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Nick Griffin celebrates in Oldham

The British National Party leader, Nick Griffin, is a hardline fascist. Convicted for inciting race hate, he denies that the Holocaust ever took place and believes that Jews are conspiring against white British people.

Griffin is from a wealthy family with a history of far right involvement. His father, Edwin, took him to his first NF meeting when he was just 15. Griffin’s mother is the administration secretary of the party and stood in the 2001 general election.

When Nick Griffin attended Cambridge University to study law his involvement in extremist politics grew. By 1978, he was the national organiser of the NF.

In 1980, Griffin launched Nationalism Today with the help of Joe Pearce, a convicted racist and editor of Bulldog. Nationalism Today became the springboard for the Third Positionist ideas that the NF later adopted. Through Nationalism Today Griffin and Pearce developed their idea that a “third way” was needed to replace the evils of both capitalism and communism. They felt both were Zionist controlled.

The Third Positionist wing of the NF saw the traditional style of fascist organising as pro-capitalist. Griffin wanted to create a political elite. Based on the blood and soil philosophy of Julius Evola, an Italian National Socialist, Griffin and the NF began to develop their Third Positionist ideas.

But it was also terrorists who were to prove a strong influence on Griffin’s politics. Italian fascist, Roberto Fiore, had arrived in Britain with several others including people implicated in the bombing at Bologna railway station in 1980 in which 85 people.

Griffin and Fiore became close, with the Italian working for Griffin’s tour company, Heritage Tours. Griffin’s father remains Fiore’s personal and business accountant.

Griffin’s BNP may hate Islamic fundamentalists now. But this has not always been the case. After his faction took control of the NF, they began to make some strange alliances. They met with representatives of Colonel Gaddafi’s regime through the Libyan People’s Bureau in London, and expressed support for Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini.

Rank and File members of the NF were not too pleased when Griffin, in 1985, praised the black separatist Louis Farrakhan: “White nationalists everywhere wish (Farrakhan) well, for we share a common struggle for the same ends: Racial Separation and Racial Freedom”.

Nick Griffin (left) in Libya

During this period, Griffin and other NF leaders took an all-expenses paid trip to Libya, as guests of the Gaddafi regime to obtain funding.

National Front News wrote at the time: “Common interest must be turned into practical cooperation. Those involved must work to nail the media lies which are used by our enemies to try and divide us and make us afraid to be seen standing side by side with Third Way nations such as Libya and Iran”. Ironic that Griffin once allied himself so closely with Muslim countries that he now condemns as terrorist states. But political gymnastics have been constant throughout Griffin’s life. His bizarre ideologies have changed like the wind.

In 1989, he left the NF and formed the International Third Position, a fanatically Catholic fascist group. The ITP campaigned against Coca Cola, McDonalds, urbanisation and “Zionism” His involvement did not last beyond a few years. In 1991, after a failed business venture, Griffin went his own way.

In 1995, Griffin joined the BNP. He began to edit The Rune, an anti-Semitic quarterly. He also announced that the BNP should prioritise denying the Holocaust to schoolchildren.

He earned a two-year suspended prison sentence for his sick views on the Holocaust. In 1998 he was found guilty of inciting race hatred at Harrow Crown Court for denying that the Holocaust ever took place.

But now Griffin tries to pretend the BNP is respectable. The ITP have also been baffled by Griffin’s incoherence. It recently declared: “He has been a conservative, a revolutionary nationalist, a radical National Socialist, a Third Positionist, a friend of the ‘boot boys’ and the skinhead scene, a man committed to respectable politics and electioneering, a ‘moderniser’. Which is he in reality? Perhaps he has been all these quite sincerely – in which case his judgement is abysmal; or perhaps he has been none of them sincerely – which speaks for itself!”

Griffin immediately had his sights upon leading the BNP. He became editor of Spearhead, the then BNP magazine, from 1996 until his split from former leader John Tyndall in 1999.

He yearned for a BNP that was reputable and modern. The label of Nazism tarnished the group’s image, and Griffin wanted to copy the more intellectual far right parties on the continent. But though he spoke of the need for a community-based politics, his words in The Rune showed his real colours. “The electors of Millwall did not back a post-modernist Rightist Party, but what they perceived to be a strong, disciplined organisation with the ability to back up its slogan “Defend Rights for Whites’ with well-directed boots and fists. When the crunch comes, power is the product of force and will, not of rational debate”.

Nick Griffin: Profile of a fascist