6 Sep 2009

G7's legitimisation of the BNP

Following on my from my last post when I blogged about G7 and his apparent dislike of all things connected with the LGF. I refer back to his quote over the funding:

"The LGF is a registered charity. In the year ending 2008, £623,103 of its income came from several NHS Primary Care Trusts. This represented around 55% of its total income of £1,122, 280 for that financial year."

Therefore, 45% of their income must not come from the NHS - Simple elementary mathematics.

G7 then goes on to say that the LGF are playing politics with public money. On his website, he states:

"I don’t support the British National Party (BNP). On the other hand, it is a legal political party in this country, with politicians who have been elected democratically."

Well, there is no other hand, legitimising a fascist party is just how they become mainstreamed into the political system. Look at Le Pen of the Front National in France and Jobbbik in Hungary.

G7 then refers to an article on the LGF website which is an interview with Searchlight which urges LGBT voters to vote against the BNP. It goes on to say:

"This is a disgraceful abuse of the LGF’s position, charity status and NHS funding. It should provide a service for everyone. Any involvement in politics should be limited to lobbying for the various causes it is concerned with and maybe highlighting the differences in policy between the various parties.

Encouraging people to campaign against one particular political party is well out of order in my opinion, especially when an inducement is offered. Hilariously, in the
About Us section of the LGF website it states:

Diversity: We believe we should be accepting of others and celebrate people’s difference.

Fairness: We believe everybody should be treated with dignity and respect.

The worst part is that this is exactly the kind of thing that is alienating certain LGBT people and driving them right into the arms of the BNP. They feel that the narrowly-focused Canal Street ‘community’ in Manchester isn’t for them. "

I am sure that when the LGF provides it's core services, it does so without discrimination to service users and does not ask about political belief. The LGF is key in campaigning against hate crime and homophobia and this should include campaigning against the BNP. The rise in incidences of hate crime since the BNP were elected speaks for itself. It s well out of order in G7s opinion to encourage people to campaign against one particular party. Well, in my opinion, that sounds really suspect when that party have been exposed as homophobes, racists and fascists. As for LGF treating everyone with fairness, respect and dignity, I am sure this applies to people who deserve it but maybe G7 wants to read up a little more on what the BNP actually do say about us as do any LGBT people who feel alienated and are being driven into the arms of the fascist BNP.

And by the way I am not part of the 'Canal Street Community'.

On the 31st May 2009, G7 updated his website with this:

"The Charity Commission supports ‘a charity’s right to campaign provided that they are clear about the link between the campaign and their objects and remain independent of political parties. However, in the case of the LGF’s article about the BNP, the Commission decided it wasn’t as clear as it should be. So it will write to the charity to ‘highlight this issue’ and remind them to ‘clearly demonstrate the link between the political party’s policy and their objects when campaigning’."

Well, I would not have thought the LGF would have much difficult with showing the link between the homophobic hate, hate crime and other anti-gay discrimination propaganda contained in the BNP's policy and the LGF's objects around campaigning.


G said...

I don't support the BNP in any shape or form. However I believe in democracy and freedom of speech. If it isn't possible or acceptable to ban the BNP, then as a legal political party it must be given equal treatment and I am glad to see the BBC has decided to include it on Question Time.

I'm glad because I also have faith in the majority of people in this country to reject the BNP message. But they need to hear and make up their own minds rather than be lectured by the likes of Labour politicians and the LGF.

Otherwise we just give the BNP victim status and make martyrs of them.

You say that the LGF does not discriminate in its core services. I went to the Candlelit Vigil at the recent Manchester Pride and even that sensitive event was used for party political purposes by a Labour MP with an attack on the BNP.

As far as I know the LGF does not run the Vigil. But my point is that there is a certain atmosphere that pervades the whole gay village.

There are undoubtedly LGBT people who are BNP supporters. Is the answer to drive them out of our community or should we challenge them and engage them in debate in the hope they will change?


Louise said...

Pleased to hear that you don't support the BNP. But we are never going to agree on the issues you raise particularly that they are a legal political political party who should be given freedom of speech and air time. I am aware that they exist by virtue of law but I refuse to recognise them as a legal or legitimate political party. The BNP is a fascist party and the UAF has been threatened on many occasions by them with litigation for calling them Nazis but no action has ever been taken. Ths is because they would be unlikely to succeed. There is enough evidence to show they are Nazis. As for freedom of speech, hate speech is illegal and I have heard quite a bit of it coming from the mouths of BNP members.

I pay my TV licence as do many others, I don't want the BNP being given air time from public money.

At public and community events, it is positive for politicians who are supportive of lgbt people and lgbt equality to be speakers. If they are speaking out against the BNP, then they are raising awareness about the homophobic policies that will be introduced should BNP politicians be elected.
What better way than to persuade LGBT people why the BNP is not the party for them.
I accept your point about making them martyrs and victims by denying them coverage but they take full advantage of this themselves when they are interviewed by claiming that they are given unfair press coverage. Therefore, give them none at all

g7uk said...

I agree that we are unlikely to agree! I have been shocked by some of the things that New Labour has done, or tried to do, much of it quite illiberal and it seems to me more of the same when unelected individuals decide that they know best and should be allowed to override the votes of a section of the population.

You could argue that many BNP voters also pay their TV licence. In which case on what basis can you set yourself up as a censor and dictate what appears on the BBC?

I understand where you are coming from. But I think it's the wrong approach and will be counterproductive.

Also, though I'm sure many members of the BNP have racist views there are quite a few who don't and who vote for the party for other reasons.

The real issue is that Labour has totally abandoned many of its traditional voters over the past 15 years. People feel there is no choice between the two main parties.

New Labour is to blame for the rise of the BNP. Instead of demonising the desperate people who have switched, let's recognise that fact and address it.

Louise said...

You are right in what you say about BNP supporters being licence payers too but we have anti-discrimination laws in the UK and I have still yet to be convinced that even in in a political debate what is spouted out of their mouths is not racist, homophobic, sexist or disablist. I have been drafting some motions recently and speaking at a few meetings so have done quite a bit of research but will blog over the next week aboutactual quotes not that you have probably not heard or researched them before.

I think there are problems with New Labour. I think there are major problems with the Tories particularly when they ally themselves with the Law and Justice Party in Europe.

The Labour Party needs to be reclaimed. I am a socialist and I am proud that of the achievements that have been gained in equality as a result of the Labour Party. But sometimes particulrly as a trade unionist, it seems like a constant battle.

g7uk said...

At the recent LGBT Labour discussion during Pride, which I videoed and hope to put on my website in full in due course, Sue Sanders said one of her greatest fears is that Cameron will get in, then there will be a 'right-wing coup'! By the way, I'm interested in talking with and giving coverage to all the parties.

I feel that the LGBT community has become very complacent since 1997. Whoever wins the election there are going to be lots of cuts and pain. But in a way I'm optimistic and hopeful that this may make people sit up, become more interested in politics and refocus our (mainly quite pathetic) LGBT media industry on the issues that actually matter.

Already some surprising things are happening as people realise that change is coming one way or another. I will write more on my blog soon!

Louise said...

I was unable to attend the event though wwas aware of it. Sue Saunders is involved in Schools Out and LGBT History Month and so I thought was an interesting choice of speaker at a Labour event. It will be good to see your video.

From the history of votes on lgbt equality issues from the different parties including the Tories, I echo the concerns you have cited.

I think there is a political comlacency generally as well as amongst the lgbt community.

Gay Mafia said...

What about all the openly gay Labour MP's who voted AGAINST extending rights for transgender people - look them up on the gender recognition bill.

Then only ten years ago just after they came to power ALL six openly gay Labour MP's also blocked Clause 10 which (at the time) would have protected people from discrimination on any grounds (including HIV status and sexuality) in line with the EU Convention on Human Rights.

A decade later and Labour MPs along with Stonewall have again failed to prop up protections in the Equality Bill which Peter Tatchell has branded the "Inequality Bill".

Schools Out is supported by Stephen Twigg who also seems to have made an appearance at the LGBT Labour summit and LGBT History Month has had support from the TUC and is (although commendable) and is closely linked to the Trade Union and Labour movement. Not really a surprise. Was there anyone speaking at that event not part of it or directly linked to Labour?

I agree with you Louise - few people are under any illusion that the BNP are a "legitimate political party" - HOWEVER, they present a "legitimate front" that they use very effectivley to spew their hatred from, now they are being invited to tea parties with the Queen and perhaps even on BBC's Question Time. Sooner or later they will get a platform...

The LGF gave their supporters a "platform" on their website comments page and also in their magazine in an attempt to "be impartial".

Of course people should rise up in solidaity against the BNP and other forms of racism, but doing via the LGF and breaking many of the rules in the book set by the Charity Commission discredits the remainder of the LGF's good work and brings their political neutrality into question once again - although it is obvious many of their senior staff and volunteers are Labour party members and make no attempt to hide it.

It is not good practice for them to allow any form of politics to interfere in the running of a charity. There are other outlets for them to do this which they all have access to. To hijack the LGF as another platform (probably because it has a massive audience and wider than the one they have as a political activists for other reasons) is just wrong.

What if the BNP used a charity to do the same? It could well happen? people would be up in arms and writing letters left right and centre to the charity commission complaining abuse the abuse of power and responsiblity.

Well done to whoever pointed this out to the LGF - leading them to get a good old telling off from the Charity Commission... hopefully they will emerge from the naughty corner having learned from the experience knowing their actions will do none of us any favours in the long run.

Louise said...

I certainly do not condone any Labour MP voting against equality legislation and was disappointed hearing some of the debate during the HFEA.

The LGBT Labour event is specifically that. As they are a socialist society affiliated to the Labour party, I would have expected their speakers to hve some connection with the Labour Party.

As for the LGF, I agree that politics should not interfere with the governance of a charity. But in respect of some of their aims in challenging homophbia and hate crime, it is legitimate what they did in respect of the BNP.

Yhe BNP probably do use charities. You just have to look at organisations they are linked to. They have already set up a trade union.

And yes, perhaps the LGF will learn from any errors.