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About the P&I Team Briefings Home | Responses | PFI Index | Policy Guide
82. BNP Myths Briefing
Communications

 

 

 

82. BNP Myths Briefing

Introduction

The purpose of this briefing is to refute the myths the BNP are spreading through out Scotland in the run up to the European Elections on Thursday 10th June 2004.

Throughout this year, UNISON Scotland will be producing more materials for branches and members to combat racism.

BNP European Election Candidates

The BNP have now nominated seven candidates to contest the Scotland Constituency in this years European Elections.

The BNP's candidates are Steve Blake, Scott McLean, David Kerr, Stephen Burns, Bryan Dickson, Craig McComb and John Bean. Briefing number No 79 specifically focussed on Steve Blake, Scott McLean, David Kerr and Stephen Burns.

No 5: Bryan Dickson

Dickson is 34 years old and is the assistant Borders organiser. " Native of the Borders, he is currently in further education and involved with rural land management". Dickson joined the BNP because "they are the only political party actively defending the rural way of life".

No: 6 Craig McComb

McComb is the Assistant Ayrshire Organiser for the BNP and his claim to fame within the BNP is that he was the election agent last year for BNP No4 candidate Stephen Burns for the Auchinleck ward during the 2003 elections to East Ayrshire Council.

McComb is married with a young family; he also runs his own business in Ayrshire.

No: 7 John Bean

"John Bean has been campaigning for British Nationalism since the 1960s". Bean now lives in semi-retirement and he his very proud of his paternal Scottish origins. He is the editor of 'Identity' the BNPs monthly magazine. Information gathered from the BNP web site and Aryan Unity's reveal Bean's past as more fascist than merely nationalist. Bean was in Moseley's Union Movement in the 1950s, the first British National Party (of which he was the national organiser) and the National Front, of which he was one of the three founders. He is also the author of Many Shades of Black; Inside Britain's far right. This is quoted on just about every nationalist and Nazi web site.

Intended Candidates

Briefing No 79 briefly focussed on Fife based candidate Alastair Harper. He with drew his candidacy and also with drew his membership from the BNP. Alastair Harper now spends his time by writing to the letters pages of numerous Scottish Newspapers.

For a short time the BNPs No 5 candidate was Peter Appleby. Peter Appleby stood last year as the BNPs Glasgow list candidate in the Scottish Parliament elections. The reason he gave to the Daily record last year on why he was standing as a candidate,"One reason I'm standing is I've experienced the effects of asylum seekers coming here." The BNP web site said of Appleby recently, " he is a staunch nationalist who believes that 'charity begins at home' and that the BNP is the only party that speaks for the British people. Appleby was born in Northumbria and during last year's elections was working as a historical researcher specialising in medieval armour. He left Britain for a 20-year period and during that time he was working in British Columbia providing security for the logging industry. During his time in Vancouver he set up the populist Reform Party, whose patriotic policies are similar to those of the BNP. He was a regional director of the Reform Party.

The BNP and their Message of Hate

As part of the Election Campaign, the BNP has been sending out a communication entitled "Asylum is making Britain explode". The leaflet, which is being distributed to every household in Scotland, is a compilation of half-truths, mistruth and groundless assertions. The BNP is abusing the valuable Election Material distribution system by circulating a leaflet that portrays asylum seekers in such a negative and derogatory fashion that it may incite racial hatred. The BNP's leaflet has five key themes to it, which are:

Terrorist Time Bomb, Asylum Time Bomb, EU Time Bomb, Financial Time Bomb and Housing Time Bomb.

The following is a detailed refutation of the lies and myths of the BNP.

A terrorist time bomb?

. The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) confirmed that there is no evidence for a higher rate of criminality amongst asylum seekers. In fact, they revealed that asylum seekers are far more likely to become victims of crime, than to be perpetrators.

. All asylum seekers are in direct contact with the Home Office, who have the right to detain anyone they consider to be a security risk: applying for asylum is therefore a poor strategy for anyone seeking to break the law. Many Muslim asylum seekers are in the UK seeking protection from the fundamental Islamic groups that co-ordinate terrorist attacks.

. Despite the fear of masses of terrorists living and planning attacks in Britain only 529 people have been arrested under the Terrorism Act, and only 5 of those were charged. Only 17 foreign nationals were held under the emergency powers brought in after September 11th. (The Observer; www.cageprisoner.com)

An asylum time bomb?

. Asylum seekers and refuges make up 0.3% of NHS users, and therefore cannot be considered a major drain on resources. The British Medical Association has found that asylum seekers do not bring TB to Britain. The millions of Britons who travel abroad on holiday each year are more likely to bring disease into Britain.

. The government fast-tracks asylum seekers when they believe their claims may be manifestly unfounded. They do not then become economic migrants the government decides whether or not they are entitled to asylum and if they are not steps are taken to remove them.

An EU time bomb?

. Members of the new European Union countries do have the right to live and work in the UK, but are barred from claiming benefits for up to two years, and possibly longer. Therefore migrants from the EU work to support themselves and do not 'live here at our expense'.

. According to Glasgow City Council 80% of the asylum seekers who are dispersed to Scotland are found to be in need of protection. In addition the experience and qualifications that refugees bring to Scotland will do much to address the growing skills shortage.

A financial time bomb?

. The amount given to asylum seekers is less than 1% of what is spent on the NHS each year. Individual asylum seekers receive around 70% (£38.96 per week) of income support, i.e. less than the supposed minimum amount if they apply as soon as they arrive in the UK by the end of 2003 almost 20% of newly arrive asylum seekers were ineligible for support.

. On the other hand, migrants, including refugees and asylum seekers, made a net fiscal contribution of around £2.5 billion in 1999 2000 to the UK economy. That is the equivalent to 1 penny saving on income tax.

A housing time bomb?

. Asylum seekers are housed in void housing stock in other words housing that the council has been unable to let. This means that asylum seekers have no effect on housing waiting lists.

BNP Party Election Broadcast (Thursday 27th May 2004)

Shown on BBC Scotland and STV, this Party Political Broadcast attempted to portray the BNP as a mainstream political party. The broadcast made constant referrals to Muslim asylum seekers and so called 'race related' murders.

Also featured in this broadcast was Scott McLean No 2 candidate and BNP vice-chair. McLean was recently featured in an expose in the News of the World. An under cover video by the News of the World, shows McLean with another member of the BNP singing and chanting racist songs. The video also shows them giving Nazi salutes and burning a wooden cross.

At the end this broadcast, Nick Griffin Chairman of the BNP was portrayed as a patriotic Britain proud of our role in the Second World War and was shown walking beside a Spitfire. Maybe he would have been more comfortable and patriotic walking beside a Messerschmitt!

Reaction to BNP European Election Materials

Police are investigating complaints about election literature distributed by the BNP across Scotland. Police officers in Edinburgh have been talking to the Crown Office after receiving a complaint about one of the leaflets. Similar complaints in Glasgow have led the Crown Office to ask police to provide "further information" about the leaflets. Other police forces across Scotland are also believed to be investigating.

Glasgow based charity Positive Action in Housing have received numerous complaints from the general public about the BNPs Election Communication leaflet. and they are actively encouraging members of the public to report this to the police. The STUC have also taken a similar stance.

UNISON Scotland and UNISON Anti-BNP Initiatives

On Thursday 27th May 2004, UNISON launched a pre-election assault on the BNP. This was in the format of adverts in national newspapers warning voters of the dangers of electing BNP candidates in all of the various elections taking place across the UK on 10th June. UNISON Scotland has circulated to branches a series of leaflets and posters to alert our members of the dangers of the BNPs policies. We will also be publishing adverts in various Scottish tabloids between now and June 10th. UNISON will also be taking part in various anti-BNP and anti-racist events. UNISON Scotland will be participating in the STUC's Scotland Shows Racism the Red Card event. Organisations supporting this include, Scotland's mainstream political parties, STUC, religious and faith communities, statutory bodies, civic, business and community organisations. These bodies will all come together to make a clear statement that Scotland rejects racism.

" Scotland is a vibrant and diverse nation. There is no place in Scotland for politics that divide communities, promote hatred and misinformation, and oppose diversity and multiculturalism. Scotland rejects racism and fascism".

Action for Branches:

Branches should forward any information they have on BNP candidates or racist activities within their area onto the Policy and Information Team. Combating racism and racist parties is a priority for UNISON and we will be continuing to monitor and campaign against the BNP and other racist organisations not only at the time of elections but all of the time as they pose a serious threat to democracy and community cohesion.

 

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Further Information

Contacts list:

Dave Watson -
d.watson@unison.co.uk

@ The P&I Team
14 West Campbell St
Glasgow G26RX
Tel 0845 355 0845
Fax 0141-307 2572