WORLD

KEEPING BRITAIN FOR THE BRITONS

The British National Party wants minorities to leave the U.K.

MICHAEL PETROU July 24 2006
WORLD

KEEPING BRITAIN FOR THE BRITONS

The British National Party wants minorities to leave the U.K.

MICHAEL PETROU July 24 2006

KEEPING BRITAIN FOR THE BRITONS

The British National Party wants minorities to leave the U.K.

MICHAEL PETROU

The British National Party believes that the government of the United Kingdom is engaged in a “cultural war” against the British people, driven by a need to reate a “new ethnic power base” to keep itself in office. For evidence, members point to the flood of immigrants and ethnic minorities who they say are coddled and who threaten to make white Britons a minority in their own country. “We do not accept the absurd superstition,” the party platform says, “of human equality.” This does not mean one race is superior to another, it hastens to add, only that some are more genetically predisposed to creating modern democracies based on private property and individual freedom, and other races are better at, say, running quickly. The BNP says it would devote billions toward convincing ethnic minorities to leave Britain. Membership is restricted to white Europeans.

The BNP has existed on the fringes for more than two decades, rarely able to muster much support. But this has changed. In local elections this year, the party made gains, winning 11 of 51 seats in the East London borough of Barking and Dagenham, a number that could rise to 12 pending legal procedures. Barking is an ethnically mixed working class neighbourhood, where South Asian restaurants are scattered among traditional pubs full of men wearing England soccer jerseys. “I’m a BNP activist,” a man named Bill Rankin says, pointing at his shaven head and issuing an invitation to join him and four white friends for a drink. “You can tell by my haircut.” Rankin, who runs a plumbing and heating company, adds, “I’m not fighting for racist issues. I’m fighting for looking after myself first.” Everything is given to immigrants and minorities first, he says. “We’re second-class citizens in our own country.” Sean Flagherty, a friend of Rankin’s, is Irish, but says that since he moved to England he has become a patriotic Englishman. He points to a group of South Asians walking

past the pub. Several of the women are wearing burkas. “How many of these foreigners would wear an England shirt?” he asks. “They come here showing just a little slit, so you can’t see their faces. If you’re going to live in this country, learn the language.”

BNP supporters are often written off as bigoted yobs, and no doubt some are. But Rankin and the others insist they’re not racist. Two have daughters who are marrying black men, and they’re happy about it. And when another friend, Sam Singh, brown-skinned and with a turban and a beard, arrives to join them, there are hugs all around. “He’s English,” one of the men says of Singh. “He thinks the same as us, and he drinks the same as us.” Singh himself says he’s never had any trouble with racists in Barking and isn’t concerned that his friends are voting for the BNP. But others in the neighbourhood aren’t so relaxed about the BNP’s success. Augustin, a 30-year-old black man, says that 15 years ago non-whites in Barking and Dagenham were threatened with violence by white residents. “But now that immigration has reached a certain level, they don’t have the backbone to fight back. So the only way they can do this is with the BNP.”

The party’s current leader, Nick Griffin, is articulate and polite. He insists that the BNP’s goals on race and immigration are based on a desire to preserve racial and cultural diversity, rather than being a white supremacist movement. He believes racial integration is a disaster. He would probably not approve of his supporters’ daughters in Barking marrying black men. “Young black males have, on average, a higher testosterone level than young white males, just as young white males have a higher testosterone level than young Chinese males,” says Griffin, 47 “So young blacks, if they’re not in a strictly disciplined and ordered society, are more likely to become criminals than young whites. If you’re going to have those people in your society, you need to take that into account.”

As for Jews: “Generations of living off their wits have made the Jews slightly cleverer on average than anyone else,” he says. “So they tend to dominate, or be disproportionately represented in some professions. I used to think it was a conspiracy. I don’t anymore.”

The BNP’s platform tackles other issues besides race, issues that are neglected by mainstream parties. It proposes tough measures against criminals, as the Conservatives once did but no longer do with much conviction. The BNP has open contempt for the EU. It’s opposed to further immigration. Perhaps most importantly, the BNP says it stands behind poor whites—men and women who were once integral to the Labour Party but who now feel ignored. Thousands live in grim housing estates in places like Barking.

Griffin is candid about his party’s ability to fill the vacuum. “The Labour Party has abandoned vast areas of old Labour territory,” he says. “They’ve lost touch with the white working class. When you’ve got all the other parties cuddled up on this piece of centre ground, there’s this vast space. And we’ve been able to appeal to people on either side of this centre block.” According to Alveena Malik at the Commission for Racial Equality, which is funded by the government and tasked with promoting better race relations, the BNP has done a good job of focusing on local issues, which gives them the image of a party that cares about neglected neighbourhoods. “But if you look at their underlying policies, they are very racist,” she says.

Polls have shown wide support for many BNP policies. But the majority of Britons also reject the idea that non-white citizens are “less British” than whites, and they don’t think immigrants should be encouraged to leave. It is clear that the party’s obsession with keeping Britain white is repelling many potential voters. So why doesn’t the BNP open itself up to eveiyone, regardless of colour or background? “We’re not here to gain power for the sake of it. We’re here to gain power to do things we think need doing,” Griffin explains. Besides, he adds, parts of London and other cities are on the verge of exploding into riots, as did Paris last fall. “When that comes, our position will be that of Churchill in the 1930s. We’re at the warning stage. Sooner or later, we’ll be vindicated.” M