that has been made, It is not the one I would have made. I hope this is the end of it all now."

Burnley MP Kitty Ussher said: "Whatever the standards board have said it does not alter the facts he has been convicted of beating up his wife, a police officer been banned from football grounds and racially aggravated public order."

Sarah Heselwood, manager of Pendle Domestic Violence Initiative, said: "The fact that it was in his private life does not matter. I do think that if somebody is in the public eye and have a position of responsibility it is giving the message to people this is okay. It is almost justifying it which is something I do not like."

Coun Turner, 44, of Athletic Street, Burnley, became a councillor in May 2003 and is a member of the community safety partnership steering group.

Last June he was given a maximum 300 hours unpaid community order and a four-month curfew after he was found guilty of a racially aggravated public order offence when he abused a group of Asian men in the town centre on a night out. In September 2005 he was given a three year football banning order at Manchester Magistrates' Court for a public order offence. The same month Coun Turner was also ordered to undertake 100 hours unpaid work for common assault and police assault after he was convicted of attacking his estranged wife Melanie Turner in front of their children.

The SBE - which oversees the conduct of councillors - launched investigations in October 2005 and June 2006 following the convictions. Coun Turner was facing two counts of bringing his office or authority into disrepute. If the matter had been passed to the Adjudication Panel for England he could have been banned from office for five years. However, Coun Turner, was cleared after the SBE found the incidents did not fall within its code of conduct because his actions were in a private capacity.

Coun Turner said: "I am pleased with the outcome. I did not think they would take any action because it was private matters which were carried out not while I was acting as a councillor. It was over last year as far as I am aware. I am just carrying on until my time is up. I won't be standing again, I think I have done my bit."

Hamid Qureshi, co-ordinator for religious group Building Bridges, based at Clegg Street Mosque, Burnley, and chairman of Lancashire Council of Mosques said he did not have a problem with Coun Turner staying in office.

He said: "As a social group we would not hold something against anybody. We would prefer to engage with them and enter into a debate to try and improve the situation so it does not happen again. I do not have a problem with him being a councillor."

Lancashire Telegraph

BNP man keeps seat

0 Comment (s)
Several Redditch councillors are unhappy the only BNP member will keep his seat, despite being found guilty of three counts of assault.

Winyates councillor David Enderby was convicted at Kidderminster Magistrates' Court last week and fined £100 for each offence. He denied the assaults, which took place at his mother-in-law's house during a birthday party in June.

A council spokesman said: "The case was personal and didn't involve his role as an elected council member. The sentence was not of an order to warrant disqualification. Equally, the Standards Board wouldn't regard this as a Code of Conduct matter. The Code covers members who misbehave when performing duties or who misuse their status while acting in a private capacity. We're not aware Councillor Enderby has done anything under these two categories."

Conservative group leader Carole Gandy said: "The rules state a councillor must receive a certain sentence or have committed the offences in his councillor capacity to be removed from the council. But because of the violent nature of these crimes, it can't help but reflect badly on the council. There's nothing we can do to change the rules so it's up to Winyates people to show their feelings when voting."

Liberal Democrat councillor Diane Thomas said: "I'm not happy about this at all. He will keep his position on the council despite being found guilty of violent offences. I hope the people of Winyates think very carefully before voting next."

Council Leader Phil Mould said he was "sad" Mr Enderby would continue as a councillor but rules had been followed and councillors had to accept it.

Mr Enderby said: "This was a personal matter and nothing to do with my council position.
"I will not step down and will continue serving people in Winyates."

Redditch Advertiser

Peace garden vandalised as borough marks Holocaust Memorial Day

0 Comment (s)
A memorial garden to remember victims of oppression, torture and brutality was defaced as the country marked Holocaust Memorial Day.

Borough dignitaries expressed dismay and disgust after learning the peace and memorial garden near Dagenham Civic Centre had been sprayed with graffiti. Deputy Mayor Cllr Marie West, who opened the garden last year when she was Mayor, said: "I'm so distressed that anyone could even contemplate doing such a thing. I can't understand the mentality. I'm very upset."

The graffiti was discovered on Monday, the day after Dagenham Civic Centre and Barking Town Hall flew special world holocaust memorial flags to remember Jewish people killed during World War Two.

The borough had marked Holocaust Memorial Day (Saturday) by burning a ceremonial candle at the civic centre on Friday.

Mayor Cllr Dee Hunt was told about the vandalism as she prepared to unveil an adventure playground in Goresbrook Park recently defaced by graffiti. She called it "verbal abuse". The garden, with its coloured benches and purple posts, aims to convey the transition from persecution to hope.

Rabbi Alex Chapper, of Ilford Federation Synagogue, said: "This is another sickening example of the continuing need to educate the importance of tolerance and respect, regardless of race or creed.

Barking and Dagenham Recorder

January 30, 2007

The rising right

0 Comment (s)
Every nation has the same deep rooted political fear - that one day a far right party will sweep us all off our feet and make us forget our morals, our dignity and even our sense of identity. In classrooms, pupils are reminded endlessly that if we don’t learn the lessons from 1930’s Germany, it could happen again - but is it happening already?

When National Front leader Jean-Marie Le Pen came dangerously close to becoming the French president, the Western world took a collective gasp. How could a fascist get this far into a well established political system? Overnight, political pundits around the world began to question how far away all of us were from being ruled by a fascist dictator. The mood didn’t last for long. After Le Pen’s crushing defeat in the final ballot, the threat seemed to go away and everyone returned to normal life. Unfortunately however, fascism has continued to stealthily creep back into political systems around the world. Extremists have always existed throughout society, but are they growing in number?


There can be no greater act of rebellion for a young German today than to leave the family house with a shout of ‘Heil Hitler’! In some parts of Germany, Neo-Nazism is becoming worse than prevalent; it’s becoming trendy. Nazi memorabilia and philosophies have a chillingly fashionable appeal among some youths. Everything related to 1940’s Nazism is illegal to make or sell, so bootleg recordings of speeches, Nazi iconography and even ‘secret’ Nazi ring-tones have now become status symbols to an ever growing minority of rebellious teenagers. Music by outlawed Nazi-sympathetic rock bands such as Landser is illegally imported and bought by disaffected German youths at up to a hundred times the RRP.

Demographics show that the majority of violent, far-right motivated attacks seem to take place in what was East Germany, the poorer half of the country. For some teenagers, the harsh economics are only a minor factor. The primary motivation behind the attacks is the conflict between ‘home grown’ Germans and Russian immigrants. German teenagers complain of attacks from Russians. In turn, Russians claim to suffer prejudice at the hands of young Neo-Nazis. In the first few years after the fall of the Berlin wall, far-right motivated crimes increased from 178 in 1990 to 1, 485 in 1992.

For some teenagers, a war against immigrants is an ideal way to show rebellion. Along with persecution of Russians comes prejudice against Jews and non-white ethnic groups. Gays and lesbians are naturally included. The media have recently highlighted the problem of ‘fear zones’ where followers of the leading far right political party Nationaldemokratische Partei Deutschlands (NPD) aim to keep control of strongholds by ‘policing’ their area. For gay people, this means whole areas where holding hands, kissing or showing any outward signs of being gay is very ill advised. Many German gays go miles out of their way to avoid such ‘fear zones’.

In 2003, the federal government tried to ban the NPD as an ‘unconstitutional’ party. They failed and in the 2005 elections, the NPD gained 1.6% of the national vote, coming top in four electoral provinces. Earlier this year they also managed to get above the 5% vote needed to gain their first seats in power.

Fascist -o-meter - 6 out of 10

Although attempts have been made to ban fascist parties, they are making good ground into Germany’s political system. Violence and intimidation are also worryingly high. However, with Germany’s past, there is still huge opposition to any far right party or organisation, so the vast majority of the population will almost certainly put a stop to any full-blown fascist revival.


Nowhere is the danger from fascism more acute than rural France. There may not be outraged teenagers turning to gang warfare, nor areas of the country controlled by fear and violence, but in many ways the threat of growing far right support is even more severe. The problem is that French fascists are supported by a huge section of the population. These aren’t young men with a hormonal imbalance - these are elderly farmers, middle aged council workers and civil servants.

The cause of this rise in support appears to be the shifting landscape. The country still has a vast farming network, but only a quarter of the farms that that were operating before the war still exist. Sons are no longer taking on the family farm, and in rural villages there is no almost work available – most people commute into the towns and cities. Worse of all, France is no longer the country which sells the most wine!

Many other countries have seen such migration to the urban centres, but many French rural dwellers feel the country is not just losing its farms, it is losing its very identity. This has led many towards a fascist outlook. In 2002, the threat of France becoming a National Front led country was a real one. Jean-Marie Le Pen caused a huge shock by taking top place in the first round of the presidential elections. Thankfully, the nation was shocked into voting for his nearest competitor, Jacques Chirac. But the threat is not dead yet. Deputy leader of the National Front, Le Pen’s daughter Marine, is aiming to capitalise on the feeling of dissatisfaction in rural France. She is an attractive women of 38 and rumours abound that she will be the next National Front candidate to shock the French public. With support for her running high France now has a real threat of a successful far right challenger.

So what does this mean for gays? A major part of the National Front’s message is that the breakdown in family life has contributed to the ‘modern living’ rural supporters oppose. The introduction of the Pacte Civil de Solidarite, France’s version of civil partnerships, has been cited as a major contributor to the modernisation of France. The National Front would ‘refuse aberrant cultures, such as modern art or gay culture’. This remit suggests a host of unspoken possibilities from gay bars being closed down to much worse options. France goes to the polls some time in April next year.

Fascist -o-meter - 8 out of 10

Unlike Germany, France has no political shame when it comes to extremist ideas. The country is not prone to strong political shifts, but the dissatisfaction of farmers is adding to the threat from the right greatly. Don’t forget France has already come closer than any other country in the West to having a far right leader.


America has always been a worryingly perfect place for extreme views to breed. As a young country deeply confused over its national identity, the fragmented beginnings of the nation are conveniently hidden behind the ‘traditional American way’. Patriotism is not only encouraged but insisted upon. In this climate of identity confusion, extremism has always thrived. USA was the land who gave is the KKK, Fred Phelps and Scientology - surely proof enough of its potential to encourage the extreme.

But the threat from the right has not come from the usual sources in America. Although the KKK still exist and the American Nazi Party has been revived (swastikas and all), it is in fact the placid, loving Christian Church who are fuelling American’s right wing. Bush, a self-confessed fundamentalist Christian, is part of a rise in Christian politics, promoted and controlled by the Christian Coalition. This seemingly happy-spirited political advisory group now has members throughout American politics.

Since the 70’s, a multitude of Christian right organisations including the Christian Coalition have been created – The American Family Association, Focus on the Family, American Family Voices…the list goes on. And what is the major factor in all these Christian groups? The answer is in the word family. The Christian right are strictly opposed to any form of gay marriage or same-sex family making, and are hugely powerful. How can pro-gay legislation stand a chance against such formidable opposition?

Help could come from the American youth, many of whom are firmly opposed to Bush’s war in Iraq. Could their votes help turn the country back to a liberal, pro-human rights state?

Fascist -o-meter - 4 out of 10

With the recent landslide towards the Democrats in the mid-term elections, it looks as though the USA is currently swinging back towards the left. However, America is known for extreme points of view so it is doubtful the USA will ever be fascist free!


Even the Conservatives are starting to ‘hug hooddies’ and attempting to attract the pink vote. So you could be forgiven for thinking that the country is on a definite swinging to the centre ground overall. However, 44 members of the British National Party are currently sat in their council offices up and down the country, legally elected as members of the local Government. The problem may not seem too widespread on the surface, but when you bear in mind that 192, 850 people in the UK cast their votes for the BNP, the situation begins to look a little more serious.

In fact, political experts suggest that the UK’s ‘first past the post’ system is the only reason why the BNP have not yet had their first MP. The question to ask now is whether the BNP can sustain their success or, even worse, improve upon it. With the Conservatives widening their appeal to the centre ground, disenfranchised right wing Tories could see voting for the BNP as their only option.

As far as LGBTs go, no far right party will ever be supportive. The BNP are still no different, citing homosexuality as a ‘depraved way of life’ and threatening to bring back Section 28, if they ever get into Government. However, the party has backtracked slightly on gay issues. Traditionally, the party policy was that homosexuality would be made illegal again under a BNP Government. Since 2004 that policy has been revoked. Now, the BNP believe homosexuality should be ‘tolerated’ as long as it is between consenting adults and ‘left in the closet, where it belongs’. Officially, the BNP say they would welcome a homosexual person into the party, although it would be a brave one who tried! Prejudice against gay people is still prevalent at the BNP and their underlying attitude is far from tolerant as their rhetoric would have you believe.

Fascist -o-meter - 7 out of 10

The UK is one of the few countries where a far right party is not only legal but actually gaining ground in local councils. The BNP remains attractive to voters in some areas and it is only a matter of time before we have a BNP member in the House.


Yet another country struggling to deal with its fascist past, Spain is experiencing the very worst side of the far right. On the surface, all seems fine. There are no extreme right wing MPs and no official far right political parties in the system of government. There is definitely nothing ‘official’ about Spain’s fascist elements at all. Largely based on underground movements, events in the country regularly bring far right elements to the surface, such as the recent removal of the last existing statue of Generalissimo Franco. Over 700 protesters turned up, most of them young, white men. For these disaffected men, Franco has become the poster boy for their fight against the ‘impure’ elements in Spain, namely the usual suspects – immigrants, blacks and homosexuals.

The scale of the problem is worrying. At the moment, it is estimated that 10,000 people in Spain are members of a far right organisation. The fact that none of them are taken seriously politically actually exacerbates the situation. Instead of donning suits and running for local council, these young men often turn to violence to get their message across. The term ‘going hunting’ is well know among the far right underground as meaning a night in the city weeding out the immigrants, homosexuals and prostitutes to violently beat.

Despite being a majority Catholic country, gay people fare surprisingly well in Spain. In fact, recent changes to the law have legalised civil partnerships between same-sex couples. For the far right elements, this puts gay people firmly at the top of their hit list. Last November, thousands gathered to march in celebration of Franco’s birthday. Homosexuality took a larger place in the banners, chants and speeches than in past years, proving that gay issues are still an important issue.

Fascist -o-meter – 7 out of 10

It might be hard to see why Spain gets such a high rating. However, the threat to Spain is exactly the opposite of the threat to the UK. Far from being permitted to exist, far right organisations are largely ignored and taboo. This not only makes them all the more appealing to alienated youth but also allows neo-fascism to grow - totally unregulated and unchallenged.

While the threat of another Nazi Germany type uprising may still seem a remote possibility, all around the world the lives of minorities are being hampered by extremist ideas. Remember the next time your polling card comes through the post that a vote from you could be all that is needed to counteract the vote of a far right supporter.

Fyne Times

Cameron fails to understand threat of fascist BNP to British society

0 Comment (s)
Anti-fascist campaigners have criticised David Cameron's attack on the Muslim community organisations, which he compared to the BNP

Cameron claimed 'radical Muslims' were the 'mirror image of the BNP'. Cameron also attacked multiculturalism, claiming it created a barrier to cohesion and that it had failed. A report published today attacks the Muslim Council of Britain, the largest Muslim organisation with over 400 affiliates.

The British National Party is a fascist organisation which is gaining electoral ground. It stands in the tradition of Hitler, with some of its leading figures having been exposed as openly admiring the Nazis, who carried out a systematic programme of annihilation of entire peoples. Millions died in the Holocaust. The BNP denies the reality of the Holocaust.

Today, with 49 elected councillors and the threat of gaining more seats at the next May local elections, the BNP causes real damage to local communities by whipping up racist lies in areas they target. They have been mustering record number of votes. Unless they are challenged and opposed, they could make a breakthrough into the mainstream politics like their fascist counterparts in other European countries like France and Belgium, with devastating consequences for our society.

Glyn Ford MEP said: "It is an offence to all those who died in the Holocaust that fascism is resurging across Europe . This month fascist MEPs have again formed their own political group in European Parliament. This is not the failure of multiculturalism we are witnessing but the growth of racism. The Tories would do better to attack fascism - the perpetrators of division, violence and racism, rather than their victims."

Weyman Bennett, Joint Secretary of UAF said: "The BNP represent the real threat to community cohesion, with their racist, Islamophobic, anti-Semitic and homophobic politics. The BNP whips up racist hatred and division for electoral gain, leading to attacks on all minority communities in areas they target.

It is deeply offensive to liken the BNP to minority community organisations, particularly to Muslim groups who are the prime target of the BNP's racism. Muslim communities experience racism and discrimination at all levels of society. They are being vilified and targeted daily.

Mainstream parties have a responsibility not to provide succour to fascists: today, the BNP welcomes David Cameron's comments on its website as a 'propaganda victory' for them and takes the opportunity to spread further Islamophobic bile against Muslim communities. Attacking multiculturalism is pandering to the BNP."


January 29, 2007

Councillors react to BNP plans

0 Comment (s)
Conservative and Liberal Democrat party leaders speak out against BNP plans to field candidates in West Berkshire

Leaders of West Berkshire's two main political parties fear the emergence of the British National Party (BNP) in Newbury will cause "racial tensions".

Last week the right-wing party announced it would be fielding two candidates in the area in May's local elections.

Leaders of West Berkshire's Conservative and Liberal Democrat groups have now issued a joint statement about the news.

Councillor Graham Jones (Con) and Councillor Jeff Brooks (Lib Dem) said: "West Berkshire is a peaceful community. The BNP seeks to introduce racial tensions which do not exist here.

"As members of the decent political establishment we do not wish to deal with such people who do not have the welfare of our district at heart. Elected representatives are in place to serve the community as a whole, not to pick and choose who they help on the basis of colour or religion."

The statement added: "Nevertheless, there is a political process in place, through which we have confidence that the voters of West Berkshire will show the BNP that there is no place for them here, and firmly reject these candidates at the polls.”

Newbury today

Violent BNP thug David Enderby branded a wife beater

1 Comment (s)
A BNP councillor has been branded a wife-beating thug who once viciously attacked a motorist in a ferocious road-rage attack.

David Enderby, who serves on Redditch Borough Council, was convicted last week of assaulting his estranged wife, his mother-in-law and a teenage girl. Magistrates at Kidderminster, Worcestershire, heard how he barged into a family birthday celebration and refused to leave. Witnesses told the court that Enderby was 'in a rage' and 'just flipped'. During the melée, he struck his ex-wife Jane, his mother-in-law Noel Campion, and a girl aged 14 before being manhandled outside.

Enderby, 46, of Winyates East, Redditch, Worcestershire, denied three charges of common assault but was convicted after a two-day trial in which his own family gave evidence against him.

He was fined £300 and ordered to pay £100 court costs, despite his claim that he had not hurt anyone. The court heard he had no previous convictions. But Mrs Campion claimed that the commotion at the party, which left children crying and screaming at her home, was just the tip of the iceberg in Enderby's tempestuous and violent past.

Mrs Campion alleged that her son-in-law had:

~ Regularly assaulted the mother of his three children;

~ Tried to push his wife down the stairs during a furious row;

~ And 'gone berserk' when he was cut up by a motorist, chasing after him and viciously attacking him in broad daylight.

Enderby, a burly six-footer, married Jane in 1989. But she walked out on him three years ago and has started divorce proceedings, which cite his violence.

"What happened at my house at the birthday party last summer was no isolated incident," said Mrs Campion, 62, of Greenlands, Redditch. He has always been a violent control freak who made Jane's life a misery. The Christmas before they married, we all went out shopping in Redditch and another motorist cut him up. David just went berserk. He chased after the other driver and forced him to stop. He savagely attacked him, punching him repeatedly in the face. It was so bad I thought he was going to kill him. I leapt out of the car and jumped on to David's back, shouting: 'David, David. Stop it!' He appeared to come to his senses and got back in the car but he never said anything. It was just as if nothing had happened. I knew then that there was trouble ahead."

Mrs Campion claimed: "Even before they were married, David would beat Jane. On three occasions during their marriage, I went round to their house and brought Jane and the children back to my house because of his violent rages. She often had black eyes and bruises caused by David. He is a control freak who always wanted to keep Jane in her place as he would see it. I paid for her to have driving lessons when she was 21 and she passed her test. But David would never let her drive their car because it would have given her a degree of independence. He is a big bloke and I have always been frightened of him."

Mrs Campion said that the family was stunned when Enderby - a track worker at Land Rover in Solihull - stood for election to Redditch Borough Council in May 2006.

"He had never been interested in politics," she said. "His nomination for the council - and later election to it - caused big problems for the children he claims to love so much because they have friends from ethnic minority backgrounds. David even has ethnic cousins, so I just don't know what this BNP stuff is all about."

Jane Enderby,41, said of her former husband: "With David, it is either his way or no way. He is a violent and controlling man. I don't want to go into too many details for the sake of the children. But what happened at my mother's house last June was not the first time he had been violent. Whenever he was at home, the kids were always walking on eggshells in case they set off his temper. When he stood for the council, he said on his election leaflet that he was married with three children, even though we had separated ages before. He didn't even have the decency to tell me that he was standing for the council, and that we would be thrust into the public spotlight."

After the court case, the Sunday Mercury talked to Enderby about the family claims of his violent past behaviour. He listened patiently as they were outlined in detail. Then he said: "I have no comment to make on the allegations."

Enderby will not lose his seat on Red-ditch Borough Council despite his court conviction. A council spokeswoman said: "This has no impact on Councillor Enderby's formal position as a councillor. The case was personal and did not involve his role as an elected member of the council. The sentence was not of an order to warrant disqualification."

Sunday Mercury

January 03, 2007

Row over BNP man's £5 gifts - BNP's Paul Cromie in trouble again!

0 Comment (s)
A £5 Christmas gift from a British National Party councillor has left pensioners confused about what to do with it.

Councillor Paul Cromie (Queensbury) insists the donation he made to more than 200 pensioners in the area was a goodwill gesture from his councillor's allowance and not a donation by his party. But Bradford Council legal officers have been asked to probe whether the gift breaches regulations after receiving complaints.

Coun Cromie said he had sent about 210 letters containing £5 donations to pensioners in sheltered housing in Ashbourne Crescent, Albert Crescent, Park Lane and Albert Road and £100 to Goodwin House's community fund. The 54-year-old retired businessman said: "I have given a percentage of my councillor's allowance back to the community. I think the people who are getting the worst deal are the elderly people. I owe this community a lot and I intend to give it back to the community. I think a councillor should not get paid for being a councillor other than legitimate expenses and they should do it for the well-being of the community. If I did not represent the BNP I would now have received a medal as big as a dustbin lid."

Coun Cromie said three donations has been returned to him but he has been inundated with messages of thanks from grateful pensioners. However, the two other Queensbury ward councillors, Michael Walls (Cons) and Stuart Hanson (Cons) said they had received many calls from concerned pensioners.

Great grandmother Wynne Howes, who received the £5 in a Christmas card, said she planned to donate the money to charity. "I don't want it," said Mrs Howes, 90. "I do not think a lot of the BNP. I have been a Tory all my life and I certainly would not change to BNP. Lots of people have spent the money and think it's wonderful but I don't think it's right. If the Conservatives did that I would do the same."

Coun Hanson said he had been contacted by 15 to 20 people and their families. "Everyone who rang has been absolutely appalled," he said. "Of course, there is a percentage who have accepted it because £5 is £5."

Coun Walls added: "I have had calls from a number of residents of the sheltered housing because they were rather annoyed and did not know what to do. Quite a few were going to give it to charity."

Bradford South Community Housing Trust, which runs the sheltered housing schemes, sent out a letter to residents saying it had been told that the BNP had made the donation. The Trust suggested to residents who did not want to accept the gift that they give it to the Lord Mayor of Bradford's Appeal, return it to sender or send it to a charity of their choice.

A BCHT spokesman said: "It's not an issue for the housing trust. It's a personal matter for the tenants as to what they do with the donation. The housing trust's tenants were concerned about what they should do with the money so we sent out the letter to reaffirm that it's a personal matter for them."

Coun Cromie has since written to the pensioners to state the gift is from himself, from his councillor's allowance, and not from his party.

A Council legal services spokesman said: "The allegation that Coun Cromie has sent Christmas cards enclosing a £5 note to constituents has been reported to the Council's monitoring officer, who will decide what further action is required."

This is Bradford

There's more on Cromie here.

English Ballet cannot tip-toe through BNP scandal

0 Comment (s)
[If nothing else, this story has been a boon to headline writers]

The English National Ballet has been urged to clarify its position and take action in relation to recent media reports that one of its principal dancers, Simone Clarke, is a member of the British National Party (BNP).

In a letter to ENB chairman John Talbot, the Black Londoners’ Forum (BLF) has called on the board of governors to end its silence and make clear what action it intends to take in relation to Clarke’s membership of the extreme right wing organisation.

BLF chair, Karen Chouhan stated: 'People should be in no doubt about the type of organisation we are talking about and the beliefs that Clarke has chosen to support.

The constitution of the BNP is to oppose ‘any form of racial integration’ by actively working to stem and reverse ‘the tide of non-white immigration’ so as to restore ‘the overwhelmingly white makeup of the British population that existed in Britain prior to 1948.’

As one of the company’s principal dancers, Clarke acts as an ambassador for the ENB internationally. Chouhan said Clarke’s membership and views represent an affront to multiculturalism and is inconsistent with the ENB’s statutory race equality duty.

She added: 'We should not forget the central role that culture and the arts played in the ideology and propaganda of National Socialism during the early years of Nazi Germany, right up until the fall of the Third Reich in 1945.

'I would therefore urge the board of governors not to underestimate the gravity of this situation and the clear message that the ENB will be sending out to the world as a result of its self-imposed silence and inaction.

'I shall also be writing to the Arts Council England and the Commission for Racial Equality to ascertain their views on this matter.'


How could these councillors support the BNP candidate?

0 Comment (s)
During a meeting of the full council on December 13th, councillors had to elect a representative of the council to the board of Padiham Life. Previously the council representative was a Lib-Dem member, who resigned on the basis of a possible conflict of interest with their position on the council Executive. A totally valid reason supported by all members of the council.

Surprisingly, the Lib-Dems did not put forward a non-Executive member as an alternative for the position and the council was asked to choose between Coun. Gauton (Labour) and Coun. Wilkinson (BNP).

Despite repeated public statements that the Lib-Dems would never work with the BNP, or support BNP representatives gaining senior positions on decision-making bodies, two Lib-Dem members of the council voted for the BNP candidate to become a board member of Padiham Life. The Lib-Dem members who voted for Coun. Wilkinson being Couns Jones and Sumner.

It was a relief that sufficient fair-minded council members were in attendance to defeat the BNP.

After recent election fraud events, you would have thought the Lib-Dems could not get any lower, but this support for the BNP by supposedly mainstream party representatives plumbs new depths. These actions speak louder than any of the hollow promises to the contrary made by Coun. Gordon Birtwistle, the council and Lib-Dem leader.

The least Coun. Birtwistle should do is apologise to the electorate who have been badly let down by these recent shameful events.

If he doesn't, then the Lib-Dems nationally should take control and get a grip of this crumbling administration.

I am not surprised this Lib-Dem administration is falling apart as I warned people months ago of the likelihood of this happening. I just didn't expect it to happen so quickly!

Coun. Mark Townsend, Queen's Park Road, Burnley
Letter to Burnley Express

BNP ballerina defies rising clamour to sack her

0 Comment (s)
· I know I'm right, dancer named by Guardian says
· English National Ballet faces calls for dismissal

Officials from the English National Ballet faced calls to sack one of their leading dancers yesterday after Simone Clarke defied criticism and gave a detailed interview defending her support for the British National party.

Two weeks after she was named by the Guardian as a card-carrying member of the far right group, the ballerina hit out at her critics, voicing her belief that the BNP seemed to be the only party "willing to take a stand" against immigration. She claimed that her boyfriend Yat Sen-Chang, who is also an acclaimed lead dancer, encouraged her to join the BNP. Sen-Chang is of Chinese-Cuban extraction.

Clarke, 36, who will take the lead in the ENB's production of Giselle at the London Coliseum next week, said she had been called a "racist and a fascist" since her decision to join the BNP 18 months ago became public.

One report claimed that following the Guardian's revelations, fellow dancers confronted her before a matinee performance of The Nutcracker.

But she said: "I've never been clearer in my head that I'm moving in the right direction and at the right time. I've had nearly 300 emails supporting me from all over the UK and from as far away as Australia, America and New Zealand."

She told the Mail on Sunday: "Everything will be different now. I will be known as the BNP Ballerina. I think that will stick with me for life."

But she added: "I don't regret anything. I will stay a member."

The interview has caused fresh difficulties for the ENB, which was able to deflect criticism about Clarke's BNP membership by insisting that her stance was an entirely private one. The company, which is publicly funded and is therefore obliged by the Race Relations Act of 2000 to promote good race relations, will be asked to explain how one of its highest profile employees was able to use her position as a platform for the far right party.

Her views and policies espoused by the BNP appear to conflict with equality policies that operate in the company itself and those laid down by Arts Council England, which subsidises the ENB to the tune of £6m a year.

Its policy says funded organisations "must be aware of how their work contributes to race equality and promoting good race relations".

Prior to the interview, the ENB had said it hoped to talk to its dancer before deciding "what action to take".

Lee Jasper, equalities director for the mayor of London and chairman of the National Assembly Against Racism, said: "The ENB must seriously consider whether having such a vociferous member of an avowedly racist party in such a prominent role is compatible with the ethics of its organisation. I seriously doubt that it is and that should lead to her position being immediately reviewed. I think she should be sacked." He called on funders and David Lammy, the arts mnister, to intervene.

Inayat Bunglawala, of the Muslim Council of Britain, said people had a right to their private political views but added: "This will taint the ENB in the eyes of many minority communities. Questions need to be asked about how someone in that position can be allowed to abuse that position to promote the BNP." Jon Cruddas, Labour MP for Dagenham in east London, where the BNP forms the official opposition on the council, said: "We need to know how these statements square with the more laudable positions taken by the ENB and other leading arts organisations. What she completely ignores is the underbelly of the BNP in terms of the violence, the physical attacks and the criminality of many of its supporters."

A spokeswoman for the Commission for Racial Equality, which polices race relations legislation, said it was monitoring events. "We will be interested to see what action the ENB takes given that it has a member expressing such views in public."

An ENB spokeswoman said the company was not yet in a position to comment.

Clarke's membership became public in reports by Guardian reporter Ian Cobain, who used a pseudonym to join the far right party and was quickly selected to become its central London organiser. During his seven months undercover, Clarke told him that immigration "has really got out of hand".

She told the Mail on Sunday how she travelled to London from her home in Leeds aged 10 to begin her training at the Royal Ballet School after winning one of 23 places sought by 4,500 entrants.

Her conversion to the far right was prompted by watching the television news and then reading the BNP manifesto. "I am not too proud to say that a lot of it went over my head but some of the things they mentioned were the things I think about all the time, mainly mass immigration, crime and increased taxes. I paid my £25 there and then," she said.

She protested that it is "really silly" to point to her partner's non-English origins, adding: "It is not about removing foreigners. It's about border controls."

Nine of her 10 principal dancers at the ENB are immigrants and she suggested that this may have muted the internal response, adding: "There are a lot of foreign dancers who have probably never even heard of the BNP."