BNP ‘HQ’ in Tipton to Close

It’s long been known, locally, that the Wolverhampton-based Express & Star newspaper is no great friend of the political left, so much so that it long ago earned itself the nickname of the ‘Excess & Swastika’ for the rather obvious right-wing bias of much of its content.

Even by the E&S’s usual standards, some of the omissions of fact in an article that made the front page of the print edition on Saturday, make one begin to wonder quite how far the paper is ‘leaning to port’ these days.

PUB FACES THE LOSS OF ITS LICENCE

A Tipton pub that was at the centre of a machete attack, shooting and brawls is set to lose its licence after a request from police to the council.

Nothing too unusual there, you might think. Most areas, after all, have at least one ‘rough’ pub that’s better known for the problems caused by its regular punters than for the quality of it beer.

This is just a local interest story, then… or at least that’s how it looks until you find out the name of the pub in question.

The Lagoon in High Street, Princess End, will learn its fate next Tuesday after police asked Sandwell Council to revoke its licence.

The Lagoon does indeed have a bad reputation locally, but its local notoriety stems from something rather more that simply incidents of violence on its premises – the pub is also what amounts to the local headquarters of the BNP in Tipton. It is (or was, as I’m informed that it is currently closed, pending Tuesday’s meeting) both the favoured watering hole of the BNP’s local ‘foot soldiers’ and the usual venue for its meetings, a fact that you might have thought that the Express & Star would have mentioned in its article, especially when one has read the report that Sandwell Council’s Licencing Panel is set to consider on Tuesday, which reveals that its actually the Police who are seeking the closure of the pub on the ground of ‘the prevention of crime and disorder and public safety‘.

Knowing that you might well wonder quite what would possess any licencee in their right mind to allow their pub to be used as the de facto local headquarters of a far-right racist political party, let alone one in which trouble is know to follow closely in its wake?

Well, the rest of the report, which details two of incidents about which the Police have expressed particular concerns, also provides the answer to that question, even if the newspaper, for reasons known only to itself, fails to make that answer explicit to its readers.

West Midlands Police has put together a report listing problems at the venue which will be considered by licensing bosses.

The document details incidents that occurred at the pub throughout last year.

It states that on June 2 a fight took place in The Lagoon between three customers.

The report said designated premises supervisor Jamie Lloyd separated two parties involved and allowed one man to leave. “The departing participant at this time had received what can only be described as a good beating, with loss of teeth,” police said.

The following day the victim of the attack returned to the pub with another man who handed him a semi-automatic weapon which was fired at and narrowly missed Mr Lloyd.

In November it was reported that people in the bar had been threatened by a man wielding a machete and that Mr Lloyd had again been the target of the attack.

Before moving on, I should correct on minor omission in the article, Jamie Lloyd, who is named as the designated premises supervisor by the Express and Star is also cited as the Licence holder for the premises in the report to Sandwell Council, but that omission is of little significance when compared to the other major piece of information omitted from the article, which relates to the activities of Mr Lloyd when he’s not engaged in running a pub.

Jamie Lloyd, so my sources in the area assure me, is none other than Councillor James Lloyd, BNP member, councillor for the same Princes End Ward in which the Lagoon is situated and current leader of the BNP group on Sandwell Council – an assertion that appears to be confirmed by several articles on the BNP’s own website in which Councillor Lloyd is routinely referred to as ‘Jamie’ . In fact, and by way of irony, this photograph (below) of Councillor Lloyd, which was used to promote his parliamentary candidacy at the last general election (in which he stood in West Bromwich West) has been identified by my sources as actually having been taken on the car park of The Lagoon.

jamielloyd.jpg

Now I don’t know about you, but I can’t help being just a tad curious as to why the Express & Star appear not have made the connection between ‘Jamie Lloyd’, publican and licencee of a pub that is well known as the BNP’s HQ in Tipton and BNP Councillor James Lloyd, not least when a qucik scan of the local electoral roll reveals that there is but one James Lloyd listed on the electoral roll in Tipton.

Has the paper simply not done its homework on this story, or does it not think that the people of Tipton have a legimate interest in knowing that when their Council’s licencing panel meets on Tuesday, the question before is not simply a matter of the future of the pub itself – my understanding is that it is to be sold off by its owners for redevelopment as flats, anyway, but also whether a fellow councillor, one who sits on no less than ten different council committees as BNP group leader, is unfit to run a local pub to the extent that even his customers appear to have been trying to kill him?

As things stand, it seems doubtful that tomorrow’s licencing panel can arrive at any conclusion other than that The Lagoon should close, and the pub certainly will not be missed by its neighbour. But then spare a thought for Tipton’s other licensees who, on the closure of The Lagoon, now have the face the possibility of acquring the custom of a its former regulars (and everything that goes with such dubious company) – my local source suggest that the landlord on one Tipton pub, which has already had the doubtful pleasure of the BNP’s company since the closure of The Lagoon, has already taken to closing his pub at lunchtimes so as to limit his personal exposure to them.
If anyone at the Express and Star would like to respond to this article and explain how and why it managed to miss a rather interesting (obvious) and newsworthy angle on this story then, as is always the case, the comments boxes are open.

  • eric cartman

    There’s every possibility your ‘sources’ are right that the licensee and bnp councillor are one and the same.

    But the difference between you and the Express & Star is that it can’t hide behind the blanket of anonymity you continue to enjoy.

    So if they’re wrong they get sued. You just get to carry on quoting anonymous ‘sources’ and publishing even more biased information than the aforementioned paper. Only you lean the other way.

    If by playing it cautiously and waiting for the information to be released in the proper venue the Express & Star is supporting the far right group then sign me up as well, because your way is hardly any better.

  • Tom

    Google Earth is your friend here – looking up the postcode of the Lagoon (DY4 9JE) and looking slightly to the right and up finds a rather run down looking pub. You can easily see the shadow cast by the white pole (pub sign?) and the building over the street with a chimney part way down the front section of the roof, plus the rather square flat roofed building to his right. I think you can even see the broken down section of wall between the car park and the main road.

    Amateur cartographers – try 52

  • It is hardly the most difficult of tasks for a newspaper to ascertain sufficient background on the licensee of a public house to determine whether that licensee is, or is not, a local councillor.

    Indeed, one might almost expect that to be information that a newspaper would have on file, given that the press will routinely maintain their own background files on notable public figures, if only as a means of fleshing out stories to fill the odd additional column inch or two.

    Moreover, you assume that somehow the fact that I do not publish my identity on this blog renders me immune from Britain’s libel law – nothing could be further than the truth.

    As far as the Express & Star are concerned, if it is the case that ‘Jamie Lloyd’ is Councillor James Lloyd then, given the nature of the story, its entirely fair to ask the question as to why that piece of information does not feature in this story.

    For local electors, there is a legitimate public interest in whether or not a local councillor is also the licencee of a Public House that has been identified by the local Police as a source of crime and disorder sufficient to blight the lives of local people – especially when the councillor in question has been elected to represent those same people. And remember, a key part of the BNP’s ‘sales pitch’ to voters is its draconian views on crime and punishment – hence from its manifestio, we have…

    4. We support the re-introduction of corporal punishment for petty criminals and vandals, and the restoration of capital punishment for paedophiles, terrorists and murderers as an option for judges in cases where their guilt is proven beyond dispute, as by DNA evidence or being caught red-handed.

    The BNP claim to tough on crime, but is that all crime or do they make exceptions when someone has the shit beaten out of them in the local BNP-run pub? That’s a valid question to be asking given that Lloyd appears not to be able to claim to have been entirely neutral in the situation that led to the shooting – else why would the ‘injured’ party try to shoot him and not just the guys that beat him up?

    That the E&S failed to identify Jamie Lloyd with what appears to be his other job as a local councillor is something that it seems reasonable to question.

    This could represent nothing more than a journalist not doing sufficient background on the story to make the connection or it could be that an editorial decision was taken, either by the journalist or by an editor, to omit this information, in which case any member of public has the right to question whether such a decision was taken and, if so, on what basis. The E&S may genuinely think that information to be of no great relevance, that’s their privilege, just as its my privilege to challenge such a decision.

    If either they or I get it wrong, we both stand a chance of getting sued – but only if we get it wrong.

    On the other hand, if the facts of this story are right, then there is no bias in reporting the facts, nor is there anything untoward in my editorialising my own comments on the facts. I do not pretend to be unbiased in my opinions of the BNP, but that does not make this story untrue – only the discovery that Jamie Lloyd and Councillor James Lloyd are two different individuals would do that.

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  • What a touching faith Eric has in the fourth estate and their desire to only print a story if it has been checked out and found to be 100% truth… whereas the rest of us know only too well that most of the editors are quite willing to go to press on people like George Galloway or Ken Livingstone without an ounce of truth to the story. Just what standard of ‘investigative reporter’ would you need to establish the facts. It feeds the fears that many have in these parts that the E & S is deiberately treating the BNP with a light touch.

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  • We mirrored this over on the Lancaster UAF site and have a couple of comments that may interest you.

    The journalist (if he is a journalist) is something Haddon. He uses the name White Resistance on Stormfront. The relevant post has been deleted but we have archived a reference to it.

    ‘Originally Posted by Ontology (Ebanks)
    I’m fascinated Mr Haddon. How is it you manage to be the Wolverhampton BNP Organiser and keep your job at the Express & Star? Are you a RED?’

    Haddon responds thus:
    ‘I keep my job because people can’t be sacked from their jobs for being a member of political parties. The E&S would be rather hypocritical if they did sack me considering its past views on this very subject. Again, nice try though’

    This presumably is Steven Haddon?

    Steve Haddon is the Wolverhampton bnp organiser and this is the post where Ebanks outed him.
    h**p://www.stormfront.org/forum/showpost.php?p=3749706&postcount=106

    And here he is with Griffin
    h**p://www.bnp.org.uk/reg_showarticle.php?contentID=358

    I’ve killed the links. Good article by the way. Well worth checking out the posts of White Resistance on Stormfront – and that reminds me, isn’t Stormfront supposed to be proscribed for BNP members?

    Cheers
    Ketlan
    for Lancaster UAF

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  • David Bartley

    The BNP is thriving in Tipton, for one reason : The people of the town are totally cheesed off with Tipton’s labour councillors who are nothing but puppets! Their strings are pulled by the infamous ‘Warley Mafia’, Sandwell’s cabinet which is dominated by Smethwick councillors. The situation stinks !!!!

  • David Bartley

    Eric Cartman has a very good point. Anyone who hasn’t got the balls to put there name after their comments should be ignored.
    The Express & Star is a superb publication, which keeps it’s readership in touch with local issues. DAVID BARTLEY.

  • Steve

    Well as off lunchtime today the Lagoo Pub is no more, it was gutted in a fire that is still being damped down.