Friday, 30 October 2009

Britain’s shooting community condemns BNP sloppy attitude to firearms rules

From There's Nothing British About the BNP:

The arrest of David Lucas (pictured), a Suffolk based farmer and former BNP candidate, on firearms and explosives offences this week elicited an implausible response from Simon Darby, BNP deputy chairman and spokesman.
I would imagine that it is to do with his capacity as an agricultural rural chap. It is just one of the many things that ordinary rural people have to deal with when you have got a politically motivated police force.
These words are roundly rejected by representatives of Britain’s shooting community.
The shooting community in Britain is one of the most law abiding in the world,
said Christopher Graffius, Director of Communications at British Association for Shooting & Conservation.
We have no truck with people who disregard firearms law and thus put themselves and the general public at risk. To complain that unlicensed weapons are common in rural areas is to insult rural people for whom the safe and legal handling of firearms is an important responsibility.
It is not good enough for a party that aspires to the highest offices in the land to brush off law-breaking by senior figures in its ranks.

HOPE not hate, Norfolk adds:

I seem to remember that according to the BNP manifesto Mr Griffin also wants the reintroduction of national service and said everyone who had undergone it should be required to keep a modern assault rifle at home. He said
It's there to shoot burglars with if they want, it's there to shoot people who invade this country if they want, and if in the end a tyrannical government wants to usurp the rights and freedoms of the people it is there to use against the government as well.
General gun ownership coupled with careless handling and aggressive attitudes seems a manifesto for disaster to me.

Yet another BNP gaffe.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Whatever happened to Stephen Ames?


Stephen Ames, a Norwich car dealer and BNP activist, was spotted as one of Nick Griffin's 'minders' before and after the BBC's recent controversial Question Time television programme.

On the left there is a picture of Stephen Ames as he left court in 2001 following a conviction for harassing a former girlfriend.

On the right Ames as he was pictured by anti-fascists a few weeks ago. He was part of the welcome committee for the disgraced fake cleric, Robert West, the BNP candidate who was humiliated in the North Norwich by-election in July this year.

The change in eight years is startling; the photographs speak for themselves. Is this what BNP membership does to a person? Maybe it's the stress of constant disappointment.

Back in July when the three anti-BNP activists asked Robert West about his religious credentials, Stephen Ames went on the attack, saying that unless the HOPE not hate campaigners “fucked off” he would "headbutt" them.

Monday, 26 October 2009

Norwich criminal was BNP leader Nick Griffin's BBC Question Time minder

From Norwich Evening News 24:

A Norwich car dealer with a criminal past played a key role in Nick Griffin's controversial Question Time appearance as he acted as a minder for the BNP leader, it has emerged.

Stephen Ames has been named alongside four other men who accompanied Mr Griffin to provide protection from anti-fascist groups who gathered outside Television Centre on Thursday. The group were pictured shielding Mr Griffin as he arrived at the BBC via a back door.

All of those identified have been described as having “shady pasts” with convictions for offences ranging from fraud to posting anti-Muslim comments on the internet.

Mr Ames has a series of convictions for stalking women. In 2001 he was given an 18-month rehabilitation order and made subject to an indefinite restraining order after admitting harassing a former girlfriend over nine months. He was also convicted of harassing two other women in 1999.
Stephen Ames outside court following an appearance before Norwich magistrates in 2001.

Thursday's Question Time appearance provoked angry scenes as protestors breached barriers at Television Centre. According to the Metropolitan Police three were injured, one badly enough to need hospital treatment.

Yesterday 41-year-old Mr Ames, who runs Trident Cars from his home in the north of the city, was unavailable to comment. A man who described himself as a “business associate” answered Mr Ames' mobile telephone and said he was on holiday.

During his 2001 appearance before Norwich Magistrates' Court, prosecutors described how he had “continually pestered” his former partner despite warnings to stay away.

Mr Ames sent her letters, faxes, text messages, e-mails and telephoned her, declaring his love. He also followed her as she drove, sometimes closely and aggressively, and she saw him near her new home after she moved. Chairman Paul Allen told him:
You have probably escaped prison by a whisker.
Mr Ames is an active member of Norfolk BNP and has featured on both leaked party membership lists. He escorted Mr Griffin during a 2008 visit to the county. He also campaigned alongside Rev Robert West during the party's unsuccessful bid to win a parliamentary seat in the Norwich North by-election earlier this year.


(Thanks to Sid Frisby)

Friday, 23 October 2009

Day of action in Norwich

Dear Supporter

As part of the Hope not hate national day of action Norfolk Hope not Hate will be leafleting in the centre of Norwich on Saturday, November 7 from 12:00 PM - 3:00 PM

We will be based at Hay Hill Norwich and we hope to send out teams of leafleters around the City.

We will be using this event, which marks Remembrance Sunday, to remind voters about the true politics of the BNP. We need your help to make sure that it's a success.

Please forward this email to your contacts and anyone else that you think will be able to assist on the day.

We need your help to make sure that it's a success.

See you there.

Sid Frisby
UKMember: National Union of Journalists

Peaceful community campaigning November 7th

Forwarded by Sid Frisby, member of the NUJ and the Norfolk director of HOPE not hate:

Last night the BBC gave a fascist a platform on its flagship political programme. Nick Griffin used that platform to defend his friendship with the KKK, attack Muslims, and make disgusting statements about gay people. His platform is one of hate - and his odious views were exposed to millions.

Today I'm writing to get your help with a project that will stop the BNP in their tracks.

Over the past two months Hope not hate have been concentrating resources on three by-elections that we expected the BNP to win. We threw everything we had at them - and we stopped them getting elected. Every single time.

By getting huge numbers of people involved in local, face to face campaigning in the communities that the BNP target, we've exposed their lies. Quite simply - community campaigning works. And now we need to roll out this strategy nationally. On November 7th we'll be running our first National Action Day, with over 60 events taking place around the country. We will be using this weekend, which marks Remembrance Sunday, to remind voters about the true politics of the BNP. I need your help to make sure that it's a success - can you donate £5 to pay for 500 campaign leaflets?

Our supporters have already helped us achieve so much. In May you funded 500,000 eve of poll leaflets. In June, your support allowed us to run the Not in My Name campaign, which saw a petition of 92,000 names being handed in to the European Parliament. In August, our supporters donated money towards the crucial St Helens by-election in Barnsley. In September, you helped fund a leaflet telling 100,000 Londoners about Richard Barnbrook's lies.

Our campaign against the BNP would not happen if it was not for people like you, giving small sums to help us expose the BNP.

We're expecting an unprecedented level of activism on November 7th - so now we need to call on your help again to fund our national campaign day:

We've proven that our movement can be the difference between the BNP winning and losing. In a by-election in Barnsley last week we reduced the BNP's vote from 30% to 23% - we stopped them winning an election they thought they were destined to win. And the BNP vote fell from 30% to 18% in the South Oxhey by-election too.

This didn't happen by chance. It happened because people like you got involved to make the difference. Sid - with your help we'll take this strategy nationwide. We will be active and organised wherever the BNP stand - ready to expose their message of hate. Please donate £5 to pay for 500 campaign leaflets now:

Thank you for being involved. There has never been a more important time to make a stand for hope not hate.

Nick Lowles

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Comments on the BNP article about Filipino workers in Britain say it all

On Tuesday 6 October I met Mr Emmanuel Geslani, a Filipino recruitment consultant who was invited to respond to disparaging remarks made about him and published in a BNP website article of 26 August.

Mr Geslani explained to me that the majority of Filipinos moving to the UK from the Philippines were on study-work visas.

He described a complex network of agreements negotiated between the Philippine-based recruiment agencies, their offices in Britain, the educational colleges in the UK offering study-work courses, the care and nursing homes in Britain that were able to offer work as part of the study-work courses, the British Embassy in the Philippines that issued the study-work visas after checking all requirements, and the banks that offered loans to finance the students so that they were able to pay for their courses in advance.

Also involved were local British landlords who house the working students, and the travel agencies that transport them.

At the heart of these interconnections are the aspirational, qualified, and hard-working Filipinos - mainly women in their mid or late twenties ready to work hard for the sake of a brighter future.

These Filipinas already know some English and already hold some hard-earned qualifications from the Philippines, but are willing to start studying again from scratch in British colleges on study-work programmes in order to upgrade their English and their skills into marketable and internationally-accepted qualifications.

As Mr Geslani explained, if there were enough British people prepared to work in British nursing and care homes, then there would be no need to recruit abroad.

What was conveyed to me above all was the ambition, resolve and dignity of these Filipino applicants to Britain, and their determination to work hard in a foreign country in order to better themselves.

In stark contrast, here are some comments that were posted on the BNP website following the article entitled "British jobs for Filipino workers".

from derbyram: CRAZY, CRAZY, CRAZY. 2 days ago I saw on the news that unemployment could go well over the 3 million mark. Now we find out that 150,000 poorly educated ex hookers, drug dealers etc clutching false or at best meaningless certificates of qualification to take the jobs of British workers. It beggars belief. 15 - 20 years ago(before the place bacame unstable) we were sending British contract workers to Manilla to do work that the locals couldn't do, several mates of mine earned some very good money. Then, a doctor over there was basically someone who could spell aspirin. Obviously Labour will set higher standards .... they can apply to be a doctor if they can spell Ibuprofen .... oh ... and work for £2.60p an hour !!!

from vag: Nothing is ever done about it. The care homes around here are full of foreign workers. When i get old before I cannot fend for myself it will be a one way ticket to Switzerland. The thought of having unqualified people taking car of me after i have sold my property to pay for it beggars belief.

from TrueBrit: Only a corrupt British government would have a policy of open borders and employment opportunities for foreign workers when the economy is in bad shape and Britons are looking for work. This nonsense has to stop, it is sucking the life blood out of the country and enough is enough!

from sendthemback: It's one third world deadbeat,scrounger and sponger after another. Every single day brings another story like this with this government. Why have they so much contempt for their own people? The only consolation is that there isn't going to be another Labour government. "still in the wanted list by job recruitment specialists in the UK" Once again it's these agencies that's the probelm. They can make more money on foreign workers than they can from Brits. They charge them excessive rent and transportation costs. They can't get away with it with Brits quite so easily. The government should clampdown on the agency fat cats.

from SteveGray2008: But we love them long time? Maybe we will have as many massage parlours as curry houses before you know it?

There is even a Facebook BNP page dedicated to more stupid and unkind comments of this sort, people (often with photographs beside their names) openly expressing hateful remarks about Filipinos on a public site, with no apparent restraint and no apparent accountability. For example:

Paula Nugent: Then 'our' unemployed should be given the necessary training to do the job. Where are all these Filipinos going to live?

Bradd Harker:what a load of shit!!! we should be able to work in out own land

Nicholas Hunter Folkes: Filipinos are gold diggers, they'd marry your grandfather and clear out all the silver and kick dysfunctional idiots like you onto the street. Britain does not need foreign labour in good times or bad. Cheap foreign labour reduces wages, increases house and rental costs, increase welfare costs, increases crime and anti-social ... Read morebehaviour. Remember toad, Britian is first world and the Phillipines is third world, do you get my drift. Import these blowflies and you will go down to their level.
Paula, the Filipinos will build shanty towns like Smokey Mountain in Britain. We have plenty of these free loaders in Australia, do not let them into Britain. Their qualifications are not the same standard as Britians. The more foreign rubbish you let in the weaker the British economy will be. Vote BNP for a return to common sense and British first policies.

I am in despair at the crude ignorance and lack of respect for others displayed in these comments by BNP supporters. How can the BNP website and Facebook host such bigoted opinions?

I urge you to 'report' these comments, as I have done, just click on the 'report' button after each vile remark. If enough of us report them, then maybe Facebook will take some action.

In reprinting some of these disgusting comments here I hold these BNP-supporting individuals to account for their cruel and unfair bigotry towards Filipinos.

Filipinos on study-work programmes are coming to Britain in a perfectly legal way, to do hard work the British disdain, on minimum or low wages, caring for our own British elderly and sick.

If anyone has the right to complain it is these Filipino workers, but they are just too kind and too busy studying and taking care of our people to do so.

Here I do it for them.

By Barbara Suzuki

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

UN calls for a new deal for migrant workers

Human Development Report challenges common migration misconceptions

The United Nations Development Programme Human Development Report 2009:

Allowing for migration — both within and between countries — has the potential to increase people’s freedom and improve the lives of millions around the world, according to the 2009 Human Development Report launched 5 October 2009.

We live in a highly mobile world, where migration is not only inevitable but also an important dimension of human development. Nearly one billion — or one out of seven — people are migrants.

The Report, Overcoming barriers: Human mobility and development, demonstrates that migration can enhance human development for the people who move, for destination communities and for those who remain at home.

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator Helen Clark writes:
Migration can be a force for good, contributing significantly to human development, but to realize its benefits, there needs to be a supportive policy environment as this Report suggests.
Indeed, migration can raise a person’s income, health and education prospects. Most importantly, being able to decide where to live is a key element of human freedom, according to the Report, which also argues that large gains in human development can be achieved by lowering barriers and other constraints to movement and by improving policies towards those who move.

However, migration does not always bring benefits. The extent to which people are able to gain from moving depends greatly on the conditions under which they move.

Financial outlays can be relatively high, and movement inevitably involves uncertainty and separation from families. The poor are often constrained by a lack of resources, information and barriers in their new host communities and countries. For too many people movement reflects the repercussions of conflict, natural disaster or severe economic hardship. Some women end up in trafficking networks, lose significant freedoms and suffer physical danger.

Challenging common misconceptions

The findings in this Report cast new light on some common misconceptions. Most migrants do not cross national borders, but instead move within their own country.

740 million people are internal migrants, almost four times the number of international migrants. Among international migrants, less than 30 percent move from developing to developed countries. For example, only three percent of Africans live outside their country of birth.

Contrary to commonly held beliefs, migrants typically boost economic output and give more than they take.

Detailed investigations show that immigration generally increases employment in host communities, does not crowd out locals from the job market and improves rates of investment in new businesses and initiatives.

Overall, the impact of migrants on public finances — both national and local — is relatively small, while there is ample evidence of gains in other areas such as social diversity and the capacity for innovation.

The authors demonstrate that the gains to people who move can be enormous. Research found that migrants from the poorest countries, on average, experienced a 15-fold increase in income, a doubling of school enrolment rates and a 16-fold reduction in child mortality after moving to a developed country.

Links to development

For the countries where migrants are coming from, the Report warns that migration is no substitute for development. However, mobility often brings new ideas, knowledge and resources — to migrants and to origin countries — that can complement and even enhance human and economic development. In many countries, the money sent back by migrants exceeds official aid.

Migrants’ gains are often shared with their families and communities at home. In many cases this is in the form of cash—remittances, but the families of migrants may benefit in other ways too. These ‘social remittances,’ as they are called, include reductions in fertility, higher school enrolment rates and the empowerment of women.

The Report also argues that the exodus of highly skilled workers such as doctors, nurses and teachers — a major concern of a number of developing countries that are losing these professionals — is more a symptom rather than a cause of failing public systems.

When integrated into wider national development strategies, migration complements broader local and national efforts to reduce poverty and enhance social and economic development.

Taking down barriers

Overcoming barriers lays out a core package of reforms, six ‘pillars’ that call for:

• Opening existing entry channels for more workers, especially those with low skills;

• Ensuring basic human rights for migrants, from basic services, like education and health care, to the right to vote;

• Lowering the transaction costs of migration;

• Finding collaborative solutions that benefit both destination communities and migrants;

• Easing internal migration; and

• Adding migration as a component for origin countries’ development strategies.

In terms of international migration, the Report does not advocate wholesale liberalisation, since people at destination places have a right to shape their societies; but it argued that there is a strong case for increased access for sectors with a high demand for labour, including for the low-skilled. This is particularly important for developed countries because their populations are ageing, and this may increase the demand for migrant workers.

Easing access and reducing the cost of official documents are other important steps towards lowering the barriers to legal migration. Rationalizing such “paper walls” will help stem the flow of irregular migrants, the Report argues, as people find it easier and less expensive to use legal channels.

Overcoming barriers also calls on receiving countries to take steps to end discrimination against migrants.

The Report stresses the importance of addressing the concerns of local residents and increasing awareness of migrants’ rights, in addition to working with employers, trade unions and community groups to combat xenophobia.

Despite cases of intolerance, research commissioned by UNDP for the Report demonstrates that people in destination countries are generally supportive of further migration when jobs are available, and appreciate the gains — economic, social and cultural — that increased diversity can bring.

Time for action

The world recession has quickly become a jobs crisis, and a jobs crisis is generally bad news for migrants.

In a number of areas, the number of new migrants is down, while some destination countries are taking steps to encourage or compel migrants to leave. But now is the time for action, the Report argues. Klugman writes:
The recession should be seized as an opportunity to institute a new deal for migrants—one that that will benefit workers at home and abroad while guarding against a protectionist backlash. With recovery, many of the same underlying trends that have been driving movement during the past half-century will resurface, attracting more people to move.
People are going to move, and thus Overcoming barriers provides the tools to better manage inevitable human mobility, laying out principles and guidelines for traditional immigration destinations, such as the United States and Europe, and new migration magnets, such as Costa Rica, Morocco and Thailand.

The package of reforms put forward in Overcoming barriers depends on a realistic appraisal of economic and social conditions and recognition of public opinion and other political constraints, the Report observes. But, with political courage, they are all feasible.

Jeni Klugman is the lead author of the 2009 Report.

Filipino workers in Britain

On August 26 the BNP website featured an article called 150,000 British Jobs for Filipino Workers and claimed a Manila-based newspaper "proudly" announced that “Despite the worldwide recession, more than 150,000 jobs are being offered in the United Kingdom to foreign workers, including Filipinos”.
The BNP quoted recruitment consultant Emmanuel Geslani, who, according to the BNP:
helpfully informs the Filipino masses that the "UK’s immigration system points-based scheme allows all qualified applicants to enter the UK under a managed immigration program with a five-tier system for all foreign nationals seeking to enter, or remain in the country."
The article concludes:
So there you have it: British jobs for everyone except British workers. One cannot imagine any other country actively encouraging foreign nationals to take away the jobs and rights of its own nationals — except the Tory and Labour run madhouse that is Britain.
Yesterday I was fortunate enough to interview Mr 'Manny' Geslani himself to find out more about the recruitment of Filipinos for Britain.

Manny, who has a background mainly in public relations, and who acts as a recruitment consultant for several agencies, was surprised by the BNP article, and said:
If you believe in freedom, then everybody has the right to find jobs where they are qualified and fulfil all the legal requirements. Since Great Britain is a long time champion of democracy and freedom, and if British people are not interested in certain types of work, then why not allow others to apply for those jobs?British people can come freely to the Philippines and even find work or set up a company and employ their own nationals. You do not even need a visa for a short visit. Many of my clients are British businessmen happily working here involved in finding applicants for the study-work programme in the UK.

Filipinos are not going to the UK to take anybody's job, but are going to study at a college or university or to do work no British person wants to do. If British people applied for these courses with work experience, there would be no need to recruit abroad.

Most of the courses are in healthcare or caregiving, and they involve some work experience as part of those courses. Filipinos can work legally for 20 hours a week to earn enough money for their food and keep. They usually work in care homes or nursing homes, and it is hard work that the British people do not want.

My impression is that British people do not take care of their old people as we do in the Philippines, but that the old go to live in Homes. With an ageing population, there are many old needing care. As not enough numbers of British like to work in these Homes, who is to take care of the old?

Filipinos on study-work programmes support the local economy and pay the fees of the schools and colleges which they attend. They are serious students with aspirations to improve themselves and gain internationally recognised qualifications. Filipino applicants must already hold some qualifications before they can be accepted for such courses.
Mr Emmanuel 'Manny' Geslani

Mr Geslani was scornful of the protectionist BNP article:
There are over 10,000 vacancies in healthcare and care-giving in Britain, and 500,000 unemployed licensed nurses in the Philippines. It's true we have many nursing colleges here that encourage our nurses to go abroad. This is a policy dating from the seventies when the USA was calling for nurses. Now it is more difficult to enter the US, and it is the UK that seeks health workers.

We do need more medical staff and hospitals in the Philippines, and we encourage our legislators to invest in improving provincial hospitals, but in the meantime here is an opportunity for our people to train abroad on study-work visas, to improve their English, to be exposed to good practices and to gain internationally recognised qualifications in health care. Then they can apply to the USA or Canada or even re-apply to Britain for more training.

Only at the end of all that training and passing all of the exams can they think of applying for a work permit or resident status.

Since 2008 the British Embassy has approved about 4,000 study-work visas, and they have their own people to screen each applicant. The British Embassy requires proof that the students have qualifications, have a reasonable standard of English, and have money for tuition in advance and cash in a bank account for rent and food.

These Filipino applicants to the study-work programme are highly motivated and are investing in their own future, bringing to Britain the best Filipino virtues of aspiration, hard-work, kindness to those who need care, and hard cash.

My message to the BNP article is simple.

Go to hell!

By Barbara Suzuki

Monday, 5 October 2009

Britain's first black mayor was elected in Thetford, 1904

From Black History Month, Norfolk, site:

Although Norfolk is generally perceived to be a white county, it has had a Black presence for many centuries.

Here we provide some details about this aspect of Norfolk’s history. Yet, there is much more yet to be discovered and documented. If you have any information that could be added to this resource, please contact us.

Dr. Allan Glaisyer Minns

Britain’s First Black Mayor

If you were asked where the first Black Mayor in Britain was elected, what would you say? London? Birmingham? Manchester? In fact, according to recent research, the first ever Black Mayor in Britain was a man named Dr. Allan Glaisyer Minns, Mayor of Thetford, Norfolk!

Until quite recently John Archer, elected Mayor of Battersea in 1913, was thought to be the first Black man to hold this position. However the American Negro Year Book 1914 recorded that, ‘In 1904 Mr Allen Glaisyer Minns, a col’d man from West Indies, was elected Mayor of borough of Thetford, Norfolk’.

Norwich and Norfolk Racial Equality Council (NNREC) and Norfolk Record Office have been researching the life of Dr. Minns following initial research undertaken by Sean Creighton, a historian based in South London. The following is an extract from the From Norfolk & Suffolk In East Anglia, Contemporary Biographies, W.T Pike (1911), Suffolk Record Office, Bury St Edmunds:

Minns – Allan Glaisyer Minns, Alexandra House, Thetford; youngest son of the late John Minns; born at Inagua Bahamas, October 19th 1858. Educated at Nassau Grammar School and Guy’s Hospital London. MRCS Eng; Lond. Medical Officer Thetford Workhouse & Thetford District of Thetford Union, Hon. Medical Officer Thetford Cottage Hospital. Member of the British MA & Norwich Medico-Chirurgical Society; President of Horticultural Society; Mayor of Thetford 1904-05-06.

Please visit the Black History Month, Norfolk, site for more fascinating information on local black history.

BHM - Creative Writing Competition

From Black History Month site:


As part of our Black History celebration on Saturday 24th October 2009 we would like you to write to us, telling us if a black person has inspired you. They can be dead or alive, local or international i.e. either through music, sports, politics etc or someone you see as a role model. This person should be someone that has made a difference to your life and helped you to achieve your dreams and aspirations etc.

Rules for entry here.

All entries must be entirely the work of the author. All entrants must agree to all publicity including photographs.

Entries must include your name, age, and be no more than 1 A4 size paper.

There will be a prize for the most inspirational story and all entries will be displayed on the day and the winner(s) will have the opportunity to read their piece. Entries to be typed and submitted by email only Deadline is Friday 16th October 2009.

The competition will be split into the following categories:

•10-14 years old
•15- 19 years old
•20 years old and over

If you would like any further information about the competition or the event, please contact 07929 044 729 or email

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Welcome to Black History Month!

From: Introduction to Norfolk BHM 2009

Hard to believe that Black History Month is back with us already. It seems like only yesterday that Linda Bellos and our own Abraham Eshetu were waxing lyrical at the BHM launch at the Forum.

If you’re new to BHM in Norfolk then a special welcome to you as well as welcome back to the revisitors. BHM is celebrated in the UK in October (February in the USA) and aims to highlight the contribution black people have made to our societies historically and in the modern context, until we reach the point when these subjects are covered and given the prominence they deserve in our schools and throughout other institutions.

I’m really delighted with this year’s programme, which is packed full of events. Much of the great stuff from last year has continued and in many cases improved, including the Norfolk Black Film Festival, a great programme across the county’s libraries, the African Market and the Black Haircare workshops. We also have a great programme of lunchtime and evening lectures booked, covering some really fascinating and challenging topics.

It has been an honour to be Chairman of Norfolk’s Black History Month Steering Group, even if at times it’s felt like an unpaid, yet full time job. So the question you may ask is ‘why do it?’…

The simple and truthful answer is that BHM does a lot of good in Norfolk. It brings a diverse set of people together. It provides entertainment but, more importantly, great education for those of us involved as well as the young and the old across the county. It gives people across the board the opportunity and confidence to look into and appreciate their own, and also other people’s, history and heritage which does wonders to combat racism, bigotry and other societal ills. The startling truth is that there really is no such thing as black or white history. All our histories are inextricably linked and often in the most unexpected ways. Black History Month is testament to this.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of two major record labels – Tamla Motown and Island Records. None can deny the effects of Michael, Smokey, Bob and the rest on both black and white in this country and elsewhere. It’s also 30 years since the birth of hip-hop. Politically it’s been 50 years since Castro came to power in the Cuban Revolution and thirty years since a host of world leaders came to power under many varied and different circumstances in places such as Grenada, Uganda, Britain, Iran and elsewhere. These definitely shaped the views of a generation of black and white people everywhere and still effect us today. The King’s Lynn-based artist Peter Sek has tried to capture some of the people involved in these anniversaries in his wonderful painting used inside the brochure. I won’t spoil it for you by giving the game away just yet, but see how many of the figures you can name in the picture and their connection to the years 1959, 1979 and 2009, then enter the competition and win free tickets to the BHM Finale at the Norwich Arts Centre or some of the other prizes on offer.

Of course BHM would not be possible without the support of our sponsors and advertisers. These include Norfolk County Council, the County Cohesion Network and NHS Norfolk amongst others.

It goes without saying that those members of the Norfolk BHM Steering Group deserve more than just a mention for the work they’ve put in towards shaping the programme and giving support generally.

We’ve worked a little harder this year in offering support to smaller organisations to put on events and it is reflected in the programme.

For your part, the best thing you can do is make an effort to attend some of the great events, whether it be a lunchtime lecture, a childrens’ event at the local library, catch a film during the festival, attend a workshop, sing in the Motown karaoke or come and buy something at the African Market.

It’s all possible this October.

By (Hajj) Amal Abdalhakim-Douglas, Chairman, Norfolk Black History Month Steering Group

Black History Month in Norfolk

From EDP24:
Black History Month is getting underway in Norfolk, with four weeks of events aiming to bring together people of all ages and backgrounds.

This year's Black History Month (BHM) promises to be bigger than ever, according to organisers, with more than 80 events scheduled to take place right across the county.

“Last year's BHM was such a success,” said Malika Rahman, of the Norwich and Norfolk Racial Equality Council.

“Our aim now is to keep getting bigger and better, so we can involve more and more people.”

Black History Month (BHM) was initiated by Carter G Woodson in America in 1926 as a way to respond to the often-expressed view that Black Americans and other peoples of African descent had made no significant contribution to human civilisation. It was first celebrated in the UK in 1987.

The event in Norfolk, which is organised by the Norwich and Norfolk Racial Equality Council, provides entertainment, but also aims to educate and to give people across the board the opportunity and confidence to look into and appreciate their own and also other people's history and heritage.

“This year there will be lots of lectures and talks, as well as musical performances,” said Malika. “There will also be people tying their events in with the 50th anniversary of Motown and plenty going on for children and families.”

For more information or to download a brochure visit


After the success of last year's Norfolk Black Film Festival, Community Arts East is screening an exciting selection of films.

■Karen Hill as DJ Hilary Spin - a 60s housewife who works in a typing pool and livies a boring routine. Then she hears soul music. Hilary is in a spin as she presents the iconic biopic Tina: What's Love Got to Do With It? (cert 18) on Friday October 2 at 7.30pm at Blofield Court House. Tickets are from 01603 715253 or S&S Mitchell newsagents. Also showing on Saturday, October 10, 7pm, at North Creake Village Hall. Tickets are £5 in advance from 01328 738959. The film will also be shown at Tittleshall Village Hall on Saturday October 31, at 7.30pm. Tickets from 01328 700952.

■Standing in the Shadows of Motown (cert PG) is a 2002 documentary film directed by Paul Justman. It recounts the story of The Funk Brothers, the largely uncredited studio musicians who performed on Motown Records' recordings from 1959 to 1972. Cinema City, Wednesday October 7, 8.30pm.

■Am I Black Enough For You? (cert 12A) This documentary tells the story about 70s Philly soul music artist Billy Paul, the city of Philadelphia and the lifelong companionship between Billy and his wife Blanche. Cinema City Wednesday October 14 at 8.30pm.

by Abigail Saltmarsh

Saturday, 3 October 2009

The BNP way

From HOPE not hate / Searchlight:

A brick through the window is a British way of showing displeasure according to the leader of the British National Party on Epping Forest District Council.

Pat Richardson’s remark follows a BNP campaign aimed at stirring up hate between local communities. A BNP leaflet distributed over summer headed “No mosques in Loughton” claimed ridiculously: “In parts of neighbouring Redbridge and east London the Islamification process is almost complete”.

Epping Forest BNP is obsessed with Muslims even though they form only 1% of the district’s population and there are no plans to build any mosque in Loughton. The BNP has built its campaign around the use of a room in Murray Hall, a community building, once a week for Muslim prayers.

Richardson’s readiness to resort to violence is not surprising as she learnt her politics from Tony Lecomber and Eddy Butler.

Lecomber, who lives in neighbouring Redbridge, was jailed for three years for possessing hand-grenades, detonators and bomb designs. Later he received another three-year sentence for beating up a Jewish school teacher with his gang of thugs.

Butler, who lives in Loughton, is now the BNP’s national organiser but in the 1990s he was one of a gang of BNP thugs who attacked a group of young people in east London. Butler smashed a young school teacher in the head with an iron bar causing serious injuries.

The BNP’s Islamophobic campaign has given rise to violence. After Stephen Murray, an independent councillor for Roding Valley ward, spoke out against the BNP leaflet and defended the right of local people to rent Murray Hall, he was attacked by a teenager who threatened to set his dog on him in a local recreation ground. “He was clearly a BNP supporter,” said Murray. “He was shouting pro BNP slogans at me. It was a clear threat.” Murray has also been attacked on local BNP-supporting websites.

by Sonia Gable

Hidden attempts by BNP to exploit our Armed Forces

From There's Nothing British About the BNP:

Nothing British reports BNP front group to Charities Commission

Bill Murray, SOTS Director and Leader of the BNP in Wales “Soldiers off the Street“ (company number 07018818) is the latest and possibly most troublesome example of astroturfing (fake grassroots) by the BNP targeting veterans.

SOTS aims to care for veterans and aims to clothe, feed and provide shelter for homeless ex-servicemen. A noble cause.

However, the story doesn’t stop there. SOTS is run by the BNP husband and wife team, Bill and Marie Murray. Mr Murray is head of the BNP’s Welsh division and his wife is a seasoned activist for the extremist party. SOTS also works in association with FEBA (a Scottish veterans charity that accepted money from the BNP). Mr. Murray is, according to SOTS’s company records (available through companies house), Director and his wife is the Secretary.

Three weeks ago we reported SOTS to the Charities Commission and Trading Standards after we discovered it was claiming to seek charity status and for failing to mention its very close ties to the BNP.

In a letter to Dame Suzi Leather, Chair of the Charities Commission, we wrote that while, the objectives of SOTS were commendable, we were extremely concerned about its attempts to conceal its political connections and thus had the potential to solicit funds from the public under the false impression that it was an entirely unpolitical organisation with no associations to a political party.

In our letter we pressed for “urgent action” and for a thorough investigation. This week, we were informed by the Commission that it would be reporting back to us by October 10th. Trading Standards have acknowledged receipt of our letter but have not yet said whether they will be investigating.

As we have seen with Islamist “charities”, one concern is that members of the public are duped into donating money in good faith and that funds end up in the hands of extremists (in this case the BNP).

Another concern is the propaganda value of this association to BNP recruitment teams.

Lastly, we believe that fake organisations like SOTS that withhold information about their extremist links undermine the exceptional and genuinely selfless work of groups that are concerned for the welfare of our servicemen and women.

We hope that by reporting groups such as SOTS that socially-minded members of the public will be better protected from front organisations masquerading as authentic veteran groups.

Friday, 2 October 2009

Row over BNP exploitation of Armed Forces continues

From Nothing British About the BNP:

The BNP’s controversial attempts to align themselves with the Armed Forces has been highlighted by a report in today’s Times.

The Times cites Simon Darby, deputy leader of the BNP, as saying: “Sometimes we gild the lily, but all political parties do that.”

James Bethell, director of Nothing British, told the paper how the BNP’s attempts were a “deliberate strategy”. He said: “This ‘wolf in sheep’s clothing’ strategy by the BNP is working and allowing them to worm their way into the fabric of British society.”

“BNP admits exaggerating claims of donations to Forces charities” – From The Times:

The BNP has been exploiting public support for British troops by holding fundraising drives for military charities.

The far-right party has offered its help to struggling charities, claiming that it is “in the interests of the British people”, and has highlighted a series of donations to soldiers and veterans’ organisations on its website. The party intends to hijack the Poppy Appeal by calling on its members to sell poppies for the Royal British Legion. There are also plans to hold a book auction to raise money for Help for Heroes, a charity for injured soldiers.

However, The Times has learnt that the BNP has vastly exaggerated the amount of money it has given. On other occasions it has taken credit for donations given by individual members.

Nick Griffin, the party leader, claimed on its website that the BNP gave £25,000 “worth of help” to a struggling veterans’ charity in Scotland known as FEBA, an acronym for the military term, Forward Edge of Battle Area. But the organisation, which accepted support from the BNP, saying that otherwise it would have to shut down, said it had been given just £3,000 by a local party activist and some heating equipment from the party.

BNP's disrespect of our Armed Forces

Incoherence and a shocking lack of respect marks the BNP attitude to the men and women in uniform who risk everything in doing their duty for this country.

On the one hand the BNP voices respect for our Armed Forces, and on the other hand it exploits them at every opportunity. For example -

From Stop the BNP:

On Tuesday 10 March this year, the Royal Anglian Regiment were heckled by a fringe group of extremist Muslim demonstrators as the soldiers marched through Luton Town Centre. This predictable action frustrated and angered nearly every section of the community – above all the local mosques, which had already banned the 15 individuals. The blaze of negative publicity produced strong comment both locally and nationally, with robust condemnations from town hall politicians and a forthright debate in the letters’ columns of local papers.

Soon afterwards it was possible to distinguish the comments intended to heal from those that sought to open up division and further an entirely different agenda.

One ex-soldier, James Yeomans, started to organise a “Respect the Troops” march to take place three weeks after the original incident. Far from a troublemaker, Yeomans intended this to be a genuine gesture to express regret at the incidents on 10 March and thus go some way towards repairing the reputation of the town.

Unfortunately, individuals started to emerge from the darker corners of Facebook and other sites, chewing over the possibility of using the occasion to create a confrontation with the town’s sizeable Pakistani and Bangladeshi population. Keyboard warriors encouraged fellow group members to “bring their tools”, going on to say “it’s going to be messy”. Momentum was gathering to the extent that coaches were being booked to carry protesters from as far away as Chester and Portsmouth. Even “The Welsh Defence League” pledged attendance, although you get the feeling that its entire membership would fit snugly into a single Ford Mondeo.

Alert at every opportunity to create division, the BNP hauled Peter Fehr back from retirement to do what he does best – leading the branch into oblivion. Despite telling a supporter in 2008 “I’m no longer active. I go to the occasional meeting in Biggleswade or sometimes Aylesbury and no longer organize anything,” Fehr began to swing the 80 local members behind the march.

He quickly organised a branch meeting (the first in six months) at the sympathetic King Harry pub for the day after the march and rounded up three out-of-towners. He wrote to members on 15 March: “I would therefore ask all members/patriots to attend this parade and support OUR troops. Please bring a Union Jack flag with you and fly it proudly when the troops parade. Lets all rally together and lets make this a day to remember.”

Sensing events were running out of his control, Yeomans cancelled the march. In an attack destined to feature in our leaflets for months to come, he cornered on the fascists:
How do people make the link between respecting our troops and a fascist parade? It’s pitiful. We had invited people from all corners of the community, including Muslim leaders. These people call themselves patriotic and proud to be British but I wonder what they have ever really done for our country? It makes me sad that they seem to have a copyright on the Union Jack. If they want to come to Luton to have a fight they need to have a look at their sad lives.

Another example of the incoherence of the BNP message was their changing attitude towards the Gurkhas.

From the Mirror:

The leader of the far-right British National Party said:
We don't think the most overcrowded country in Europe, can realistically say, 'Look, you can all come and all your relatives.'
When the Gurkhas signed up - frankly as mercenaries - they expected a pension which would allow them to live well in their own country.
Griffin made the comments on Nicky Campbell's BBC Radio 5 Live breakfast show.

Deputy BNP leader Simon Darby was filmed saying the famous fighting soldiers should be barred from Britain. He had been questioned on the BNP’s stance on the issue and said:
This question highlights the way the British army is opening itself up to become a mercenary army, with so many foreign people serving in it. It’s a bad idea, right, a bad idea. Nowhere in the Gurkha’s contracts – all those Gurkhas – does it say that you have a right to live in this country after your service. Yes, within reason some of them can stay. But 100,000 people? For Heaven’s sake. It’s not on is it? No.
The BNP had misjudged public opinion badly on this one, and later efforts to imply they had supported the Gurkhas bid for citizenship all along are just opportunistic lies.

Which didn't stop the BNP from stooping to new lows in their disrespect for the British forces -

From the News of the World:

British National Party cowards have launched an outrageous attack on a decorated Iraq war hero - claiming he only got the Victoria Cross because he is BLACK.

The vile BNP denounced brave Johnson Beharry for being "an immigrant" and tried to belittle his heroics - which saved the lives of 30 comrades - as no more than "routine". In a sick rant on its website the far-right BNP - headed by Nick Griffin - allege Lance Corporal Beharry only got Britain's top military honour because of "positive discrimination by the PC-mad government".

Our revelation comes just days after the extremist group held an Armed Forces Awareness Day in a shameless bid to portray themselves "the only party that supports our troops". The truth is that Grenada-born Beharry, then a private, was honoured in 2005 after TWICE saving colleagues' lives under enemy fire.

When his Warrior armoured vehicle was hit by rocket- propelled grenades he drove through the ambush and pulled comrades clear of the burning wreckage while a bullet penetrated his helmet.
Weeks later, he was at the wheel again when a grenade detonated inches from him. Despite blood pouring from his head, he reversed out of range before collapsing. Despite that, the spiteful BNP claim:
All he did was drive away very fast from a combat zone. . . to safety, as have hundreds and hundreds of other British soldiers.
A spokesman for the anti-racist Searchlight group said:
The BNP are repulsive. Private Beharry was awarded the highest honour in the land for risking his life in the service of his country. When did Nick Griffin last show his face in a war zone?
And let's not forget the opportunistic BNP election leaflets -

From The Sun:

An ex-Guardsman branded the BNP “scumbags” last night for using his photo and faked words on an election flyer.
Former Scots Guards NCO Stuart Walker, 37, was shocked to see a picture of himself in uniform outside Buckingham Palace on a poll leaflet.

Beside it, implying he would back the racist party in the Euro elections, were words criticising kit shortages and soldiers being “abused” by Muslims.

Stuart, who left the Army in 1997, first knew about it when it dropped through a relative’s letterbox. The dad-of-two, now a corporate manager in London, said he rang the BNP’s offices to complain and was told to “f*** off”.

He told The Sun:
I was completely outraged when I saw this leaflet. I think they got the photo off a website and the quote they’ve made up. They are scumbags and I’d never vote for them in a million years.
Compiled by Barbara Suzuki

BNP exploits plight of former soldiers

From Hope not hate:

The decorated SAS veteran Andy McNab has condemned the British National Party after it tried to associate itself with his heroism by auctioning two signed copies of his books to raise money for Help for Heroes, a charity that helps wounded soldiers.

“I was sick to the stomach,” stated McNab, whose works include Bravo Two Zero, when he was told about the BNP stunt. “I served with men of all colours and from many nationalities. They were all equal to me. That’s what the army teaches you. Nick Griffin thinks differently…I’ve asked for my books back. Because I don’t want anything to help the BNP promote their poisonous politics of segregation and hatred.”

This is not the BNP’s only attempt recently to link itself to armed forces charities. The Huddersfield branch of the Royal British Legion (RBL) recently accepted money raised by a BNP supporter, seemingly in contravention of its own strictly non-political stance.

The RBL had originally refused to accept the money from Rachel Firth, who spent 24 hours in a cardboard box to highlight the plight of ex-service personnel forced to sleep rough after leaving the Armed Forces. Firth said she would divide the money equally between the RBL and the BNP.

The rejection angered Robert Walker, a BNP member who organises the Poppy Appeal for the charity in Golcar. He tried to pile on the pressure by stating that he had already agreed to accept the money and that the Golcar branch was happy with this.

The laudably robust stance of the RBL soon softened, however, and within days of the row hitting the pages of the Huddersfield Examiner the RBL had agreed to accept the cash on the grounds that the donation was not made on a political basis and that Firth “is an individual raising funds for her favoured causes and wants to split those funds between the causes. We have no problem with this.”

The BNP has also targeted FEBA – a military term meaning “Forward Edge of Battle Area” – a financially hard-up veterans’ charity based in Lanarkshire.

FEBA, which does not receive government funding and relies on donations, was approached by BNP activists in Glasgow, who offered to raise £50,000 to help keep a drop-in centre open. Tommy Moffat, FEBA’s founder and a former Queen’s Own Highlander, said he rejected the offer but told the press that he may now have no alternative but to accept the money if the charity is to continue operating, after a number of grants allegedly promised by the Ministry of Defence failed to materialise. The MOD denied his claim, saying it had only offered FEBA a team of experts to help the charity obtain grants.

Gary Raikes, the BNP’s Scotland organiser, met Moffat at the charity’s Glasgow drop-in centre and immediately posted photographs of the two men shaking hands on the BNP website to boast about how the BNP was coming to the aid of veterans. Moffat conceded he had already accepted £3,000 to help with the rent as well as a delivery of radiators from the Scottish BNP activist Walter Hamilton, though he denied he knew Hamilton was a BNP activist at the time.

“It was only later that he told us he worked for the BNP,” Moffat said, “What were we supposed to do? We had nothing. We were sitting with no heating and it was freezing.” The story on the BNP website appeared to imply that it was Moffat who contacted the BNP for assistance, however.

Trying to recruit serving soldiers and ex-servicemen has played a growing part in BNP strategy in recent years, signalled by the heavy promotion in 2007 and early 2008 of its front group the Association of British Ex-Service Personnel (ABEX), now defunct again. Of greater importance has been its use of the predicament of ex-servicemen for political purposes that has seen the party target areas such as Catterick for its propaganda drives. More recently BNP activists in Wales have tried to gain mileage out of the plight of vulnerable veterans by campaigning under the name “Soldiers Off Our Streets”.

Griffin’s public attitude to Britain’s armed forces has changed since a few years ago. During the 1990s an article appeared in The Rune, an antisemitic magazine Griffin edited, praising the Waffen-SS as “no worse” than any other army. The Waffen-SS were of course condemned as part of a “criminal organisation” at the Nuremberg Trials. Griffin, however, believed the Waffen-SS was praiseworthy for its “courage and sacrifices”.

by David Williams

Thursday, 1 October 2009

So what would you ask Nick Griffin?

Nick Griffin, chairperson of the hateful and divisive BNP, is to appear on BBC's Question Time in three weeks. Events have overtaken the 'no platform' stance.

Like it or not, Nick Griffin is now an elected Member of the European Parliament, and has a platform. It seems to me that it is the job of those who oppose the BNP for its barely-hidden fascist, racist, misogynist and homophobic agenda to make that platform as uncomfortable and as unstable as possible.

This is an opportunity for Jack Straw and the panel to ask real substantive questions of the leader of this far-right party, and to hold him to account for BNP policies. It's time the party chairman was grilled about
the criminal background of many high-ranking members, about their underperforming councillors, about their inefficient accounting practices, let alone about their policies.

What would you ask of him?

I would have many questions, but most of all, as a Brit married to a Japanese, I would like an explanation of the BNP's offensive intolerance for so-called 'mixed race' relationships.

Particularly after reading this f
rom Harry's Place:

BBC Radio 1’s ‘Newsbeat’ site has posted an interview entitled ‘Young BNP members explain beliefs’, featuring ‘Joey’ and ‘Mark’. The Mark in question is none other than Mark Collett, who at 28 is arguably a little old for the ‘Young BNP’ (although he allegedly enjoys the company of young girls).

Collett reveals that ‘the idea of races mixing’ makes him ‘upset’ as he somehow imagines this will lead to the end of ‘white people’, and explains that it’s all down to ‘brainwashing’ (perhaps, in his party leader’s words, through the ‘Jewish influence’ in the media, which has led to an ‘endless diet of pro-multiracial, pro-homosexual, anti-British trash’?):

BBC: Can you understand that some people are happy to mix?

Mark: No, I think people have been brainwashed. I think the media, the government, have forced it down people’s throats and they’ve indoctrinated people.

BBC: You don’t think people are bright enough to decide themselves?

Mark: I think when people are bombarded 24 hours a day to force multiculturalism upon them, people are going to succumb to that.

Back in 2002, when Collett was leader of the Young BNP, he appeared on a Channel 4 documentary, in which he shared his world view:
National Socialism was the best solution for the German people in the 1930s.

I honestly can’t understand how a man who’s seen the inner city hell of Britain today can’t look back on that era [Hitler's Germany] with a certain nostalgia and think yeah, those people marching through the streets and all those happy people out in the streets, you know, saluting and everything, was a bad thing.

Honestly now, would you prefer your kid growing up in Oldham and Burnley or 1930s Germany? It would be better for your child to grow up there.

I’m going to level with you. I’d never say this on camera, yeah, and you can say this to whoever you want, ‘cos it’s true. The Jews have been thrown out of every country, including England. There’s not a single European country the Jews have not been thrown out of. And let’s face it, David, when it happens so many times it’s not just persecution. There’s no smoke without fire.

I like to break people. When you’ve broken them and sucked that last bit of life out of them. That’s it. When people say that I am evil, yeah I am.
And this is the guy Griffin happily allows to recruit children for the BNP and appear as a party spokesman. Says it all really.

by Edmund Standing

In my opinion it seems Mark and Joey have been brainwashed themselves, by Nick Griffin, who claims of the BNP

We don’t hate anyone, especially the mixed race children who are the most tragic victims of enforced multi-racism, but that does not mean that we accept miscegenation as moral or normal. We do not and we never will.

I’m still trying to work out why miscegenation is so immoral and abnormal.

by Barbara Suzuki