A former Nazi British National Party (BNP) candidate has admitted possessing explosive chemicals in anticipation of a civil war in Britain, Manchester Crown Court heard this week.
Robert Cottage, 49, from Colne in Lancashire, pleaded guilty to possession of explosives at the start of his trial. Cottage denies conspiracy to cause an explosion.
Cottage stood as a BNP candidate in local elections in Colne last May. A second man, David Jackson, 62, of Nelson, Lancashire, denies both charges under the Explosive Substances Act.
Police found rocket launchers, chemicals, BNP literature and a nuclear or biological suit at Jackson’s home last October. This came shortly after police recovered 22 chemical components from Cottage’s home.
Alistair Webster QC, defending, said Cottage believed the “political and financial condition of the country” would lead to civil war.
Cottage accepted the possession charge on the basis that the explosives were designed to deter attacks on his property, Webster said.
What sentence will Cottage get? Dhiren Barot was sentenced to life imprisonment in November 2006 with the recommendation that he serve a minimum of 40 years for conspiracy to commit murder.
This was despite the fact that Barot had not acquired any bomb-making materials to carry out alleged terrorist activities. Will Cottage receive a similar sentence? The trial of Cottage and Jackson was continuing as Socialist Worker went to press.
The BNP came second in a council by-election in Bedworth, Warwickshire, last week. This disturbing result demonstrates how the climate of racism and anti-Muslim hysteria is playing into the hands of the Nazis.
Labour held on to its seat in Bede ward on Thursday of last week, polling 658 votes, but the BNP’s Alwyn Deacon, a pub landlord from Nuneaton, took 546 votes. The Tory vote fell to 301, less than two fifths of its previous vote in the ward.
In recent council elections voters in Bede have been faced with a choice of just Labour or Tory candidates. The by-election saw a wider field of candidates, with the Liberal Democrats standing and winning 119 votes.
The efforts of anti-fascists to hold back the BNP were not helped by a leaflet put out locally by the Searchlight organisation. These echoed Tory leader David Cameron’s recent remarks, equating the BNP to “Islamic extremism”.
Racist not charged in time
A former BNP candidate who admitted sending racist hate mail has had charges against him dropped – because he was not charged in time.
Brian Wainwright admitted sending offensive and threatening letters when he appeared at Calderdale magistrates court last month.
He sent posters featuring skulls, crossbones, swastikas, and threats of violence to Calderdale’s first Asian councillor, a Halifax mosque and a local anti-fascist campaigner.
But the case has been dismissed because the police and Crown Prosecution Service did not charge Wainwright within the six-month time limit for such offences.
Unite Against Fascism national conference, Saturday 17 February, central London. For more information go to www.uaf.org.uk