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.

Monday, 16 November 2009

BNP membership list lost AGAIN

From The Mirror:

Cops find laptop with 13,000 BNP members names on it.

Third leak rocks hate party

Blundering BNP bosses lost a laptop with the names of all 13,000 party members.

A former employee at the BNP HQ and call centre in Northern Ireland was owed unpaid wages and she claims hard-up bosses gave her the computer in lieu of payment, forgetting that it held the entire membership list.

After realising the laptop had gone, they called the police and claimed the woman had stolen the laptop. She was arrested and later released, but police held on to the computer.

Now officials fear a backlash from the party's secretive supporters. The security breach will embarrass the anti-immigration party, which has twice before seen the names of its members leaked.

In November 2008 a leak led to an ex-supporter having his car firebombed. A source said the party was dreading what might happen next. He said:

The stuff on the laptop was highly sensitive and private, so of course we're worried.

A bnp spokesman said: "The contractors who operate our call centre have reported a former employee to the police for the theft of confidential information under the Data Protection Act."

Picture is from LOL Griffin.

Sunday, 15 November 2009

BNP launches general election campaign with a lie

From Searchlight / HOPE not hate:

Nick Griffin, the British National Party leader, revealed today that he would be contesting the Barking constituency, east London, in the next general election. He made his announcement in front of television cameras on the last day of his party’s annual conference in Wigan, Greater Manchester, over the weekend of 14-15 November.

Yet a few days ago, in an appeal for donations to launch the party’s “run-up campaign to the general election”, he wrote: “In this next General Election I will be standing in Thurrock where the split vote between the old parties means we could win a Parliamentary seat with just 27% of the vote”.

No candidate may stand in more than one constituency at a general election. So Griffin must have been lying, either in the begging letter or at the party’s conference.

Potential donors to the fascist party should note that this would not be the first time the BNP has lied in a fundraising appeal. The party claimed to have bought its “truth truck”, an advertising lorry, last year after a successful appeal to supporters to raise the £26,550 needed. Yet when bailiffs tried to enforce a county court judgment against the BNP, the party claimed it did not own the vehicle.

It was in Thurrock that Griffin held his first press conference after his disastrous performance in Question Time on 22 October. Claiming that the programme should not have been filmed in London, because the city was “no longer British”, he said: “Why not come down and do it in Thurrock …?”

Griffin linked his new choice of Barking for the general election with the party’s attempt to take over Barking and Dagenham council in the May 2010 elections. The party currently has 12 councillors there, the largest BNP council group in the country. The party has largely been ineffective against the huge Labour majority and many of its representatives rarely attend meetings.

According to Griffin, the council campaign will be spearheaded by Richard Barnbrook, the BNP’s sole London Assembly member, who is currently appealing against his suspension from the council for bringing his office into disrepute by inventing a series of murders in the borough. Robert Bailey, the BNP’s leader on Barking and Dagenham council and the party’s London organiser, appears to have been sidelined.

Barnbrook’s wider ambitions have also been swept aside. At the end of September he rented a huge billboard by the side of the A406 in Barking, at great expense, to announce that it was “Barnbrook for Barking”. On his blog he explained in no uncertain terms: “I, Richard Barnbrook am going to be Barking’s next MP! I’m the candidate for the British National Party …”. Lying that he had lived in the constituency for six years, he proclaimed: “Back me, Richard Barnbrook, Barking’s next MP”.

Griffin and Barnbook campaigned side by side apparently without animosity in the recent Glasgow North East parliamentary by-election. How Griffin bought Barnbrook out is not known.
Nick Lowles, editor of Searchlight, said Griffin’s decision to stand, coupled with the BNP’s prior local success in the area, made Barking “the front line” of efforts to combat the party’s rise. He said :
It’s going to be difficult for him to win, but they have got a lot of councillors so we can’t be complacent.
There have been some demographic changes since the last election which could limit the BNP’s success in Barking. But a lot depends on getting people out to vote, so it’s vital we let the people of Barking know exactly who Nick Griffin is.
By Sonia Gable on: Sunday, 15 November 2009

Griffin bravado for the BNP conference

From the Times:

It has, on the face of it, been a dire few weeks for the British National Party, which holds its annual conference in a “facility” near Wigan this weekend — to thwart protesters the venue was still secret yesterday.

The BNP lost its deposit in the Glasgow North East by-election on Thursday. Nick Griffin, its leader, was savaged by his fellow panellists, the audience and David Dimbleby in his ground-breaking appearance on BBC’s Question Time.

The recently elected MEP for the North West was barred from visiting the Sellafield nuclear reprocessing plant in his own constituency, his party has been compelled to drop its membership ban on anyone not an “indigenous Caucasian”, and Preston Crown Court acquitted an Asian man accused of calling Mr Griffin a “white bastard”.

That is just the start. Mr Griffin has been denounced by General Sir Mike Jackson and other military bigwigs for associating the BNP with Britain’s Armed Forces, by the former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey, who expressed horror that a “squalid racist” was trying to hijack Christianity, and even — allegedly — by the Queen. She was “appalled” by his suggestion that Sir Winston Churchill would have backed the BNP, a courtier told the News of the World.

Mr Griffin’s mother-in-law, Muriel Cook, evidently has no compunction about hitting a man when he is down. She told the Sunday Mirror that her daughter’s husband was a work-shy racist who hadn’t “done an honest day’s work in his life”.

Mr Griffin is a man dismayed but he does not show it. As he prepared for a black-tie BNP dinner last night he said that the party was “very buoyant” and that morale was “extremely high”. He rejected reports that he faced internal dissent. “The membership knows we have made huge strides and they’re very happy with the party as it is,” he said.

The BNP achieved a huge breakthrough in June by winning two seats in the European Parliament. Nationally it secured 943,000 votes and 6.2 per cent of the ballot, enough to startle the mainstream parties. That led directly to Mr Griffin’s appearance on Question Time last month, where his feeble performance was offset by a widespread sense that he was unfairly treated.

He claims that the programme, watched by eight million viewers, generated 4,000 membership applications and was “the biggest single advance in terms of public recognition and sympathy we’ve ever had”. In a poll by YouGov, 22 per cent of respondents said they would consider voting BNP.

In the past few days Gordon Brown and Alan Johnson, the Home Secretary, have delivered speeches on immigration. Mr Griffin told The Times: “On anything connected to immigration, political correctness and Islam we are now the pole around which the rest of British politics revolves.”

Even the Glasgow by-election, won by Labour, contained “positives”. The BNP beat the Liberal Democrats, were just 62 votes behind the Conservatives and won 4.92 per cent of the ballot — its best performance in a Scottish election.

On the BNP website, he says: “We are now in with a really serious chance of taking several seats.” He identified Barking, Dagenham, Stoke-on-Trent and Burnley as prime targets.

For the BNP to win a Westminster seat would be extremely hard in a first-past-the-post system. William Hill shortened its odds yesterday to 3-1 against.

Jon Cruddas, Labour MP for Dagenham, said that it was just possible if the mainstream parties split a constituency’s vote.

Tony Travers, a local government expert at the London School of Economics, said the biggest risk was of the party winning outright control of a council such as Barking and Dagenham. That would cause a “convulsion in the political system”.

Disgusting and pathetic

The Guardian reports:
The British National party’s senior members have voted “overwhelmingly” in favour of holding a party-wide ballot on whether to allow non-white people to join.
Welcome to 21st Century Britain, where two ideological racists sit as elected members of European Parliament, elected by nearly a million British voters.

These two men are representatives of a national political organisation which, in the year 2009, is consulting its members on whether or not fellow British citizens should be allowed into the party based on the colour of their skin.

This is really sick.

by Edmund Standing

Friday, 13 November 2009

No more 'corrosive' corruption.

Hillary Clinton, the US Secretary of State, was speaking in the Philippines yesterday about the government of Afghanistan, but her words have relevance everywhere:
Corruption is corrosive in any society. When leaders enrich themselves at the expense of their people, when they put their own fortunes ahead of the fortune of their people, it has a very unfortunate impact: People don’t trust the government, they don’t rely on the government, they can’t imagine a better life for themselves, because they don’t think their leaders are working to obtain that for them.
Corruption is not just a problem of the developing world, as recent revelations from the British Parliament have demonstrated. Greed seems to be part of human nature.

At least in Britain we have a relatively free police, judiciary and an alert press, together with an informed public unwilling to tolerate such behaviour.

This means there is more chance of detecting corruption, as recent events also demonstrate. Greedy politicians have been named and shamed, and will pay the price in the next elections or by answering criminal charges.

This sends a clear message to all of our MPs, including the MEPs, that dishonest claims are corrupt, and will be detected and punished.

The BNP (and UKIP) have been involved in some alleged corruption scandals already, as this link summarises in some detail.

All politicians should know that their expenses will be scrutinised by professionals for any hint of wrongdoing.

And there is every reason to trust that justice will prevail - in the end.

A former MEP who represented Norfolk in Brussels and fiddled £39,000 expenses has been jailed for two years.

Former MEP Tom Wise, 61, who represented UKIP before turning independent, spent 13 months channelling the money into a bank account he secretly controlled.

A former MEP who represented Norfolk in Brussels and fiddled £39,000 expenses has been jailed for two years.

Tom Wise, 61, of Bedfordshire, who represented UKIP before turning independent, spent 13 months channelling the money into a bank account he secretly controlled.

He pretended the £3,000 “secretarial assistance allowance” he received every month was for his researcher.

But London's Southwark Crown Court heard he spent most of it funding a love of fine wine, clearing credit card debts, buying a car and funding party political activities.

Wise was originally elected as East of England MEP for UKIP in June 2004.

Thursday, 12 November 2009


From HOPE not hate, Norfolk:

THANKS to all of you who helped with the leafleting in Norwich on Saturday. We managed to give out about 1000 leaflets and had some very interesting conversations with members of the public.

Most people were supportive.

It was heartening to see the number of young people who came and chatted. We ran out of HnH badges and pencils and there should be posters appearing in a college/school near you soon!

There will be a General Election as well as council elections within a few months and we expect the BNP to stand candidates.

We would ask supporters to work within their own communities and groups to lay the foundations for a successful anti BNP campaign then.

Please keep an eye on our very informative blog as well as the Hope not Hate website.

Sid Frisby

All of the Hope not hate, Norfolk, team look forward to some more campaigning before the General Election and council elections to come next year.

We expect to be canvassing in city and town centres in Norfolk, with some door-to-door leafleting, and local meetings.

It is a pleasure to meet people of our beautiful county this way, and to debate politics. It makes politics come alive and real.

The HnH mision is to encourage citizens to vote for ANY democratic party, so that the BNP does not slide into power by default or through apathy.

There is some disenchantment about politics and politicians at the moment, which is understandable. But if traditional voters stay away from the ballot box, extremist parties get a higher proportion of votes than they deserve. This fear is what motivates the HnH team.

If you are interested in our endeavours to challenge and oppose the policies of hatred and division from the far-right, then please do not hesitate to write and introduce yourself at

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

The BNP's exploitation of military valour continues

The Norwich Evening News 24 reported:

A full-size replica Spitfire was driven into Norfolk earlier this month with a police escort.

The painstakingly accurate model, constructed of a glass-reinforced composite, arrived at Lotus' Hethel headquarters for a spruce-up at the hands of the firm's expert bodywork engineers. On one RAF truck the fuselage was strapped upright, while its wings were removed and stacked on a second. At the front and back of the convoy was a pair of Lotus' latest production car, the Evora.

The model was sent to Lotus by the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF) after it heard that the company had previously repaired the RAF team's bobsleigh. The material used in both the bobsleigh and the replica Spitfire is similar to that used on some parts of the Lotus, making the company unusually qualified to work on them.

This Spitfire model being repaired in Norfolk with scrupulous care is for the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight. Care that is in stark contrast with the slapdash buffoonery of the British National Party (BNP) approach to the image of a Spitfire they exploited in their campaigning.

Pictured is the Spitfire the BNP chose to illustrate their Battle FOR Britain campaign (even the name of their campaign is a knock-off). A blogger, Plane Jane, first spotted something not quite BNP about the image. She wrote:

The Spitfire picture – “Romeo Foxtrot Delta” – is the one on the BNP website. It’s identifiable from its “RF” marking as belonging to 303 Squadron. And guess what? 303 was a Polish squadron! It seems that none of the “patriots” at the BNP know or care enough about the history of the Battle of Britain, despite all their enthusiastic flag waving, to get this detail right. Whereas I, a female of the left-wing political tradition, spotted it as soon as I got hold of a colour version of the picture. - Still, it’s an easy mistake to make. After all, if they just picked a random photo of a Battle of Britain plane, they would have had about a 1 in 5 chance of picking a “non-Brit”.

The Polish-piloted Spitfire story was publicised by all major newspapers in Britain and by many abroad, and made the BNP a laughing stock, but unfortunately the light-fingered mentality of the BNP and its practice of nicking symbols of valour and honour continued. Exposure did not stop the BNP's blatant rip-offs of iconic images, but the shambolic Party does not often get away with it.

The BNP illegally used BBC footage of the Edinburgh Military Tattoo to promote its agenda among young people, and BBC lawyers announced that they will be writing to the party demanding the footage be taken off BNPtv, its online television channel.

Villagers in Wales were 'outraged' and shocked to see the photograph of their VE Day party in Cromwell Street, Merthyr Tydfil, used as a backdrop by the far-right party at an event in Manchester, and called on BNP leader Nick Griffin to apologise for using the image and to stop using the picture in publicity.

Andy McNab told the BNP, “give me my books back”. The ultimatum comes after Nick Griffin announced that signed copies of Brute Force and Seven Troop would be auctioned to raise money for Help for Heroes. McNab – ex-SAS hardman, Gulf War veteran and best-selling author – told There's Nothing British About the BNP:

When someone called me to say that the BNP was using one of my books in a publicity stunt, I was sick to the stomach. I served with men of all colours and from many nationalities. They were all equal to me. That’s what the army teaches you. He doesn’t understand that what makes the British Army great, and what makes this country great. It’s the way we draw together people from all around the world and give them ideals worth believing in: tolerance, fairness, decency, looking out for the little guy. It’s the British way of doing things. That’s why 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.
The BNP habit of stealing important military images has become so endemic that British generals have voiced their concerns:

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.
Commonwealth soldiers, who comprise about 10 per cent of the Services, represent an invaluable contribution to the success of Britain’s military, both in history and the current day. Many have won the highest awards.
A fortnight ago There's Nothing British About the BNP launched a campaign by veterans to reclaim the honour of Britain's Armed Forces from the BNP. Veterans are invited to sign a petition reading:

We, the undersigned, call for the BNP to STOP using the honour of the Armed Services community and the memory of fallen heroes to promote the politics of extremism and racism.
Already over 600 have added their names to the Wall of Honour.

Last weekend in Ypres 13 y/o William Robey foiled another cynical attempt by the BNP to hi-jack British war history when the schoolboy thwarted Nick Griffin's attempts to appear statesmanlike amongst imagery of the fallen of WWI. Griffin exploded with irritation when asked about the 40th Pathans, an Indian infantry regiment.

None of this seems to have deterred the apparently shameless Nick Griffin. Yesterday he was pictured in the crowds at Wootton Bassett as the bodies of six soldiers passed through the town after their repatriation from Afghanistan to British soil.

According to the Times: His presence attracted an angry reaction among some members of the crowd lining the streets. Ira, a 49-year-old woman who works for a charity settling refugees said:

He should not be here. This is about families, not political leaders. He should not be anywhere near here. He is just doing it for the limelight. It takes the focus off the locals and the families.

Nothing British notes: As highlighted in Nothing British’s Stolen Valour report, the BNP are deliberately targeting the military and using emotionally charged occasions such as this and Remembrance Sunday to score cheap political points off the other mainstream parties.

These repatriation ceremonies are about the dead soldiers who have lost their lives fighting to protect the freedom we enjoy at home. They are a time for unity and patriotic pride in the sacrifice of our fallen heroes. But NG’s presence introduces an element of division and nationalism.

Simon Weston, a veteran of the Falklands War, told Nothing British yesterday:

This is a blatant attempt by Nick Griffin to try and get cheap publicity out of an incredibly solemn event. He shouldn’t be allowed to hijack such a sad occasion. Legally he may be allowed to attend but morally he shouldn’t be there.
Besides the propaganda coup, the neo-fascist BNP hopes that by exploiting the exceptional heroism of our Armed Forces it will hide the fact it is a party mired in corruption, criminality and extremism.

Monday, 9 November 2009

Norwich remembers war dead

From Norwich Evening News 24:

Remembrance Sunday in Norwich

The people of Norwich turned out in force yesterday for a poignant service to remember those who died for their country in days gone by - and those who are today putting their lives in peril.

Standard bearers flanked the steps of City Hall as wreath after wreath of poppies was laid on a specially-erected plinth - watched by a crowd of thousands who congregated nearby.

The Rev Peter Nokes, vicar of St Peter Mancroft Church, who led the act of remembrance, said:

It's a day when we shine a light on the human courage and self-offering which has brought protection and peace.

We also shine a light on the terrible, terrible cost of war and the grief and loss it brings. We remember thousands and thousands of lives lost in the first world war in the most awful carnage and we remember the fallen of the second world war.

He drew people's attention to modern-day conflicts, and said:
The current events are a poignant and ghastly reminder of the ongoing cost of conflict.
The Last Post was played before an impeccably-observed two minutes' silence that was interrupted only by the sound of birds flying overhead.

Don Cooper, 83, from Sprowston, who served in the second world war in the 1st and 6th Airborne Divisions in France, Germany, Norway and Palestine, said:
At times like these you lose your sense and proportion of life. All you can think of is those who've passed and the great comradeship that you lost.
His thoughts also turned to those serving in Afghanistan. He said: “
Let's thank God that we have a good nation that supports countries in the world when they are in trouble.
Rita Siddall, from Norwich city centre, was at the service to remember her late father, who fought with the Royal Navy Reserves in Malta in the second world war.

She said;
We should never forget. It's particularly important now, because of what's going on in the world today. This is an event that is significant, even for the younger generation.
After the act of remembrance, which was attended by members of the three armed forces, many representatives from the Royal British Legion and numerous war veterans, there was a march through the city centre to attend a memorial service at Norwich Cathedral.

It was the first time in many years that the act of remembrance was not held in the Memorial Gardens in front of City Hall. The area, which was in poor condition, has been sealed off as builders work on an overhaul.


Commonwealth contribution

Britain could not have won either of the World Wars without the contribution made by non-white and non-British soldiers.

This was nothing new. The British Empire had always relied heavily on non-white and non-British troops to secure its new territories. The largest of these was the Indian Army, whose troops served throughout Asia and Africa.

The British Navy recruited widely throughout the Empire. At the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805 there were 187 sailors from the Caribbean, 28 from Africa and 23 from India aboard ships in Nelson’s Fleet. The Death of Nelson, painted between 1859 and 1864 by Daniel Maclise, clearly depicts two black sailors, whom he included after meticulous research to ensure the historical accuracy of his composition. Figures such as James Africanus Horton (1835-1883), Oludah Equiano (c.1745-1797) and Mary Seacole (1805-1881), to name but three, all served in the British armed forces before 1914.

At the outbreak of war in 1914 Britain recruited heavily from her Imperial possessions. Over one million men from the non-white colonies served during the First World War. The greatest military contribution came from India. Over 138,000 Indian troops fought in Belgium and France during the conflict. More than one quarter of them became casualties. In the first battle of Ypres in Flanders in 1914, a platoon of Dogra Sikhs died fighting to the last man, who shot himself with his last cartridge rather than surrender. After the bloody battle of Neuve Chapelle in 1915, the Sikh regiments had lost 80% of their men. Three regiments stood at only 16% of their original complement.

Khudadad Khan, from what is today Pakistan, served as a machine gunner with the 129th (Duke of Connaught’s Own) Baluchis, becoming the first native-born Indian to be awarded the Victoria Cross (VC) for bravery.

Fifteen thousand men from the West Indies (white and black) saw active service during the First World War. The British West Indies Regiment was formally established in November 1915 and 11 battalions served in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, suffering 1,325 casualties including 185 killed in action. The racial prejudice to which it was subjected contributed to a mutiny among its troops in 1918. Troops from Africa played an important part in the defeat of the Germans in East and West Africa. Others, from countries including Egypt, Mauritius, Fiji, South Africa and China, swelled the ranks of labour units, providing logistical support for frontline troops.

Walter Tull served in the trenches and became the first black British army officer before being killed in action in 1918 during the last battle of the Somme. Before the war he had been one of Britain’s first black professional footballers, playing for Tottenham Hotspur and Northampton Town.

Four Indians and one West Indian served as pilots in the fledgling Royal Flying Corps (RFC), which was to become theRoyal Air Force. Lieutenant Indra Lal Roy, who was born in Calcutta, served with the RFC and recorded nine victories against enemy aircraft before being shot down and killed in 1918. He was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC). The Royal Navy also received invaluable support from the Hong Kong Naval Special Volunteer Reserve, the Colombo Minesweeping Force, the Nigerian Marine and the Royal Indian Marine.

Shown left is a vintage historical World War 2 poster of servicemen from the British Commonwealth. Allied War Effort: Together

It was a similar story during the Second World War.

Over 2.5 million Indians – Sikhs, Hindus and Muslims – served with the British armed forces during the Second World War. The Indian Army (which included recruits from the areas that later became Pakistan and Bangladesh) was the largest volunteer army in the world. Over 36,000 Indian members of the armed forces were killed or posted missing in action during the Second World War and another 64,000 were wounded. Indian personnel received 4,000 awards for gallantry, and 31 VCs. The only VC winner from elsewhere in the in the Empire was Corporal Sefanaia Sukanaivalu, of the Fiji Military Forces, who earned this highest of all commendations in June 1944 at Bougainville.

One of the 31 recipients of the VC was Havildar Gaje Ghale, who in May 1943 was in command of D platoon, 2nd battalion, 5th Royal Gurkha Rifles. Although badly wounded, he continued to lead a charge against the Japanese forces on the Tiddim Road in Burma.

The citation for his VC stated that he had “dominated the fight” with “his outstanding example, doubtless courage and superb leadership … Covered in blood from his own wounds, he led assault after assault”. In total there were 2,500,000 Indian people in uniform during the conflict.
Approximately 6,000 men and women from the Caribbean served with the RAF during the Second World War. Some 300 or so West Indians served as RAF aircrew, and around 90 men received decorations. This included seven Distinguished Service Orders (DSO), and 64 DFCs.

Probably the most decorated was Squadron Leader Ulric Cross (pictured left), who was awarded both the DSO and the DFC.

The citation for the latter notes his “exceptional navigational ability” and the “very large number of sorties” he had flown “against heavily defended targets” in Germany.

Sam King served with the RAF. He returned to Britain on the Empire Windrush and became the first black mayor of Southwark. He was later awarded an MBE.

Some 520 men came from the Caribbean colonies to work, mainly in munitions factories in the northwest. About 80 West Indian women, initially only white women, were recruited for the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS).

By December 1944 around 5,000 black Africans were enlisted in the West African Air Corps as RAF ground crew. A very small number served as aircrew with the RAF. Tens of thousands served in supporting roles such as in the medical corps or as anti-aircraft crew, as well as in construction and other vital war work.

Some 372,500 African troops fought in East Africa and Burma, helping to defeat the Japanese.

Non-white, non-British people also made a significant non-military contribution to keeping Britain going in the fight against Nazi tyranny. Approximately 15,000 colonial merchant seamen brought vital food and raw materials to Britain and transported war material to various battlefronts. Five thousand of them perished. Some are buried in Commonwealth War Graves as far away as Murmansk.

One of the most famous agents of the Special Operations Executive (SOE), which fought behind enemy lines, was Noor Inyat Khan (pictured right), an Indian Muslim princess who worked as a radio operator with the French Resistance. Betrayed by an informer and arrested by the Gestapo, Khan refused to talk. After being tortured and beaten, she was executed by the Nazis in Dachau concentration camp in 1944.

The sacrifice made by many of these troops who helped to restore democracy in Europe was all the greater when one considers that many had no desire to return to the status quo ante, in which their countries were colonies denied self-determination.

Even when independence was granted to these countries after 1945 many of their citizens continued to serve loyally in the British armed forces, producing heroes such as SAS Sergeant Talaiasi Labalaba from Fiji, who was killed fighting in Oman in 1972 at the Battle of Mirbat, and Private Johnson Beharry, who received the VC (the first awarded since 1982 and the first non-posthumous award of the medal since 1965) for his bravery in helping fellow soldiers in Iraq.

During the 1960s an unofficial quota limited the number of ethnic minority personnel serving in the Army to a maximum of 3%. Today, however, ethnic minorities comprise 5.6% of the armed forces and 2.9% of the Ministry of Defence (MOD) Civil Service.

Ethnic minorities and people from the British Empire, later the Commonwealth, have a long and illustrious history of service in the British armed forces, to which they have made a vital and often unsung contribution. The British National Party aspires quite literally to whitewash this history, dismissing the notion that such troops, even if they were born here, are “British”. Indeed such is the BNP’s contempt for the contribution of these troops that Nick Griffin, the BNP leader, even dismissed the Gurkhas, the feared Nepalese fighters who have fought for Britain for generations, as nothing more than “mercenaries”.

The BNP even had the temerity to claim that Johnson Beharry (pictured left) only received his VC because he was black, and further defamed him and his bravery by stating that he was an “immigrant” who had merely driven away from the scene of a battle, implying that he was a coward.

You may also like to read We Were There
The “We Were There” exhibition is on people rather than events. It celebrates personal commitment and professionalism regardless of religion, race, gender or social background.

Saturday, 7 November 2009

Knowledge is power

So what does all this background information about the BNP's questionable operations in Northern Ireland have to do with Norfolk?

It forms part of the information needed to counter the BNP propaganda and outright lies. Knowledge to counter the nonsense.

Knowledge of the facts about dodgy accounting, knowledge of the criminal convictions of much of the top BNP leadership, knowledge of the BNP's links to white-supremecists and fascist extremists worldwide, knowledge of how the BNP seeks to change historical truths, and knowledge of the cruel racism and bigotry at the heart of BNP policies.

It is knowledge of the facts that emboldened a 13 year-old schoolboy to shame Nick Griffin just last Wednesday.

Well done William Robey for foiling another cynical attempted BNP hi-jacking of military symbolism and British war history.

From the Independent:

Schoolboy confronts Griffin at memorial

BNP leader argues with a 13-year-old at WWI monument to Indian troops

Nick Griffin, the leader of the British National Party, has paid a secret visit to a First World War memorial in Belgium – only to become embroiled in an angry confrontation with a 13-year-old schoolboy, The Independent has learnt.

On Wednesday the pupil, William Robey, was in Ypres visiting the Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing as part of a school trip. It was built to commemorate the thousands of British and Commonwealth soldiers who died in the Ypres Salient in 1914-17, and its walls are inscribed with the names of 54,360 men who died for the British cause – including the 40th Pathans, an Indian infantry regiment which suffered great losses. But as "The Last Post" was about to be played, the schoolboy spotted Nick Griffin surrounded by some of his supporters.

William told The Independent: "I asked him if I could take his picture, next to the memorial for Pathan Indians. He reluctantly agreed, but as I went to take my photo I asked him, 'Isn't this against your party's policy?' One of his supporters put his hand over the lens, told me to 'get my facts straight', and grabbed my arm."

I took the picture [above] but it's very blurry. I said to him, 'Your party's built on hatred.' He started shouting at me, pointing his finger. The rest of his lot were all laughing and smirking. I just felt a bit sick inside to see him there to be honest. There they were with their poppies on, trying to put this respectable front on, yet they're happy to confront a 13-year-old at a war memorial to try and get their point across."

He was just saying 'I've got lots of Sikh friends' when my teacher stepped in and took me away."

A BNP spokesperson said Mr Griffin often visits War Memorials when he returns to the European Parliament. He said the BNP leader "doesn't recall any jostling,." He also "It wasn't one of Nick's security entourage who put his hand over the camera. It was someone else who was there."

William's mother, Lucy, said that since the incident her son had been approached by a number of people who wanted to congratulate him for "standing up against racism".

Volunteer members of the HOPE not hate, Norfolk team will be leafleting in Norwich this afternoon. The leaflets will give you some of the information you need to learn about what the BNP fear the most - the truth.

Just look at the aggression displayed by Nick Griffin as snapped by young William Robey. That is the BNP reaction to the truth.

As Jonesy says - they don't like it up them.

Irish TUC calls for enquiry

Searchlight’s investigation into the business activities of the BNP front man Jim Dowson has led to a call for an enquiry into whether the employment practices at the BNP call centre are in breach of Northern Ireland’s Race Relations Order of 1997, which prohibits racist employment practices.

The Northern Ireland Committee of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) and the Northern Ireland Council for Ethnic Minorities (NICEM) issued a joint call last month for an investigation by the Department of Employment and Learning, after Searchlight passed them evidence that employment agencies had been duped into providing staff for the BNP.

In response to Searchlight’s investigation, the employment agency Office Angels issued a statement through its London PR company admitting it had supplied a “small number of staff to a call centre called Adlorries” but withdrew them and terminated the agreement once it became apparent who the customer really was.

The statement went on to say that Office Angels “would not support any client who appeared to discriminate and would review our contract with them forthwith. Our philosophy is to not only uphold the word of the law but also our company morals, standards and policies.”

While there is no suggestion that Office Angels has contravened the law or in any way behaved improperly, Searchlight does have evidence that at least one other high profile employment agency is not only still supplying staff to Adlorries to work for the BNP but is also allegedly “cherry picking” prospective employees based on race, religion and sexuality.

Launching the joint call for an investigation, Peter Bunting, ICTU Assistant General Secretary, said:

The BNP are fascists. They misrepresent facts about public housing going to immigrants, about foreigners taking our jobs, about Muslims and crime and about the Holocaust. They even deny what Britain fought during World War II. The truth is that Britain fought against fascism, and this clearly is a fight that is not over yet. These are tainted jobs from an evil employer, and no employment agency should have any truck with them.
Searchlight is also calling for an inquiry and we will be handing our dossier to ICTU and NICEM to present to the authorities leading the investigation.

You may also be interested to read
Dissecting the Dowsons Part 3 of a three part investigation Searchlight Magazine November 2009
Dowson's empire Part 2 of a three part investigation Searchlight Magazine November 2009
From rags to riches Part 1 of a three part investigation Searchlight Magazine November 2009
BNP Bosses Uncovered A former employee lifts the lid on life working for 44-year-old Jim Dowson and the BNP in Belfast by Steven Moore Sunday World October 2009
'Cash strapped' BNP fails to deliver accounts Sonia Gable on the BNP’s current financial problems Searchlight Magazine September 2009
The man who bought the BNP Sonia Gable untangles a BNP financial web Searchlight Magazine July 2009
Truth truck or lie lorry? Sonia Gable uncovers another BNP financial scandal Searchlight Magazine August 2008
BNP accounts don't add up Sonia Gable analyses the BNP’s latest figures Searchlight Magazine September 2008

Hope not Hate

Dissecting the Dowsons

From Hope not Hate:

The leak of the BNP membership list last month has turned the spotlight on the party's Belfast call centre, the tensions it has caused in the party, and the links between the man who runs it and a charity that has received a six-figure sum in EU funding. Matthew Collins and Simon Cressy investigate.

The posting on the internet of a British National Party membership list two days before the BNP leader's prized appearance on Question Time was a huge embarrassment to the fascist party. After the BNP lost an earlier list of members and contacts last year, the party promised to put security measures in place to ensure such a thing could never happen again. It was only because of this promise that the BNP managed to stem a walkout of members concerned about losing their jobs and friends because of the revelation of their racist adherence.

Searchlight can now reveal that the "security measures" consisted of handing over the files to Jim Dowson, a hardline anti-abortion activist with a string of criminal convictions, who runs the party's "secret" administrative lair in Northern Ireland.

In what has become known as the BNP's Belfast bunker, an office on an industrial estate in Dundonald, Dowson's private company,, employs staff recruited through employment agencies, to handle BNP members' personal information. Staff are not security vetted, though East Europeans and Asians applying for work at the call centre are automatically rejected, in contravention of employment legislation.

Staff, one of whom is the wife of a police officer working at Castlereagh police station, do not even have to sign a confidentiality clause. Yet one of their roles was to persuade up to 3,000 lapsed members that their personal information and membership details would now be kept securely and encrypted in the secretive call centre.

Dowson has told the police that a former staff member leaked the membership data after leaving her job taking a laptop computer in lieu of £2,000 that she claimed she was owed in unpaid wages.

One of the employment agencies that supplied staff to Adlorries was Office Angels. The firm would only speak to Searchlight through a PR company but confirmed that it had supplied staff to the call centre. A statement from Office Angels said it had terminated the contractual arrangement once it learned that Adlorries was a "third party supplier to the BNP". It added:
We do not discriminate against a person's race, age or sex. It is totally against Office Angels' values to do this, not to mention against the law.
The BNP claimed that Northern Ireland was a "safe haven" away from the strong opposition the party faces on mainland Britain. Since spring this year the BNP has carried out almost all its telephone fundraising and recruitment activities from the Dundonald office and another in nearby Ballyhackamore. Staff solicit donations and send out information packs all over the UK for a wage of £6 an hour plus commission based on the amount they raise.

Since the move to Northern Ireland the party has been trying desperately to plug a succession of embarrassing leaks to the Irish press identifying key personnel in the Irish operation and exposing the gradual and almost forced takeover of the BNP by a man who claimed publicly to have "stepped down" from fundraising for the party, but who still has his hand very firmly on the BNP's purse strings.

Gradually, since Dowson first became involved with the BNP in late 2007, he has taken over more and more of the party's operations and drawn the BNP further into his web of business, campaigning and charity interests.

Until the membership list leak, BNP members were receiving an average of three telephone calls a month from the call centre, soliciting donations and encouraging people to renew their membership early or upgrade to the life or gold membership schemes.

Legal action by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission has forced the BNP to suspend recruiting members while it makes changes to its constitution. Instead, Dowson is now desperately trying to revive the near moribund Trafalgar Club, members of which contribute at least £15 a month in exchange for an annual dinner with speech by Nick Griffin, the party leader, usually in a smart country hotel, on the Saturday nearest to Trafalgar Day, 21 October.
Dowson has also put his staff onto increasing subscriptions to the party periodical Voice of Freedom as well as making begging phone calls for donations to fight the EHRC's case against the BNP. In reality the funds are being raised to pay the EHRC's costs, which are likely to be awarded against the BNP, after Griffin gave up the hopeless battle.

All these calls are made from the same telephone lines that the Dowson family use for their charity, anti-abortion work and the plumbing business run by James Dowson Jr. In overall charge of answering and dispatching calls to the correct part of the set-up is Marion Thomas, Dowson's sister-in-law.

Marion Thomas is married to Alex Thomas, who acts as chair of Solas, a Northern Ireland charity, which he runs together with Dowson. Solas NI is a victim support group set up in 2003 to help bereaved and injured victims of the Northern Ireland Troubles. It says its aim is "to ensure that those most affected by the Troubles have recourse to a non-political and non-sectarian organisation which caters specifically for their needs".

Solas operates from the same address and uses the same telephone number as another Dowson organisation, the Christian Youth Fellowship.

When Searchlight telephoned the number it was answered by a woman with a Scottish accent who gave her name as Marion. We then asked to speak to Jim [Dowson] and she proceeded to connect us.

Searchlight has discovered that up to March 2007 Solas received £111,479 of funding under a European Union programme for peace and reconciliation. The money, part of a £6.8 million allocation for projects in Northern Ireland in 2006-07, came via Proteus, an intermediate funding body.

Announcing the grants, Pat Donnelly, chief executive of Proteus, said: "There is real evidence that projects funded by PEACE II [the EU programme] have contributed to a significant change in mindset and created the necessary preconditions for genuine cooperation and improvements to take place".

Dowson's past record and current involvement with the racist BNP, which only seeks to divide communities, shows that cooperation is the last thing on his mind.

As well as controlling income coming in through the call centre, Dowson has placed his own accountant John Thompson to look after the BNP's books. Thompson, who is based in Comber, also looks after the accounts for Alex Thomas and Dowson's anti-abortion campaign, the UK LifeLeague.

Last April, Griffin announced that the "current and anticipated growth" of the BNP had necessitated the formation of a "full Treasury Department" headed by a professional chartered accountant", whom he did not name. Thompson's main achievement in that role appears to be the failure to produce the party's 2008 accounts on time, incurring a fine of at least £1,000 under electoral legislation.

Thompson was supposed to work under the oversight of the BNP's treasurer. At the time of his appointment this was one of the many party positions held by Simon Darby, the deputy leader. Thompson is believed to have clashed a number of times with Darby over the payment of bills, in particular to Romac Press Ltd in east Belfast, which now does the party's printing, including the endless begging letters the party sends out to an esoteric mailing list.

It appears that Romac Press, which also prints for Dowson's other operations, is being lined up to print Voice of Freedom. Senior party members on the mainland are said to be resisting the move, but Dowson hopes this may placate the owners who still have a large bill to be settled.

Senior BNP officers on the mainland have also voiced concern over the apparent independence of the Irish operation. They include Simon Bennett, the BNP's webmaster, Eddy Butler, the national organiser, Martin Wingfield, the Communications and Campaigns Officer for the two BNP MEPs, and even Darby. Bennett is especially aggrieved because Dowson is earning commission on the money he raises for the party. Bennett was offered commission on donations raised through the BNP website but the party appears to have reneged on the promise.

Searchlight can reveal that it was Griffin's sole decision to give Dowson free rein to run major BNP administrative functions. Perhaps it was to pacify them that the BNP announced in June the appointment of Emma Colgate as the party's administration officer in place of "consultant Jim Dowson", though in fact Dowson's role has not changed.

Dowson's remit is not limited to Northern Ireland, however. During the European election campaign the BNP announced proudly that it had acquired a number of office premises to house its growing operations, but kept the locations secret.

Searchlight has discovered that early this year the party leased three rooms in a smart building on the Salmon Springs Trading Estate in Stroud Gloucestershire for "training" at a cost of £5,000 per year. However it was not the BNP's name on the tenancy but that of The three-year lease was a waste of the BNP's money. Except for one meeting, at which the party sacked Michaela Mackenzie from her positions as administration officer and national nominating officer, the offices have remained unused and unfurnished.

It is different in Nuneaton, where the former pub landlord Alwyn Deacon is fronting the BNP's merchandising operation, Excalibur, complete with a mini call centre with 20 phone lines, in a property leased in his own name from the local Conservative council in Slingsby Close on the Attleborough Fields Industrial Estate. Deacon and his wife follow a series of fundraising guidelines set down by Dowson, under which former customers of Excalibur as well as all other party members and even members of the UK Independence Party are bombarded with phone calls and special offers.

How the BNP will afford these new premises is unclear. Any attempt to hide the costs in the party's expenses claims for the new MEPs would of course be fraudulent.

Partly to meet the concerns of members of the Party's national advisory council about Dowson's power in the party, Griffin's daughter Jennifer and her new husband Angus Matthys moved into a flat in Comber last month to begin work at the Dundonald call centre. Ms Griffin, a former leader of the Young BNP, once manned the tills at the same Co-op store where her father was briefly employed. Now she is allegedly forging her father's signature on the photograph of the revered leader that gold party members receive as thanks for their generosity.

Since moving to Northern Ireland, Jennifer is believed to have concurred with Arthur Kemp, the South African former apartheid intelligence agent who now edits the BNP website, that despite his father's wishes, Dowson's eldest son, James, could not be publicly annointed as the head of the BNP's youth wing. The decision has apparently caused resentment in the Dowson family as the Griffin and Dowson heirs vie for supremacy in the call centre.

However, this has not stopped Mr and Mrs Matthys joining Dowson Jr as members of the Goldsprings "kick the Pope" marching and flute band, a clear sign that despite the BNP's protestations to Anglo-Irish members on the mainland, a strict evangelical, racist and sectarian policy still runs through the very core of the BNP.

Another of Dowson's religious cohorts unpopular with senior members on the mainland is Zak McAdam. An IT specialist who has clashed with the BNP's webmaster Simon Bennett on a number of occasions, McAdam recently made a name for himself with a one-man campaign against lesbians and computer games. A number of holders of party laptops were furious to discover that they could not access pornography after McAdam blocked access to some of the party employees' favourite porn sites.

Although the latest BNP membership list leak has been overshadowed by Griffin's Question Time appearance, limiting the damage in terms of bad publicity, advisory council members are angry and are blaming Dowson for the embarrassing loss of data that were supposedly kept encrypted.

Wingfield, whose wife Tina used to be the party's membership secretary, was the first to comment shortly before midnight on the eve of the anticipated leak. Wingfield blogged: "I know the leak certainly didn't come from our end here."

Days after Griffin's disastrous performance on Question Time and the membership list loss, Jennifer and Angus Matthys attended this year's Trafalgar Club dinner alongside Dowson at a smart country house hotel near Ross-on-Wye. The tension between senior BNP officers and Dowson, and the animosity between Griffin's daughter and Dowson Jr, cannot have made for a congenial evening.

Who's who in the Belfast bunker

Jennifer Matthys (née Griffin):
Newly married, Jennifer and her husband Angus moved to the village of Comber, where a number of the BNP's key Northern Ireland personnel already live. Until recently a checkout assistant at her local Co-op, the BNP leader's daughter (pictured with father) is supposedly entrusted with keeping a close eye on the activities of the Dowsons. A new car was thrown into the bargain to sweeten the move away from her long-time love interest Mark Collett, the controversial designer of BNP leaflets and newly appointed editor of the party's newspaper Voice of Freedom. It is Jennifer who has stopped James Dowson Jr getting his hands on the Young BNP after a battle of wills between them.

James Dowson Jr:
Until Jennifer Griffin's arrival, James Jr, Dowson's eldest son, was cock of the north around the village of Comber and in the BNP call centre from where he ran his plumbing firm, Ltd, set up with his father's financial help. Dowson Jr, 21, is a senior member of the Goldsprings flute band, a favourite of Protestants who want to "kick" the Pope. His planned rise in the BNP has been curbed since Ms Griffin came on the scene. His father is alleged to have bought him a Russian bride who upped and left not long after arriving in the Dowson home.

Marion Thomas:
Unknown until now, Marion Thomas has emerged as the key link person to the Dowson empire. Thomas, Dowson's sister-in-law, is the administrator of Dowson's various business and campaign interests and signs various documents on Dowson's behalf. Her husband, Alex Thomas, is a business partner of Dowson and chair of Solas NI, the victim support group linked to Dowson. Allegedly no great fan of Dowson, Marion allegedly keeps a record of all the business transactions that go on in Dowson's offices.

John Thompson:
Dowson's long-time accountant, Thompson was taken on last April to sort out the BNP's books and records after a succession of changes in the BNP's treasury department, which had been widely accused of incompetence at the time of the winter 2007-08 rebellion in the BNP.

Although the BNP described him as a "professional chartered accountant" he appears to have been unequal to the task and the BNP's 2008 accountants, due with the Electoral Commission by 7 July 2009, are still missing. Since the election of the BNP's two MEPs, Thompson has taken on the role of "paying agent" for the MEPs' staff on the European Parliament payroll.

Searchlight thanks all the people in Northern Ireland and England who have helped in this investigation.