How will all this BBC air time fare for the BNP?

As is the custom (I say that, with my tongue in my cheek), I will not be linking to the page where I found this, needless to say it is currently held on the BNP’s homepage, where the BBC have recently put a link to, and an interview. In fact the following quote refers to that very interview:

Joey Smith, managing director of Great White Records, has expressed his deepest thanks to the controlled media for their free publicity over the last few days.

According to Mr Smith, the “controlled media’s hysteria over a recent radio show featuring myself and Mark Collett has greatly boosted visits to the Great White Records website and increased album sales.

“We never expected for a minute that the show would generate such fabulous publicity,” Mr Smith said, adding that it was totally untrue that he or Mr Collett had “hidden” who they were before the show was broadcast, as some reports claimed.

There is everything possible wrong with the above statement. Notice the way the media is described as ‘controlled’, invoking images of paranoiac sentiment and Jewish hostilities. Don’t for a second tell me they were not thinking it when they wrote it, or think it all along.

I’ve always found it trivial that the BNP are proud that their website has high traffic, because this – as I can vouch for – is the product of as many anti-BNP readers – probably more – as pro- .

But I’m worried that there is truth to this, the BBC are – regretfully – obliged to take seriously a legal party who have two elected MEPs. As such, they are already legitimised, it is not the BBC who are legitimising them, they are already so, for reasons I find quite absurd. For the BBC to ignore them, to disavowal them, would unfortunately go against their non-partisan standing, as much as that seems to unravel in places elsewhere.

It makes me sick to think that serious politicians like Jack Straw – like him or loathe him – should have to lower themselves to the level of Griffin. But that is politics, people make stupid decisions and voting Griffin, and his party alike, is a stupid decision.

I hate to turn against my own, but there would be no vetting of anti-fascists, if anti-fascists refrained from taking to pointless acts like the possible blockade of the BBC’s studios. This will be met with snorts and angry words no doubt. But an anti-fascist group should not themselves act like animals, it makes other, more serious activists look foolish. The BNP have plenty of dirt, we can open it out at a strategic scale, who thought it embarrassing when activists hissed at a performance of Giselle because it starred BNP member, and one time friend with benefits of Richard Barnbrook, Simone Clarke. Such hisses should be based on what Griffin says – and it will attract hisses – not pre-prepared stuff, which has informed the BBC of its decision. Having said that, it isn’t as thought-police, McCarthyite-esque, as some have opined.

Still, by the very fact that the far-right have called anti-fascists ‘communists’ – also on their homepage – one can hardly feel sorry for them.

Now that they are definitely on QT, there is no point regretting it. But a wishlist we on the left should have, for what will be asked of Griffin. Was what he said on the stage with David Duke, about only seeming to moderate, when in fact the heart has not changed at all (funny, Peter Hitchens has also mentioned this), does he really feel the Jews own the media, does he really feel climate change is a myth, whose side was he really on in WWII (remember he described the RAF’s bombing of Dresden as ‘mass murder’). Hopefully Straw, Greer, Warsi etc will pull these questions out. If not it will be a disaster. If so, it’s going to be tricky, embarrassing, and arse-clenchingly brilliant telly.

The BNP in Essex

There are around 670 members of the British National Party in Essex if we are to believe the leaked membership list, but I’m sure that number has changed since September 2008 when the leaked list was drawn up.

For what reasons?

There were those ‘Africans for Essex‘ leaflets, which is just one example of scaremongering tactics concerning foreigners.

There are countless attempts to depict Essex as a place where migrants can fly through council housing lists, bypassing honest native applications.

Immigrants being paid to come to Essex, it would not be unheard of from the mouths (or fingers) of the commentators of the threads on the BNP website, and various blogs attributed to supporters.

But, looking at some figures today at work, I came across a file which had this to say:

Essex is increasingly ethnically diverse. In 2001, 2.9% of the population belonged to Mixed, Black, Asian or Chinese ethnic groups, compared to a figure of 9.1% for England as a whole. Recent estimates suggest that 8.6% of the population belong to Black and Minority Ethnic groups, compared to a figure of 15.3% for England as a whole. These groups are most concentrated in Brentwood, Epping Forest and Harlow but even in these areas the Black and Minority Ethnic groups account for a smaller proportion of the population than nationally. The largest Black and Minority Ethnic group in Essex is ‘White non-British’ but this is likely to change in the future. The evidence suggests limited economic migration to Essex from Eastern Europe, and although 44% of Essex’s Black and Minority Ethnic population is White and not British, only 21% of those aged under-16 identify with this group. Amongst under-16s the Mixed ethnic group is the largest by far, accounting for 32% of all Black and Minority Ethnic residents. As this cohort grows the local population will become more diverse.

At the moment at least, the largest black and ethnic minority group in Essex is white non-British (constituting 44%) – the group, apparently, that the BNP won’t mind entering the country, were they to have that kind of say. 21% of that 44% share are young people who feel themselves British enough not to identify themselves as of an ethnic ‘other’. The share of ethnic minority is way under that of the figure for England as a whole – but this is not how the far right portray the figures, describing Essex as swamped, flooded, anything, actually, with water or sludge.

Either the Essex BNP are lying or they just don’t know Essex like they think they do. What does this picture of Richard Barnbrook (the London borough of Barking and Dagenham are immediately next to Essex) tell us?:

essex bnp

Actual Essex flag (spot the difference):

EssexSeaxesShield

Essex is increasingly ethnically diverse. In 2001, 2.9% of the population belonged to Mixed, Black, Asian or
Chinese ethnic groups, compared to a figure of 9.1% for England as a whole. Recent estimates suggest
that 8.6% of the population belong to Black and Minority Ethnic groups, compared to a figure of 15.3% for
England as a whole. These groups are most concentrated in Brentwood, Epping Forest and Harlow but
even in these areas the Black and Minority Ethnic groups account for a smaller proportion of the population
than nationally. The largest Black and Minority Ethnic group in Essex is ‘White non-British’ but this is likely
to change in the future. The evidence suggests limited economic migration to Essex from Eastern Europe,
and although 44% of Essex’s Black and Minority Ethnic population is White and not British, only 21% of
those aged under-16 identify with this group. Amongst under-16s the Mixed ethnic group is the largest by
far, accounting for 32% of all Black and Minority Ethnic residents. As this cohort grows the local population
will become more diverse.Essex is increasingly ethnically diverse. In 2001, 2.9% of the population belonged to Mixed, Black, Asian or Chinese ethnic groups, compared to a figure of 9.1% for England as a whole. Recent estimates suggest that 8.6% of the population belong to Black and Minority Ethnic groups, compared to a figure of 15.3% for England as a whole. These groups are most concentrated in Brentwood, Epping Forest and Harlow but even in these areas the Black and Minority Ethnic groups account for a smaller proportion of the population than nationally. The largest Black and Minority Ethnic group in Essex is ‘White non-British’ but this is likely to change in the future. The evidence suggests limited economic migration to Essex from Eastern Europe, and although 44% of Essex’s Black and Minority Ethnic population is White and not British, only 21% of those aged under-16 identify with this group. Amongst under-16s the Mixed ethnic group is the largest by far, accounting for 32% of all Black and Minority Ethnic residents. As this cohort grows the local population will become more diverse.

Do we ignore the fascist presence of the English Defence League

No matter how hard they might try, the English Defence League cannot shake off the assumption that they are fascists, and worse still a part of the BNP. But many of the criticisms directed at the hooligan group have also been thin where they could have been a little meatier.

For example, it is not as simple to bracket the EDL as fascist or a cell in the BNP, it’s a little more complex than that. The BNP for example have officially said, of the EDL, on the 3rd of September;

The British National Party has declared the “English Defence League” a proscribed organisation and it will be a disciplinary offence for any party member to be involved with that group.

The message was attached on a circular sent out by national organiser Eddy Butler who also said “Time and time again the lying media has linked the BNP with the EDL’s activities.”

But it is very difficult to distinguish the two fronts when there is clear evidence that high-profile EDL activists have real enthusiasm for the BNP. The Stirrer revealed that Chris Renton, a BNP activist who lives in Weston-super-Mare, set up the EDL website. Further, Paul Ray, a spokesperson for the EDL admitted in an interview knowing about Renton’s links, and dismissed it by saying that “people’s political views are their own affair.”

Ray, during the interview conducted by The Stirrer’s editor Adrian Goldberg on Talksport, revealed, however, that it is not just Islamic extremism that he takes a disliking too. The entry explains;

During the course of the interview, it became apparent that Ray’s own view of Islamic extremism isn’t limited to suicide bombers and hook handed preachers of hate.

He argued that the Qu’ran teaches all its advocates to wage jihad or holy war in non-Muslim countries, and acknowledged that on this basis, all devout or practising Muslims in Britain, are – in his words – “at war with our country.”

When pressed, he said:  “They’re ultimately engaged in converting our country to an Islamic state…that is the religious mandate of the Qu’ran that all Muslims must adhere too.”

The organisation, along with another similar Stop the Islamisation of Europe, with divisions all across Europe, has tried its hardest to appear simply against “Islamofascism”, and the apparently slow descent into a totally Islamic state.

EDL, like the BNP, have been vocal on the Sikh support they get in order to try and prove that they are not racist, and the SIOE have campaign material advertised on their website supporting the independence of Serbian Kosovo and Israel to show their enthusiasm for self-governing peoples (in fact an Israeli flag is a feature of any demo organised by these groups, seen here, whether genuine or to provoke the Muslim counter-demonstrators), as well as, strangely enough, the flags of Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago.

However, some clearly dubious elements have found a home amongst the activists of the EDL, as can be seen by this frightening video shot by photojournalist Jason N. Parkinson (pay particular attention to the nazi salutes at 03.58 and 05.09 – since the last salute is made by a guy who appears to be the friend of the other chap who is holding the Trinidad flag, this does suggest a concerted attempt at far-right humour, not to be confused, of course, with humour).

This does put our analysis in a sticky situation. Is it possible that these explicitly fascist elements, such as the far-right web designer, and the sieg heil louts are minority factions inside a group that really wants to target Islamic extremism? But even a spokesperson, who must know the group line like the back of his hand, admitted being aware of far-right links, and even went on to show that it wasn’t just Islamic extremists the group were after, but Islam – the core message of all Islam.

Nick Lowles, who does know a thing or two about how to perceive these things, has said

“I’m not saying that every leader of the EDL is a fascist or hardcore racist but as you have seen with the signs, chanting and actions, it’s anti-Muslim – and that’s incitement.”

Myself, I think it’s pretty fair to say that there’s enough evidence to show that the far-right has a pretty safe camp within the ranks of the EDL, enough so that it hasn’t simply got a minority share. But does this mean that opposing Islamic extremism cannot be done without appealing to the far-right? Of course it doesn’t. It is laughable to suggest that there is anything inherently synonymous between Islamic extremism and the left, though admittedly this is hard to tell with those certain members of the SWP that see the Taliban as a legitimate reaction to imperialism – small in numbers though they are. Certainly with organisations like the Muslim Association of Britian, who the SWP and RESPECT have made previous attempts to cosy up to, do whip up the idea that vocal sections of the left do support unpalatable components, with their explicit homophobic policies. Interesting and irritable it was for me to see, at a recent pro-Palestine event in Hyde Park, a man with a MAB placard and an LGBT pin on his jacket lapel.

The battles that go on in the streets of course hurt the Muslim community the most, at once being the implied target of the EDL, and then to top that off made to appear represented by equally troublesome elements, such as youths proclaiming to be soldiers of Islam, surely this is the most important aspect to bear in mind when analysing the existence of these street fights.

The fascist elements of the EDL are too strong to ignore or write off, they pose a danger and are clearly more than just a front to oppose extremism. Therefore to oppose them is not to tolerate Islamic extremism. But care should be taken by thinking that the counter-demonstrators are natural allies, there are unpalatable elements in there, also, that do just as much harm to the wider, majority, Muslim community. And against the charges made by certain members on EDL forums that “leftist scum” oppose them whilst tolerating extremism, let this be a rubuttal.

The Left and Migration

Blogger and scum watcher Left Outside has written a very interesting piece on how immigration is discussed in the modern British political sphere, and with less than optimistic conclusions.

With Tory MEP Daniel Hannan’s recent praise for Enoch ‘Rivers of Blood’ Powell as his backdrop,  LO briefs us on the stark similarities in sentiment with which the current popular press share with the racism that appealed to Powell’s speech; a racism that was blunt, explicit and erroneous in its ‘swamping’ conclusions.

The conclusions are shockingly correct, as can be found in this entry written by Stirring up Apathy recently, and the hat-tips that inspired that entry. But what interested me most about LO‘s entry was the point about discussing immigration. His words;

Discussing immigration is difficult in this country, often it descends into one side calling the other racists. Or more commonly, a writer beginning a piece by stating that it is no longer possible to discuss immigration in this country, without being accused of being a racist. I don’t think that this is a particularly healthy way to conduct debate.

Not healthy indeed. But who is lagging behind? The answer is anyone who ducks out of the question on immigration. This gap in leftist discussion has two effects; it opens up a free space for the far right who pride themselves on speaking up for the silent majority, and it leaves the assumption untouched that the left consensus on immigration is an open border policy. As such there are real problems here.

Do the European left have this same problem with talking about immigration? Of course there are many examples, one being the Dutch Socialist Party who oppose mass economic migration on the grounds that it is the logic of free-market capitalism, exporting workers from abroad to do the jobs that natives don’t need/want to do.

Another example can be taken from the words of Oskar Lafontaine, a German politician and co-chairman of Die Linke, a coalition leftwing group set to be a real challenge to Merkel’s Christian democrats in the next election. Known as a maverick to some, and not one to mince his words, in 1996 said “We have taken in 3.5 million immigrants,” … “In the last few years we have taken in 1 million extra people of working age, and they are walking straight into unemployment – into unemployment benefit or to draw a pension or to get welfare support.” These comments soon turned into an argument in Germany about race, since it concerned many of Eastern Europe’s German diaspora to migrate back “to the Fatherland”. It was, however, revealed soon after that many of the Aussiedler – or settlers – were not really German at all.

The main point here is that for bringing up numbers of migrants, Lafontaine was accused of “populist demagoguery” due to there being an oncoming election, but looked at carefully, Lafontaine’s main focus was not ethnicity or the claim that migrants steal jobs, but rather that migrants are sold the idea that the “Fatherland” is where they will be free, when in fact a lot of those migrants were walking straight into unemployment.

There is a great deal of benefit from migrant communities to any country, but it seems to cross the border of fairness when economic migrants are exposed only to exploitation and poverty in rich countries, which is what the above leftist sentiment seems to demonstrate.

But this is not without its own problems, for example exploitation in the rich west may not have the same character as exploitation elsewhere which is why this life is still preferable to migrant workers. Of course, though this may be the case, exploitation should not be tolerated in any form, and should be curbed by any who can do so.

A reason why the left has to get their case right on immigration is because when immigration turns into a charter for exploitation, when free travel permits workers of poorer countries to become fodder for richer, then a left voice needs to be heard, for the left is the traditional wing against exploitation of all kinds.

Another reason why the left needs its voice heard on immigration is because who a country accepts or denies as being legitimately in need of political asylum may be wrong.

Take homosexuals for example. Diane Taylor reported for The Guardian in August 2004 that following the murder of gay activist Brian Williamson a letter published in the Jamaica Observer the next day read, “To be gay in Jamaica is to be dead.” The article by Taylor further announced that Jamaica was on the British Home Office’s “safe country list” and applications of homosexuals were often dismissed unsympathetically – which paints a different picture than that the far right would have us believe about Britain’s so-called “open-door policy”.

Another example is the case of Pegah Emambakhsh, an Iranian lesbian who escaped Iranian prosecution against homosexuality, after her partner was arrested, tortured, and sentenced to death by stoning. At first in 2007, her asylum demand was refused by the UK government, but after a concerted campaign she has now been granted asylum (the decision was made on the 11th of February 2009) and will be allowed to remain in the UK.

Dialogue on asylum, immigration, migration is very important, but little is said by the left on the subject other than to denigrate the position taken by the BNP, which is as good a reason as any, but to leave a gap in valid ideas of its own, realistically leaves the far right to dominate the argument, and does nothing to counter the argument that the entire left supports a borderless country.

There can only be one thing worse than a policy where all immigration and asylum is curbed (more or less in line with how the BNP stand) and that is an open door policy, for this is the sort of argument sympathised by libertarians and hardcore free marketers (such as Dan Hannan) who embrace a pick of the workforce for as little payment as possible, and a constant wave of unemployment just in case that cheap worker gets silly.

Illegal immigration, too, leaves wide open the opportunity for trafficking and exploitation of the type that occured in Morcombe with the cockle pickers. This is not the reason why the BNP oppose illegal immigration, theirs is a whole host of nonsense such as preserving white identity, racial segregation and “flooding”. A leftist opposition to a borderless country – against leftists who do support such a thing - seeks to disuade the opportunities for the unpalatable forces in the world to hijack and exploit people who are either escaping tyranny or seeking a better chance.

The notion that the left can pursue these opinions are lost, and should be found. Understandably it takes a brave contingent to start of such a debate, but hopefully such a day will present itself, it might even put the politics of immigration into a perspective that not only disects the nonsense peddled by the right and far right wing press, but also draws the dominance of the issue away from the far right, thereby disuading white working class voters away from the lies and race hate produced in the ranks of the BNP.

 

This entry is in response to Left Outside’s article Dan Hannan, Enoch Powell, Volcanoes and the Daily Mail as part of the Bloggers Circle experiment

The true colours of the BNP, again

Its the year that the far-right party gained 2 MEPs and therefore should be one to celebrate for them, but the BNP are having severe problems regarding friends, namely that they cannot find enough in Europe, and the ones that they do have are a nasty bunch indeed. For me as for most, the BNP are a nasty lot, so it is unlikely to be of much surprise that their friends are too, but it is particularly damaging for them since they for a while now have been trying to appear a more moderate force, family oriented and not connected with the grit of international politics.

Who the BNP makes friends with has come to the fore in the press again as one Preston Wiginton, an American white nationalist, was refused entry to the UK “under laws to keep out “undesirables”.

The Mail also noted that “The BNP’s deputy leader Simon Darby said of Mr Wiginton: ‘He came to last year’s Red, White and Blue and was coming to this year’s but they wouldn’t let him in for some reason. He wasn’t coming to speak.”

Wiginton is an outspoken critic of immigration, has been documented blaming Jews for economic problems, has strong links with ‘murderous’ neo-nazi groups in Russia, and organised BNP leader Nick Griffin’s anti-Islam tour of three US universities at the end of October 2007.

Wiginton is not the first controversial American friend of the BNP’s in recent times. It had been reported that James W. Von Brunn, the neo-nazi who murdered a security guard at the doors of the Washington Holocaust museum in June this year – when he was at the age of 88 – was also a regular attendee at meetings held by the American Friends of the British National Party in Arlington County.

A further strong linking the BNP had with the American far-right was with David Duke, the former leader of the Klu Klux Klan who called President Obama a “visual aid,” which this picture certifies. It was on the stage with Duke that Griffin showed the true colours of his attempts to gain parliamentary influence by appearing to modernise the party, which can be seen on this video;

A list of the International friends of the BNP can be found here that include the usual suspects like France’s National Front. Though, in spite of the links which the party has with a cell known as the European National Front, the BNP, along with the Hungarian anti-gypsy party Jobbik, have failed to make a proper right-wing bloc in Europe (perhaps the Tories have stolen possible links with the creation of the ECR!). A video – here – also shows the party’s attempts at securing unpalatable support in Europe, and who can forget the time that Simon Darby was greeted to fascist salutes in Milan.

It doesn’t get any prettier online. Harry’s Place has created a profile of one BNP supporter on YouTube anda shortlist of his friends which include a supporter of American neo-nazi terrorist David Duke, a Serbian neo-Nazi who approvingly quotes David Lane, and a supporter of the neo-nazi party the British People’s Party – who are committed to the fourteen words.

Any attempts by the BNP to distance itself from groups and individuals that may ruin their attempted image change, is constantly pushed to the backfoot by loyal supporters themselves. The current issue with Preston Wiginton is testimony to this.

The Tory showdown in Europe continues

There is a terrifically entertaining showdown, known and acknowledged for some time now, but none the less being added to on a regular basis on the subject of the Tories in Europe.

It started with the Tories breaking with the pro-European conservatives that made up the European Peoples Party detailed here.

It joined ranks with some unsavoury characters, unsavoury to the extent that it figures out that the BNP have not acheived a grouping of their own in Europe.

As a result of unsettled relations in the new anti-federalist grouping to which the Tories are now joined to (the ECR European Conservatives and Reformists), Michel Kaminski, a controversial figure, of Polands Law and Justice Party leads the group, detailed here.

Kaminski’s character is of great interest. He is now unable to deny calls of anti-semitism against him despite the best efforts of right-wing Tories such as Dan Hannan who has also been known to stick up for other unpalatable types in Europe, such as the far-right Spanish group Alternativa Espanola. I’m sure he will not be too fussed over the charges that Kaminski was a fan of General Pinochet for, like Thatcher, Hannan’s free trade support and cosiness with “cranks” knows little in the way of bounds. But surely what is likely to get Hannan’s goat is that Kaminski has recently been won around on the benefits of the Lisbon Treaty. Hannan and William Hague will bend over backwards to show Kaminski as a reformer, but did they think he’d go full circle on the question of Europe?

Jewish groups have questioned Cameron’s future (more here) and Obama might not be too enthusiastic either about sharing an international platform with a leader engaged with such untrusting friends in Europe, despite the attempts to show otherwise.

What will happen next?

Ah ha! I, also, find out from LibCon that (“Straight Talking”) Roger Helmer MEP has denied the existence of homophobia in a blog entry, whilst pictured with Kaminski, inasmuch as nobody he has ever met has actually been physically afraid of homosexuals. That should help the Tories present their case that Kaminski is a moderniser who only opposed same-sex marriage because he is not scared of gay people. Carry on.

The BNP/Equality and Human Rights Commission problematic

Is it me, or is there not something rather peculiar about the issues regarding the BNP and their legal obligation to accept peoples of other ethnicities into their organisation. Unless in the context of hiring outside staff (cleaning staff, DJ’s etc) – for which there obviously should be equal opportunity legislation observed (though, as Afua Hirsch comically noted, don’t all rush at once!!) – the obligation for the far right to incorporate foreigners begs two pointers;

1) Its their loss if they don’t want to include, say, anti-Muslim Sikh’s into their infection-laden party, or other non-British rightwingers (some of the most challenging arguments-cum-debates I’ve ever been engaged in had occurred when I worked on the Old Kent Road during my student days, with one or two Caribbean men whose views would have made John Tyndall blush).

Along these lines, see here for an argument that looks at how the move may well exacerbate the problem of the BNP.

2) Which self-respecting person of non-British ethnicity would want to join a party that has to be told, in a legal framework, to allow non-British people.

In a reversal of the (Sigmund Freud, Groucho Marx? Who knows) infamous phrase; who would want to join a club that wouldn’t have me as a member!

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