April 30, 2009

Blackburn councillor joins English Democrats to stand against BNP

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A Blackburn with Darwen councillor is taking on a national role for the English Democrats Party.

Michael Johnson, who has represented the far-right England First Party, the For Darwen Party, and is the Fernhurst ward councillor on Blackburn with Darwen Council, has taken over the role of chairman of the North West English Democrats.

He said he joined the party to stop the British National Party getting a foothold in the area. BNP leader Nick Griffin is standing for a North West seat in the European Parliament elections in June.

The English Democrats are a Euro-sceptic party which campaigns for England to be recognised and treated as a nation in its own right, as is the case with Scotland and Wales. The party also wants England to leave the European Union and to rejoin the European Free Trade Association.

Mr Johnson, 48, of Dean Street, Darwen, said: “Nick Griffin stands a very good chance of getting in. Him getting into Europe on a Lancashire ticket will be a nightmare and will spark a BNP revival.

Lancashire Telegraph

Remembering the Admiral Duncan bombing

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The scene outside the Admiral Duncan minutes after the bomb went off
Today marks the tenth anniversary of the Admiral Duncan nail bomb attack on April 30th 1999 in Soho.

It was one of three nail bomb attacks and killed three people, while 80 were injured. While the incidents in Brixton and Brick Lane were targeted directly towards ethnic minorities, the Admiral Duncan bombing was a vicious attack intended to kill gay people. The bomb detonated in the busy pub at 6.37pm. The location was an obvious choice for bomber David Copeland due to its location in Old Compton Street, at the heart of London's gay community. Allegedly, it was the first gay pub chosen from an alphabetical list.

One witness described the scene as "absolute carnage", with several people blown out of the pub into the street. What made the situation even more frightening, was that no warning was given and many were anxious that another explosion was set to go off, causing panic in the streets. Many injured were treated on the roadside, while others fled the area.

At the time, many gay people had seen the area of Old Compton Street as a safe haven where they could socialise without fear of homophobic attacks. The explosion inevitably changed all this and highlighted the prejudice inherent in society that many had forgotten existed. Peter Tatchell summed this view up after the attack, saying: "This outrage has destroyed that cosy assumption."

Deputy Assistant Commissioner, Alan Fry, head of the Metropolitan Police's anti-terrorist branch, said that when officers arrived at the scene they were confronted by utter devastation. He said: "It was an horrendous scene. It was a complete wreck."

The device exploded at the start of a bank holiday weekend so the Old Compton Street area had been heaving with people. It was a pre-mediated attack in which the aim was to hurt and kill as many gay people as possible.

Copeland, a former BNP member and neo-Nazi, was so fuelled by hate that he did not consider integration in any of his attacks. In this, where he thought he would be attacking specific groups because the areas he targeted were known to be either gay areas, or ethnic areas, he faltered. In all three attacks, he injured whites and straight people.

One of these was Andrea Dykes, 27, who was four months pregnant. She was was instantly killed while enjoying pre-theatre drinks at the Admiral Pub and her husband was one of those seriously injured. Their friend, Nik Moorem, 31, was also killed and the best man at their wedding, John Light, 32, later died in hospital.

There is now a memorial and a plaque in the pub to commemorate those injured and killed in the blast.

The explosions were set off by David Copeland, then 22, whose objective was to wage a war against ethnic minorities and gay people in Britain. He was arrested at his flat in Sunnybank Road, Farnborough, where police found Nazi flags and a poster of Adolf Hitler in the middle of a collage of photos of bomb victims. He is currently serving six life sentences in Broadmoor Hospital at Crowthorne.

In March 2007, the High Court ruled Copeland could not be released before 2049, when he will be 73. The initial sentence ordered him to spend at least 30 years behind bars but this was extended due to what the High Court judge described as the case’s “exceptional gravity”.

One year on from the tragedy, in 2000, a memorial service was held at St Anne's church nearby to mark the anniversary of the bomb, an event which has been carried out ever since. A trio of cherry trees were planted on the church grounds in dedication to Andrea Dykes, John Light and Nik Moorem. The trees symbolised the three local London communities: Soho, Brick Lane, and Brixton, which were left in chaos by the three nail bombings. Today, the Admiral Duncan will remember the tenth anniversary of the bombing.

There will be a two-minute silence at 6.37 pm at St Anne's Gardens, which will stay open until 7.30pm for those wishing to pay their respects. The Rector of St Anne's Chruch will also say a few words for families and friends.

Pink News

Scottish heroine of the Holocaust will be awarded national honour

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A Scottish woman who was gassed by the Nazis in Auschwitz after she refused to abandon Jewish orphans in her care will finally be honoured by the British government.

Jane Haining is among a group of British heroes of the Holocaust who are to be recognised with a new award. Yesterday's announcement follows Prime Minister Gordon Brown's visit to the concentration camp earlier this week and is a victory for a Scotsman campaign that backed calls by the Holocaust Education Trust.

Details of the award will be decided in talks between the UK government, the trust and families of the Holocaust heroes, but it is understood a permanent memorial may be created and a specific award given to the families.

The decision to honour the heroes is understood to have been made by Mr Brown before his trip to Auschwitz this week. The Prime Minister has been a supporter of the trust's work and, as Chancellor, found Treasury money to pay for school trips to the infamous death camp.

Yesterday Mr Brown said: "My visit to Auschwitz left me absolutely determined that we must learn from the past as we build our future. Part of this must be proper recognition for those who made extraordinary contributions to protect others during the Holocaust."

He added: "These heroes, many of whom have now died, are a true inspiration to everyone in Britain. I believe that, together, their brave actions form a critical part of our nation's wartime history and they deserve to be recognised through a special award."

The announcement has delighted the Holocaust Education Trust, members of which saw the awards as an important step in spreading their message of using the atrocity to teach young people about prejudice. The Holocaust led to the murder by the Nazis of six million Jews and other so-called undesirables.

Karen Pollock, chief executive of the trust, said: "We are delighted that this initiative has received widespread support, including from The Scotsman, and that the Prime Minister and British government will create an award of recognition in memory of these British heroes."

The formal announcement was made during a debate in Westminster Hall on the issue, initiated by Dumfries and Galloway Labour MP Russell Brown, who represents the constituency in which Ms Haining was born.

"This is great news," he said. "It is very important that Jane Haining and the others get the formal recognition they deserve so their brave actions will not be forgotten."

However, the trust's original campaign for them to receive awards through the honours system will not happen. Honours can only go to people who are still alive.

Jane Haining was born in Dunscore, Dumfries. In 1932, she went to Hungary to work as a missionary. At the outbreak of the Second World War, she ignored orders and advice to return to Scotland, and stayed with the Jewish children in her care. When Germany invaded Hungary in 1944, she was arrested along with the children and taken to Auschwitz-Birkenau, where she was gassed. Her name is now inscribed near Oskar Schindler's on the Holocaust memorial in Israel.

She is not the only Scot in line for recognition. Tommy Noble was among a group of British prisoners of war who found a Jewish girl, Sarah Hannah Rigler, who had escaped from a death march. They hid and fed her in their camp, saving her life.


Cheshire clergyman says BNP vote opposes Christian values

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A rector has accused the British National Party of positioning itself as the Christian party of the country.

As reported in the Guardian last week, the BNP held a secret meeting in Winsford Lifestyle Centre. It was booked under the name of the Christian Council of Britain, although the BNP admitted there was no affiliation between the two groups.

The Rev Ian Bishop, of St Michael and All Angels Church, in Hightown, Middlewich, says many churches are opposed to the BNP manifesto. He said: “In my opinion to vote BNP is to oppose Christian values and the Christian Church. I have made it abundantly clear that I cannot see how it is possible to call yourself Christian and vote BNP. The Archbishop of York was recently quoted saying: ‘A vote for the BNP is like spitting in the face of God’.”

Northwich Guardian

April 29, 2009

Leafleting at Corsham and Braintree

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Corsham - May 9th

Anti-BNP Leafleting of Corsham. Meet 10:00 am Saturday 9th May at Corsham Fire Station, Beechfield Road, Corsham, Wiltshire, SN13 9DN Organised by Wiltshire Trade Unions.

Corsham is the local hot spot for the BNP in the West Country
  • they have a town councillor there (elected unopposed)
  • they have a relatively large and active branch
  • Corsham resident Mike Howson is national youth officer for the BNP
  • they have announced their intention to stand in the new Chippenham constituency for the general election (which includes Corsham), where the Tories have a black candidate
  • in March this year, they held a regional meeting of 90 BNP activists in Corsham Community Centre
We are hoping to leaflet as much of the town as possible on Saturday May 9th. Please pass this message on, and encourage other trade unionists to attend.

The BNP do have a base there, but it is very fragile and we hope to isolate and demoralise them
  • in a by election last year they got only 7% of the vote
  • key BNP activists are barred from many of the town's pubs
  • the extremism of Corsham BNP has driven more moderate members of the BNP out of the organisation
Braintree - May 2nd

Also, we will be leafleting against the BNP in Braintree on Saturday 2 May. From 10am until 1pm at Bank Street

Please come along and help

CCTV call after yobs smash gravestones

4 Comment (s)
Yobs desecrated Jewish and Muslim gravestones in a spate of vandalism in Preston Cemetery.

Headstones were smashed in half and pushed to the ground and there are calls for CCTV cameras to catch the vandals.

Louts targeted the Hebrew and Muslim sections of the New Hall Lane site with some graves dating back to 1925 damaged. In the Muslim section, stones were toppled while memorial areas were trampled on and flowers ripped out. Yobs are believed to have climbed into the cemetery before jumping over separate fences.

Police today said the vandalism was "indiscriminate" and not deliberately anti-Semitic or anti-Muslim. But Iqbal Adam, chairman of Preston's Muslim Burial Society, said of the vandals: "They are not being civilised – they don't have feelings for anybody. They just make fun out of it – it's pretty bad. These gravestones are people and they are memories for the families. I feel very sorry for the families.It would be much better if they had CCTV."

Mr Adam – who said nothing had been sprayed on the damaged gravestones to suggest it was a racist attack – said work had begun to repair the damage.

Graham Lewis, trustee of the Preston Hebrew Congregation, said: "We are very distressed and for the families concerned who are very upset."

When asked if the attacks were racially motivated, he said: "I don't know. Given there was damage to the Muslim section and the Jewish section, it does not appear to be a deliberate target only to the Jewish community."

Det Insp Dave McKenna said: "They have damaged confined areas in the cemetery and pushed over some headstones in the Jewish and Muslim sections. We've been investigating and there is no suggestion of any racist overtones. We just think it's indiscriminate vandalism. We will be looking to take preventative measures in the future, such as CCTV. And we're appealing for anyone with information to get in touch."

A Preston Council spokesman said: "Since we began locking the main cemetery gates two and a half years ago, incidents of vandalism have decreased by 50%. Since this unfortunate incident we have begun closing the gates to the Hebrew and Muslim sections to act as a further deterrent. We are also in the process of applying for funding for cemetery railings which would further increase security.

"The issue of CCTV is one which we have looked into, however we do not believe it is feasible for a number of reasons. There are huge costs involved, the large number of surrounding trees make it impossible for all areas to be covered by cameras but, most importantly, people feel they are intrusive and the cemetery is a place that should be private."

Lancashire Evening Post

We need to wake up and tackle BNP poison head on

4 Comment (s)
This racist party stands on the brink of electoral breakthrough. We must fight them as we did the National Front in the 70s

Unless the rest of us get our act together, the British National party could easily win three seats - and quite possibly six or more - in June's European elections. To win in the north-west it needs just 8% of the vote, barely 1.5% more than it got in 2004 - the days of near full employment and before the credit crunch; in the West Midlands only an extra 1.6%; and in Yorkshire and the Humber just 4.3% more. Recently the party has won council seats in byelections, polling - according to the BBC - an average of 14% in 60 wards: close to the threshold necessary to get a seat in almost every European constituency in Britain.

Electorally the BNP has become the most successful fascist party in Britain, gaining 800,000 votes in the 2004 European elections and 238,000 votes in the 2006 local elections - up from 3,022 six years earlier. And last year it won its first seat in the London assembly, doubling its support to 130,000 votes. And now the BNP is looking to benefit from a collapsing Ukip vote; in 2004 the combined BNP-Ukip vote stood at 21%.

Winning European seats would secure an unprecedented platform, and entitle the BNP to draw hundreds of thousands of euros from Brussels indirectly to buttress its full-time personnel and organisation. At the moment, apparently, the BNP's sole London member has to spend much of his time building up support for the party outside London.

It would also be able to work with other far-right and fascist parties in Europe, as Jean-Marie Le Pen's party has done from its base in France since winning 10 European seats in 1984.

With unemployment and job insecurity rising, some major construction sites appearing to bar local unionised labour, and affordable housing in short supply, there are classic conditions for the BNP's racist and fascist politics to thrive.

Thirty years ago rising unemployment and economic decline under Labour saw the BNP's predecessor, the National Front, also do worryingly well in elections. I helped to found the Anti-Nazi League in 1977 to target the National Front, and a mass campaign helped to put it out of business a few years later. Anti-Nazi League supporters developed their own initiatives, from Miners Against the Nazis to Skinheads Against the Nazis. There was even a Skateboarders Against the Nazis. With its sister group Rock Against Racism, the ANL organised huge national carnivals and local gigs, as rock music culture reaching millions was successfully fused with radical politics that traditionally had reached only thousands.

The lesson of the Anti-Nazi League's success is that the BNP needs to be confronted wherever its supporters march or appear in public; and they must also be denied platforms to spread their hate. This was the lesson of the 1930s when Blackshirts led by Oswald Mosley targeting Jewish communities in London's East End were physically stopped in Cable Street in October 1936.

But the BNP leaders are more sophisticated than the old National Front. They wear suits rather than openly flirt with nazism. They sound smooth and plausible on radio or TV. They are exploiting alienation from Westminster politics, particularly among the white working class.

Yet their politics are fundamentally similar: the scapegoating of black people, Muslims, Jews, foreigners, gays and lesbians for social and economic problems. Whenever they are ascendant locally, racial violence and racial hatred are barely beneath the surface.

Although desperate to conceal its fascist and racist instincts, the BNP is the National Front reincarnated - albeit using modern spin and the internet, coupled with a community-based politics that thrives on grievances about "British jobs for British workers".

To confront the BNP's threat, the priority must be grassroots campaigning. Labour must win back trust by fielding candidates rooted in their communities and pledged to deliver on local issues. That was successful in Tameside, Keighley and Telford, for example - but sadly not in Sevenoaks last February, where the BNP took a "safe" Labour ward.

All the main parties, Labour especially, must shake off their complacency and take on the BNP directly. Its poison should be combated on the doorstep, through leafleting and campaigning. Labour candidates and campaigners should work with those from Unite Against Fascism (uaf.org.uk) and Stop the BNP (stopthebnp.org.uk). Both organisations are mobilising a new generation of activists and concerned people from trade unions, churches and other organisations.

The aim should be simple but clear: to stop the BNP gaining seats anywhere in Britain, but especially in Europe on June 4.

Peter Hain is the Labour MP for Neath

Comment is free

April 28, 2009

Labour, Lib-Dems and Conservatives back Hope Not Hate campaign against the BNP ahead of Euro elections

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All three political parties in Trafford have taken a stand against the British National Party.

The motion, called the ‘Hope not Hate’ campaign, will be debated at Trafford Town Hall tomorrow night ahead of the European elections on June 4.

Labour councillor Barry Brotherton said: “The council is taking a stand by opposing those who stand to undermine Trafford. We have called upon the council to formulate a plan that engages all sections of the community to promote cohesion.”

Cllr Karina Carter added: “The BNP is going all out to win seats in the European election, hoping to exploit low voter turnout and achieve its biggest political breakthrough to date. As elected representatives of Trafford we publicly oppose the BNP and the message of hate they preach. I’m delighted that the Tories and Liberals are supporting this motion, and we will be urging as many people as possible to become active in the Hope not Hate campaign.”

Ray Bowker, leader of Trafford’s Liberal Democrats, said: “It’s most important that community cohesion is maintained throughout Trafford. It’s therefore essential that our leaders and all politicians together with people in Trafford dedicate their aims to Trafford’s motto of ‘hold fast that which is good’.”

The council stance stated: “Trafford is a very special place, vibrant, tolerant and friendly, celebrating our common heritage as well as gaining strength and prosperity from our diversity. People of different races, cultures, religions and backgrounds have made Trafford their home and contribute to the borough through education, work, enterprise, culture, entertainment and sport.

“This council is very proud of our borough and people. We oppose those who stand to undermine ‘our’ Trafford and who aim to divide our communities and create intolerance and violence against our neighbours. We resolve within the powers and duties of the council to instruct the deputy chief executive to bring forward an action plan which engages all sections of the community and promotes community cohesion.”


UK promises to help fund upkeep of Auschwitz

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Gordon Brown responds to plea from Poland for help with the conservation of the former extermination camp

The British government is to fund crucial maintenance work at Auschwitz-Birkenau to help halt the deterioration of the crumbling former concentration camp. Gordon Brown is responding to a plea made by the Polish prime minister, Donald Tusk, for the international community to help with the conservation of the camp, which is nearly 70 years old.

In February Tusk wrote to European leaders calling for the creation of a €120m pot to pay for the upkeep of the site. Today Brown was making his first visit to the two sites of Auschwitz and Birkenau.

In a book of condolence at Auschwitz, Brown was expected to write: "In this place of desolation I reaffirm my belief that we all have a duty. Each and every one of us, not to stand by but to stand up against discrimination."

Auschwitz was built as a Polish army barracks in 1940 but adapted to become a concentration camp shortly afterwards. Birkenau was established 3km away as a death camp, and it is thought that more than 1 million people, mostly Jews, were killed there. The two camps were merged in 1942 becoming the Nazi's largest camp.

At the moment the Polish government shoulders the burden of the funding for site maintenance and the running of its museums, directly funding half the required 20 million zloty (£4m) with unreliable tourism revenue making up the rest. In the immediate aftermath of the second world war the museum was involved in repairing buildings. These had been destroyed by the Nazis in an attempt to remove incriminating evidence in the face of Red Army advances.

Though Brown said today the UK will provide funding for this site, government aides were unable to say how much or when. Speaking ahead of his visit to Auschwitz, Brown told a press conference: "We will join with other countries in supporting the maintenance and retention of the memorial at Auschwitz."

As chancellor in 2005 Brown made funding available to send two teenagers from every British secondary school to visit Auschwitz annually. The funding for this has now been extended to 2011. Future government plans include the creation of a new award to recognise those Britons who helped protect Jews during the second world war.


Austrian author guilty of glorifying Nazi era sentenced to 5 jail years

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Austrian Gerd Honsik is led to the courtroom
in Vienna's main court in Austria, on Monday

A right-wing Austrian author was found guilty Monday of glorifying the Nazi era and sentenced to five years in prison. Appeals were lodged both by the defense lawyer of Gerd Honsik and by the public prosecutor, who found the sentence too mild.

Honsik, 67, was found guilty of "Wiederbetaetigung" - which means "re-engaging" in Nazi era beliefs. The crime is punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Honsik wrote a book, "Hitler Innocent?," in which he attempted to justify some Nazi-era crimes.

He was originally convicted of neo-Nazi activities in 1992 for writings that defended Adolf Hitler's Third Reich, but he fled to Spain, where authorities arrested him in October 2007 and subsequently extradited him. Between 1986 and 1989, Honsik published writings disputing that the Nazis killed millions of Jews at Auschwitz and other concentration camps during World War II.

Austrian authorities have said they suspect him of committing similar offenses since Austria enacted a landmark 1992 law making it a crime to deny the Holocaust or promote Nazi propaganda.

Jewish World

April 27, 2009

Campaign urges LGBT voters to stop BNP gaining in European elections

4 Comment (s)
Anti-fascist magazine Searchlight has launched a new campaign urging LGBT voters to help prevent the British National Party from gaining a foothold in the European elections. The campaign, called HOPE Not Hate, is encouraging voters to exercise their democratic right on June 4th so that the controversial party cannot gain seats in the European parliament.

Anthony McCaul, of the Manchester branch of the campaign, told the Lesbian and Gay Foundation that everyone should challenge the BNP. He said: "HOPE Not Hate Manchester is all about bringing together people from across Manchester to stand up for our city and stand against the racist, homophobic BNP. HOPE Not Hate is a broad coalition of faith groups, community organisations, individuals, trade unions, celebrities, businesses and political parties which has come together to encourage as many people as possible to vote in the European elections on June 4th."

He added: "HOPE Not Hate is not about telling people who to vote for, that's up to everyone. What we are about is making sure that the vast majority of decent, tolerant Mancunians understand that the only way to defeat the BNP and stop them gaining a seat in this years Euro elections is to get out there and vote."

Last month, deputy leader of the Labour Party Harriet Harman told PinkNews.co.uk that the expected low turn-out in the European Elections may give parties such as the BNP a greater chance of winning seats. She said: "There's no doubt about it that the BNP are homophobic and reactionary, as well as racist. We saying that that should be a major motivation for people to vote."

Pink News

The Hope not hate 'Pride not prejudice' leaflet uncovers the continuing homophobia within the BNP and explains why the LGBT community must vote. A5 double sided, full colour. You can download the leaflet (237kb pdf) here or order it here.

April Fools

20 Comment (s)
This article was submitted by one of our readers, Iliacus. We welcome any contributions from our supporters (as long as those contributions conform to the law and are in reasonably good taste). Please send your articles to us via email.

March was a worrying month for anti-fascists. The BNP was gaining an unfortunate amount of publicity, and a worrying degree of support. They still weren't terribly good at actually fielding candidates - contesting just eight out of twenty one contests. But where they did stand they polled disturbing percentages. In seven seats contested for the first time they averaged 15.97%, with three around the 20% figure and only one (just) below 10%. More encouraging was the result in the only ward that they'd previously contested (in St Helens) where they fell from a poor 8.9% to a dismal 6.3%.

As the song almost said :
To know, know, know them
Is to hate, hate, hate them
April has been less positive for the BNP. They managed to contest four of the seven by-elections on the 2nd, and came worryingly close to snatching the Temple Newsam ward in Leeds (which the Tories gained from Labour, and in which the Lib Dems achieved the biggest swing!). However, even here their vote share only increased marginally, from 22.2% to 23.6%. The moral seems to be that where several of the major parties compete energetically the BNP's chances to advance are limited.

In the Dormanstown ward of Redcar Labour again lost the seat, this time to the Lib Dems, and the BNP (standing for the first time) polled 16.6%. They also polled 13.6% in an Arun Council by-election in rural West Sussex - geographically and demographically a long, long way from Dormanstown!! But in the Skircoat ward of Calderdale, in an area of West Yorkshire once considered a BNP stronghold, they polled just 6.5%. Their failure to field a candidate in Camden on that date might be a reflection of how badly they have done in some recent Inner London contests, but is also part of a pattern of failing to contest byelections in areas one might regard as quite important to their wider strategy (on the last Thursday in February they failed to nominate in seats in Newham, Redditch (2), Oxford and Wolverhampton).

Mid-April was quiet, with no byelections on the 9th and just one on the 16th (in Somerset - no BNP candidate).

On the 23rd though there were six contests, and three BNP nominees (giving a total so far for the month of 7/14 = 50%). In Wanstead (Redbridge London Borough), in their supposedly fertile East London/Essex belt, they managed a thoroughly miserable 4.9%. In Erewash, in their showpiece East Midlands region, they took a poor 11.5% as Labour took the seat off the Conservatives. And then they showed that they are truly the British Nationalist Party (and not just a bunch of English racists) by contesting the Aboyne ward of Aberdeenshire Council. And they got 44 votes - that's a magical 1.2%! It was a result that provoked a lively 'exchange of views' among the keyboard warriors of Stormfront. 'Jacob Cobain' had a ready explanation of the poor result - the ballot boxes had clearly been tampered with!! And every anti-fascist will laugh along as a claim that this was a "worst ever" BNP result was rebutted by a list of results where the deluded fools had managed to plumb the depths of less than 1%. Where but in the BNP would supporters defend a terrible result by listing even worse examples?
"Yeah, we didn't do very well - but it's better than 0.7%. Innit!"
June's Euro-elections are still a worry, with the distinct possibility of one or more of our regions suffering the shame of being represented in the European Parliament by racists, but for the moment just enjoy the thought of taunting your local fascist with their April Fool question:

Which was your worse result BNPer - 4.9% in East London, or 1.2% in Scotland?

April 26, 2009

Fighting, burn-out and depression: life as a BNP activist

5 Comment (s)
Leaked document reveals how the far-right party is showing signs of strain in the run-up to elections

Senior members of the British National Party are "burning out", a leaked document drawn up by leaders of the far-right organisation has revealed. Long-serving activists are prone to fits of depression, picking fights with other members and "irrational or erratic behaviour", the BNP party manual says. It tells members how to spot someone with signs of "burn-out" and reveals that the BNP is dogged by in-fighting.

The details will come as some comfort to MPs who have cautioned that the BNP poses its biggest electoral threat for years as it attempts to capitalise on economic hardship. Harriet Harman, spearheading Labour's local and European election campaign for 4 June, said that many people were not aware that the BNP was fielding such a large number of candidates.

This month the BNP took second place in a council by-election in Manchester.

Under the heading "Burn Out" the activists' and organisers' handbook, which was leaked to the anti-fascist organisation Searchlight, reads: "Occasionally, a previously hard-working and constructive activist or official will 'burn out' and either go into an inactive fit of depression or, even worse, will start picking fights with colleagues or the leadership as an 'excuse' to drop out.

"The little factional squabbles that break out every few years in all political organisations always act of [sic] magnets to people in this unfortunate position. Although it's not very common, because we have so many officials doing so many great jobs, it's inevitable that a few will always be vulnerable." Signs of burn-out include "raised levels of irritability, irrational or erratic behaviour, depression and loss of hope".

The manual goes on: "If it happens to you, if by chance the time should come when you've had enough and have nothing more to offer, then please, please don't undo all the good work you've done and lose the friendship of people who have come to trust and admire you. Instead of picking fights or blaming other people for your decision to go, just tell your most trusted colleagues that you need some time out, shake hands and walk away with your head held high. That way you'll be welcome back at any time you want to get involved again, and in any case you can always be proud of your past efforts."

The booklet also warns activists not to set up official party blogs because "they can't write proper English" and describes some members as "oddballs".

A Searchlight spokesman said: "Everyone knows BNP members are irrational, erratic, hopeless people who like picking fights and blaming others, but it's surprising to hear them described that way in their own training manual. This proves that if any of this rabble were to be elected they wouldn't be fighting Britain's corner in Europe; they'd be fighting each other."


April 25, 2009

Hope not hate European election leaflet

8 Comment (s)

Click on images to see them full size
The new hardhitting HOPE not hate leaflet designed for the European elections is available now. It exposes the fascist core at the heart of the BNP and how they want to link up with other hardline fascists and racists in the European Parliament. A4 folded to DL size, full colour.

Check prices and order from here or the leaflet can be downloaded for printing from here (830kb pdf).

April 24, 2009

Suffolk BNP candidate arrested

26 Comment (s)
The Suffolk farmer who built gallows for export has been arrested just weeks after the British National Party chose him as a candidate for the European elections.

The BNP has confirmed that David Lucas (left), of Mildenhall, was arrested on Thursday and questioned by Suffolk Police and that he had been released on bail.

A spokesman for Suffolk police said: “A 48-year-old man from Lakenheath has been arrested on suspicion of handling stolen goods. He has been released on police bail to return to Bury St Edmunds police station on June.11.”

The BNP has said that the alleged incident will not prevent Mr Lucas, who lives at Eldon Farm in Holywell Row, from standing in the European election. He is in fifth place out of seven candidates from the East of England chosen by the party to fight for a seat in Brussels.

A spokesman said: “David woke up to find the police around the house. He was interviewed and then released. It follows a big fund raising party held on his property to raise funds for the campaign. We are not worried about the incident and he will remain on the party's election list of candidates.”

Nominations for the June 4 election close on May 7.

Ipswich Evening Star

BNP candidate quizzed by police

A candidate for the British National Party (BNP) has been arrested by armed police in Suffolk.

David Lucas, who is standing in the European elections, was questioned on suspicion of handling stolen goods. The arrest of Mr Lucas on Thursday is in connection with an incident at Halesworth, in Suffolk, last year.

The BNP confirmed that Mr Lucas had been arrested at his farm near Mildenhall and questioned before being released on bail.


Lessons from Wanstead

5 Comment (s)
The excellent and hard-hitting 'Wanstead Matters' leaflet
The British National Party’s decision to fight a Redbridge Council by-election in Wanstead threw a huge rock into the local political pool. John Evans, who is also on the BNP’s list for the European election in London, came a poor fifth out of six candidates, with only 4.9% of the vote. There are important lessons to be learned from the campaign in this east London borough, where the BNP has one councillor.

Two issues caused controversy even among anti-fascists. The first was whether it was right to oppose the BNP’s participation in a local hustings meeting, where the other five candidates would have had to share a platform with the BNP. The second was how tough anti-BNP leaflets should be.

There is a well established principle that goes beyond the anti-fascist movement that decent people do not share platforms or debate with fascists, racists and nazis, whether at universities, during elections or elsewhere. The main reasons are that one cannot debate with people of such abhorrent views, and one cannot have a sensible debate with liars. Most of the democratic parties would not be seen dead with the BNP.

Labour has been largely solid on the issue. The Conservatives have been less certain but in recent years leading Conservatives, including members of the Shadow Cabinet, have taken a firm and very public anti-BNP line. Lib Dem views vary and some people in the Green Party seem to have difficulty making up their minds.

The Churches have taken a more vigorous line against the BNP and thrown them out of hustings held in church buildings. Recently church officers had the BNP removed from church property in Brentwood and the Cathedral grounds in Lichfield.

Three local organisations – the Wanstead Society, Counties Residents’ Association and Counties Neighbourhood Watch – had organised a hustings for the week before polling day. All six candidates were invited.

Searchlight contacted people in the local political parties to establish that they would refuse to share a platform with the BNP. The young Labour candidate, Ross Hatfull, responded quickly by calling for the other candidates to join him in stopping the BNP from taking part.

The Liberal Democrat told us that she was reluctant to share a platform with the BNP, especially after she had personally seen the BNP’s aggressive behaviour while out leafleting, The Conservative candidate stated he was prepared to sit down with the BNP and, perhaps most shockingly, the Green candidate who has been active in local anti-racist politics took the view that he could win any debate against Evans, which is not the point.

Ross’s brave stance caused the hustings to collapse, as the organisers were unwilling to exclude the BNP. Even within the Labour Party opinions were divided. One member I spoke to appeared to be more concerned about finding himself in an embarrassing position when he next attended a Wanstead Society meeting. Others were worried that there might be far-right infiltration in the society.

As all this was going on, BNP activists clashed with a local black resident, who wanted to hand back a BNP leaflet pushed through her door. In front of the resident’s five-year-old son, the BNP leafleter told her to “come to me because I don’t come to niggers” and other racist abuse.

The abusive fascist was arrested and interviewed, but no charges have been brought as the only witnesses were the victim and three BNP members.

Within hours the victim was being abused on BNP and other far-right websites, which also posted a photo and her details. Among other things she was called a benefits cheat, when in fact she works as a nurse at a local maternity unit. The police are back on the case.

The Wanstead and Woodford Guardian reported the attack and published a letter vigorously attacking the BNP bullies. But Chris Carter, the editor of the Ilford Recorder, disgracefully attacked Ross Hatfull and the Labour Party. He also set up an online poll on whether Labour was right to refuse to attend the hustings, apparently unaware of the BNP’s policy of rigging such polls by getting members all over the country to vote.

Carter knows well what a bunch of yobs the BNP are. Last year Councillor Bob Bailey, BNP group leader in Barking and Dagenham, launched a foul-mouthed verbal assault on the Recorder’s news editor. After a phone call, peppered with four-letter words in which Bailey called her a “jobsworth” and a Nazi, he turned up at the newspaper’s offices with a group of party colleagues. After spending 20 minutes shouting abuse through a megaphone, they were moved on by the police.

The other issue is how to pitch anti-BNP leaflets. Local anti-BNP activists distributed a leaflet with a very strong message headed “Don’t vote for scum”, which told the full and unpleasant truth about the BNP. It highlighted a BNP organiser’s statement that there was little point in keeping disabled people alive.

It may go some way to explain why the BNP candidate polled so badly, falling far short of the percentage the BNP would need to gain a London MEP on 4 June.

Evans’s final leaflet, distributed just before polling day, was partly about law and order. Perhaps he should remember the person who encouraged him to join the BNP in the first place, a man with a criminal record for his part in BNP-inspired rioting in the North West a few years ago. It is likely the electorate in London will be hearing more about that in the course of the European election campaign.

The “don’t vote for scum” leaflet can be read here.

Hope not hate

Full report of BNP attack on Liverpool Anti-Fascists, April 23rd

5 Comment (s)
BNP Thugs Take to the Streets of Liverpool and Assault Local Anti-Fascists

Yesterday, April 23rd, saw fifteen members of Liverpool BNP members take to the streets of our city again. As word got around that they were leafleting on Church Street, around 12.30pm, local anti-fascists did what they could to mobilise people (not the easiest thing to do mid-week, mid afternoon!). By 1pm there was around twenty anti-fascists leafleting in and around the BNP, making it loud and clear what the BNP stood for, and why people shouldn’t tolerate their presence. This was met by the standard bellowing of ‘get a wash’ and ‘get a job’ from the BNP only serving to further alienate members of the public, from whom they were already getting short shrift.

Before long it became clear that as well as their suited and booted ‘activists’, the BNP had a number of thugs dispersed in the crowd who were taking it in turns to try and intimidate both anti-fascists and uninvolved passers by. This was on top of their standard motley crew of camera men who were systematically patrolling the crowd and filming anybody who showed opposition to their presence.

At around 1.30pm the BNP realised that they were getting nowhere, packed up their stall and moved off towards St. Georges Hall, the site of recent BNP rallies in the city. By the time anti-fascist activists arrived they had set up their stall in St. Johns Garden to the rear of the hall, and once again began leafleting. Anti-fascists responded by striking up conversations with other people in the Gardens and handing out our leaflets. After five minutes the BNP decided they had been beaten once again and got together to leave the gardens. Two anti-fascists ran ahead to get out on to the road in front where they could continue ensuring that the public knew the truth about the fascist organisation.

At this point three of the BNP members, Peter Tierney, Steve Greenhalgh and an as yet unidentified man, decided that they’d had enough of being routed from their chosen leafleting spots, and unleashed a vicious assault on the two who had run in front. Peter Tierney, armed with a folded camera tripod, used his weapon to hit one man around the head, splitting it open. Steve Greenhalgh turned his paste table on its edge and began to use it as a weapon in much the same way that riot police were doing with their shields at the G20 protests, and the third man went in with fists and boots narrowly missing one activists face. On realising the seriousness of the assault Steve Greenhalgh (thought to be Liverpool BNP’s local organiser) then quickly began ushering his minions, some whom clearly hadn’t quenched their blood-thirst, out of the gardens. The group were followed closely by anti-fascists until they left the gardens, ensuring no repeat attack could take place.

In the aftermath of the attack three anti-fascists left the scene together, deliberately going in the opposite direction to the BNP. However, as they rounded a corner they saw the fascists talking to a group of police. Not wishing a further confrontation, the activists walked past, only for the police to run towards them and inform one of them that Peter Tierney (the perpetrator of the armed attack) had made a complaint of assault against him. Without any chance to defend himself, the activist, who was showing no sign of resistance, was cuffed and arrested on suspicion of assault. Police then took over half an hour to take seriously the report that it was in fact the BNP who had launched a vicious attack on anti-fascists. The falsely imprisoned anti-fascist then spent nine hours in custody in the same police station as Tierney, with police telling other comrades that he was in a different station. As a result when the man was released from custody, wearing only distinctive custody issue tracksuit clothing, he was followed by a car full of BNP activists who threatened ‘we know where you live, we’re going to fucking kill you’.

Despite the attack, the day was on the whole successful. Anti-fascists prevented the BNP from having free reign on the streets of Liverpool, seeing that the BNP’s vile politics did not go unchallenged. In the end the BNP were unable to control themselves and showed the public what they are really about: ‘defending rights for whites with well placed boots and fists’ in the words of their chairman Nick Griffin. Once again, Merseyside Police showed themselves to be entirely biased towards the BNP, not only responding to a false claim only made to deflect attention from the fascist attacks, but putting an activist in serious danger by holding him at the same station as Tierney and failing to ensure his safety upon being released.

This is the clearest example yet in Merseyside that the BNP are not simply an far-right racist party, but a fascist organisation who rely on violence when all the cards down. This story must be publicised to its full extent in the run up to the June 4th Euro-Elections in which Griffin is standing as candidate for the North-West. The activist who was injured is now recovering following hospital treatment, and the activist who was arrested has been bailed until July 21st and banned from the city centre.

Messages of solidarity can be sent to lsarf@live.co.uk (Liverpool Students Against Racism and Fascism)

liverpoolred (via Indymedia)

St George belongs to us, not the BNP

4 Comment (s)
Let's not hand over our national symbols so easily to those on the far right who would destroy this multi-ethnic, multifaith nation

The half-hearted celebration of St George's Day is something that we should bemoan. Pies at Leadenhall Market and the flying of flags on London cabs do not really capture a sense of national commemoration or equate in scale to Irish celebrations of St Patrick's Day, Welsh celebrations of St David's or American celebrations of 4 July. No offence to cabbies who try their best, but can you imagine Dublin or Cork abandoning St Patrick's Day parades in the same way that, say, Sandwell council has done with the borough's St George's Day parade this year?

The low-key celebration of England's national day seemingly centres on concerns that some people are offended by the flying of the St George's flag as it was hijacked and used by the far right back in the 1970s. Personally, I am offended by the far right. How dare they take our national symbols and sully them in the name of their bizarre racial supremacy theories. Not that the BNP or National Front are known for their logic, but St George, a 3rd-century Lebanese-Palestinian Christian with probable Jewish ancestry seems an odd figure for a group of neo-Nazis to get excited by.

Perhaps we need a model for our celebrations. Perhaps a huge parade? A national holiday? Why not use the model of the England rugby world cup victory parade when 750,000 individuals from different religious and ethnic backgrounds lined the streets around Trafalgar Square and Piccadilly Circus all decked out in red and white and not a neo-Nazi in sight. No one had a problem on that day with the flags, or singing a plethora of English national songs projected onto a big screen courtesy of the television companies covering the event.

The far right have an agenda to exclude minorities and are all too happy to occupy ground that the mainstream surrender. They don't want minorities feeling comfortable dressed in red and white and flying flags. Apparently Nick Griffin, the BNP leader, has now decided to march in the now unfunded Sandwell parade. Evidence, as though it were needed, that where the mainstream withdraw, extremists tend to triumph.

Sir Basil Henriques had an interesting approach to all this. In 1914, he formed the Oxford and St George Jewish youth club in the East End (apparently named after his university and the local parish). Today it would be thought of as odd to have a Jewish group named after a Christian saint and even odder to name the attached place of worship the St George Settlement Synagogue, but he did and was unapologetic about it. His youth movement was set up to create a sense of responsibility among the poverty-stricken Jewish children of the East End. Records show that at the core of its ethos was a belief that these children of early 20th-century migrants should feel both Jewish and English. In a postmodern world some would no doubt wish to express "concerns" that Henriques was not being true to himself, or being jingoistic or culturally insensitive or something of that sort, but that misses the point – he reclaimed St George, a dragon-slaying warrior knight, as part of his national myth and instilled in the boys and girls under his charge a sense of national identity – let's call it a "Cry God for 'Henriques, England and St George'" approach.

So, St George has religious overtones, so does his flag, and yes, he may have been a little militaristic and imported by Crusaders who were not exactly champions of religious pluralism – and no doubt Harry Potter fans might be a little upset to hear that dragons were hurt in the making of this myth but he is ours and quite frankly is harmless fun – and on the day after the budget we definitely need a bit of fun.When the fascist Blackshirts tried to march past Henriques's club in 1936 in nearby Cable Street they were beaten back by Jewish and trade unionist activists to the cry of "they shall not pass". They didn't and we should keep this in mind today. We should be able to celebrate our national history, tell and retell our stories, participate in civic society and use our vote or we will let them pass.

Let's not give away or hand over our national symbols so easily to those who wish to destroy this nation that we in multi-ethnic, multifaith Britain have worked so hard to create together. Let's tell our national story, including the tale of George and his dragon and the sonnets of Shakespeare, whose birth and death anniversary is on St George's Day – and perhaps to take matters forward someone could decide at last to give us the day off next year.

To those from the political mainstream who are championing St George's Day let us say raise our finest ale and say cheers.


BNP and "bloodless genocide"

8 Comment (s)
BNP leader Nick Griffin has been forced to drop the carefully constructed veneer of respectability wrapped around his party by trying to defend the contents of a leaked BNP document, the "Language and Concepts Discipline Manual". During an interview with the BBC Griffin asserted that black Britons and Asian Britons "do not exist" and that people from afro-Caribbean or Asian backgrounds should be described as "racial foreigners". Griffin also said that to describe black and Asians as British was a sort of "bloodless genocide" because it denied indigenous people their own identity.

The document describes the BNP's "ultimate aim" as the "lawful, humane and voluntary repatriation of the resident foreigners of the UK". This is not about controlling immigration. This is about racial segregation. Think about a black or Asian person you know, perhaps a friend or work colleague. Now picture them being told by a BNP administration at some point in the future: "You might have been born here and your family might have come here generations ago. But we say you are not British. You are not one of us and should not be living here. So we are offering you money to leave this country and live somewhere else". This should fill any decent person with horror. Ask yourself, what happens exactly if this supposedly generous offer is rejected? Are we supposed to believe the BNP would leave it there?

With the comments Griffin has made today, he might have finally reminded some people who have been voting for that party in protest against other parties, what the true nature of the BNP really is. After all, this is the kind of thinking the BNP tries hard to keep under wraps as it tries to win over people who feel let down by the main parties. Regardless of the makeovers and efforts to cover up the skinheads and replace boots and jeans with shoes and suits, racism has always been - and remains - at the heart of that divisive, unpleasant and statist party.

Tony Sharp

You can listen to the programme referred to in the article here or download the podcast (13MB) here.

The BNP's bizarre 'Language and Concepts Discipline Manual ' can be obtained as a pdf file from here (Warning: link goes directly to the BNP site).

April 23, 2009

Happy St George's Day!

14 Comment (s)
There are no words to adequately describe the
unutterable stupidity and banality of Dicky Barnbrook.

Or, as our friends over at Kirklees Unity so succinctly put it:
'What a pair of twats'.

Campaigners call for tighter regulation of Facebook racists

2 Comment (s)
Far-right groups are operating openly on the social networking website

Facebook has become a breeding ground for racists and far-right extremists, according to immigrant leaders and anti-racism campaigners, who believe the site's owners are not doing enough to clamp down on cyberhate.

More than 200 million people around the world belong to the social networking site, which attracts thousands of new members every day. The site is used by its members to communicate, swap photographs and set up groups of like-minded people, many of which are overtly political.

But campaigners fear racists are increasingly setting up their own groups to promote a visceral hatred of foreigners and immigrants and say more needs to be done to police online racism.

The Federation of Poles in Great Britain has become so disturbed by some of the content online that it has written a letter to Facebook's owner Mark Zuckerburg, calling on him to close down an anti-Polish group where one member said Polish people should be thrown "down the well".

Jan Mokrzycki, a spokesman for the federation, which was created after the Second World War to support the Polish community in Britain, said: "Generally we try not to react against every inflammatory gesture against Polish people, but the language within the website was so rude and racist that we felt like we had no choice."

He added: "I recognise that you can't stop every racist website out there, but I would like to think that a supposedly respectable site like Facebook would have better checks and controls on what gets put on their site."

Right-wing extremists have often used the relatively unregulated world of the internet to spread their message by creating their own websites which are often registered abroad. But their activity on social networking sites has given them a much more mainstream presence.

The sheer size of Facebook's online community makes monitoring extremists difficult. But a number of groups calling on Britain to throw out, and even kill, foreign nationals have been operating freely for months.

A group called "People hate Pakis" boasts more than 80 members and claims to have been set up by "rebels" from Bradford, where inter-racial tension remains a major problem. A second group calling itself "Get all the Paki's [sic] out of England" has more than 140 members, many of whom use racist language which is illegal under laws prohibiting incitement to racial hatred.

Dennis MacShane, the Labour MP for Rotherham whose father fled Poland before the Nazi invasion and fought for Britain during the Second World War, said social networking sites had allowed racists to talk openly without fear of reprisals.

"The way you defeat extremism, intolerance, prejudice and racism is to atomise it and make people feel that even if they think racist thoughts they can't say it openly," he said. "But websites like Facebook have unfortunately allowed people to come together in one space and say, 'there are people out there like me'. That is something that worries me greatly. For all the good social networking sites do, they also allow people to express prejudice that in a civilised society should be kept under lock and key."

Facebook declined to comment yesterday. But in the past its founder Mr Zuckerburg has been reluctant to overly police his invention, which instead relies on users to report racist and offensive behaviour. Under the website's terms and conditions, posts which are "abusive, vulgar, hateful or racially and ethnically objectionable" are banned but in reality very little content is moderated.

Searchlight, the anti-racism group which monitors far-right extremism on the web, said websites should do more to monitor overtly racist content.

"It is vital that in those instances where there is clear evidence of hate mail being distributed, [that] internet service providers act firmly and swiftly to shut them down," said a spokesman. "We cannot allow cyberspace to become a hideout for the peddlers of hate."



9 Comment (s)
Richard Edmonds - Holocaust-denier and racist
It has been brought to our attention that the BNP in Kirklees intend again to hold another meeting in the Heckmondwike area on Thursday 23rd April

The meeting which is due to start at 8pm is to be held at The Royal Hotel public house which is located on High Street Heckmondwike WF16 0AL. The guest speaker for the night once again is Richard Edmonds the former deputy leader of the party under the John Tyndall regime.

Former teacher Edmonds has a string of criminal convictions. In 1988, The Sunday Times revealed that Holocaust News, a publication that claimed The Holocaust was an "evil hoax", was being published by Edmonds, on behalf of a BNP front organisation, the Centre for Historical Review, and distributed by members. The theme was returned to on 8th April 1991 edition of Panorama where Edmonds described the publication as 'a wonderful statement of the truth'

Edmonds also spent time in custody over a racial attack in 1993 and had previously been convicted for smashing a statue of Nelson Mandela on London's South Bank. Further controversy came in 1993 when he told The Guardian that 'we [the BNP] are 100% racist'.

Surprisingly to some, Edmonds was co-opted by Nick Griffin onto the BNP's Advisory Council in September 2008, thereby returning him to the top tier of the party and ending his period of apparent dissidence.

Edmonds was due to address a North Kirklees meeting at the Royal Hotel back in November 2008, however down to pressure from antifascists the meeting was called off. Because of the meeting cancellation the North Kirklees organiser at the time Ian Roper was sacked by Yorkshire organiser Adrian Marsden.

As The Royal is a Free House we are asking people to ring the pub and POLITELY lodge their complaint with the management. The Royal Hotel's telephone number is 01924 403265

We have proven already what can be done in November.

For more information on Richard Edmonds see here.

Kirklees Unity

BNP leader defends policy on race

2 Comment (s)
British National Party (BNP) chairman Nick Griffin has defended a party leaflet which says that black Britons and Asian Britons "do not exist". The BNP's "Language and Concepts Discipline Manual" says the term used should be "racial foreigners".

In a BBC interview, Mr Griffin said to call such people British was a sort of "bloodless genocide" because it denied indigenous people their own identity.

Mr Griffin is standing in the European Parliament elections in June.

'Politically correct fiction'

The BNP manual, leaked to an anti-fascist group and seen by the BBC, says that "BNP activists and writers should never refer to 'black Britons' or 'Asian Britons' etc, for the simple reason that such persons do not exist".

"These people are 'black residents' of the UK etc, and are no more British than an Englishman living in Hong Kong is Chinese. Collectively, foreign residents of other races should be referred to as 'racial foreigners', a non-pejorative term... The key in such matters is above all to maintain necessary distinctions while avoiding provocation and insult."

The manual describes the BNP's "ultimate aim" as the "lawful, humane and voluntary repatriation of the resident foreigners of the UK".

Commenting on the leaflet's content, Mr Griffin told The Report on Radio 4 that although "in civic terms they are British, British also has a meaning as an ethnic description".

"We don't subscribe to the politically correct fiction that just because they happen to be born in Britain, a Pakistani is a Briton. They're not; they remain of Pakistani stock.

"You can't say that especially large numbers of people can come from the rest of the world and assume an English identity without denying the English their own identity, and I would say that's wrong," he added. "In a very subtle way, it's a sort of bloodless genocide."


Mr Griffin was also candid about the significance the BNP places on the ogan "British jobs for British workers".

The Prime Minister Gordon Brown famously used the phrase in a speech about skills training.

Mr Griffin claimed the prime minister borrowed the rhetoric from his party. "When I heard Gordon Brown use our slogan - British jobs for British workers - I was delighted," he said. "What Mr Brown actually meant when he said British jobs for British workers is of course down to Mr Brown.

"But there's no doubt that it was perceived - and was intended to be perceived - by millions of ordinary Brits as meaning that they would be at the front of the queue in front of economic migrants from anywhere else in the world."

"So having raised our slogan, promised it, we feel that he's legitimised our message."


Hazel Blears, secretary of state for Communities and Local Government, said she rejected Mr Griffin's charge that the prime minister's use of the phrase represents an endorsement of BNP policy.

"I certainly regret the fact that the BNP could be using language we've used in order to legitimise what I regard as divisive, pernicious policies which will actually do working class people no good at all," she said.

"What I don't regret is the fact that we need to have a proper discussion in this country about making sure that British people have a chance to get the skills, the education, to be able to get the jobs of the future."

The "British jobs for British workers" slogan was widely repeated during the BNP's recent council by-election campaign in Moston in Manchester, where the party's candidate, local publican Derek Adams, came second.

Moston is in the North West region, where the BNP hopes its supporters will elect Mr Griffin as the party's first MEP in the European Parliamentary elections on 4 June. Nominations close on 7 May.

Under the proportional representation system used in European elections, the BNP would need around 9% of the vote; in the last elections the party won 6.4%.


April 22, 2009

Clergyman drives BNP activist out of cathedral grounds

1 Comment (s)
The Ven Chris Liley, the Archdeacon of Lichfield, confronted the supporter of the far-right party after he parked its "Truth Truck" outside the cathedral in Staffordshire.

The 61-year-old cleric told him to stop taking photographs of the van in front of the building, then ordered him to leave the cathedral close.

He now plans to tell the BNP, which hopes to put up candidates for county council elections in Staffordshire this year, not to publish any material featuring Lichfield Cathedral or imply that the Church of England supports its policies.

The party, which wants an end to immigration and the "voluntary resettlement" of foreign-born residents of Britain, believes it will receive a large number of votes because of opposition to a mosque being built in the city.

Earlier this year the Church of England's governing body, the General Synod, voted overwhelmingly to ban clergy and lay staff from being members of the group amid growing fears it is trying to disguise its extreme policies and portray itself as a Christian organisation.

The BNP is using a picture of Jesus in a new billboard campaign ahead of European elections in June, together with a quote from the Bible reading "If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you" and posing the question: "What would Jesus do?"

Mr Liley said: "Lichfield Cathedral is a place of Christian worship and the centre of mission for the Diocese of Lichfield. We are open to all and want everybody to feel welcome here – but people visiting the Cathedral must act in a way which does not damage the cathedral nor the welcome that we are able to offer other visitors.

"The BNP are wrong to suggest that Jesus would vote for the BNP. I don't know who he would vote for, but his parable of the Good Samaritan was a clear example about the value we should place on people from other communities.

"Lichfield Cathedral encourages people to vote in elections and we seek to engage with all legitimate politicians. But we will not endorse any particular candidate or party and it is wrong for any party to seek to use the Cathedral in a way which might imply endorsement, regardless of how much we may support or oppose what they stand for."

A spokesman for the BNP said the activist had only been trying to take a photo with the cathedral in the background, on Tuesday afternoon, to show the places its campaign bus had visited.

He said: "The cathedral is synonymous with Lichfield. It's a very quaint English place so when you depict it, what better thing to show than the cathedral?

"We're about to put our first candidate in Lichfield and I think we're going to get a very big vote. There's a big mosque planned for Lichfield but there's a lot of opposition to it."

The Telegraph

April 21, 2009

Church leaders to sign public statement opposing BNP

6 Comment (s)
Church leaders from around West Yorkshire will meet on Wednesday to unite in opposition to the racist British National Party (BNP) ahead of the European elections in June. They are expected to approve a statement on political extremism which will be critical of the BNP and will urge voters to ‘use their cross’ for the main democratic parties.

In a symbolic move the meeting will take place at the Moravian settlement at Fulneck, Pudsey. The Moravian church there provided hospitality for children and families fleeing the Nazis. The name Moravian derives from the refugees from Moravia. The original church also suffered persecution during the counter-Reformation and survived in an underground fellowship over the next hundred years.

Tomorrow’s statement follows a tradition of West Yorkshire church leaders uniting to speak out against the BNP, going back to the last European elections in 2004. It also follows increased efforts by the BNP to recruit Christians using the rhetoric of defending ‘Christian Britain’.

Pastor Gloria Hanley, Chair of West Yorkshire Ecumenical Council said: “racism is a sin, as all people are created in God’s image; the British National Party does not speak for Christians“.

As well as Pastor Hanley, others affirming the statement are likely to include Angican bishops, the Catholic bishop of Leeds, and representatives from the Quakers, Salvation Army, the Moravians, the Lutherans, the Methodist Church, the Baptist church and the United Reformed Church.

West Yorkshire Ecumenical Council has taken a lead in 2009 in mobilising Christians to vote for parties other than the BNP. It has issued specimen church magazine material entitled ‘Use Your Cross’ and a set of resource notes for local churches.

The full text of the statement is as follows:

"Seventy years ago, the Fulneck Moravian Settlement became home for Jewish children and families fleeing from the terror of the far right in Europe. As leaders of different churches in West Yorkshire, meeting at Fulneck, we affirm the values of unity, tolerance, hospitality and mutual respect, which have always helped people from different backgrounds to live together.
  • "We are deeply concerned at the views and activities of British National Party which is using people’s fears to stir up racial and religious hate.
  • "We assert that all human beings are created equally in the image of God, that racism is a sin, and that such extremist groups do not speak for Christians.
  • "In particular, we are called to love our neighbours as ourselves; and so we abhor any rejection of our neighbours of other faiths as an affront to all our beliefs and a danger to the unity of the whole community.
"On 4 June, the people of Yorkshire and the Humber will choose our representatives in the European Parliament. The regional voting system means that every vote counts. A high turnout will enhance democracy and prevent candidates on extremist platforms from winning seats. We urge all Christian people to use their cross on 4 June, and, by exercising their right to vote, to defeat the advocates of extremism and hatred."

West Yorkshire Ecumenical Council resources are available here.


BNP 'can make us a laughing stock,' says Yorkshire MP

1 Comment (s)
Yorkshire will be a "laughing stock" in Europe if its voters elect a British National Party Euro-MP, a government minister has warned.

Dewsbury MP and justice minister Shahid Malik warned that the far-right party could "sneak in" at the European Parliament elections on June 4 because of the nature of the voting system. European Parliament seats are awarded by proportional representation on a region-wide basis. The number of seats each party wins is calculated according to the share of the vote that party achieves in each region.

Labour campaigners fear that the BNP may only need to pick up as little as 11 per cent of the vote to win a seat. The party received eight per cent of the vote in the 2004 European elections.

Speaking to the YEP, Mr Malik said: "We cannot afford to under estimate the threat of the BNP. Because of the nature of the voting system for European elections, there is always a possibility that a minority party can gain a seat. Across the country – in the Yorkshire region, in the North West, East Midlands, West Midlands and in London – there is the possibility that the BNP could sneak through because of the election system for the Euros. My message is clear – every vote will count and people must come out and support mainstream political parties otherwise we will be a laughing stock in Europe."

It is feared the BNP will capitalise on the uncertainty voters face during the recession. They are also likely to benefit from an expected low turn out and an expected drop in support for the UK Independence Party.

This year's Euro election only coincides with the Doncaster mayoral contest and the North Yorkshire county council election, whereas the 2004 election was held on the same day as an "all out" council election, which boosted turnout.

Labour MEP Linda McAvan said: "The BNP were not so active in 2004, which was held on the same day as local elections so the vote was higher. People are not accustomed to vote in June either."

Mr Malik believes the BNP have been seriously disrupted in Dewsbury, but it is feared they may have regrouped elsewhere in West Yorkshire. Politicians in Morley reacted with dismay last November after it was revealed the town has the highest British National Party membership in the country. Analysis of a leaked BNP membership list revealed that Morley and Rothwell constituency has 90 members of the far right party. This was the highest number out of the 646 parliamentary seats in the UK.

Ms McAvan added: "People will be very shocked if they wake up on the morning after the election and Yorkshire has a BNP MEP."

Yorkshire Evening Post

April 20, 2009

BNP says some members are oddballs, troublemakers and liars

111 Comment (s)
An oddball (left) and a liar (right)
The British National party is urging its members not to set up official party blogs in the run-up to this year's European elections because "they can't write proper English" and "get carried away with conspiracy theories", according to a leaked internal guide for senior party activists.

The handbook says that some BNP members are "oddballs", "Walter Mitty characters", "compulsive liars" and "born troublemakers", and advises activists: "If you hear something odd or unpleasant about someone either forget about it or ask them about it to their face."

Polling experts believe that the far-right party, led by Nick Griffin, has a chance of picking up its first seats in the European parliament in the June elections.

The handbook states that "while we cannot stop individuals using the internet ... the BNP does not allow members or units to run websites or blogs which use the BNP logo or party name in their title, or which give the impression of being official BNP operations". Instead, members are advised to "set up political sites which appear to be totally independent of any political party, including ours".

The guide says that these "apparently independent sites exposing the wrongdoings and failings of the old parties and making subtly favourable reference to the BNP, will be much more attractive and convincing to the wider public than sites which are clearly ours".

The document was leaked to the anti-racist group Searchlight, which said: "Everyone knows the BNP is comprised of troublemakers, oddballs and liars, but it's surprising to see them being described like that in their own training manual."


Church election pack highlights BNP threat

1 Comment (s)
UK Churches have issued an election pack, highlighting the threat of the BNP and urging community mobilisation to combat extremist parties ahead of the European Elections. It comes after adverts were produced by the BNP featuring Jesus Christ, and ongoing efforts by the racist party over the last few years to mobilise support around ‘defending Christian Britain.’

The thinktank Ekklesia has been amongst those who have warned that rhetoric from church leaders about ‘Christian Britain’ has played into the party’s hands, feeding a sense of religious nationalism amongst those who associate ‘Britishness’ with Christianity.

An analysis of the BNP membership list by the thinktank Ekklesia revealed that some who attended Bible studies, ran Christian bookshops and were active in churches were cited as members.

The European elections take place on 4 June 2009 every. There will also be some English County Council elections.

A briefing from the Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Methodist Church and the United Reformed Church highlights the ‘importance of citizenship’ and urges Christians to vote. A new toolkit has also been produced by the three churches specifically ‘to help equip and affirm local church leaders to take action to counter far-right and racist politics’.

Methodist President Revd Stephen Poxon said: “Voting isn’t just a right - it is a privilege that carries great responsibility. A high turnout at the ballot box is good for democracy and society and will make it harder for extremist parties to succeed.

“The European Union directly influences many aspects of our lives,” added Revd John Marsh, Moderator of the General Assembly of the United Reformed Church. “The European Parliament is the only EU body elected by its citizens, and it is a powerful and important legislature for all 27 member countries.”

Revd Jonathan Edwards, General Secretary of the Baptist Union of Great Britain, said, “The toolkit for local church leaders is designed to help equip ministers and lay people alike with ideas and information about what they can do to counter racist politics. The appropriation of Christian language and imagery by the BNP is deeply offensive – we need churches across Britain to live out a faith that is open and inclusive, rooted in a commitment to love our neighbours as we love ourselves.”

The briefing and toolkit are available online at www.jointpublicissues.org.uk/jpitpolitics


April 19, 2009

BNP leader "infiltrates" West Bromwich St George's Day parade

8 Comment (s)
Nick Griffin surrounded by his usual entourage of thugs
The appearance of BNP leader Nick Griffin at a St George’s Day parade proved the event was being infiltrated by right wing extremists, it was claimed today.

Mr Griffin and his deputy leader Simon Darby were among up to 20,000 people who turned up at the parade through West Bromwich yesterday. The far-right politicians claimed to be there in non-party political capacity and were without any party paraphernalia, but they both attacked Sandwell’s Labour council for severing its ties with the event over fears it had been hijacked by extremists.

Councillor Derek Rowley, Sandwell’s cabinet member for safer communities, said the pair’s attendance proved the council right in its decision to cut funding for the march, which last year stood at around £10,000. Instead, the authority organised its own fun day this year in Dartmouth Park with Keith Chegwin top of the celebrity billing on Saturday.

He said: “Clearly the parade has been infiltrated by right wing extremists and they were bound to say they weren’t being political.”

Mr Griffin said: “I’m here as an Englishman, not to be party political.”

The attendance of the far right politicians came after an alleged leak of a BNP “war book” calling on extremist skinheads to cover-up their shaven heads in a bid to look more respectable.

Trevor Collins, from parade organisers the Stone Cross St George’s Association, said he couldn’t prevent Mr Griffin from attending the march.

“We couldn’t say to Tony Blair ‘you can come’ and then say to someone else ‘you can’t’ - because then we’d be being political,” he said. “If they come without being party political, then there’s nothing we can do - it’s a democracy.”

He added: “It doesn’t matter what colour you are or where you’re from, what matters today is what’s in your heart. It’s about being English.”

The parade was rescued after local businessman Chris Kelly, from Keltruck, stepped forward with a promise of cash to fund the parade’s legal requirements such as insurance, security and road closures.

Celebrity guests on the march, which started at around 10.30am in Westminster Road, included journalist Adrian Goldberg, former West Bromwich Albion footballer Bob Taylor and marathon runner “Blind” Dave Heeley. Heading the march were armed forces veterans including retired parachute regiment soldier Gordon Griffiths, from Walsall.

The 83-year-old, who served in Italy, Palestine and Egypt among others between 1945 and 1950, said: “It’s been smashing - I marched all the way. Everybody’s been cheering and had their flags out.”

Inspector Howard Lewis-Jones was drafted in from the West Midlands Police HQ in Birmingham to oversee more than 40 officers keeping law and order on the day, which ended with a fair in Dartmouth Park. He said: “It’s gone extremely well. It’s been very well organised right from the speeches at the start to the march itself.”

He added that a small number of cans of alcohol had been confiscated.

Birmingham Post

BNP councillor disowned - by BNP

9 Comment (s)
A BNP councillor has been disowned by his own party in an extraordinary move.

Cllr John Gamble (52), who won a seat in the Brinsworth and Catcliffe ward last May, will no longer represent the BNP on Rotherham Borough Council, the Advertiser can reveal. The shock move to strip Cllr Gamble of the party whip by regional officials reduces the number of BNP councillors on the council from two to one.

A letter has been received by borough council chief Mike Cuff stating that the party whip has been withdrawn and that he is no longer a BNP councillor. The reasons for the move have not been revealed, but it is understood he could continue to sit as an independent councillor.

Labour Party leaders have now called for Cllr Gamble—one of two BNP candidates to win seats at the time—to resign and for a by-election to be held immediately. Cllr Reg Littleboy, who represents the same ward for Labour, said:"He should resign his seat immediately from the council."

Cllr Gamble was not available for comment.

BNP local organiser Marlene Guest said: "I can confirm that the whip has been removed from Cllr Gamble. Serious differences have developed between him and the party which cannot be reconciled."

Rotherham Advertiser