I think its well established that far-right political parties have quite a bit of ‘previous form’ when it comes to taking a rather revisionist view of history.
Usually this takes the form of Holocaust Denial and ‘Hitler was just a bit misunderstood’ but if you look closely enough you’ll also find examples of the far-right being rather economical with their own more recent history, as is this (stomach) moving ‘eulogy’ to the closure of The Lagoon Public House in Tipton…
One night a handful of years ago, a young man telephoned John Salvage, the then Black Country Organiser, to express his anger, along with dozens of local people, in regard to children in Tipton, being expelled from school, all because they were angry, and showed it through words and playground tit-for-tat action, at the brazen, arrogant, and racist slurs being thrown their way.
Why, surely it cannot be that, the racism, and arrogant behaviour was carried out by Muslim children could it? Well, it could, and was… and all because these children were constantly shouting their support for the ‘’Twin Towers’’ atrocity that had occurred in 2001, and for ‘’Bin Laden and the Taliban,’’ Many of the Tipton parents had told the headmaster concerned that, this behavior was not acceptable, and that the local white, indigenous children’s torments were ignored. It made no impact, and certain numbers of boys did what came naturally, and through sheer anger and frustration, vented this anger on the perpetrators, in typical childhood fashion.
Soon, some of the local white youngsters were being expelled, and reprimanded for simply reacting to taunts and slurs, but the Muslim children were allowed to say, and do what they wanted. The young father, who’d telephoned John Salvage, was worried that it might all get out of hand, as the situation reached boiling point, and so, along with another activist, John went to an arranged meeting, the first ever in the area, as representatives of the British National Party.
It was thought that, the meeting was between local parents, and angry locals, and the BNP representatives. However, that night, in a jam packed, large room, there was literally red faced anger, at the lack of respect local Labour, Lib/Dem and Conservative politicians, Muslim leaders, and authorities had shown for ‘’their kids’’. After a marathon two and a half hour meeting, with many in the 200 plus crowd, saying that ‘’politicians were all the same’’, and that the BNP could do nothing to help, a hoarse voiced John Salvage and fellow activist, ‘’Budgie’’, proved that the spoken word, even in those heated circumstances, and heart-felt passion from a Nationalist point of view, did hold true.
Now, after many at that first meeting in that public house, have become dedicated activists, supporters and voters, the BNP has created a local ‘’spiritual home’’ in Tipton, and the pub itself. After the initial BNP victory, which saw Simon Darby win a seat in Dudley, and John Salvage and David Watkins in neighbouring Sandwell, many friends were made. Thus, a personal thank you from John Salvage and the BNP leadership in general, is forwarded to Stuart, the young father who phoned John that night, Rob and Tracy, previous landlords at the original meeting and many thereafter, and Jamie and Sandra, who are vacating, due to the pub and land, being purchased by developers.
Out of sadness, respect, loyalty, and to mark the end of this era, the Skull and Crossbones flag can be seen flying from the pub in the picture, thus bringing an end to five years of this central, almost mythical part of local BNP and community folklore. The other picture shown here of the remnant architecture of an old church, also signifies the end of an era.
Awww, what a shame… all a complete load of bollocks, of course, aside from the admission that The Lagoon was the local BNP ‘dive’.
That supposedly ‘first ever’ local meeting meeting of the BNP in Tipton, which took place at the Lagoon, was anything but a first local meeting – the BNP had been operating in the Tipton area for at least 2-3 years before, as noted in this BBC report from 2001…
By the end of 1999 the BNP membership had risen 2,000 of which 400 were active. The West Midlands becomes increasingly important, with local organiser Steve Edwards polling 17% in the Tipton Green ward in Sandwell.
This was before the BNP took up ‘residence’ in The Lagoon, but its still a lie to suggest that the BNP’s activities in the area began only on that mythical night in 2001.
So why are the BNP telling whopping great porkies here?
Well, for no other reason than that in 2000, the relationship between BNP Leader, Nick Griffin and the then West Midlands BNP organiser, Steve Edwards, his wife Sharron (the Party Vice-Chairman) and BNP Treasurer (at the time) Michael Newland, rather soured, resulting in an acrimonius split that, at the time of this report in Searchlight from October 2000, looked well set to hit the High Court.
Without going in to the full in and outs of the split, which eventually resulted in Edwards’ and Newland leaving the BNP to form the Freedom Party with London-based barrister, Adrian Davies, who represented noted Holocaust denier, David Irving, in his unsuccesful appeal against the loss of his libel action against Deborah Lispstadt (who had accused him of Holocaust denial), it carried all the usual hallmarks of far-right infighting; including allegations of financial irregularities, theft of membership lists, etc…
Last month Searchlight reported the £1,500 cheque paid to Lecomber out of party funds. It was initially claimed that this was reimbursement for a printing bill that Lecomber had paid on the party’s behalf. However, it now appears that it was no such thing, but rather a means of supplementing Lecomber’s income without declaring it to the tax and benefit departments. This true explanation was admitted by Griffin, with a degree of embarrassment, at the Advisory Council meeting in August.
Lecomber is believed to receive £120 a week from the BNP, which, when topped up with Family Credit, gives him a weekly income of almost £250. But Lecomber was unhappy to learn that Griffin received double his salary (£1,000 a month) and arguing his worth, protested a need for parity. The £1,500 payment, paid in two cheques, was disguised so as to avoid a comparable reduction in State benefits.
Further details have also emerged about the loan Griffin received from the party to build an extension to his house. It appears that Griffin took several thousand pounds from party funds to renovate a barn attached to the side of his house. He agreed to have a proportion taken out of his salary but decided to write off the remainder, claiming that the room was now available for party meetings and functions at no charge.
Many respected BNP members are beginning to voice disquiet over the leadership “gravy train”. One BNP organiser told Searchlight: “No one begrudges people getting a wage, but it seems to be spiralling out of control. No sooner have we raised money for the party then some in the leadership give themselves a pay rise, trips to the US and build extensions to their houses.”
Nothing, then, that the recently expelled Sharon Ebanks wouldn’t recognise – in fact the Lecomber allegations are still rattling around there even today, some 6-7 years on – except that in case there was an additional twist in the tail as it was strongly rumoured at the time that an impending by-election in the West Bromwich West constituency, arising out of the retirement of Betty (now Lady) Boothroyd from the office of speaker of the House of Commons, played a part in the rift, as Sharron Edwards, who’d previously contested council elections in the constituency, which includes Tipton, was unceremoniously shunted aside as the BNP’s parliamentary candidate, at first in favour of the BNP’s Birmingham South organiser, Lee Windridge, although it was actually Griffin, himself, who stood in the end, gaining on 4.2 of the vote – far less than Edwards would have secured has she been permitted to run.
Interestingly, the BNP’s Wikipedia page has almost nothing whatsoever to say on the subject of the period from 2000-2001, when this split was taking place and make no mention whatsoever of either or the Edwards’ or Newland – the Freedom Party’s Wikiperdia page, however, exhibits no such reticence.
This is not particularly surprising as the BNP routinely makes use of what it refers to as ‘proscription’ when dealing with former members, under which (supposedly) engaging in certain activities while a party official (including posting on Stormfront), or associating with or even speaking to proscribed ex-member may be treated by Griffin as grounds for expulsion (and proscription) from the party. Ex-BNP members, especially those who’ve had a falling out with Griffin or one of his his close allies are officially ‘unpersoned’ by the party, which is why the Edwards’ don’t get a mention at all in the eulogy to The Lagoon as well as speaking volumes about the all-pervasive culture of paranoia that runs through the far-right and their real level commitment to normal ‘democratic’ principles, such as freedom of expression and freedom of association – you can have both, but only when Nick the Fuehrer says so.
So the tale of how the BNP came to first meet at The Lagoon is a complete load of bollocks, including all the revisionist crap about 9/11 and local Muslim kids shouting their support for the Taliban and Osama Bin Laden, which no more than part of deliberate strategy on the BNPs part to reposition itself to exploit the so-called ‘war against terror’.
And how do I know this for sure – apart from talking to local people on the ground up in Tipton?
Well, I’ve also mentioned the 1999 local council elections and Griffin’s unsuccessful effort to win a by-election in the West Bromwich West constituency, which includes the whole of Tipton in late 2000.
So when we get to the General Election of 2001, held on 7th June, some three months BEFORE the attack on the World Trade Centre, what do you think we find?
|General Election 2001: West Bromwich West|
|Liberal Democrats||Sadie Smith||2,168||6.8||N/A|
|British National||John Salvage||1,428||4.5||N/A|
|UK Independence||Kevin Walker||499||1.6||N/A|
|Socialist Labour||Baghwant Singh||396||1.2||N/A|
And there you have it – in fourth place with 1,428 votes (4.5%) we find John ‘never been to Tipton before in my life, honest guv‘ Salvage, Steve Edwards’ replacement as West Midlands BNP organiser.