After months of circling the drain, Nick Griffin’s far-right career (most probably) came to its end. At the British National Party’s (BNP) National Executive meeting last Saturday, Griffin was ousted as Party Leader.
The Party’s decline has been almost as dramatic as it’s rise in which four years ago there was a real threat that the the UK could see it’s first first Fascist MP in the post-WWII period.
Griffin was declared Bankrupt in January and lost his EU seat in May.
Griffin was involved in the BNP’s rise in the early 1990’s with his decision to move the party’s focus from the streets to the ballot box. As they said in a press release in 1994, there would be “no more meetings, marches, punch-ups”.
Over the next few years, Griffin attempted to shake off the groups Hitler-loving, Holocaust-denying image in public, while keeping the rhetoric behind closed doors.
In the early 2000 ‘s Griffin led the BNP through a rapid rise culminating in him and Andrew Brons becoming MEPs in 2009, gaining a London Assembly member and a number of local councillors.
Nick Griffin was also invited the appear on Question Time for the first time in the same year.
The BNP’s rise was thankfully stopped by the work of antifascists who opposed the party wherever they stood candidates, which is epitomised by the campaign against Griffin’s candidacy in Barking and Dagenham in 2010. Despite standing 338 candidates the BNP gained no seats during the 2010 elections. Shortly after the group were all but smashed out of Stoke, where they had councillors which led to splits and direct challenges on Griffin’s leadership.
Griffin’s replacement is Adam Jones, disgraced teacher who was banned for life for verbally abusing three boys, chasing them in his car and slashing the tyres on their bikes. He’d previously come to the attention of the authorities for using a school computer to send hate filled messages describing immigrants as “savage animals”.
It is unlikely that Walker will lead the party to it’s recent heights.
The Far-right in the UK is currently in dissary with the collapse of the EDL leaving several small groups fighting it out to be the show in town. Britain First is a worrying example of a group doing this well.
However, the racism espoused by Griffin still exists. The success of UKIP is an example of this.
Just as the BNP’s move from street to electoral politics presented a challenge to antiracists, the growth of racism in the political mainstream presents another. UKIP may be leading the way, but the Tories and Labour are desperately running behind when asked about migrants and Europe.
We should celebrate Griffin’s and the BNP’s decline, but as always, the fight against racism and fascism continues.