(right click on the picture, copy and save elsewhere for a larger image)
Last Friday we received an email from the BNP purporting to be from an ordinary member of the public. It asked for people to send in birthday cards to a BNP collection centre in the West Midlands so that they can be delivered to Fusilier Tom James, a badly injured Afghanistan veteran.
Our concern has been that the BNP will attempt to use these birthday cards for political advantage. (Please read our campaign Advisory Notice here explaining our evidence).
Last October we organised a campaign which highlighted the BNP’s distasteful attempts to exploit veterans, supported by Generals Sir Richard Dannatt, Sir Mike Jackson, Lord Guthrie and Major-General Patrick Cordingley. The campaign was also supported by brave veterans such as Andy McNab, Simon Weston and Iraq War commander Colonel Tim Collins.
The lack of transparency on the BNP’s part for this particular campaign is shameful. According to the owner of the picture, Picture It Now, Simon Bennett did not obtain a valid licence to use this picture in this email. In short this nothing more than obtaining good will by deception.
The BNP’s “Fusilier Tom James campaign” has been slammed by members of the veterans community and those who are closely associated with the military.Major General Patrick Cordingley attacked the BNP’s lack of transparency. He told Nothing British:
It is just so regrettable that they are being anything less than transparent.
Simon Darby has already said on his blog that the British National Party intends to use our veterans and the military throughout its election campaign as party political propaganda. But the purpose of this is not to stop the BNP from shamelessly exploiting our veterans, but to remind the public that a party mired in corruption, violence, criminality and un-British behaviour are using shadowy tactics to exploit the heroism of those who are prepared to die for this country. As very senior former member of the Armed Forces told Nothing British this week,
One of the number one rules in the British forces is that you don’t exploits our boys and girls in the forces.
We couldn’t have put it better ourselves.Simon Weston, a former veteran of the Falklands War, has said that “deplored the subterfuge and underhand politics” of the email and the BNP. Mr Weston said that he had no problem with people wanting to send birthday cards to veterans so long as they were “open and honest” but he said it should not be used as a “political ploy”, as with this campaign. He then added that these sorts of shadowy tactics and the BNP’s attempts to play on the “insecurities of ordinary people” was “anti-British”.
Adam Holloway MP, a former Grenadier Guardsman and member of the Defence Select Committee, exclusively told Nothing British:
I was with a British Asian Paratroop Regiment mate of mine who has served in Afghanistan and has won loads of medals for this country. A few weeks ago he met some supporters from the BNP in a pub and asked them what have they ever done for this country. They couldn’t answer him. To me that says it all.Liam Fox MP, Conservative Shadow Defence, told NB:
This is a shameless and disgraceful exploitation of our injured service personnel to promote what is a hateful political organisation.Veterans Scotland, an organisation that represents all the veterans charities in Scotland, told us they were sending out our memo to all veterans charities in Scotland. COBSEO, the umbrella organisation for UK veterans charities, have also been informed.