September 30, 2009

The BBC on the BNP - Radio 1's Newsbeat interview is shameful

33 Comment (s)
'Young' BNP members Joey Smith and Mark Collett
Regular readers of this [New Statesman] blog will know that I tend to harp on about the self-serving, right-wing "myth" of the BBC's supposed "liberal left bias".

For those who remain unconvinced, let me point you towards Radio 1 Newsbeat's "interview" with two "young BNP members", on the BBC website. It is so staggeringly soft, woefully weak and uncritically unchallenging that I feel sick to my stomach. Here, in full, is the absurd attempt at rigorous and impartial journalism on the BBC (I mean, Radio 1, what is the point of it?):
'Do you think it's OK for people who aren't white in this country to call themselves British?

Joey: Civicly British they are. You cannot say they are ethnically British. It's denying our heritage. It's taking that away from us.

At what point do they become ethnically British? How long do they have to be here?

Joey: Well I think it would be an awfully long time before someone would become ethnically British.

So when you see someone like Ashley Cole play for England, are you happy to watch him?

Joey: If he wants to come to this country and he wants to live by our laws, pay into society, that's fine.

But if he wanted to call himself British that would be a problem?

Joey: He cannot say that he's ethnically British.

Why is the idea of races mixing such a bad thing?

Joey: If everybody integrated it would take away everybody's identity.

Mark: I would be upset if there were no more giant pandas, I'd be upset if there were no more lions, if there were no more tigers, so equally I'd be upset if white people weren't here any more.

But we're the same species which makes it a bit different, doesn't it?

Mark: You could say that but if all of a sudden there weren't any sparrows and there were only crows, I'd still be sad there weren't any sparrows.

Can you understand that some people are happy to mix?

Mark: No, I think people have been brainwashed. I think the media, the government, have forced it down people's throats and they've indoctrinated people.

You don't think people are bright enough to decide themselves?

Mark: I think when people are bombarded 24 hours a day to force multiculturalism upon them, people are going to succumb to that. We shouldn't have to bend our ways to people who've been here five minutes.

You're talking like people here are on holiday. They've lived here, some of them, for a generation, some of them for longer. Doesn't that count?

Mark: Are you trying to compare somebody, or a group of people who've lived here for maybe 30 years, to people who've lived here for 40,000 years? There's a vast, vast difference in time scale there, my dear.

My point isn't the difference in times between one group of people and another, it's saying they're not visitors, they are not holidaymakers, they are people living here.

Mark: If I went to live and work in another country, then I would still adhere by their culture and they should adhere by ours.'
Is anyone else as shocked as I am by the soft, naive, piss-poor questioning? Why the pleading tone from reporter Debbie Randle? Where in the interview are these two BNP "kids" properly challenged - on the criminal convictions and dubious backgrounds of leading BNP figures; the party's nakedly racist, Islamophobic and anti-Semitic discourse; the BNP's policies on (voluntary) repatriation and mixed-marriage bans, etc? Why is the piece headline "Young BNP members explain their beliefs", as if they are innocent members of, say, Amnesty International or on an Alpha course, rather than of a party whose members are banned from becoming police officers or prison officers?

In May, the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) published "race reporting guidelines" for the media, which included this particular point:
'When interviewing representatives of racist organisations or reporting meetings or statements or claims, journalists should carefully check all reports for accuracy and seek rebutting or opposing comments. The antisocial nature of such views should be exposed.'
Does anyone think reporter Debbie Randle stuck to those (voluntary) guidelines, or even to basic common sense (i.e. if you're interviewing young members of a racist party, those members' views should be challenged and their racism exposed)? According to her profile on the BBC website, she is a "Senior Broadcast Journalist" and someone desperate to interview Prince William, who once wanted to be a singer, cites Jon Snow as her favourite "reporter" because "he's so cool" and had a first job working in a bingo club. Judging by this abysmal interview, and the pass she gives the odious BNP and its "young" members, she should probably head back to that bingo club while her Radio 1 bosses hang their heads in shame for commissioning this awful feature.

The normalisation of the BNP in our political and media discourse continues apace - aided and abetted, as usual, by our public-service broadcaster. It's disgusting and depressing.

Mehdi Hasan writing in the New Statesman

Balls to investigate BNP presence in schools

2 Comment (s)
There will be an investigation into the extent of BNP involvement in schools, children's secretary Ed Balls told the Labour conference this afternoon.

"I am today asking the former chief inspector of schools, Maurice Smith, to examine the evidence and make recommendations," he told delegates in Brighton. "I want us to be confident that we have all the powers we need to keep racism and BNP activity out of our schools."

The comments open the door to a ban on BNP members working in teaching or sitting on educational boards. That's a policy which teachers' union NASUWT has been recommending for some time now, but with little effect.

Activists have been pointing out that BNP members should be under the same regulations as the police – who ban BNP members from serving – because of the because of the power they have over children.

Talking to later Mr Balls said he expected the report to be in by the end of the year.

"I'm not going to jump to conclusions," he said. "But I will do whatever it takes."

Violent Racist Runs Penrith BNP Campaign

16 Comment (s)
Kevin Clark's current BNP membership card
The BNP like to tell people that they are a mainstream political party following the election in June of their leader Nick Griffin to the European Parliament.

Griffin has just recently unveiled his new office in Cumbria which is to be used as a base for the North West region that as an MEP he represents. However take a careful look at the North West region and you will find the same old violent racists within the rank and file of the BNP.

The BNP are contesting a by election to be held on October 8th in the Penrith West ward of Eden District Council. This follows the resignation last month of former council leader Colin Nineham. Of key importance to this campaign is the local Penrith organiser Kevin Clark who was recently described by Nick Griffins new European communications officer Martin Wingfield as “ A great BNP stalwart ”

Far right stalwart he maybe but Clark is also a convicted self confessed racist.

In 1996 Clark was found guilty of malicious wounding and jailed for 18 months. Clark was convicted following an unprovoked attack on a Gambian Rugby player Osman Cham during a rugby tournament being held in Penrith. Clark shouted “Sambo”, as well as making monkey noises.

When Mr Cham went over to remonstrate, Clark struck him over the head with a bottle. The wound needed five stitches and Mr Cham fainted from loss of blood. Clark showed no remorse and admitted that he was a racist bigot.

“I don’t like coloured people”, he told police.

His spell of porridge seems to have made little difference however as Clark still appears to be the virulent racist. On his Facebook page Clark likes to mock the Holocaust by making sick jokes about notorious Nazi extermination camp Auschwitz. Over one million people perished within the death camp yet Clark feels it is a subject to mock.

Clark posted "Will people stop sending me Auschwitz jokes, my poor grandfather died a horrible death at Auschwitz...he fell out the machine gun tower".

Another of Clarks racist postings says "When is the only time you should wink at a Muslim? When your (sic) taking aim at the cunt".

Clark also finds time after a hard days campaigning to take part in Facebook groups such as “FTP- Fuck The Pope” and “We are proud to call ourselves Aryan”

No doubt the BNP will try their tried and trusted trick of declaring that Clark is not a member of the party and they are unable to find his details on their databases. Well the bad news for the BNP is that Kevin Clark has posted a picture of his current membership card on his Facebook profile and it is still very much valid.

Once again we await the immediate expulsion of Kevin Clark from the BNP.

Hope not Hate

September 29, 2009

Family evicted 'for racial abuse'

4 Comment (s)
An Edinburgh family has been evicted from their home following claims that they had racially abused their neighbours over a period of years.

Sarah Hutton, 36, and her five children were forced to move from their home in Wardieburn on Thursday after being accused of harassing other residents. It is one of the first evictions on the basis of racial abuse and harassment secured by Edinburgh City Council. The family has moved into private accommodation in Edinburgh.

Officials said incidents included extensive vandalism including damaging cars, smashing public toilets, kicking open stair doors and breaking door-entry systems, throwing stones and bricks at people and houses, smashing windows and threats and general abuse to neighbours. One family was even forced to move from the area after they were subjected to years of racial abuse, racist graffiti and assault.

Before the family was evicted the council said it used "every resource available" to work on ways to improve behaviour and to "prevent nuisance". The local authority said it had sent the tenant "numerous warning letters" and had organised joint visits from the council and the police on more than one occasion. She was also offered support with tenancy issues from the council's neighbourhood support team.

However the council said in this case legal action was necessary due to the "serious nature of the complaints" and because the family made no effort to change their behaviour.

Paul Edie, Edinburgh City Council community safety leader, said: "This action sends a clear message that we will not tolerate any sort of racially motivated harassment. Praise should go to residents for standing up and giving evidence against these people despite fears they may have."

Ch Insp Denise Mulvaney, of Lothian and Borders Police, said: "We take the issue of hate crime very seriously, and we believe the robust action taken in this case was the right thing to do and has resulted in the right outcome."


Ukraine scraps hotel plans on Nazi killing field

2 Comment (s)
A man attends a mourning ceremony near Minora Monument on Babi Yar ravine in
Kiev on Sunday, marking the 68th anniversary of the beginning of mass execution of Jews there

Kiev authorities, facing withering criticism, have reversed a decision to build a hotel on a killing field used by Nazis during the infamous 1941 Babi Yar massacre, officials said Monday.

Still, Jewish groups worldwide were bitter that a hotel was even suggested for an area where more than 30,000 Jews were murdered. Rights advocates and scholars praised the decision by Kiev mayor Leonid Chernovetsky to veto the proposal. But they urged Ukrainian authorities to do more to honor the victims of one of the most tragic chapters of the Holocaust.

The massacre began 68 years ago Tuesday [today]. The controversy called into question how fully Ukraine wants to face its past, even after so many years. The plan for the three-star hotel, which would have been called Babi Yar, was approved by the City Council this month. Jewish groups and human-rights groups said the very idea mocked the dead. The hotel would have been built in the middle of the main killing site, said Vitaliy Nakhmanovich, a leading Ukrainian Babi Yar scholar.

Legislators loyal to Chernovetsky said the Ukrainian capital needed more hotels to host the 2012 European soccer championship, and to develop tourism afterward. They said the hotel would not disturb the remains. On Saturday, Chernovetsky reversed the City Council's decision, saying the hotel would not be built. On Monday, his spokeswoman attempted to downplay the significance of the earlier approval.

"It was just a proposal," Marta Hrymska told The Associated Press. "Nobody has allocated any land, there are no investors, no hotel is being built."

More than 33,700 Jews were shot at Babi Yar over 48 hours beginning Sept. 29, 1941. In the ensuing months, the ravine was filled with an estimated 100,000 bodies, among them those of non-Jewish residents of Kiev and Red Army prisoners of the Nazis.

Experts said the proposal demonstrated the need to create a government-sponsored memorial complex to properly honor the tragedy.

Babi Yar today has the air of a forgotten memorial. The killings took place in a huge ravine in central Kiev that stretched for several miles; the area as of now is neither fenced nor properly marked. Seven different monuments are there, but experts say they are not linked into a coherent memorial of remembrance. Children play in a park where one monument stands. Across the street, commuters rush past a busy metro station.

"People don't know how to behave themselves, because they don't understand that they are on the territory of a memorial complex," said Anatoly Podolsky, head of the Ukrainian Center for Holocaust Studies. "Babi Yar is not just Jewish history, it's also the history of Ukraine."

Government plans to create a more comprehensive memorial around Babi Yar are still on the drawing board, experts say. Officials at the State Remembrance Institute, which oversees the planned memorial, were not available for comment Monday.


September 28, 2009

RBL dithers while BNP donations con-trick is exposed

21 Comment (s)
For a so-called political party that constantly appears to be teetering on the edge of financial collapse, the BNP seems to have become astoundingly generous to charities in the past couple of months - or that's what it would like us to believe.

In fact, it has done very little for charities except to make hollow promises that are exploited for its own purposes on the BNP's website, giving the visitor the impression that the party is acting responsibly by supporting its chosen causes while actually doing nothing except taking the kudos for its unperformed acts of generosity.

A week or two ago, we reprinted an article in which the Institute of Fundraising Scotland, a leading fund-raising body, warned charities to beware of undeclared donations from the British National Party after a number of good causes claimed they were duped into accepting money from the far-right group. In several cases, the BNP claimed credit for donations to charities who have never knowingly accepted money from the party and in several cases would refuse it if it were ever to be openly offered.

Colonel William Shuttlewood, a director of the Gurkha Welfare Trust, one of the charities the BNP claims to have made donations to, said it would never knowingly accept money from the BNP. Al Sutton, chairman of Troop Aid, another unknowing possible recipient, said: 'We are not associated with any political party, especially the BNP', while the Down’s Syndrome Association vehemently denied a claim on the BNP website that it had asked the party to help it raise funds.

Another more dramatic (and consequently more exploited) donation has been that which the BNP claims it is negotiating with FEBA, a charity which is negotiating £50,000 a year from the BNP to keep open its veterans' drop-in centre in Lanarkshire. A lot of fuss was made about FEBA a few weeks back, with the BNP taking full credit for keeping it open, yet 'negotiations' between Nick Griffin and Tommy Moffat, the charity's administrator, seem to have stalled. No great surprise, as Griffin has already got what he wanted from the announcement - the publicity.

FEBA did receive a donation of sorts from the BNP - or rather the wealthy BNP supporter Walter (or William, depending on which story you read about him) Hamilton - a consignment of radiators allegedly worth £3000 (which may well have fallen off the back of the Lie Lorry). Radiators notwithstanding, FEBA still needs £50,000 a year to run - if the BNP is near-bankrupt, where is that money going to come from?

The truth is, naturally, that it isn't coming from anywhere and there was never any intention of donating such a large sum to anyone (except possibly King Nick himself), only to reap the rewards of the very rare positive publicity that the story generated.

There's a short aside to this story which is worth mentioning. The BNP survives on donations from its gullible members, thanks to the never-ending stream of increasing desperate begging letters from Welshpool. Even though most of the money raised goes directly to non-member Jim Dowson, the organiser of the begging campaign and owner of the Lie Lorry, and a hefty percentage goes to Nick Griffin and various acolytes and hangers-on (including would-be schoolie-bonker and all-round shit Mark Collett, who is allegedly paid £50,000 per year for designing the BNP's propaganda), that leaves little to be used for the BNP for its 'political' work. So who decided to spend substantial chunks of that money by donating it to various charities and were the members asked if that was the way they wanted their donations to be spent?

But now we come to the latest twist in the BNP/charities mess, the bit that is currently (and rightly) causing great embarrassment to the Royal British Legion.

Back in October 2008, one of our contributors Eric the Fish wrote about the BNP's attempted hijack of the Poppy Appeal, the RBL's long-term and popular fundraser. Eric reported;
Neil Griffiths, of the Royal British Legion Scotland, said: "We abhor any association with the BNP. I worked most of my military career with Gurkhas and feel angry by any level of racism when I encounter it. The BNP seem to have forgotten that the Indian Army in the Second World War had two million members. It was the biggest volunteer army in military history and it played a huge role in the war."
Jim Panton, chief executive of Poppyscotland, said: "I had no idea the BNP have tried to get involved in the Poppy Appeal. It's outrageous for any organisation or group to try to hijack the poppy for their own benefit or gain. It is a misuse and misrepresentation of the sentiment of the appeal and we would take a strong line against that. We are apolitical and have not asked any party to back us."
So strongly did the RBL feel that it demanded that Nick Griffin stop wearing the Poppy during the European Election campaign and also that he stop using the armed forces to further the BNP's agenda. To no effect, because Griffin continued to do both.

Having seen that the BNP doesn't give a toss for the armed forces except where they can be used for political and financial gain, one would have expected the RBL to respond vigorously to any attempt by the BNP to directly make capital from any contact. Thus, when BNP member Rachel Firth announced that she would pledge half of the funds she raised by spending twenty-four hours in a cardboard box in the street to the legion and the other half to the BNP, it was no great surprise when the legion refused the donation.

When Firth then clearly stated that the donation would not be used for partisan political activity, the RBL naively accepted her assurance and announced that it would accept the donation, at which point the news of the donation and the RBL's acceptance of it appeared on the BNP's website (August 30th: see image below).

Rachel Firth - where's the RBL's donation?
As it happens, even though Firth's little stunt took place way back in August, the RBL still hasn't had its donation and according to Third Sector (the UK’s leading publication for everyone who needs to know what’s going on in the voluntary and not-for-profit sector), the RBL is now seriously considering whether to reject it even if it is (finally) offered, on the grounds that the party has used it to make political capital.

The dithering of the Royal British Legion over this matter is shameful. The offer of a donation should have been refused outright because of the ridiculous proviso that half the money raised from the stunt was going to the BNP. Under its own rules, that was grounds for the RBL to say thanks but no thanks. Instead, it took the party at its word, was taken in and now has to make the choice again, assuming the offer is ever forthcoming.

The whole issue of charities taking money from political parties is difficult, particularly when the charity appears to be in dire straits and feels that it needs that money simply in order to carry on. FEBA hasn't got any cash of its own and, let's face it, is unlikely to be getting £50,000 per annum from the BNP - but should it even have entered negotiations with such a party anyway? Personally I would say no unless the charity also supports the party's racism, sexism, homophobia, anti-Muslim rhetoric and the BNP leader's constantly recurring bouts of anti-Semitism. Easy for me to say, I know, as I do not run a charity that is unable to continue through lack of cash. Nevertheless, there are principles at stake here and there are times when, no matter how painful it might be, it is right and proper to stand up for them.

The BNP as a party has NO real interest in supporting charities unless it can make some political gain from so doing. At the moment, it sees a lot of interest in armed forces personnel and is exploiting that to the full. A couple of months ago, it was a small bird sanctuary that was the focus of the party's attention for as long as it got a little publicity out of it and the the Poppy Appeal - next month it could be sanctuaries for disabled donkeys or depressed circus clowns. As long as there is something to exploit, the BNP will attempt to exploit it because it is a party without ethics whose only great ability is the skill of jumping on the next available bandwagon. Anyone who believes otherwise is doomed to disappointment.

Broadcasting union and BBC heading for clash over BNP

7 Comment (s)
British broadcasting union BECTU has issued a press release criticising the BBC and the justice minister, Jack Straw, for their willingness to endorse the participation of the far-right British National Party (BNP) in a forthcoming edition of the TV discussion programme Question Time.

The BBC says it is obliged, under its charter, to give airtime to the BNP because it is a legal political party which has a number of MEP’s, though it does not currently have any MPs at Westminster. But BECTU, today insisted that the BNP should not be given airtime to promote its racist politics.

The union’s statement comes in reply to the BBC’s decision to accept a proposal from the producers of Question Time that BNP leader Nick Griffin should join the panel for the programme on Thursday 22 October. BECTU has also criticised the justice minister, Jack Straw, for his decision to take part in the broadcast planned for 22 October.

“The Labour Party has always said that it would not share a platform with racists; this is not a matter upon which ministers should be permitted a ‘free vote’. Jack Straw’s decision is doing damage to his credibility as a senior government figure and to the Labour Party. We call upon him to reverse his decision to take part,” said BECTU General Secretary Gerry Morrissey.

BECTU represents production staff across all roles in broadcasting and has on previous occasions pledged to support any member who chooses, as a matter of conscience, not to work on output which either involves or promotes the BNP. In the past broadcasters have respected that individuals can exercise this choice.

BECTU has today reiterated that same commitment to support all members who choose not to work on this particular edition of Question Time if it goes ahead with a BNP representative on the panel. The union will also be lending its support to anti-fascist organisations who will be campaigning against Question Time’s plans to give the BNP airtime.

Media Network

Swanley: Residents say BNP councillor has 'done nothing' for the area

9 Comment (s)
A BNP councillor has done nothing for his ward since being elected, residents and councillors say.

Paul Golding was voted in as councillor for the Swanley St Mary’s ward of Sevenoaks District Council in February after being the first ever British National Party member to stand in the area. At the time the 27-year-old said his success was down to a “professional and pro-active campaign knocking on every door in Swanley” and the promise of “change for the area”.

He said: “Native British people are sick of being treated like second-class citizens in their own country. They are bottom of the list for council houses after asylum seekers and foreigners. I will do my best to sort out the problems.”

However, a council spokesman said Cllr Golding has not joined any council committees, which make decisions on key issues in Swanley. And residents of the St Mary’s ward say he has not been in touch with them since the election or championed their concerns to the council.

John Dudley, of St Mary’s Road, said: “The only time I saw him was when he was canvassing - they really put the pressure on and were here every day. But since then we have not heard anything from him.” The 73-year-old added: “He should be doing more to represent the ward and find out what the people want.”

Cherry Avenue resident Ronald Gasson, 76, agreed, saying: “In my opinion he only showed interest in us to get votes and doesn’t care about us now he’s been elected.”

Labour councillor for the Swanley St Mary’s ward John Underwood says he has seen no evidence of Cllr Golding being active in the area. He said: “He is not on any committees, doesn’t say anything at full council meetings and constituents have told me he is hard to reach, so I don’t see how he can be making a difference.”

Conservative councillor for the Swanley Christchurch and Swanley Village ward Robert Brookbank said he has only seen Cllr Golding at full council meetings. He said: “I’m not sure he has done anything.”

Cherry Avenue resident Joan White says she fears people outside of Swanley St Mary’s associate its residents with the BNP and the allegations of racism against the party. The 82-year-old said: “I worry they associate us with the BNP and therefore being racist.”

Cllr Golding was unavailable to respond to the residents’ or councillors’ allegations.

In July News Shopper revealed a Gravesend woman convicted of intimidating an Asian mother was a member of the BNP, after Cllr Golding made a video stating she was not. Helen Forster, aged 32, of Park Place, denied being a member in the video posted on YouTube and the BNP website, but she was registered under a different surname - Colclough.

Cllr Golding says he was unaware Forster was a member of the party under a different name at the time of making the video.

This Is Local London

September 27, 2009

All things to all men

13 Comment (s)
Nick Griffin is engaging in contortions and sleight of hand to keep his members happy and ensure they keep on giving him their money. Sonia Gable investigates

The British National Party “has almost righted itself financially after the massive outlay incurred in winning seats in the Euro elections,” according to Eddy Butler, the party’s national organiser.

The announcement on 9 September followed three months of desperate begging letters and emails from Nick Griffin, the British National Party leader, claiming his party was “cash strapped” after the European election campaign.

However it was not donations that had brought about the claimed change in the party’s fortunes but “a few short hard months of financial stringency”, said Butler. And “Chairman Nick Griffin has given up his party salary as he is now paid as an MEP”.

It is unclear why Butler is making announcements about the BNP’s finances as he is not the party’s treasurer. Perhaps that explains why he goes on to contradict himself. “It should be clear from what I have said that the party is urgently in need of extra funding in the aftermath of the European election,” his statement continued. Referring to the legal action by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) over the BNP’s “whites only” membership criterion, he added: “In these difficult times the party needs the understanding and loyal support of its army of members and donors”.

The EHRC court case means Griffin has to tread very carefully. He does not want to fight the case because he is not confident the party can win and losing in court is very expensive. “For us to take this case to the next hearing would mean raising and risking at least £80,000,” Griffin wrote in an appeal headed “Emergency update. Adapt or die!” And “to take it all the way to the House of Lords would swallow up well over a million pounds”.

But Griffin is clearly having trouble taking his members with him. That the BNP should not admit non-whites is at the core of their ideology. In their minds to let black people and Asians join would be a betrayal of everything their party stands for.

Cleverly Griffin throws the decision back to his members, while ensuring he will have the outcome he needs. By letting the case go to a first hearing in court, at which the party obtained an adjournment but was ordered to pay the EHRC’s costs, which Griffin puts at “thousands of pounds”, he can argue that the party does not have a choice but to change its membership policy.

Griffin also contends that the hearing shows that “traditional British justice … is dead [his emphasis], murdered as part of New Labour’s creeping coup d’état”. In other words the BNP doesn’t have a chance against the EHRC (which Griffin persistently calls the CEHR) with its “70 top lawyers and £70 million to burn”, because the system is unfair and everyone is ganged up against the BNP.

Having fed to bursting his members’ vision of themselves as martyrs, Griffin concedes that “we could still fight it all the way on a point of stubborn principle”. But it is up to the members to decide. “If the party collectively wants to fight, then we have to raise £80,000 extra in the next four weeks.”

But in a sleight of hand, that money would not even go towards fighting the court case but to “buy in more top lawyers’ time to triple check and hone to perfection the changes we would have to make to our constitution and organisation”.

So if the party doesn’t raise the money Griffin won’t fight the case and if it does raise the money, he won’t fight it either.

A cynic might even suggest that Griffin deliberately delayed instructing lawyers to represent the party until the day before the court hearing, not only as a means of buying time by making it impossible for the court to refuse an adjournment, but also to ensure an award of costs against the BNP so proving to his members how expensive fighting the case would be.

Griffin’s chosen means of raising the money – the life membership offer – will guarantee failure in any case. Members are being asked to stump up a full £395 to become a BNP member for life. This is supposedly a discount from the full £500 that life membership will cost in future.

Few BNP members have £395 to spare, especially after the BNP’s numerous calls on their generosity over the past two years. And with the high membership turnover in the party, even those who could afford it are unlikely be sufficiently committed. Of the BNP’s claimed 10,000 or so members, only around 250 are dedicated activists and many of those are unemployed or in low-paid jobs. The BNP’s membership is greatly slanted towards socio-economic groups C, D and E.

It would take 200 life memberships to raise the necessary funds, provided all the money goes towards hiring the top lawyers. That may not happen. Simon Darby, the BNP treasurer and press officer, told a journalist last month that one of the aims of the life membership drive was to raise funds for the 2010 election campaign. He also stated that the party was short of funds – one day after Butler’s more optimistic assessment.

Darby also revealed that the continued absence of the BNP’s 2008 accounts was the result of extenuating circumstances and blamed an unnamed third party. In last month’s Searchlight we recalled that when the 2006 accounts were greatly delayed, Griffin blamed Kenny Smith, one of the leaders of the internal rebellion that broke out in December 2007. We believed that this year he had no such excuse.

We underestimated Griffin’s ability to wriggle out of any difficulty by finding a scapegoat. We do not yet know who will have to carry the can for the 2008 accounts but two candidates spring to mind.

One is Michaela Mackenzie, who earlier this year was quietly dropped as the BNP’s administration officer and national nominating officer, in charge of ensuring all election paperwork is in order. In January the BNP Advisory Council tasked her with investigating the implications of data protection legislation for the BNP. Perhaps she did not like what she found.

The other is Jennie Noble, appointed the BNP’s treasurer in summer 2008, only to be replaced a year later. When Griffin announced the formation of a “full Treasury Department” headed by a “chartered accountant” last April, he thanked Noble for using her “extensive financial experience in pension fund management” to get the BNP accounts into shape and said the party owed her “a big debt of gratitude”.

It would not be the first time Griffin has lavished praise on someone before putting the boot in.

Noble would “switch duties to take on running the Trafalgar Club”, said Griffin. The club, whose members have to pay at least £15 a month, would be “undergoing a major revamp and expansion later this year in order to raise its profile as the flagship of the Party”.

That was in April. In August Trafalgar Club members received their first newsletter for some time, apologising for the “poor service over the last year” and claiming that the ten-year-old club was “working hard to sort out the administrative weaknesses … since Jean stepped down as Secretary”.

“Jean” is Jean Griffin, the BNP leader’s mother. The newsletter was signed by his wife, Jackie, “Acting Trafalgar Club Secretary”. Noble appeared to have disappeared without trace.

The administrative weaknesses encompassed postal subscription records, outstanding gifts, standing orders and cheques – just about everything really. The club’s spring lunch had not taken place this year because Adam Champneys, one of the BNP’s few large donors, who hosted the event in 2008 on his Kent farm, had been ill. However Jackie Griffin did have “a lovely hotel booked in Herefordshire” for the club’s main annual event, the Trafalgar Day black tie dinner on 24 October. They were also still working on plans to “re-launch the Club later this year, including an advertising campaign to raise its profile and prestige”.

The club’s sole purpose is to raise money for the BNP. Whatever Butler says, the BNP desperately needs money after spending up to £600,000 on the European election campaign and with a general election at most nine months away. Butler’s claim that the BNP has nearly pulled itself out of the financial trough may be motivated more by a need to stem the disillusionment among party members. They dug deep into their pockets for the European campaign in the hope that the election of MEPs would secure millions of euros, only to be told that none of the European Parliament funding can be used for the party so they would have to carry on giving. And now the party wants £395 for life membership. Members could be forgiven for saying “you’ve got to be joking”.

Sonia Gable writing in Searchlight

Straw to join BNP's Nick Griffin in Question Time debate

9 Comment (s)
Justice secretary's appearance will reverse Labour's stance of not sharing platform with far-right party

Jack Straw has confirmed he will join the BNP leader Nick Griffin on an edition of the BBC's Question Time programme. Labour had previously made a point of not appearing alongside the far-right party, but Straw said today that he was "delighted" to have the opportunity to take on Griffin, MEP for the North West, on the flagship programme.

Anti-fascist campaigners reacted with anger to the news and called for huge demonstrations to be mounted outside the BBC studios when the programme is made.

Straw, who regularly takes on all comers in debate from a soapbox in his Blackburn constituency, said the BNP were defeated when Labour "fought them hard". He told the BBC's Politics Show North West: "Some people support the BNP because they subscribe to their views. Others do it out of a feeling of despair. We've got to make the argument, and I'm delighted to do so."

The BBC confirmed that the two men were among the panellists booked for a recording of the show, hosted by David Dimbleby, in London on 22 October. The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats confirmed that they would be fielding representatives.

Straw's announcement brought a renewed attack on the BBC's decision from his cabinet colleague, Peter Hain. The Welsh secretary said he was meeting BBC executives on Wednesday to try to persuade them to drop their decision to give the BNP a seat on the panel. He also questioned whether the BBC was legally obliged to invite the BNP to appear after the party won two seats in the European parliament elections in June and said he would back any legal action that challenged the decision.

"I don't buy this stuff that under electoral law the BNP's two European seats allows them to be treated in the same way as the mainstream parties. If there were to be any legal action against the BBC I would wish it well," said Hain.

He added: "Their [the BNP's] MEPs were elected on a tiny vote and a low turnout. It's an absolute scandal that the BBC are treating an avowedly racist and fascist [party] on equal terms, in a way that will legitimise their standing in the public's eyes."

Hain said he was directing his anger at the BBC, rather than Straw, saying the corporation had put Labour ministers in an "impossible position" because they did not want the BNP to go unchallenged by leaving an empty chair.

Unite Against Fascism has pledged to hold a demonstration against the BBC's decision. Hain said he fully supported the group's actions.

A BBC spokeswoman said its obligation to treat all parties registered with the Electoral Commission "with due impartiality" was enshrined in the corporation's charter. She said that by winning two seats in the European parliament the BNP had demonstrated evidence of electoral support at national level, which would be reflected in the coverage it received on programmes such as Question Time.

Tony Kearns, assistant general secretary of the Communication Workers' Union, said it was a "disgrace" that the BBC was offering the BNP a seat on Question Time despite a huge outcry in recent weeks. He called on ministers and MPs to join protests against the decision.

Gordon Brown announced earlier this month that Labour had agreed to field a minister against the BNP and said those with long-standing opposition to sharing a platform with the party would not come under pressure to appear, naming Hain, and the home secretary, Alan Johnson.

The Liberal Democrats said they will probably field Chris Huhne, their home affairs spokesman. The party's leader, Nick Clegg, said last week: "If the BBC ask one of these fascist thugs, who have been elected to the European parliament, on to one of their flagship programmes, then I want us to be there to take them on."

The Conservatives said they did not yet know who would represent them on the programme.

The BNP could not be contacted for comment.


BNP blames Zionists for EDL

15 Comment (s)
BNP leader Nick Griffin has claimed that the English Defence League is being manipulated and directed by Zionists to create a race war on the streets of Britain. Trying to distance the BNP from any potential problem, Griffin and his deputy Simon Darby have set out in a audio message their position on the hooligan-based group.

And surprise, surprise – it’s all the fault of the Zionists. Griffin explains how he initially thought the EDL was a State-sponsored honey trap to embarrass the BNP but now he doesn’t believe that even they would do that. In fact, he argues, there are far more sinister forces at work.

It is Simon Darby who begins to point the light on those behind the EDL. “It’s been set up by a powerful organisation,” he tells his leader. “People with the power to manipulate, who are used to manipulating and have the organisational structure, the facility and the financial clout to promote it.”

“Let’s spell it out shall we,” Griffin responds.

Darby laughs, nervously. “Who’s going to do the spelling?”

Obviously not him that's for sure!

“I’m going to spell it out,” his leader adds pompously. He goes on to pin the blame on those responsible.

“Spelling it out in simple terms – you look at the owners at the Daily Express, the Daily Star and their interests. This is a Neo-Con operation. This is a Zionist false flag operation, designed to create a real clash of civilisations right here on our streets between Islam and the rest of us.”

He rants and raves a bit more, before adding: “I’ve no doubt that this is something designed to spark physical clashes between Muslim communities en bloc and the people who are coming in to hold a demonstration. They are out of it. The people who are going to get it in the neck, who are going to get the blame when it all goes wrong, are ordinary white working class communities. The people behind this are pushing for a low level civil war.”

From railing against the support given to the EDL from the Daily Star, he concludes that the real agenda of these Zionists is a civil war on the streets of Britain and “nuke” Arab countries in the Middle East.

Now while Griffin is right to be alarmed and even outraged at the support the Daily Star is giving to the EDL – something we shall be taking up very shortly – his conclusions contain traditional nazi anti-Semitism. Suddenly the actions of one newspaper owner – if indeed it has reached that level – suddenly becomes an international Zionist conspiracy. The actions of a single British newspaper suddenly becomes the work of a "powerful organisation" who are "used to manipulating" and hell bent on a world war.

The Jewish community in Britain is totally alarmed and appalled at the rise of the EDL and the potential conflict it might cause. They are appalled because they have a proud history of opposing racism and fascism. But even if you look at it from a self-interest perspective there is no sense. Why would British Jews want race war on the streets as that would ultimately only lead to increased support for extremist groups – on all sides – and so increased terrorism for which the Jewish community would be a target.

As for the Daily Star I think it simply running an anti-Muslim campaign with an ‘English Nationalist’ agenda. Its support for the EDL follows the platform it has given over the last couple of years to the English Democrats, of which the Star’s TV critic Gary Bushell is a leading member.

Griffin is scared, though not necessarily for the reasons he gives in the interview. The EDL, backed by the Daily Star, is gaining momentum and the BNP could lose out. The hooligans following the EDL are increasingly voicing their contempt for the BNP, believing the fascist party is more interested in good jobs in Brussels rather than defending the white race back home. There is now talk of the EDL turning itself into a political party and the BNP is getting left behind.

And I have to be sceptical over Griffin’s concern for a civil war on the streets. The Oldham riots were triggered by a gang of white men running down a street attacking Asians and their property. At the next BNP meeting, attended by Griffin, these men were given a standing ovation.

If Griffin was serious about opposing the EDL then he would immediately expel any BNP member associated with it. And he could start with booting out a BNP candidate in a forthcoming council by-election in the West Midlands who attended a recent EDL protest!

Hope not hate

September 26, 2009

Bond of hate: The BNP and the British Freedom Fighters

8 Comment (s)
What’s on under the suit? Two faces of Shaun Grimsley.
(Skrewdriver was a leading Nazi bonehead band.)
The BNP has shunned the old image of the “boots and braces” skinhead, instead favouring cheap suits, old school shoes and tacky gold jewellery. Simon Cressy proves that the neo-nazi bootboys in the BNP haven’t gone away.

When John Tyndall formed the British National Party in 1982 it inherited a large number of skinhead followers from both the National Front and the British Movement. Tyndall was quite happy with this as he saw the skinheads as the natural foot soldiers of his racist ideology.

After Nick Griffin took over the party leadership in 1999 the attitude towards skinheads cooled. Griffin realised that skinheads did not equate to votes (or membership fees) and publicly shunned them.

However the reality is somewhat different. Last month Searchlight revealed that Eliots Bistro, the Nuneaton pub run by the BNP’s new West Midlands organiser, Alwyn Deacon, hosted a nazi shindig.

Embarrassingly for the BNP, which holds meetings in the pub, and for Deacon, photographs were taken of the drunken event which show skinhead members of the nazi British Freedom Fighters (BFF) along with members of the violent Racial Volunteer Force giving Nazi salutes outside the premises. The incident caused some anger among BNP organisers in the West Midlands and at least one, Chris Turner of Coventry, resigned his position because of it.

But the links between the BFF and the BNP do not stop there. Also pictured with the BFF at Eliots Bistro is Shaun Grimsley, who claims to be the West Midlands commander of the BFF.

Grimsley is the BNP candidate for a Cannock Chase District Council by-election in Heath Hayes East and Wimblebury ward on 15 October 2009. He also admits to being a member of the NF and associated with Blood and Honour, the nazi skinhead organisation.

He says he attended the English Defence League protest in Birmingham on 8 August, which ended in violence, and intends to be present if the EDL marches in Manchester as planned in October.

Grimsley is an unabashed National Socialist. One statement on his Facebook site reads “Hail The British Freedom Fighters, I am a Nazi HAHAHAHAHAHA 88 red scum”. The number 88 is code for HH – Heil Hitler”. Commenting about Rudolf Hess, Hitler’s deputy, Grimsley wrote: “The man I most admire ever”.

When one of his friends made a lengthy posting about the London nail bomber David Copeland, who killed three innocent people including a pregnant woman and injured 129 others, Grimsley left the chilling note “Hero 88”.

Another BFF nazi from the photographs taken outside Eliots Bistro was part of a contingent of Liverpool BNP activists who handed out leaflets outside the TUC Congress in Liverpool last month.

He is believed to be close to Liam Pinkham from Wirral, yet another BFF activist who visited Deacon’s pub. Pinkham was arrested with three others at the BNP’s European election victory rally in Blackpool in June and was charged with racially aggravated intentional harassment.

Pinkham also pleaded guilty to intentionally causing harassment to bookshop staff in July after he took part in a BNP rally in Liverpool city centre. Staff said he burst into the News From Nowhere bookshop and threatened to burn it down.

Griffin claims he does not want nazis in the BNP. We await news of the expulsion of these BFF activists.

Hope Not Hate

Nick Griffin’s hidden agenda

7 Comment (s)

Griffin speaks to an audience of hardcore racists - the Ku Klux Klan and friends
I’m surprised that I’ve never seen the above clip before. I’m equally surprised that it’s been viewed less than 9,000 times. This is the kind of evidence that needs to be spread far and wide. Nick Griffin openly declares that the BNP hide behind a soft lexis of propaganda in order to gain popularity. Perhaps more shockingly, he happily reveals his true agenda — a whites-only Britain.

In the video, Griffin imparts BNP spin-tactics. He says:
'There’s a difference between selling out your ideas and selling your ideas. The British National Party isn’t about selling out its ideas — which are your ideas too — but we are determined now to sell them. That means to use saleable words.'
Basically, Griffin has told an audience consisting of David Duke supporters, i.e. racists, that the BNP holds the same views. He categorically says that the BNP has not changed at its core. It’s still the same fascist National Front that it used to be. Yet it is gaining popularity. Some people are starting believe that they aren’t racist, just realist. They’re falling for the softly-softly BNP spin and being lured in by the buzz-words. Griffin sheds light on their new propaganda tactic:
'[selling our ideas] basically means using saleable words… free­dom, security, identity, democracy. Nobody can criticise them. Nobody can come at you and attack you on those ideas. They are saleable.'
Griffin clearly identifies areas that the BNP can manipulate and distort in order to gain support for the party. The idea that your freedom is at risk from foreign invaders, you should feel insecure because of the risk of terrorism, misrepresent­ing perceptions of political correctness as erosion of identity and heritage. I could go on. Hyperbole, fear-mongering, and scapegoats are the BNP’s most powerful weapons.

The man showed that he is intent on duping the public into thinking the BNP holds legitimate views when he said if the BNP is “subtle enough” then they may find themselves in control of the media, and subsequently in a position to brain­wash the electorate into wanting the removal of all non-whites from Britain. This is abhorrent, scary, and once again highlights that the BNP are not fit to be listed as a political party.

Griffin says:
“If you hold that [fascist policy] out as your sole aim to start with, you’re going to get nowhere. So, instead of talking about racial purity we talk about identity.”
The evidence just comes through thick and fast. The BNP do not want non-whites in Britain, no matter what they say in the press or on their website. They will use the public’s desperation at our current ruling elite to gain popularity and pursue their hidden motives. The truth lies under the surface as has been proven time and time and time again.

Nick Griffin once said:
'Without the white race nothing matters. [Other right-wing parties] believe that the answer to the race question is integration and a futile attempt to create “Black Britons”, while we affirm that non-whites have no place here at all and will not rest until every last one has left our land.'
There’s no room for the BNP in Britain.

The Linc

Jews decry hotel plan for Nazi massacre site

16 Comment (s)
The nazis in action at Babi Yar
Jewish groups have condemned a plan to build a hotel at Babi Yar, the site of the Nazi massacre of tens of thousands of Jews, on Kiev's edge.

Lawmakers said Kiev's city council approved a plan last week to build dozens of hotels in the next decade - including a three-star hotel to house visiting football fans for Euro 2012 - on what a Babi Yar scholar said was a killing field.

Babi Yar is one of the most sensitive sites for Ukrainian Jews. More than 33,700 Jews were rounded up and shot at the edge of the Babi Yar ravine over two days in late September 1941. In the ensuing months, the sprawling ravine was filled with an estimated 100,000 bodies, among them those of non-Jewish Kiev residents and Red Army prisoners of the Nazis.

The hotel proposal, discussed at a closed council meeting last week, has been described to Ukrainian and Israeli media by a member of Kiev's council, Serhy Melnik, a political opponent of the city's mayor, Leonid Chernovetsky. Mr Melnik told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that 67 of Kiev's city councillors had approved the hotel plan without knowing what they were voting for.

According to Mr Melnik, the Babi Yar site has been included in a list of dozens of the city's parks and other open spaces earmarked for possible construction of hotels to house the hundreds of thousands of football supporters expected for the competition, to be co-hosted with Poland. The decision has attracted controversy in the Israeli media and angered some members of Kiev's council - not least Mr Melnik, who is using the issue to attack the council leadership.

Jewish women await their turn to be slaughtered at Babi Yar
While the council has admitted that a development plan exists for Euro 2012, it has so far refused to discuss details. The controversy has been clouded by the fact the area already has an underground station and some other buildings - structures that some leaders of the city's Jewish community believe should not have been built.

They said there were two issues at stake. First, the proposed new hotel would probably be built in an area that many have been campaigning for years to have designated as a national memorial to the massacre. The second issue is of consistency. Kiev's chief rabbi, Yakov Bleich, said when Jewish community members proposed building a museum and religious complex in that area in 2006, their plans ran into city opposition.

''What we know,'' Rabbi Bleich said, ''is that a resolution was passed by the city council for a hotel in Babi Yar. There is an underground [station] already there and no one screamed. But perhaps people should have screamed.''

The Soviet Union discouraged any remembrance that singled out the Jewish character of a large part of the atrocity, a fact that inspired Yevgeny Yevtushenko's 1961 dissident poem Babi Yar, and Dmitri Shostakovich's 1962 Symphony No. 13, based on the poem. Only in 1991, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, was a memorial unveiled for the Jewish victims, most of whom perished in two days and nights of killing on September 29 and 30, 1941.

Although Babi Yar is most remembered for that massacre, the Nazis used the ravine for mass murder until they retreated from the Soviet Union. In all, it is estimated that 70,000 to 120,000 people were killed there.

The Age

September 25, 2009

Labour routs BNP by-election challenge

4 Comment (s)
Labour has repulsed a council by-election challenge by the BNP - ahead of its party conference next week

In a landslide victory, candidate Stephen King lifted the majority at Hayling, Three Rivers District, Hertfordshire from just 14 votes to 317 with the far right party being forced into third place. The result is a boost for Labour in advance of the Brighton gathering despite analysis of 18 comparable contests in September suggesting an 11.7% projected Tory nationwide lead.

A calculation based on results from 12 wards fought both times by all three major parties gives a line-up of: C 38.3%, Lab 27.4%, Lib Dem 24.2%.

Tories narrowly missed a gain this week at Elwick, Hartlepool Borough in a contest caused by the death of a veteran independent.

Peter Burnett, fighting on a platform of “public services not private profit”, came third ahead of Liberal Democrats at Preston, North Tyneside Borough. This poll was caused by the resignation as a councillor of Tory Linda Arkley after her election as mayor in June.

In another disappointing result in their conference week, Lib Dems polled just 17 in the Hartlepool result although they doubled their vote at Burrsville, Tendring District, Essex.

Local Government Chronicle

Nick Griffin Hears About the Barnbrook Case

6 Comment (s)

Oh blimey, it's that bloody film again...

BNP caught lying - let's spread the word

23 Comment (s)
Richard Barnbrook - the BNP's third highest elected official - has been exposed fabricating three murders in a high profile BNP campaign. He has been found guilty of bringing both the Greater London Authority and the Barking and Dagenham Council into disrepute - his lies show the depths the BNP are willing to stoop to in their vile propaganda war.

Over the last four years the BNP has made substantial gains in East London by whipping up fears and telling lies.

Now they have been caught out and we must make them pay. We have raised an appeal to raise £5,000 to print 150,000 leaflets to distribute around London. We want every household in Barking & Dagenham to know the truth about the lying BNP. We also want to warn the voters in other key areas of London exactly how low the BNP will go in order to win votes and stoke up fears within commnunities.

With the London elections now only just over seven months away there is really no time to lose. Please help us produce the leaflets we need:

Hope not hate

September 24, 2009

Murder claim BNP politician suspended

14 Comment (s)
A BNP politician has been suspended by one authority and censured by another after a probe found he made up details about murders in east London.

London Assembly member Richard Barnbrook [pictured left] said in a video three people had been murdered in three weeks. But figures revealed there were no serious attacks weeks before the video.

The council where he sits, Barking and Dagenham, has suspended him for October and the Assembly has censured him and told him to receive ethics training. The Greater London Authority said he should be censured for his behaviour, make a written apology which should appear on the Assembly's website and his personal blog and take the training in ethics and standards in public office.

Barking and Dagenham Council decided he must repeat the apology on his blog or risk the suspension being extended and can conduct no formal business at the authority during October or use its facilities.

In the video he said: "In Barking and Dagenham alone three weeks ago, there was a murder of a young girl. We don't know who's done it, her girlfriend was attacked inside an educational institute. Again, two weeks ago there was another attack by knives on the streets of Barking and Dagenham where two people were murdered."

The video of Mr Barnbrook was also posted on the video-sharing website YouTube.

In his defence, Mr Barnbrook said that in the first claim the person was killed outside the area in Newham and details had "come out wrong". He also said he spoke "too soon" about the other two "murders", as the victims were on life support at the time.


Barnbrook hearing being webcast now...

144 Comment (s)
You can watch it here.

BNP politician Richard Barnbrook faces ban after 'making up' murders

39 Comment (s)
The BNP’s representative on the London Assembly is facing a six-month ban after he fabricated murder stories to increase fear of knife crime

Richard Barnbrook, who is accused of bringing the authority into disrepute, may become the first politician in its history to be suspended when the case is heard today. An independent investigation found that Mr Barnbrook’s comments on YouTube about non-existent murders had showed “wilful disregard for the truth”. He said that he had got his words “jumbled up”.

City Hall’s standards committee will consider a penalty for Mr Barnbrook, who was elected in May, after he was found to have brought both the London Assembly, and Barking and Dagenham Council, the East London authority to which he was elected in 2006, into disrepute. Their options range from forcing him to apologise, undertake a course or participate in conciliation, to suspending him from both authorities for up to six months.

Supporters of both the BNP and Unite Against Fascism, which campaigns against rightwing groups, are planning to attend the hearing. London Patriots, a fringe rightwing organisation, says it will bus supporters to City Hall, raising fears of clashes between the groups.

In a video, which was posted on YouTube in May last year, Mr Barnbrook said: “Three weeks ago, there was a murder of a young girl. We don’t know who’s done it, her girlfriend was attacked inside an educational institute. Again, two weeks ago there was another attack by knives on the streets of Barking and Dagenham where two people were murdered.”

The Metropolitan police confirmed that there had been no murders or serious incidents in the time period cited, and that murders in the area were actually decreasing.

During a joint investigation by the GLA and the council, Mr Barnbrook admitted to investigators that he was aware that his comments were inaccurate. He was accused of making up the murders because knife crime was an emotive issue in the capital at the time. Valerie Rush, a Labour cabinet member at Barking and Dagenham Council, who made a complaint about Mr Barnbrook, said he had “openly and outrageously” lied to “whip up fears in the London community”.

Mr Barnbrook has since changed his position and yesterday told The Times that his comments should be excused because he had dyslexia. He said that he was the subject of a witchhunt because he had “humiliated” Boris Johnson, and his Tory colleagues, by highlighting the issue of knife crime.

Referring to the “young girl” he had spoken about in the video, he said: “I said she was murdered in Barking, but I should have said she was from Barking. She was actually murdered in Newham. The two additional murders that I spoke about, I should have said attempted murders. We had done five takes of the video. Some of the words would have got jumbled up.”

He said that once he realised the video was incorrect, it was removed.

Mr Barnbrook had been the most senior elected member of the BNP until June, when its leader Nick Griffin and Andrew Brons were both voted into the European Parliament. His disciplinary hearing was scheduled for July but was delayed when he claimed stress-related illness and was signed off work for two weeks.

Times Online

September 23, 2009

Midlands BNP officers speak at German neo-Nazi rally

31 Comment (s)
A British National Party regional officer spoke at a nazi festival in east Germany last month alongside violent fascists and extremists from several European countries.

Mike Bell, secretary of the party’s West Midlands region, attended the Fest der Völker (Festival of Nations) in Pössneck, Thüringen, with three other BNP activists. They included Dave and Nina Brown from Nottinghamshire, who were taking time out from campaigning for a Broxtowe District Council by-election on 24 September, where Mr Brown was the BNP candidate.

Their presence at the event on 12 September proves once again that the BNP’s rejection of nazism is only skin deep. Leading racist extremists from across Europe spoke alongside Bell and Mrs Brown at the far-right rock festival. They included Dan Eriksson and Varenus Luckmann from Sweden, Andreas Mayerhofer from Austria, Matthias Fischer from Germany, Bojan Rasate from Bulgaria, Pascal Trost from Switzerland, Milán Széth from Hungary and Patrik Vondral from the Czech Republic.

Fest Der Volker T Shirt
Behind them on the platform was a banner depicting two steel-helmeted soldiers of the German army and bearing the clapped-out fascist slogan “Europe Awake!”. In front of them was a mob of around 500 nazi boneheads, misfits and sociopaths.

Four BNP activists are known to have attended, two of whom were featured speakers.
Nina Brown
Nina Brown

Nina Brown is the organiser of Broxtowe BNP and a Brinsley parish councillor. Though now loyal to Nick Griffin, the BNP leader, she was one of the original “Voice of Change” rebels in December 2007, led by Sadie Graham, at that time her best friend.

It was Brown who let Griffin’s security team into Graham’s house to remove the disputed computer equipment. She immediately resigned as Broxtowe organiser and East Midlands regional secretary when it became apparent that she had been duped by Martin Reynolds and his security team.

Brown wrote a statement of resignation on the rebels’ Enough is Enough website. However, following the collapse of the attempted coup d’état she quickly fell back into the fold and is now very much “on message”.
Dave Brown
Dave Brown

Husband of Nina and also a Brinsley parish councillor, Dave Brown was the BNP candidate for the Broxtowe District Council by-election in Toton and Chilwell Meadows ward on 24 September, caused by the resignation due to ill health of the Conservative councillor Wilfred Childs.

Brown, a plumber, was also one of the “Voice of Change” rebels, but like his wife quickly got back in line when the whole charade fell apart. Both he and his wife are thought to be close to the neo-nazi musician Steve “Stigger” Callendine, formerly a member of the notorious white supremacist band Skrewdriver.
Mike Bell
Mike Bell

Originally from the Merseyside area Mike Bell now lives in the Northfield area of Birmingham and is the BNP’s West Midlands regional secretary. Until recently he was the organiser of the BNP’s South Birmingham branch, which he claims can hold meetings of over 200 people.

Bell has the status of a minor celebrity in the party as he recently managed to ask a question from the audience on the BBC’s Question Time.

His presence on the platform of a nazi rally in Germany might come as a shock to those who have encountered him selling poppies on behalf of the British Legion and laying wreaths to commemorate those who fell fighting the Nazis on Remembrance Day. Bell attended the Fest der Völker with another unidentified BNP activist from the Birmingham area.
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BNP wades into Nortel redundancy row

3 Comment (s)
The controversy surrounding this year’s job losses at Nortel’s UK operation has taken a bizarre turn after the far-right British National Party waded into the row.

In an open letter to the administrators, Ernst & Young, party leader Nick Griffin claimed he was “under no illusions about the root cause of this disgraceful episode lies [sic] in the global economy”.

"Your company still have the power [sic] to assert human morality against the imperatives of the financial machine,” he railed, proclaiming that he would “free Britain from this global system before it ruins not merely the lives of individuals but the life of the planet as a whole!”

Ernst & Young has come in for considerable criticism over the handling of approximately 380 redundancies at Nortel’s UK operation during 2009, facing allegations that employees were let go without consultation or redundancy pay, whilst the North American operation was finding the cash to pay hefty retention bonuses to key executives.

In a previous statement sent to MicroScope, Ernst & Young defended its policy, saying: “Redundant employee claims are treated in accordance with insolvency law which sets out a priority of payments and the Joint Administrators, as officers of the Court, will comply with this fully.

“Redundancy, pay in lieu of notice and other benefit claims are unsecured and these claims must be treated equally with the claims of other unsecured creditors as specified by UK legislation. The Redundancy Payments Service [has] paid the statutory element of claims for non-payment of notice and redundancy pay. No consultation took place as it was not reasonably practicable to do so; and employment legislation recognises that there are situations in which swift action needs to be taken and it is not reasonably practicable to consult,” the statement concluded.

Griffin, who was elected as MEP for the north-west of England in May 2009, has no known connection with Nortel or its laid-off employees, most of whom are based outside his constituency in Northern Ireland.

Radical support has also been forthcoming from the other side of the political spectrum, with Irish anarchist groups lending their support to picketing Nortel workers.

Ernst & Young stood by its previous comments, and at the time of writing had not dignified the BNP’s statement with a response, while a Nortel spokesperson declined to comment.


September 22, 2009

File on 4 - Is far-right extremism a threat?

2 Comment (s)
Yet another right-wing nutcase
Britain's security services have focused on Islamic extremism since the late 1990s but as BBC File on 4's Allan Urry discovered there are now concerns some resources should be devoted to the growing threat of far-right terror plots

When two attackers firebombed the Islamic Centre, a mosque in the heart of Luton's Bury Park area in May, they created a siege mentality for local Muslims, according to mosque official Farasat Latif.

"We are on edge as a community; everyone is expecting another attack," he told File on 4.

Tensions have been high in Luton since Al Muhajiroun, a group banned at the firebombed mosque, organised a demonstration in March against the war in Afghanistan as the Royal Anglian Regiment marched through the town after a tour of duty. This in turn sparked a counter-demonstration by a group called the United Peoples of Luton. This group became the English Defence League (EDL), whose protests against Islamic extremists around England have led to claims that it attracts far-right extremists hoping to foment racial tensions and encourage further protests, which the group denies.

The Islamic Centre received hate mail after the March protest, but there are fears the firebombing was more sinister - a premeditated attack rather than a hot-headed reaction to the controversial demonstration.

"Police told us that the getaway car was stolen nine months before the incident and had been kept off the road for a good eight to nine months," said Mr Latif. "Maybe the next attack could be an incendiary device left in the mosque, because people come with bags and we have many nationalities, so an English person wouldn't stand out."

He said mosque officials have been considering whether people should be searched before they enter, which could be a wise precaution in the current climate.

Earlier this month Neil Lewington, 44, a white supremacist from Reading, was jailed for being found in possession of explosives as he was about to board a train. Lewington, a fascist loner who hated Asians, regularly visited two white supremacist websites - Combat 18, a British neo-Nazi group, and a website for the Ku Klux Klan. According to Dr Matthew Feldman, an expert in far-right extremism who gave evidence at Lewington's trial, the authorities were fortunate to arrest him before he took any drastic action.

"I have every reason to believe this person has posed a very serious threat to public order in this country," he told File on 4.

Lewington, however was only arrested by chance, after being found drunk at a railway station.

Another lone far-right extremist, Martyn Gilleard, who was found to have four home-made nail bombs when police raided his flat, was also arrested by chance as part of an investigation into child pornography. Like others described as "lone wolves", he visited extremist websites and web forums that provided information about how to make bombs.

Edmund Standing, author of The BNP and The Online Fascist Network, said: "The fact that a lot of people [who use these websites] may be fantasists and do not pose a direct threat, doesn't mean these forums and websites don't, because for every 20 of them there could be one person who is actually twisted enough do something like this. These kind of groups and these kind of forums create an atmosphere in which it is seen to be more and more acceptable to express these hateful views."

He said the websites advocated "lone wolf tactics" where anonymous individuals turned up at meetings and carried out subversive and violent actions.

"We face a far more difficult task dealing with these individuals, lone extremists who go to these groups or hang around the edges of these groups and become radicalised," added Mr Standing.

In fact, the threat posed by lone extremists was recently flagged up by a member of the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo), while a senior member of the Metropolitan Police has voiced concerns about the possibility of a major terror attack by right wing extremists.

In April 2007 the government began its Preventing Violent Extremism (PVE) action plan to work with Muslim communities to "isolate, prevent and defeat violent extremism". There are suggestions the government is planning to widen the scope of PVE to cover far right extremists as well, but no minister would be interviewed by File on 4. But a statement from the Department of Communities and Local Government said: "Government is working to address all forms of extremism, including violent far right groups. Over the coming months, we will be implementing a more comprehensive strategy to strengthen resilience to such extremism."

Dr Feldman thinks the move would be a timely intervention: "I can't recommend enough the work that the police are doing in terms of a preventive agenda and I'm sure it's going to move into considering these very overtly racist and far-right websites that are clearly inciting violence and racial hatred."

He said most security service resources had been devoted to Islamic extremism since the late 1990s and the attacks of 7 July 2005. But he added: "I think the appreciation now is that doesn't mean the far right has gone away... some of the treatment and attention to these issues has in fact galvanised a white British nationalist in terms of acting where before they would have stayed at home grumbling."

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Teachers union 'terrified' of BNP

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The National Association of Schoolmasters/Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT) is terrified by the current attempts by the British National Party (BNP) to infiltrate the governing bodies of schools in multi-ethnic communities, its deputy general secretary, Gerry Bartlett, has said.

Mr Bartlett told delegates at this year's Lib Dem conference that the NASUWT remained implacably opposed to the BNP as well as other extremist parties. But he revealed a genuine fear that the BNP has been trying to "secure positions on the governing bodies of schools that serve multi-ethnic communities".

The teacher's union has been campaigning for four years for an amendment to the teachers' contract to prevent those who are members of the BNP and other far-right organisations from being employed as teachers. The proposed contractual change for teachers would mean that membership of a political party such as the BNP would prevent a qualified teacher from being able to take up a post in a school. The NASUWT believes this would bring the teaching profession in line with the prison service and the police force and ensure children and young people are protected from exposure to the views of far right organisations.

In a recent blog post on the Guardian's Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT, said " If racists and fascists have no place in these institutions [the prisons service and police force] then they have no place in schools or indeed any other public service".

Such a change to the conditions of employment for teachers, she argued, would "prevent the role of the teacher from being used as a cloak of respectability for those who engage in such activities".

At last night's fringe meeting Mr Barlett expressed dismay at the lack of support for the union's campaign and proposals.

"We equally don't understand why there isn't greater support for our call to British National party members from being banned from teaching just as they are banned from employment in the prison service and the police force," he added.

Lee Barnes talks bollocks again

26 Comment (s)
Yes, I know he always talks bollocks and that it's hardly original to have a go at the BNP's pet lunatic trainee lawyer, but on this occasion Barnes seems to have excelled himself. What has him foaming at the mouth on this occasion is the news that the Conservative Party has received a pile of readies from billionaire Alan Howard.

Actually, it's not such an enormous amount for the hedge-fund billionaire, considering that last year his charitable trust spent £1.6m on holocaust education and other bits and pieces - certainly less than £50,000 spread over more than two years - so we're wondering what all the fuss is about. If it ain't the money, presumably it's the fact that this particular billionaire is Jewish, which has annoyed Barnes so much that he has almost overdosed on the vitriol. The title of the piece says it all really.
'Zionist Capitalist Buys the Conservative Party'
Presumably, Barnes has to point out that Howard is Jewish to stop any anti-semitic waverers in the BNP moving to the Tories as they sense a Cameron victory in the offing at the General Election next year. We've heard on a number of occasions that Griffin and the band of idiots that run the party are getting increasingly nervous at the idea of the Conservatives forming a government, seeing a lot of the less ideologically sound recent intake of members defecting in droves to a party that might actually have some real power and that may have some idea of how to use it.

That the nerves are showing is clear. When agitated, Barnes does what all frightened idiots do - he starts hurling crude and almost incoherent abuse. For newer readers, it's worth bearing in mind that Lee Barnes is the acknowledged legal spokesman for the BNP, a party that claims it is the height of morality, integrity and sanity.
'Looks like the old whore Cameron will be dropping his britches, poking his arse into the air, smearing vaseline on his ring bit and then smiling whilst he takes it up the Gary Glitter for Israel.'
Lovely. We've had cause to note Barnes' deep interest in gay sex before and have naturally wondered if he is in fact gay. Not that we care but his party prefers to keep the gay imagery hidden away where it can't frighten the horses rather than posting it on a publicy-accessible blog. However, the ever-egomaniacal Barnes puts us right via a post in the comments section at Harry's Place.
'I prefer to remain distant sex god to the gayers, an everest yet to be climbed, an inaccesible icon of male sexuality, the source of constant lust to both sexes due to my unattainability.'
Yeah, whatever you say, Lee, you fruitloop.