British National Party

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The British National Party (BNP) is a British neo-Nazi political party, which has been described as "a classic fascist organisation whose leaders believe in Nazi race-science and whose members carry out physical attacks on their perceived opponents."[1] The BNP's current leader is Nick Griffin, who has been convicted of incitement to racial hatred in 1998, and is noted for holocaust denial, calling the extermination of the European Jews "the Holohoax". Though it is generally described as being on the right wing of politics, it espouses a number of fiscally left-wing policies. For example, although it is in favour of repatriating non-white people from the UK, it also favours substantial government involvement in the economy. In the words of the BNP leader, they will also "hang race traitors."[2]

The BNP has strong ties to Neo-Nazi and anti-semitic groups. "The BNP claims not to be a "race supremacist" party but its publications report on the genetic superiority of the "white race". It claims not to have any connection with "race hate" yet many of its leading members have convictions for racist crimes."[3] The party now also tries to "cash in on what it perceives to be the growth in Islamophobia" with its leader stating: "It stands to reason that adopting an 'Islamophobic' position that appeals to large numbers of ordinary people - including un-nudged journalists - is going to produce on average much better media coverage than siding with Iran and banging on about 'Jewish power', which is guaranteed to raise hackles of virtually every single journalist in the western world."[4] This superficial repackaging of their party - without actually disavowing their neo-Nazi ideology - is simply an attempt commonly seen, particularly post-9/11, in politicians and movements of the ultra-right to make a strategic breakthrough by appealing to a more mainstream audience. The BNP try to present a more respectable image but they are the same extremists that they always were.

Griffin is known to have "forged alliances with representatives of Gaddafi's regime in Libya - a move no doubt inspired by a common disdain for Jews."[5] In 1998 Griffin received a jail sentence, suspended for two years, for inciting racial hatred under the Public Order Act. The charge related to statements made in his publication The Rune. In Griffin's words, the Holocaust "is a mixture of Allied wartime propaganda, extremely profitable lie, and latter-day witch hysteria".

The BNP's representation in the UK is entirely at the local level. It has no representatives in Parliament, nor in any of Britain's regional legislatures or the European Parliament. In May 2008 Richard Barnbrook became the first BNP member to be elected to the London Assembly. Anti-nazi campaigners said a victory for the party meant "hatred, violence and stupidity".[6] Mayor-elect Boris Johnson and outgoing Mayor Ken Livingstone "pointedly walked off the stage when fifth-placed Richard Barnbrook made his speech following the announcement of the City Hall results."[7]

Membership "leak"

In November 2008, the entire membership list of the BNP was posted on to the internet, detailing the names, addresses, occupations, email adresses, telephone numbers and ages of 12,801 secret "card carrying" members of the organisation. The list included serving police officers, lawyers, a Church of England vicar, doctors, teachers and members of the Armed Forces, along with leading businessmen and civil servants."The BNP list also included the names and ages of children who have become members of the party after a parent has taken out a family membership, and several people who have joined the party at the age of 16. Against the name of a woman said to be a serving police officer and living on the Wirral, Merseyside, for example, is the note: "Discretion required re employment concerns - police officer", along with the names and ages of a number of her children. Other notes against the names of individuals include: "Discretion requested (employment concerns), government employee, IT consultant" and "activist (discretion requested), teacher (secondary school)"[8] The membership list revealed that the BNP had some members in Australia, one in Oman and 17 in the United States. One is the American chief executive of a City investment corporation, while another is a servant of the Queen, living at Buckingham Palace. Internet chat rooms frequented by British nazis were reported to be "buzzing with anger, indignation - and considerable alarm. One typical posting said: "The most shocking thing is some of the comments by the names! God help anyone who is in the army, the prison service, healthcare, a police officer or a teacher."[9]

The membership list, which was, inadequately, password protected and encrypted, had been stolen from the party, said Simon Darby, the BNP's spokesman. Mr Darby insisted: "This isn't a question of us mislaying the information, this is theft." The party blamed anti-Nazi activists who have infiltrated the organisation.

Further reading

References

  1. Silver, Steve. Booted and suited - The BNP's Nazism. Originally published in Searchlight Magazine January 2004. Full version online at stopthebnp.org.uk
  2. Hope Not Hate "Stop The BNP"
  3. Hope Not Hate op cit
  4. BNP seeks to bury antisemitism and gain Jewish votes in Islamophobic campaign
  5. The Enduring Prejudice "Stop The BNP"
  6. Brady, Brian BNP wins first seat in assembly "The Independent On Sunday" 4 May 2008.
  7. BNP wins first seat in assembly op cit
  8. Police officers among BNP members listed on web Ian Cobain and Esther Addley The Guardian, 19 November 2008. Accessed 19 November 2008.
  9. BNP fury as ENTIRE membership list of 10,000 is leaked onto internet and party threatens legal action Michael Lea. The Daily Mail 19 Novemer 2008. Accessed 19 November 2008.