More trouble for the BNP (updated)

Internal conflicts resurface on the eve of the election - and candidate is filmed fighting with Asia

Another acrimonious split has emerged in the British National Party, on the eve of the general election. The Nothing British blog reports that the far-right party's website was taken offline yesterday evening and replaced with an angry message from the BNP's webmaster, Simon Bennett:

It is with regret that I have been forced to pull this website due to several attempts of theft today with regards to design work and content owned by myself.
It is no secret that I have been in dispute with some elements of the management of the party for sometime now, but had hoped to resolve these issues amicably and AFTER the elections.
However, due to several attempts to steal my work today and combined with the recent deliberate copyright infringement I feel I have been left with no alternative to this action and feel wholly justified in doing so.

The dispute relates to the BNP's use of a Marmite logo in a recent party political broadcast -- and the subsequent legal action by Marmite's parent company, Unilever.

The BNP has been beset by internal conflict in recent months. In April, Mark Collett, the party's publicity director, was arrested on suspicion of threatening to kill the BNP leader, Nick Griffin, and its fundraiser, Jim Dowson.

Earlier this year, the anti-fascist magazine Searchlight published a full investigation into the divisive role of Dowson, a hardline Protestant anti-abortion campaigner from Northern Ireland.

UPDATE: as of this morning (6 May), the BNP website is down again, replaced by a "temporary" message. The party has also been locked out of its Facebook and Twitter accounts, with the latter now bearing the message "BNP - Bennett's Nationalist Politics".

In other developments, Bob Bailey, the BNP candidate for Romford has been filmed by a BBC news crew fighting with hecklers on the campaign trail in East London.

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

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For the Ukip press officer I slept with, the European Union was Daddy

My Ukip lover just wanted to kick against authority. I do not know how he would have coped with the reality of Brexit.

I was a journalist for a progressive newspaper.

He was the press officer for the UK Independence Party.

He was smoking a cigarette on the pavement outside the Ukip conference in Bristol.

I sat beside him. It was a scene from a terrible film. 

He wore a tweed Sherlock Holmes coat. The general impression was of a seedy-posh bat who had learned to talk like Shere Khan. He was a construct: a press officer so ridiculous that, by comparison, Ukip supporters seemed almost normal. He could have impersonated the Queen Mother, or a morris dancer, or a British bulldog. It was all bravado and I loved him for that.

He slept in my hotel room, and the next day we held hands in the public gallery while people wearing Union Jack badges ranted about the pound. This was before I learned not to choose men with my neurosis alone. If I was literally embedded in Ukip, I was oblivious, and I was no kinder to the party in print than I would have been had I not slept with its bat-like press officer. How could I be? On the last day of the conference, a young, black, female supporter was introduced to the audience with the words – after a white male had rubbed the skin on her hand – “It doesn’t come off.” Another announcement was: “The Ukip Mondeo is about to be towed away.” I didn’t take these people seriously. He laughed at me for that.

After conference, I moved into his seedy-posh 18th-century house in Totnes, which is the counterculture capital of Devon. It was filled with crystal healers and water diviners. I suspect now that his dedication to Ukip was part of his desire to thwart authority, although this may be my denial about lusting after a Brexiteer who dressed like Sherlock Holmes. But I prefer to believe that, for him, the European Union was Daddy, and this compulsion leaked into his work for Ukip – the nearest form of authority and the smaller Daddy.

He used to telephone someone called Roger from in front of a computer with a screen saver of two naked women kissing, lying about what he had done to promote Ukip. He also told me, a journalist, disgusting stories about Nigel Farage that I cannot publish because they are libellous.

When I complained about the pornographic screen saver and said it was damaging to his small son, he apologised with damp eyes and replaced it with a photo of a topless woman with her hand down her pants.

It was sex, not politics, that broke us. I arrived on Christmas Eve to find a photograph of a woman lying on our bed, on sheets I had bought for him. That was my Christmas present. He died last year and I do not know how he would have coped with the reality of Brexit, of Daddy dying, too – for what would be left to desire?

This article first appeared in the 19 January 2016 issue of the New Statesman, The Trump era