Who is the BNP’s “soldier”?

The far-right party exploits the war in Afghanistan for a propaganda stunt.

Today's Metro reports that the BNP leader Nick Griffin, who is standing for parliament in Barking, Essex, was criticised for campaigning alongside a man in army uniform at the weekend. The far-right, anti-immigration party, which is hoping to pick up votes by playing on people's disquiet at the war in Afghanistan, was criticised by a soldiers' charity, ABS, which said there was "no place in the army for racism or politics".

Metro claims not to know whether the man pictured with Griffin is a serving soldier. However, I can reveal he is no such thing: his name is Adam Walker, 41, a BNP member and former teacher who faces being struck off by the General Teaching Council for posting racist messages on the internet during a lesson.

On Saturday he was parading in front of news cameras gathered in Barking to cover the BNP's campaign launch. Asked if he was a real soldier, he admitted he wasn't. "I'm wearing this uniform in solidarity with our boys in Afghanistan," Walker said.

You can read a full report on the BNP's campaign in Barking in Thursday's magazine.

Daniel Trilling is the Editor of New Humanist magazine. He was formerly an Assistant Editor at the New Statesman.

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Andy Burnham's full speech on attack: "Manchester is waking up to the most difficult of dawns"

"We are grieving today, but we are strong."

Following Monday night's terror attack on an Ariana Grande concert at the Manchester Arena, newly elected mayor of the city Andy Burnham, gave a speech outside Manchester Town Hall on Tuesday morning, the full text of which is below: 

After our darkest of nights, Manchester is today waking up to the most difficult of dawns. 

It’s hard to believe what has happened here in the last few hours and to put into words the shock, anger and hurt that we feel today.

These were children, young people and their families that those responsible chose to terrorise and kill.

This was an evil act. Our first thoughts are with the families of those killed and injured. And we will do whatever we can to support them.

We are grieving today, but we are strong. Today it will be business as usual as far as possible in our great city.

I want to thank the hundreds of police, fire and ambulance staff who worked throughout the night in the most difficult circumstances imaginable.

We have had messages of support from cities around the country and across the world, and we want to thank them for that.

But lastly I wanted to thank the people of Manchester. Even in the minute after the attack, they opened their doors to strangers and drove them away from danger.

They gave the best possible immediate response to those who seek to divide us and it will be that spirit of Manchester that will prevail and hold us together.

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