A blog for the socially and politically conscious, written by a young, gay activist who strongly believes in equality and justice.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

An Open Letter To The BNP

To whom it may concern,

I would like to register my disgust at the far-right political party, despite being only seventeen years old. The British National Party is becoming a household name. In the process it is trying to appear more moderate and respectable. But it is not. Scratch the surface and you find the same old racist organisation it always was. It is run by hardline nazis who believe that the Holocaust did not happen. Its rule book remains firmly entrenched in the principles of racial superiority and the banning of racial integration. Racism in the context of the BNP is more than just colour prejudice. The BNP's racism is more fundamental, predicated on the belief that there is a racial hierarchy and that the white race is superior. The BNP has publicly toned down its message on repatriation but it still wants an all-white Britain. The BNP constitution says that anyone who cannot prove a link to Britain before 1948 can never be considered British. The BNP makes much of its policy of voluntary repatriation but if you read the small print it states clearly that the option of compulsory repatriation would be open to any BNP government. The BNP constitution and successive articles by its leaders clearly show its opposition to any form of racial integration. Not only can ethnic minorities never be British, even if they are now third-generation citizens, but the BNP believes that any form of mixed-race relationship would lead to the "dilution of the white race".

Not only are you odiously racist, but sexist ("raping a woman is like feeding her cake because she derives pleasure from sex") and homophobic. As a gay man myself I am extremely concerned at this; the persecution of those you fear due to ignorance, such as jews, muslims, liberal, tolerant, decent people etc. has always been in your twisted, sociopathic minds, but the division and persecution of homosexuals has crossed the personal line far more than I imagined. Griffin wrote on the wedding of Elton John to his partner David Furnish that "not only would we not allow Elton John to marry his boyfriend but our proposals for a strengthened Clause 28 would prevent such a sick parody of real marriage being shown on TV in any case". BNP spokesman Phil Edwards stated that homosexuality "is unnatural" and "does not lead to procreation but does lead to moral turpitude and disease".

The BNP was criticised over a list on their website titled "Liars, buggers and thieves" which grouped several gay politicians in with convicted murderers, rapists and paedophiles. The compiler of the list, BNP local councillor for Redbridge, Julian Leppert defended it and said that the reason why gay MPs were included was because "it fits in with the headline, the bugger part, I guess" and stated that the BNP are "a family party with family values." Mark Collett, former chairman of the Young BNP and current Director of Publicity, described homosexuals as "AIDS Monkeys", "bum bandits" and "faggots" and said the idea of homosexuality was a "sickening thought". Articles published in the Sunday Times and Daily Mail have alleged that Nick Griffin had a four year homosexual relationship with Martin Webster, although Griffin denies this.

On his appearance on BBC One's Question Time on 22 October 2009, he stated in reponse to being asked about the death of Boyzone member Stephen Gateley, "I said that a lot of people find the sight of two grown men kissing in public really creepy. I understand that homosexuals don't understand that but that's how a lot of us feel, Christians feel that way, Muslims, all sorts of people."

What terrifies me as much as your intolerant, rabid, venomous beliefs is your association with white-supremacist terrorism and holocaust denial.

Historically the BNP has been associated in the public mind with violent protest and clashes with anti-BNP organisations. Critics of the BNP assert that a significant minority of elected BNP politicians have criminal records and that the party is more tolerant of the criminal actions of some of its members than other parties would be.

In the past, Nick Griffin has defended the threat of violence in furthering the party's aims. After the BNP won its first council seat in 1993, he wrote: "The electors of Millwall did not back a postmodernist rightist party, but what they perceived to be a strong, disciplined organisation with the ability to back up its slogan 'Defend Rights for Whites' with well-directed boots and fists. When the crunch comes, power is the product of force and will, not of rational debate." In 1997, believing he was addressing members of the French Front National, he said: "It is more important to control the streets of a city than its council chambers." In January 1986, when Griffin was Deputy Chair of the NF, he advised his audience at an anti-IRA rally to use the "traditional British methods of the brick, the boot and the fist."

The BNP defends itself by arguing that over 20% of the working population has some criminal record or another and that a large proportion of MPs, councillors and activists in the other three main parties also have unsatisfactory past records.

A BBC Panorama programme reported on a number of BNP members who have had criminal convictions, some racially motivated. The BBC's list is extensive. Some of the more notable convictions include:

In 1998, Nick Griffin was convicted of violating section 19 of the Public Order Act 1986, relating to incitement to racial hatred. He received a nine-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, and was fined £2,300.

Kevin Scott, the BNP's North East regional organiser, has two convictions for assault and using threatening words and behaviour.

Joe Owens, now expelled but previously a BNP candidate in Merseyside and former bodyguard to Nick Griffin, has served eight months in prison for sending razor blades in the post to Jewish people and another term for carrying CS gas and knuckledusters.

Tony Wentworth, former BNP student organiser, was convicted alongside Mr Owens for assaulting demonstrators at an anti-BNP event in 2003.

Colin Smith, BNP South East London organiser, has 17 convictions for burglary, theft, stealing cars, possession of drugs and assaulting a police officer.

Richard Edmonds (at the time BNP National Organiser, currently a member of the BNP's Advisory Council) was sentenced to 3 months in prison in 1994 for violent disorder for his part in a racist attack on a Black man in Bethnal Green, London (although he was released after sentencing as he has already served this period on remand). Edmonds hurled a glass at the man as he was walking past the Ship pub in Bethnal Green Road, East London (where a group of BNP supporters were drinking). Others then 'glassed' the man in the face and punched and kicked him as he lay on the ground, including BNP supporter Stephen O'Shea of Purfleet, Essex who was jailed for 12 months. Another BNP supporter, Simon Biggs from Penge (who smashed a beer glass into the man's face causing deep wounds), was jailed for four and a half years for his part in the attack. Tony Lecomber was jailed for possessing explosives in 1985, after a nail bomb exploded while he was carrying it to the offices of the Workers' Revolutionary Party; and again for three years in 1991, for assaulting a Jewish teacher. He was Propaganda Director of the BNP at the time of the latter conviction.In October 2006, Robert Cottage, a ex BNP member who had been a candidate for the party earlier in the year for election to represent Colne on Pendle Council, "was arrested under the Explosives Act on suspicion of possessing chemicals that may be capable of making an explosion." The 22 chemical components recovered by police are believed to be the largest haul ever found at a house in Britain. An associate of Cottage, David Bolus Jackson, whom he had met at a BNP meeting was also arrested at this time. The case came before Manchester Crown Court on 12 February 2007 where it was claimed by the prosecution that Cottage had plans to assassinate Tony Blair and Liberal Democrat peer Lord Greaves. Cottage pleaded guilty to one count of the possession of explosives, but denied the count pertaining to conspiracy to cause an explosion. Jackson pleaded not guilty. In a statement read in court by the prosecution counsel, Cottage's wife said that he believed that "civil war" was imminent in the UK. The jury in the trial was unable to reach verdicts and the case was set for retrial in July 2007, when, once again, the jury failed to reach a verdict. The prosecution indicated that it would not seek a further retrial. On 31 July 2007, Cottage was sentenced to two and a half years imprisonment for the charge he had admitted of possessing explosives.

The BNP, its former leaders and present leader, Nick Griffin, have promoted anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial in the past. In 1996, writing in his own publication, The Rune, Griffin stated that

I am well aware that orthodox opinion is that six million Jews were gassed and cremated or turned into soup and lampshades. I have reached the conclusion that the 'extermination' tale is a mixture of Allied wartime propaganda, extremely profitable lie, and latter witch-hysteria.

The following year, during a Cook Report documentary he stated:

There is no doubt that hundreds, probably thousands of Jews were shot to death in Eastern Europe, because they were rightly or wrongly seen as communists or potential partisan supporters. That was awful. But this nonsense about gas chambers is exposed as a total lie.

In 1988, The Sunday Times revealed that Holocaust News, a publication that claimed the Holocaust was an "evil hoax", was being published by the BNP's then deputy leader, Richard Edmonds, on behalf of a BNP front organisation, the Centre for Historical Review, and distributed by members. John Tyndall, the party's leader, said he was not involved in the publication but that it had his full support.

The 2002 Channel 4 documentary Young, Nazi and Proud featured hidden-camera footage of the then BNP youth leader Mark Collettstating his admiration for Adolf Hitler, and stating "I'd never say this on camera, the Jews have been thrown out of every country including England. It's not just persecution. There's no smoke without fire." It also featured footage of visitors to the party's annual "Red White and Blue" festival, some of whom wore the legend "88" (code for HH, "Heil Hitler"). Collett resigned from the party after the documentary's filming, but rejoined shortly afterwards, with Griffin's approval, on the condition that Collett change his views on the subject.

In 2006, the party's deputy chairman Scott McLean was shown on the TV documentary Nazi Hate Rock making Hitler salutes at a white supremacist cross-burning ceremony where racist songs were sung and jokes made about Auschwitz.

The BNP claims that it has now cast off "the thinly veiled anti-Semitism" that the party has Jewish members, and that one of its councillors, Pat Richardson (Epping Forest), is herself Jewish.

However, for the 2009 European Parliament election, the BNP fielded a candidate who stated that "dentistry and plastic surgery" were positives to come out of the Holocaust, and endorsed Did Six Million Really Die? a neo-Nazi and Holocaust denial booklet.

Nazi vermin like you are an offence to the attitudes of liberal, tolerant, decent, fascist-hating, multicultural haven that Britain is, and always will be. Your parasitic spread of hatred, fear, intolerance and division is threatening to bring this great country to her knees; social justice and social cohesion are in danger with a BNP Nazi dictatorship. I sincerely hope you evil bigots NEVER get into power, or else Britain will face a repeat (and possible amplification) of Nazi Germany. I have fought against fascists amongst the UAF and other anti-fascist organizations - we will never give in to the despicable Nazis at the British National Party, who only represent hatred.

Yours In Solidarity,

Daniel Pitt


dalekcat said...

good letter. did you send it to the them?

Michael's Thought said...

Amazing content and issues. Sounds like our Republicans here in the US

Sarah Simpkins said...

Well compiled, passionate but grounded and useful overview of the issues for others less well-informed. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

A good summary but in some areas you have been a little economical with the turth to try to paint the BNP worse than they are, it would have been better to have avoided that.

Anonymous said...

Biggs is NOT BNP. He could never join the modern-day BNP.

He is NF standing against the BNP in Newcastle