Sunday, 1 June 2008

A pot of tea with Richard Barnbrook of the BNP

The flags are a bit of a giveaway. No other house in this East London street has a pair of big white poles sticking up and out of the front, flying an enormous Union flag and an equally oversized cross of St George. "Hello Richard," calls a neighbour, smiling. She's an elderly lady. White. The young girl who lives over on the other side of this ex-council square in Dagenham just stares at us in silence. She's black."

Once Britain has been returned to the British people," says Richard Barnbrook, opening his front door, "and we have regained our identity, then we will be able to say to others: 'If you play by the rules we set, you are welcome to become part of us.'"

And if not? Well, his British National Party wants to expel at least two million immigrants from this country as soon as possible, and offer many more cash incentives to go "home".For now, though, Barnbrook offers me a pot of tea. This 47-year-old with a cropped nape and floppy fringe is the closest thing the BNP has to a presentable face. He is not dressed in his election suit, described by the Daily Mail as "stormtrooper brown", but in a sandy-coloured linen version with a gold tie. More Rommel than Hitler? "Yes. Great tactician."

Barnbrook's election to the Greater London Assembly in May was described by the analyst Tony Travers as "the biggest prize the extreme right has ever won in British politics". Tomorrow, it will be one month since Barnbrook began work on the GLA. Something is clear from having watched him closely during that time: unpleasant and neo-fascist as it may be, in London at least, the BNP can no longer be ignored.

Barnbrook has the legal right to speak in GLA debates, even if he only represents the 130,000 Londoners who actually voted BNP. The people of the capital pay him £50,000 a year, a 10th of which he gives to his party. The money helps to fund his campaign to win Dagenham at the next election, which would make him the far right's first MP.

Clearly, he is the frontman in an attempt to rid the party of its image as a bunch of hate-filled, screaming street-fighters. "Before, we were like: 'March here! Shout here! Anger, anger, anger!' It was going nowhere. It was not applying itself to the business of winning elections." But there is something far more intriguing than all that about Barnbrook himself, who has undergone an extreme and extraordinary transformation.

The son of an army musician, he was hailed in his youth as a gifted artist, graduated from the Royal Academy and became an accomplished painter and sculptor. He collaborated with the likes of the film-maker Derek Jarman and was, he insists, the lover of the radical actor Tilda Swinton. "I've got DNA proof that I went out with her."

Charming. But the point is that Barnbrook, who also worked as an art teacher, was deeply embedded in the "liberal elite" he now despises. So what happened? And where has all the art gone? There is an empty easel in the corner of his front room, but no paintings. "Sold 'em," he says quickly.

"I like things clean, neat, orderly," he says, asking me to take my shoes off to protect the cream carpets – and revealing socks to match the linen suit. His mobile phone rings, with the sound of a chorister singing "Jerusalem", and while he is out of the room I peek under the cream throw that covers his television. Minority Report, a DVD about an authoritarian future regime with psychic thought-police, is lying on another, folded, flag of St George.

"No regalia," he says, appearing at the door, suggesting I was looking for Nazi gear. "I've got a life." What he does have, hanging from the gilded frame of a large mirror, is a pair of red satin ballet shoes signed by Simone Clarke, former principal dancer with the English National Ballet.

There were protests outside the Coliseum last year when she danced the lead in Giselle, having just been revealed in the press as a member of the BNP. Barnbrook took her flowers, and the pair became lovers – although the relationship was not helped by a tabloid story that claimed he also wooed a Finnish nurse by sending her photos of "his private parts".

"Eighty per cent of that was total fabrication," he says, in a south London accent that is a bit posh because his father gave him a clip round the ear when it wasn't. "I've got a book of Mein Kampf under my bed? Yeah, right. I haven't even got a bloody copy of it."

The relationship with Simone is "patching itself back together again after one or two mistakes I have made," he says. She is up in Leeds with her parents, apparently. "I've stopped drinking," he says, going off to the kitchen to make that tea, "at Simone's say so."

How long for? "For ever." No, I meant how long has he been teetotal so far? "Oh. Twenty days. I look at people slurring and I think: 'Was I like that?'" How much was he drinking before, then? "Three or four pints a night. Not much. But it's the perception that counts."

That is the mantra of the new BNP. The party website describes its new approach as "positive propaganda". There are still loose cannons, admits Barnbrook. "Every party has nutters. Some of ours are knuckle-dragging junk from the past. But there are fewer left now."

The BNP complains that the media peddles myths and lies about it. So let's tell the truth, by quoting from its own online statement of beliefs. First on the list, for no apparent reason, is its disapproval of mixed marriages. Isn't that a bit of a problem for Barnbrook, whose beloved Simone has a mixed-race daughter by a Cuban-Chinese dancer? "I don't give a damn," he says. "She is very beautiful, very bright, really astute." Right... and in any case, he drops rather sad hints that his devotion to the prima ballerina may no longer be quite so requited. "I made a mistake," he says. "I apologised about it, again and again and again. I screwed up. I regret it."

Back to the website, which says races "cannot be directly compared". It denies racism but "blacks and Asians" are not allowed into the party "for the same reason the Girl Guides don't allow boys to join". Its purpose is "to cater for the interests of the indigenous British population".

To those who protest that there is no such thing, the BNP has an answer. It refers to an "indigenous British genotype" created 1,000 years ago, a blend of Celtic, Scandinavian, Germanic, Norman and Roman blood. This was "a fusion of genetically similar Northern and Western European peoples all coming from within a few hundred miles of each other". Immigrants from beyond this area are compared to a different species.

In power, the BNP would "deport all the two million-plus who are here illegally" as well as "all those who commit crimes and whose original nationality was not British".

It would "review" the rights of those recently granted citizenship or residency, to see if they were "appropriate". It would like "no more than 2 to 3 per cent of population" in any given area to be non-white.

These are the things that Richard Barnbrook really stands for. They are the reason the other candidates left the stage when his results were announced.

He claims "intimidation and bullying" at City Hall, but adds: "My skin is thick. As a teacher, I dealt with hard-nut kids with behavioural problems intent on destruction in Hackney. The assembly is kindergarten."

The truth is that he looked like a nervous, stroppy toddler when I saw him debate at City Hall earlier in the day. Barnbrook shouted, interrupted, talked across people and appeared deranged at times. But he also wrong-footed his opponents twice: once by asking the new Mayor to work with Winston McKenzie, the former boxer, who is black; and the other by putting himself up for a place on the regional arts council. His arts CV was better than that of any other member, he said, and he was right. So the BNP may yet get to decide on which statues to put up where.

The flaw in his strategy to be taken seriously is that while Barnbrook may be cleverer than most of the people he mixes with, he is not nearly as articulate as he likes to think. His sentences are fractured, confusing and full of ironies he just can't hear, like describing tolerance as one of the essentials of the British character.

This is a man whose party declares itself against "the flaunting or celebrating of homosexuality", but who once made a homo-erotic movie called HMS Discovery: A Love Story. "It's not gay," he insists. To give you some idea of what it is like to listen to him, here's his description of the film, written verbatim: "Sexuality and Aids and the concept of a relationship, how does a man and a woman relate, going through history, between Captains Scott and Oates, between Christ and John the Baptist and the Mother Earth walking through carrying the flag ... it's almost like a still-born child, how does people relate to each other ... it was dealing with the bigotry of attitudes towards people."

Remarkable. The oldest of five, brought up in a household where nobody was allowed to speak at the dinner table, he suffered at school in Grimsby for being an arty dyslexic with a southern accent. "Head down the toilet a couple of times, but so what?"

But Barnbrook was reasonably successful by the time he married in 1998. His ex-wife has described how he changed suddenly the following year. "His views became very extreme. It was a total shock."

It sounds, I tell him, like he suffered a bang on the head or a breakdown. Barnbrook says no. "I just walked around London, seeing the feeling of dejection and depravity, thinking: 'This is not right.'" The BNP was then a discredited shambles, but he has collaborated with chairman Nick Griffin in its repackaging.

Maybe he had a mid-life crisis. Maybe he saw the chance to be a big fish in a passionate little pool. However he got there, Barnbrook is now the most prominent, directly elected representative the British far right has ever had.

On the day he signed in, his supporters stood outside City Hall chanting: "Our storm is coming." What did they mean by that? "I don't know," he says at first, but of course he does. "If the democratic process does not work out within the next five to six years ... you will have strife on the streets... riots on the streets of Britain."

This is not analysis. It's not electoral politics. It's an old-fashioned threat. When he talks in this way, Richard Barnbrook's face shows fear and anger. He can't hide that – it is as unmissable as those great big flags on the front of his house.

Rise and rise of the BNP

1982 BNP formed by ex-National Front chair John Tyndall.

1983 Fights 53 seats in general election, losing all 53 deposits.

1989 'Rights for Whites' demo in Dewsbury, Yorkshire, leads to clashes with Asian youths.

1993 Derek Beackon wins party's first council seat, in Millwall.

1999 Nick Griffin replaces Tyndall as head of the party.

2002 BNP wins three council seats in Burnley.

2004 Griffin, Tyndall and Mark Collett arrested for incitement to racial hatred after BBC undercover documentary.

2005 Griffin and Collett aquitted. Tyndall dies three days before he's due in court.

2008 Barnbrook takes up first BNP seat in London Assembly.



Anonymous said...

"Back to the website ... blacks and Asians" are not allowed into the party "for the same reason the Girl Guides don't allow boys to join".

An interesting point. The movement I was once a member of has now been forced to allow girls to be full members of. But just try asking to have your son join a Brownie Group and see how far you get. And the leaders hate you for asking that question. I know. I have.

bernard said...

On the strength of that article, I think Richard Barnbrook is going to have to have to take a long hard look at the sort of people he invites back to his boudoir in future.

Anonymous said...

"Far right...blah....neo-nazi...blah...Rommel, Hitler...blah...stroppy toddler...blah...mein kampf...blah blah blah."

What a rubbish piece of journalism. It is a personal attack on Barnbrook along with the usual idiotic "BNP fascist" smears. Not one mention of what Barnbrook and the BNP have achieved for local people from Barking and Dagenham, not one voice from local people who actually endure the multicult nightmare that's been imposed upon them.

But at least the BNP are in the news regularly which is pretty amazing really and shows just how far the party has progressed.


najistani said...

This article is absolutely crawling with smears, innuendos, subliminal messages and implied guilt by association.

Let's do a little bit of textual analysis to discover the underlying narratives.

"is the closest thing the BNP has to a presentable face" - Most BNP members look like knuckle-dragging Neanderthals

"stormtrooper brown" - BNP = Nazis

"More Rommel than Hitler?" - BNP = Nazis

"the extreme right" - BNP = Nazis

"unpleasant and neo-fascist" - BNP = knuckle-dragging Neanderthal Nazis

"empty easel in the corner of his front room, but no paintings" - Joining the BNP destroys creativity and turns you into a philistine

"nervous, stroppy toddler" - BNP are incompetent

"appeared deranged" - BNP are nutters

"may be cleverer than most of the people he mixes with" - BNP mostly composed of low IQ knuckle-dragging Neanderthals

"like he suffered a bang on the head or a breakdown" - BNP are nutters

"It's an old-fashioned threat" - BNP are planning riots.

Anonymous said...

I live in a large ex mining village up until around a year ago wholly white Britons.
Now we have a muslim owned paint shop two take aways owned by what i assume are Paki muslims, plus a smattering of blacks on benefits.
Driving back into the village yesterday at the entrance, i noticed a new flag pole in someones garden with the St Georges flag flying high further up someone had a shield above his front door with the George cross in it's centre.
It's as if the people are saying this is ours bugger off!

This from a very good article written by an Irish guy in the Express. he lays the blame exactly where it belongs at the door of westminster and their deliberate destroying of England.
Thanks to the twin malign forces of mass immigration and multi-culturalism, the scale of England’s transformation is alarming. Though the collapse of our borders has made records unreliable, it is probable that more than 700,000 immigrants are arriving here every year.

Before the end of this decade the majority of London’s residents will be from non-white ethnic groups. Other cities will soon follow. On even a conservative estimate, the indigenous population of England will be in a minority before the end of this century. And the pace of change is being accelerated by the ruthlessly enforced official ideology of cultural diversity, which holds that any manifestation of traditional patriotism is akin to racism.

It is often said that Labour’s policy on immigration has been a failure. But for the ruling metropolitan elite it has been a huge success. The promotion of influxes of Third World and East­ern European migrants has been the central part of a deliberate strategy to change England for ever.

Full of loathing for their own country, Left-wingers recognised that they could not bring about their revolution by economic means after the downfall of communism. So instead they have cynically used mass immigration as a battering ram against old England – turning this once proud nation into ­little more than a landmass full of conflicting minorities.

Rupert Brooke wrote in his 1914 poem The Soldier of “some corner of a foreign field, that is forever England”. Almost a century later the foreign fields are now filling up almost every corner of England itself.

Anonymous said...

Better Richard speaks from his heart and whether he fractures a sentence or not who cares?
Better that than like the rest paying out £25.000 for a foreigner to be flown here to write their speeches due to their real intentions they dare not speak about!
Arrogance eh? they'd be very surprised at the qualifications many BNP supporters have!
Teachers we have loads, and i mean teachers not left wing brainwashed pass go and your in types.
Heard yesterday a labour group are refusing anymore money to labour,
Labour in big debt and were using local funds to fill up their coffers.
Well, no more the female said;they do nothing for us, new labour is not labour anymore.
And they try to insult the mentality of the BNP that knew years ago the very same thing. That Labour Tories and Lib dems are one and the same.
It's taken that lady around 70 years.
Labour a NASTY, NASTY party!

Americans suffering down turn...Ford motors to build their new plant in Mexico putting billions into Mexican workers pockets.
Our politicians would allow the same as we see daily Richard would not.
Speech writers cleverly dodge around the real subjects and we all know our politicians never ever allow questions from we serfs that require a reply without their spin [lying] doctors around.


Anonymous said...

And you thought the green issues road pricing etc was a new idea.
Dating back to the 90s proves that climate change is just a hobby horse to empty our pockets.
The 3rd way a Fabian way!
New thinking about public finance

While many left and centre-left thinkers have argued in recent years that the state should recast its role in securing citizen access to opportunity goods, they have not in general denied that the state will continue to have a significant role in providing and financing the provision of such goods. The third way is not about a general 'rolling back' of the state. But there has, I think, been some interesting new thinking about how the state should go about raising the revenue necessary for its activities. I list just a few of the more notable ideas here.

(a) Increased use of environmental taxes. This is now a familiar idea. Such taxes, and related ideas (e.g., for road pricing), make clear sense in terms of the commitment to civic responsibility described above (they seem to follow from the obligation to make responsible use of the environment, paying the community for the extra costs one inflicts upon it). But some also argue that increased use of green taxes will allow for a reduction in taxes on earnings so boosting employment (Robertson, 1996, Holtham and Tindale, 1996). Thus there may be a link between this policy proposal and the idea of an employment-centered social policy which I shall describe below.

(b) Hypothecation at the margin. Some argue that voter resistance to new taxes can be reduced if the link between new taxes and benefits is made clearer. Hypothecation of new taxes to specific goods, e.g. education or health-care, is thought to offer one way of doing this (Mulgan and Murray, 1994).

(c) New consultative procedures on tax. It has also been argued that governments need to connect with citizens on tax issues more directly through new consultative procedures akin to 'deliberative opinion polls' (Halpern, 1997).

(d) Community Fund ('Topsy Turvy Nationalization'). This proposal has recently been made by Gerald Holtham (Holtham, 1995, see also James Meade, 1991). Under this proposal, the state gradually acquires a share of the nation's productive assets and places these assets in a special fund (private sector institutions may be contracted to manage the fund). The returns on the assets can then be used to finance provision of goods like education and health-care. Initial capital for the fund could come from a revitalized inheritance tax or even, more radically, a one-off capital levy.


very educational....ideas nicked from the past.

Anonymous said...

Exactly the same happened to me:

Barnbrook says "I just walked around London, seeing the feeling of dejection and depravity, thinking: 'This is not right.'"

-A exploitative corporate, brutus state controlled, propaganda infested chaos erasing the traditional and old with third world tribes, lemming yuppies, and a global eltie hogging the last legroom.

Richard is like a David against a giant Goliath.

Anonymous said...

Had to post this,an arguement at the telegraph comments page, so much BNP support there also.
Made me smile...

There certainly seem to be a few old Tories out there having hissy fits about the BNP. I wonder why?

They ultimately contradict themselves. They point out that the BNP is irrelevant then proceed to discuss us. Illogical, old chap! You impale yourself on your own sword.

They then accuse us of being "Nazis" - this trite, unsubtantiated, hearsay, negative propoganda only explicitly reveals the paucity of the accuser's arguments. Is that all they have to throw at us? It's the equivalent of being a schoolboy in the playground - sticking your tongue out at someone and thinking it makes you look clever. Problem is it only makes the actual perpetrator look puerile and quite frankly, rather a silly Billy.

These dullards do more for the cause of the BNP then I can ever do.

Remember people, a vote for the BNP is a vote against complacent, superior [in their eyes!], privileged and out of touch people like Old Sarum, Mike T., Charles Stephenson and their cronies.

They are sooooooooo worried by the party that is being talked about in pubs, wine, bars, offices, factories and the post office.

They are sooooooooooo worried about the party that is gaining massive support against the mainstream parties.

The party is Britain's last hope: the BNP.

Posted by Phil on April 25, 2008 3:22 PM
Report this comment

"Roll on the quite revolution."

It seems reading these comments on a regular basis, no one in the BNP can spell.

Incidentally, you spell BNP as N-A-Z-I.
Posted by Mike T on April 25 2:10 PM

Yes Mike T you a quite right to point out my typo error.Do you really think insults will keep me quiet. As for the EU having looked at the options...

Dave boys Count Dracula Conservative/ Pro EU Communist Alliance party.

Gordon J. Stalin-Brown EUrofascist/Islamic Conquest Party.

Nick Clogs Euro-Hamster Glib-Dhimmi Unconditional Surrender Party.

Nigel Robert Dormouse of the UK Self-Flagellation Party.

I will stick with the....


Toodle Pip old boy.

Another pointed out whenever their is the left and the BNP, the police always turn their backs to the BNP facing the left...why do you think this is he askes could it be the police know not to turn their backs on UAF thugs.

Anonymous said...

Hi I'm quite new to these blogs, but I would just like to say that personally I'd much rather have a cup of tea and choccy biscuits with Rihard Barnbrook than I would Margaret Hodge, at least Richard speaks his mind and not a load of spin, and he gets things done.