I have prepared this short piece to answer some of the questions that LiveLeakers may have regarding the British National Party (BNP). The BNP was founded in 1982, represents the far right in UK politics, evolved from the remains of the old National Front.
The National Front never had mainstream acceptance in the UK and was associated with neo-Nazism, in particular, combat18. Many members of the NF also belonged to C18 and its ilk. The race hate, associated violence and eventual public and media denouncement of the NF lead to its collapse.
The BNP seeks to disavow the neo-nazi association and become the acceptable face of far right politics. This new ‘face’ is represented by Nick Griffin, Party chairman a Cambridge Educated law graduate (see attached jpeg).
The BNP claims that it is not racist. However, the party has been associated with anti-Semitism and accusations of holocaust denial made against Griffin. In refuting this, the BNP claims that one of its councillors, Pat Richardson is in fact Jewish. The BNP remains openly anti-Islamic.
Membership of the BNP is restricted to ‘whites only’. Quoting from the BNP website: "Indigenous British ethnic groups deriving from the class of ‘Indigenous Caucasian’. The BNP also accepts white immigrants that are assimilated into one of those ethnicities”.
This year, a leaked list of 13,500 names and home addresses of BNP members appeared on a website. Many of the members' occupations are listed, revealing a small number of police, two solicitors, four ministers of religion, at least one doctor and a number of primary and secondary school teachers. The list also included 15 accountants and a director of finance.
Policies of The BNP:
A halt on immigration. Immediate deportation of illegal immigrants and voluntary resettlement.
Law and Order:
Re-introduction of corporal punishment for petty criminals and vandals, and the restoration of capital punishment.
Removal of anti-discrimination legislation.
Immediate British withdrawal from the European Union.
To date, the BNP has no representation in Parliament. In the coming general election, where voting is still first past the post, it is unlikely that this will change. However, the BNP’s vote has recently increased; the BNP now polls the highest numbers for fascist organisation in British history, holding around 100 council seats. In the forthcoming elections to the European parliament (June 2009), the party looks likely to gain two or possibly 3 MEPs under the proportional representation voting system.
The rise of the BNP should be a clarion call to our government of the disillusionment and cynicism that many voters feel toward the main political parties, politicians and politics in general. Polls repeatedly demonstrate that government has become disconnected from the desires of the public.
The public wants tighter controls on immigration and the rights granted to immigrants, such as benefits, housing etc. In some areas of the UK, it is impossible for citizens to gain access to council housing due to ‘needier’ families, such as asylum seekers circumventing the queuing system.
Employment is another major factor, where both membership of the EU and the government are blamed for putting British workers last in allowing an influx of foreign workers who will work for considerably less. The BNP trumpets ‘British Jobs for British Workers’.
The public fears of uncontrolled immigration are confirmed in the statistics: More than one in every eight people in England were born abroad, according to an official breakdown of the population. The problem is further compounded by the inability of the government to deport undesirable elements and radicals due to the EU regulations on Human Rights.
In a declining economy, historically, voters do turn to far right politics. Add into the mix, a government that has been in power for 12 years and dogged by scandal. The main opposition parties appear weak and none to dissimilar from the incumbents.
For many people, myself included, I do not believe in making the Muslin a scapegoat for our troubles. Muslims have lived peacefully in our community for many years and it seems that all are being blamed for the radicalisation of a minority. That said, the BNP ticks many of the boxes for disgruntled voters. In the run up to the general election, there is no doubt that they will represent a protest vote. For some, voting BNP instead of Labour represents a change in a lifetime habit and is likely to be permanent.
Dismissing the majority of BNP voters as bigots, racists or little Englanders is foolhardy. The BNP cannot and should not be ignored.
Click to view image: '07493cdf486b-griffin.jpg'
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