The decision of Trevor Phillips’ equalities body to take the British National Party to court over the far-right outfit’s “apartheid constitution” is a brave gamble, but one which seems to enjoy fairly widespread support.
One community activist, who first mooted the idea of challenging the BNP’s very legitimacy three years ago, said he couldn’t understand why it had not been done earlier.
Nic Careem, a former Labour activist from Camden in north London, who is now with the Conservatives, said he originally argued that black and Asian people should join the BNP en mass to cause chaos and expose the extent of racism inside the party of Nick Griffin.
He told OBV Blog today:
I was speaking about this at meetings three years ago, saying that we should challenge the BNP’s legitimacy from within. I’m glad that the equalities commission are now doing it. I’ve never understood why the old CRE [Commission for Racial Equality] never challenged it.It’s doubtful whether many Black people could be persuaded to become BNP ‘entryists’ in order to destroy the far right party from within, but there is certainly merit in the legal challenge to the BNP’s constitution, which forbids non-white people from joining.
The point about the BNP’s policy of discriminating on the grounds of race matters because they are a party that on the surface competes for the votes of all voters, and seeks to govern for all races, even though we know that, in their hearts, they only wish to serve white people.
It’s a very different situation compared, say, to the Black Police Association, a body that does not seek to police only for Black people but wants to a quality service for everyone. The BPA, like any Black association in a large public authority, is simply a coming together of Black people to lobby for equality.
Unlike the BNP, who want to actively discriminate in favour of white people, I have never come across any BPA member who wants preferential treatment for Black officers.
The key difference seems to have been lost on Telegraph columnist Gerald Warner, who claims today that the move against the BNP by the Equality and Human Rights Commission will end up “backfiring” and lead to the BPA being outlawed. Warner writes:
Many people feel considerable unease about our police force being Balkanised into ethnic groupings. (Would a National White Police Association be tolerated?) It is difficult to avoid the impression that Trevor Phillips is tugging at a thread on his pullover that could unravel the whole garment.While Warner is voicing a commonly-held opinion, his misguided views need to be challenged head-on if the EHRC’s legal action against the BNP is to be taken seriously by the public at large.
There is a world of difference between an organisation that believes in racial supremacy, and a group that comes together because they know strength-in-numbers is the only way to tackle institutional racism. But it’s time to make this argument all over again now.