Thursday, 25 June 2009

Learning lessons from the French

There is a thought-provoking and constructive article on the Prospect Magazine blog, written by the BBC World Service's Jonathan Marcus. He has written a book on the French Front National, and he thinks there are lessons to be learnt in the way that the mainstream French parties managed to stem the flow of support for the far-right.

Do have a read of the whole article, but here are some of the highlights:

" a time when electoral reform is again on the agenda; when the allegiance of many traditional Labour voters seems to be waning and economic uncertainty is knocking on the door, the French experience should very much be borne in mind. It was the inability of French mainstream parties to tackle issues like insecurity and immigration without sounding like a pale reflection of the National Front that helped to legitimise its message. And institutional reform gave it a brief parliamentary breakthrough."

He sums up thus:

"The message of 2009 from France and Britain is that the ball is very much in the mainstream parties’ court. With the right policies, that take into account both widespread concerns and the need for social cohesion, there is no reason that the rise of Nick Griffin should be any less resistible than that of Jean-Marie Le Pen."

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Do the BNP face legal action?

It has been reported today that the BNP may face a legal challenge from the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC).

Its legal director, John Wadham, had this to say:

"The legal advice we have received indicates that the British National party's constitution and membership criteria, employment practices and provision of services to constituents and the public may breach discrimination laws which all political parties are legally obliged to uphold".

You can see the full letter sent to Nick Griffin here.

It is believed that this is the first time action on race discrimination has been taken against a political party. I'm not a lawyer, but it seems to me that the EHRC have got a strong case, and, needless to say, if successful this could have big consequences for the BNP.

The letter gives the BNP until the 20th July to respond.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Griffin looks for headquarters in Burnley

The Lancashire Telegraph reports that Nick Griffin is looking for a North-West base in Burnley. Here's an extract:

Derek Dawson, a BNP councillor on Burnley Council, is now drawing up a list of potential sites which will be paid for from Mr Griffin’s £180,000 European parliament allowance for an office base.

Party bosses said they would prefer premises in Burnley town centre but they were also considering other sites.

Already they have looked at Padiham Town Hall and a run-down pub, the Derby Arms, near the M65, which was recently bought by Burnley Council.

Monday, 15 June 2009

Andrew Brons: Kelly Holmes is not fully British.

Nick Griffin's fellow nazi MEP, Andrew Brons, has been making a fool of himself already.
The Telegraph have the story that he has said that double Olympic gold medal winner, Dame Kelly Holmes, "is only partially from this country".

Mr Brons is a former member of the neo-Nazi National Socialist Movement which was founded on Hitler's birthday.

Hope Not Hate has more details about him here. The Guardian have also revealed today just how much Brons was involved in formulation some of the National Front's most racist and extremist policies.

Thursday, 11 June 2009

A dilemma for Nick Griffin: Will He Have to Employ People Who Can't Even Join His Party?

Over at Comment Central, they are considering the dilemma that Nick Griffin and Andrew Brons will face when employing staff in the European Parliament.

Employment laws mean that when employing researchers, caseworkers and so forth, one can not discriminate between candidates on the ground of race. Unfortunately for the BNP, this is exactly what their membership policy does; so what will be their response?

It will be interesting to watch this over the coming months.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

A Much Less Eventful Affair

After yesterday's shenanigans at Nick Griffin's press conference in Westminster, it seems the BNP took extra measures today to ensure their leader could actually speak to reporters in Manchester.

Having not been allowed to hold their meeting in Manchester Town Hall, they settled on the Ace of Diamonds pub as a venue. The owner was sure to let them in there, given he's a BNP candidate.

Nick Griffin seems to have taken umbrage to the Manchester Evening News, and while their sister TV station Channel M were not allowed to enter, MEN reporter Yakub Qureshi did manage to get in.

You can read his report here.

There were apparently around 50 anti-BNP protesters outside the pub, but there was no repeat of yesterday's disturbance. I don't think this press conference will be making tomorrow's front pages.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Will this Press Conference be More Successful?

After Nick Griffin's press conference in Westminster was disrupted somewhat by anti-fascist demonstrators, it will be interesting to see whether he is able to hold the one he has planned for tomorrow in Manchester.

I'm not sure where it is being held, but I'm quite sure that those who organised today's protests do...

Update (22.38): A slideshow of today's events in high quality photo available here

What's the Point in this Blog?

On 7th June we learnt that Nick Griffin, leader of the British National Party, won a seat in the European Parliament representing the North West of England.

The vast majority of people do not support the BNP or their dangerous and divisive policies. The BNP got a lower vote in the 2009 European elections than they did in 2004. Nick Griffin gained a seat because of the collapse in the Labour vote and the low turnout.

To defeat the BNP in future elections will require a variety of strategies, not least of which is to engage with voters on the issues which make the BNP attractive to some voters. But we know from the past that when BNP representatives have been elected they are invariably terrible. There is no reason to believe that Nick Griffin will be any different, and a key part of defeating the BNP in future will be to highlight the failures of them as Councillors and Members of the European Parliament.

This blog is intended, therefore, as a library, an archive, if you like. I am not professing to be the most suitable person to run such a blog, not least because the time I will be able to dedicate to it will, of course, be limited.

So this is not intended to be a personal blog, but a collection of information on what Nick Griffin is doing in his new role and, as such, I would ask and encourage everyone to email me with stories and information relevant to it. I can't gather all this information myself; it will have to be a joint effort or it simply won't work.

Email any information to: