December 09, 2007

BNP ballerina provokes new storm

English National Ballet's principal dancer angers theatre union with political role

When Simone Clarke, principal dancer of the English National Ballet, admitted she was a member of the British National Party, one of the voices opposing calls for her to be sacked was that of the trade union Equity. Now, however, Clarke has taken a leading role in an organisation with BNP links which has been set up to rival the established trade union movement, including Equity.

The acclaimed ballerina, currently appearing in an ENB production of The Snow Queen, has been elected to the executive of Solidarity, the British Workers' Union. Solidarity's website declares that it was formed as a reaction against 'betrayal' by unions affiliated to the TUC, which it accuses of selling out members by encouraging mass immigration.

Clarke's BNP membership was revealed by the Guardian last December, when she was performing as the Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker at the London Coliseum. She was quoted as saying that 'immigration has really got out of hand', even though her partner was a Cuban of Chinese extraction.

Clarke, 37, brings to Solidarity several years of industrial relations experience at the ENB, where she is on a committee that represents dancers' interests. Her new colleagues at Solidarity include Mark Walker, a former BNP election candidate and teacher who has received Solidarity's support after being suspended from his teaching post. Its general secretary is Pat Harrington, a former National Front organiser who was expelled from the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers after applying for membership under a false name. Clarke says in a statement posted on Solidarity's website: 'Last year a newspaper "exposed" my BNP membership. Some politically motivated malcontents tried to have me sacked, hence my interest in a British Workers' Union.'

An Equity spokesman said: 'Equity's position has always been that membership is not based on an individual's political persuasion. But I would express my disappointment that a member of a union would take a part in an organisation that was being critical of a TUC-affiliated union, and by extension Equity.'

Gerry Morrissey, general secretary of the entertainment union Bectu, described Solidarity as 'a front' for the BNP, a charge the organisation denies. Sarah Veale, head of equality and employment rights at the TUC, said it was impossible for someone who was a BNP member to reconcile their beliefs with membership of a TUC-affiliated union. She welcomed legislation introduced last week allowing unions to expel individuals who are also members of far-right organisations.BNP leader Nick Griffin wrote recently in his blog that Clarke spoke at a party meeting in Birmingham. Her BNP link has been a headache for the ENB, but its managing director, Craig Hassall, has rebuffed calls to sack her. The Snow Queen will be performed at the London Coliseum from Tuesday to Sunday.

Harrington yesterday denied that Solidarity was a BNP front, adding that he would expect the union to represent everyone 'regardless of racial background, political background or sexuality'.



Anonymous said...

The media love stories about "celebrities" however minor, but what does it really matter that a ballerina has so little political sense that she allies herself to the bunch of losers who have hijacked the honourable name of Solidarity?

I am more concerned about the teachers on the executive of Solidarity, Mark and Adam Walker, who have far greater potential to cause harm by bringing their hateful politics to school, as they have proved by accessing racist websites at school.

John P said...

It's a pity that the media only take interest in this story due to her involvement.
The Guardian should investigate this story more deeply. We have been reading on here for the last few months a story of theft and corruption, police involvement and some very dodgy dealing.

Anonymous said...

If she has joined Solidarity then is she resigning from Equity? if she does then my understanding is that she will never dance on another stage in the UK.

I do wonder if someone has explained this to the bird brain, but of course at the moment her starring role is as arm candy for Diva Dicky and lets face it he is never sober to explain anything.

Anonymous said...

TUC-affiliated unions now have the power to expel fascists. This is especially effective in 'closed shop' situations such as Equity where the those holding unnacceptable views can be deprived of career and livelihood.

The TUC has the power - it should use it! Priority should be given to purging the media, entertainment industry and educational establishment of fascists, since BNP infiltrators in these sectors can have comparatively greater influence on the general public than most jobs.

No platform anywhere.

Anonymous said...

Indeed, no platform guaranteed. This ballerina must be off her head preferring to socialise with tricky dicky than perform with a world-remowned company. But maybe he's loaded or something and is supporting her financially.

Still wandering what people see in the fake union Solidarity?

It's just another fund-raising business of griffin.

Anonymous said...

Clover the only thing Dicky is loaded with is booze and bullshit.

Anonymous said...

You are breaching Copyright using the picture you do.