31 July 2009

Electoral Commission to fine BNP - again

From the Electoral Commission website, July 29th:

Regulatory Action

The British National Party and the party’s Regional Accounting Unit were both granted an extension to the deadline for submitting their statements of accounts. Both have failed to deliver their accounts within the extended deadline so the party will be fined a minimum of £500 and the accounting unit will be fined a minimum £100, this figure will increase if the accounts are more than three months late.

Peter Wardle Chief Executive of the Electoral Commission said: “Political parties play a crucial part in our democracy. But, now more than ever, voters need to be confident that party funding is transparent and that parties will comply with the law.

“While we are disappointed that the British National Party and its accounting unit have failed to submit their accounts on time, I’m glad to see that the majority of the large parties and accounting units have understood the need to ensure their accounts are submitted to us by the deadline set. Transparency about party finances is one of the key factors that can help public confidence in politics.”

In May, the Commission published the financial accounts of 281 political parties and 483 accounting units whose gross income and total expenditure were each £250,000 or less. Accounting units with income and expenditure that are both £25,000 or under are not required to submit their accounts.

The Commission has published a comparison of the parties’ gross annual income and total expenditure from 2003 to 2008. This is available on our website.

The Commission is currently reviewing all the accounts submitted. Where this review suggests that there may have been any breaches of the law we will raise this with the parties and where necessary use our regulatory powers.

Electoral Commission

Burnley BNP councillor tried to defraud insurance company

A serving Burnley councillor could face criminal charges after a civil court judge ruled he tried to defraud an insurance company.

Coun. Derek Dawson, the British National Party councillor for Gannow, made a claim against Zurich Insurance which would have initially been worth up to £30,000. The claim related to an accident in 2003 at Zurich customer Mr Stephen Hargreaves' house in Whalley, where it was alleged Coun. Dawson's severely fractured ankle was caused by a ladder being knocked onto his leg by a car driven by Mr Hargreaves.

As it was a civil trial no punishment was handed down by the court, but Zurich was granted permission to pursue Dawson and Hargreaves for Contempt of Court proceedings through the Attorney General. If successful, this will attract a criminal penalty.

But Burnley's BNP leader Coun. Sharon Wilkinson defended Coun. Dawson, calling him "an excellent councillor" and even questioned whether the judge was influenced by Dawson's "political persuasion".

During the case, which began last year before starting again this month, Deputy Circuit Judge John Morgan heard evidence at Burnley County Court, which proved the fracture was caused by Dawson falling off a ladder rather than Hargreaves' car knocking the ladder onto him.

Coun. Wilkinson said: "At the start of the case, the judge was made aware Derek was a BNP councillor. He then chose to believe the evidence of Zurich's expert engineer and not Derek's expert engineer as to how his injuries were caused. Whether the judge was influenced by Derek's political persuasion we can only speculate. Derek is an excellent councillor and I don't think this will affect his position."

But Burnley Council leader, Coun. Gordon Birtwistle called for Coun. Dawson's resignation saying: "Any councillor that attempts to commit fraud is not a fit and proper person to be a councillor."

Mr Stephen Langton, representing Hargreaves, appealed against the judge's decision, which was not granted. Mr Langton and Mr James Hurd, representing Dawson, also appealed against the imposition of court costs, but again the judge found in favour of Zurich. The costs, which are expected to run into tens of thousands of pounds, will be decided later.

Mr Simon McCann, representing Zurich, argued: "Dawson and Hargreaves colluded together to defraud Zurich. Fraudsters should not benefit."

Mr Scott Clayton, claims fraud and investigations manager for Zurich, said: "Fraud is something we take very seriously as this case shows. Unfortunately, some people will go to great lengths to secure financial gain. We challenge fraud because the costs in challenging these cases are spiralling at the expense of the honest customer."

Burnley Express

29 July 2009

La Mesa Man Convicted Of Making Threats Against Obama Online

A La Mesa man who posted racially charged comments on Yahoo about killing Barack Obama during the presidential campaign was convicted today of making threats against a major candidate for president.

Walter Bagdasarian - who was indicted in January - faces up to five years in federal prison when he is sentenced Oct. 26 by U.S. District Judge Marilyn Huff. The judge found Bagdasarian guilty on two counts after an hourlong bench trial in which no witnesses were presented. The 47-year-old defendant - who is free on $100,000 bail - left the courtroom without speaking to reporters.

In finding Bagdasarian guilty, Huff said the defendant's Internet postings last Oct. 22 were intended as a threat when they were written. Others who were reading Bagdasarian's writings told him that law enforcement was monitoring the Web site and one reader even told him that he was going to report him, the judge noted.

The writings were subsequently reported to the Secret Service, which tracked them to Bagdasarian's home computer, which was in his wife's name.

Bagdasarian used the computer to post threatening messages on a Yahoo Finance message board, including one that read, "He will have a 50 cal in the head soon," and 20 minutes later posted a message that read "Shoot the n-------," said Assistant U.S. Attorney William Cole.

The defendant also sent e-mail messages containing a link to a YouTube video depicting a vehicle exploding after being hit by a round from a firearm, the prosecutor said. "The defendant admitted that he posted the statement(s) on his home computer," Cole told the judge. "When people make threats, things happen."

During a search of the defendant's home, agents found six weapons, including a .50-caliber rifle, Cole said.

Defense attorney Ezekiel Cortez argued unsuccessfully that Bagdasarian was drunk when he posted the comments in a political discussion chat room last Oct. 22. The attorney said the original comments were made about midnight or 1 a.m., then Bagdasarian came back on the computer at 8 a.m. and said he was drunk hours earlier.


Norfolk Unity asks - if US law enforcement can take action against these racist fruitloops what's stopping the British police from doing the same?

BNP mother-of-three admits assault

A mother-of-three who has previously claimed to be a member of the British National Party (BNP) has pleaded guilty to common assault and perverting the course of justice. Helen Forster (see here and here for more info), of Park Place, Gravesend, admitted the charges at Maidstone Crown Court on July 27.

The 32-year-old, who has previously stated she has produced leaflets for the party, has been remanded in custody and will be sentenced on September 7.

The two charges relate to an incident in Fort Gardens, Gravesend, on May 23. In May, Forster was given a 10-month suspended sentence at Maidstone Crown Court after being convicted of intimidation. In this case, the court had heard she had encouraged a group of children to throw eggs and fire an airgun at the home of her neighbour Meherjan Miah, who lives there with her young children.

News Shopper

28 July 2009

BNP leader extends sick pledge to capsize refugee boats

When I came face to face with BNP leader Nick Griffin on his first day at the European Parliament in Strasbourg I thought he might find urgent business elsewhere in the building.

After all, this was a rare occasion when he didn't have burly minders at his side to intimidate interviewers who dare ask awkward questions. And he would have been only too well aware of the Mirror's anti-BNP Hope not Hate campaign in the run-up to the European elections. But, in fairness to Griffin, he was only too happy to air his views on, for example, global warming ("a man-made myth").

I gave him an opportunity to back down on his comment that Europe should sink boats transporting illegal immigrants from the coast of North Africa.

"Do you regret making that statement?" I asked.

True to form Griffin replied that he only had one regret: that he did not extend his murderous scheme to vessels transporting refugees to those in the Adriatic and Atlantic. It was exactly the kind of nakedly racist response that makes it impossible to take seriously the BNP's claims to being proper politicial contenders.

I would bet that Griffin would not have considered Save The Children's recent report into the condition of youngsters trying to get from Libya into Italy. Had he done so he would notice that most of the children on the barely seaworthy boats being turned back from Europe have fled war in countries like Somalia and Eritrea.

As Fosca Nomis, spokesperson for Save the Children, said: "Many of the children on the boats from Libya had been forced to travel thousands of miles, often alone, to escape conflict and poverty in countries such as Somalia, Eritrea and Nigeria. In ten months we received over 2,000 children entitled to receive protection in Italy. They were often exhausted, hungry, severely dehydrated and terrified after the journey. Many children have recounted harrowing stories, of rape and of having to see dead family members thrown out of the boat.

"Many of the child migrants had been locked up in adult detention centres before boarding the boats for Italy, and we are afraid they may be returned there when they arrive in Libya. Conditions are notoriously bad. Human rights organisations have persistently reported allegations of torture and ill-treatment at the centres in a country which has not signed the Geneva Refugee Convention."

This is the kind of inconvenient truth that gets in the way of Griffin's deliberately controversial - but totally hollow - soundbites.


26 July 2009

BNP warning to public - "If we duff you up it's your fault"

BNP shut door on White Van Man

Gipsy-bashing bosses of the British National Party have had to ban the mobile homes and caravans of their OWN supporters from their summer festival.

They had hoped to encourage scores of far-right campers to attend next month’s Red, White and Blue jamboree in the Derbyshire village of Denby. But their plans have been scuppered by local fears about traffic, noise and disruption.

So BNP chiefs have had to warn off travelling fans. And that could hit attendance at the event as the party has been ­particularly keen to bring in ­supporters from all over Europe.

A spokesman for Amber Valley Council said: “The council’s chief executive is responding to complaints from residents after last year’s event. “They were about the number of caravans on the site giving rise to traffic and noise issues. He is asking the council to apply for an injunction to prevent caravans entering the site because of concerns that planning and caravan legislation will be breached.”

Last year, revellers clashed with anti-fascists protesting at the event. Riot police with shields and visors used batons and police dogs to control the mayhem as residents in the quiet village cowered in their homes.

BNP leader Nick Griffin, 50, has described regular travelling people as “anti-social and criminal” – although it has been revealed that he is descended from gipsies himself.

Daily Star

24 July 2009

Woeful West walloped!

Norwich North voters gave a two fingered salute to the BNP and its bogus vicar in yesterday's hard fought by-election, rewarding the racist party with a deposit-losing 2.7% of the vote - putting the "reverend" Robert West in seventh place, behind Craig Murray, the "Honest Man" candidate.

The full result from the Press Association:

Chloe Smith (C) 13,591 (39.54%, +6.29%)
Chris Ostrowski (Lab) 6,243 (18.16%, -26.70%)
April Pond (LD) 4,803 (13.97%, -2.22%)
Glenn Tingle (UKIP) 4,068 (11.83%, +9.45%)
Rupert Read (Green) 3,350 (9.74%, +7.08%)
Craig Murray (Honest) 953 (2.77%)
Robert West (BNP) 941 (2.74%)
Bill Holden (Ind) 166 (0.48%, -0.17%)
Howling Laud (Loony) 144 (0.42%)
Anne Fryatt (NOTA) 59 (0.17%)
Thomas Burridge (Libertarian) 36 (0.10%)
Peter Baggs (Ind) 23 (0.07%)

C maj 7,348 (21.37%)
16.49% swing Lab to C
Electorate 75,124; Turnout 34,377 (45.76%, -15.33%)
2005: Lab maj 5,459 (11.61%) - Turnout 47,033 (61.09%)
Gibson (Lab) 21,097 (44.86%); Tumbridge (C) 15,638 (33.25%); Whitmore (LD) 7,616 (16.19%); Holmes (Green) 1,252 (2.66%); Youles (UKIP) 1,122 (2.39%); Holden (Ind) 308 (0.65%)

The BNP realised that it was in for a drubbing in Norwich North some time ago, and though it announced its intention to stand the dodgy West in a blaze of hype that saw excitable BNP members predict their first MP, it quickly became obvious the party's campaign was firmly stuck in some very deep mud.

The party attempted to stir disharmony in the constituency by falsely claiming that African immigrants were being housed ahead of locals in Norwich, and West became a figure of ridicule as doubts about his status as a "reverend" surfaced and dogged him throughout the campaign.

Realising the party was on a hiding to nothing the BNP stopped mentioning the by-election, and national support for West was not forthcoming. Planned visits to Norwich by BNP Euro MEPs Nick Griffin and Andrew Brons were shelved so as not to taint the pair with the impending disaster, and the puny Norfolk BNP organisation was left to sink or swim on its own.

It sank - and how!

The BNP's dismal Norwich North result falls into a clear pattern that has emerged since the heat of the Parliamentary expenses scandal has abated. In three significant local by-elections the racist party has seen its share of the vote tumble.

Last week in Nuneaton Arbury and Stockingford (Warwickshire County Council) - a division the BNP thought it could win - their vote share crashed by 11% as two thirds of those who had voted for the racist party in June deserted them.

Yesterday, in Reddish North (Stockport), the BNP vote share fell by 6.6% as more than half their votes evaporated - bad news for Nick Griffin, as Stockport falls within his North West Euro-region constituency. And in Dormanstown (Redcar-Cleveland) the BNP again managed to lose more than half its votes, its share again down by 6%.

As we saw in June, despite Nick Griffin's claim that the expenses scandal and disquiet at the scale of immigration amounted to a "perfect storm" for the BNP, the party managed to increase its vote by only 1.6%, and only disgusted stay-at-home Labour voters allowed him and Andrew Brons to win their Euro seats.

Griffin's lucky success was the only thing disguising what was a disastrous election for the BNP given the circumstances in which it took place. In fact it's pretty obvious that had the expenses scandal not broken when it did then the BNP vote would have fallen, with the happy result that Griffin's alleged electoral Midas Touch would have been exposed for the self-serving fiction it always was, and that with nothing to show for all the money, time and effort expended by the BNP in June the party would now be looking at its all too fallible leader in a very different light.

The Norwich North result shows that the BNP will never achieve power in the only place that matters - Westminster - and their disastrous vote losses in recent local by-elections give a true picture of the situation viz-a-viz the electorate and the BNP. Whichever way the BNP wants to look at it that picture is one of utter electoral failure.

Finally, we should like to mention the tireless anti-fascist campaigners of HOPE not hate and other organisations, and thank them for their unstinting efforts in getting out the truth of Robert West and the BNP in Norwich North. And to our list of people to thank we'd like to add Nick Griffin MEP, for providing us with the sitting duck candidate that was the ropey "reverend" Robert West. We couldn't have chosen better ourselves.

Report by Atreus (in his living room) and Denise Garside (by email from Berchtesgaden!)

23 July 2009

Who do you think you are kidding...?

On the trail of the BNP as it makes its first, shambolic appearance at the European Parliament in Strasbourg

It is a humid July day in Strasbourg, and inside the Louise Weiss Building it feels like the start of school term. Journalists and politicians, assembled for the opening session of the European Parliament, are greeting each other like old friends outside the main debating chamber, known in a typical piece of EU jargon as the Hemicycle. Here, in the glass and pine atrium of this imposing cylindrical edifice - Britain's signature contribution to which is a garish floral carpet in the staff bar that bears more than a hint of cross-Channel ferry - you might spot Daniel Cohn-Bendit, the ex-revolutionary French Green and the closest thing the EU has to a pop star, strolling around with his entourage of admirers. Or Nigel Farage, the leader of the UK Independence Party (Ukip), as he lambasts the rise of "the European military superpower" in front of assembled TV cameras. The atmosphere here, compared to Westminster, is open and collegiate.

Hidden away, however, at the end of a winding corridor on the top floor of an adjoining administrative block, a strange meeting is taking place. Convened by Andreas Mölzer of Austria's immigrant-hating Freedom Party, it is a meeting of the non-inscrits, the "non-attached" MEPs, from parties that have failed to make it into one of the mainstream coalitions. Aside from a few mavericks, such as Diane Dodds of Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party, this means the far right - including two of Britain's new crop of MEPs: Nick Griffin and Andrew Brons of the British National Party. Although the BNP is not a traditional fascist party or Nazi organisation, its constitution commits it to "restoring . . . the overwhelmingly white make-up of the British population that existed in Britain prior to 1948".

Earlier in the day, having travelled across France by car, Brons and Griffin had ­commanded the attention of the British press corps when they made their first, tentative appearance at the Hemicycle. Now they are due at a more furtive gathering. I remove my bright yellow press badge, slip it into my pocket, and watch an in­ternational assembly of bigots file into the conference room: Krisztina Morvai of Jobbik, the gypsy-hating Hungarian party with its own private, uniformed militia; the French Holocaust denier Jean-Marie Le Pen of the Front National, along with his daughter Marine; assorted podgy members of Belgium's Flemish Interest and the Netherlands' Party for Freedom, both of which are anti-Islam.

Then, ambling down the corridor, come Griffin and Brons, accompanied by Simon Darby, the BNP's press officer, Jackie Griffin (wife of Nick) and a large minder in an ill-fitting suit. Outside the conference chamber stand a few men and women wearing tourist passes and speaking in French. One of them, barely out of his teens, clutches copies of a magazine titled Identitaires. This is the in-house magazine of the French sect Bloc Identitaire, which runs a Europe-wide "news" agency called Novopress that distributes far-right propaganda. Griffin walks up and shakes his hand. "We've met before, haven't we?" he says. They make slightly awkward conversation, the young man explaining that his group has "a good relationship" with the Front National. Griffin makes a vague offer to help get the magazine translated into English - "for those of us who are interested in identity", he says, sighing. They then follow the remaining members into the conference room.

The collection of oddballs on the other side of the door is the dirty secret of the European Parliament. In the family of nations that the parliament supposedly represents, the far right has long been the foul-mouthed elderly relative. In a way, Britain has simply caught up with the rest of Europe, which has grudgingly accepted the presence of a few extremists as part of the proportional representation electoral system.

But it is also part of a more disturbing narrative. Lívia Járóka, a Hungarian MEP of Roma origin, is particularly concerned at the support gained by Jobbik, which came third in her country's elections. "[Jobbik's success] has a lot to do with the current economic crisis. People feel very unsafe, so they are ready to accept answers with no real base in fact." She feels the best way to challenge their arguments is to confront them directly. "Rather than ignore the far right, we should try to show that what they are claiming is complete empty propaganda."

Little more than a month since the BNP was elected, its victory looks decidedly hollow. Its negotiations with other far-right parties, conducted at the parliament's other base in Brussels over the past month, have failed to round up enough allies to form an official coalition of MEPs. As a result, they have been denied any extra funding beyond the standard salary (a generous £63,000) and staffing allowance, nor will they have access to any influential positions, such as committee chair or vice-president of the parliament. At most, they will be able to obtain seats on parliamentary committees and use them as a platform to make grandstanding statements - assuming anyone is still listening in six months' time. Griffin, who believes climate change is "bollocks", has already got a seat on the environment committee.

While the BNP and its closest allies remain isolated, however, there has been a wider shift to the right since their electoral successes in June, and some ultranationalist elements have managed to insinuate themselves into the mainstream. This is largely thanks to the actions of two British parties - the Conservatives and Ukip.

Under the direction of David Cameron, the Tories quit the centre-right European People's Party to form a new, Eurosceptic coalition, the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR). Their main partner is Poland's socially con­servative Law and Justice party, which has a well-documented record of anti-gay rhetoric. Its leader in the European Parliament, Michal Kaminski, was a member of the far-right, anti-Semitic National Revival of Poland in the late 1980s. In 2001, the US-based Anti-Defamation League accused him of having attempted to stop the commemoration of a wartime pogrom against Jewish people in the Polish town of Jedwabne. Despite this, the Tory MEP Daniel Hannan this month described Kaminski on his blog for the Daily Telegraph as "a Thatcherite: a sturdy Polish patriot who is nonetheless, in outlook, almost a British Tory".

Not all of Hannan's colleagues share this view. Edward McMillan-Scott, a committed pro-­ European Tory MEP of 25 years, respected across the political divide, was expelled from the Tory group on 15 July when he stood against Kaminski in an election for vice-president of the parliament, and won. Kaminski was the ECR's official candidate for one of the EU's 12 vice-presidential posts, which are divided between the coalitions in what parliamentary insiders cheerfully refer to as a "stitch-up". EU etiquette frowns on MEPs who rock the boat by opposing members of their own coalitions.

Describing himself to me as a "loyal Tory", who spent the 1980s working in Poland with reformist groups, McMillan-Scott regrets going against the wishes of his party, but says he was compelled to do so by what he calls "the rise of respectable fascism" in Europe. He sees the alliance as a grave setback for Cameron's attempts to decontaminate the Conservative brand. "This is where the modern Conservative Party has to tread very carefully," McMillan-Scott tells me. "David Cameron has done a remarkable job in repositioning the party on most things. Its attitude to gays, or the environment, for example, has fundamentally changed. There's just the question of these links [to right-wing extremists in Europe] and one can't close one's mind to it."

To the Labour MEP Michael Cashman, this shows a lack of leadership on Cameron's part. "It suggests that Cameron is unable to control his MEPs and has shifted them where they want to go, which is further to the right."

Ukip's new friends are even more unsavoury. The party's major partner in the Europe of Freedom and Democracy group, formed at the beginning of this month, is Italy's Lega Nord, which, despite being part of Silvio Berlusconi's governing coalition at home, wants autonomy for northern Italy and has a track record of xenophobic and anti-gay statements. Other members of the group - described by Searchlight's Europe correspondent Graeme Atkinson as a "far-right-lite" coalition - include Greek and Slovak extreme nationalists. Nikki Sinclaire, Ukip's first openly lesbian MEP, concedes to having "reservations" about her new allies. "All the parties [of Freedom and Democracy] have signed up to a statement saying they oppose all forms of discrimination. But it is difficult. I think this is going to evolve over the next couple of months."

The Freedom and Democracy coalition is in part a shrewd move to block the more extreme far-right parties, such as the BNP, from forming a coalition - Lega Nord was initially touted as a possible partner for the BNP. However, it creates a potentially more toxic alternative. Most of the British MEPs are now in alliances with extreme conservatives, with whom they will be seeking a common position on a range of issues, from equality legislation to the Convention on Human Rights.

Labour, meanwhile, faces severe problems. The party has only 13 MEPs left in the parliament - level with Ukip. The corresponding drop in funding (which is allocated according to the number of MEPs elected) has led to redundancies among auxiliary staff. Yet, despite the BNP's electoral success being largely down to a collapse in the Labour vote - even if most core Labour voters wouldn't dream of supporting the BNP, they helped it by staying away from the polls - none of the Labour MEPs I spoke to was willing to look beyond short-term causes. I suggested to Cashman, a former EastEnders actor who now represents the West Midlands, that Labour had lost the support of its working-class base. "Bullshit. The ascent of the BNP, along with the ascent of Ukip, can be traced directly to the timing of the Westminster expenses scandal," he said.

Richard Corbett, who lost his seat in Yorkshire and the Humber, where the BNP's Brons was elected, narrows it down even more. "The final nail in the coffin was Hazel Blears resigning [from the cabinet] the day before the election. It was a kick in the teeth to thousands of volunteers in the party and caused maximum damage - in our case, the difference was only a few thousand votes, so she really made that difference."

The damage now extends beyond the Labour Party. Griffin, Brons and their European allies may have failed to form an official grouping, but they share a strategy of trying to play down the overtly racist rhetoric and to influence mainstream debate. "We are treated like pariahs," Marine Le Pen tells me when I ask her what the Front National has in common with the BNP. "The traditional parties try to give us a completely warped image."

I eventually meet Griffin an hour or so after the majority of Britain's 72 MEPs have gathered for a drinks reception hosted by Glenys Kinnock, Britain's Europe minister. Griffin and Brons were pointedly not invited. The snub evidently hurt: throughout the opening week of parliament, journalists were treated to Griffin's witty riposte: "I would not want to share a drink with Glenys Kinnock. She is a political prostitute, simple as that."

Despite fears that the BNP would try to gatecrash the party, Griffin and Brons stayed away. Instead, they returned for a few hours to their "reasonably priced" hotel on the edge of the city, a low-budget dormitory surrounded by decrepit industrial buildings, where Jobbik's Krisztina Morvai also stayed.

When we meet in a busy lobby back at the parliament, the pair come across as rather shambolic. Brons, a retired teacher who used to be in the National Front, burbles along in conversation, quoting de Tocqueville and Voltaire. Griffin has a gift for the soundbite but in longer conversations tends to stare at the floor and rant circuitously. I get lost for a while during a passionate discourse on the genetic similarities of human beings to chimpanzees - and why this means we're all bound to kill each other one day unless we maintain ethnic purity. What is interesting about his language is the way in which he manipulates the fears of a declining 21st-century industrial society. He talks of shadowy "global businesspeople" (as opposed to a global financial system), presents human cultures as endangered species (rather than as products of our collective activities), and refers to the apocalyptic threat of peak oil (but not, as we know, climate change).

The suggestion that Britain has benefited from immigration is dismissed as "self-hating racism", but to avoid accusations of racism on his own part, Griffin takes cultural relativism to an extreme. He deplores the "Islamification of Brit­ain", but says Muslims are free to behave as they like "in their own countries. We don't have a right to interfere". Indeed, in his maiden speech, given during a parliamentary debate on Iran, Griffin appeared to defend President Ahmadinejad's regime, describing the pro-democracy pro­tests as a cover for "a third illegal and counterproductive attack by the west on the Muslim world".

Although the BNP's view of society makes no class distinctions, Griffin appeals to "working-class Britons" when it suits him. One word that crops up repeatedly in his analyses is "elite" - as in "the EU is an elite project which has no connection with reality". The other place I notice the use of the word that day is in an email to members of the BNP's mailing list, purporting to come from a "Chairman Nick Griffin MEP". It offers readers a chance to make a donation and become a "Gold member". "Gold members are the 'elite' of the Party," the email says. "They go that extra mile and quite rightly display their Gold membership badge with pride at Party meetings and events." The badge "also makes a superb addition to any type of clothing, whether a suit or casual".

Despite his party's commitment to British withdrawal from the EU, Griffin tries to strike a conciliatory tone. "We're going to engage here, because although we believe Britain should be withdrawn, you can't have this many people together and not come up sometimes with something that is actually a good idea."

I had had an insight the previous day into the far right's idea of what it means to "engage" at the meeting of non-inscrits, the aim of which was to nominate one group member who could speak on behalf of the others at official engagements. Waiting outside the meeting, I listened as the murmured voices became louder and more strained. Then a row erupted. It went on and on. A posh English voice filled the corridor, followed by the smoker's rasp of Marine Le Pen, and then that of her father, shouting in French. Le Pen Sr yelled at the chair of the meeting: "You are a civil servant! I am an elected representative!" The chair replied: "Monsieur, if you carry on like this then I will have to close the session."

Soon after that, the voices stopped. A group of interpreters exited from a side door, laughing. As they passed, I heard one say to the others, mockingly, "And they say dictatorship would be a bad idea . . .".

New Statesman

Racist BNP teenager pushed girl, 14, to the brink of suicide

A teenage BNP supporter who drove a classmate to the brink of suicide has been convicted of racial harassment in a landmark legal case

The youth, 15, subjected his female victim to months of racist abuse, on one occasion telling her: 'Go back to your own country, you don't belong here.' A court heard the 14-year-old girl - who had already moved schools once to avoid racist abuse - was also called 'wog, c**n, n****r, gorilla and golliwog' by her tormentor. He taunted her with chants of 'white, white, white is right, kick them out, fight, fight, fight' - taken from a film about football hooliganism.

But the girl feared reporting the abuse would make him become violent and instead suffered in silence, the court was told.

The victim, who has mixed white English and black African heritage, endured the abuse for four months before she attempted suicide in January this year. A source close to the case said the teenager, who, like his victim, cannot be named for legal reasons, was a BNP supporter who had actively tried to enlist other youths.

Raymond Wildsmith, prosecuting, told Lincoln Youth Court the insults happened 'again and again and again' - anything up to four times a week.

But the girl only revealed her torment after she tried to kill herself. She took a mixture of stress pills and painkillers in January before writing a note telling her family that she did not want a 'sad funeral'. Giving evidence by video link, the girl told a police officer the abuse made her 'want to die'.

She added: 'I wanted to die because of everything that was happening at school. I thought, "Do I want to do this?" And then I thought, "Yes, I don't want to be here".

Last night, her mother described her daughter's tormentor as 'evil'. She said: 'He seemed to mimic everything his father did and became a ringleader of a violent set of boys at the school.' She told how her daughter left a suicide note requesting that nobody wore black at her funeral. She said: 'My world fell apart. I had no idea that there was anything wrong with her. At home she put on a brave face and seemed totally normal.'

The teenager was hospitalised and then sectioned in a psychiatric hospital for several weeks. She has been out of school virtually ever since but is due to start at a new school in a different part of the country in September.

The mother reported the girl's ordeal to the school and police, but said she had a 'long hard fight to get justice for my daughter'. She added: 'When I first informed the school, they as good as called me a liar. I then had a long battle convincing the police to take this seriously. They were desperately slow and interviewed 25 people before they seemed to appreciate the seriousness of it.' The court was told that the girl had only been in the Lincoln area for a year before the abuse started.

Her 15-year-old tormentor, who denied the charge, was convicted of racially aggravated harassment. He will be sentenced on August 13. A second 15-year-old was cleared of the same charge.

The Crown Prosecution Service confirmed it was the first successful prosecution of a schoolchild for racial abuse in the UK.

Jaswant Narwal, Chief Crown Prosecutor for Lincolnshire said: 'We would like to thank the victim for her courage in coming forward and strongly encourage other young people in the same situation to report to the police when they have been targets of campaign of racial bullying.'

Daily Mail

BNP get police to arrest socialists

On Tuesday 14 July I was arrested, along with two other Socialist Party members, on alleged public order offences following a complaint made by local members of the fascist-led British National Party

The BNP's allegations were entirely without substance, and were a poor attempt at intimidation. The complaint related to campaigning on Saturday 30 May, when we were running a stall in Wrexham town centre.

We were promoting the No2EU-Yes to Democracy European election challenge and campaigning against the BNP. We had spent two hours campaigning prior to the local BNP mob arriving and setting up a stall a few yards away from us.

The BNP outnumbered us, but we did not rise to their deliberate attempts to provoke us. A member of the BNP approached us and made a number of racist comments, while another BNP member filmed us for several hours.


One Socialist Party member was arrested at his home on 14 July at around 9am. I went to the police station of my own accord at around midday, where I was arrested. The third Socialist Party member went to the station after finishing work at 5pm, and he was also arrested.

We were detained for up to two hours each. We were asked to provide a statement, and then subsequently to provide fingerprints and DNA, and we were photographed. We also spent time in the 'custody suites'.

North Wales Police (NWP) treated us courteously, and the arresting officer behaved in a very professional manner. Nonetheless, the police had no evidence whatsoever, which leaves the question of why NWP chose to arrest us for what was evidently a fabricated charge.

We were bailed unconditionally, to appear back at Wrexham police station in August. The following morning we were contacted by the arresting officer, who advised us that there would be no further action.

We had to spend a fair amount of time in custody, and our DNA will be retained for 12 years, despite not being charged.

We were told that we had been arrested because NWP had a duty to investigate the complaint, and that the only way in which the police could investigate was to arrest us. It is not acceptable for the police to detain socialists and anti-fascists simply for campaigning against the BNP.

Dylan Roberts, Wrexham Socialist Party

The Socialist via Left Wing Criminologist

22 July 2009

UKIP sleazeballs attempt to manipulate HOPE not hate

It's no great secret that even by UKIP's standards their Norfolk outfit is a bit more right wing and a lot more ready to flirt with racism than is the norm for the anti-EU party.

From the start UKIP's local operation has made its dislike of HOPE not hate and other antifascist campaigns clear as crystal.

We witnessed their behaviour towards HnH campaigners outside Norwich City Hall hustings last Thursday, their refusal to take leaflets, and their aggressive attitudes when their Norwich North candidate Glenn Tingle was asked the simple question: "Have you ever at any time been associated in any way with the National Front?"

As usual Tingle refused to answer.

At the hustings UKIP brazenly used the organisation's Turkish descended youth wing vice-chair Yasin Akgun to smear HOPE not hate in a question claiming HnH was responsible for pelting BNP leader Nick Griffin with eggs. Unfortunately for Akgun, none of the Norwich North candidates thought that badly of the idea - only Glenn Tingle, who used the opportunity to attack HOPE not hate, knowing full well that Griffin's eggciting adventure was at the hands of the UAF, not HnH.

Since then UKIP has been claiming that their headquarters have been targetted by HOPE not hate campaigners, a claim which is - like most of UKIP's failing Norwich North campaign - one big fat lie.

Today they're claiming that HOPE not hate have been out with their spray cans, and sprayed the message "UKIP a bunch of nazi's" signed by "Hope not Hate" on a wall in Norwich.

Conveniently, a UKIP member just happened to be walking past, spotted the message and started raising hell.

Norfolk Unity isn't as constrained as HOPE not hate in what it can say publicly, so I'll spell out what's going on here.

The BNP can kiss goodbye to any hope of a decent result in Norwich. We know it and they know it - that's why they've stopped reporting it on their website and why they haven't bothered mobilising their members to support the bogus "reverend" West and his moribund campaign. But UKIP have been expecting great things in Norwich, and as the canvass resturns are showing, it's just not happening.

We're not saying Tingle will do that badly, but Norwich North isn't going to be the stellar breakthrough they thought it was going to be.

They're desperate, and the closer we get to polling day the more desperate they've become - so they hit on the idea of smearing themselves at the expense of HOPE not hate and the BNP.

Put simply they're generating a last minute opportunity to put themselves in the local newspapers with a story that they're not Nazis like the BNP (though it's hard to tell the difference, from their campaign literature and statements). They get to distance themselves from the BNP, mop up a few more votes from the BNP and attack the organisation they really loath - HOPE not hate. They also hoped to manipulate HnH into blaming the BNP for the fictional anti-UKIP campaign, which would have done UKIP no harm at all.

That's what it's all about.

For the record, HOPE not hate campaigning has been aimed squarely at the BNP, despite UKIP's fantasies.

Only two dishonest parties are campaigning in Norwich North, UKIP and the BNP. Steer clear of them both when you cast your vote tomorrow.

BNP supporters 'beat man who clashed with Griffin'

Supporters of the British National Party were accused last night of operating like "a private army" after they set upon a man who poured a drink on the group's leader.

David Drew MP told the House of Commons last night that a "totally upstanding" constituent was given "one hell of a hiding" by BNP supporters.

He said the attack took place as Nick Griffin, the leader of the BNP who was last month elected as a Member of the European Parliament, was visiting Painswick, Gloucestershire. "I don't know why he was wined and dined in my constituency in Painswick but he was," Mr Drew said. "It just so happens that one of my constituents took offence at this and happened to spill some beer over Mr Griffin. As a result of this he was given one hell of a hiding."

The MP for Stroud added: "I am not prepared to accept that any politician has a private army. I am not prepared to have the BNP anywhere near my constituency. But I hope that we will look at the actions of the BNP."

He told the Commons that he knew the victim, whom he said he was proud to be associated with, but that an arrest and charges were unlikely to be made because the constituent was too shocked to pursue it. "That's just indicative of what the BNP is like," the MP said.

The Deputy Commons Leader Barbara Keeley said the allegation of the attack was a "serious thing".

The attack is alleged to have taken place on 11 July at the Falcon pub in Painswick after the constituent, a teenager, waited outside and threw a pint of Guinness over the BNP leader.

A spokesman for the BNP dismissed the claims made in Parliament as, "just another MP trying to make a bit of political capital out of this". He said that the constituent, for whom he had "no sympathy", had verbally abused Mr Griffin before throwing a drink.

"People have got to realise that they cannot go around trying to attack senior politicians in this way," he said. "After he threw the beer, our security treated him robustly. That could've been acid for all we knew. How did he expect us to react?"

In an interview with a local newspaper the victim, named only as Ben, said he had wanted to confront Mr Griffin to give him, "a taste of people's feelings towards him". He told how he had felt intimidated by a group of BNP supporters before being put in a headlock by "one of his security people".

Gloucestershire police said in a statement: "The group restrained him and it was during this time that the man states he was assaulted and bruising caused to his face. He did not wish to make a formal complaint."


21 July 2009

Dicky dips out

According to El Grauniad the bottle loving Dickie Barnbrook called in sick this morning just before he was due to answer charges of bringing his office into disrepute. Barnbrook claims to have been signed off for two weeks by his GP.

The hearing will resume on either August 12th or 4th September.

The ordiginal complaint against Barnbrook was made by friend of Norfolk Unity Cllr. Val Rush, a cabinet member on Barking and Dagenham council. Staunchly antifascist and acknowledged for her untiring work on behalf of her constituents, Cllr. Rush is one of a number of Barking and Dagenham Labour councillors deselected at the instigation of supporters of local MP Margaret Hodge.

Hodge is widely blamed for talking up the chances of the BNP in Barking and Dagenham, which helped them secure 12 seats on the council.

BNP member faces suspension from London assembly

One of the most senior elected members of the British National party today faces suspension from the London assembly as a panel decides whether he has brought his office into disrepute.

Richard Barnbrook, who is the BNP's only member on the 25 strong assembly as well as a councillor in Barking and Dagenham, faces a grilling over comments he made last year on a video posted on the internet.

A joint investigation for the Greater London authority and Barking and Dagenham council concluded in May that Barnbrook brought his office and the respective authorities into disrepute after falsely claiming in an interview that three murders had taken place over a three week period in the Barking and Dagenham area.

Barnbrook will face a full hearing in Dagenham before the standard committees of both the Greater London authority and the council to explain his position and take questions.

If found in breach of the code, Barnbrook faces a range of possible sanctions, including up to six months' suspension from elected office.

The complaint against Barnbrook was first lodged last September after he claimed in an interview posted on YouTube and his own website that a girl had been murdered within the borough within the past three weeks. "We don't know who's done it. Her girlfriend was attacked inside an educational institute," Barnbrook said in the prerecorded interview, in which he sought to highlight failings in tackling knife crime.

He also said that two weeks previously "there was another attack by knives on the streets of Barking and Dagenham where two people were murdered".

Valerie Rush, a Labour cabinet member at the local authority, accused Barnbrook of "openly and outrageously" lying to "whip up fears in the London community".

In her complaint to the GLA and the council, Rush said Barnbrook had acted in a way that brought his honesty and integrity as a councillor into disrepute.

Barnbrook, who is one of 12 BNP councillors in Barking and Dagenham, said that he knew at the time that he made the statements that "there had been no fatalities in Barking and Dagenham", according to a report documenting the investigation into the complaint.

Barnbrook nevertheless refused to apologise for the statements "until knife crime is over".

This meant that the interview – filmed by Simon Darby, the BNP's deputy leader, who works part-time for Barnbrook in the London assembly – was posted on the internet despite Barnbrook knowing the statements were incorrect, the report noted.

The Metropolitan police confirmed that there had been no murders or incidents resulting in critical injuries requiring intensive care in the time period cited, and that murders in the area were actually decreasing.

By the time the draft investigation report was published, Barnbrook said he did not accept that "the inaccuracy of my statement was deliberate". He also stated: "I did not know that the data in the recording was incorrect. I would not have posted the recording if I had known that it was incorrect."

Barnbrook also insisted that "once I realised that the data was incorrect, the recording was removed from the internet on my instruction within 24 hours".

The investigation ruled that Barnbrook's original claim that he knew what he was saying was untrue "seems at odds" with the principles of honesty and integrity. "If the public were aware that Mr Barnbrook was in fact putting out statements that he knew were false, we consider that his could reasonably be regarded as undermining public confidence in both members and the authorities as a whole in being able to fulfil their function."

The report's findings prepare the way for one of a range of sanctions today, including suspension from office for up to six months.

But this can be challenged on appeal to the president of the Adjudication Panel for England. If an appeal is accepted, the body can overturn the finding or vary the sanction.

The Guardian

20 July 2009

BNP to use EU taxpayers' money to fund chosen causes

Nick Griffin and Andrew Brons, the party's two MEPs, will skim off part of their expenses and salaries to fund a party-controlled "community chest", they told the Daily Telegraph.

People in their European constituencies – North-West England and Yorkshire & The Humber – will then be able to apply for the money in order to fund "worthwhile" local projects, including St George's Day celebrations.

The plan, which is against the European Parliament's rules, is likely to prompt concerns that public funds will be spent on racist groups or other controversial activities.

It is also likely to raise fears that the BNP will misuse public money to broaden its domestic appeal ahead of the general election, at which it plans to aggressively target a dozen constituencies.

Both Mr Griffin, the party leader, and Mr Brons will put 10 per cent of their £80,000 annual salary, as well as thousands more from unused accomodation and travel allowances, into the constituency fund, they said.

Mr Griffin said: "When we've got money left over, we're putting it back into our constituencies. We've pledged to do so, and we will do so. It will be good for people in our area."

"We'll set up a bank account in the names of three of our members, who will decide to spend it on what we consider worthwhile projects … things like St George's Day celebrations," added Mr Brons, a former chairman of the National Front. "Anything surplus will go into this community chest".

A spokesman for the European Parliament said: "That would not be allowed. The rules are quite clear. Allowances can not be used for things that are not set out in the guidance."

MEPs are given a generous allowances package worth about £363,000 a year, including a £261 daily subsistence allowance simply for turning up to work. Unlike MPs in Westminster, they do not have to claim the money but are instead given the maximum amount as a lump sum.

However according to the European Parliament guidance, MEPs must use the money only to pay for their offices, staff, food, accomodation and travel.

St George's Day is likely to fall during the campaign for the next general election, which is expected in May next year. Funding celebrations of it in this way could leave the BNP open to accusations of misuse of public money.

Told that the plan would be against the rules, Mr Brons said: "So it's all right if we use it on champagne and caviar?" Mr Griffin then also suggested the money could be spent on young people's activities or on help for armed services veterans.

Speaking during an interview at the end of their first week at work in Strasbourg, Mr Griffin and Mr Brons said that the party planned to use their new European platform as a launchpad for more domestic influence.

Mr Griffin said that they were optimistic that they could win a seat at the next general election, and would strongly focus on "probably a dozen seats". He said that he expected to do even better at the election after next, because as prime minister David Cameron would let down traditional Conservative voters.

The BNP would be able to "really produce a shock" if the major parties allowed MPs tarnished by disclosures about their use of expenses to try to retain their seats, Mr Griffin said.

He also confirmed that his party would field a candidate in Buckingham, the seat of John Bercow, the new Commons Speaker. Convention dictates that the major parties do not contest a Speaker's seat.

Mr Griffin said that the party planned to run a campaign inspired by Barack Obama's successful run for the US presidency, funded by small donations given over the internet by lots of different supporters.

He and Mr Brons attacked Glenys Kinnock, the new Europe minister, who earlier this week said the BNP was a party of "racists and extremists". Mr Griffin said the Government was "racist against indigenous working-class Britons."

Mr Griffin also said he planned to use his new role as a member of the Parliament's Environment Committee to challenge the consensus that man-made global warming was a threat.

"There's also been global warming on Mars," he said, "so it's not down to SUVs (sports utility vehicles) or people who refuse to be vegetarians ... It's not going to happen or become a disaster [soon] – it's about 80 years before the polar bears start drowning."

Mr Griffin said that while they have been shunned by most British MEPs, whom he labelled "petty", he and Mr Brons had solidified their alliance with Jobbik, the far-right Hungarian party whose street militia, the Hungarian Guard, wears fascist-style uniforms.

He said that he had written his maiden speech to be heard alongside that of Krisztina Morvai, a Jobbik MEP, and that he and Mr Brons had this week stayed in the same Strasbourg hotel as the Dr Morvai and the rest of her European party.

He also said that the BNP was already considering taking legal action against the Parliament for not allowing them and other parties unattached to larger political groupings to vote for their own delegate to the influential council of presidents.

Meanwhile Mr Griffin and Mr Brons, who were driven to Brussels in order to elude photographers at stations and airports, said that their arrival in Strasbourg was delayed when they were given a €45 (£39) fine for being caught speeding as they passed through France.


Stuffed in Stockingford

I've always had a soft spot for Stockingford, which is part of Nuneaton. You see I was born there, in one of the terraced back streets, where, at the time, everybody kept chickens and rabbits for the table and every inch of the garden was used for growing vegetables. I only lived there as a tot, and when Dad came out of the Army we left for Mum's native north Warwickshire village. The house in ------ Street was my Aunt Flo's and one of my cousins still lives there.

Despite having a soft spot for the place I never thought the day would come when I'd be singing ordinary old Stockingford's praises, but last Thursday the place did me (and you) proud.

In a barely noticed local by-election Stockingford told the BNP where to get off.

Now my fellow contributor to this blog, currently swanning around the Alps, keeps tabs on local by-elections and was always noticing that it was very rare for the BNP to improve its vote. If they'd stood in a ward for a first time then they'd usually lose ground on the second.

In Stockingford on Thursday they lost ground all right. Two thirds of it!

In June the BNP fought the Arbury and Stockingford division of Warwickshire County Council, and with 1283 votes they took 25% of the vote. For reasons too boring to go into here, a by-election was called in the same division for July 16th, and with a solid looking base to build on, 2 MEPs and tons of news coverage the BNP entered the contest brim full of confidence.

But with the MPs expenses scandal now in the background sanity returned, and with antifascists able to concentrate their efforts the BNP share of the vote fell by 11%, one of the biggest reverses the party has ever suffered. But that hides the fact that the BNP's Martin Findlay (already a Nuneaton Borough councillor) saw his vote crash to just 449 - a drop of two thirds.

Con 1637/1582
Lab 1480/1472
BNP 1283
Green 849/692

July 16th
Lab 1331 +13%
Con 1079 +2.5%
BNP 449 -11%
Green 170 -9.5%
LD 118
SA 43

Ignoring the figures (he didn't publish them) Martin Wingfield, proponent of the BNP's "quiet revolution" only mentioned that the BNP had beaten the Liberal Democrats.

In fairness, the Green Party vote also dived in Arbury and Stockingford, which shows exactly how many people wanted to punish the major parties and reluctantly rewarded the minor parties last month.

In June the BNP hardly improved its share of the vote over most of the country despite the expenses scandal, and this result confirms what most of us were thinking - that if there had been no expenses scandal the BNP's vote would have stalled and most likely fallen, it wouldn't have scraped two MEPs, and an internal revolution would be underway, probably with Nick Griffin out on his ear some time soon.

Closer to home for us here in Norfolk the Norwich North by-election is underway, and the BNP hobbled itself from the start by gifting us the bogus "reverend" Robert West, who's just so easy to lampoon and discredit. As in Stockingford electoral politics seem to have returned to normal, with the latest polls showing the BNP not registering at all, with those intending to vote for the devious devil dodger included somewhere among the 5% reserved for "others".

Has the tide turned?

Well I reckon it never really came in for the BNP. The truth is that in June with voter disillusion at fever pitch they hardly managed to grow their vote at all and only got their MEPs due to voters not turning out for the main parties, so their supposed victorious advance is more apparent than real, something they bang on about to keep their own members from seeing the political reality of their electoral situation.

The BNP got stuffed in Stockingford, let's hope they get nuked in Norwich North.

Teenager explains BNP attack

The teenager who hurled a drink over British National Party leader Nick Griffin said he wanted him to know people will not tolerate his views. The 18-year-old, from Stroud, caught a taxi to the Falcon Inn in Painswick because he wanted to make his point peacefully but forcefully with Mr Griffin.

"I have a serious objection to the BNP," he said. "I had intended go and confront him verbally and say my piece to him. Something needs to be done wherever he goes. While I was outside, he was leaving the pub and I was not comfortable with him visiting the area without getting a taste of people's feelings towards him."

He said he left the pub on July 11 after an argument with another of Mr Griffin's party. While waiting outside, the teen saw his chance as the BNP leader walked out of the front door.

"I left the pub voluntarily because after having a conversation with one member of the party – I was sworn at by some of his colleagues," said Ben, who did not want to be identified with his full name. I felt a bit intimidated – there were 20 of them. Nick Griffin came out and I decided to splash him with Guinness. I was swiftly put in a headlock by one of his security people. I was backing away and had my hands splayed out.

"They started taking me down the road, and I was worried about that. Then a member of staff from the Falcon came out and took me off the BNP security person and took me back in to the pub. Then I was asked to leave the pub via a different door."

But he said he was later spat on in the street and verbally abused by a member of the party in a car. He said he declined to make a formal complaint to the police, and excused the spitting incident, as he had thrown the drink, although not the glass, over Mr Griffin.

BNP spokesman John Walker said: "People have to start to realise now that they cannot go around taking liberties with a member of the European Parliament, whichever party they represent. We won't put up with it. It is not civilised behaviour. If he got duffed up, he was a victim of his own misfortune.

"Everyone has a legitimate outlet for their opinions at the ballot box. He was asked to leave the pub. He chose to wait outside and threw a pint of beer. Whatever happened after that, I have no sympathy for him."

Staff at the Falcon Inn declined to comment.

Last week, Gloucestershire police issued a statement regarding the incident confirming Ben did not want to make a formal complaint.

This is Gloucestershire

19 July 2009

BNP’s ‘devils’ find they are without friends in Europe as right-wing bloc fails to materialise

Their success in the recent European elections sent shockwaves through the British political establishment but the arrival in Strasbourg of the British National Party's two newly-elected MEPs this week could not have got off to a more shambolic start.

Travelling to the picturesque French city for their first week at the parliament's inaugural session after June's elections, BNP leader Nick Griffin and his sidekick Andrew Brons found themselves on the wrong side of the law, having to explain to the police why their car had broken the speed limit.

The car was doing about 10mph above the limit and Griffin was fined £50, small change compared to the combined £350,000 a year he and Brons will receive in parliamentary salaries and allowances.

A further, far more damaging, setback for the two "devils" - Griffin's mocking self-description - was their failure to find enough far-right comrades across the EU to form a new bloc.

However, the BNP still had plenty of friendly fellow travellers to hang out with. Griffin has been getting matey with several groups. One is Jobbik, the far-right Hungarian party that won 14.8% of the vote in the Hungarian European elections despite its anti-gypsy stance and unpleasant comments about the nation's Jews.

Griffin and Brons even stayed in the same hotel as three Jobbik MEPs. The party, also known as the Movement for a Better Hungary, won nearly as many votes as the ruling socialists, securing three seats in the European parliament.

Others involved in talks with the BNP were France's Front National - which won three seats, including the re-election of its veteran controversial leader Jean-Marie Le Pen - Belgium's Vlaams Belang and Ataka, the nationalist Bulgarian party.

Griffin said: "We needed at least 25 members from seven different member states to form a group but we failed and, yes, it is a setback. There is no doubt that we would have been able to wield a lot more influence if we could have formed a group."

Griffin hit the headlines even before he and Brons landed in Strasbourg, following his call for the EU to sink boats carrying illegal immigrants. He also told BBC One's Andrew Marr Show that the EU had created a "super-state that isn't far from fascist".

Accompanied by two burly bodyguards because of what Griffin says have been personal threats, the newly-elected neo-fascists swaggered into the institution they have vowed to abolish.

"If and when the free nations of Europe get their destinies back, perhaps this building could be turned into a monument to the follies of imperialism. We must get rid of this ridiculously wasteful circus," declared Griffin.

British officials had already imposed a "cordon sanitaire" around the BNP and the pair were told they would be banned from a UK government reception, hosted by Glenys Kinnock, the Europe minister.

Under new guidelines, agreed by UK foreign secretary David Miliband, Griffin and Brons will be isolated and kept at arm's length from the world of diplomatic socialising.

The pair of BNP MEPs have been placed in seats numbered 780 and 781 for the next five years, close to and just one row in front of the new Conservative and Reformist Group founded by the UK Tories.

As they took their seats in the assembly's debating chamber, Griffin and Brons were surrounded by like-minded colleagues: three Hungarian Gypsy-haters, four Muslim-baiters from the Netherlands, a couple of Austrian deputies elected on a platform of anti-semitism, Le Pen and his daughter Marianne, who both believe the Holocaust is a myth, and an assortment of Italian racists.

Glenis Willmott, the Labour Party's leader in Europe, was prompted to say: "This is a sad day for Britain. Two UK fascists are taking their seats in this parliament for the first time."

Richard Howitt, a Labour MEP, said he was ashamed, as a Briton, that the BNP was taking part in the parliament.

However, Timothy Kirkhope, who leads the UK Tory group of MEPs, said he was "not particularly uncomfortable" sitting in the Strasbourg assembly with two extremists behind him. He added: "I'm not happy, but they were elected by the people of Britain."

Griffin, who is expected to sit on the environment committee, appeared unconcerned by all the fuss around him, or by the fact that the Democratic Unionist Party's MEP Diane Dodds abandoned her seat when she discovered she had been put next to Brons.

He was equally untouched by news that 90,000 British voters signed a petition stating that the BNP does not speak for them. He said: "We're speaking happily with European nationalists. I even spoke to several German Greens. But there is very childish behaviour from some of the British."

As a "non-attached" member, the amount of speaking time Griffin will be given in debates will be strictly limited, but he used his first speech, during a debate on Iran, to denounce alleged human rights violations against "nationalist dissidents" in Britain.

He accused Labour, the Tories and the Liberal Democrats of routinely deploying "intimidation and violence against nationalist dissidents in Britain". He claimed they were using taxpayers' money "to fund their own militia, which breaks up opposition meetings and attack their opponents with bricks, darts and claw-hammers" and described the Unite Against Fascism movement as an "organisation of far-left criminals".

Griffin told a two-thirds empty chamber that "warmongers" were itching to attack Iran and were using human rights as a new "casus belli". He invoked Elvis Costello's song Oliver's Army to protest against the prospect of British youths being sent to die in Iran.

"Do not leave the war which hypocritical rhetoric will help to justify and unleash to the usual brave British cannon fodder: 18-year-old boys from the Mersey and the Thames and the Tyne," he said. "Instead, send out your own sons to come home in boxes, or without their legs, their arms, their eyes or their sanity. Or mind your own business."

However, there were no publicity-seeking tactics - that was left to the UK Independence party. UKIP leader Nigel Farage, whose new desk is next to commission president Jose Manuel Barroso in the debating chamber, plonked a mini Union Jack in front of himself during a debate.

Barroso responded by asking an aide to get a mini EU flag for his own desk.

Griffin returned to his home in mid-Wales on Thursday at the end of what had been an eventful first week.

This week, it's back to Brussels, where Griffin's notoriety has already seen Brons and himself banned from Fabian O'Farrell's, an Irish pub popular with Eurocrats, something he says amounts to "a form of apartheid".

They say they will be keen attenders at the parliament over the next five years, a prospect that is likely to fill many of their fellow MEPs with dread.

Sunday Herald

18 July 2009

Meet the mates of the BNP's "Man of God"

Banned from election hustings organised by the PCS trade union on July 16th, the BNP huffed and puffed and threatened to hold a press conference on the steps of Norwich City Hall to whine and whinge about their treatment. At the appointed hour the police were there in force, the press were there in force, and dozens of antifascists turned out, all eager to hear what the BNP and the bogus "reverend" Robert West had to say.

Alas - and true to form - Norfolk BNP had an attack of cold feet and with news of their press conference well and truly leaked their members stayed home to watch television (as most of them have been doing throughout the Norwich North by-election campaign).

Which was a pity, because we really wanted to have a chat with two friends of the Vicar of the Parish of The Front Room, located at 35 Farrow Avenue, Holbeach.

The first was Martin Roberts, seen below with His Eminence Robert West.

Until recently Roberts was the BNP's national enquiries secretary and Worcestershire organiser, but then the alleged Falklands veteran decided to drag his racism all the way to Norfolk - in fact, to 22 Church Road in hitherto unsullied Potter Heigham, where he relocated his online Calder Designs business.

During last week's little contretemps on Mousehold Lane in Norwich Roberts repeatedly asserted that he wasn't a Nazi (or a racist), but until the BNP ordered its members to remove all outward signs of support for Nazism Roberts had no problems at all shifting stocks of badges aimed squarely at the neo-Nazi market, which he sold alongside a range of BNP tat.

Nor does he have a problem hosting Calder Designs with NoisyDinosaur, run by BNP web guru Lambertus "Bep" Nieuwhof, an Afrikaaner immigrant convicted of attempting to blow up a church school in Nelspruit, Transvaal, in 1992. Nieuwhof had also been a member of Eugene Terre'Blanche's terrorist neo-Nazi Afrikaner Resistance Movement. Nieuwhof eventually fetched up in Hereford, close to Martin Roberts' old turf.

With the Nazi stuff tucked away under the counter, Roberts intoduced a range of "golly" badges in the colours of various football clubs. These are clearly intended to insult and inflame - there's no other purpose to them - and are equally clearly sold on their parasitic but completely bogus association with the football clubs concerned, including our own Canaries - a club with a long standing committment to anti-racism.

So that's one of the fake reverend's dodgy friends we can't wait to meet again.

The other is Steve Ames. Steve is a man of convictions, lots of them, but they're not of the Christian variety. Here he is in all his glory, looking like a character dreamed up by Harry Enfield.

Ames runs one of the strangest second hand car dealerships you're ever likely to come across this side of Arthur Daley.

For one thing, you only get to visit his Trident Cars "showroom" by appointment, and his website gives only a vague location off the Norwich Ring Road. The funny thing is, all the photographs of the cars in his "showroom" seem to have been taken at or near 18 Carterford Drive, which happens also to be just off the Norwich Ring Road, and is Ames's home address. In fact, here's Ames's plush showroom, right at the end of the Carterford Drive cul-de-sac.

But Steve is so much more than a second hand car salesman. He's the violent goon mate of the Holy Robert who snarled "I can do what I fucking well like" while committing an unprovoked assault against an antifascist during last week's tete-a-tete between three antifascists and twenty BNP members outside the Duke of Norfolk pub.

When he realised the cameras were out Ames backed off, probably because - being a frequent client of theirs - he realised that telling a court "I can do what I fucking well like" wouldn't go down too well.

Steve has form, you see, and a fair old bit of it at that.

Back in 2001 our Steve was up before the beaks for harrassing a girlfriend who'd dumped the hot headed hooligan, and only narrowly escaped a prison sentence. Just two years before the romantic racist had been convicted of harrassing two other women (we hope any females visting Ames's open air "showroom" at the end of that cul-de-sac take a burly escort for protection), and, as it turned out, Ames had been in court so often since the mid 80s he was probably on first name terms with the magistrates.

Having witnessed Ames's violent temper at first hand, we're not surprised that Ames is considered first rate material for that party of law, order and stalkers, the BNP, or that he's a mate of the unholy Robert West.

More is coming to light all the time on the unsavoury activities of Steve Ames, but to keep you going (and to give your weekend a lift) here's the Norwich Evening News's report of the hilarious case of the Rejected Racist and his "war of love" - just click the pic:

15 July 2009

BNP nut Liz Walton comes out in support of West

BNP isolated as MEPs take up European seats

British civil servants and officials imposed a "cordon sanitaire" around British National Party MEPs as they took up their two seats in the European Parliament. The pair were banned from an official government reception for British MEPs, hosted by Glenys Kinnock, the Europe minister.

Nick Griffin, the BNP's leader, elected in the North West of England last month, dismissed the drinks party ban and the prospect of socialising with Baroness Kinnock. "I am not in the least bit fussed about not being able to drink champagne with Glenys Kinnock. She is a political prostitute," he said. "She and her husband started off their careers as anti-common market and now they are there not just with their noses in the trough, they are in the trough."

A spokesman for Baroness Kinnock refused to comment on Mr Griffin's remarks.

Under new guidelines, agreed by David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, Mr Griffin and his colleague Andrew Brons, representing Yorkshire and Humber, will be isolated and kept at arms length from the world of officialdom and diplomatic socialising.

"Officials will not engage in any other contact with elected representatives of any nationality who represent extremist or racist views, unless specific permission has been granted to do so on a particular occasion," a government spokeswoman said.

The BNP is planning a challenge to any government moves to bar its MEPs from briefings by officials.

The MEPs have been placed in seats numbered 780 and 781, just one row in front of the new Conservative and Reformist Group founded by the British Tories. They were originally put next to Northern Irish MEP Diane Dodds but the Democratic Unionist refused to take up her place.

Both will collect combined salaries and allowances worth over £350,000 a year each but the BNP has failed to find enough far-Right colleagues across the EU to form a new bloc in the parliament.

Mr Griffin is expected to sit on the parliament's environment committee and Mr Brons on the constitutional affairs committee. Both MEPs have pledged to attend sessions of the parliament and to play a full role holding the EU to account.

"We will attend sessions. The EU has no right to legislate over Britain but the reality is that the parliament has real powers and we will do what is in power to improve legislation," said Mr Griffin.

Glenis Willmott, Labour's leader in the European Parliament, made a statement to MEPs condemning the BNP.

"Sixty years ago we fought against the fascists together. Today two UK fascists are taking their seats in this parliament for the first time. Today is a sad day for Britain and we will not let matters rest," she said.


14 July 2009

Centre for Social Cohesion reveals BNP's online fascist network

Centre for Social Cohesion reveals BNP's online fascist network
Centre for Social Cohesion Press Release 13 July 2009

On the day before two leading British National Party (BNP) members take their seats in the European Parliament, a new Centre for Social Cohesion report reveals that members and supporters of the BNP and its online activists display significant ideological affinity with key tenets of the neo-Nazi ideology. This included: support for violence; antisemitism and an admiration of the Third Reich; extreme racist views; and Holocaust denial.

The BNP and the Online Fascist Network shows blogs run by members and self-professed supporters of the BNP continue to host, and link to, material that is pro-Nazi, racist, antisemitic, and homophobic. The BNP continues to sell books produced by neo-Nazi publishing houses on its website.

Support for violence

> Lee Barnes – leading member and head of the BNP legal team – supports the National Front on his blog. He refers to the group as a valid ‘nationalist’ organization and suggests that they operate as a street force for the BNP.

> Barnes advocates the downfall of western civilization: ‘The West deserves all it gets. The faster the fools that run the West destroy the West the better.’

> The BNP supporting blog Britain Awake praises Combat 18 and supports violent attacks on Muslim women. Britain Awake is hosted by a self-described member of the BNP who claims to have attended the party’s annual Red, White and Blue festival.

Antisemitism and an admiration of the Third Reich

> The official BNP YouTube account and the official YouTube accounts of the Thurrock and Burnley BNP branches show close links with neo-Nazi and antisemitic activists and organisations.

> Blogs run by members and self-professed supporters of the BNP continue to host, and offer links to, material that is pro-Nazi, racist, antisemitic, and homophobic.

> A member of the Covert Tactics blog, strongly linked with the BNP, refers to Jews as ‘greedy subhuman scum’. One member, Tommy Williams, is a neo-Nazi whose name appeared on the leaked list of BNP members. The blog expresses admiration for Hitler and has on a number of occasions denied or trivialised the Holocaust.

Extreme racist views

> So-called patriotic concerns of the BNP mask an underlying fear of racial ‘dissolution’ and a commitment to ‘soft’ ethnic cleansing in the form of policies attempting to coerce non-white Britons into leaving the UK.

> Material found on BNP supporting YouTube accounts, blogs, and internet forums contravenes the Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006.

Holocaust denial

> The BNP website promotes books by neo-Nazi publishing houses which are dedicated to rehabilitating Nazism and denying the Holocaust.

Edmund Standing, author of the report, says:

“The report shows that the BNP is a party dedicated to promoting racism, and continues to attract and empower adherents to neo-Nazi ideology, whose supporters include admirers of Adolf Hitler.”

Douglas Murray, Director of the CSC, says:

“This report shows that members and supporters of the BNP continue to hold and express the vilest racist, antisemitic, homophobic and sexist views - shocking even to those of us who thought our opinion of the BNP could never be lower.”

Alexander Meleagrou-Hitchens, Research Fellow at the CSC, says:

“The BNP leadership insist that they are a mainstream political organisation, yet this report demonstrates how abhorrent their views truly are."

For a pdf of the full report access this link

Press enquiries: 0207 222 8909 / 07538 248610 / pressoffice@socialcohesion.co.uk

The Centre for Social Cohesion is an independent think tank

* The Centre for Social Cohesion * Clutha House * 10 Storey's Gate * London * SW1P 3AY *
* 0207 222 8909 email: mail@socialcohesion.co.uk *

13 July 2009

Accrington BNP supporter spared jail after targeting Asian family

A man who made his Asian next door neighbours’ lives a misery with his anti-social and racist conduct was spared immediate jail.

Burnley Crown Court heard how Nigel Hesmondhalgh, 36, who had a British National Party sticker in the window of his Accrington home, was abusive and insulting to the couple, repeatedly picking on the wife. He piled dog dirt up in the alley outside their home and told them: “It’s a white country, not a Muslim state.”

Hesmondhalgh, said to be the carer for his brother, who has learning difficulties, told the husband of the couple he should be scared and shouted support for the BNP.

The couple had lived in their home for 14 years before he moved in. The defendant, who has since moved but wants to go back to the property on Higher Antley Street, had earlier admitted racially aggravated intentional harassment, alarm or distress.

Hesmondhalgh, who has almost 90 previous convictions and has been flouting the law since he was 11, had struck while on bail for similar allegations which were left to lie on the file. He kept his freedom but his hostile and anti-social conduct was slammed by a judge, who warned the courts would not tolerate it.

The defendant, of Stanley Street, Accrington, was given 36 weeks in custody, suspended for two years, with 18 months supervision and the Thinking Skills programme.

Martin Hackett, defending, said the offence was unpleasant. Hesmondhalgh had been very close to his mother who died last July and he may have been adjusting.

Lancashire Telegraph

BNP leader has drink thrown over him

The leader of the British National Party had a pint of beer thrown over him at a Cotswold pub on Saturday night. Nick Griffin was dining with colleagues from the right-wing party in The Falcon Inn in Painswick when the incident happened.

An 18-year-old was ejected from the pub for arguing with the group, and waited outside for them to leave. When the party walked out of the pub, at around 11.30pm, the teenager threw a drink over Mr Griffin.

A statement issued by Gloucestershire police today confirmed the incident. It said: "On Sunday, July 12, Gloucestershire Constabulary received a phone call from an 18-year-old man stating that he had been assaulted the previous night, July 11, outside The Falcon Public House on New Street, Painswick.

"The man stated that he had been asked to leave the pub after he was involved in an argument with a group of diners. He left the premises but remained outside and a while later, at approximately 11.30pm, the group of diners left and he threw drink at them. Following this the group restrained him and it was during this time that the man states he was assaulted and bruising caused to his face. He did not wish to make a formal complaint about the incident."

Simon Darby, spokesman for the BNP said: "It appears this was an opponent of ours who thinks he can go around throwing drinks over people."

This is Gloucestershire

12 July 2009

Huge BNP turnout to support West - 20 descend on derelict pub - intimidated by 3 anti-fascists

The BNP's top-secret RV point

Three HOPE not hate campaigners surprised and angered the BNP in Norwich on Saturday when they arrived to monitor what the BNP supposed was a secret meeting point at the Duke of Norfolk pub in Mousehold Lane. Unknown to the fascists, who snuck into the area for a leaflet and canvass session, the closed public house had been watched since early that morning.

The arrival of the fake "reverend" Robert West - the BNP's candidate in the Norwich North by-election - prompted the three anti-fascists to move in closer, and it was several minutes before the BNP noticed we were clicking away.

The penny drops

We approached the ropey reverend to ask who ordained him, but the prefabricated prelate went all sheepish on us and demanded that we address him as "reverend". We decided to address him as "fake".

Would you buy a used crucifix from this man?

We also asked him about Leader Nick's call for the sinking of refugee boats, because we couldn't find the verse in the Bible which states: "Blessed are those who torpedo black people on the high seas, for they shall inherit the Earth."

Needless to say West wasn't too interested in answering that point and went off to pretend to look through some BNP "literature" - a shoddy leaflet claiming that blacks are being housed ahead of whites by Norwich City Council (if they knew anything about Norwich North they'd know it's within the boundaries of Broadland District Council, and the housing policies of Norwich City Council have no effect in the constituency).

Those fellow fascists of West's who approached us all began with the "I'm not a racist" spiel then proceeded to justify blasting black people out of the water, one idiot talking about the New Testament's justification for Nick's sink 'em policy, then going on about the Old Testament when, quelle surprise, he found himself out-brained by a real Christian who'd done more than read the Bible's title.

While this was going on one or two of the motley assembly of 20 race haters were obviously losing it, and one of their goons suddenly jumped the wall separating us and attacked one of the HOPE not hate trio from behind, grabbing him around the neck, wrenching his arm behind his back and hustling him along the pavement.

Realising the camera's on him, West's goon backs off

When I pointed out he was committing a serious criminal offence the goon retorted "I can do what I fucking well like" - just as we saw outside Parliament the other week, when BNP goons ordered the public out of the way while they escorted Griffin and Brons to an egg-pelting party, and then again when they felled and trampled a black woman as they rushed their terror-struck Leader away from the scene.

The attack on our man prompted two of the BNP, including West, to call the police to claim that the three of us were victimising the 20 of them, and in minutes three police cars came blazing into the scene.

The lies quickly agreed to by the BNP didn't compute with the police, and the officer who interviewed us was quite ready to arrest the BNP goon. I've got to say I was in favour of it, but it would have meant hours at Norwich police station and the loss of our cameras, so our man declined to press charges.

Edith Crowther, who stood in King's Lynn Gaywood in the county council elections, explained that she had a degree in Arabic and that her goon mate was a "working class man from a poor council estate who doesn't know any better.."

What they're driving on poor council estates these days - West's thug and his 4x4

The kind of poor council estate where everybody owns a petrol-hungry 4x4 with a personalised numberplate, eh, Edith?

Crowther ("My husband sometimes lets me out of the house") was peremptorily told to stop talking to us. We can't say whether it was her husband who gave the order.

Motley collection - would-be BNP boat sinkers

The turnout for the BNP was pathetic. Despite a national call for help most of the twenty belonged to Norfolk BNP, with few of them from Norwich - and almost all of them had out-of-county accents. Until recently, while the rest of the BNP prepared to fight elections Norfolk BNP prepared to order lunch, but we still couldn't help but notice the absence of some of Norfolk BNP's biggest online loudmouths, who, like most of the BNP, are too ashamed to show their faces in public and prefer to do their politicking from the anonymity of a keyboard.

After that not much happened. Everybody, including us, had to give their details to the police, and that kept the BNP corralled on the pub car park for more than an hour. When told they were free to go, the BNP cars waited around while a number of mobile phone calls were made, leading the HOPE not hate trio to suspect that something else was being planned, then they made a number of unsubtle feints (we're not that stupid, West) and finally drove off in convoy.

As we had no chance of reaching our cars in time to follow, and as the police were still watching, we decided to call it a day at that point, happy that we'd acheived what we set out to do - but there's a way to go in the Norwich North by-election yet, and we're pretty sure we'll be meeting up again with the BNP and its deceitful devil-dodger some time very soon.