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The BNP: If you can’t change their minds, change their constitution

October 16, 2009

Surprisingly absent from the major non-British news outlets yesterday and today has been the revelatory news that the UK Equality and Human Rights Commission has moved to force the British National Party to revamp their constitution to allow non-white, non-Anglican membership.

For those Americans not familiarized with this small, yet frighteningly burgeoning movement, a few minutes on their website should tell you all that you need to know. Staunchly anti-immigration, fiercely and dogmatically  “moral”, and with the innate ability to distort and deflect the causes of all domestic problems to “foreign scoundrels” –  including welfare abuse, environmental damage, and war – the BNP has supported such policies as excluding Turkey from the European Union due to the threat of British “Islamification.”

But the real reason the world should sit up and keep an eye on the BNP are its two new members of the EU parliament – two men whose sheer presence, on the continent-wide governing body which they morally abhore, is a contradiction in terms. This newfound celebrity has caused the Equality and Human Rights Commission to review the BNP outdated constitution, one which still states that “membership of the BNP is strictly defined within the terms of, and our members also self define themselves within, the legal ambit of a defined ‘racial group’ this being ‘Indigenous Caucasian’ and defined ‘ethnic groups’ emanating from that Race as specified in law in the House of Lords case of
Mandla V Dowell Lee (1983) 1 ALL ER 1062, HL.”

The BNP’s agreement to change membership requirements to include all regardless of race, gender, and religion will be monitored by the EHRC over the coming months. The BNP eastern regional spokesman, Chris Roberts, said this of the ruling, “I just believe its another obstacle thrown into our way by the Lib-Lab-Con elite that now we are taking votes from them they are trying to put us out of business.” In a statement released yesterday, the party went onto state that the EHRC’s actions were “highly malicious and clearly politically motivated.”

Individual members of the party even went out of their way to show their “support” of the changes, giving ethnic minorities a little taste of how it would be to apply for membership. On one anti-BNP website called “Nothing British,” BNP activists have already posted comments calling the EHRC “Nazis.”

Who says the BNP spouts racist sentiment?

Who says the BNP spouts racist sentiment?

Pundits in the UK and around the world have taken this opportunity to air their complaints with the BNP’s many inflammatory statements and policies – and also to question the true ability of the EHRC’s ruling to affect any real change within the party.  George Pitcher, Religion Editor of Telegraph Media, commentated that “the BNP will still have its racist policies, even with smiling Sikhs, Muslims and Rastafarians in its membership” and “the EHRC hasn’t thought this through.”

Although I can agree with Pitcher on the fact that the ENRC’s plan might be unrealistic, Pitcher’s flouting of its efficacy in the face of BNP racist propaganda is inappropriate. I doubt, in the first place, that “smiling Sikhs, Muslims and Rastafarians” will be lining up to join the BNP. What American non-Caucasian would apply for KKK membership simply because the charter is changed to tolerate their mere presence? Also, in principle the EHRC must and should address issues like racist and xenophobic language in political party membership charters. It’s the Commission’s job. Although it probably won’t change the composition of the Party in the short or long-term, the verbal thrashing this ruling gives to the deleterious effects of home-grown, domestic facism is one that should be praised.

Perhaps the bottom-line truly is, I will stand behind an organization that champions a “fairer Britain” by “providing advice and guidance, working to implement an effective legislative framework and raising awareness of your rights” against any whose leader proudly states, “We are 100 per cent racist, yes.”

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