the English Democrats strategy was always to extract
English Nationalists firstly from UKIP
English Nationalists from the BNP
The ill-advised policy of recruiting English nationalists from the BNP took a blow today when, following Ed Abrams' resignation, Alistair Barbour announced his decision to quit the EDP. Before he defected to the English Democrats, Alistair had been the BNP's Carlisle organiser, the North West secretary and Nick Griffin's constituency worker. But as Alistair explained in his resignation statement the politics of Steve Uncles were just too much:
It is with regret that I to have resigned from the English democrats.
England needs the English Democrats but I can not remain as long as people like Steve Uncles appear to be trying to cultivate alliances with people who will do untold damage to the party. Whether they are terrorist front groups or far right political party's.The vast majority of good and decent people in the party deserve better than this.
The following is a letter from Ed Abrams of the English Democrats Party to Robin Tilbrook, party leader.
Published with permission, unedited and with no comment
It is with great sadness and regret that I write to inform you of my immediate and irrevocable decision to resign from all offices within the English Democrats party and from the party itself.
That decision, although painful is I feel the only recourse open to me - as I can no longer associate myself with the direction the party is taking.
To be honest, I have to say that I am frankly staggered that not only has the party not learned the lessons from that debacle of a tie-up with the England First Party, it seems hell-bent on making things worse and alienating our natural supporters even further by cultivating insane amalgamations with various right-wing factions. I simply cannot and will not support a party which enters into discussions, agreements and pacts with groups such as the BNP and the EDL - and nor will millions of ordinary English voters.
I blame Steve Uncles for these bizarre dalliances with the far right - and for the initial impetus to tie-up with England First. At that time, I was bullied into meeting their officials by Steve - afterwards, I made it perfectly clear-as-crystal to you told you I would never-ever be put in that position again. As there have been recent meetings and discussions with the BNP and EDL it has regretfully left me with little choice but to resign.
For some strange reason, Mr Uncles appears to believe that engagement with these groups is the right direction to take the party - I don’t, and neither do the many, many other former members who have left the party over the past two years as a direct result of the England First initiative.
The English Democrats should be the natural voting choice for any proud English person - the party should be about championing our country - and our people. We should have many millions of sympathisers and voters throughout the country .... To coin a phrase, 'Not Right, Not Left, Just English'.. But by pursuing the BNP and the EDL, the public perception of the party is that it has veered hard to the right; thereby alienating millions of our natural supporters and making the party strap-line sound like a sick joke.
After initial accusations from the media and the British Establishment that the EDP was a right wing organisation, the party worked hard to brand itself to the public as the English equivalent of the SNP but can you in your wildest dreams ever imagine that party having beer and sandwiches with Griffin and company?
No, neither can I.
In the 8 years that I have been a member I believe the EDP has taken the cause of ‘a fair deal for England’ and planted it firmly into the consciousness of thousands of English voters. However, I believe the party's mainstream breakthrough will never-ever happen just as long as Mr Uncles is allowed to play fast and loose with the party's public image. To be frank, it is he who is the biggest danger to the future of the party.
Over the years, virtually every member who has ever been in conflict with Mr Uncles has left the party, devoid of support and back-up from the top. Robin, your absolute failure to apply any controls to his role within the party and his ill-judged public pronouncements has seen many-a-good activist leave the party in disgust and disillusionment.
While Mr Uncles plays at cultivating right wing supporters of Pro-British Groups, England and her people continue to get shafted by the British Establishment. Millions and millions of people are routinely being filched, abused and fleeced - they are crying out for an inclusive champion, yet, amalgamations with groups like England First seems to be the overriding consideration of the party hierarchy. This cannot be right. Our fight must be against the British Establishment and what they have done and continue to do to our people and our country. Whilst I do agree that we have a problem with certain elements of the Islamic community, we as a party should not focus on this single issue but rather on achieving a united England under an English Parliament, free from British state interference. That should be our vision and one which we should be taking to the electorate.
And if the party does actually show signs of a breakthrough, I am afraid all the positive work that scores of party activists have done over the years will be unceremoniously undone when any junior reporter decides to type the name of the second highest official of the party into the Google search engine and view the resultant horrors for themselves. (Why not try it for yourself Robin?)
We have lost so many good, honest and hardworking activists because of the insane shoot-from-the-hip actions of one person. Robin, to say I am appalled that so little control has been exercised on him by yourself is somewhat of an understatement. You had/have the responsibility of controlling him. Whenever the opportunity arose to confront him and stop his scheming, you patently failed to do so - preferring to side with him and by implication back and further encourage his actions - thus leaving any opposition with little alternative but resignation. In my opinion, that inaction is unforgivable.
We have a country and 50 million people to save for God's sake, yet the party seems obsessed with avoiding the voting mainstream! In my view, existing and ex-Labour voters must be the party's target. They only vote Labour because they perceive them to be the party of the working class. It is clear that Labour has failed them - they will not vote Tory and are desperate to find a new political home. There is absolutely no reason why the English Democrats cannot fill that void. Those people in the Labour heartlands are the ones who will feel the British financial belt-tightening more than anyone, yet as far as I can see we have done next to nothing in trying to gain support in these areas.
England means more to me than life itself. Justice for our people is something I have always striven for - and it is a cause for which I will continue to fight! But remember, careless talk costs votes, credibility - and power. The sooner you and the rest of the NC realise this, the sooner a breakthrough will happen.
I would like to thank members of the party who have given me so much love and support over the years, I have made many lifelong friends. Please heed my comments Robin, the party is bigger than any one person - but certain people need to get off their power trips and put England first.(that's a small 'f' by the way).
Could you please ensure that any page of facebook or any other social network site that has been set up in my name by members of the party is deleted.
Shalom to you and your family
...I agree with the message of the latest BNP leaflet (or the first page of it at least).
Politicians of England take note, if you don't speak for and to England then other people will. Don't just fly the flag of England for 'the duration of the World Cup', fly the Cross of St George all year around and from every public building in England.
And yes, St George's Day ought to be a public holiday.
Billy Bragg is helping Margaret Hodge to defeat the BNP in his home town of Barking:
Bragg said the election was “critical” because of the economic situation, “but for the country that I love, for the patriotism that I feel, this fight in Barking and Dagenham is the most important fight since the war.” He said Labour had done much for the area: “They built houses, they built schools. There are improvements in education.”
But, he added, people felt powerless and ignored in the face of rapid change with significant immigration. “It's not racist to recognise that so many people coming to the borough puts incredible pressure on housing and health.
Everyone else in London benefits from multiculturalism and cheap labour but places like Barking and Dagenham suffer as a result.
“The answer isn't to round these people up and send them back. But there on our doorstep inequality has thrown up this situation that can be exploited by the fascists. It's going to be a fight for the soul of the English people.”
Now obviously I don't want to see the BNP do well, but I cannot help but think that supporting the Labour Party is hardly fighting the good fight when it comes to a "fight for the soul of the English people". It was Margaret Hodge who revealed that the Department of Culture, Media and Sport had spent the grand sum of £230 on St George's Day, over five years!
That is precisely the type of headline that the BNP feed from.
It was Margaret Hodge who criticised the Proms and declared her support for redesigning the Union Flag to reflect diversity. Now frankly I couldn't care less about the Union Flag or the Proms. But - and this is an important 'but' - Margaret Hodge is precisely the type of politically correct idiot politician who has driven working class Labour supporters into the arms of the BNP.
I'm becoming increasingly bored by Billy Bragg's incursions into the debate on Englishness and the English Question. It's one thing to stand against the BNP, but to stand with a Labour Party that is clearly prejudiced against England, and has ignored its traditional supporters within England, is another matter entirely. Billy, you are fighting against the BNP; you are not fighting for England, you ceased to do that when you stopped calling for an English parliament and jumped aboard Brown's Britishness bandwagon - you too are now part of the denial of England from whence the BNP draws succour.
It's interesting to read that Tristram Hunt is standing as a Labour candidate for Stoke-on-Trent.
Tristram is well-known scholar of English history, and has previously written about Labour's awkwardness when it comes to English national identity:
Who now on the Labour frontbench, as Leo Amery once famously demanded, speaks for England? On this highly symbolic St George's Day, which marks the 1,700th anniversary of the beatified soldier's martyrdom at the hands of the Emperor Diocletian, who in government stands willing to speak to a coherent conception of Englishness?
For it is a curious irony of New Labour's rhetoric that its affection for the mythical, Tolkien-like "Middle England" is not matched by any great ardour for the reality of the English nation. While Scottish Labour and Welsh Labour happily proclaim their patriotism, English ministers are reticent. In part, this is attributable to a hangover from the original iconography of New Labour: Fitz the Bulldog; "Why I Love the Pound" articles for the Sun; the stealthy alliance with "Cool Britannia" - which was determinedly British in its symbolism. England seemed unmodern.
At the same time there remains within Labour circles a strand of faddish, metropolitan hostility uncomfortable with the historic imperial and class connotations of "England". Unfortunately, England's de facto cabinet minister, the consciously unmetropolitan John Prescott, shares those instinctive reservations. His passionately held regional ambitions are anti-pathetical to any unitary idea of English nationhood. A pick and choose system of regional self-government fits perfectly with a "Europe of the regions", but specifically avoids any appeal to Englishness.
If England needs a champion on the Labour benches, one with the intelligence and influence to articulate a positive left-wing vision for England, then maybe Tristram Hunt, who will have the negativity of the BNP in Stoke as his foil, is that champion. Of all the Labour Party candidates at the next election (given that Derek Wyatt and Andrew Mackinlay are resigning) it is only Tristram Hunt and Frank Field to whom I will wish good luck.
I supported the right of the BNP to be on the BBC's Question Time. Not because I hoped that they might do badly, or well, but because it is their right to be heard and to speak for the people that voted for them. And if you accept that the BNP have a right to be on Question Time then you must also accept that their politicians have a right to answer questions on news and current affairs. Unfortunately we were treated to a prolonged personal attack on Nick Griffin, which may well be warranted in other circumstances but is not the purpose of Question Time (or a supposedly objective public service broadcaster for that matter).
Each of the professional politicians on the panel, along with the very partial chair, came armed with a dossier on Nick Griffin, and at times it looked as though they were competing with one other, each condemning the BNP more vociferously than the last, shuffling their scripts ready to recite Griffin's past horrors and misdemeanors to his face. We did not learn anything new about Griffin or the BNP because he was constantly on the backfoot defending his past.
I had hoped that some good might come of the programme. The British population has been consistently opposed to mass immigration but despite our views it has continued apace, and its for that reason that many people who are not BNP supporters, and who may even be repulsed by their fascist and racist views, were pleased that Griffin was being given a platform. The hope was that he would force mainstream politicians to talk about the things that they would prefer to avoid, and have avoided; namely mass immigration and the corrosive and divisive effects of engineered multiculturalism. It is the job of small political parties like the BNP to force the larger political parties out of their comfort zone, they fill a vital role in our democracy by doing that. Not a big enough role some would say because they are so often denied any sort of platform. Not last night though, but it was actually a member of the audience and not Nick Griffin who undid Jack Straw.
From the audience Straw was asked whether the recent success of the BNP could be explained by the misguided immigration policy of the Government.
No, lied Straw, I don't think it can.
You cannot explain away the success of the BNP by attributing it to the 'anti-politics' mood. You can't even just attribute it to racism, fascism, stupidity, alienation, hopelessness, etc. People are voting for the BNP for pragmatic reasons: The Labour Party have failed the people that made them, the white working class, they have failed to tackle inequality and increasing relative poverty, and - most importantly in regard to the BNP's success - they have failed to manage immigration (although thanks to Labour's accidental destruction of the economy we might not now reach the catastrophic 70M mark).
The huge increases in migrants over the last decade were partly due to a politically motivated attempt by ministers to radically change the country and "rub the Right's nose in diversity", according to Andrew Neather, a former adviser to Tony Blair, Jack Straw and David Blunkett.
He said Labour's relaxation of controls was a deliberate plan to "open up the UK to mass migration" but that ministers were nervous and reluctant to discuss such a move publicly for fear it would alienate its "core working class vote".
Make no mistake, this revelation is potential political dynamite. The "third demographic transition" really is Blair's legacy, and Jack Straw's too. The Labour Government will have to move quickly to have Andrew Neather smeared, discredited and discovered in woodlands having slit his own wrists.
Mass immigration combined with the Race Relations Act and the doctrine of Multiculturalism has been a disaster. Government has encouraged people into the country and then encouraged them to define themselves along ethnic/religious/racial lines, and to petition for rights and resources on those grounds. The concept of the Freeborne Englishman is dead. Whereas once we respected diversity on individual grounds (individualism, freedom of thought, expression and worship) we now actively encourage diversity by giving grants to Bangladeshi Community Centres and such like.
Into that communalist arena steps the BNP, to encourage the dispossessed and disenfranchised to claim their rights as 'whites' or the 'indigenous Britons' or 'ethnic English'. We have a demoralised and alienated white working class to whom the BNP offer some hope by giving them back their pride and their communities. The BNP tell them that they will stop funding immigrants and multicultural projects and invest the money instead in youth centres, parks, CCTV, neighbourhood police, church groups and day centres for the elderly. And you know what? Communities that have been ignored for years, and who want to stick two fingers up at the Establishment (and Labour Party) that has abandoned them, find that quite seductive.
While mainstream politicians stick their heads in the sands like ostriches, expect to see the BNP flourishing, and expect too a rise in groups like 'The English Lobby' and 'Steadfast' who encourage the ethnic English to claim their rights and privileges as an ethnic group, just as the minority ethnic groups have been encouraged to do. It's the inevitable kickback, unedifying and deeply un-English though it may be.
For years we have been living in the shadow of Enoch Powell, governed by politicians who fear for their career if they voice the concerns of their own constituents on the issues of immigration, race relations and multiculturalism. Witness the fate of Nigel Hastilow when he confided that many people on Birmingham doorsteps told him that 'Enoch was right'. Perhaps now we are at a time when mainstream politicians are forced to tackle these issues, for fear that if they don't someone else will. What a damning indictment on our democracy that is.
Both deeply unpopular and repellent men leading repellent parties, both surrounded by idiots, both obsessed by Britishness, both with only one eye, and both employing the same slogan writer. And you never see them in the same room do you.
Look, there's Boris Johnson on St George's Day, with his red rose buttonhole, on board his Routemaster campaign bus bedecked in red and white bunting, being taken to Leadenhall Market to engage in a patriotic knees up with some morris dancers. That was in April, but in November...
Boris Johnson didn't want BNP support in the London mayoral election and says he won't participate in a St George's Day celebration because it would mean sharing a platform with the BNP's London Assembly member. Embarrassing, then, that the Spectator, with Bojo as editor, ran articles by David Lovibond, who has cropped up on the BNP membership list. A Lovibond piece about multiculturalism reads: 'For what it's worth, I am proud to call Nasser Hussain, Frank Bruno, Jeremy Guscott, Bill Morris, Paul Boateng andTrevor Phillips my fellow Englishmen - not to mention those many West Indians and others who serve in our armed forces.' Good of him.
The following message was sent out by a Glasgow SNP activist, Donald Anderson, and relayed to me through their 'Media Watch' group:
Subject: URGENT: BNP Membership list online
The entire membership of the BNP has been leaked. While this is illegal (it couldn't happen to nicer people), it gives us the opportunity to vet our own membership from this list.
There are a large number of BNP members listed in Scotland , Wales , Cornwall and the north of Ireland . I don't think we want any of them near any of the organisations we are in...
But do it quickly, this may not be up long.
[url removed by Toque]
Use this information well, all the best,
What strikes me as interesting is the concern for Scotland, Wales, Cornwall and Northen Ireland, but, apparently, not England. The heat map of BNP membership seems to reflect fairly accurately population centres and the distribution of immigrants in the UK. It will have come as something of a revelation for some 'celtic nationalists' to realise that the British Nationalist Party is not an English party, or an English nationalist party. In fact BNPers are as obsessed with celtic imagery as they are with anglo-saxonism, norse and nazism.
Whoever published the BNP Membership list on the internet, including their personal details (addresses, emails and phone numbers), should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Whatever you think of the BNP these people are entitled to their privacy. They will now be scared for their jobs, and frightened of the reaction of their neighbours, and I shudder to think of the ramifications for the children that are listed under family memberships.
Living in the times that we do, they should also be afraid of the Government and the possibility that they will now be under surveillance. Home Secretary Jacqui Smith will have done little to allay their fears by remarking "I wonder why it is that BNP members are rather more ashamed of their membership."
Perhaps, Jacqui, they're afraid of a witch-hunt.
Human nature being what it is, I confess that I have had a good look at the list, including searching for towns that I have lived in. There are 28 in Edinburgh, 6 in Ely, 22 in Brighton, 13 in Kenilworth, 2 in Lewes, and one in Budleigh Salterton. One of these people I know from down the pub, but had no idea they were in the BNP. I do now. And that piece of personal knowledge highlights a general problem that these people will now face.
I expect that this spells the end for Nick Griffin, but what it will do to the BNP is harder to answer. They will lose members and money in the shortrun. But if it was me that had been outed, I'm pretty sure that it would simply harden my resolve, especially if this sort of thinking crosses the minds of party members:
With talk of an early election, I can't help but feel this may be the start of a dirty tricks campaign. And no, I'm not wholly convinced that Brown's State couldn't have been involved.
It must be noted that in certain parts of the country the biggest threat to the Labour vote is from the BNP.
At least some good will come of it. The number of Scottish and Welsh names on the list explodes the myth that the British National Party is an English party.
UPDATE: I'm pleased to see that in the comments section of Socialist Unity - populated by many anti-fascists - there does seem to be a weak consensus that BNP members are, actually, entitled to their privacy just like anybody else.
UPDATE II: My point about the BNP not being an English problem is proved correct.