UPDATE: The second BNP membership leak

So I had a quick flick through.

Not a great deal of change from the last one (if it is indeed genuine). As for the peer, they have one listed who is fake (could someone possibly explain why fake peers are on BNP lists? I can’t figure it out).

Seems there’s a fair few in Norfolk, according to the Guardian’s map – 31-50 – that’s a pretty worrying rise if the Guardian’s constituancy map is to be believed.

Meanwhile, the BNP’s defence remains the same. Marxist conspiracy, trying to gag them from speaking the truth about Britain…I think we all know the drill by now.

BNP in the Lords – data leak names sitting peer as a party member

You’d think the BNP would have tightened it’s data handling after the leaked list fiasco back in November 2008. Tomorrow may prove their disregard for data protection, as another list will be leaked.

However, this one is causing a lot of controversy on the Twitterverse and blogosphere tonight as it reveals the name of a peer that holds BNP membership. Unsurprisingly there’s a lot of speculation but nothing concrete.

There’s no sign of the list yet, although it’s rumoured to be released sometime tomorrow.

The Guardian – who first broke the news – reports that the following data is also included in the list:

• The BNP had 11,560 members as of April this year, including one peer.

• The party appears to have benefited from a surge in female recruits – one in eight of the party’s members are now women.

• The highest concentrations of membership lie in Leicestershire, Lancashire, Derbyshire and Lincolnshire.

No doubt this list has been leaked by some disgruntled far-far-right nutjobs in the party, believing the BNP to have gone soft under Griffin. Either way, this isn’t the best timing for the party – what with BBC Question Time upcoming on Thursday.

So the blogosphere waits with baited breath on the revelation of the BNP peer – and the BNP attempt to better protect their databases. Perhaps hiring people who hold an unflinching admiration of Griffin would be a good start – perhaps not disgruntled nutjobs?

Update: Nick Griffin gives his official response:

“This is all an evil, Marxist media conspiracy designed to spread lies about the BNP and stop them telling the truth of Britain and quash the BNP’s success. It’s them damn Guardianistas, I tell you. And the UAF, it was them too!”

Well, okay – maybe Griffin didn’t say that precisely – but his official response follows the same line.

Meanwhile, Political Scrapbook reports that the Guardian are currently waiting on a response from the peer in question. There had been some suggestion that the peer was an error involving “Lord Adam Murray”, a fake on the first leak. Nothing else is known as yet.

Fash well and truely trashed in Barnsley

owned

BNP owned in Barnsley.

The BNP, having got just a little bit cocky, had targeted Barnsley as a potential win. Obviously, they’d thrown all of their possible resources into winning this seat.

They failed, and quite substantially.

Full result:

Labour 1520
BNP 590
Independent 171
UKIP 94
Tory 89
Lib Dem 78

Lab majority 930.

And the fash well and truely trashed.

Barnsley said “NOT IN OUR NAME”, for which I’m proud. And congratulations to all the hardworking activists, councillors and organisations who helped to defeat the BNP and gain another Labour win.

Tory MP raises the expenses bar to stratospheric proportions

Just when we thought it was all over – the duck islands, the moat-cleaning, the gardening, the £400 for fixing a briefcase and second homes, the expenses issue rears itself again.

David Wilshire, otherwise known as that nasty piece of work who first tabled Section 28 into the Local Government Act of 1988 has been caught paying £100,000 in expenses to his own “company” – additionally, the company is offshore, has never audited any accounts and is unincorporated – the whole situation is stained with corruption.

A just falldown for the man who implemented a directly homophobic clause? Let’s just say I have no sympathy at all.

I’ve been quite tempted to log on to William Hill and place a bet on Wilshire being nudged towards resignation before the Sunday newspapers go to print. But I’m sure Cameron is working on his removal as I type this.

Well, Wilshire is 66 – what’s that Osbourne said about the retirement age recently? *

*thanks to @psbook for that one!

Carter-Ruck can gag the media, but they can’t silence the online outcry

In less than 24 hours, a story of censorship, injunctions and restrictions on press freedom has come full circle.

The trouble started after the Guardian reported that it had been gagged with a super-injunction preventing them from reporting Parliamentary procedure. The original order also prevented them from informing their readership as to why this was. It was, without doubt, one of the most draconian injunctions seen in living memory.

Within hours of the story breaking, the Twitter-verse ignited with speculation and soon enough, Trafigura became a prominent trending topic, with influential bloggers also getting involved and revealing the very question that Trafigura and more specifically their legal firm, Carter-Ruck were trying to prevent getting into the public domain. In gagging the Guardian, their injunction had backfired. Guido Fawkes and various other blogs had already released the name of the MP tabling the question as well as the full question itself, rendering the original legal proceedings pretty pointless. By lunchtime today, Carter-Ruck had withdrawn legal opposition before Guardian Media were due to challenge them (possibly after realising that they didn’t have a leg to stand on?)

So Carter-Ruck are left as a laughing stock for trying to take on press freedom and failing quite substantially. Several media blogs since the debacle have been pointing to the influence of the blogosphere and Twitter – in my opinion, they’re not wrong. Evidently, a legal firm who specialises in suing the media haven’t quite grasped the fact that it’s a whole different game now. Yes, they can gag an institution. But Twitter is not an institution, or a media group. Neither is the blogosphere. Twitter in particular is a network – and in this case, a network that can quite easily leak the very information that legal firms are trying to surpress. A legal firm throwing their weight around and putting super-injunctions on media firms isn’t going to surpress anything under the network framework – somehow, as today proved, it will get out and the entire surpression attempt will be rendered pointless. In the world of new media, these guys are playing with the big boys and they appear to be losing.

Aside from the obvious foolishness of Carter-Ruck/Trafigura’s actions, they were also potentially in contempt of Parliamentary supremacy. Before the withdrawl of the injunction, the MP whose question was at the centre of all of this, Paul Farrelly, had addressed the Speaker with his concerns about the secret injunction – specifically that it was a direct contempt of Parliament. David Davis also got involved, criticising the rising use of “super-injunctions”. Quite rightly, the House was united: the actions of both the legal firm and the corporation were not only in direct contempt of the Parliamentary process but also freedom of press and legitimate investigative journalism.

Whilst Carter-Ruck/Trafigura have been defeated and freedom of the press reigns, the issue of these kinds of injunctions should remain high on the agenda. To have the threat of a gagging order for legitimately reporting Parliamentary procedure is not only controversial, it is entirely wrong for freedom of press and speech. It’s a gagging order that perverts the legitimate reporting of Parliamentary business for the benefit of a large corporation at the expense of the public right to know.

However, in this case Carter-Ruck realised that they were fighting a losing battle. A trimph for legitimate journalism yes, as well as a historic moment for new media as a whole.

An exercise in how not to use no-platform on campus

Another academic year starts, a new round of freshers arrive and the continuing lot get ready for the year that actually counts towards the overall degree classification.

At the tail end of last year and just before the new academic year started, I joined forces with a University friend of mine to set up a Labour Society covering the Maritime Greenwich and Avery Hill campuses (with help from the two local CLPs, Eltham and Greenwich & Woolwich). At that time I was the general secretary of the Leftist (now Marxist) Society. The planned launch of the society was planned over the four months we were away from University, spurred on with the interest we recieved from Greenwich students via our Facebook group. We’d booked our stall at the two Freshers Fayres and created a petition for our centrepiece campaign. Sounds fairly standard and typical of political society activity, right? Well, it was – up to a point.

About a month before we were due to launch at the Fayres, I recieved word from the society chair that our campaign petition was banned and we were to take down all mentions of campaign from our website and Facebook group. No real explanation for this was offered, but I did hear that there was some confusion over the SU’s own plans for the issue we were campaigning on.

This was not an isolated case, however. As recently as a few days ago we were informed that we were not allowed to promote campaigning events from either CLP – especially unhelpful as a campaign weekend is coming up soon. Additionally, our website content has to be constantly vetted and checked. If anything provokes a challenge, it is likely to be revoked. And the reasons the SU give for these measures? The NUS’s own no-platform policy, which appears to be extended to political societies across the board.

I know for a fact that this kind of usage of no-platform features nowhere on official NUS policy. No-platform is designed to prevent fascist organisations or societies that are extremist/racist in aims and beliefs from being able to stand for NUS elections or participate in NUS functions. Why the SU at my University choose to use it against a legitimate Labour Club, I don’t know.

I’m all for the SU ensuring that we are behaving and acting in accordance with the official constitution and regulations by which all societies are bound. We’ve done nothing but co-operate so far and will continue to do so. However, I will not accept that no-platform is a legitimate weapon to use against us – because it is not there to crush opposition.

The entire situation is lunacy – we cannot function as an active society if everything we’re doing will be opposed for no apparent reason. We abided by the rules, signed up enough people and are now completely legitimate, so I can’t see what their problem is. Also, our website is owned by us – why exactly should we be vetted for publishing independently of SUUG’s own page? I can understand that they don’t want bad publicity from a society – hence why we allow them to view our articles before they are actually published. But to simply ask us to remove content because one officer doesn’t agree with it is completely without justification. Perhaps if we’d actually written something offensive or deregatory, then I can understand. But that’s not how we operate – we are only critical of the student union when we believe that their activities conflict with our own beliefs in the Labour Club.

This is a complete travesty of student democracy, especially with regards to political societies. With actions like this, is it any surprise that the turnout is so low in the SU elections year on year? This is one of the things we’re trying to change, because Greenwich is in desperate need of student activism. It’s not like people aren’t interested – the response for both the Labour and Marxist society has proved that much. People want change – but if we’re continually blocked at every turn, it’s no wonder that people will soon turn their backs to it.

No doubt myself and the current chair have a lot of patience. With what we’re coming up against, looks like we’ll need more tolerance than is human in this kind of situation.

While we’re on apologies…

At the Conservative Party conference, a 15 year old girl stood up and asked Gordon Brown for an apology. An apology for the debt he has left her generation in.

Well, I’d rather like an apology for an entire generation of children that I was in that were left behind by the previous Tory government. The ones who had to pay for all their textbooks at school, and damn to you if you couldn’t afford them? I won’t get one.

Oh, and how about a “sorry” for the desecrated towns and cities? Namely Gateshead Quays?

And how about an apology to all Londoners who are constantly being told that they paid too much for travel under Ken and now too little under Mayor Boris?

I’m waiting…