79. BNP in Scotland Briefing
The purpose of this briefing is to examine the BNP
in Scotland. Branches will be aware that one of Unison's priorities
is to oppose racism by combating the far right and promoting community
cohesion. As part of the work on this issue, we will be opposing
far-right political parties that pose a greater threat to community
relations than ever before. This briefing specifically looks at
Branches will be aware that the BNP have announced
five candidates on their European election list. The European
Elections this year will be held on Thursday 10th June
and Scotland will be treated as a single constituency.
Who are the BNP's Candidates.
The five candidates announced by the BNP are Steve
Blake, Scott McLean, Alistair Harper, David Kerr and Stephen Burns.
No 1: Steve Blake
Steve Blake is a member of the BNP Internet team
and he is also the Assistant Organiser for the BNP in Central
Scotland. He has been a member of the BNP since 2000 and he was
recently a guest of the French National Front to"familiarise
himself with the machinations of the European Parliament should
he be elected "(quote from the BNP web site). Steve Blake
is the producer of the BNP's so-called educational CD 'Vanguard'.
He also manages his own IT Consultancy Company in the Stirling
No: 2 Scott McLean
Scott McLean is currently the BNP Vice-chair and
Scottish Organiser. He has been a member of the BNP since 1990
and according to the BNP he is a 'successful business man with
a young family'. Well known in the Govan area of Glasgow also
known for his attendance at the Blood and Honour nazi skinhead
festival(s) across the UK. His business concerns include a joiners
firm that he owns and he is also a property owner in the Bruce
Street Area of Port Glasgow (this is where the BNP election team
in Scotland lives during campaigns).
No: 3 Alistair Harper
Joined the BNP in January 2004 and is the assistant
organiser in Fife. Due to 'pressure' from his family and local
media, this candidate has now withdrawn from the election.
No: 4 David Kerr
The BNP web site states "David is a much-respected
Glasgow activist of long standing having joined in 1992. He is
a native of the city where he still lives and works, supporting
his young family. He was a list candidate in 1999". What
the BNP web site fails to mention about this "much-respected
activist" is that he was among 58 Scottish supporters prevented
from attending the Scotland match with Norway in Bordeaux, France
during the 1998 World cup. Police had followed the group from
Spain where they tired to enter France by coach.
Kerr is also closely linked to the leadership of
Combat18 in London and has been an active supporter of Loyalist
groups. His other claim to fame is that he is a member of the
BNP's security team.
No: 5 Stephen Burns
Stephen Burns is the BNP's Ayrshire Organiser. Last
year he was the first BNP council election candidate in Scotland.
Standing in Ward 27 Auchinleck seat of East Ayrshire Council he
came fourth out of the five candidates contesting the seat. Burns
polled 5% of the vote in this election
How active are the BNP in Scotland?
The BNP claim to have an "active" branch
in Edinburgh and Glasgow. They also claim to have 'groups' in
Ayrshire, Central, Fife, West Lothian and Highlands & Islands.
They are also intending to launch a Borders group on Saturday
3rd April. The BNP also have 'organisers' for some
areas across Scotland.
Warren Bennet: Edinburgh Area Organiser
This is a typical BNP activist, although perhaps
not the image the current BNP are seeking to cultivate! Has a
conviction dating back to 1990 for public disorder. From 1992-95
he attended several Combat18 events in London including protection
of David Irving meetings (1992) and various Loyalist parades (March
1995). He also appeared in an edition of the Daily Record last
year when they discovered that he was employed as a scaffolding
supervisor at the new Scottish Parliament Building. He is a close
friend of BNP leader Nick Griffin and he is listed by BNP activists
as "chief steward". His role at BNP rallies is to ensure
the "comfort and convenience of all those in attendance".
Bennet is classed as a Category C football hooligan- the highest
risk of committing football violence.
Deryk Smith: Glasgow Area Organiser
Appeared at the Holiday Inn in Bathgate February
2003, at a BNP election announcement meeting. This meeting was
turned into a farce when the management of the hotel asked them
to move. They then made their announcement in a nearby lay-by.
Deryk Smith said to the Daily Record, "We had a legitimately
booked meeting and we will be on to the hotel about the breach
of contract". He added, " We're running in Glasgow because
we know we have support from people who are angry about asylum
seekers, but we may run in all areas of Scotland".
BNP at UK level.
Nick Griffin: Leader of the BNP.
Nick Griffin is a Cambridge graduate and has been
involved with far right politics for the last twenty-nine years,
for most of that time he was a member of National Front. He comes
from a wealthy family with a history of far right involvement.
At the age of 15, his father took him to his first National Front
meeting. His mother is the administration secretary of the BNP
and she also stood, as a BNP candidate in 2001 General Election.He
was a firm believer in racial separation and in the Jewish global
conspiracy. Like others in the National Front, he claimed that
the holocaust did not happen. He joined the BNP in 1995. Three
years later he was given a two-year suspended sentence for distributing
material likely to incite racial hatred. He became leader of the
BNP in October 1999 and since then he claims to have transformed
the Party and its image.
Tony Lecomber: Group Development Organiser
Tony Lecomber is responsible for development of
local branches and for the distribution of party literature. He
is the number 2 of the BNP. Lecomber has two convictions for criminal
damages in 1980's, in 1985 he was convicted on five counts for
offences under the Explosives Act and in 1991 he was sentenced
to three years' imprisonment for an attack on a Jewish teacher.
He has been involved in fascist politics since the early eighties.
Like Griffin, he was a member of the National Front; he was also
a member of the New National Front and was an inaugural member
of the BNP. He also previously edited the journal Young Nationalist,
a heavily racist and anti-Semitic magazine.
Action for Branches:
Branches to forward any information they have on
to the Policy and Information Team. As part of UNISON's election
activities we will be producing anti-racist materials.