4 June 2014

An open letter to Nick Griffin

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Edie talking at the "funeral for fascism"
Edie talking at the “funeral for fascism”

Following the public rejection of fascism in the elections at the end of May, British Future hosted a “funeral for fascism” last Thursday 29th May. A horse-drawn hearse carried a coffin through London’s East End, with the event culminating in a wake at Wilton’s Music Hall.

Of those who spoke at the wake, Edie Friedman, Director of the Jewish Council for Racial Equality, read out an “Open letter to Nick Griffin.”

In this letter she outlined how the demise of the BNP as a political party “is a great example of our proud tradition of British political activism.”

But she also said that this watershed moment should not “make us complacent.” Edie highlighted the recently published British Social Attitudes Survey, in which almost one in three people in the UK admitted to being racist on some level, as a reason for caution.

Below is a copy of exactly what she said:

Dear Mr Griffin,

Well, thank you for giving us some very good news. The almost complete demise of your party is very welcome indeed and is a testament to the efforts of all those people in Britain who have campaigned relentlessly to bring this about.

You were not able to fool us and hide your fascist beliefs, no matter how hard you tried. Standing up to you and convincing others to do the same is a great example of our proud tradition of British political activism, which saw off your antecedents in the 1930s in the form of the British Union of Fascists just down the road from here in Cable Street, as well as the Union Movement in the 1950s, the National Front in the 1970s and 80s and most recently, the English Defence League.

We will not allow the collapse of your party to make us complacent. Instead, we must take stock of current developments, including the recent election results and the disturbing findings of the British Social Attitudes Survey, and create a national campaign to emphasise the advantages of living in a plural, diverse society.

For all too long it was you and others like you who set the agenda. Take note, Mr Griffin, that we intend to reclaim this agenda. A new movement (perhaps along the lines of Make Poverty History) can engage people across the political spectrum including trade unions, faith groups and others.

This movement will stand firmly against the politics of division and scapegoating, which have no place in modern Britain. It will instead present a more positive vision of Britain: a vision which is the complete opposite of the one you had in mind and one that will help us to Make Fascism History.

Yours sincerely,

Dr Edie Friedman, Executive Director, Jewish Council for Racial Equality

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