Wednesday, 18 March 2009

The hypocrisy of the BNP emerges in the North West

In less than a week, two stories have emerged that aptly demonstrate the hypocrisy and double standards of the British National Party. Both events occurred in the North West, where party leader Nick Griffin is standing as a candidate for the European Parliament.

The first of these events was a hammer attack, alleged to have been committed by members of Unite Against Fascism, against Liverpool BNP's "super activist" Tony Ward. The incident involved Ward's "campaign trailer overturned" and Ward himself "attacked with a claw hammer," according to Sky News.

There are problems with the media reports of the incident, as they rely solely on the accounts of BNP members, and there are discrepancies in their stories. Party spokesman Dave Jones, according to the Sky News report, said that "fundraiser was due to take place at Pure nightclub in Leigh, but was cancelled at the last minute." In fact, the BNP website made a point of declaring that the fundraiser was responsible for "raising an amazing £2,200 for the Euro election fund despite a violent attack on BNP members elsewhere" because in fact "the evening itself went off without a hitch" to the point where it gathered a "standing room only crowd of well over one hundred people." Though a relatively minor point, when taken with the fact that there have been no neutral or even opposition eyewitness reports available, it does put the BNP's version of events in doubt.

The hypocrisy, though, emerged with the BNP's response to the incident. On the party's website, Nick Griffin asserts that "the systematic campaign of intimidation and violence against lawful and peaceful BNP election campaigners" is "openly supported and encouraged by senior Labour and Tory MPs" because they have failed to condemn the attack. Under the heading of "by their silence they incite the violence," Griffin "challenged these MPs to condemn unequivocally last night’s attack and all other instances of violence and intimidation carried out by UAF thugs."

And yet, a little over a month ago, members of Wirral BNP distributed leaflets which accused anti-fascist Alec McFadden of betraying British workers for his role in an anti-BNP demostration at the end of January. The leaflet suggested that McFadden "needs coaching in a certain direction" and urged readers to "voice your opinion" over the telephone or "pop around" to his house, and gave out his phone number and address to encourage this behaviour. Not only was there silence from the BNP leadership over the issue, but the blog of the Liverpool BNP actually defended this action, printing the inciting leaflet in full whilst insisting that accusations of political intimidation were "fibs."

Though, of course, an unprovoked attack on anybody with a hammer - if indeed it was unprovoked - is unconscionable, so too are the double standards elicited in the BNP's condemnation. If, "by their silence they incite the violence," then surely the same applies to the BNP.

The second demonstration of BNP double standards came just the next day. This was the day that the BNP had planned to hold a significant "Day of Action" in Liverpool City Centre. However, because the event clashed with an Everton v Stoke football match, and the increased risk that presented of Stoke fans joining the BNP rally, since Stoke has a significant number of BNP councillors, the police postponed the football until the next day. The resulting uproar forced the BNP to cancel their rally and saw the match returned to its original slot.

Instead, the party went to Huyton to distribute leaflets before heading to the nearby St John's estate, where teenager Anthony Walker was murdered three-and-a-half years ago.

There, according to the BNP website, party leader Nick Griffin "stood up for the indigenous people of St Johns who have wrongly been demonised as a result of the Anthony Walker murder last year." Griffin recorded a video there, in which he "explained how the highly regrettable and sad murder of Mr Walker has been portrayed by the media and the establishment as a “racist attack” in order to smear the people of St Johns." According to him, "the truth is that the Anthony Walker murder was just one of a series of unpleasant incidents on the estate, which has a number of problems - but racism is not one of them."

Setting aside the fact that the party's website cannot even get basic facts, right such as how long ago the murder took place, the video remains full of utterly false insinuations. "Ask anyone here, and you will see that it was not racist at all," Griffin insists, but the evidence upheld in a court of law has a very different ring to it. During the trial of Anthony Walker's killers, The Liverpool Echo reported the evidence presented to the jury that Anthony "was subjected to a catalogue of sickening racist abuse in the last moments of his life."
Liverpool Crown Court heard that the 18-year-old refused to react as he was called "nigger" and "coon", shortly before an axe was plunged into his head.
The devout Christian had been walking to a bus stop with his white girlfriend, Louise Thompson, 17, and his cousin Marcus Binns, 18, on July 29 when the taunts began.
Neil Flewitt, QC, prosecuting, said after they had been at the bus stop for about five minutes, the abuse got worse.
He said Marcus, who at the time had a distinctive Afro hairstyle, recalls one of them calling him "microphone head" and "Michael Jackson".
Mr Flewitt told the jury of seven women and five men: "Anthony Walker shouted back: 'We're only waiting for a bus and then we're going.'
"Marcus Binns made no response to the abuse.
"Neither Anthony Walker nor Marcus Binns showed any aggression to the lad shouting the abuse or his friends.
"The lad then shouted, 'Walk, nigger, walk.'
"Sensing trouble, Anthony Walker and his friends started to walk to the next bus stop further down St John's Road towards Huyton village."
So far, this is just typical BNP misinformation and spin. The hypocrisy comes when we consider that the party's most recent pamphlet is "Racism Cuts Both Ways," which actually has been using glaring falsehoods to imply racism, in their case against whites, where there is none. Hope not Hate has a whole website dedicated to the showing this up as a bald lie. For clarity, it is worth once again pointing out one such example of this deception;
Mark WetherallMark Wetherall, 47, was killed in March 2007, five weeks after he was attacked by a gang in Whitstable, Kent. According to the BNP he was killed by an "18-year-old black youth Curtis Delima".
Three people were convicted of Wetherall's murder - Curtis Delima, 19, Mark Elliott, 21, and Gerry Cusden, 16. There was no evidence of any racial motive. More importantly, according to the photos of the three on the BBC website, none were black!
These are just the latest examples of the British National Party's use of misinformation and double standards to promote their white nationalist agenda. It is worth remembering that the man at the centre of both instances of hypocrisy - Nick Griffin - is not only the leader of that party, but a candidate to become an MEP in June.

Once again, I would strongly urge anybody who isn't already registered to vote to do so (you can do this via the Electoral Comission's website), and to make sure that they use their vote on the 4th June to keep the BNP out of the North West.