In the run-up to the European elections, the Mayor of London and I sent a survey to virtually every home in New Addington. Each survey form was personally addressed so that we would know who any returned forms were from and could respond individually to any points raised.
The attached survey form, which was addressed to the BNP's candidate for Croydon Central, Cliff Lemay, was returned along with some BNP literature. You can see that in response to question 7, whoever completed the survey wrote:
“Stop ruining our community by stuffing New Addington with violent immigrants who have no right to live among decent civilised white people”.
I passed the form on to The Croydon Advertiser. They contacted the BNP's London office, who said their candidate would never have expressed such views and it was a Conservative hoax.
So I wrote to Mr Lemay. I received the following response from Charlotte Lewis, the branch organiser of Croydon & Sutton BNP.
"Regarding your recent letter to my colleague Cliff Le May, Cliff has asked me to convey to you that he does not converse with genocidists [a term that applies to all people who align themselves with either the Conservative or Labour parties]. His response will be to the electorate.
"I personally would like to add that it is clear what you are doing here. If Andrew Pelling stands as an independent candidate at the next general election, then that will split the Conservative vote, thus handing the seat to Labour. Therefore you should be harassing Mr Pelling, rather than the British National Party's Croydon Central candidate.
"Cliff's language may have been too strong for your liking, but he feels passionately about the attempted destruction of the homogeneous community that is New Addington".
It's good that - via Ms Lewis - Mr Lemay has admitted that he completed the survey. Aline Nassif has the full story in today's Croydon Advertiser.
A few quotes from Mr Lemay tell you all you need to know:
"I stand by what I wrote. But when I address the electorate when a general election date's set I'll probably use different words". Simon Darby, the BNP's press spokesman takes the same line - "While I agree with the sentiments, he could have put it a bit more politely". This is the BNP's strategy in microcosm - the underlying views haven't changed but they try to dress them up in more respectable language. But let's be clear: Mr Lemay and Mr Darby believe you can judge people by the colour of their skin - white people are "decent, civilised", immigrants (code for non-whites) "violent". This is akin to the Nazi ideology of racial superiority that hundreds of thousands of British servicemen gave their lives to defeat in the Second World War. And it is abject nonsense. The problems of violence in our society are not confined to one particular community. White people and black people commit violent crimes but the vast majority of people - white and black - are decent and law-abiding. You can't judge people by their appearance, only as individuals based on what they say and do.
"I read the New Scientist and they say there's evidence that people in gangs are predisposed to violence. They didn't bring race into the equation, but you can read between the lines". I am sure Mr Lemay is very good at reading between the lines. People losing their jobs - immigrants' fault. Overcrowding on public tranpsort - immigrants's fault. Any problem you can think of - immigrants' fault.
Mr Lemay's remarks, not the models they use in their literature, are the true face of the BNP. I hope they remind anyone thinking of voting for them just what kind of party they really are.