Thursday, 20 November 2008


The row concerning the leak of the entire BNP membership list rages on.

My opinion on the matter is quite clear: I believe that anyone has the right to choose which, if any, political party they would like to belong to.

Privacy is something that everyone is entitled to no matter who they are.

Whilst I don't support the BNP in any shape or form I have absolutely no issue with anyone who does. As far as I'm concerned it's their politics, their choice.

Now, the issue is, should anyone in any profession be allowed to hold a BNP membership card?

Take for instance PC Steve Bettley of Merseyside Police. He has been called back early from a holiday abroad and suspended from duty whilst the force investigate whether he is a fully paid up member of the far right party.

Earlier today, a spokesman for the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) said: "Chief Constable Bernard Hogan-Howe has reiterated our position that membership of the British National Party is totally incompatible with the duties and values of Merseyside Police. We will not accept a police officer or police staff being a member of the BNP."

The fundamental difference as I see it, between being a member of the BNP and any other political party in this country is that the BNP's policies are based mostly on the colour of a person's skin.

Whilst party activists will say that they are not racist, they are nationalist, a BNP member will prejudice against a person who's skin is a colour other than white. They will do this because of their beliefs and what their party stands for.

Now, to me, the same could be said of Teaching, Further Education, Civil Service, Armed Forces, The legal Profession, Medicine........ this list goes on!

I can see why the BNP want to be recognised as serious political party and I can empathise with that, but surely they can understand that they are going to be judged differently because of their stance on all non white folk.

Let's have a good honest pitsnpots debate on this most sensitive issue, over to you........................................


nicky said...

To me this is a very similar issue to the one we discussed in the "They Aren't Laughing Now" blog. I agree with you Tony that anyone should have the right to choose to be a member of a legitimate political party and I don't have any issues with anyone who chooses to support the BNP, or any other party in fact.

The point is, either it is decided that the BNP is unlawful and therefore should be banned, or it is decided that they are lawful and should be allowed. The law is that the latter holds. So people need to either accept that or seek to change the law.

It surprises me and I find it odd that the police ban BNP membership. I wouldn't have said that the BNP's policies are based mostly on skin colour, there are many that are not. I wouldn't assume that most BNP members are racist, but I would expect it to be likely that there is a higher incidence of prejudice against foreigners in the BNP than in other parties.

Now personally I like a society with racial diversity and do not like the BNP policy on incentives to people to return to their country of origin, amongst others, which I have commented on before. But just because I don't agree with someone on some things, or the policies of their political party, which would apply to some policies of all parties in fact, I would see no reason to take a stance against the person.

What surely matters is not a person's political affiliation, but their actual behaviour. So if a person behaves in a racist way then that is clearly unacceptable and should be stopped, as should any other unlawful behaviour.

Now look at it this way, if we are arguing that people should not be prejudiced, with which I agree, then people should not be prejudiced against someone because of their political beliefs. We can disagree with their views but should not be prejudiced against the person. This would include someone who is a BNP member. So those people who attack the BNP for being prejudiced are themselves prejudiced. I don't agree with prejudice against someone on the basis of skin colour but I don't agree with prejudice against someone for being a BNP member either. I prefer to take a balanced view.

I actually think it is important in the professions you mention and others where dealing fairly with a cross section of people is involved, to behave in an unbiassed way. And surely if a person felt so strongly biassed that they would find a particular job difficult, then they wouldn't choose that job. But I don't think behaving in an unbiassed way means you should not be a member of a political party. I'm not a member of a political party but have no problem with anyone who is. If you adhere to a political party but are still able to carry out your duties in your job, then there is no problem with that.

In conclusion, I think being a member of a political party should not stop a person pursuing the profession they choose. I do not agree with discrimination on the basis of political beliefs.

terry turbo said...

So the 8 officers found in the police force (sorry service) found to have terrorists links are ok to still keep their jobs, but BNP members are not.
Being a member of the BNP (according to the press, media, and unions) automatically makes me incapable of judging people without their race and colour distorting my view, which is total rubbish, as I was brought up to take people as I find them.
I am proud of my country,s history, and culture, and want to keep them, and I won't be dictated to which political party I should support.
The same old rubbish has been trotted out for the last 20 years by the press in order to justify their insults, which seems strange when hacks choose to distort the news to curry favour with the government, nothing but a bunch of hypocrites.
Finaly "our" politicians, the same ones that when the police operation ore found that they had them on their lists Blair blocked their investigations, and they have the gaul to say I'm the bad one.

warren said...

So what if the mans a member of the BNP, it will not stop him doing his job would it. There would not be a problem with him being in any other party, so wyh is there a problem hear.

Anonymous said...

You'll have to enlighten us Terry. 8 police with links to terrorism? Never heard this one before. How are they linked to terrorism? Because they're Muslim, Irish Catholic or Ulster Protestant? Try typing anything in google to link police with terrorism and nothing comes up. Or maybe the BNP alone suspect they are involved because they're practising muslims but there's actually no hard evidence? Please Terry, enlighten everyone, or are you just making bold sweeping statements without any credence to what you are saying?

Gary Elsby said...

I'm glad that the BNP membership list has highlighted links to the security services.
I'm glad that some of those people have been suspended and I hope they will be removed, if found to be members.
I'm tired of people being muggesd by racists with a racist agenda of political hatred.
It is true that any BNP member councillor can have a pelican crossing installed near to an old people's home and I'm further sure they would do just as well as me in doing so.
I'm sure they could run the NHS with the same feelings that I have and I'm sure they want higher education standards for all children.
It goes without saying that BNP members want money filtered through to the poorest of the poor and I'm sure they want full employment just like me.

No differences then, between them, me and my Labour members colleagues?

Yes there is because we will not discriminate against anyone regardless of anything. The BNP will, if allowed, discriminate a young baby solely on the colour of the skin.
Yes there is a difference between me and them and the more I say it, the more it may sink in.

A police officer in the BNP? A soldier serving in Norther Irealnd? Are we kidding here?

A police officer has more power than the Prime Minister and can excercise it on our streets in one seconds notice. A Nationalist Fascist, Soldier serving in an area od secterian divide is quite literally a joke.

The idea that Nick Griffin and myself are just two people with a slightly different outlook on political issues in my view shows up how politically bankrupt sections of our society actually are.
Griffin is a convicted racist,so are others in his party (ex National Front-the lot) and his party is a racist party offering racisim as a cure all for anything from schools, economics and health.

No-one in Labour, Conservatives or Liberals is and UKIP has recently announced no alliances with them whatsoever.

Big differences for all to see and rather pathetic of themto deny anything other.

nita said...

Well said Gary!!

I have no problem with anyone joining any Political Party they wish to. However, there are jobs, that if you hold some of the opinions that the BNP Members do, you simply cannot do.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, this story is no fantasy it is fact and was reported in every newspaper, earlier in the year,and all 8 police personel kept their jobs, Gary, no one in Labour discriminates?
Try Rose Adie, and the pensioner manhandled out of a conferance jst for starters.
So if your Labour your perfect,and if your BNP you are racists, what a load of left wing bull---- as usual.
Unlike yourself Mr Elsby I judge people by their actions not their party.

terry turbo said...

I posted under anonymous, because I forgot to sign in,

Shaun Bennett said...

"Now, the issue is, should anyone in any profession be allowed to hold a BNP membership card?"

Very clearly, yes they should. Unless there is a case for banning membership of the BNP entirely then they should be allowed the rights of any other political party.

I was actually quite surprised to find that you can't be a BNP member if you are a serving police officer. Does this also apply to police officers who wish to join Labour, Tory, Lib Dem, Green, Communist or others? If not, then I cannot see the justification for it and why it is only restricted to the police.

Presumably the argument goes that ethnic minorities would feel uncomfortable to be stopped or searched by a police officer who is a member of the BNP. But would they not also feel uncomfortable about their children being taught by a teacher who is a member of the BNP, or being treated by a doctor who is a member of the BNP or indeed in any other walk of life?

I have to say, I don't really see why party membership should be a consideration unless it is a party political job that you are performing. If a serving officer or indeed anyone from ANY profession is doing their job in a way that is biast or discriminatory because of their political views then there are already mechanisms in place to bring them to account for that and if necessary get them dismissed.

But by putting a blanket ban on BNP members from joining the police, are we not once again enshrining into law the principle that there is something fundamentally 'sinister' about about people who join the BNP? Are we not subconsciously agreeing in law that BNP members need particular supervision because of their views, and then in turn isn't that enshrining into law the political bias of the liberal elite classes?

Now I should say at this point that I'm sure many people will come back and say "yes there is something fundamentally sinister about people who choose to join the BNP", and of course they're entitled to that view. But the point is, should the LAW also assume that that view is correct?

The only just case that I can find for banning BNP members from joining certain professions would be if other parties members were to face the exact same restrictions.

Once again I put my principle that if society has a fundamental problem with the BNP as an organisation, then it should make the case to ban it outright and stop faffing around on the margins of the debate. But if we are not prepared to make the decision to ban them, then we have no right to use the law to criminalise them by the back door.

terry turbo said...

Well said Shaun, I also believe you cannot label a person just because of his political beliefs.
I am constantly called a racist because I want to follow my culture, and not the doctrine of the dictatorial liberal left wing, multicultural, European dream.
Being a member of a political party does not automaticaly dictate a persons actions.

Bob Bagley said...

In a strange way I have a certain respect for the BNP. They are willing to stand up and say what they are about and what they stand for. That's perfectly fair and I can't take issue with the individuals about that, just the views they hold.

It's those who allegedly may hold some of the same views as the BNP (eg. some Independents, Potteries Alliance?) and are fundamentally dishonest about who they are that I worry about. As Tony said a couple of weeks ago, there really is no such thing as an 'Independent'.

Shaun Bennett said...

I agree with Bob. The BNP are so disliked by people because they say what they really think regardless of whether its popular. But aren't we always hearing criticism of the main parties for not being bold and honest?

As I have said in the past, the voters get what they deserve from their politicians. Parties that want to win ALWAYS moderate themselves to what the voters are proven to want. Inevitably, that leads to all the parties becoming similar and occupying a very narrow area of debate between them, while their leaders are tailor made to be 'charismatic' 'popular' and good on the telly. In effect, we have Darwin's natural selection theory at work in the political environment!

To some extent, we should approve of and congratulate the BNP for having the guts to refuse to accept that status quo-even if as a consequence they never emerge beyond a few piddly council seats around the country.

Having said that, some of the people who the BNP have as members and activists give the party a bad name. They probably exist in all parties, but it doesn't receive attention because the main parties have systems in place to expel them and don't give any hint of sanctioning their actions if they have a record of violence, intimidation or criminal behaviour.

Now we should be quite clear that many of those who campaign against the BNP from the left-such as the Labour party, searchlight and others-tend to concentrate soley on these cases in their argument against the BNP, and they try to convince people that they're ALL criminal. I strongly believe that that argument simply does not wash with people, it never has and it never will. I strongly believe that one of the reasons the BNP have done so well in this area is because Labour have made this anecdotal evidence their centrepiece of the campaign against them.

But whilst the BNP continue to say something that many, many people find attractive-however much we don't like it-they will continue to win so long as they receive no substantive challenges on the facts of the debate. That's what I mean when I say that they need to be engaged with.

And so long as we continue to try to tell people that they're ALL evil and that EVERYTHING they say is beneath contempt, then we will continue to be ignored. If something that they say is actually right, lets say so and adopt a policy to appeal to people instead of pretending that we disagree just because we don't like the person that said it. I tell you this: the BNP might find it more difficult to hold onto the few seats they have won if the main parties filled the vacuum and engaged with the debate instead of pretending its not there.

nicky said...

Bob you have this thing about independents that I still just don't get.

It is perfectly feasible to hold some of the same views as a political party, any one, but at the same time disagree with other aspects of that party. Now unless someone agreed with a fair number of a party's policies, I would think they probably wouldn't want to join that party. So looking at all political parties available, it may just be that there isn't one to agree with enough of to want to join, or in some cases a person did join one but the party policies changed so much they didn't agree with them enough any more. But neverless maybe they want to be involved in the local council and serve the community. So why not be an independent councillor?

You say some independents are fundamentally dishonest about who they are. But I think it is far more honest that they NOT align themselves with a political party if they can not agree enough with it. But that should not prevent them from agreeing with those policies from any party that they do like.

So as a voter, I may decide to vote for an independent councillor if thier views and policies are much in line with mine, particularly if the other alternatives are less favourable.

Remember, 20 out of 60 SOT councillors are some sort of independent or non-aligned, so there is clearly a demand for such councillors.

Bob Bagley said...

It's because Nicky I have yet to see proof that there is such a thing as a separate 'Independent' political identity in the city. I've also yet to see any set of distinctive and coherent policies which set the Independent group apart from the others (in fact I've not seen policies of any kind coming from them). From what I've seen for the most part the 'Independents' have a negative and oppositionist mentality and they vote against ideas put forward by others but will rarely put forward alternatives of their own.

As Tony said, if you are Labour stand as Labour, if you are Tory stand as Tory, if you are Lib-Dem stand as Lib-Dem and even if you are BNP at least have the honesty to stand as BNP. Just don't use this label of 'Independent' to hide behind.

Shaun Bennett said...

I have to agree with Nicky on this one. 'Independent' is a perectly legitimate platform to stand under.

As she has said, there are so many people out there who are inclined towards a party but cannot bring themselves to actually support it (and my goodness we have seen an upsurge in that sort of activist under the Lib-Lab-Con misrule of the last couple of years).

Bob seems to be saying that the only people who stand as Independent are actually proxy's for another party who are not being honest with the electorate. But perhaps they are being more 'honest' than some of those who stand under the umbrella of the main parties.

Where I do agree with Bob to some extent is that the Independents do need more able and politically experienced people amongst their number on the council. Too many of them are decent people who don't actually know anything about politics but who feel angry on one issue and get elected as a protest against the main parties. When they're there, they don't really come into their own.

Now there ARE some very good people in the Independent group, but they really do need to get some more of them in there to dispel this image that they have that they're a group of 'well meaning amateaurs'. On the other hand, because they ARE genuinely Independent, they cannot control who stands under that label and they cannot control how they vote once they get elected. That makes it very difficult for them to change the dynamics of the group. The only way that they can really do it is by being more selective on who is allowed to join their group. But for a group that has ambitions for office, its not good to be turning away supporters.

However, I do have to say to Bob that as is so often the case, its not oppositions that win elections...

In fact, the Independents don't need to put an alternative case at this stage; they just need to maintain the pressure and keep the moral high ground. Of course party activists don't like not being able to hit them, but it would be very unwise for the Independents to tie themselves down at this stage. There will be plenty of time for policy WHEN they take the leadership of the council. Then the real challenges begin.

Anonymous said...

Terry, you haven't enlightened us about the 8 police connected with terrorism. All you've said is that it was reported by the national press earlier in the year. That tells me nothing about the actual story itself. I've tried googling the story using almost every single combination of words with police and terrorist involved and nothing has come up matching what you describe. If it was indeed in the national news there would be no problem finding a story along these lines. So please, enlighten us with either an internet link other than the BNP website which we all know is full of lies, or a date and national paper it appeared.

John Bull said...

Anonymous, there was a story in that fountain of truth, the Daily Mail, in July last year.

8 people working for the Met were supposedly being put under surveillance by MI5 because of suspected links to terrorism. However, it's believed all of them were civilian staff and there was no hard evidence proving they had terrorist connections.

Given the speed which alot of people vaguely associated with Al-Qaeda have ended up in Belmarsh strongly suggests that they were put under routine surveillance because of family ties etc... or that the Daily Mail, surprise, surprise made the whole thing up.

I add the latter because as we know the tabloids do make alot of stories up. The easiest way to find this is by searching for official press releases from the bodies concerned and if there isn't one then the chances are it's another Fleet Street fantasy. The best one in recent months concerned the Red Arrows at 2012 Olympics. The Sun said they were being banned for being too British when the reality was that no decision had been made about the opening ceremony and there certainly wasn't any ban on the Red Arrows.

terry turbo said...

Anonymous, try uk tabloid, John Bull, yes we know the press make a lot of things up, but it was not just the mail that carried this story several other papers printed it, and the point was they still have their jobs.
They were not cleared,as the police officers association stated they had not the legal power to dissmiss them.
Also you will find of Hampshires 40,000 serving officers they had 42 criminal convictions, of officers still serving.
Like I say try uktabloid, it might open you eyes.
John I see you don't question Blairs protection of MPs in operation ore, why do you think that was?

Anonymous said...

Even if several papers carried the story, it still doesn't mean the press didn't make it up.

If the police didn't have the legal power to dismiss them then it's likely they haven't actually done anything wrong (either legally or under internal conduct) and were just under suspicion. Being under suspicion is a little different from being guilty of crime or misconduct. Old chestnut of British justice, innocent til proven guilty. Being a muslim isn't a crime in this country but will be if you lot get your way.

By police officers' association do you mean Police Federation? That's their trade union and they're not in a position to dismiss anyway. I take it you're referring to the Met's Professional Standards (basically internal investigations).

Hampshire's 40,000 serving officers? That means Hants Constab is bigger than the Met. Get real Terry. Do you mean slightly over 4,000? Has anyone actually stood up and defended these people? How would the public even know unless they're told? You lot only ever get interested when it's misconduct by ethnic minorities anyway so the Hampshire story is just a smokescreen Terry.

As for the comments about Operation Ore, where's the relevence when it's the police and not MPs that are being debated. You're rambling and getting sidetracked by issues not relevent to the debate.

Still doesn't get away from the fact that the original leaking of the party members list was an inside job. Heard it all before, the party has tight security, Simon Darby is an IT bloke by trade, there are members on the list who joined after the Sadie Graham split etc.. etc...

No-one will be surprised except the party faithful when it transpires that it was all a stunt to generate sympathy and support for the party. Like Michael Coleman suddenly saying he's started getting threats after the list was leaked, when his details have publicly available from the council website for years.

Mike Barnes said...

The BNP is a totally different political party than any other.

No other party or independent wishes to exclude or limit the rights of others due to their birth place except the BNP.

Whilst I agree everybody has a right to privacy, I also think that everybody has a right to know, particularly when they wish to influence government, MPs council etc, what their motives are (ie party politics).

As a councillor I have to declare interests if I know or have any connection when a decision is being made.

Shouldn't everybody?

Why should anybody have the right to deceive others?

terry turbo said...

anonymous, I put the facts to you, as I found them, what you do with them is entirely your buisness.
As for including the Government, in my post it was just to highlight the deciet we face every day from all quarters.
Mike Barnes have you any proof that BNP councillors have no declared their interests in the council chambers, if so state that, not make spurious allegations.
I have not any hidden agenda and if you bothered to look up all my posts on pitsnpots you will see that.
Like I said before if you are going to exclude any councillors from debate in the chamber, you become a MEREDITH clone and the city suffers.

BNP Nazi Boy said...

Terry, most of your "facts" as you put them are wrong, so they're not facts. Might I suggest a little more digging before posting and making sure what you post is factually correct instead of just suiting your view point. Like anonymous said you tend to ramble and go off on irrelevent tangents.

Tideswellman said...

I'm interested in this site because it deals with politics and things stokey but there seems to be a bit of an obsession with the BNP.

Is this site run by BNP apologists? I get that feeling because almost every post seeks to appease or justify their politics in someway or another?

BNP Nazi Boy said...

And unlike the Sentinel they allow that abusive semi-literate thug Craig Pond to post on here.

nita said...

Tideswellman. To answer your question, no, we are not BNP supporters, and are certainly not obsessed with them.

This site was set up to debate politics in the city, and various other topics that are of interest. We therefore, have to include the BNP.

BNP Nazi Boy. Craig Pond is entitled to enter into the debate. I think you will find that any comment that has been made, that is personal or abusive has been deleted by the team.

I think Craig is no longer contributing to the site. That is his choice.

Chell Heath non-BNP said...

"I think Craig is no longer contributing to the site. That is his choice."

Don't you mean thank? I'm sure many people out there are quite happy that he's stopped posting. Not a very popular person round here I might add.

nita said...

Chell Heath Non-BNP. I am sure many people will agree with you.

I know people may have sometimes found him a bit intimidating, in the way he wrote his replies to comments, but we just got used to him. Having said that, he did take some stick himself, so it was a bit of both.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Craig took the hint and got himself a job? Sure I'm in a majority when I say the endless hypocrisy from unemployed BNP members complaining about foreigners taking jobs is getting quite tiresome.

T Cope's Underpants said...

Maybe after the business with leaked membership list the BNP are tightening up on alot of things and have given Craig stict instructions to stay off web forums because some of his comments were undermining the credibility of the party.