Having leafleted against the British National Party with Unite Against Fascism during the recent by-election campaign in Hampstead Town, I was pleased to see that the BNP candidate received a derisory 29 votes, a mere 1% of the poll. You might have thought that after this humiliation the BNP would have got the message that they are not welcome in north London, yet they are contesting the Kentish Town by-election on October 30 in another attempt to gain a foothold there.
Since the election of Richard Barnbrook last May we have had direct experience of the BNP on the London Assembly. It would be easy to dismiss Barnbrook as a joke figure, and his rambling, incoherent contributions at Mayor’s Question Time have certainly reduced him to an object of ridicule. However, London Assembly members have also witnessed the poisonous, divisive politics of the BNP at first hand.
In a recent intervention, for example, Barnbrook called for the abolition of the Notting Hill Carnival, one of the most popular annual events in London, which attracted an estimated 2.5 million people this year from across our city’s diverse communities. But what else can you expect from a party whose constitution states that it is “wholly opposed to any form of racial integration between British and non-European peoples”?
In recent years the BNP has tried to hide its fascist politics from voters and fool them into thinking it is now a more moderate, mainstream party. The skinhead bootboys have been kept out of public view, to be replaced by “respectable” figures in suits. However, the adoption of a more voter-friendly image hasn’t changed the BNP’s fundamental character. In terms of its leadership, core membership, political ideology and ultimate objectives, the BNP remains the racist, fascist organisation it has always been.
One of the leaflets the BNP has been distributing in north London illustrates this point. It features a photograph of a wholesome-looking white family accompanied by the slogan “People like you voting BNP”. The smiling couple in the picture are unlikely to be voting in the Kentish Town by-election as they live in Kirklees, West Yorkshire. But if they were on the electoral register in London NW5 they would undoubtedly give their support to the BNP, because they are two of the party’s longstanding activists – Nick and Suzy Cass.
Both of the Casses appeared earlier this year in the television documentary BNP Wives. In one revealing scene Suzy Cass argued that in order to restore racial purity white people should have more children, while a “birth limit” should be imposed on non-white families. How the latter policy was to be implemented – forcible sterilisation? infanticide? – she didn’t say.
In another scene Nick Cass proudly revealed a “tree of life” tattoo prominently displayed on his right arm. The anti-fascist magazine Searchlight commented:
“This symbol, also known as the life rune, is a favourite among nazi groups worldwide, several of which have adopted it as their logo. Under Hitler it was the symbol of the SS Lebensborn project, which encouraged SS troopers to have children out of wedlock with ‘Aryan’ mothers and kidnapped children of Aryan appearance from the countries of occupied Europe to raise as Germans. To white supremacists today the tree of life signifies the future of the ‘white race’. “
Nothing could better demonstrate the BNP’s cynical political methods than this fraudulent attempt to pass off two of its own hardline members as a normal family who just happen to vote BNP.
Resistance to the BNP transcends party politics. Supporters of the Labour Party, the Liberal Democrats, the Conservative Party and the Greens, whatever our other political differences, are at one in rejecting the racist ideology of the far right. It is crucial that this anti-fascist majority turns out to vote in Kentish Town on October 30, in order to ensure that the BNP once again receives a percentage of the vote that accurately represents their minuscule support in Camden.
The infliction of another humiliating defeat on the BNP will hopefully discourage them from making any further attempts to import their vile politics into the borough.