Socialist Worker

The price of bigotry

Issue No. 1700

What we think

The price of bigotry

THE OLD Bailey saw the most horrific face of race hatred and bigotry on Monday. Nailbomber David Copeland admits that he planted the bombs in Brixton, Brick Lane and Soho in April of last year that killed three people and left 177 injured.

Copeland told police he was a "loner" with no links with Britain's Nazis. The police, at the time of Copeland's arrest, agreed: "There is no suggestion that the arrest is linked in any way to the extreme right." Bigoted Sun columnist Richard Littlejohn also said that Copeland "acted alone".

Yet Copeland carried out what every Nazi leader, from veteran fascist JohnTyndall to the BNP's present "F�hrer" Nick Griffin, dream of. Copeland was even photographed protecting John Tyndall at an east London BNP rally in September 1997.

The court heard how Copeland was a "unit leader" in the National Socialist Movement. When police raided his bedsit they found swastika flags and stickers. Broadcast Copeland told police he was "a National Socialist or Nazi who believed in a white master race. He did not like black people or Asians and wanted them all out of the country. He saw British people as having the right to ethnic cleansing like the Serbs." Copeland also wanted to see gay people "put to death".

In 1997 the BNP's general election broadcast filmed shoppers in Brixton, with a commentary by Tyndall bemoaning "race mixing". This was the area then targeted by Copeland for his first bombing. The Nazi broadcast was shown by the BBC, despite protests from people who warned where it would lead.

The links are clear. All Britain's Nazi leaders have convictions for violence, gun running and bombing. Yet these people are walking free, and are allowed to organise and openly spread their ideas. Only last Saturday the National Front marched through Margate against asylum seekers.

Every one of those Nazis is applauding their "hero" in the Old Bailey. Yet home secretary Jack Straw allowed them to march, and the Kent police protected them.

Press and politicians' hypocrisy

ALL OF the press condemned Copeland this week and sympathised with his victims. At the time of the bombings the Sun declared that the bombers "want us all to be scared. They want us to be fearful of the black community. Of Asians. Of Jews. Of gays. They seek to divide Britain. But they have failed."

Tory leader William Hague called the Soho bomb an "appalling and barbaric act". Yet these same newspapers and politicians are today stirring up the racism against asylum seekers which encourages the Nazis. The hatred directed against asylum seekers, the racist language portraying them as dirty, subhuman and alien, is music to the ears of Copeland and his Nazi pals.

The press hypocrisy is astounding. In February of this year the Daily Mail published on its front page, "Face Of Soho Nailbomber". Next to it was the headline, "Council Tax Up To Pay For Asylum Seekers". Yet one leads to another. Whipping up hatred against asylum seekers encourages the racists and Nazis.

The same logic of bigotry is at work in other areas. Stagecoach boss Brian Souter's campaign against scrapping Section 28 in Scotland will have the effect of encouraging attacks on gay people.

Souter and Catholic bishop Cardinal Winning's talk of gay people being "perverted" and "unnatural" is straight out of Copeland's sick mind. We do not want an atmosphere in which future Copelands are allowed to flourish. That is why anti-racist and refugee groups, and others, have called a national demonstration in defence of asylum seekers in London on Saturday 24 June. In Edinburgh a march opposing the hatred directed at asylum seekers and gay people is being held on the same day.

Most people would have read the views of the Nazi bomber with disgust. The 24 June marches are a chance to do something to turn the tide against the bigots. That is why we are asking our readers to build the protests as far and wide as possible.

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Article information

Sat 10 Jun 2000, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1700
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