Article in the Times

The campaign against the BNP’s Red White and Blue “festival” has finally attracted the attention of the national press with this article in the Times.

June 10, 2008
Denby villagers fear violent clashes as British National Party sets up camp
Dominic Kennedy

A village renowned for its pottery is trying to avoid becoming the permanent venue of the British National Party’s summer gathering.

Residents of Denby, in Derbyshire, home of glazed china tableware and kitchen utensils for two centuries, fear violent clashes as the police try to prevent anti-fascists stopping the Red, White and Blue Festival.

They say that last year’s inaugural event involved skinheads with vicious dogs descending on the Derbyshire countryside playing tapes of martial tunes from the Third Reich.

Judith Osborne, a farmer’s wife who lives next door to the festival site, said: “I always say when you join the BNP they give you a rottweiler puppy and a red and white flag as a starter, because they all come with a flag and they all have these big snarling dogs.”
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Derbyshire police say that they have no objections to the festival but want conditions imposed, including restricting entry to BNP members and their guests. The party’s website was offering membership last night for £15, with cards delivered in three weeks.

Mrs Osborne, in her seventies, wept as she recalled one summer night before last year’s festival. Supporters were already camping on the fields preparing for the event and she realised that they were playing recorded music and joining in. “I heard them and I realised what they were singing,” she said. “They were Nazi marching songs. I’m sorry, I’m old enough to remember the war and those songs and that’s awful, that’s just awful listening to that. They were laughing and shouting and I just couldn’t cope.”

Her neighbour, Alan Warner, a landowner and BNP member who is hosting the event, said that the suggestion was untrue. “They would be chucked off the site. We are not Nazis. We are just the opposite,” he said.

The Red, White and Blue Festival will welcome up to 5,000 BNP sympathisers on 34 acres of fields from August 15 to 17 with a big wheel, dodgems, waltzers and a firework display. There will be drinking until 2am.

Last year villagers persuaded anti-BNP supporters to stay away to avoid disrupting their tranquillity any more than the revellers were already doing, but this time a concerted offensive has begun to disrupt the festival, with a planned day of mass action.

Villagers fear that the “Stop the Red, White and Blue” campaign will attract thousands of protesters, requiring an extensive police presence to prevent civil disorder.

The BNP needs a licence because it wants to serve alcohol and offer live music. Amber Valley Borough Council’s licensing panel meets today to consider the party’s application. Anti-fascist groups have had their objections rejected because they live outside the area. A council spokeswoman said: “Mr Warner can hold the event on his premises anyway. We are only looking at licenseable activities, for example alcohol and live music, and the impact that could have on the local community. Any objections to the fact that the event is taking place at all cannot be classed as valid representations. It is not a political decision as such.”

Noise abatement notices were served on the organisers last year and this time the council promises round-the-clock monitoring. Police said that there had been no trouble last year.

A Derbyshire police spokeswoman said: “We will police it according to the way it will need to be policed but obviously we will be monitoring the situation if and when it goes ahead.”

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