A long hot summer?

posted by: Gerry Gable | on: Sunday, 24 April 2011, 00:30

Bristol Stokes Croft riot 21 April 2011

It seems it’s not only bombings, attempted bombings and making the deadly chemical ricin that the British far right indulge in. Today’s entry on the blog of Simon Darby, the British National Party’s media spokesman, is very revealing about the far right’s interest in the public disorder that took place in Bristol last Thursday night until the early hours of Friday. Darby, a long-time activist and officer of the BNP, stood down as the party’s deputy leader during a series of court clashes with the Equality Commission, which forced the BNP to end its whites only membership criterion. His resignation was an attempt to avoid a threatened term of imprisonment.

On the face of it, Darby’s blog posting looks out of place from the far right. In fact those who have charted the far right for as many years as I and many of my colleagues know this is far from the truth.

People have been recalling the 50th anniversary of the Brixton riots. Surviving police officers will tell you of a sinister intervention by a group of men dressed in such a way that the public would think they were out-of-uniform police officers and carrying improvised weapons. At the point of the full-scale rioting, when many officers found themselves leaderless, with more senior officers keeping their heads down and all sorts of off-duty officers thrown into the night time street fighting, some officers reported being joined by this group of men who charged into the rioters with a viciousness far beyond what the police were handing out. This was an orchestrated attempt to raise the temperature of the violence and prolong it.

At Wapping during the News International strike a number of right-wingers joined the print strikers and their supporters and tried to escalate the already serious clashes between them and the police.

During the miners’ strike attempts were made by the National Front Political Soldiers, led by Nick Griffin, now the leader of the BNP. to up the ante far away from the coalfields but this was halted after Searchlight exposed their plans.

In the massive poll tax riots in London, more than a few of the protesters recognised well known activists from the openly nazi British Movement in the middle of some of the most violent incidents.

They are many more instances of attempts to destabilise the streets in line with the politics of Nick Griffin’s political mentor, the convicted Italian terrorist Roberto Fiore, a product of the war of the street in his homeland.

So what is Darby preaching apart from a prediction of a politically hot summer. Maybe it is something he learned from Fiore when he was greeted by Fascist-saluting mobs of Fiore’s henchmen in Italy two years ago. Darby was not involved in politics when Fiore was sharing a London flat with Griffin and a handful of key young right-wingers including David Irving’s political secretary Andrew Moffat, who is now on the BNP payroll at the European Parliament as a adviser to Griffin in his capacity as an MEP.

Last year Fiore, a millionaire businessman, shared a UK platform with Griffin when they recalled past good times.

The police should take a good look at Darby’s video of last week’s Bristol riot and see what he is encouraging with his writing asap.

 Posted: 24 Apr 2011 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments


posted by: Gerry Gable | on: Thursday, 14 April 2011, 17:42

Welcome to the Lone wolves: myth or reality? website.

I am the author of all but two chapters of this investigation into the nature of far-right terrorism, which you can download from this website.

I am also the publisher of Searchlight, which is the longest running anti-racist and anti-fascist magazine in the UK. You can find out more about the magazine here.

Searchlight started in May 1964, which is when I started work with it as its research editor. At that time it was only an occasional publication and a press agency. It became a monthly magazine in 1975, the same year that I joined London Weekend Television to work on The London Programme, a London version of the very successful Granada investigative programme World In Action.

During my time at The London programme I worked with its first editor Barry Cox and two of his co-authors, Martin Short and John Shirley, of what is still one of the best books on police corruption. However the four of us were very keen to demonstrate what was good about policing in Britain as well as the bad aspects, which are more usually the subject of investigative documentaries.

Some of the programmes that I made with colleagues over the following eight years are still worth watching, if you can lay your hands on them.

Perhaps surprisingly, in all my time at LWT I never made a single programme about the extreme right. What I did do was work alongside a number of Metropolitan Police Commissioners and other officers who have gone on to achieve high rank in the MPS or other police services around the country.

I worked with the European Parliament’s investigation into xenophobia, racism and fascism and a second report a few years later with a Searchlight colleague Graeme Atkinson, who has a vast knowledge of European right extremism and was based in Germany in the interesting years around the fall of the Berlin Wall.

I joined the MPS Independent Advisory Group on race hate crime under John Grieve 13 years ago. During the period when Sir John Stevens (now Baron Stevens of Kirkwhelpington) was the MPS Commissioner, I was honoured that he chose me to be the first civilian serving on the MPS Inspectorate.

I have worked on a wide range of policing matters and so feel equipped to make my views known and throw them open to debate.

Now I feel it is the time to use my experience hopefully for the good in discussing the findings and recommendations of the Lone wolves: myth or reality? report.

Police services are facing cuts huge changes are being proposed in policing. At this time discussion and debate should be valued by all those who care about the future of the country’s criminal justice system. I hope you will take the opportunity to put forward your ideas for debate on this website.

Also on this website are two recent interesting speeches by Baroness Neville-Jones, the Minister of State for Security and Counter Terrorism, whose area of responsibility includes much of the subject matter of this report. See them here.

A number of people in the field have asked me whether her remarks about MI5’s changing role were an attempt to get intelligence on the cheap via community groups. Perhaps she might be willing to discuss what she actually meant on this site.

 Posted: 14 Apr 2011 | There are 2 comments | make a comment/view comments