The BNP and Women

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2004 National Women's Conference
13 October 2003

Conference is appalled to learn that the British National Party (BNP) has been recruiting women as activists in an attempt to sanitise its image and present itself as a wholesome, family loving organisation. This seems to be part of a growing trend in the far right to recruit and involve more women with a view to winning support from those willing to believe that having more women equates to having more mainstream politics.

Whilst anti-fascists and academics believe this is a cynical, sinister and successful tactic used by an increasingly sophisticated movement that has no genuine intention of softening its core politics, it is nevertheless a worrying development. Steve Silver, editor of Searchlight, believes it is a cynical attempt by the BNP to make itself look more mainstream in the lead up to the European elections in June 2004. He goes on to say “They are playing down their racism and trying to make it look as though they are just slightly more radical than the conservatives, many people joining now are unaware how extreme the party’s beliefs really are”.

Other commentators believe the real reason for appealing to women is to ensure that white women have more children, and that many on the far right still believe that this is the major and only role for women in their movement.

Conference believes this must be tackled and the reality of the BNP’s tactics and their unchanged core racist views made absolutely clear. It is regrettable that women are being hoodwinked in this way or more worrying that they share the racist views of the BNP.

Conference agrees that UNISON must continue its campaign against the BNP and far right groups. Conference, therefore, instructs the National Women’s Committee to publicise this latest tactic of the BNP and remind women of the core racist views of the organisation; and liaise with the National Executive Council, the Affiliated Political Fund and through them the UNISON Parliamentary Group in continuing UNISON’s campaign against the BNP and all far right organisations.