BNP flop in Wrexham

The BNP launched their Welsh Assembly election campaign in Wrexham yesterday morning, with five of their candidates, a security team, a handful of their supporters in the rump Wrexham BNP branch, a few members of the press, and zero members of the public.

The BNP clearly intended to get a few photo opportunities and leave quickly to avoid meeting any opposition, and were gone within half an hour. As the above pictures illustrate, this was a public rally that lacked the vital ingredient of the public.

Two BNP activists, Malcolm and Ennys Hughes of Plas Madoc, remained in the Queens Square area to leaflet the public following the quick exit of the BNP flash-mob, but made off quickly when they noticed the presence of antifascists.

At the same time, North Wales Against Cuts held a street stall and distributed leaflets elsewhere in the town, where they remained until early afternoon. Activists reported that there were no further sightings of the BNP.

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List of BNP candidates for Assembly elections

The BNP is standing 27 candidates in the forthcoming Welsh Assembly elections. However, the majority of these candidates are standing on regional lists. The BNP is standing seven constituency candidates and fielding lists in all five Welsh regions.

In the North, the only constituency being contested is the Alyn & Deeeside constituency. Labour’s Carl Sergeant currently holds Alyn & Deeside, which is a safe Labour seat.

Alyn and Deeside is being contested by Mike Whitby, a community councillor in Coedpoeth North and the organiser for Liverpool BNP following the collapse of the BNP in Wrexham. Mike Whitby is well known to antifascists in both North Wales and Merseyside. He still lives in the Coedpoeth area.

This seat is usually contested by the Griffin loyalist John Walker, a former BNP treasurer and the current Deputy Press Officer. Walker is a community councillor in Hawarden and lives in the area. Walker previously headed up the ‘Excalibur’ merchandising operation when it was based on Deeside Industrial Estate.

However, Walker instead heads up the regional list for North Wales, presumably because the BNP see the regional list as a more realistic proposition under the PR system.

The BNP picked up 42,197 votes (4.3%) in the North Wales regional vote last time around, coming within a few thousand votes of securing one of four regional AM seats available.

Joining Walker on the regional list for North Wales is none other than Clive Jefferson, another veteran and current BNP National Elections Officer. Jefferson does not live in North Wales, and, at fourth on the list, is no more than a paper candidate.

Standing at number two on the list is Richard Barnes, of South Wales, who was embroiled in controversy last year after another BNP supporter was arrested and cautioned for forging signatures on Barnes’ nomination papers for the Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney seat in the General Election.

Third on the list is Ian Si’Ree, who lives in the Rhyl area but is believed to originally be from the Bradford area. Ian Si’Ree stood as the BNP candidate for the Vale of Clwyd in last year’s General Election.

Whilst we should not be complacent about the threat of the BNP as an electoral force, particularly in the regional lists, the fact that the BNP is only able to contest one constituency in North Wales, from a total of nine constituencies across the region, is indicative of the collapse of the BNP locally. The BNP in Wrexham has lost key figures and the BNP no longer has an active branch here.

The constituency candidates:

  • Michael Joseph Whitby – Alyn & Deeside
  • Brian Urch – Blaenau Gwent
  • Anthony King – Caerphilly
  • Peter Whalley – Islwyn
  • Mike Green – Neath
  • Joanne Shannon – Swansea East
  • Sue Harwood – Torfaen

The regional lists:

North

  • John Walker
  • Richard Barnes
  • Ian Si’ree
  • Clive Jefferson

Mid & West

  • Kay Thomas
  • Watcyn Richards
  • Roger Phillips
  • Gary Tumulty

South Wales Central

  • Gareth Connors
  • Mary John
  • Keith Fairhurst
  • Edward O’Sullivan

South Wales East

  • Laurence Reid
  • Jennie Noble
  • John Voisey
  • Jennifer Matthys

South Wales West

  • Clive Bennett
  • Adam Walker
  • Sion Owens
  • Adam Lloyd

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Far-right ‘hero’ is a convicted paedophile

 

 

A leader of the English Defence League who was described as a “political prisoner” after being jailed for violence at a march had already been placed on the sex offenders register for downloading indecent images of children, The Times can reveal.

 

The far-right group launched a campaign to free Richard Price, co-ordinator of the West Midlands division of the EDL, after he was jailed last month for violent behaviour. But Price, 41, had been convicted in June 2010 of making four indecent images of children, and possessing cocaine and crack cocaine.

 

That conviction followed an earlier arrest in 2009 for public order offences believed to have been connected with EDL marches. Police were understood to have seized and analysed his computer, leading to the discovery of sexual images of children that he had downloaded. His home was also searched and the drugs were found.

 

Price admitted four counts of making indecent images of children and two charges of possessing cocaine when he appeared at Birmingham Crown Court. He was banned from owning a computer for a year, given a three-year community supervision order and ordered to sign on to the sex offenders register for five years.

 

Price, from Quinton, Birmingham, and Collum Keyes, 23, also from Birmingham, were among 12 people arrested when they surged through police lines during a protest in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, in May 2010.

 

When that case came to court in December, Price admitted using threatening behaviour. He was jailed for three months and given a ten-year Criminal Anti-Social Behaviour Order banning him from attending marches outside Birmingham. Keyes, who admitted disorderly conduct, was fined £150.

 

When Price was jailed, EDL members launched a campaign urging supporters to write to the Prime Minister and MPs to try to “win justice for Richard Price, EDL”.

 

The Aston Villa supporter, who has also been linked to football hooliganism, was even likened by his supporters to a modern-day John Bunyan, the Puritan Christian preacher and author of Pilgrim’s Progress who was jailed for continuing his sermons without the permission of the established Church in the 1600s.

 

But today’s revelation that one of the EDL’s leading members has been convicted of sex offences will come as a huge embarrassment to a group that has struggled to shrug off its reputation as a new version of the National Front.

 

In recent months, particularly following the political demise of the British National Party, the EDL has begun to attract more support. Its leader, who had previously used the alias Tommy Robinson, was traced by The Times and gave his first interview using his real name.

 

Stephen Lennon has vehemently denied that the group he started in Luton, Bedfordshire, is racist, saying that it has even set up a gay and lesbian division and given a prominent role to a Sikh supporter opposed to Islamic extremists.

 

Supporters of the EDL had claimed that Price became a political prisoner after he, along with Keyes, was banned from organising, controlling or travelling to any open-air protest outside Birmingham for ten years.

 

It was the first time a Criminal Anti-Social Behaviour Order, sought by Thames Valley Police in conjunction with the National Domestic Extremism Unit, had been issued to a demonstrator connected to the EDL.

 

Last month, a database of EDL supporters was published on the internet. Hackers had attacked the group’s database of those who had made donations to the EDL and people who had bought clothing from its merchandise wing.

 

 

Originally published in the Times (paywall). Hat-tip to Liverpool Antifascists.

 

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(We Don’t Need This) Fascist Groove Thang

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Wrexham man sentenced for hate crime

 

From the Wrexham Leader:

 

Man threatened to set fire to Wrexham mosque

 

A MAN was abusive and threatening to two British Muslims outside Wrexham’s new mosque and threatened to burn it down.

David Jared Evans, 36, sent texts to people suggesting a visit to the mosque in the former Miner’s Institute and a demonstration and said flare throwers made “good legal weapons”.

Evans received a suspended sentence after he admitted using threatening, abusive and insulting language and behaviour towards Abdulla Anwar which was racially and religiously aggravated. He had a similar previous conviction in 2006 after he abused a black woman.

Judge Niclas Parry, sitting at Mold Crown Court, said North Wales was becoming a cosmopolitan area and the courts would do everything they could to ensure people lived in harmony.

The judge said Mr Anwar and a colleague had approached Evans outside the mosque and offered him help.

“For that, they were subjected to a torrent of disgraceful abuse,” the judge said.

The comments were religiously and racially aggravated, persistent and escalated to threats of violence.

“Wrexham is a cosmopolitan town,” he said. “North Wales is becoming a cosmopolitan area.

“The courts will do everything they can to ensure people live in harmony in a cosmopolitan society.

The comments Evans had made generated hatred which had to be stamped out.

“You come into this case as a racist individual,” said the judge, but he was prepared to accept Evans had changed following his experiences in custody.

“Your future behaviour will show if I am right,” Judge Parry told him.

A prison sentence was inevitable but the judge took into account Evans had already served the equivalent of a six month sentence on remand.

He had pleaded guilty and rather than sending him back into custody for what could only be a matter of weeks he believed it would be better to tackle his “intransigent attitudes”.

Evans, of High Street, Rhos, received a 36 week prison sentence, suspended for a year.

He must carry out 200 hours unpaid work and attend an offending behaviour programme run by the probation service specifically to address his racially motivated behaviour.

“I think that will benefit you,” the judge told him.

Evans was also made subject of a two month 7pm-7am curfew at weekends and Judge Parry told him to pay £500 towards prosecution costs and £150 compensation to Mr Anwar.

A restraining order was made which bans him from going to the mosque or approaching Mr Anwar.

Elizabeth Bell, prosecuting, said on September 10 Evans was taking photographs of the former Miner’s Institute in Grosvenor Road, which had been bought by Wrexham Muslim Association and turned into a mosque.

He saw the two men outside and said to them: “This is a disgrace, you using this place. You’re probably just making your bombs here.”

Evans then used a racist term and asked them why they did not go home. Both men had been born in the United Kingdom.

Mr Anwar, who was left feeling frustrated and distressed, took a photograph of Evans and the defendant did likewise.

When Mr Anwar refused to give Evans his name, he said: “I will be back with my friends. We will give you a good seeing to,” and before leaving threatened to set the place on fire.

Arrested the following day, pictures of the mosque were found on his mobile phone along with a racist song.

A text message was found which he had sent to another man asking him if he was “up for a visit to the mosque tonight?” Another asked a third man if he wanted to join in a demo against the mosque.

One text made reference to a flame thrower making a great legal weapon.

Interviewed, he denied the offence and made no comment when questioned about the text messages.

Evans pleaded guilty after asking the court for a sentencing indication.

Andrew Green, defending, said Evans now realised it was a deeply unpleasant incident.

He had been disciplined in work but as far as he was aware his job was still available to him.

 

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WDL exposed

 

BBC One Wales tonight airs a documentary filmed undercover in the Welsh Defence League. The BBC has today posted an article on the documentary:

 

Welsh Defence League links with neo-Nazis are unmasked

An undercover investigation by BBC Wales into a group campaigning against Muslim extremists has found links with neo-Nazi supporters.

Secretly-filmed footage in Monday’s Week In Week Out programme also exposes criminal activity among some Welsh Defence League (WDL) supporters.

Publicly, the WDL says it is a non-racist organisation.

A judge who has examined the evidence in the programme said some were acting to “inflame racial hatred”.

The WDL – aligned to the English Defence League – was set up last year by an ex-soccer hooligan and author Jeff Marsh in response to Muslim extremists abusing troops returning from Afghanistan.

It has attracted hundreds of followers and held demonstrations in Cardiff, Swansea and Wrexham.

Posing as a new member of the group, an undercover journalist accompanied a number of Welsh supporters to a protest.

Some were caught on camera and online, making racist comments about Muslims.

Two admitted involvement in racist violence at demonstrations organised by the defence leagues in other parts of the country.

One invited other WDL followers to join him in burning a Koran and joked online about how best to kill black people.

Another talks about driving Muslims out of the south Wales valleys.

Examining the evidence in the special programme, Judge Mark Powell QC said: “It’s mindless, it’s racist, the purpose of what they are doing is to inflame racial hatred. I think from what you have shown me it is criminal behaviour and no doubt something that the police would want to look at.”

Shadow Welsh secretary Peter Hain, who has campaigned for years against racist groups, said: “I think every mainstream politician in Wales, wherever they are based, should make it a priority to talk to young people to explain the WDL is in a long line that goes back through the Nazis.

“And I don’t say that lightly because, that is the exact political situation in which Hitler was able to come into power because mainstream politicians did not deal with the grievances in Germany.

“Now I’m not suggesting the WDL is anything like as powerful as Hitler’s Nazi party became, the WDL is a tiny marginalised party, but once you allow these groups to gain credibility that’s where you could end up.”

Jeff Marsh, who uses a variety of aliases and wears a balaclava to broadcast online, says he has disbanded the WDL because of the racist element.

He has set up another organisation against Muslim extremists called The Welsh Casuals.

He insisted that the group is non-racist.

Another group calling itself the Cymru Defence League has emerged out of the WDL.

The English Defence League now has around 60,000 followers on the social networking site Facebook and thousands have attended protests around Britain.

Saleem Kidwai of the Muslim Council for Wales said most people were opposed to extremists.

“We have extremist groups and they are as ignorant as the Welsh Defence League, or the English Defence League,” he said.

 

‘Significant threat’

“We can condemn them as much as anyone else. They are misguided youngsters being misinformed and used by extremist ideologues who want to use religion for their own political motives.

The programme also highlights the potential cost as police forces are called to marshall demonstrations, both by the WDL and the counter-demonstrations they could spark.

It is estimated the bill to the taxpayer could be as much as £500,000.

Det Ch Supt Adrian Tudway, national co-ordinator for domestic extremism, advises local forces on the threat posed by the various defence leagues.

“I think it’s a very significant threat,” he said.

“It’s one I know the police service are taking very seriously, together with the Home Office and local authorities.”

“Unmasked: Welsh Defence League” is on BBC One Wales at 2030 GMT on Monday 6 December.


From the BBC Wales news website.

 

Hardly a surprise to most of us that the depleted ranks of the WDL is full of ex-Combat 18 but should still be worth a watch…

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The Clash v The Fash

The Clash playing White Riot at an Anti-Nazi League rally, Victoria Park, London 1978, from the film Rude Boy. Ace.

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