BNP Leader To Go To Palace

By Londonist Last edited 107 months ago
BNP Leader To Go To Palace

Image by SooHK in Lens
Don't worry, the world isn't going mad: Nick Griffin, who leads the far-right British National Party, is not off to Buckingham Palace to get his knighthood, but he is planning to attend a garden party hosted by the Queen on 21st July.

Griffin hasn't received a personal invitation from Her Majesty, but will instead go to the event in the company of Richard Barnbrook, a BNP member of the London Assembly. All members of the Assembly have been formally invited to the party, and Mr Barnbrook is exercising his right to have someone accompany him.

Barnbrook has rightly predicted a "to-do and a hoot" over who he's chosen to stand alongside him nibbling cucumber sandwiches by the fountain, but grandly predicts that "these things are going to happen more and more as the party goes forward". He might be forgetting that apart from Griffin's extreme political views and his 1998 conviction for distributing material likely to incite racial hatred, the party leader has also been a vocal critic of the Royal Family, especially the Prince of Wales, of whom he said: "He has made known his desire to represent people of all faiths and races. This clearly shows the gulf that lies between the monarchy today and the British people". That should be worth repeating to the great and the good whilst quaffing the finest champagne that Buckingham Palace has to offer.

The Mayor has stepped into the controversy, writing to the Assembly's Chair, Darren Johnson, to demand that Richard Barnbrook's invitation be cancelled if he doesn't change his choice of guest, and warning of the potential embarrassment to the Palace. Meanwhile, in case you're wondering, the Queen herself does not scrutinise the list of accompanying guest names since they're regarded as official rather than personal invitations. You've got to feel a little sorry for her, really, haven't you? It's her party, after all, and she doesn't even get to choose who she shares her vol-au-vents with.

By Vaughan Simons

Last Updated 21 May 2009


Can you add a "dislike" button next to the "like" button for stories like this? (Although I'd be expressing my dislike of the BNP rather than the story itself, I suppose)


Shame the title of this piece doesn't read 'Tower' instead of 'Palace'. That would have been something to celebrate!


So. I firmly believe that Barnbrook and Griffin are odious little beings, but I do also firmly believe in democracy - 5% of Londoners saw fit to vote for the BNP, and Barnbrook is a democratically elected representative.

Instead of the petty 'ignoring' of Barnbrook in the Assembly, Assembly members should be actively responding to him and challenging his warped views. The BNP have gained popularity precisely because nobody bar UAF has really gone out there and challenged what they're saying. Nobody has said "Actually, council house shortages have nothing to do with migrant workers - in one London borough there are 17,000 people on the waiting list, and 100 got a home last year. The simple fact of the matter is that after the right to buy was introduced, there are not enough homes, and not enough are being built," nor has anyone actually pointed out all of the shops, business or valuable community work that would close down without our migrant community. Assembly Members are simply too scared of losing votes from marginal voters for making a principled stand against him.

The current tactic of ignoring Barnbrook means that he has built up this persona based on "bullied for daring to support the 'ethnic white minority'" bollocks, which wins him yet more votes.

Rescinding his invitation to the Palace would add further fuel to this, especially as there's precedent for London AMs to be invited as a matter of course. Just don't let him bring Griffin (easy to write off as a political manipulation or something equal), and don't let him get anywhere close to getting a photo with a royal.