Nick Griffin

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Nick Griffin

Nicholas John Griffin (born 1959) is the National Chairman of the far-right British National Party (BNP).
Contents

Early Years and Education

Griffin was born in North London and grew up in rural Suffolk, England. Griffin's mother, Jean, was the BNP candidate against Iain Duncan Smith in the 2001 Election. His father, Edgar, was a member of the Conservative Party and a former Councilor, in August 2001, he was expelled for being linked to the BNP. Initially educated at Woodbridge School Suffolk, Griffin studied history, and then law at Downing College, Cambridge. Griffin dabbled in collegiate boxing while at Cambridge and became a boxing blue. He graduated with an honours degree in law.

Involvement in the Far-Right

The NF and the ITP

Griffin got involved in political activities at the age of 15, when his father, Edgar, took him to meetings of the National Front (NF). By 1978, Griffin was a national organizer for the NF, but left in 1989, in a split with Patrick Harrington. Harrington went on to form the "centrist nationalist" Third Way. Meanwhile, Griffin joined with Derek Holland to form the International Third Position (ITP) which was a continuation of the Political Soldier movement that had formed within the NF. The Political Soldiers believed in the formation of a new man along quasi-religious lines, one who would oppose the "materialism" of both capitalism and communism. This involvement was short lived and by 1991, Griffin had parted with Holland, who remained with the ITP.

The BNP

In 1995, Griffin joined the BNP. Until he became National Chairman, Griffin edited the Spearhead, a publication owned by John Tyndall, the then party leader. He became National Chairman in 1999 by defeating John Tyndall. Since his election, Griffin has tried to transform the BNP into a mainstream political party through a policy of Euronationalism, copying tactics from European politicians such as Jörg Haider and Jean-Marie Le Pen.

Criticisms of Griffin

Griffin has had many detractors. He is widely viewed as a Nazi and a fascist. Griffin has met with David Duke and has praised Louis Farrakhan. In 1988, Griffin went to Libya (at Muammar al-Qaddafi's expense) to raise money, although it transpired that Qaddafi was really only looking for an outlet to distribute his Green Book. In the past, Griffin has denied the holocaust[1] (http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/static/in_depth/programmes/2001/bnp_special/the_leader/beliefs.stm), he attacked a fellow Holocaust denier, David Irving for admitting that some Jews died at the hands of the Nazi state in the Second World War. He has also subscribed to Anti-Semitism in the past, claiming in the leaflet "Who are the Mind Benders?" that Jews dominate British media. In 1998, Griffin was convicted of stirring up racial hatred by giving out racist literature. This conviction has been claimed by opponents to be contradictory to Griffin's stance for "law & order", although Griffin responds by claiming it is an unjust law that allows convictions to take place for expressing views that freedom of speech should permit.

Public Order Conviction

In 1998, Griffin, along with Paul Ballard, was convicted of violating section 19 of the Public Order Act 1986, which states that

"a person who publishes or distributes written material which is threatening, abusive or insulting and intends thereby to incite racial hatred, or, having regard to all the circumstances, racial hatred is likely to be stirred up thereby"

has contravened the criminal law. He received a nine-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, and was fined £2,300 ($4,215; €3,466). The charge related to issue 12 of 'The Rune' magazine, of which Griffin was editor when published in 1996. The complaint regarding the magazine was made by Alex Carlisle, QC, who was the Liberal Democrat MP for Montgomeryshire at the time. He had asked the police to obtain him a copy of the magazine, which they did. After reading it, the MP called the police again and complained about its content, whereupon the police raided Griffin's home and charged him.

Recent Election Campaigns

In June 2001, Griffin ran as a BNP candidate in the constituency of Oldham West & Royton and got 6,552 votes (16%), beating the Liberal Democrats into fourth place and running a close race for second place with the Conservatives. After the result, Griffin was accused of exploiting racial tensions in Oldham that resulted in riots that happened before the June 2001 vote. In May 2003, Griffin stood for election again in Oldham for a seat on the local council representing the Chadderton North ward, winning 993 votes (28%). He was not elected. In June 2004, Griffin topped the BNP list for the European Parliament for the North West England Constituency. The party received 134,958 votes (6%). No one from the BNP was elected.

Nick Griffin stood in the 2005 General Election in the Keighley constituency, West Yorkshire, where he polled 4,240 votes, 9.16% of those cast.

Griffin lives in Mid Wales with his wife and four children.

Recent arrest and charges

On December 14, 2004, Nick Griffin was arrested on suspicion of incitement to racial hatred, relating to a BBC documentary aired in July 2004. He was released on police bail the same day.

Nick Griffin was the 12th person to be arrested following the documentary and the second high profile arrestee in this case after BNP founder John Tyndall, who was arrested on 12th December.

On April 6, 2005, he was charged by police with four offences of using words or behaviour intended or likely to stir up racial hatred.

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