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79. BNP in Scotland Briefing
Communications

 

 

 

79. BNP in Scotland Briefing

Introduction

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 the BNP.

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 area.

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 Due to 'pressure' from his family and local media, this candidate has now withdrawn from the election.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.

 

 

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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