Right-wing graffiti daubed on a shop wall has been turned into peaceful paintings by a Middlesbrough family.
Members of the Amanat family were shocked to discover the letters BNP daubed in yellow paint on the side of the shop they’ve run for about 15 years, Leinster News in Leinster Road, Gresham.
But with a few brush strokes of their own, the family has transformed the crude scrawl into a flower and a butterfly.
And while the British National Party slogan went ignored, shoppers and passers-by have given the new version the thumbs-up.
Student Shaz Amanat and her brother Nav decided to take the artistic stand.
Shaz, 19, said she first saw the graffiti as she headed for Middlesbrough’s Macmillan Sixth Form, where she is studying pyschology, biology, georgraphy and IT.
“It’s difficult to say how I felt, really – disheartened, I suppose. It was such a shock to see it
.“It was up for a couple of days because we didn’t have time to clear it off but then when I was on the Saturday shift with my brother, we decided to do something creative with it.”
Grabbing a pot of white paint, Shaz and Nav, 25, got to work.
Shaz said: “We just wanted to make a statement to show it’s not acceptable. Someone told me it’s happened on another building too, which is sad to hear.”
Shaz’s mum Zoe said:
“They are all really nice around here, we all know each other.
“I was shocked when I saw the latters – I just thought ‘which idiot did that?’ But people like it now – they say we should leave it as it is.”
Nav, an IT analyst, admits he originally just wanted to cover it up so his girlfriend didn’t have to see it.
“I found a tin of white paint we’ve probably had for years, but I didn’t put too much thought into it. I think Shaz was more hurt by it and it was her idea to paint a flower.
“No-one mentioned anything when it just said BNP but since we’ve changed it, we’ve had people taking photos and coming into the shop, even if they’re not buying anything, to say they love it. Facebook has been going crazy too.
“I don’t want people to think it’s a bad area around here because it isn’t – we’ve never had any trouble.
“And it’s my dad’s shop at the end of the day, so it’s his decision what do do with it. But if it’s sending out a good message, maybe we can leave it in place for a while.”
Source – Middlesbrough Evening Gazette, 13 May 2015
Not a single Liberal Democrat candidate will be standing at next month’s local elections in South Tyneside.
The Lib Dems’ no-show at the ballot box, the first in a generation, comes amid fears by one of its former representatives that its brand is now “toxic on the doorstep”.
Until just a few years ago, the party’s candidates at Parliamentary elections in the borough were the natural opposition to Labour.
In South Shields at the 2005 general election, Lib Dem Stephen Psallidas finished second to then-Labour MP David Miliband with almost 6,000 votes, 19.7 per cent of the total cast.
In local elections around the same time, the party, led by Nick Clegg since 2007, could usually guarantee a handful of seats, particularly in the Hebburn North ward.
At one time, it held all three seats for Hebburn North.
However, since the 2010 general election, the party’s fortunes have declined dramatically in the borough.
At the 2013 Parliamentary by-election in South Shields, its candidate, Hugh Annand, lost his deposit, receiving just 352 votes, just 1.4 per cent of the vote, and only narrowly avoiding the ignominy of being defeated by the Raving Monster Loony Party’s contender.
Now, not a single Lib Dem is to contest the local elections in South Tyneside on Thursday, May 7.
The party’s absence from the political scene in South Tyneside comes as no surprise to Joe Abbott, formerly a Lib Dem councillor for Hebburn North.
He said: “It’s something of a shame, but I’m not surprised no-one is standing from the party.
“The reality is that the Lib Dem brand is toxic on the doorstep.
“It all dates back to the party getting into bed with the Tories.”
Mr Abbott is standing as an independent in Hebburn North next month.
He was the Lib Dems’ last councillor in South Tyneside until he quit the party in disgust over its decision to form a coalition with David Cameron’s Conservatives in 2010 and back his austerity measures.
He stood as an independent at 2012’s elections but lost out to Labour’s Mary Butler.
Meanwhile, the far-right British National Party (BNP) is not putting forward any candidates at May’s Local Elections either.
The party has targeted several ward seats in the borough over recent years, but it isn’t throwing its hat into the ring this time round.
At 2012’s local elections, it contested eight of the 18 South Tyneside Council ward seats up for grabs.
Source – Shields Gazette, 15 Apr 2015
Ukip has declared war on cycle lanes in Newcastle – by claiming they discriminate against the elderly.
The anti-EU party has distributed leaflets claiming it’s unfair to spend money on cyclists because they tend to be young.
And while Ukip acknowledges that Newcastle has received a £10m government grant for the lanes, it complains:
“Just because they receive a government grant they don’t have to spend it.”
> Uh, I think they probably do, you know. That’s rather the point of grants.
The leaflet highlights planned cycle lanes in Gosforth High Street, John Dobson Street and other roads in the city.
But it asks: “Are cycle lanes paved with gold?”
The Ukip leaflet continues:
“Cyclists are the chosen people, motorists are just a cash cow and have very few rights.
“How many elderly ladies will get on their bikes on a dark December night in Newcastle? Not many.
“Surely giving all the rights to cyclists, who are usually young people, is discrimination against the elderly and infirm?”
The leaflet goes on to complain that cyclists “carry no number plates or insurance” and suggests the council could improve road safety by ordering cyclists to put bells on their bikes.
But the claims were rejected by Newcastle Central Labour candidate Chi Onwurah.
“Cycling is a low impact way of keeping fit for people of all ages as well as a green and sustainable means of transport.
“The idea that this discriminates against older people is absurd and implies some kind of battle between cyclists and the elderly when in reality we all benefit from quieter, safer roads.
“Ukip have gone from picking on immigrants to picking on cyclists. Who is next I wonder?”
Earlier this week, Ukip launched its North East campaign and claimed it would be a “two horse race” between Ukip and Labour in the region.
Ukip and the Green Party are fielding a record number of General Election candidates as they seek to prove their credentials as emerging national political forces.
Provisional Press Association figures suggest Nigel Farage’s party is contesting 624 of the UK’s 650 Westminster seats – 66 more than it did in 2010.
Meanwhile the Greens, who have enjoyed a number of strong by-election performances, are putting up hopefuls in 571 seats – more than 70% higher than the 335 it fielded last time.
But in a signal of the dramatic decline of the far-right British National Party as an electoral force, it will be on the ballot paper in only eight constituencies, down from 338 last time.
The total number of candidates appears to have dipped slightly from 4,150 to 3,963 candidates.
A growing number are women – up almost a fifth from 854 to 1,020.
Ukip’s slate however is the only one of the major parties to be more male than in 2010, with only 77 women standing compared with 83.
Source – Newcastle Evening Chronicle, 11 Apr 2015
A North East BNP activist has been appointed acting chairman of the party after Nick Griffin stepped down as leader.
The party’s website said Adam Walker had been appointed acting chairman after Mr Griffin “stepped aside”, two months after he lost the party’s only seat at the European Parliament in a disastrous set of election results.
Mr Griffin, who has been the public face of the party for more than a decade, has taken on the new role of party president.
Mr Griffin, who was declared bankrupt in January, had “taken up the position of President”, it said, adding that the national executive was “united in their support” for his replacement.
After voters in the north west ousted him as an MEP in May, Mr Griffin accepted the BNP – which now has only two local councillors – would be described as a “racist” outfit.
Its supporters wanted to “send them all home”, he said – suggesting they would end up disappointed if they had voted for Ukip as an alternative.
The BNP published a statement on its website announcing the change at the top, which reads: “Recently appointed deputy chairman, Adam Walker, has accepted the role of acting chairman of the British National Party after Nick Griffin stepped aside at a meeting of the BNP National Executive held on 19 July.
“The full national executive are united in their support for Adam in this role. Nick Griffin has taken up the position of president.”
Source – Newcastle Evening Chronicle, 22 July 2014
British National Party leader Nick Griffin has accused Ukip of recycling and softening their hardline anti-immigration policy.
Mr Griffin made the remarks after Ukip council candidate William Henwood told Lenny Henry to emigrate to a black country.
Henwood, who is standing in a council election in Enfield, north London, made the comment on Twitter in response to a speech by Henry in which he said ethnic minorities were under-represented on British television.
“He should emigrate to a black country. He does not have to live with whites,” Mr Henwood posted.
‘Defending’ the remark, Mr Henwood told the BBC: “I think if black people come to this country and don’t like mixing with white people why are they here? If he (Henry) wants a lot of blacks around go and live in a black country.”
Griffin told the BBC: “If you look at Ukip they are using all our rhetoric, they are using our slogans, they are recycling our posters and people like it.
> Some people like it, Nick. Mainly the sort of people who thought your views represented balanced social comment.
“The only difference is that Ukip won’t deliver. Their actual policy is a 50,000 net increase in immigration every year.
“When they talk about balanced migration what Farage actually means is for every Brit who leaves Britain, they’d be happy to let a Pakistani or an Afghan in, which means their policy is actually about 300,000 new immigrants a year.
“Our policy is simple: shut the door, we don’t want anyone – black, brown, green or white.
“I think if the public get to understand that then Ukip’s vote is going to meltdown as they come under the scrutiny they deserve.”
> Weirdly, I find myself agreeing with Nick Griffin ! Only on this last point, mind… vote for UKIP, vote for the new British fascist party.
Source – Sunday Herald 27 April 2014
UKIP are making a determined bid for North East votes, as you’ll know if you’ve been following posts on UT&W in the past week or two. Before you’re swayed, read this…
On Friday I reblogged a piece from the ever-acute and satirical Tom Pride about how the unemployed worker in UKIP’s election poster was actually an Irish actor. This was a source of highly ironic amusement, as well as a comment on the double standards used by UKIP and some of the other parties, when they start banging on the nationalist and anti-immigration issues. On the same evening you could also see a clip on the BBC’s long-running satirical quiz, Have I Got News For You, UKIP’s Fuehrer, Nigel Farage, being given a thorough grilling by the Beeb’s Nick Robinson. Why, asked Robinson, if immigration was so bad and a threat to British jobs, did Farage employ his wife, who was German, as his secretary? Because, said il Duce, there were no English people, who could do the job, thus torpedoing much of his anti-immigration arguments. It also brought…
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The British National Party is in legal hot water after failing in a High Court bid to inherit £389,000 left to it by a Northumberland-born expat.
When Ashington-born Joseph Robson died in Alicante, Spain, at the age of 81 in March 2010, he bequeathed his entire estate outside Spain – worth £389,000 – to the BNP, leaving his two sons, Jeremy and Simon, with just £135 between them.
However, a judge has now ruled that Mr Robson’s bequest fell foul of the ban on foreign donations to political parties – and that the BNP broke the law by “receiving” and “accepting” the gift in breach of the Political Parties Elections and Referendums Act 2000.
Judge Richard Sheldon QC effectively tore up Mr Robson’s will, declared that he died intestate and awarded his fortune to the sons he tried to disinherit.
There was no evidence that Mr Robson had been registered to vote in the UK at any time in the five years before his death – and he was therefore not a “permissible donor” to the far-right BNP or any other registered UK political party, the judge ruled.
Mr Robson had not lived in Britain “at any period after 1992” and exhaustive searches of the electoral rolls had failed to turn up his name.
The possibility that he was registered to vote in England in the five years before he died was “at best, highly unlikely,” the judge said.
BNP chairman Nick Griffin, along with the party’s Treasurer, Clive Jefferson, and leading party member, Adam Walker, a former teacher from County Durham, had taken steps to vary the terms of Mr Robson’s will so that the bequest would be paid into a trust, rather than directly to the party.
But Judge Sheldon said that, by doing that, Mr Robson’s gift had been inadvertantly “accepted” and “received” by the BNP in breach of the prohibition contained within the 2000 Act – which includes “penal provisions”.
Although Mr Robson’s cash had been distributed to no-one, pending the outcome of the case, the judge reached the “inescapable conclusion” that the BNP “had accepted the gift” before attempting to “pass it over” to trustees.
Mr Robson was born in Ashington, Northumberland, in 1928, and lived in Lutterworth, Leicestershire, after divorcing from Jeremy and Simon’s mother in the 1970s.
He moved to Alicante on his retirement in 1992.
He made a will in 1996, leaving the whole of his estate – mostly made up his holdings in an offshore investment fund – to the BNP, apart from the contents of a Spanish bank account, just £135, which he bequeathed to Jeremy.
Patrick Harrington, a close assistant to Nick Griffin although not himself a BNP member, had argued in court that it would be “utterly unjust” for the party to be stripped of Mr Robson’s bequest.
“One son was given nothing and the other was given less than £150. It seems pretty clear that the father didn’t want the bulk of his estate to go to his two sons – he wanted it to go to a political party,” he said.
“Mr Robson had every right to be on the electoral register but, for whatever reason, he was unaware of the provision that he had to be.
“The pathway can never lead to the sons, that can never happen,” he added.
Denying that the BNP were fighting the case because they were badly in need of funds, he told the judge: “The BNP has received sizable legacies as its support base tends to be amongst older people. It is not desperate for money.”
Mr Harrington promised that, were the cash released, “a large pool of voluntary BNP labour” would be “sitting in the British Library going through every electoral roll in the country” to find out if Mr Robson had in fact been registered to vote in any UK constituency in the five years before he died.
> Do they have that many that can read ? 😉
However, the judge ruled that, under the 2000 Act – which was introduced by the last Labour government to curb “foreign donations” to British registered political parties – Mr Robson could not lawfully have made the gift, whether in his will or during his lifetime, and that the BNP was not entitled to accept and receive it.
Neither of Mr Robson’s sons attended the court hearing, and their barrister said he was unable to comment on why their father had decided to effectively write them out of his will.
Source – Newcastle Journal 01 Feb 2014