When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Nick Griffin at a BNP press conference in 2009
Nick Griffin at a BNP press conference in 2009
Iwona Kadluczka

LONDON - Police are investigating complaints about a British National Party (BNP) election leaflet depicting Polish people as monkeys campaigning for the Labor Party.

This is just one of several recent controversies involving the BNP, an assortment of neo-fascists, nationalists and xenophobes, whose members have been accused of verbal and physical attacks against ethnic and national minorities. (Since last week's machete murder of a British soldier by two Muslim radicals, the party has been particularly virulant in its anti-Islam rhetoric.)

BNP leader Nick Griffin, who is a member of the European Parliament, has already been convicted for distributing racially inflammatory material. Among other things, he is a known Holocaust denier, having once said that the Holocaust was “the hoax of the 20th century,” and that “the ‘extermination’ tale is a mixture of Allied wartime propaganda, extremely profitable lie, and latter day witch-hysteria."

But the far-right party seems to have a particular obsession with natives and descendants of Poland. The latest BNP flyers were distributed in the streets of Maryport, Cumbria County in Northwest England, the region that elected Griffin to the European Parliament in 2009. Cumbria County is the third largest county in England and Wales, with a population of just under half a million people.

“Our kids’ houses...”

The flyer says Poles are being paid small amounts of cash to deliver Labor Party leaflets. In a variation of its usual slogan, “British Jobs for British Workers,” the BNP flyer says: “Labor has given the Poles our kids’ houses,” referring to social housing allocated by local authorities.

Barbara Cannon, the Labor Party representative in Allerdale, the borough where Maryport is located, notified the police about the leaflet. "I do not want Poles to think they are not welcome in our region," she said.

[rebelmouse-image 27086838 alt="""" original_size="620x451" expand=1]

The Cumbria police confirmed they were investigating the complaint but had not made any arrests.

When prompted by Gazeta Wyborcza, BNP spokesman Simon Darby denied the leaflets existed and said that the depiction of a monkey in election material was not a hate campaign against Poles, but only a reference to the English proverb: “If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys.” The BNP alleges the Labor Party hired Polish canvassers to distribute election flyers on the cheap.

"The leaflet was not racist, because we have very similar roots and would gladly change 500,000 Muslims for 500,000 Poles," Darby told us. "Mass immigration into the UK is not the fault of Poles but the fault of British politicians, who stopped taking care of British citizens," he added.

He went on to say that "Poles who agree to work overtime without overtime pay are taking jobs away from British people."

“New tactics doubled our vote”

Polish embassy spokesman in London, Robert Szaniawski, called the BNP flyers a “scandal.”

"This is not how you treat national minorities in civilized countries," he said. The Polish embassy said that they would decide what steps they would take against the nationalists after reviewing the matter.

The BNP’s anti-Polish campaign did not help it win the Cumbria local elections. That didn’t stop Griffin from tweeting: New BNP tactics tested in Maryport more than doubled our vote to 40%.

New BNP tactics tested in Maryport more than doubled our vote to 40%. #byebyebnp ? Jog on

— Nick Griffin MEP (@nickgriffinmep) May 3, 2013

The Cumbria incident is not the BNP’s first attack on Poles. In 2009, they launched an anti-immigration called “The Battle for Britain,” which was largely directed against Polish immigrants. The poster of the campaign was illustrated by a picture of a Polish World War II Spitfire.

However experts identified the plane as being flown by the Royal Air Force 303 Squadron, made up of expatriate Poles rescued from France before the Nazi occupation. Furthermore, thanks to a “Donald Duck” painted on its cockpit, the pilot of the plane was identified as Polish war hero Jan Zumbach, who shot down eight enemy planes during the Battle of Britain in 1940.

You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
  • $2.90/month or $19.90/year. No hidden charges. Cancel anytime.
Already a subscriber? Log in

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
Geopolitics

Why The 'Perfect Storm' Of Iran's Protests May Be Unstoppable

The latest round of anti-regime protests in Iran is different than other in the 40 years of the Islamic Republic: for its universality and boldness, the level of public fury and grief, and the role of women and social media. The target is not some policy or the economy, but the regime itself.

A woman holds a lock of her hair during a London rally to protest the murder of Mahsa Amini in London

Roshanak Astaraki

-Analysis-

The death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in Tehran on Sept. 16, after a possible beating at a police station, has sparked outrage and mass protests in Iran and abroad. There have been demonstrations and a violent attempt to suppress them in more than 100 districts in every province of Iran.

These protests may look like others since 2017, and back even to 1999 — yet we may be facing an unprecedented turning point in Iranians' opposition to the Islamic Republic. Indeed newly installed conservative President Ibrahim Raisi could not have expected such momentum when he set off for a quick trip to New York and back for a meeting of the UN General Assembly.

For one of the mistakes of a regime that takes pride in dismissing the national traditions of Iran is to have overlooked the power of grief among our people.

Keep reading...Show less

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
  • $2.90/month or $19.90/year. No hidden charges. Cancel anytime.
Already a subscriber? Log in
Writing contest - My pandemic story
THE LATEST
FOCUS
TRENDING TOPICS

Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

Watch VideoShow less
MOST READ