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Nick Griffin is becoming rather like John Wilkes - emblematic of our need to safeguard freedom of thought and conscience before the assault of The State and The State Broadcasting Corporation.

I have missed Shami Chakrabarti of Liberty saying: I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

I missed Shami Chakrabarti aghast that a private meeting could be spied upon and taped for broadcast by a State-funded agency like the BBC. I missed condemnation of CCTV cameras infiltrating even private discussions in an invitation-only meeting.

No doubt Brown will have the Nick Griffin Is Guilty Act ready with details to be filled in by secondary legislation.................will we have people dragged off to an MI5 Lubyanka and thence to forced labour camps ? Or hasn't Brown worked his way to the logical conclusion of his outbursts ?

I think there are plenty of good reasons to despise the BNP, but what Griffin said about Muslims and was prosecuted over was not one of them. I suspect the majority of British voters will agree with him.

The BNP is now taking up a less overtly racist position which doesn't differ much from what was once Tory Party consensus. That could spell trouble for the Tories in areas when "race" is a hot issue.

It seems that it is left to the British National Party to articulate views that the majority of Britons are coming to with regard to the menace of Islam.

The cowardice displayed by the Tories, as well as the overtly authoritarian and totalitarian statism shown by Labour to crush any opposition to the liberal consensus, do legitimise what the BNP say. That is: 'no other party is willing to speak the truth as millions see it, and no other has the moral fibre or political will do do anything about it even if they did'.

Nick Griffin, it seems, is the only leader willing to speak the plain truth. For that reason the Big Brother state see it necessary to silence him at all costs.

We may or may not agree with the alleged policies and statements said to be attributed the BNP, but it only flourishes because of the wimps in Parliament who have refused to listen to majority opinion on immigration and its wishes. It is to be hoped that it concentrates the minds of some of those languishing in the Westminster asylum (counting their expenses).
You can say the Griffin does not lack guts.
What he thinks, rightly or wrongly and at risk to himself, is a spade he calls a spade - unlike our supine media that could n't bring itself to publish pictures of cartoons.
Vote Tory?

All of those on this blog who believe that should withdraw from Iraq, with our tails between our legs, should read the last paragraph of the article by d'Inacoma in the Telegraph - even he is waking up (which is more than you can say for Boris Johnson)

"The deadliest attack on the Republicans during the campaign was Bill Clinton's: "They can't run anything right." But recognising and punishing the incompetence of an administration does not in itself resolve a geopolitical crisis. Those who imagine that the Iraqi conflict was an entirely manufactured problem, the work of the flame-eyed maniacs Bush and Blair, are sorely deluded. Every day, there is ghastly evidence on our television screens that we have not yet worked out how to address the challenges of the post-9/11 world. But those who believe that the answer is a reversion to pre-9/11 strategies face a horrible awakening".

I don't know much about the BNP, but it's clear they're far more astute political operators than they used to be.

I heard Griffin's co-defendant yesterday arguing their case that Labour are going after them primarily because of the threat they pose to "safe" Labour seats. Given what we know about Labour's shameful electioneering behaviour (eg NHS heatmaps), it sounded highly believable.

As Frank Field said, if they got someone plausible to lead them, we'd be in serious trouble.

The BNP as the former Conservative Party leader Michael Howard once put it are "A bunch of criminal thugs dressed up as a political party".

Like the monsters who desecrated the war memorial in Worthing with Nazi emblems, they fail to understand Britain and the values of its people. As we remember today those who gave their lives to free the world from tyranny let us never lose our contempt for those extremists who rely on fear and insecurity to spread their disgusting message of hatred, seeking to turn neighbour against neighbour and community against community.

But Gordon Brown is wrong the way to tackle racism isn't through yet more legislation, all that would do is give the oxygen of publicity to these thoroughly wicked people. Instead let's make the case that extremist political ideas like those expressed by the BNP are anti british and all right minded people are appalled by them.

Cruddas has every reason to be worried. He might be losing three BNP-minded wards to Barking under the boundary changes but he'll be gaining three from Havering where the pseudo-BNP "Third Way" and their allies are prominent. My contacts in Cruddasland tell me that in May voters were enquiring at polling stations about the name of their BNP candidate and when told there was not one in their ward storming away in disgust. This is the really scary thing: voting BNP is no longer a secret vice but something to be proud of as they know their neighbours won't condemn them as Fascists but applaud them for seeing the light. If he makes it to Deputy Leader, what a scalp that would be for the BNP.

Denying these creatures the oxygen of publicity seems pretty sensible.

They've had more than their fair share of air time to promote their noxious views this week.

If Tory voters begin to think that the BNP and not the Conservative Party speaks for them Cameron will have a lot to answer for.

It's not only the racists of the BNP who have detected the acrid whiff of "Tory Moderniser" cowardice. In today's Sunday Telegraph John Reid highlights the risible feebleness of Cameron's "hug a hoodie" approach.

Reid contrasts the "tough love" he claims to offer with Cameron's "just love". We know Reid's a phoney, but Cameron is giving him huge credibility.

Those of us who are used to the traditional freedom agenda of true Conservatism are suffering real frustration with the pitiful nonsense that is being pushed out in the name of our party.

In the past I have never favoured U-turns but Cameron has changed my view. Let's dump "Hug a Hoodie" and the rest of this nonsense here and now.

>>Denying these creatures the oxygen of publicity seems pretty sensible.<<

Ever heard of free speech Daniel?

Sounds like you're pitching to out-fascist the BNP.

"There are signs that the fascist party is becoming a home for many disgruntled former Labour voters." That doesn't make any sense to me, if they're FORMER Labour voters then clearly they no longer regard the fascist party as their home.

"... and changing migration patterns." Talk about mealy mouthed.

When will Cameron speak out in defence of the British people and their liberties?

Let's face it, there were thousands, if not millions of ordinary decent britons, who were cheering at their TV screens as Griffin was aquitted. In part this was to enjoy the BBC being humiliated and having to report the fact.

Why is such vitriol directed at the BNP ? Why do we not use such abuse for the Lib Dems ?

The BNP are filling a vacuum in political representation and people can vote for them or not. Why the fuss ?

The bit I liked best was a reporter asking Nick Griffin whether he was going to be more careful choosing his words in future.

Nick grinned and pointed out that he had ALWAYS been careful; that's why he was acquitted, despite the State's best efforts.

I am afraid that I did not see the original programme (but did get a letter in the Metro that week saying that he was bound to be prosecuted over it!), was anything he said really that controversial?

Was it any more inflammatory than what the head of MI5 said yesterday?

"Today, my officers and the police are working to contend with some 200 groupings or networks, totalling over 1,600 identified individuals - and there will be many we don't know - who are actively engaged in plotting, or facilitating, terrorist acts here and overseas," she said.

"Today we see the use of home-made improvised explosive devices.

"Tomorrow's threat may - I suggest will - include the use of chemicals, bacteriological agents, radioactive materials and even nuclear technology."

Now that has got me really scared!

"Ever heard of free speech Daniel?

Sounds like you're pitching to out-fascist the BNP."

I was actually referring to the lack of Conservative reaction to the BNP verdict that the Editor was writing about.

I don't have a problem with free speech, although that doesn't oblige me to feel that we should be drawing attention to the BNP.

Sorry to deny you your daily opportunity to spit bile at a fellow ConservativeHome contributor - you'll have to go and find another well of debate that you can poison I'm afraid.

"the BNP is flourishing because the mainstream parties are neglecting issues of concern to Labour heartland communities"

Does this not destroy the argument that the BNP are far right? Logically speaking, doesnt this mean that the BNP must be left-wing? Perhaps Im getting it wrong and its the freezing cold Margate air...

The clown who pressed for Griffin to be prosecuted at the expense of the taxpayer should be sacked. This has cost money from the public purse and benefitted the BNP who can now pose as martyrs.

I also agree with TomTom's point above about Shami Chakrabarti. "Liberty" only seems to be prepared to defend fashionable left-wing causes. Why were they not defending Abu Hamza (who, despite being anti-Western, was clearly far too extreme even for the Left) and David Irving? The only organisation to defend all three has been the uncompromisingly pro-freedom Libertarian Alliance who are about as anti-fascist as you can get.

Has anyone in the parliamentary conservative party rejected Labour's call for a review (and the implied change) to our law's following the trial? If not why not?

I got the my third request from our local constituency party office to renew my membership will not do so until our flip flopping spineless leadership discovers some principle and guts.

On a lighter but in a way related note I was offered half price chocalate oranges at a retailer the other day. I am delighted to say Dave's pathetic message(s) are not still not resonating in my rural idyll.

I am not a supporter of BNP, but must admit that I was highly delighted when it became known that Griffin's and Collett had been cleared of the charges brought against them.
To me this case always smacked of something like a seventeenth century purge, Titus Oates and government agents ready to spy and infiltrate into meetings in search of evidence (any evidence) to convict their enemies of wrong doing. Oh yes, Brown will no doubt (given the chance) introduce further legislation to give the government more clout to stifle freedom of speech. So beware dear friends, Big Brother is watching and listening, it might very well be your turn next.

Richard @ 14:42 - Abu Hamza was inciting murder. We can't permit people to abuse the right of free speech to incite crime, and in fact very sensibly under common law it has always been a crime to incite a crime. However "hatred" is not a crime, which is why "incitement of hatred" should not be a crime either.

http://www.cps.gov.uk/legal/section12/chapter_h.html#_Toc44653345

QUOTE

Incitement
The offence of incitement occurs when a person seeks to persuade another to commit a criminal offence. It is not a defence to a charge of incitement that the other person, for whatever reason, does not commit the offence, or commits a different offence to that incited. Incitement is usually a common law offence but there are some instances where statute has created the offence: e.g. S.19 Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.

UNQUOTE

Checking back on the Abu Hamza case: "He was jailed for seven years for the six charges of soliciting murder, 21 months for the three incitement to racial hatred charges, three years for possessing "threatening, abusive or insulting recordings" and three-and-a- half years for having a document useful to terrorists. The judge said all the sentences would run concurrently."

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4690224.stm

Typically the race-obsessed media emphasised the "race hate" aspect, but his time in prison will be determined by the longest sentence, the seven years for soliciting murder. The maximum sentence for that under the 1861 Offences Against the Person Act is life, and if I had been the judge he would have got at least twenty years. But then I'm old-fashioned - I believe that if three men commit a brutal entirely unprovoked murder of some innocent youth, they should all hang.

I see that he is now appealing, on the grounds that the Act does not cover the case of foreigners being encouraged to murder other foreigners overseas.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/6102046.stm

I think he's wrong, as Section 4 states: "Whosoever shall solicit, encourage, persuade or endeavour to persuade, or shall propose to any person, to murder any other person, whether he be a subject of her Majesty or not, and whether he be within the Queen's dominions or not, shall be guilty of a misdemeanour, and being convicted thereof shall be liable to imprisonment for life."

>>Sorry to deny you your daily opportunity to spit bile at a fellow ConservativeHome contributor<<

Oh dear Dan. Did we get out of bed the wrong side this morning.

You would know all about spitting bile, friend, but I'm not aware I've every returned the compliment on CH to anybody - not even you.

The BBC has fostered the growth of the BNP. By consistently yelling 'racist' at any attempt to discuss immigration and multi-culturalism over the past decade, it has assisted in stifling rational debate.

The man on the Clapham omnibus has been given little option but to listen to the carefully-crafted utterances of Griffin etc, and respond accordingly.

This is not intended as an endorsement of this fascist Party, just an attempt to point the well-justified finger of blame at the left-wing chatterati, Guardianistas, etc.

As Frank Field said, if they got someone plausible to lead them, we'd be in serious trouble.
The BNP have got a long way to go, they are greatly overhyped and still fail to get anywhere in elections other than Local Elections - they have no County Councillors, no MP's, no MEP's, no members of the Scottish Parliament or Welsh Assembly. Even on the very low turnouts they still get less than 1% of the vote nationally, they are about the 6th national party after UKIP and the Green Party and unlike them show no signs of actually making breakthroughs at levels that they haven't won seats at yet.

Their leader seems to be pursuing a bizarre secret agenda only known to him and a few others around him and risks losing more diehard elements to the National Front as he appeals to elements of the main parties votes, the BNP is never going to win by attracting a proportion of the Labour vote alone which is mostly what they have been doing. Nick Griffin has hopped from one party and stance to another, he is totally inconsistemt and no one really knows what he stands for except that he isn't keen on immigrants.

On a lighter but in a way related note I was offered half price chocalate oranges at a retailer the other day

So was I......but I knew what she was really offering........and so I told her I had been advised against it by David Cameron

For a really interesting and intelligent commentary on the "meaning" of the BNP and UKIP vote I recommend Richard North's blog

http://eureferendum2.blogspot.com/2006/11/uncharted-waters.html

Which in turn links to some very interesting comments on Ian Dale's blog, several by CH regulars.

James Maskall (14.36) was confused about left wing and right wing. Forget about left, centre and right in a straight line, and instead bend it into an oval. Then you will find extreme left and extreme right are close together, and opposite Liberal; and Conservative and Labour opposing each other, with extreme left/right between them on one side,and Liberal between them on the other. Sorry I have limited computer skills and cannot provide a diagram, but hope you get the idea. This is why an extreme right wing party can do well in traditionally left wing areas.

Don't think the BNP are only in Labour Lands. They are pushing hard here in Conservative North Yorkshire. We have a bye election here soon with only two candidates, Tory versus BNP. In the Conservative Party we are constantly told bring in the youngsters, but they are turning to BNP - why?, because only the BNP are debating their concerns. Our latest effort on Immingation/migration is once again pulling the wool over the eyes of the electorate, sounds good, but can't be delivered, we are in the EU chaps, not yet noticed by those at the top.

The media are much to blame for this undercurrent and suspicion by many white people that gives the BNP oxygen.

The case this week of that poor Scottish lad who was killed by racist Asian thugs, only got publicity when they were jailed. However, the cases where equally terrible crimes of race murders on black people by white thugs get splashed on the front pages from the off.

The media gives the impression that the murder of a black/asian person by a white person is racism but when the opposite happens it barely gets reported. Where were the Guardian/Independent front pages on the Scottish case. Nowhere, thereby givng the BNP legitimacy in the eyes of many.

"Richard @ 14:42 - Abu Hamza was inciting murder. We can't permit people to abuse the right of free speech to incite crime, and in fact very sensibly under common law it has always been a crime to incite a crime."

If someone commits a crime that is their choice and their choice alone. If someone is saying nasty things about people then we all have a choice as to whether or not we ignore them. As far as I'm concerned, Abu Hamza and his bunch can scream "behead those who oppose Islam" as much as they want. It is those who do the beheading who should be sorted out (preferably with the noose) as they chose on their own free will to carry out the beheading. Obviously if the "inciter" is in a position of political power e.g. Hitler then speech can cause murder. Or if the "inciter" is able to bring about murder by elaborately deceiving someone. Suffice to say screaming THE WEST HATES YOU! hardly counts as deception.

While I think the BNP are an unpleasant bunch (do I recall Norman Tebbit thinks they are in reality left-wing?), I agree with TomTom's (1131) concern that a private invitation-only meeting was spied upon and taped by the BBC. And that a prosecution resulted.

With Thomas Johnson (1546), I fear Labour will use the Nick Griffin case as an opportunity to introduce further attempts to restrict freedom of speech. The problem with this type of legislation is that while the intention is good in wanting to deal with racism etc, it can have unintended consequences to freedom of speech like those of the Religious Hatred Bill as originally drafted. Perhaps those of us who want to maintain, and win back where it has been lost already, freedom of speech and other freedoms, need to be on our guard!

I note Jamie Oliver's Sausage's comment (1153) that "there are plenty of good reasons to despise the BNP, but what Griffin said about Muslims and was prosecuted over was not one of them. I suspect the majority of British voters will agree with him." Now doubt the BBC et al will keep going on about "winning hearts and minds". But I heard Dominic Greive repeat this mantra on BBC R4 this evening. I hope he means winning the hearts and minds of the law-abiding majority (of all races) who are concerned about the terrorist threat and escalating crime - that there is a party who will put their concerns and interests first and defend us.

Although I personally have no time for the racism of the BNP I'm delighted with the way that Griffin has left the PC establishment with egg all over their faces.

Our association had a curry party last night and a number of the members were speaking very favourably about what the BNP had achieved. It was left to me to sound a not of caution.

I wonder if David Cameron would be prepared to face the possibility of jail for his principles? Personally I very much doubt it.

It;s good to see that these matters can be freely discussed here.

Note the implication in Brown's reaction : the jury did not reach the right verdict so the Law must be changed. Thats a receipe for bad law.

John Irvine @ 19:40:-

"I wonder if David Cameron would be prepared to face the possibility of jail for his principles? Personally I very much doubt it."

David Cameron's principles!! What exactly might they be? I have seen no evidence that such exist!

Speaking as a yorkshireman now living down south I might add, I'm not surprised people are voting BNP lots.

We have a metropolitan spiv as leader of the conservatives who has no clue what life is like for people north of Watford.

We don't hug hoodies. We knock seven bells of shit out of them and it works.

We're also paying the price of open door immigration. You lot in leafy suburbs think cheap plumbers are worth the social cost for us. You're not the ones having uninsured polish van drivers crashing into your cars. Stop telling us its good for us you patronizing ****s. We live with it and we don't like it.

Why should we vote for someone who is not trustworthy enough to take a principled stand on immigration?

Why should we vote for someone who will not make a stand against the EU? The single most destructive thing to happen to our country since the luftwaffe.

Camoron is all image and no substance. While we northerners are politically naive and ill-educated slobs, we know a spiv when we see one.

The man has no clue about defence issues and the only party that has openly questioned European Defence integration and the fact that we are losing both wars as a result is the BNP. They're on the ball. You’re not.

The tories are not with the programme. They are chasing after a straw man voter.

While you london gimps are squitting in your knickers about global warming and other pie in the sky codshit, we are the ones on the ground paying for your stupidity.

We've had nine years of Blair. Why do we want a crap imitation?

And to think two years ago I was a member of this shite political organisation


The elephant in the room is - as always - uncontrolled immigration from the third world, and the cultural changes that result from it.

John Cruddas, Ann Cryer, Margaret Hodge etc. are all half-right in the reasons they give for people voting BNP, but can't bring themselves to criticise current levels of immigration.

Most white British people don't consider it exciting, vibrant and diverse to find their children are attending schools where most children don't speak English, or finding that their local council no longer celebrates Christmas, but does celebrate Eid and Diwali.

And that is what is fuelling support for the BNP (and similar parties across Europe).

Sear Fear is 100% right about this.

I have numerous ethnic minority friends, all of whom have adapted very well to life in Britain. Some of them are "more British than the (ethnic) British"

But they arent the people that the powers-that-be have in mind when they talk vacuous twaddle about "vibrant diversity" They are talking about the people who won't fit in and they expect us to make all the necessary adjustments.

It's this arrogance that is fuelling the ascendency of the BNP, but what I never supposed was that we would hear Conservative politicians telling us to lie down and like this multiculturalism which tramples all over our cherished traditions.

Cameron has proved me wrong.

TL, the British political establishment is riding on the back of a tiger, and doesn't know how to get off it. Powerful vested interests depend on identity politics; at the same time, much of our political establishment has a genuine ideological commitment to identity politics.

What they hadn't counted on was that by encouraging identity politics, they would create white identity politics.

The whole saga is a constitutional disgrace as well as a fiasco. I’ve followed the story quite closely since 2004. Here is a summary of the incidents and coincidents that make me deeply unhappy. The main sources are from Rod Liddle and some items from the Telegraph. I accept that this may seem a story but, taken all together, my instinct is that there is something very wrong here.

Early 2004 decision to do investigation into BNP, probably fostered by front organisations close to Labour. Summer 2004 TV broadcast. Shock horror, there are racists in the BNP. How much of the stuff about the members is genuine is impossible to say, as the BBC infiltrators were in effect agents provacateurs, egging yobs on with free beer. Only the recorded speeches feature in the subsequent trials.

Second half of 2004: West Yorkshire Police have dedicated team of at least 3 police officers working 10 hours a day for 6 months reviewing video evidence. December 2004: dawn raid on homes of Griffin and others. Computers and papers seized. A Telegraph editorial comments adversely on fact that a political leader should be treated this way and on the excessive police time used on the investigation so far. There is a tragic irony that while this police team was busy investigating this alleged “hate crime”, a real hate crime was being prepared undetected under their noses by the 7/7 bombers.

In early 2005, Liddle does some digging and establishes that there are hints from ordinary PCs that the raids and arrests were ordered “from the very top”. (Who was Home Secretary at the time?). He tracks down the magistrate who signed the search warrants. She is very sheepish about it. No doubt she should be, since, as I understand it, nothing found in the raids was used in the subsequent prosecutions. But no doubt the police have found it useful to have the BNP membership lists etc.

What information was put to the magistrate in order to justify the raids? Either the police misinformed her or she sanctioned raids without justification – either eventuality a very serious breach of the law.

April 2005, on the day after announcement of General Election, the Attorney General announces that Griffin will be prosecuted (Muslim votes any one?)
January 2006 first trial begins. By sheer coincidence it overlaps with that of Abu Hamza. (Must be even handed chaps). February 2006 Griffin acquitted on half charges, hung jury on other half. The Judge is believed to have suggested that the prospects of a conviction on remaining charges were limited but CPS refuse to give in. Retrial set for May 2006 (to coincide with May local elections?) though this is subsequently postponed to the autumn.

November 2006, second jury fails to follow the script and acquits unanimously. Gordon Brown and Lord Chancellor (head of the legal system) quite improperly imply that the jury got it wrong. The implication is that Griffin is ipso facto guilty and that laws must be framed to match that self evident truth.

The whole thing stinks as much as the David Kelly case. There are just too many coincidences to be plausible. There’s a smell about it. It seems to me that from start to finish this was a political process conducted under the guise of the law. The idea was to gain political advantage in two ways: to win back Muslim votes lost by the Iraq war; and to disrupt a party that was stealing white working class votes.
In the old days we would have had defenders of liberty who would be prepared to speak out in defence even of a political pariah like Griffin. But do we have any one either in the press (Liddle apart) or in the Conservative party to go onto the attack? I suspect not, because we’re afraid of guilt by association.

"In the old days we would have had defenders of liberty who would be prepared to speak out in defence even of a political pariah like Griffin. But do we have any one either in the press (Liddle apart) or in the Conservative party to go onto the attack? I suspect not, because we’re afraid of guilt by association."

That the 'respectable' right is so weak in defending liberty is depressing, but what's truly horrifying is Labour's wholesale embrace of totalitarian fascism. Faulkner's statement that no one should be allowed to criticise Islam without punishment was wholly in tune with the Mohammed-cartoon protesters' demands and has handed the vilest Islamists a stunning victory.

There's a world of difference between having a sensible approach to a controlled and managed immigration policy and pandering to those far right lunatics who want a closed door immigration policy, and let's be honest it isn't white european immigrants these nazi sympathisers are thinking of.

We're a country and indeed a party with a proud history of standing up to fascism I see no reason to change our approach now.

Sorry I don't quite see the relevance of the last comment. This thread is about the extent to which we defend free speech. One can be opposed to fascism, yet deplore the attempt to silence any one, even the far right. In my view the instincts of the Labour party in regard to free speech are quasi- Stalinist. Or is fascistic the most appropriate epithet?

There have been plenty of posts on here about more than just free speech, as it happens I have no problem with people I don't agree with being able to express a view, just so long as I reserve the right to criticise those who abuse the right to free speech in order to offend others.

People like to associate with others who are like themselves. This is true for people of all races and is nothing to be ashamed of. Some get understandably upset when they feel that the majority of people around them are no longer like them, especially when they've had no say in the matter. Labelling these people as racist is unhelpful; it's a superficial term with such a broad definition and negative connotation that its use in reasoned debate is almost nil.

These people are also grateful when a political leader recognises and acknowledges these feelings (which can be done without 'inciting' violence or hatred). Until the main political parties acknowledge this, the BNP will continue to get support. But the main parties can't acknowledge this because they will be called racists by the others. Ah, isn't democracy a funny thing? (Which is why we should have an unelected upper chamber...but that's off topic.)

I think there is something deeper going on here that isn't really about immigration. A growing minority are becoming more than just disengaged from society. Anyone who goes canvassing will know what I mean. Its not apathy its a sort of antipathy akin to proud ignorance! Unfortunately the mainstream media feed this as they have to fill the papers everyday and negative, simplistic messages are easier. Even our quality papers are sometimes drifting into irresponsible reporting that paints all politicians as on-the-make, fiddling liars. We used to worry that people weren't voting but the BNP are trying to use voters and happily feeding their prejudices.

Matt

“I think there are plenty of good reasons to despise the BNP, but what Griffin said about Muslims and was prosecuted over was not one of them. I suspect the majority of British voters will agree with him.
Jamie Oliver's Sausage”

“It seems that it is left to the British National Party to articulate views that the majority of Britons are coming to with regard to the menace of Islam.
Stephen Tolkinghorne”


Both Jamie Oliver’s Sausage and Stephen Tolkinghorne underestimate the intellect of the British public. To demonise 1.1 Billion Muslims worldwide and class to them as terrorists is twisted logic in the majority of British people’s minds.

The BNP only thrive in areas where there is depravation and a lack of Government will to tackle social issues. It is easy to peddle race politics to those who feel abandoned, neglected and without hope.

It is Ironic as I wear my red poppy to remember those who fought and died against fascism I am replying to the very same enemy we fought against in WW2.


“I have numerous ethnic minority friends, all of whom have adapted very well to life in Britain. Some of them are "more British than the (ethnic) British"
Tory Loyalist”


I always thought ethnic minorities could be classed as British e.g. British Asian, Black British but not as English, Scottish or Welsh.


“The elephant in the room is - as always - uncontrolled immigration from the third world, and the cultural changes that result from it.

their local council no longer celebrates Christmas, but does celebrate Eid and Diwali.

Sean Fear”


It seems Sean Fear has missed out the problem of local authorities not being able to deal with 600,000' new EU migrants and wants to somehow blame “ethnics” from the third world.

Sean Fear’s comment about councils celebrating Eid and Diwali but not Christmas exists in his twisted mind only. My local council puts up Christmas trees, lights and has a Christmas celebration in the town square as well as celebrating Diwali and Eid.

I think from now on it is only fair the asylum dispersal system begins to locate asylum seekers in only the most leafy, rural middle class areas of England.

After all it is most unfair to put them in areas where the local whites are "racist chavs"
who have no cultural sensitivities and are least well well travelled to understand the needs of Afghanis,Iraqis, Somalis,etc.

And after all these "racist chavs" clearly dont want their areas changed beyond all recognition and the liberal middle classes are hugely in favour of mass immigration, so it seems more logical from know on to locate immigrants in Chipping Camden and Nether Wallop not Coventry and Newcastle.

And as the Liberals and New Tories and New Labourites are so in favour we dont expect any nimbyism, or complaints from them when their villages receive their newcomers. We only expect reports of enrichment and how much they are enjoying their new found diversity that until rececently they had to travel by 4x4 into cities to enjoy.

My local council puts up Christmas trees, lights and has a Christmas celebration in the town square as well as celebrating Diwali and Eid.

Anyone who equates a pine tree with Christmas is living proof of how far secularism has gone

West Yorkshire Police have dedicated team of at least 3 police officers working 10 hours a day for 6 months reviewing video evidence.

Many more than that methinks - and at a time when the 4th largest police force is under strength, absent from major crime areas, and supposed to be on anti-terrorist duties at Leeds/Bradford Airport.................would be nice if the Police were less political and more effective

Sean Fear’s comment about councils celebrating Eid and Diwali but not Christmas exists in his twisted mind only. My local council puts up Christmas trees, lights and has a Christmas celebration in the town square as well as celebrating Diwali and Eid.

___________________________________________________

Check "Tory Activist's" phoney email address (anon@anon.co.uk)to gauge his credentials.

This far-left troll is neither a Tory nor an activist, and I doubt he wears a poppy either. If he did he would know better than to tarnish Remembrance Day with party politics.

For his information Sean Fear is a Tory Association Chairman and his comment about "Winterval" etc. is only too well documented.

There is an article about it on the front page of today's Daily Telegraph.

"Even our quality papers are sometimes drifting into irresponsible reporting that paints all politicians as on-the-make, fiddling liars."
Matt

Mabe a bit strong but prompts the following 'killer question'

"In a modern complex democracy - can anyone tell the truth AND get elected ???"


Tory Activist is obviously not a Tory activist, and he is unacquainted with the practices of London local government.

Anyone who has to resort to insult, as he does, obviously doesn't have much of an argument.

The BNP only thrive in areas where there is depravation and a lack of Government will to tackle social issues. It is easy to peddle race politics to those who feel abandoned, neglected and without hope.

It is the local authorities which peddle race politics which are in fact the source of the problem. It is the sense that local government pursues such agendas that is fomenting real anger and is the cause of the problem much more than Whitehall and its manifest incompetence


BNP support really isn't all that strong in places of real deprivation. It's more in the sorts of areas with large numbers of skilled and semi-skilled workers, who are unhappy about immigrtion, and the kind of race politics that Tom Tom mentions.

Janet Daley says in this morning's Telegraph:

"The BNP in its earlier incarnation as the National Front was effectively put out of business by the Thatcher government in the 1980s because most voters felt that their anxieties and concerns about mass immigration were being addressed by major political leaders"

She is 100% right and there is much else that is good in her article

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml?xml=/opinion/2006/11/13/do1301.xml

When will the Conservative Party again speak for the people on this issue?

RodS, thats the Million Dollar Question. Its one of the things I wonder rather a lot. Politics has fallen so low that the public have no support of the process, which is exactly why voting turnout has dropped. The public dont see a point because all we are doing is changing the old liars for some new ones. There are some people who actually do care and are honest, bucking the trend, but the public cant trust them, because of the company they keep.

Going back to the original post in this thread:
"Nick Griffin is becoming rather like John Wilkes - emblematic of our need to safeguard freedom of thought and conscience before the assault of The State and The State Broadcasting Corporation."

I'd been thinking the same as the story unfolded, so I'm glad some one else has put it into print. The important issues here seem to me to be freedom of speech and the abuse of power by Labour.

This an open goal for us, if only we had the courage to tear into Labour's neo-Stalinists. It's not his job, but William Hague would be able to make mincemeat of the Government on this.

This is a question of principle. It matters not whether the victim is some one mainstream like the late David Kelly, or some one extreme like Arthur Scargill, George Galloway,or, as happens in this case, Nick Griffin. All are entitled to protection from the oppressive state.

Well said Martin.

Personally I regard Nick Griffin as just another dodgy socialist being persecuted by fellow-socialists. It's a bit like Bolsheviks/Mensheviks or Blackshirts/Brownshirts.

But Brown and his lefty thugs want to silence everybody and they'll stop at nothing to do so.

Still deafening silence on the part of Cameron and Co. Do they really care about British liberty?

Blank pst to tell my computer NOT to remember my personal information.

This case is simply an example of the law working. A man was charged with a crime, the DPP thought there was a realistic possibility of a conviction, the courts decided the matter: innocent. Why should any Conservative officially comment? Is anybody suggesting that a Conservative government should decriminalise incitement to racial hatred?

Don't be disingenuous, Mark. It was a clear attempt to criminalise political difference, an avowed aim of the supposedly "liberal" left and it would seem, of quite a few in the Tory Party too (unless of course it is hardline Muslims or Sinn Fein, when somehow different standards seem to apply). Nick Griffin is a nasty demagogue but the litmus test of a liberal society is Voltaire's old maxim: I hate what you say but I defend your right to say it. This prosecution was direct attack on that maxim.

Mark,the point is that Government ministers quite improperly commented adversely on the verdict of a jury. They propose new laws to outlaw the merely "offensive", to use Brown's word.Look forward to the "Griffin is Guily Act 2007".

If you read my first post of yesterday, you will see there are grounds for suspecting collusion between the BBC and Labour, and a prosecution driven more by politics rather than objective law.

It seems to me there has been a blatant abuse of power. That may be hard to prove, but there is at least scope for condemning Labour's authoritarian reaction over the weekend.

Looking across the board: At the moment we seem to be outflanked by the Lib Dems on libertarian issues, while we're outdone by Labour on law and order. Do we have any convictions or principles or is the main thing to be merely inoffensive?

Martin, I assume your last question was rhetorical? If so, you have provided your own answer.

It is inconceivable that such a prosecution would have been mounted if an imam had denounced Christianity as a wicked violent faith. He would have been cheered to the rafters by the BBC, the Guardian and quite a few Conservatives who style themselves as "social liberals" and who are increasingly signed up to the politics of grievance.

Feelings of both relief and anger came over me the day of the verdict. Relief at the protection of free speech, anger at Browns utterly disgraceful (and yet worryingly expected) response.

Of course, the BNP attracts a racist element, but if we are to believe that the BNP are moving into traditional Labour territory, then what does that say about the Labour areas that have yet to be reached by Griffin et al? Are all working class areas fostering so-called "white racism", or only those that the BNP has a presence. If the latter, you have to commend the party for their apparently amazing ability to change voters from socialists to racists and fascists thanks to a few leaflets.

In recent times Griffin has even been actively attempting to force through membership changes within the BNP by which "non-whites" are allowed to become party members?

The lack of response from the Tories is typical Cameron. He most likely recognises the national feeling upon the verdict, and fears upsetting the 92% of the population who MAY harbour sympathies to the case in general.

This is one reason why this government (like the last) would willingly follow the EU agenda and abolish trial by jury. We must fight to stop that happening.

Widening the subject for a moment (having complained about thread drift earlier!) I really do worry that Cameron is taking us in the wrong direction at the wrong time.

In so far as one can sense the public mood, my feeling is that that it has hardened and become more right wing, even of the last 6 or 9 months. The problem with the 2005 election platform was not that the themes were wrong but that it came too early for us.Sort of "right campaign, too early" but of course we didn't have achoice on the timing. So having had a drubbing, we set off leftwards, just as Labour move to the right. We're beginning to demolish the "nasty party" image, but for many we now lack conviction and credibilty.

Christina Speight, I know you are reading this thread. Please do not email me with your comments on the BNP or forwarding comments that youve gleaned from other weblogs. If I want to read comments on other weblogs, Ill find them myself.

Michael, no disingenuousness was intended. This law was created 20 or 30 years ago and the freedom of speech arguments against it have remained unchanged in all that time. Politicians possibly put pressure on the Police and DPP to prosecute, but this case is otherwise unremarkable.

Conservatives are right not to associate with Nick Griffin – even when he was judged to be in the clear.

"First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out - because I was not a communist;

Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out - because I was not a socialist;

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out - because I was not a trade unionist;

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out - because I was not a Jew;

Then they came for me - and there was no one left to speak out for me."

Rev. Martin Niemoller, 1945

The Tory Party could have attacked the Government on this - bigtime, in a way which did not sympathise with the BNP. The silence is deafening and seems like approval of Government witch-hunts. The authoritarian nature of our future Prime Minister(?) could have been attacked.

Mark, it should be abundantly clear that noone is talking about "associating" with Nick Griffin, who is in any case a man of the left. Why is Nick Griffin any more unpalatable than leftwing Celtic racists such as Gerry Adams and Martin NcGuinness, out of interest? As far as I am aware, Nick Griffin has killed and tortured no-one.

The reasons why this case was remarkable are precisely because of the politicised nature of the prosecution. The fact that the law has been in existence for 20-30 years doens't alter the fact that it is an elastic law which is too easily deployed in crude attempts to curtail freedom of speech....as this case shows, especially as Islam is not a race but a religion.

I think the party was wise not to comment, certainly in the immediate aftermath of the verdict, as this thread clearly shows how easy it is for comments to look bad.

If there is a problem over free speech, then I do not want to suddenly "find" it in support of the obnoxious Griffin. However, without having studied the detailed facts of the case, it seems to me that if he was found not guilty maybe the law is less of a restriction in practice than some feared (and others hoped). I do not think there is any political profit in us as a party complaining that the prosecution decision was biased, although the evidence on that on this thread is interesting in a forum of this sort. The reason is that anything showing "sympathy" for the BNP will be deeply unattractive to the sort of voters we are rightly trying to attract - and they won't see the detail, just the general impression that we are aligning with the bigots.

Equally, if there is a law against incitement to racial hatred (which personally I support although maybe some others don't), and those who have heard the evidence have found him not guilty (two separate juries), then I don't want to interfere.

So all that remains are the fairly silly comments of people in the Labour Party that because they couldn't get a conviction, the law should be changed - back to criminalising incitement to religious hatred I presume. I am a bit forgetful on that - but wasn't it thrown out by Parliament when last proposed? If proposed again, we should continue to oppose it and that is the best forum for further comment from the party - not in the aftermath of this case.

If incitement to religious hatred does come up again - at the risk of upsetting some on here and re-opening a previous debate - perhaps we should suggest that Jack Straw might find himself being considered for prosecution for demonising people with certain distinguishing religious dress.

In the meantime, not commenting continued to show the surer political touch that Cameron shows when compared with some of his recent predecessors.

As a point of info, can people confirm that this prosecution was under the previous law, not the one passed recently which, on a quick look at the BBC website, I am reminded was passed (concerning religious hatred) but in a watered down form? So isn't all the Govt saying is that the old law should be tightened (but it already has been) or that he wouldn't have been convicted under the new law (which hasn't been tested and on which, anyway, the Govt lost in Parliament)?

According to the BBC summary, the new law requires statements to be threatening to people of a certain religion, but just being abusive or insulting is not sufficient to be prosecuted. If Griffin was threatening people of a certain religion (as opposed to race which would fail because Islam isn't a race), then under the new law he should have been convicted. However, if he was just being abusive and insulting on religious grounds (as opposed to racial grounds where the law will remain stricter), then he would be not guilty.

From what I know, it seems likely that he was abusive but not threatening. If so, the Government are just saying that they wished their recent law had not been amended on the way through. As our Party supporting the amendment, all we need to do is to confirm, at an appropriate moment, that (certainly at least until there are some hard cases under the new law) we continue to support the compromise reached. Which would probably mean that a conviction would not be obtained, just as it wasn't under the old law.

So there's not much to get steamed up about really.

>>In the meantime, not commenting continued to show the surer political touch that Cameron shows when compared with some of his recent predecessors.<<

Would that be the same sure touch Cameron showed when he described the moderate centre-right UKIP party as a bunch of racists? Didn't leave much ammunition for criticising the BNP, did it?

Actually most normal people (ie Conservatives) would be classed as "racist" by Cameron and his Notting Hill lefties.

But I must admit, if Cameron refrained from commenting on anything - ever - it would be a very welcome development indeed.

"Christina Speight, I know you are reading this thread. Please do not email me with your comments on the BNP or forwarding comments that youve gleaned from other weblogs. If I want to read comments on other weblogs, Ill find them myself".

What has Christina Speight been up to? Telling the truth about the probable fate of the Tories I suspect.

Never send to know for whom the bells toll.
But we can guess.


Londoner, Those advocating an attack are not advocating "sympathy for the BNP", but rather an attack on the Government's authoritarian attitude.

It could also play into the Labour succession e.g. "Do we want this tyrant as our next Prime Minister." I was writing mainly on principle, but I accept there is some calculation for us here, as Tony Blair has been silent and John Reid very circumspect on the topic.

Tactically I guess there is something to be said for Napoleon's dictum: "Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake." Letting Brown proceed undisturbed on to his coronation might be best for us.

On the other hand, libertarians could interpret silence as indifference and a lack of conviction. Are the "voters we are trying to attract" so numerous and do they outnumber the people we risk alienating? Given my earlier post about the change in the public mood, I suggest not.

You say we can return to the topic if a new Religious Hatred bill is proposed. Don't forget that the Religious Hatred bill was only emasculated by sheer flook. Because of a mix-up by Hilary Armstrong, Tony Blair failed to turn up for a crucial vote. It was not a good career move on the Chief Whip's part! As it now stands, a prosecution has to prove criminal intent (hard to do in practice) and the words have to be "threatening" - insulting or offensive word are not criminal. Even if the new law had been in place in 2004, it is unlikely that Griffin would have been convicted.His words, while offensive or insulting, could not be seen as threatening. Proving intent would have been difficult too.

The most likely changes Labour would propose would be to remove the need to prove criminal intent and the inclusion of insulting or offensive words. Of course if it got to that, the law would be so wide that vitually any politician, journalist, cleric or philosopher could fall foul of it. Lacking any objectivity, it would be a recipe for political trials: Jack Straw fine; Melanie Phillips to goal.

I reject the racism of the BNP, but can certainly understand anyone lending them their vote when the Labour government is thoroughly lying and self-serving and bringing this country to its knees. The "opposition" is, well, utterly pathetic. I couldn't bring myself now to vote for any of the big 3 parties.

Reading a number of the comments above, I do wonder what some of my fellow posters are doing here on a COnservative website beyond pushing up my blood pressure a few point!

To take on just a few of the points above:

The "opposition" is, well, utterly pathetic. I couldn't bring myself now to vote for any of the big 3 parties.

Well, for that I just have to wonder again what you're doing here...

Would that be the same sure touch Cameron showed when he described the moderate centre-right UKIP party as a bunch of racists? Didn't leave much ammunition for criticising the BNP, did it?

Strangely, I'm more than happy with the ammunition it left - the ability to criticise the BNP as a far worse bunch of racists. That fits, doesn't it?

As for the silence of the Conservative Party leadership on this matter, I think it is tactically deft. What's the alternative - to "do a Hodge", and risk lending these odious cretins the oxygen of some more publicity?

Given that this was a high-profile use of this legislation which the CPS must have expected had a reasonable chance of success in order to have brought the case, the Government's intention to review how it worked in this case is not unreasonable. I still have some confidence in Parliament's ability to restrain some of the worst excesses postulated by my fellow contributors.

You'll excuse me if I don't waste too much sympathy on the potential fate of Griffin and his dubious cohorts - the way in which their campaigning has ruthlessly exploited and exacerbated divisions in some of Britain's most vulnerable communities leaves me with little pity for their like.

There is, however, a point for us all here. The BNP in some areas are slapping the veneer of a reasonable face and getting into pavement politics and local campaigning. My concern would be that they do this on a seat-by-seat basis ahead of next year in areas where our own local campaigning infrastructure is weak or just disused. Those of us working for the Party on the ground need to make sure that we don't leave a vacuum the BNP can exploit in any seat they might be targeting.

I hold no candle for Griffin or the BNP,but having recently served on a jury, I was shocked, offended and worried to hear Gordon Brown declare that he would re-draft the laws on free speech. To see New Labour rejecting the decisions of the jury, because it was the "wrong" verdict is to reject one of the fundamental legal safeguards of this nation. The deafening silence from Cameron and Davies worries me even more. If the Tory front bench cannot see and speak out against the erosion of basic civic liberties, then why should we trust, respect, or elect ANY person to Parliament?

Thank you to Martin Wright for your intelligent and genuinely informative contributions to this thread. Which is a lot more than I could say for one or two others...

Just Me - I absolutely agree.

I'm sorry, Mr Carey, but I'm a conservative out of principle. Above all I was taught to cherish the liberties that our ancestors won for us all over centuries. That fact that Griffin is obnoxious, does not excuse governmental abuse of power. Or do you believe that justice should be dispensed according to the likeability (or otherwise) of the subject?

You say that the CPS must have expected a reasonable chance of success to have brought the case. That is one of the points that concerns me: it is unlikely that they ever felt they had a good chance of success. I can remember articles in the Daily Telegraph in 2004 (i.e before the charges) to the effect that the prospects of a conviction were poor. The guidance for Crown Prosecuters indicates that any prosecution must be in the public interest and there must be a reasonable prospect of obtaining a conviction. The latter element was dubious in this case. The CPS ploughed on for political reasons, because they, like the police, have become a politicised organisation, and they felt they had to pick up the gauntlet. As it happens, Griffin has made fools of the police, the CPS and the Attorney General, and gained undeserved publicity. This has all been brought about by the arrogance and folly of the Government and the BBC and has been compounded by the post trial comments.

Just Me's post is cogent evidence that this silence in the face of government arrogance is misguided.If message boards,blogs, letters pages, Any Answers are any guide, the general public attitude is that while they have "reservations" about Griffin they find the Government's attitude obnoxious too. People will note our party's silence and not be impressed.

"Thank you to Martin Wright for your intelligent and genuinely informative contributions to this thread. Which is a lot more than I could say for one or two others..."

Richard Carey's for a start.

Does this enemy of free speech actually claim to be a Conservative? Certainly not in my book and I have been a hard-working Conservative for decades.

The British people were never asked their opinion on immigration. Why? Because the ruling elite knew what the answer would be.

Apologies for helping to drag the thread off course, but wanted to respond to John's remark:

Richard Carey's for a start. Does this enemy of free speech actually claim to be a Conservative? Certainly not in my book and I have been a hard-working Conservative for decades.

Do you know, I've never managed to be decried as an enemy of free speech before breakfast - I can see that this is going to be a big day for me.

I don't claim to be a Conservative - I am a Conservative, having been a member since 2001, serving as deputy chairman of my local association for a period, working on a target seat campaign at the last GE, and campaigning for the Party at every opportunity.

I guess it's a good thing for us all that you don't get to vet my membership... and it means that we're probably stuck with each other!

I am also a very long standing member of the party. I voted for David Cameron (never again!) and I have also voted BNP at local level.

Earlier this year my Conservative ward branch, of which I am chairman, held a fruitful meeting with local BNP members. They are certainly not the thugs they are usually painted. Several are ex-Tories.

Unless David Cameron pulls his socks up PDQ he is simply going to lose support. Most of us are concerned about what is happening to our country while he buries his head in the sand.

By the way, I had to permit myself a smile at this "Call yourself a leader?" artcle on the PoliticalHackUK blog on this subject:

http://politicalhackuk.blogspot.com/2006/11/call-yourself-leader.html

it seems to me that if he was found not guilty maybe the law is less of a restriction in practice than some feared

Londoner, have you ever been in court ? Either Civil or Criminal ? Have you been there with a bewigged judge and barristers ?

Have you ever had to prepare the pages of documentation in an Evidence Bundle, to cross-reference them, to draw up a Skeleton, to be prepared to deal with hostile questions, perhaps a hostile judge, to know that your barrister is clocking up £500-1000/day plus VAT and to see every adjournment or recess as a way for your opponent to drive up your costs.

To lie awake at night going through the questions and the answers in your head, to pay our hundreds of pounds each day for a transcript of proceedings.

To watch your business suffer as you devote so much time to meetings with lawyers, pre-trial hearings, conferences, and to have a complete diary of all times and events ?

Well Londoner, you have not lived until you have experienced the courtroom games and the barrister's tricks knowing that your bills are mounting. Then imagine doing this not once, but twice and hearing that they are going to get you no matter how long it takes.

Then you write maybe the law is less of a restriction in practice than some feared

I hope when you are arrested, having DNA samples and fingerprints taken, are strip-searched, and wait month after month for charges and evidence packs to be produced, you can shrug it off ever so lightly and not feel violated in any way

In 1975 I like many others was convinced that the Birmingham Six were guilty and as such were odious criminals who deserved to die in prison.

I could not understand how Chris Mullin or Paul Foot could get involved in a campaign to expose their convictions as flawed since they were obviously guilty as their appeal was rejected in 1976.

That their convictions were overturned in 1991 as 'unsafe' makes my views about them, about Chris Mullin, about Paul Foot go into a rapid U-turn also - and it was this same Chris Mullin who once wrote a book, filmed as A Very British Coup in 1982.

Maybe Chris Mullin simply had a dedication to liberty and justice which transcended any feelings he might have personally to those whose rights he sought to uphold, I tend to think so.

Thank you TomTom for pointing out the “chilling effect”. The authorities use the opacity of the law and the uncertainty of outcome to frighten ordinary decent people (i.e. not Griffin) out of voicing their concerns. The message is “say that and we will put you through two years of hell, even if you get off”. As it happens, I suspect Griffin relished every moment of his battle. After all, he threw down the gauntlet to David Blunkett at the time of the TV programme (“Prosecute me if you dare” on the front of the Mail), and the authorities obliged.

But as a general principle, any strengthening of the Religious Hatred legislation will mean that journalists from Melanie Phillips on the right to Polly Toynbee on the left will have to be very careful about what they write. This is terribly dangerous for democracy. As you might imagine, I don’t share Ms Toybee’s world view, but I’m damned if she is going to be silenced, or (just as bad) bowdlerised, by Labour’s authoritarians. I value opposing views; they are the lifeblood of democracy.

Talking of political opponents, that Marxist, Mick Hulme has written an excellent piece on this in spiked-online. It rather says it all: a Marxist leaps to the defence of free speech, but the Conservative front bench is silent.


Laws outlawing something as nebulous as "inciting hatred" are both ineffectual and oppressive.

Ineffectual, because the give bigots the opportunity to achieve martyrdom. This was a win-win for the BNP. If acquitted, he got good publicity; if convicted, he got perhaps even better publicity.

Oppressive, because as others have pointed out, they give the police, and pressure groups, ample opportunity to harrass people for saying things that the establishement of the day (or said pressure groups) object to.

Earlier this year my Conservative ward branch, of which I am chairman, held a fruitful meeting with local BNP members. They are certainly not the thugs they are usually painted. Several are ex-Tories.

You should be sacked.

I find it bizarre and very naive that a Conservative should want to have talks with the BNP, who are a racist leftwing party with a strong propensity to violence. Having said that, Mark, why should he be sacked even if he is very misguided? After all, many leading "moderate" Conservatives have had plenty of "fruitful discussions" with Sinn Fein, which is also a racist leftwing party and one which has managed to kill and torture far more people than the BNP ever have or will. Selective indignation over contact with violeent racists doesn't really reinforce your argument. Or is this an example of Gareth's notorious "doctrine of nuance" in action?

For a genuine liberal (not sure that includes Londoner), there is no inconsistency at all in finding Nick Griffin totally obnoxious but also objecting to a clearly politicised prosecution. As has been rightly pointed out, the mere threat of this kind of prosecution, however misconceived legally, is likely to have a chilling effect on vigorous debate.....which is all the more necessary as the Government tries to protect the Muslim faith with the equivalent of a medieval blasphemy law. The fact that official Opposition has nothing to say about it tells you a lot about the liberal credentials of the Opposition. As for Griffin, he would love to be made a martyr by the courts. It would be grist to his propaganda mill which makes the conduct of the CPS even stupider.

Michael wrote:

"For a genuine liberal (not sure that includes Londoner), there is no inconsistency at all in finding Nick Griffin totally obnoxious but also objecting to a clearly politicised prosecution."

Indeed, a defence of free speech could include an attack on the BNP at the same time.

Having said that, Mark, why should he be sacked even if he is very misguided?

Because being a BNP apologist is incompatible with being an association chairman.

Whereas seeing the self-proclaimed virtues of "nice" Mr Adams and the Butcher of the Bogside (McGuinness) is of course compatible highly compatible with being a "one Nation" Tory?

Michael, unlike the dialog with Sinn Fein, there is no need to talk to the BNP. And if there ever becomes need (highly unlikely), the decision should get taken at national level – not by a wayward association chairman who’s decided that the BNP aren’t too bad after all.

As I’ve said before, I deny my friends’ accusations that the Conservative party is xenophobic and racist – but when I read threads full of tacit support for the BNP, I worry that the accusations are true.

There is a world of difference between government ministers dealing with the likes of the IRA in order to try to bring peace to Northern Ireland and party officers doing little deals for their own electoral convenience.

Especially a ward chairman who claims to have voted BNP 'at local level'. Does that mean he voted against his own candidate in his ward?

Whilst I have deep misgivings about some of the things done in the name of 'peace' in NI, at least there was a goal somewhat more noble than shabby deals to win elections.


Certainly, I think it pretty odd that a ward Chairman, if he is such, should have voted BNP.

Whether one should talk to the BNP would, I suppose, depend on the purpose of talking to them. In the not unlikely event that they are well-represented on one or more local authorities in the near future, one might have no option but to talk to them.

Steve Sailer on isteve.com discusses the disgusting government reaction to Griffin's acquittal:

"Future Prime Minister of Britain calls for criminalizing free speech:

(snip quote)

Perhaps Tony Blair's presumed successor, Gordon Brown, should shepherd through Parliament an ex post facto law and bill of attainder specifically naming Nick Griffin as going to prison for violating in 2004 the Anti-Free Speech Law of 2007. And why not get rid of trial by jury while he's at it? And how about a law banning opposition parties, other than ones led by the wholly unthreatening David Cameron? Who can afford to care about 991 years of English constitutional liberties anymore when 2% of the population is Muslim?

More seriously, Americans should start to re-assess their tourism plans in light of the British Government's desire to criminalize free expression. How much longer can you afford to take the risk of vacationing in Britain when you could be arrested for, say, some comment you posted on somebody's blog? Granted, as an argument in favor of free speech, that's rather a letdown compared to John Milton's, but I can't imagine any other kind of arguments than "Tourists are money!" having any impact on getting Brown to rethink killing free speech."

I do wonder if maybe Brown and Falconer are just too stupid to realise how this looks to the rest of the free world, or whether they just don't care.

Mark , you seem to have shifted your ground. I agree that there is no "need" to talk to the BNP but that is not the point. On the one hand, you excoriate those who do talk to the BNP (very misguidedly in my view) as "apologists" for the BNP, which is not necessarily so, as Sean notes. On the other hand, you utter not one word of criticism for the behaviour of the Conservative Party, which did nothing to oppose Tony Blair (a) making unlimited concessions to extremely violent racists in Northern Ireland; and (b) undermining democratic centrist politicians of both Northern Ireland traditions such as David Trimble and Seamus Mallon. Indeed the likes of Patten went out of their way to help him finish the job; and Ken Clarke caricatured anyone who criticised Bliar's approach as "orange". So your friends are quite right about the Conservative Party...but not necessarily for the reasons you think.

Mark, you say: "I deny my friends’ accusations that the Conservative party is xenophobic and racist", but you - and others here - claim the BNP is racist. Don't you see the irony? Don't you see how stupid you are being?

Others say that the Tories are racist, but you know this is untrue. Yet when others say that the BNP is racist you automatically believe them. Why do you believe the BNP is racist? Because the media and their opponents tell you so. Have you read their literature? Have you visited their website? I have.

I used to be a Tory party member, but left in disgust at the way the party was drifting aimlessly and failing to deal with the real problems facing Britain. I then looked around at my options. I did so with an OPEN mind - not a closed, bigotted one like yours. I looked at the CURRENT policies of the parties, not their policies 10 years ago. Parties change - haven't you noticed? Certainly I would never have supported the BNP in the past, but they have changed their leader and they have changed their policies. Their CURRENT policies are perfectly sensible.

They want to deport all those (of whatever race) who are here illegally - do you disagree? And even if you do, how is this racist? They want to deport all those (of whatever race) who commit crimes and were not born here - do you disagree? And even if you do, how is this racist? And they want to offer financial assistance to all those (of whatever race) who are able to acquire foreign citizenship and who WANT to permanently leave the UK to settle abroad. Do you disagree with helping those who WANT to leave? And even if you do, how is this racist? Those who have come here legally, who have settled here, who are law-abiding and decent and who do not demand that we change our country to accommodate them are welcome to remain. Do you disagree? And even if you do, how is this racist?

I have actually MET several BNP members, and they are as others here have described: decent, ordinary, men and women, including many ex-Tories. Perhaps if you went out and met the BNP rather than sitting behind your computer slagging them off for what they were 10 years ago you might understand more clearly why their support is growing.

People change and parties change. Look at the BNP as they are TODAY, not as they were.

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