London – 17 April 2007
“Queer the vote and stop the BNP”. This is the message of gay human rights group OutRage! ahead of the 3 May elections for local councils and for the Scottish and Welsh assemblies.
“Lesbians and gay men can help block the election of candidates from the racist, anti-Semitic, anti-Muslim and homophobic British National Party (BNP). Make sure you and your straight friends vote on 3 May,” said Peter Tatchell of OutRage!
“A high turnout will reduce the BNP’s share of the vote and lessen its chances of winning seats,” he said.
“We urge queer voters to quiz their local candidates on gay issues and to vote for those with the most homo-friendly policies.
“With one-in-ten voters being lesbian, gay or bisexual, the pink vote can influence the election result in many marginal constituencies.
“It is important we elect more pro-gay politicians, to help us secure stronger policies to tackle homophobic bullying and hate crimes,” said Mr Tatchell.
The BNP is fielding a record 655 candidates in the local elections next month; claiming it is on target to win up to 100 new seats – double its current total.
As well as the party’s long history of homophobia, BNP activists also stand accused racism, anti-Semitism, holocaust denial and Islamophobia. A disturbing number of past and present BNP members have criminal convictions for violence – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_National_Party
Although the BNP has publicly ditched some of its most extreme and bigoted policies, many critics believe this make-over is just an astute public relations exercise designed to con people were put off by its neo-Nazi image. They say the BNP hasn’t changed at all; it has just got more professional and media savvy.
The BNP fought previous general elections on a pledge to outlaw homosexuality. It has described Aids as “nature taking revenge” on gay men.
The party’s website claims that: “Sexually-transmitted diseases are no joke. Thanks to them, the average life-expectancy of a gay man is now 40, compared to 71 for all men” – http://www.bnp.org.uk/articles/traditional_values.html
Claiming that the “gay rights lobby target school children,” the BNP has opposed gay equality reforms like the repeal of Section 28 and the abolition of the unequal age of consent. It has also condemned and ridiculed LGBT History Month – http://www.bnp.org.uk/articles/lgbt_month.htm
Soon after the neo-Nazi bombing of a gay bar in Soho, London, in 1999, which killed three people and maimed dozens more, BNP leader Nick Griffin seemed to excuse and endorse the homophobic hatred that inspired the terrorist atrocity. He attacked lesbian and gay people for “flaunting their perversion” and said this showed why “so many ordinary people find these creatures so repulsive”.
Source: Stranger things have happened, Nick Griffin, Spearhead (BNP magazine), June 1999.
Griffin has also denounced homosexuality as “form of behavioural deviancy” and “not a valid lifestyle choice”. He claims the BNP speaks for “the majority of the population” who, he says, believe “homosexuality is wrong” and that it “needs to be pushed humanely but firmly back into the closet”. Griffin warns that if gays continue to “press their aims further” there will be an “almighty backlash” which will result in the imprisonment of all homosexuals.
Source: Putting the record straight, Nick Griffin, Identity (BNP Magazine), December 2003.
Griffin is not alone. Mark Collett, former chairman of the Young BNP, described homosexuals as “AIDS Monkeys”, “bum bandits” and “faggots” and said the idea of homosexuality was a “sickening thought” – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_National_Party
There are fears the BNP could make gains in Scotland and Wales in the 3 May elections.
“Recent election results indicate the BNP could make an electoral breakthrough,” added Brett Lock of OutRage!
“Under the proportional representation voting system for the Scottish and Welsh elections minor parties like the BNP can win seats.
“There is a possibility that the BNP may, for the first time, secure representation in the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Assembly”.
“The BNP is attempting to copy the success of other European far right and neo-Nazi parties, such as the Front National in France, the Vlaams Blok in Belgium and the National Democratic Party in Germany.
“The BNP is a racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic party. It has previously threatened to jail queers and bring back Section 28,” said Mr Lock.
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Following threats by Leicester’s small but vocal branch of the National Front and other neonazis (including Clive Potter of the British National Party) of violent disruptions at Leicester’s first Pride March, Leicester City Council posted discrete warnings at the entrance to Abbey Park where the march terminated: though they did not advertise the event (which attracted marchers from Nottingham, London, and elsewhere) in the “Out and About” section of their web site.
Undeterred by the threats of violence and of heavy showers, Leicester’s L/G/B/T community turned out to put on a loud, colourful, proud, defiant, and jubilant display for the local townspeople.
The high-profile march route went along the high street and through the pedestrianised precinct, where Saturday shoppers and shop staff all stopped to watch the procession. Curiously, the entrance to one indoor shopping mall was closed: so that shoppers and police inside had to peer out through the grille.
The march was led by the Unity Against Prejudice banner, which was followed by the Soft Bang Bando samba band: three local groups who had combined for the day, and who stalwartly kept up marchers’ spirits and a stirring rhythm throughout the march.
In contrast to Pride marches in recent years in London, the Leicester march was very much a political event: as was underlined by several skirmishes with neonazi trouble-makers. Police arrested a couple of these before the march reached the town centre: though after a search released them without charge.
The local group Leicester Lesbian & Gay Action handed out leaflets on the subject of Monday’s House of Lords vote against repealing Section 28, including contact details for local MP’s.
Clive Potter, a union official employed at Leicester Royal Infirmary, has been suspended by Unison from his role as shop steward, pending an investigation by the union’s National Executive Committee into his “alleged involvement in far-right politics”. The BNP describe Potter as “an unassuming and caring person”.
BBC urged to scrap BNP broadcast , 21-May-1999
©1999 John Hunt/OutRage! London
OutRage! activists joined protests on Friday, 21st May against the BBC over its decision to give air-time to the neonazi British National Party.
Just hours before the BNP’s European election manifesto was due to be transmitted on Friday, 21st May 1999, OutRage! picketed the BBC headquarters, Broadcasting House, in central London, to demand that the BBC “pull the plug on racism and homophobia”.
At the protest –organised by the National Assembly Against Racism and the Anti-Nazi League– OutRage! placards urged the BBC to “Revoke licence to promote hatred” and “Scrap air-time for inciting violence”.
“It defies belief that, just weeks after the London nail-bombings, the BBC has given air-time to the hate-mongers of the BNP”, said John Hunt, one of the OutRage! protesters.
“These neonazis encourage the homophobia and racism behind the recent bomb blasts. The BBC should have followed the example of Channel 4 and Channel 5 in refusing to broadcast the BNP’s propaganda”, Hunt added. “The BBC claim that they are legally obliged to transmit the broadcasts, stating variously that this is because the BNP are contesting over 50 seats or because they are contesting all seats. Tellingly, they are unable to say which Act of Parliament forces them to do this, and weakly advise persistent callers to ask their Local Government Officers for details.”
To complain to the BBC, ring 08700-100 222, (calls are charged at the “national” rate) or write to: Complaints, BBC, London W12 7RJ.