Monday, 28 December 2009

Racism - worse than ten years ago

From the Guardian, Comment is free:

I've changed my mind about racism, says Gary Younge.

I thought a paradigmatic shift in attitudes to race was occurring in Britain. The decade has proved me wrong.

The decade that has ended with Nick Griffin on Question Time and (two) BNP MEPs started with me being very optimistic about the future of race relations in Britain. With the broadly positive response to the Macpherson report into the death of Stephen Lawrence, which had just been released, I thought a paradigmatic shift in the way that we thought about both Britain and race had occurred that could possibly be thwarted but not reversed. This was not a popular view among anti-racist activists at the time. Indeed, for about a year I had to get used to white people calling me naive about racism, which was a first.

But I believed that Macpherson had sent Powellism into irreversible decline and that a new conversation was both possible and, generally speaking, desirable. I knew not everyone would come round, but assumed that they had now been relegated to a permanent rump. I wrote:
A sizeable minority is stuck in the paradigm of immigration-integration-repatriation – desperate to maintain a seamless link between Britishness and whiteness, and the rest have moved on to equal rights, economic opportunities and educational advancement. Some are still asking, 'What are we going to do about these blacks?' Others wonder, 'What are we going to do about the racism in our institutions?'
I had no confidence in our political leadership to lead this conversation, but back then the pressure for them to at least follow it seemed overwhelming.

The first indication of how wrong I was came in the negligent and noxious response to uprisings in Bradford in July 2001. Soon after came terrorism, Blunkett, war, more war, torture, more terrorism, David Goodhart and the white cliffs of Dover. The speed and scale with which public discourse degraded was breathtaking. Once it began it was not difficult to see where it was all going.

No one could have predicted some of the catalysts in that chain of events. But what I did not realise at the time was how superficial support for Macpherson had been among the commentariat and political class. Nor had I grasped how the shift in emphasis from race to religion and from colour to creed and culture could so completely and rapidly graft old views on to new scapegoats.

"Macpherson has provided us with sound foundations," I argued back then. "We must wait and see what lasting structures will be built on them."

If I'd known what hideous creations some architects had in mind, or how easily they could uproot the fixtures, I would have been more circumspect.

By Gary Younge

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Poet attacks the BNP in Christmas carol satire

From pinkpaper by Peter Lloyd:

Poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy has recreated the Twelve Days of Christmas for 2009 - complete with attacks on MPs' expenses, celebrity and banking.
Carol Ann Duffy has recreated the Twelve Days of Christmas for 2009 - complete with attacks on MPs' expenses, celebrity and banking. Duffy's new Christmas work, commissioned exclusively for the Radio Times Christmas edition, launches a stinging attack on the Afghanistan war, climate change and the BNP. Openly-gay Duffy, who was named the UK's first female poet laureate earlier this year, has shunned the role's tradition of writing exclusively about and for the royals.
The poem was commissioned by Radio Times. Editor Ben Preston said:
The work shows a lot of self-confidence. Sometimes, her views are trenchant, sometimes the scenes are poignant and there is also a lot of humour in it."
Professor John Sutherland, of University College London, said:
It used to be that the laureate was appointed to flatter royalty. Carol Ann Duffy is the first to give herself a much longer leash. She seems to have appointed herself the court satirist.
-- Here is the poem in its entirety:

a buzzard on a branch.

In Afghanistan,
no partridge, pear tree;
but my true love sent to me
a card from home.
I sat alone, crouched in yellow dust,
and traced the grins of my kids
with my thumb.
Somewhere down the line,
for another father, husband,
brother, son, a bullet
with his name on.

that Shakespeare loved –
turr turr, turr turr –
endangered now
by herbicide,
the chopping down
of where they hide –
turr turr, turr turr –
hawthorn thickets,
hedgerows, woodland.
Summer's music
fainter, farther…
the spreading drought
of the Sahara.

un, deux, trois –
do not know
that French they are.

Three Welsh lambs –
un, dau, tri –
do not know
that Welsh they baa.

Newborn babies –
one, two, three –
only know
you human be.

Only know
you human be.

The Condor calls from the USA.
The Wood Stork calls from its wetlands.
The Albatross calls from the sea,
on the fourth day of Christmas.

The Yellow-eared Parrot is calling.
The Kakapo calls from NZ.
The Blue-throated Macaw is calling.
The Little Tern calls from Japan, calls
my true love sent to me.

The Corncrake is calling; the Osprey.
The Baikal Teal calls from Korea.
The Cuckoo is calling from England,
four calling birds.

bankers' profits fired in greed.

The second ring outshone the sun,
fuelled by carbon, doused by none.

Ring three was black gold, O for oil –
a serpent swallowing its tail.

The fourth ring was Celebrity;
Fool's Gold, winking on TV.

Ring five, religion's halo, slipped –
a blind for eyes or gag for lips.

With these five gold rings they you wed,
then slip them off when you are dead.

With these five go-o-o-old rings.

This goose laid Barack Obama.

I bought a magic goose from a friendly fellow.
This goose laid Fabio Capello.

I bought a magic goose from a maiden (comely).
This goose laid Joanna Lumley.

I bought a magic goose from a busker (poor).
This goose laid Anish Kapoor.

I bought a magic goose from a bargain bin, it
was the goose laid Alan Bennett.

I bought a poisoned goose from a crook (sick, whiffing).
This foul goose laid Nick Griffin.

of a broken heart, one half.

The Mersey Swans, flying
for Hillsborough, wings of justice.

Two, married and mute on the Thames,
watching The Wave.

A Swan for Adrian Mitchell
and a Swan for UA Fanthorpe,
swansongs for poetry.

The Queen's birds, paired
for life, beauty and truth.

Two milked voters to float her boat.
Three milked Parliament to flip her flat.
Four milked Government to snip her cat.
Five milked the dead for close-up tears.
Six milked the tax-payer for years and
years and years…
Seven milked the system to Botox
her brow.
Eight milked herself – the selfish cow.

But the lady in the Detention Centre
does not dance.
But the honour killing lady does not dance.
But the drowned policeman's lady
does not dance.
But the lady in the filthy hospital ward
does not dance.
But the lady in Wootton Bassett does not dance.
But the gangmaster's lady does not dance.
But the lady with the pit bull terrier
does not dance.
But another dead soldier's lady
does not dance.

They sleep.

fir 'Royal Bank;
twa pipers each
fir Fred and Phil,
fir Finlay, Fraser, Frank.
Too big tae fail!
The wee dog laughed!
The dish ran awa' wi' the spoon…
We paid the bluddy pipers,
but we dinnae call the tune.

banging their warning?
On the twelfth day in Copenhagen
was global warming stopped in its tracks
by Brown and Barack and Hu Jintao,
by Meles Zenawi and Al Sabban,
by Yvo de Boer and Hedegaard?
Did they strike a match
or strike a bargain,
the politicos in Copenhagen?
Did they twiddle their thumbs?
Or hear the drums
and hear the drums
and hear the drums?

Monday, 21 December 2009

Nick Griffin begins the Battle for Barking

A billboard arises in Barking, signalling the beginning of Nick Griffin's campaign for election to Westminster.

The poster has a built-in obsolescence. It will be out of date in five days time. It does not have even a week's relevance.

The BNP was apparently late in posting the billboard, and inefficient in choosing the message. If it had been 'Happy Holidays' it would have remained current for longer, but of course that inoffensive sentiment is bitter poison to the BNP, who regard it as personally offensive 'pc'.

The messages 'Happy New Year' or 'All the best for 2010' would have a longer shelf-life, but would be seen as kow-towing to political correctness, and the BNP can't have that.

I wonder how much billboard space for five days actually costs the long-suffering membership of the BNP?

But let me not be a Scrooge at Christmas. It's not my money being wasted by Nick Griffin on grandiose self-promotion.


Why are the BNP people under the billboard so glum?

Saturday, 19 December 2009

BNP 'out-wits' itself

Last week the BNP accounts were released. Not only were they 'inadequate', they were also late, leading to a fine and adding yet more unnecessary debt to the sorry party finances (more here and here).

Also last week, Michael Wilding, a member of the British National Party, pleaded guilty of trying to rig votes in local elections held in Cannock, and is facing jail. Wilding used his friend David Winter’s name to place a vote for the BNP in both the county council and local elections held last June. The fraud was discovered when Mr Winter arrived later in the evening at the polling station to place his vote.

From important party accounting to the sordid behaviour of individual members, BNP supporters show a disorganised disdain for any rules of the game.

This arrogant contempt for regulations and proper procedures is displayed from the top down in the BNP.

Just yesterday there was news on the Stephen Lawrence case when The Telegraph reported that a 62-year-old retired constable and a 53-year-old member of police staff were arrested on suspicion of perverting the course of justice in relation to the alleged non-disclosure of material.

They are suspected of keeping information from the original inquiry in 1993 into Lawrence's murder, and also from the Kent investigation in 1997 into the Met's failings and the Macpherson inquiry in 1999 which found Scotland Yard officers were institutionally racist.

Which reminds of the way Nick Griffin boasted of inside information apparently confided to him by those in the know within the Metropolitan Police.

Referring to Stephen's murder in April 1993, Griffin said, according to the Mirror:
Everyone down there knows he was notorious for taxing kids for their dinner money and he was a drug dealer. According to many people within the Metropolitan Police, he was killed by another black - not a white racist attack at all.
Apart from the impropriety, cruelty and reckless arrogance of such a remark, hinting as it does that Griffin had dedicated secret sources within the Metropolitan Police, it begs the question whether these "sources" were in fact the two suspended policemen.

Whether they were or not, or whether in fact they actually exist at all outside the fevered racist imagination of Nick Griffin, what business had they to confide such questionable "information" to such a politician rather than to their own investigators?

In any case, the forthcoming investigation of these two from the police force at the time of the brutal murder of Stephen Lawrence promises to be interesting.

Thursday, 17 December 2009

BNP 'under accounts' itself

From Norfolk Unity:

Auditors say (late) BNP accounts “do not give fair and true view” of racist party’s finances

The BNP’s accounts have finally been submitted to the Electoral Commission – and no wonder they were late. Even the BNP’s own auditors weren’t impressed.

Attention is drawn to the comments made in the “Chairman’s Report” regarding the task of maintaining central office accounts, and the resulting fact that it has not been possible for the Party to submit an adequate set of records to us.

Accordingly in our opinion the financial statements do not:

1 Give a true and fair view of the state of the party’s affairs at 31st December 2008.

2 Give a true and fair view of the results for the year then ended.

In our opinion the financial statements have been properly prepared in accordance with the accounting policies set out on pages 18 and 19.

In our opinion it cannot be said the accounts comply with the requirements of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000, as adequate records have not been made available.

The financial statements have been prepared on a going concern basis, and this is possible because of the possibility of support from the regions.

Registered Auditors Chartered Accountants

Silver & Co 25 Park Road Cannock Staffs WS11 1JN

4th December 2009

The party’s deficit grew by £85,591 from 2007 to £168,233, and could only be paid by raiding funds raised by local branches.

The accounts also show substantial rises in the BNP’s wage bill, and lists increased payments to unnamed “consultants”.

And naturally there’s no mention anywhere of monies passed on (if they are at all!) from the party’s fundraising Trafalgar Club.

Seems to us that BNP members are still being royally fleeced!

Download the financial farago here

More later…

Atreus posting earlier today in NU articles

Sometimes I feel almost sorry for the ordinary members of the BNP.

They are pitilessly abused by a cynical and self-serving leadership that cannot even come up with accounting clever enough to disguise their misdoings.

You can read more of the BNP's leadership money-making scams here, here and here.

In this report, an ex-member of the BNP leadership claims:

The BNP at grassroots level has some very good and honest people but I think at the top of the party it's very corrupt.

It seems to be more to do with about trying to make money than about trying to serve local communities.

The ordinary supporter of the BNP is beginning to cut a pathetic figure. How long will it take before the BNP membership begins to realise how it is being exploited?

As Antifascist of Lancaster Unity writes:
And while we're on the subject of money, many of you may remember Nick Griffin's promise to donate 10% of his Euro Parliament earnings to the party. As this is illegal, Griffin was forced (though I doubt if he was forced against his will) to rescind his offer and as an alternative has now made a contribution to what the BNP calls the English Fair Fund - a BNP-run fake fund designed to bolster little projects in which the BNP are already involved or from which donation the party can gain some propaganda return. This week saw the FIRST donation from Nick Griffin towards this fund and after six months in the job and taking around £45,000 off the taxpayer for himself,all he could muster up was a measly and Ebenezer Scrooge-like £150. The tight bastard.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

BNP 'out-hyperboles' itself

Presenting: - the British political party that strives to give hatred a good name, and to make finger-pointing scapegoating its basic party manifesto.

The BNP has outdone itself - again.

Nick Griffin at the Copenhagen climate conference has called world leaders mass murderers.

According to the Daily Telegraph, Griffin said world leaders and advocates of action on climate change such as Al Gore are “mass murderers” by supporting biofuels. He said land for growing food is being taken to grow fuels for crops and it will cause starvation greater than the famines caused by Russian dictator Stalin during the 1930s and Chairman Mao in the 1950s.
It is a crime against humanity which in future will be seen as an enormous man-made famine. Under Stalin 20 million people died, under Chairman Mao 30 million died. This will be the third and the greatest famine of the modern era and I regard that as a crime.
This over-the-top rhetoric must vie with Griffin's recent complaint that he met with a 'lynch-mob' on his appearance on BBC's Question Time, (but that the Ku Klux Klan was 'non-violent').

A close contendor for the most attention-seeking exaggeration, however, is Griffin's response to claims he was tarnishing the reputation of the British Armed Forces by hijacking military symbols and imagery.

There's Nothing British About the BNP launched a campaign in October this year named Operation Stolen Valour.

The commander of the Desert Rats in the first Gulf War, Major-General Sir Patrick Cordingley, former Chief of Defence Staff Lord Guthrie and two other former army chiefs, Generals Sir Mike Jackson and Sir Richard Dannatt, put their names to a letter. They wrote:
We call on all those who seek to hijack the good name of Britain's military for their own advantage to cease and desist. The values of these extremists - many of whom are essentially racist - are fundamentally at odds with the values of the modern British military, such as tolerance and fairness."
The letter did not mention the BNP by name, but General Sir Mike Jackson told the Times:
The BNP is claiming that it has a better relationship with the Armed Forces than other political parties.
How dare they use the image of the Army, in particular, to promote their policies? These people are beyond the pale.
Nick Griffin responded by comparing the four to Nazi chiefs who faced trial at Nuremberg because, according to Griffin, they had pursued "illegal wars". And in a long statement on the BNP website, under the headline "At Nuremberg, they hanged the politicians and generals for war crimes", he hit back at the military figures who had signed up to the letter.
They have made the decision to play rough politics so they can have some rough politics back.
He later told the BBC it had been "black humour" but the Tories said his comments were "absolutely despicable".

Despicable, and transparently self-promoting. Outrageous remarks gain headlines and commentary, and the BNP is desperate for publicity.

Calling world leaders 'mass-murderers' and retired generals 'Nazi war criminals' certainly gets the BNP noticed. But at what cost?

Grandstanding for publicity by exaggerations means sooner or later the BNP will indeed top itself.

Sooner the better.

Monday, 14 December 2009

BNP 'no-platforms' itself

From This is Kent:

Media ban put on BNP leader’s talk

BNP leader Nick Griffin is coming to Sevenoaks as a guest speaker at the party’s first meeting in the town.

The location and specific details are being kept a closely-guarded secret until after the talk tonight.

Paul Golding, BNP councillor for Swanley, (wrote) in his blog last week:
Despite the criminal actions of the Labour Party in banning the BNP from holding meetings in Swanley, this meeting is going ahead nevertheless. This is not a dictatorship, it is a democracy, and the British National Party and our members, supporters and voters, will enjoy freedom of speech and there is nothing the Labour Party can do about it.
All media will be banned except for one “confidential publication”, and non-members will be barred. Others wishing to join are prevented by the membership freeze in place until January.

Cllr Golding, who celebrated his surprise win in the district council by-election for St Mary’s Ward, Swanley, in February, (added):

We operate on an A-list system. We make an agreement with a certain newspaper that they get exclusive coverage and if they print lies about us or just slag us off they are struck off the list forever.
Michael Fallon, Tory MP for Sevenoaks, said:

It seems an odd way to defend their policies. I hope they decide to rethink their extremist policies – I loathe everything they stand for.
He added he did not believe the BNP were suited to Sevenoaks.

Liberal Democrat parliamentary spokesman Alan Bullion said he thought the meeting signified the launch of a BNP campaign across Kent in the lead up to the General Election.
Obviously they have the right to hold a meeting although it seems to me a little suspect they have banned the town’s media.

Friday, 11 December 2009

Bad night for the BNP

From HOPE not hate:

BNP lose another councillor

Labour took a council seat off the BNP in Nuneaton today in a by-election in Camp Hill ward. In a hard-fought campaign Labour took the seat with 670 votes. The BNP came second with 478 votes and the Tories third with 275.

This is a complete reversal from the last time the seat was contested, when the BNP romped home with 675 votes, 6% ahead of Labour.

The HOPE not hate campaign distributed two leaflets during the campaign and I would like to thank everyone who got in involved and helped out, especially Alan who led the campaign and activists from Wolverhampton and Leicester who came over to help.

This was the BNP's 8th safest ward in the country. The result was proof that the fascists can be beaten anywhere.

BNP loses another Loughton seat

The BNP failed to hold a seat on Loughton Town Council in its strongest Loughton ward today. The Loughton Residents’ Association (LRA), which had not previously contested the ward, took the Loughton Broadway seat by 23 votes in a by-election caused by the resignation of a BNP councillor.

In a four-way fight, Katie Nicholson for the LRA won 257 votes against the BNP's 234 and Labour’s 204. The Conservative candidate took 75 votes.

The victory is important because Broadway is the BNP’s strongest ward in Loughton, where the party once had six district councillors. In 2008 the BNP lost seats in Loughton Fairmead and Loughton Alderton. In May 2010 the BNP’s second district council seats in those two wards are up for election, together with one of its two Loughton Broadway seats. The town council defeat today gives hope that we can defeat the BNP in all three wards in May and reduce the BNP representation on Epping Forest District Council to one.

Redbridge and Epping Forest Together (REFT), the local community anti-fascist campaign, produced a leaflet for the campaign, which was distributed by local activists to every home in the ward on Sunday 6 December. It highlighted how the BNP has been promoting division and race hate in the area and has achieved nothing for the community.

The BNP bussed gangs of activists into the area in an attempt to retain the seat and desperately attacked the REFT leaflet on the day it appeared. The gangs were back on polling day, bringing out supporters to vote. It was to no avail.

And yet more good news....

The BNP have had an awful night at the polls today. In addition to losing a seat in Nuneaton they also lost one on Loughton Town Council, in southwest Essex, and were humiliated in another in Cumbria, with Labour taking 85% of the vote in a two horse race against the BNP.

More figures, analysis and elation at Norfolk Unity, also celebrating Racists routed in BNP by-elections nightmare.

Conspiracy theorists and deniers

From Nick Lowles of Hope not hate:

This morning I just sent out an email pushing for further names for our Copenhagen letter.

As of this morning over 11,000 people had signed our letter letting the Climate Conference know that Griffin, who denies Climate Change, does not speak for us.

For those who haven't signed our letter you can do so here.

There is also an interesting article on the New Statesman website on the subject which is well worth a read.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Your signature against Nick Griffin of the BNP

Dear Reader,

Right now, representatives are locked in discussions hammering out practical measures to tackle climate change. But Griffin is still trying to smear the process with claims this weekend that "vested interests" are promoting the "climate change theory" and that the solutions to climate change are "as deadly as anything conceived by Stalin or Mao."

We can't let Griffin get away with this - and I need your help to rally thousands more to my letter. We're hoping to have 15,000 signatures before we send our letter, we have 11,000 already, and I need your help to make this goal.

We've set up a tool on our website that will let you do this - and it should take you less than a minute.

On the morning after Griffin got elected, I promised myself that I'd oppose him wherever and whenever he reared his head. His role as an MEP has given him a platform at this important Conference - but with your help we can take this away and make sure that the entire Summit knows that he doesn't speak for us. Please take a moment to invite your friends to stand with us by signing my letter and help us reach our ambitious goal of 15,000 signatures:

It's really easy and only takes a couple of minutes - but if we all act together we can contact tens of thousands of people and make a real difference.

Griffin and the BNP will use every opportunity they get to build momentum and prestige. Which is why it's so important we stand up to him when we can.

Reader - you're part of the movement that will stop Griffin becoming an MP next year. It's a fight we can and must win. But right now, I need your help to throw another road block in Griffin's path - please invite your friends to join us.


Nick Lowles of Hope not hate

PS If you have already signed, click here to find other ways to help:

Wednesday, 9 December 2009


By Grattan Puxon

The appearance of neo-fascist leader Nick Griffin on BBC's Question Time has caused outraged protest by those who fear extreme-right wing policies are becoming more acceptable in today's Britain.

But if the British National Party with its million votes is moving into the mainstream, it's just as frightening that once middle-ground politicians are willing to court favour with the neo-fascists.

Romanies and Travellers may have been in Britain half a millennium or more, yet are still not accepted by the middle-England majority. Those who continue to follow a nomadic life-style get it in the neck everyday due to some stubbrn institutional racism locked into our bureaucracy and police forces.

We're seeing it happen in Italy and Hungary, now we'll see it happening here.
Twenty miles from the Mother of Parliaments, by the lorry-full and Landrover, with bulldozer and crane - stop them if you dare! - they're coming for the Gypsies.

On UN Human Rights Day 10 December, Basildon's Tory chief will formally lead his cabinet in voting to give a two million pound contract to a bunch of hard-hat bullyboys to oust hundreds of Travellers from his district. It will be the ugliest yet act of ethnic-cleansing by a British local authority against an outpost of Europe's nascent Roma nation.

Certainly the 4,000 Basildon voters who backed the British National Party at the last election will be pleased to have what in effect must be an endorsement of their bigoted anti-Gypsy attitudes. Something for the BNP’s two MEPs to boast about it in the European Parliament.


A dirty, neo-fascist wave, a tsunami of social exclusion, is to break over the peaceful Dale Farm community, smashing up lives and drowning the hopes of another generation of Traveller children, presently attending local schools.

No matter that the impotent UK Children's Commissioner says it shouldn't happen, and boo to the goose that is the Commission for Equality and Human Rights. The CEHR has let itself be used in the charade which Basildon council calls its court-mandated engagement talks with Dale Farm residents. Sorry, that should read resident; only one attended this week's hole-in-the corner meeting with hard-nosed get 'em shifted project leader Dawn French.

The incessant message of these talks, now labelled pointless by a Gypsy Council representative, is that hundreds of Dale Farm residents must abandon their homes and land and, voluntarily, wander forth along Britain's rage-ridden roads - where you can't even light a fire nowadays without attracting a fine.

Basildon may have been told by the UK Government to provide alternative land for the Dale Farm community. Obligatory under the Housing Act.

Only Tony Ball interprets that as a mere request and stands sturdily by his eviction policy, believing the brutal back lane happenings will be quickly covered over by next May's expected Tory election landslide.

In bright new British Cameronland it won’t matter what happened to the Gypsies.

However, there is every sign that Dale Farm is fighting back. The rape of human rights is not something mothers here will take lying down. They are organizing a mass rally outside the Basildon Centre for 12 noon on Human Rights Day, an event they intend will be worthy of that universal anniversary.

They are also seeking to address a last appeal to the cabinet meeting at 7.30 pm that evening.
"We hope," says Mary Sheridan, recently back from Germany, from where 14,000 Roma are being forcibly repatriated to Kosovo, "that those upset by the sight of the BNP on television will be moved to join us in trying to stop fascist talk becoming brownshirt action."

Can blatant racism be halted? Basildon is the next battleground. Meanwhile, Dale Farm residents and supporters have received death-threats, several of which have been reported to Essex police, it was revealed at a Human Rights Day planning meeting recently, attended by former Mayor of London aide Atma Singh.


12 noon 10 December
St Martin's Square, Basildon
Transport for supporters: contact

Veerendra Rishi, director of the Indian Institute of Romani Studies, has started an appeal fund for this event with a one hundred pound donation.
Please send what you can by cheque to:
Dale Farm Housing Association
1 John Harper Street
Colchester C01 1RP

Human Rights Day protest rally, starts 7.30pm outside the Basildon Centre, St Martin's Square Basildon SS14 1DL

Anti-fascist expo on placards depicting treatnment of Gypsies from 1939 Nazis to 2009 BNP, allied to Hungarian Guard, which has murdered 9 Roma this year.

Basildon District Council's Cabinet will be meeting to award a two million pound contract to one of two bailiff companies for the eviction operation against Dale Farm and Hovefields Travellers' communities.

Supporters can take a train from Fenchurch Street direct to Basildon; or make use of mini-buses
running from Dale Farm to the Basildon Centre, from 6.45pm

The demonstration is being supported by students from Essex University.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

The ugly face of the far right

Not so long ago, when my children were little, British Rail offered cheap day-returns from Norwich to Nottingham which included entry to the 'Tales of Robin Hood' attraction.

We travelled in some excitement with packed lunches and various of their cousins three times altogether. Each time we went there was a different craftsman demonstrating some medieval skill such as minting coins, which was painlessly 'educative'. Each child earned an 'Outlaw' certificate from letting arrows fly more or less towards a target. It was fun

Extra to the trip was a visit to Nottingham Castle, and tour of the tunnels beneath. I wanted the children to get a feel of the place, to understand that whilst much of Robin Hood was fantasy, the castle was real. An enduring memory of our past and our heritage.

A picnic in the grounds of the Castle was another highlight of the day, if the rain was not too heavy.

This is the way millions of ordinary people explore British history, with a packed lunch and raincoats, all over our great country. No fuss, no fanfare.

And then along comes a political party that proclaims itself the "only" patriotic party interested in "preserving" British culture and heritage.

Whilst the BNP and its activist wing the EDL stake a claim to being Britain's "only true nationalists" and elect themselves as "guardians" of British culture, there is very little proof of such respect for or even much knowledge of our heritage in their words or in their actions.

Nick Griffin once waxed lyrical, writing in his 'Chairman's Column':
Apart from that we're all enjoying the fantastic weather. The whole countryside is starting to take on that dusty, hazy, almost tired end of summer look that we see more often at the close of August and the start of Shakespeare's month of mist and mellow fruitfulness.
A surprising mistake for such a self-described patriot, as the pharase he quotes is quite a well-known one from another great British poet, Keats.

The BNP, and its militant arm, the EDL, have a carefully polished veneer of themselves as "guardians of British culture and heritage", but that veneer is paper-thin.

Which brings me back to the walls of Nottingham Castle and the behaviour of some EDL and BNP activists after their march last weekend.

The "guardians" of British traditions and culture expressing themselves.

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Weather too bad to jump

Sadly the weather was too bad for Rupy to make her skydive for HOPE today. It was too windy and Rupy tells us that if she had jumped she could have been blown all the way to Blackpool.
But the skydive is back on for 20 March 2010. Let’s hope the weather is better then.

By Sonia Gable, Sunday, 6 December 2009, 15:12

Friday, 4 December 2009

Rupy jumps on Sunday!

From HOPE not hate:

Gandhi once said,

We are the change we seek in the world.
If you are proud to be British then I believe that you should stand against fascism.

I am doing a skydive in aid of Searchlight and HOPE not hate. As you can see on this website, their work is vital to stop such parties from becoming mainstream.

This jump is a major thing for me. A few weeks ago I thought I could never participate in such extreme sports but I can!

It would be awesome to know that people are supporting me and this cause so get your hands in your pockets ... by doing so you’ll be making a positive difference in the world.



Hello everybody!!

Let me start off with really exciting news – we’re over the £1500 online total mark!!! Wow weeeeee….I don’t know about you but I’m doing a happy dance right now.

Let me tell you even more exciting news – we would have never, ever, not in ONE MILLION years, have reached that total if it wasn’t for you! If I was with you right now I would be giving you a HUGE pat on the back…but I’m not so I do hope everybody is patting themselves on the back. Well done!!!

This is not bad at all and we used modern technology and communication to make this happen – our own networks, Facebook, Twitter, Emails and Text!!

Now according to the HOPE not Hate countdown I have 001 Days, 03 hours, 27 minutes and 45 seconds until I leap from the air 14,500ft high!! Yikes! I have never done anything like this before and once again I am asking you for your amazing support.

Do something simple today and post this link on your profile . .

….or tweet it….or text people the address…or email it. It doesn’t matter how you do it as long as we’re raising awareness about the HOPE not Hate campaign.

Today I’m whizzing around like a balloon that is losing its air and am preparing for the weekend. I’m off to the lakes tomorrow and then am JUMPING on Sunday! EEK!! If I can contact you tomorrow I shall do my upmost but if not I shall let you know how my leap goes.

Thank you all once again and keep up the good work!!!

Rupy :o) xxx

P.S. let’s pray for a bit of sun for Sunday!!

By Rupy Kaur
Send Rupy a good luck message here.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

An anti-white guilt hatefest?


Next week the world's leaders will meet in Copenhagen to bang out a deal to counter the dangerous effects of climate change. It's a critical moment for all of us - and it's one that Nick Griffin is hell-bent on ruining. Griffin is attending the climate summit. He's said that he's going to expose the "somewhat dodgy" evidence surrounding climate change. It's important that the Copenhagen representatives know that Griffin doesn't speak for the UK. I've written a letter to all of the representatives at Copenhagen - the people that really matter - denouncing Griffin and the BNP, and urging the need for a comprehensive deal. And Reader, I want you to sign it too.

It'll only take a moment or so but it's important that we all act together:

The BNP claim that climate change is a "global Marxist mantra" designed to "impose a one world government." It gets even worse. The BNP's website currently describes the Copenhagen Summit as:
an anti-white guilt hatefest which will see billions more taxpayers' cash poured into the Third World.
We can't let their words gain an ounce of credibility - that's why it's so important that thousands of people rebut the BNP's vile lies wherever and whenever they're spread.

With your help, we'll show the world that Griffin doesn't represent us.

You can do that right now by signing my letter:

When you see Griffin on the TV or in the media I want you to think about why he's there. It's not because there was a mass outpour of support for his vile policies. It's because people didn't turn out to vote. And Reader - we're the solution to that - wherever Hope not Hate campaigns we always massively increase the anti-BNP vote. Griffin will be standing in Barking in the General Election. I'll be in contact soon with ways you can make sure he doesn't win a seat in Westminster. But for the moment, please sign my letter - and join us in standing up to the BNP.

Thanks, Nick (Lowles)

of HOPE not hate

Salutes at BNP event 'racist act'

From This is Derbyshire:

NAZI salutes given by two men to people protesting against a British National Party festival were a hostile act referring to genocide, a judge has found.

Deputy District Judge John Miller made the point as he found Saville Davies and Hayden Gough guilty of racially aggravated harassment yesterday. He accepted that the pair were provoked by protesters at the party's annual Red, White and Blue festival, in Denby.

But he said the salutes could not be seen as anything other than hostile towards the non-British and non-white people and "those associated with them" in the 1,000-strong protest group.
He said:
It (the Nazi salute) is a reference to Nazi party dogma, which, as we know, involved racial discrimination to the most extreme degree – that is genocide based on race.
Southern Derbyshire Magistrates' court heard how, on Saturday, August 15, an argument started when protesters passed a small group of people in Codnor-Denby Lane as they walked away from holding a rally near the festival entrance. Between 10 and 15 people, including Davies, 25 and Gough, 18, were asked to move out of the way by police as the protesters approached.

When the protesters arrived Davies, who had a shaved head and was wearing braces and jeans, said he got into an argument with a man he believed threatened his son.

The court heard how protesters shouted slogans like "Nazi scum" and "Master race you're having a laugh" and threw objects such as fruit.

Davies, who was on his way to the festival at the time, said, as he moved away, the taunts got louder and he turned to give a Nazi salute.

Gough, who claimed he was following the protest "to get his face on TV", said he gave three Nazi salutes when interviewed by police.

Both were caught on CCTV taken by a police surveillance team. Davies was arrested at the scene and Gough was arrested later that day after officers had studied the pictures. In September, Davies and Gough pleaded not guilty to racially aggravated harassment.

Yesterday, they pleaded guilty to behaviour causing harassment alarm or distress but continued to deny it was racially aggravated.

They were found guilty of the earlier charge.

Both said they were not members of the BNP but Davies said he been to one party meeting.

Davies, of Holywell Avenue, Codnor, was ordered to pay a fine and costs totalling £315, and Gough, of Church Street, Riddings, £390.

Both were bound over to pay £250 if they caused harassment, alarm or distress to the public again within two years.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Kray twins admirer is big BNP donor

From HOPE not hate:

A close friend of the murderous Kray twins is one of two major donors to the British National Party in the third quarter of 2009. Eileen Sheridan-Price, a former beauty queen, gave £5,105 to the BNP in September.

Sheridan-Price says the East End of London was “a much nicer, safer place” when the Kray twins were around. Reginald and Ronald Kray were notorious gangsters who ran organised crime in the East End during the 1950s and 1960s. They were involved in torture, armed robberies, arson, protection rackets and murder to enforce their will. They were both convicted in 1969 and sentenced to life imprisonment.

One can see the attraction of the BNP for an admirer of the Krays.

The other large donor in the period was Charles Hancock, who gave £8,700 in August. Neither name has previously appeared in the list of people giving more than £5,000 to the party.

The BNP has still not submitted its 2008 accounts.

by Sonia Gable From BBC News 1 October 2000:

Reggie Kray, one of the most notorious gangsters of the 1960s, has died peacefully in his sleep after a battle against bladder cancer.

Kray, 66, died in the honeymoon suite at the Beefeater Town House Hotel in Norwich, Norfolk.

The former gangster was officially freed from prison on 26 August by Home Secretary Jack Straw because of his deteriorating health.

He had been moved to the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital from Wayland Prison near Watton, Norfolk, 10 days earlier.

Kray chose the Town House because he wanted to look out over a river after serving 31 years for the murder of fellow gangster Jack "The Hat" McVitie in a flat in Stoke Newington, north London.

Leading BNP man in Cumbria quits party

From There's Nothing British About the BNP:
Barbour with BNP leader Nick Griffin

Alistair Barbour, the BNP’s candidate for Carlisle, has quit the party after becoming disillusioned.

Barbour was on the BNP’s leading lights in Cumbria but yesterday he astonishingly quit saying he is ’sick of defending them.’

Speaking to local journalists in Cumbria Barbour said:
I joined the BNP two years ago and was perhaps a little bit naive.
I don’t agree with everything they stand for and I’m sick of defending them.
Cumbrian local media say that Barbour, a gas fitter, stood for the BNP in the Penrith West by-election on Eden Council in October and in Currock, Carlisle, at the county council elections in June.

Barbour has also been a candidate at Carlisle City Council elections in Castle and Upperby. He says he is not a racist and that he disagrees with some BNP policies.

For example, he believes the party was wrong to bar non-whites from joining. He said:

We are where we are in 21st century Britain. You can’t turn the clock back. You need to make the best of what you’ve got.

The BNP should take a long, hard look at themselves and how people see them.

I realise now that you don’t have to belong to a party. You can have your own thoughts.

Monday, 30 November 2009

Skydiving for HOPE

From Rupy Kaur:

Hello, I hope you're very well this Monday morning.

Now I only have 5 days to go so I really need to push the promotion of this and was hoping you could help. How? Just post this link on your wall if you can..just so we can spread a bit more awareness.

Thank you, Rupy x

Hello lovely people!

For the last 5 weeks I have been receiving one hour of physiotherapy, from the NHS, each day to help improve my posture. During that time my posture has improved and my physiotherapist has been excellent. I have one more week to go and then it’s the build up to my dive!!! I’ll come back to this later…

Looking back over the last 5 weeks the BNP have been prominently in the press, they’ve appeared on Question Time and have set their sights upon Barking. They have also changed their constitution allowing ‘non whites,’ to join. It has been reported today that the first to join is an anti-Islamic Sikh, who has wished to join the party for many years but has been barred due to the colour of his skin. As coming from a Sikh family myself, I am appalled by hearing such news.

Firstly, the founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak, stressed the importance of equality amongst all living humans and animals. He stressed that there needs to be equality with such things like race, gender, faith and caste. The BNP do not promote equality and therefore this person, in my opinion, cannot be a ‘true’ Sikh.

Secondly, I believe there could be danger with this new constitution and this first new type of member joining. It may influence other past ‘typically barred’ members to join the party which could on the ‘outset’ appear to justify the party’s existence. I cannot see the reasoning for them wanting to join though – it’s illogical. By law the BNP may seem to be more acceptable but by nature they are still the same. Why fight for a party which denies a person’s right to be labelled as the nationality that they were born or have been brought up in, and not provide them with equal rights with the law?

There is nothing British about the BNP. I know for a fact that Manchester (my home city) is proud of being multi-cultural and celebrates it loud and clearly.

People are becoming disillusioned with politics. Let’s stop this from happening. Let’s inject politics with a dose of optimism. Collectively, we are the optimism that the world of politics needs, to prevent parties like the BNP, from becoming mainstream. That’s what the HOPE not Hate campaign is all about – it emphasises the notion of HOPE and with this, optimism follows.

I’m so optimistic that as a SIKH who believes in EQUALITY am jumping out of a plane, in 15 days time, to raise awareness and funds for the HOPE not Hate campaign. I know for a fact that there are thousands of volunteers around our country spreading the message of hope and have certainly encouraged voters to stand up for what is right – firstly, by encouraging people to vote, and secondly educating them about the real intentions of the BNP, so that they don’t vote for them.

Going back to my physiotherapy – as a knock on effect of my Cerebral Palsy, I developed curvature of the spine. My physio has been working extremely hard with me in trying to straighten it. The results have been dramatic and I am extremely happy. My physio is from the Netherlands. If the BNP were the main government to exert power over Britain, it has been predicted that the NHS would collapse over night…

Indian-origin woman to skydive to fight racism

From The Hindu:

A 22-year-old wheelchair-bound Indian-origin woman, suffering from cerebral-palsy, plans to skydive from more than 14,000 feet to raise funds to fight against ‘racism and fascism’ in the U.K.

Rupy Kaur, a disability activist who was inspired by Mahatma Gandhi, will undertake the feat on December 6 in Lake District, a picturesque region in northwest of England. She comes from a family of fighters of justice. Ms. Kaur said:

Just because you are disabled it does not mean you cannot participate in extreme sports. Obviously, you’ve got to think about the pros and cons but it should not hold you back.

Stating that she is proud of her Indian origin, Ms. Kaur, a psychology graduate of Manchester University said money raised from the act would go towards two of Britain’s best-known groups campaigning against ‘fascism and racism’ - Searchlight and Hope Not Hate.

Her move comes amid recent violent demonstrations by racist and anti-immigration groups in towns and cities with large non-white populations in Britain.

Ms. Kaur is particularly critical of the anti-immigration British National Party (BNP) which is in the midst of a major controversy over a decision by BBC television to invite its leader to participate in a popular current affairs panel discussion show Question Time this week.

Ms. Kaur said,

When I first heard of the BNP, I thought nobody would be that stupid as to vote for them. There have been many wars and nobody would want to incite hatred, would they? The sad fact is there are people who support them.

BNP leader Nick Griffin on Monday claimed that his Question Time invitation marks the BNP’s arrival “in the British political system” and argued that some Sikhs and Hindus now supported the far-right party.

By Sam Tarry

Labour chooses Norwich North hopeful

From Norwich Evening News 24:
An Ipswich councillor and political activist from Thorpe St Andrew has been selected to fight Norwich North for Labour at the general election.
John Cook, 45, (pictured) will try to take back the seat that his friend Ian Gibson held for Labour for 12 years until he quit over the expenses scandal. A by-election in the summer saw Labour candidate Chris Ostrowski heavily defeated by Conservative Chloe Smith, who became the country's youngest MP. Norwich North will be a hotly contested seat at next year's general election as Labour try to take it back from the Conservatives. Until this year it had been held by Dr Gibson since 1997, was held by the Conservatives for the previous three elections, and was a Labour seat from the 1950s to 1983.

Mr Ostrowski was not one of the 15 people to put their names forward for the selection this time round. The shortlist of four included Phil Taylor, a local Labour activist, college lecturer and former special adviser to Peter Hain, who was seen as a strong candidate, and Faye Abbott, 31, from Coventry, a party activist and city council candidate there. The fourth, Nadim Choudhary, from Northampton, was unable to attend the hustings on Saturday night because of a family emergency.

Mr Cook lived in Thorpe St Andrew until nine years ago, when he moved to Ipswich. He is secretary to the Labour party there and election agent and a borough councillor for Ipswich. He says he plans to stand down at the May elections and will return to Norwich. In the 1990s he represented Thorpe St Andrew on Broadland District Council and Norfolk County council and was also a parish councillor. He said:
I am really looking forward to getting stuck in and reacquainting myself with the many people in Norwich North who know me.
Norwich South MP Charles Clarke said:
John Cook will be an outstanding Labour candidate for Norwich North. He is very politically experienced and understands the constituency deeply. He will offer a real threat to Chloe Smith.
Mr Cook was Dr Gibson's election agent in 1992 and 1997 and says he was “treated harshly” over the expenses affair which led to his resignation. He is married to Adele, a lawyer working in the public sector, who also teaches at UEA, and they have a 19-year-old daughter.

Before becoming a professional politician he worked as a bank clerk and what was then the Department for Social Security and HM Customs and Excise. He is a former Scout leader and also enjoys paragliding.

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Grooming terrorists

Yesterday there was news of the alleged BNP member Terence Gavan who prepared bombs, collected weapons, and apparently stored them in his home.

Gavan admitted 22 charges, including six under the Terrorism Act, when he appeared at Woolwich Crown Court on 26 November 2009. The Judge, Mr Justice Calvert-Smith QC, adjourned sentence until 15 January and remanded Gavan in custody.

This is not the first BNP connection to terrorism. David Copeland had been a member of the BNP (but claimed to have rejected it before he set off his three bombs in London).

Robert Cottage was also described as an “ex-BNP man” by the BBC when he was jailed for two and a half years for storing explosive chemicals at his home.

The police did some good work in uncovering this would-be terrorist, Terence Gavan, and bringing him to justice. We were lucky.

But the Gavan case seems to be further evidence that the BNP creates an environment that enables this sort of unusual criminal behaviour.

It indicates that belligerent rhetoric grooms susceptible individuals, preparing them to become potential terrorists.

For example, it is claimed that the inflammatory rhetoric of preachers like Abu Hamza "inspired the 7/7 bombers". Could fiery rhetoric from the BNP have inspired Copeland, Cottage and Gavan?

The BNP does not openly support or agree with a bombing campaign, of course, and has been quick to distance itself from Gavan.

But the BNP cannot escape responsibility. In blogs and debate forums, on YouTube, Stormfront, Redwatch and other websites, and in numerous speeches throughout Britain, anyone can read or hear fanatical and deliberately enraging rhetoric from the BNP.

Some of it does promote the idea of a civil war (ie race war) in the future. The implication is that members need to prepare. This could give susceptible individuals the idea of stocking up of weapons.

The blog post below gives just one example of BNP rhetoric.

From Edmund Standing:

Lee Barnes: Ethnic cleansing and civil war

BNP Legal Director Lee Barnes writes:
Teach white children about racism, slavery and multi-culturalism so they feel ashamed of their race, their identity and their country.
Teach them left wing bollocks by left wing teachers.
Then when they fail, and the immigrants do better at school, the immigrants can be used to create a new Labour voting middle class to replace the white working class.
Are you so fucking stupid that you think this is an accident.
This has been planned – this is the slow dispossession and ethnic cleansing of our people from our country.
Never mind, the civil war will happen spontaneously and naturally in the future – and the left and the liberals will have laid the foundations for it.
Bear in mind that in BNP terms this man is an intellectual. Anyone else get the impression that he rather relishes the idea of civil war?

by Edmund Standing

Friday, 27 November 2009

Kirklees BNP member admits to terrorism charges

From Hope not Hate:

A member of the British National Party is facing a long spell in prison after admitting to keeping an arsenal of homemade weapons at his home.

Terence Gavan, 38, made and stockpiled 54 nail and ball-bearing bombs between May 1999 and May this year.

He also manufactured shotguns, pen guns and pistols at his home in Batley, West Yorkshire.
Gavan was also found in possession of ammunition, a manual on boobytraps, an improvised munitions handbook and a copy of the Anarchists’ Cookbook.

He admitted 22 charges, including six under the Terrorism Act, when he appeared at Woolwich Crown Court on 26 November 2009.

The Judge, Mr Justice Calvert-Smith QC, adjourned sentence until 15 January and remanded Gavan in custody.

Gavan was arrested at his home in Colbeck Terrace on 21 May following a West Yorkshire police operation.

He admitted four counts of making explosives and four counts of possessing explosives over a ten-year period.

They consisted of four improvised explosive devices (IEDs) incorporating ball-bearings, 21 IEDs with nails, two “victim-operated” IEDs with nails and a further 28 explosives classified as IEDs.

He also pleaded guilty three counts of manufacturing prohibited weapons, four counts of possession of prohibited weapons and one count of possession of ammunition without a certificate. In all, police found nine homemade or converted firearms at the property.
These were a .22 ME9 para air-cartridge pistol, an 8mm blank-cartridge, pistol, a home-made .22 rimfire single shotgun, two homemade .22 rimfire pen gun, a .22 single shot pistol.
There were also two homemade pistols and one homemade shotgun, fitted with silencers or sound moderators.

Between 31 December 2005 and 22 February this year Gavan reactivated a British Service No 4 Mark I rifle. Also found in his home were two Brocock revolver gas guns.

Gavan further admitted six charges of possession of documents containing information likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism, under section 58 of the Terrorism Act 2000.

These were books with the titles Boobytraps, Improvised Weapons Manual and Guerilla Warfare and Special Forces Operations 1961, and two electronic PDF files including the Anarchists’ Cookbook volume 4.

No doubt the BNP will say Gavan was not and never has been a BNP member. However Searchlight has been monitoring this case for some time and we can reveal that Gavan not only was a BNP member, he also held gold membership.

Just to help the BNP administration team find details of their latest villain, we are reliably informed Terry Gavan has the membership number 130757

Racist punished

This is a significant indication that racism and 'public' racist insults are being recognised as offences against human dignity, and as crimes, world wide.

Racist insults are mindless and destructive, and have no place in the modern world.

From the Associated Press:

South Korean fined for insulting Indian

A South Korean court convicted a man of insulting an Indian professor, a judge said Friday, in what is seen as the country's first punishment of racist remarks against a foreigner.

The 31-year-old South Korean used an expletive and said "Arab! Arab!" to Bonogit Hussain, 27, in July for talking loudly in the bus they were riding in, Judge Cho Chan-young said.

The judge said the remarks merited punishment because Hussain felt publicly insulted.

The court in Bucheon, west of Seoul, fined the defendant, identified by his surname, Park, 1 million won (US$860) in Thursday's ruling. South Korea's criminal code calls for up to one year in prison and 2 million won in fines for public insult.

Local media said Park also told Hussain that Arabs were dirty and smelly. They said the case was the country's first punishment of racist comments to a foreigner.

Hussain's case drew attention in South Korea, where ethnic homogeneity has been considered a matter of pride. Such perceptions have been fading as a growing number of South Koreans have married foreigners and the number of migrant workers has risen.

Still, prejudice against foreigners, especially those from poorer nations in Southeast Asia, is considered strong, and migrant workers often complain of abuses and unfair treatment at their workplaces.

Hussain, who came to South Korea in 2007, earned a master's degree from Seoul's SungKongHoe University and worked there as a research professor before returning to India in late October, the school said.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

He could only write a letter

From Hope not hate:

As the people of Cumbria struggled under some of the worst flooding for decades, their local MEP was gallivanting around Europe.

Over the past week Griffin launched his General Election campaign in Barking (though his walkabout was actually in the neighbouring constituency of Dagenham & Rainham), joined fascists for a rally in Spain and argued against climate change in the European Parliament.

I guess the people of the North West, for where Griffin is supposed to represent, should be thankful that he managed to find time to write a letter on their behalf. But then again, after reading the letter, it is clear that Griffin is more interested in making cheap political points about EU expansion than seriously helping his constituents.

by Nick Lowles

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

HOPE not hate leaflets help defeat BNP

From Hope not hate:

A Hope not hate weekend of action helped ensure a derisory result for a BNP candidate at a local election last week. Dave Owen, who was contesting a Doncaster council by-election in Rossington ward on 19 November, received only 101 votes, coming fifth with 4.3%.

Local Methodists, supported by members of Doncaster Racial Equality Council, distributed anti-BNP leaflets in the ward as part of the national HOPE not hate weekend of activity on 7-8 November. Activists reported a good reception from residents, who had no time for the BNP. They also leafleted extensively in Doncaster town centre and Bentley.

Owen, 59, who lives in Stainforth, has contested local elections for the BNP on several occasions and last June stood for mayor of Doncaster, coming fifth with 10.9%. The mayoral election was won by Peter Davies standing for the English Democrats, which opposes immigration, the EU and “political correctness” and wants to “put England First”.

The English Democrats came second (to Labour) in Rossington and undoubtedly captured potential BNP votes – though that is not to minimise the importance of HOPE not hate’s activity.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

The Truth about Immigration – The migrants you don’t hear about in the tabloids

From Liberal Conspiracy:

Fact: The population of the UK rose by 3.737 million people between 1990 and 2007.

Fact: Total net migration to the UK between 1990 and 2007 was 2.097 million, 56% of the total increase in population. Of that figure, 1.859 million stems from the period from 1997-2007.

Fact: Between 1997 and 2007, 1.292 million people were granted the right to settle in the UK.

Fact: Between 1997 and 2007, 1.646 million former migrants became British Citizens.

Fact: Net immigration rose significantly under New Labour. There is no denying that fact.

For some people those figures, alone, are sufficient reason to put up the shutters and declare that Britain is full, even if they barely scratch the surface when it comes to telling the real story of immigration over the last 12-18 years.

For example, although total net migration amounts to 1.859 million between 1997 and 2007, the number of people currently living in the UK with full settlement rights has risen by only 480,000.

Britain is a net exporter of its own citizens, 811,000 in the period from 1997-2007 on top of the 297,000 (net) who left the UK between 1991 and 1996. So somewhere in the world right now, possibly Spain, someone is sitting down to read today’s copy of the Daily-o Mail-o and complaining bitterly to themselves about all the bloody Brits who’ve been going over there to take their jobs.

Migration is not a zero sum game. The net increase in Britain’s migrant population stems from population movements involving 12.454 million people between 1991 and 2007 (9.076 million since 1997) into and out of the UK. Of the 4.586 million foreign nationals who entered the UK between 1997 and 2007, 1.838 million had moved on by the end of 2007 and a further 1.51 million were still here only on a temporary basis, including 454,000 whose immigration status remains uncertain as they await a ruling on an asylum application. Of those pending applications, the data suggests that a quarter may be granted the right to settle or extended leave to remain in the UK, although it may be less than that as the UK tightens its approach to dealing to asylum seekers and most may eventually have to leave.

Once you drill down into the data, past the few scraps of information that make the tabloid headlines, the picture becomes ever more complex. It’s that picture we are endeavouring to present.

Why do migrants come to the UK?

To make any sense of the patterns of net migration to the UK since 1991 its important to understand why so many people come to the UK. The main reason are covered by the two graphs below, the first showing total inward migration for the periods 1991-1996, 1997-2002 and 2003-2007, the second the net migration over those same time periods.

What interesting here, to begin with, is that the figures for inward migration are so different for the periods from 1991-1996, under a Conservative government, as they are for the periods 1997-2002 and 2003-2007, under New Labour. Inward migration has gone up under New Labour, certainly, but it was still relatively high under the last Conservative government, when 1.8 million people entered the UK over a six year period as migrants.

Where things differ markedly is when we come to look at the figures for net migration, which show, amongst other thing, that Britain moved from being a net exporter of labour under the Tories to a net importer under New Labour. Well, there was a recession in the early 1990s followed by a fairly unprecedented period of sustained economic growth, so that’s only really what you’d expect.

What may surprise people, however, is what the second graph has to tell us about the nature of the single biggest source of net migration to the UK over this entire period, because its not asylum seekers or migrant workers, as many may well believe if they rely on the tabloids for their information. It’s not even family formation, foreign nationals entering the UK as spouses or dependants; although on that score Britain has been a much more hospitable place under New Labour than it ever as under the Tories.

No, the single biggest source of net migration to the UK since 1991 is students, people entering the UK to undertake a course of formal study, a total of 1.34 million since 1991, 1.15 million of which occurred under New Labour.

These are the migrants you’ll rarely, if ever, hear about in the Daily Mail.

Migration and Education

We can easily see why students make up by far the largest number of net migrants to the UK over this period (60% since 1991, 56% since 1997) from this graph, which looks at the growth in student numbers in perhaps the most important education sector (fiscally speaking), higher education.

Overall, the numbers entering Britain’s universities have risen significantly since 1997 (sadly, there’s no readily available data for 1991-1996); by around 25% in the case of both UK and EU students, give or take dip in the latter between 2002 and 2004 but by 118% in the case of students from outside the EU (the graph shows index numbers with 1997=100).

The number of non-EU overseas students studying for degree-level at British universities more than doubled over the period from 1997 to 2007, and particularly from 2000 onwards, when the rate of growth really began to accelerate to the point where, by 2007, overseas students make up 1 in 7 of all students in Higher Education in the UK (239,000 rising to 351,000 in total when you include those from the EU).

With the exception of a relatively small number of overseas students studying here on UK scholarship, these are fee-paying students around half of which are studying for post-graduate qualifications. For a student from the EU, annual fees vary from £3,225 for an undergraduate degree at a University in England to anything up to £14,000 a year for a postgraduate degree, while a non-EU can expect pay anything from £5,655 to £20,400 a year for an undergraduate degree, depending on institution and course, while annual fees for a postgraduate weigh in at between £7,300 and £31,500. Typically, universities in London, Oxford, Cambridge and the ‘red brick’ and specialist universities charge the highest fees, with science, medicine/veterinary medicine and business courses tending to the most expensive overall.

Overall, overseas students will put an estimated£2.83 billion in tuition fees into the UK’s Higher Education sector in 2009/10, around a third of the sector’s revenues from that particular source. Overseas students not only pay their way but they contribute more than double their share of tuition fee revenues relative to their actual numbers, effectively subsidising the education provide to British students to the tune of around £1.5 billion a year.

Over the last 12 years, the ten subject areas attracting the greatest percentage growth in overseas students are shown in this graph.

Interestingly, when looking at the detailed course data it is apparent that EU students studying the UK are twice as likely to opt for courses in business and administration or engineering and technology than their UK counterparts, while non-EU students are three times more likely to study one of those two fields. British students are, however, much more likely to study for a degree in education or in the biological sciences than their non-EU counterparts, the former saying much about the role of government’s funded financial incentives for would-be teachers, the latter possibly an oblique commentary on attitudes to evolution elsewhere in the world.

Looking beyond higher education, figures provided by the British Council, which promotes British education overseas, indicate that there are currently over 21,000 overseas students who parents live outside the UK studying in the UK at fee-paying schools in the independent sector. 32% of these come from China and Hong Kong, with a further 14% from Germany and 10% from the rest of Europe (excluding France and Spain). The average fee, per term, at an independent boarding school in the UK is currently £7,747, giving an estimated annual income for the independent schools sector of £496 million a year.

As for further education, figures also provided by the British Council show that there were around 76,000 overseas students studying at publically funded FE colleges in the UK in 2007/8, a fall of 6,000 from 2002/3, with the number of non-EU students falling from 61,000 to 36,000 as many of them move on to British universities. These figures do not include overseas students studying in the UK at private FE colleges and ‘feeder’ colleges for the top universities, for which no reliable data is available.

A study (pdf) published by the British Council in 2007 estimated the total export value of education to the British economy in 2003/4 at £27.71 billion, including revenues from private sector training, consultancy and educational-related goods and services, of which £8.6 billion was derived from educating foreign students in the UK and overseas via distance learning programmes, both of which are classed as exports. It also estimated that for every £1 of revenue from tuition fees paid by overseas students, the education sector receives a further £1.25 in additional education spending, putting the estimated value of overseas students to the British economy this year at £6.36 billion.

You might that an industry putting up numbers at that scale would be left to carry on with business as usual, especially during an economic recession, even if it means further increases in net migration but you’d be wrong.

A little over a month ago, The Guardian reported that ‘thousands of university places could be left unfilled and institutions millions of pounds out of pocket, because high fee-paying international students are being blocked from starting degrees under a new visa system’. It reported that as many as 14,000 students from Pakistan, alone, were likely to be unable to begin their courses on time due to a backlog in processing visa applications, forcing universities to video lectures in order permit students to begin their studies while still waiting to enter the UK.

The Guardian article also put the figure for income from tuition fees from foreign students at around £4 billion based on figures from UKCISA, higher than my own estimate but maybe more accurate as its based on exact figures for numbers of student per course and an institution where my estimates are extrapolated from averages and are likely, therefore, to be conservative.

Fears of Islamic extremists entering the UK from Pakistan have obviously played a role in creating this situation but that appears to offer little comfort to the Vice-Chancellors of British Universities who are fearful that delays caused by the UK Borders Agency could badly affect student numbers and damage the reputation of the UK Higher Education sector overseas, particularly in the Indian sub-continent, which is one of the sector’s most important markets.

What happens to migrants when they finish their education?

It’s difficult, if not impossible, to say.

There are major shortcomings in the available data on migration, none more so than the disconnection between the data on inflows and outflows/outcomes. We know how many migrants have entered the UK to further their education in recent years and we know that there’s a sizeable discrepancy between that figure (1.34 million net from 1991, 1.6 million in total) and the number we know to be in education in the UK at the present time; 456,0oo plus an unknown number in private FE colleges, feeder colleges or in private education.

Many, and exactly how many is uncertain, will still be living and working in the UK, some legally and some not, having overstayed. Some will have settled permanently in the UK having married a British citizen or the right to settle after being in continuous employment in the UK for more than five years – and some of these may, by now, be British citizens themselves.

Some will have settled here having applied for and received asylum. Others will undoubtedly still be stuck in the asylum system either waiting for decision or appealing a decision to turn down their application.

Some will have moved on to continue their education elsewhere in world and some will be among 1.5 million who’ve left the UK for a job elsewhere in the world or the 910,000 who’ve chanced their armleft to seek work without a definite job to go to.

And some will have, of course, returned to their homeland taking the skills and knowledge gained in the UK with them.

What we can say, in regards to those who are still living in the UK, whether continuing their studies, or working and/or having settled into family life in this country is that with government projections suggesting that there may be only 900,000 unskilled jobs in the UK economy by 2o20 and 20.7% of the adult population lacking the degree of literacy necessary to work out the correct amount of medicine to give a child from the label on the packet, any government with designs on the UK making its way in the the world as a high-tech knowledge will be relying heavily on the UK’s higher education system to continue to draw in, and retain, the brightest and best that the world has to offer.

That’s an immigration story you’re unlikely to read in the tabloids.

The introduction to this series is posted here.

· About the author: 'Unity' is a regular contributor to Liberal Conspiracy. He also blogs at Ministry of Truth.

Click on the graphs for greater clarity, or visit the Liberal Conspiracy site.

Monday, 23 November 2009

Norfolk delegate urges journalists to stand up against the BNP

From the Morning Star:

Reporters and broadcast journalists engaged in a fierce debate at the weekend on whether to allow the views of fascist BNP members to appear in print.

A motion at media union NUJ conference, calling for "no platform" for fascists attempting to pose as respectable politicians, sparked claims of "censorship" from some journalists, but other delegates urged the union to back "any journalist who refuses to work with the BNP." The NUJ's press and public relations workers' branch collectively demanded that conference especially supports "black union members who refuse to allow BNP members to use their publication or TV or radio channel as a platform."

The sharp exchanges took place as a photograph of delegates arriving at the conference was revealed to have been posted on the Redwatch internet site, which fascists have used to target union and anti-nazi activists. As some delegates urged an immediate ban on all photography at the conference, student journalist Elizabeth Houghton insisted that the union should not be cowed by the fascists. She declared:
If you say that photography must be banned because nazis may use any photo to intimidate journalists, photographers might as well grab their cameras now and throw them on the funeral pyre of freedom of expression.
Although a motion calling on the union to work to protect reporters and their families from BNP threats because of their coverage was passed, conference voted against the "no platform" call and, instead, "advised journalists to report the BNP responsibly."

But Norfolk delegate David Peel insisted that the decision should not stop journalists standing up to the fascist party. He asserted:
I fought the National Front in the 1970s and it breaks my heart that I'm still in this fight, but I will refuse to work with the BNP.