Friday, 23 October 2009

BNP linked to "charity" helping ex-soldiers

This story appeared in today's Independent - it's comical how the organisation in question is attempting to distance itself from the BNP.

Questions over former BNP member's help for ex-soldiers

Friday, 23 October 2009

A former BNP member is facing questions about his political past after setting up an organisation to help homeless ex-soldiers.

Soldiers Off The Street (SOTS) was founded earlier this year by the BNP’s former Welsh secretary Bill Murray and his wife Marie. Despite the couple’s previous political involvement there is no mention of the party on the SOTS website.

SOTS operates out of an office in Wrexham which is owned by the mother of the BNP’s lead candidate in the recent European elections.

Ennys Hughes, the BNP member whose mother owns the building, says that the property was applied for in the normal manner through an estate agent, and that SOTS is ‘just like any other tenant, anyone could have applied and got it... the building has been in our family for 25 years, I think at one point Plaid Cymru were in there.’

Despite this, local campaigners have expressed concern over the possibility of links between the organisation and the BNP and have raised questions about how money contributed by the public is to be used.

Dan Roberts, a spokesman for the campaign group Wrexham Against Racism and Fascism, said: "There is no mention on the website that this organisation was set up by key BNP personnel. We're concerned that money that's given in good faith by the general public could be used to fund the BNP's own hateful campaigning."

Campaigners from the have written to the Charities Commission expressing their concern that SOTS could be the ‘latest and possibly most troublesome example of astroturfing’.

Astroturfing is the establishment of an artificial grass-roots campaign which claims to be spontaneous but is actually formally planned and disguises its origins.

In response to the allegations Murray says that he left the BNP around a month before the charity was founded. He stated: "I left because I wanted to set this up (SOTS) because I think it’s scandalous the way ex-service personnel are treated."

He denies any existing links with the BNP claiming he resigned from the party on the 15th of August this year because ‘politics is all dirty’ and he’d ‘had enough of policies and wanted to help people’.

Murray states that the claim the organisation is a front for the BNP is "rubbish" saying "let them go to the police if they believe that’s the case".

He also says that on setting up the organisation he was offered support from the BNP but turned it down because "I don’t believe any political organisation should be involved with a charity".

Murray says that though no one involved with SOTS is currently a member of the BNP, he would have no objection to party members being involved.

The SOTS website contains a prominent advertisement on its front page for FEBA, or Forward Edge of Battle Area, a Scottish organisation that has received support from the BNP. Nick Griffin originally claimed on the BNP website that the party gave £25,000 worth of help to the Scottish charity. It was later discovered that the donation amounted only to £3000.

Tommy Moffat, founder of FEBA said: "If the BNP want to make a difference the door is open. I have been assured by BNP sources that we will not be politically involved with them, it is only a donation."

The BNP is facing continued criticism for promoting members’ donations to charities including the Royal British Legion and Help For Heroes.


There are several unanswered questions arising from this article:

1. Bill Murray, who runs the Soldiers off the Streets with his wife, was still calling himself the Welsh organiser of the BNP on 29 August 2009 - The SOTS organisation was already up and running with its office in 21a Chester St, Wrexham, at that time. How genuine is Bill Murray's resignation from the BNP?

2. If it's a voluntary organisation, why hasn't it helped some of these ex-soldiers? That doesn't cost anything.

3. If the arrangement between SOTS and Ennys Hughes's family is purely commercial, how are they paying the rent on a town centre office if there's no money coming into the organisation? Are we really to believe that the organiser of the Welsh BNP and the party's lead candidate entered a commercial deal to rent out property?

4. What guarantees do we have that this organisation isn't channelling money into the BNP?

1 comment:

  1. "So I got a dedicated group of people to set up an organisation called Soldiers off the Street (SOTS) they have put a lot of work into SOTS with surgeries etc including getting ex service personnel volunteers that will be physically on the street"

    Where were these surgeries and who are these volunteers?

    When did Bill Murray leave the BNP?

    Why did SOTS withdraw its application for charitable status?