Scotsman.com, Jul. 17
The British National Party is considering taking
legal action after Barclays froze up to six of its bank accounts.
The move came after a BBC documentary team secretly filmed members of the BNP
confessing to race-hate crime.
BNP chairman Nick Griffin reacted by threatening legal action against Barclays,
claiming the move breached European human rights legislation.
He branded the decision absolutely scandalous and admitted the party
might now find it difficult to open accounts with other banks.
According to sources, Barclays was already reviewing its position on the BNP
before the BBCs Secret Agent film. However, the bank has refused to comment
on the matter, citing client confidentiality.
Meanwhile, West Yorkshire Police and the Crown Prosecution Service issued a
joint statement in the wake of the Secret Agent film which said officers were
collecting tapes from the programme makers.
They said the broadcast raises a number of issues which warrant further
investigation, and that it was liaising with programme makers.
Working with our colleagues in the Crown Prosecution Service we will be
reviewing the material to identify what, if any, information of evidential value
it contains and decide on the appropriate action, according to the statement.
Mr Griffin said a member of the partys treasury department was informed
about the freezing of its accounts yesterday afternoon.
He said: This is an attempt to ban us by the back door. The next move
will be to look at the legal position.
Barclays may find themselves up against European human rights legislation.
We have the right to hold political opinions and to impart them.
Mr Griffin said the partys money had effectively been stolen
and claimed it amounted to thousands of pounds.
He added: There was enough money to run a small but effective political
The party must have a bank account in Britain to comply with electoral commission
regulations, Mr Griffin added.
Mr Griffin said: It is quite possible that we will not be able to find
another bank. We cant keep money under our mattresses.
The documentary showed Mr Griffin condemning Islam as a vicious, wicked
faithand claiming he would face seven years in prison if he made
the comments in public.
A BBC reporter who spent six months undercover with the BNP recorded another
of the groups members, Steve Barkham, confessing to taking part in a racially-motivated
attack on an Asian man during the 2001 Bradford riots.
Both Mr Barkham and Dave Midgley, a BNP candidate for council elections, have
now been expelled by the party.
Mr Griffin continued his tirade against the Islamic faith on Thursday, branding
it a monster in our midst.
In an interview broadcast on BBCs Newsnight, he apologised unreservedly
for some comments made during the documentary.
On Thursday, there were also calls for Home Secretary David Blunkett to act
against the BNP.
Magistrate Bary Malik, president of Bradfords Ahmadiyya Muslim Association,
said: I hope David Blunkett will take some action. The Home Secretary
should see theres no room for a party like this.
In Parliament the BNP was dubbed a party of vile Nazis and thugs
by Commons Leader Peter Hain as all sides of the House condemned the far-right
Inayat Bunglawala, a spokesman for the Muslim Council of Britain, said that
the documentary has clearly exposed the British National Party for what
they really are.
They have tried to cover themselves with a thin veneer of respectability
in describing themselves as a political party.
The BNP took nearly a third of the votes in a council by-election result in
east Londons Barking and Dagenham borough on Thursday night.
The result at Valence ward came less than an hour after a BBC expose of the
party. Its candidate, Lawrence Rustem, came just over 10% behind Labours
winner Donald Hemmett.
Next door in the London Borough of Havering, in a by-election at Rainham and
Wennington, the BNPs Mark Blunden polled 549 votes256 behind Labours
Tony Ellis, who pipped the Tories by a margin of 29.
In Blackburn with Darwen, Lancashire, BNP candidates Nicholas Holt and Anthony
Dailly failed in their attempts to take two seats in the Labour stronghold ward
Want to Steal Your Vote
BNP Website, Jul. 19
Barclays Want to Steal Your Votebut cant
think of the right excuse. BNP Chairman, Nick Griffin reports.
Confusion reigns this morning in Barclays Bank
PLC over what seems to have been an over-hasty move by their PR department to
announce a top level decision to close down the BNPs bank accounts held
with them. The local branch holding the accounts still knew nothing whatsoever
about the decision this morning. Similarly, the promised urgent letter
to our National Treasurer from Barclays, which was supposed to arrive without
fail today, still has not materialised.
Whether this is just incompetence on their part, or whether their Legal Department
are still desperately trying to come up with a form of words which will not
potentially land them with problems in any possible court action. In the meantime,
the Barclays branch in question has told us that our accounts are not closed
or frozen, and that we can continue banking as normal. Cheques are being deposited
and drawn on as per usual.
Our Legal Department have been researching the issue all weekend, and we will
be putting their skeleton argument on no fewer than ten possible areas for legal
redress to our London solicitor and a barrister within the next 24 hours. The
failure of the British Government to implement fully European Directive 9546
on banking confidentiality and related matters is of particular interest.
Meanwhile, the Electoral Commission have been quick to note the potentially
very serious nature of this attack, since any party which is denied the capability
to run its finances openly within the UK could well be regarded as being in
breach of the Commissions very properly strict procedures for ensuring
transparency and acountability in party political funding. As a result, the
Barclays move is being discussed at a special meeting of the Electoral Commission
In various parts of the country, BNP organisers are planning demonstrations
against local Barclays branches. Several branches have already carried out spontaneous
protests, including one in Edinburgh on Saturday.
The Barclays eaglepreying on British
Barclays want to steal your vote is
emerging as a popular slogan, on account of the fact that the Electoral Commission
would have no option but to deregister any party which cannot meet its requirements,
which means that an inability to bank in Britain could lead to the BNP being
barred from standing in future elections.
This affair is not therefore just an attack on the BNP, but on the right of
every elector in Britain to have the right to choose from a full slate of candidates.
Mr Blunkett, Mirror Group Newsapers and the sordid porn baron who owns the Daily
Express may not understand it, but democracy is as indivisible as free speech:
Either everyone has it or no-one does. BNP members and supporters are also telephoning
or writing to their local Barclays branches expressing their disgust at the
banks attack on democratic freedom, and threatening to take their accounts,
credit card business and mortgages elsewhere.
Business as usual
Meanwhile, since the party leadership foresaw such an attack a long time ago,
other, reserve accounts with other banks are being swung into action. All donations,
subscriptions and such like should therefore be sent in as normal. Many thanks
to all concerned, especially the non-BNP supporters who have sent donations
as a way of expressing their belief that it is fundamentally wrong in principle
that a capitalist bank should feel justified in taking steps which could close
down lawful political party, regardless of what that party may believe in.