Monday, October 19, 2009

Former army chiefs condemning BNP

Former military heavyweights have warned that the Armed Forces are in danger of being hijacked by far right groups.

The Times newspaper reported that former Army generals had written a letter warning that political extremists had no right to share the Armed Forces' proud reputation.

The letter, signed by former heads of the Army, General Sir Mike Jackson and General Sir Richard Richard Dannatt, amongst others, said far right groups were "fundamentally at odds" with the values of the British military, following the British National Party's tactic of using images of Winston Churchill and wartime insignia during recent European election campaigns.

The letter reads: "We call on all those who seek to hijack the good name of Britain's military for their own advantage to cease and desist.

"The values of these extremists -- many of whom are essentially racist -- are fundamentally at odds with the values of the modern British military, such as tolerance and fairness."

General Jackson specifically attacked the BNP for using the Army's image. He told the Times: "The BNP is claiming that it has a better relationship with the Armed Forces than other political parties. How dare they use the image of the Army, in particular, to promote their policies? These people are beyond the pale."

The move by the generals comes after the BBC rejected a call from Cabinet minister Peter Hain to drop BNP leader Nick Griffin from the panel on BBC1's Question Time this Thursday.

Mr Hain, a long-standing campaigner against Apartheid, has written to BBC director general Mark Thompson warning he could face legal action if he allows Mr Griffin to take part in the flagship political show.

The Welsh Secretary argued that the BNP was currently "an unlawful body" after the party told a court last week it would amend its whites-only membership rules to meet discrimination legislation. The Equality and Human Rights Commission had issued county court proceedings over concerns the membership criteria were restrictive to those within certain ethnic groups.

In a letter to Mr Hain, Mr Thompson responded: "According to the advice we have received, the British National Party is not prevented from continuing to operate on a day-to-day basis and its elected representatives continue to sit on councils and in the European Parliament. "It remains the BBC's obligation to scrutinise and hold to account all elected representatives and to do so with due impartiality."

No comments:

Post a Comment