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

Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Shut down the peddlers of hate

Searchlight is calling on the authorities to investigate whether the BNP’s Racism Cuts Both Ways campaign is an incitement to racial hatred. The BNP initiative, revealed in last month’s Searchlight, has a special section on the party’s website, a glossy 12-page brochure and was launched with its own limited tour of the country. The BNP campaign claims to highlight examples of anti-white racism. In an introduction on the website, party leader Nick Griffin calls it the “silent epidemic of racist targeting of indigenous Britons”. Griffin goes further in his opening message to the campaign’s glossy 12-page pamphlet. “The vast majority of the real racism that scars Britain involves white victims from the indigenous community. Whether you are English, Scots, Welsh, Irish or from Ulster, being white makes you a target, being white means you are guilty.” To back up his claim the BNP has released the names of 167 people who it alleges are the victims of anti-white racism. In addition, it has published 200,000 copies of the pamphlet, which it has distributed to every councillor and MP in the country. The party also claims that copies are being sent to all 18-year-olds in 50 key parliamentary constituencies.

The pamphlet includes a page entitled, “Racist Murder – The Shocking Truth”, which states: “The result was truly shocking – 142 white victims of racist homicide”. It concludes: “The average racist murderer in Britain is 40 times more likely to be a member of an ethnic minority than a native Brit”. However, and probably unsurprisingly, the research is deeply flawed. Searchlight has analysed the 167 cases highlighted by the BNP and found a racial motive in only a handful. In over 90% there was no evidence presented by the BNP, or in any media reports at the time, to show that racism played any role in the murder at all. The BNP research is so wrong that the list includes several cases where the perpetrators are white. In one case, that of John Ward, the BNP only reports an initial description of the killers as Asian or Turkish but fails to admit that three white men were later convicted and imprisoned for life. In other cases the perpetrators were part of mixed race groups, including whites, but the BNP only focuses on the white victims and black attackers. There are also several supposed racial murders where the alleged killer has not actually been convicted. In fact, an Old Bailey murder trail was only just beginning when the BNP named the alleged murderer and asserted a racist motive, a clear breach of legal restrictions on reporting. And in a number of cases the BNP merely reports arrests or people being charged, but its sloppy research fails to investigate what happened to them.

Of course, none of this should be a surprise. The BNP clearly sets out to whip up racial tensions and prejudice with this “research”. Its aim is to make young people in particular angry and resentful. To this end the BNP has simply made up assertions to fit its wider cause. It may hope to channel the fury of readers and supporters into joining the BNP but it could just as easily be unleashing vengeful racist violence. The BNP campaign is quite simply dangerous and should be held to account. It seems that we are not alone in having concerns over the RCBW material. Thirteen BNP members were arrested in Liverpool for distributing the pamphlet after Merseyside Police concluded it incited racial hatred. Several councillors have reported the pamphlet to the police in other parts of the country. A number of families have been appalled to hear that the deaths of their loved ones are being used by the BNP for their own racist ends. West Yorkshire Police were outraged to find the BNP trying to claim that the murder of Sharon Beshenivsky was a racist attack. 

Jon Cruddas, the MP for Dagenham, has put down an Early Day Motion in the House of Commons calling the pamphlet and accompanying website material a clear attempt to whip up racial tension. “The BNP has set out to stir up a racist reaction and this could have serious consequences,” Cruddas told Searchlight. “The fact that they have lied and claimed over one hundred murders to have had a racial motive when they quite clearly have not is reprehensible and they should be called to account.” He has also written to the Metropolitan Police demanding that they investigate the document. Searchlight is urging its supporters to complain about the BNP campaign. The BNP must not be allowed to whip up racial tensions through lies and innuendo.

From Searchlight magazine's December 2008 edition - http://www.searchlightmagazine.com/index.php?link=template&story=255

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