Derek Beackon

Derek William Beackon is a British National Front politician and former British National Party (BNP) member. In 1993, he became the party's first elected councillor, although he served for only eight months.

Derek Beackon
Councillor of Millwall ward
in Tower Hamlets Borough
In office
16 September 1993 – 5 May 1994
Preceded byE. T. Johns
Succeeded byJulia Mainwaring
Personal details
NationalityBritish
Political partyBritish National Party (1986–2012)
National Front (2012–present)
ProfessionPolitician

Beackon and the emergence of the BNP

Beackon joined the BNP in 1986 as an associate member, and became a full member two years later.[1] Known as 'Daddy', Beackon first stood as a candidate for the BNP in 1990 in the Redcoat ward of London Borough of Tower Hamlets where he gained 3% of the vote, a typically low total for the party at the time.[1]

Although Beackon's personal result had been a disappointment in Tower Hamlets, the area had slowly been growing as a centre of support for the BNP. The BNP still lagged behind the National Front (NF) in terms of public profile (even though that movement had fallen into severe decline). The BNP had respectable results in the area in a series of council by-elections in 1990. The area had also been one of the centres of support for John Tyndall during the 1992 general election; Tyndall had stood in Bow and Poplar, which included much of Tower Hamlets.[2]

Under the directorship of local organizer Eddy Butler, the party had instigated a 'Rights for Whites' campaign in the area, bringing back a slogan that had been employed by Martin Webster and the NF during the 1970s. Focusing on the perceived negative impact of immigration on the area of employment and housing, the campaign operated as if it was simply a local pressure group before gradually introducing the BNP name into Rights for Whites literature.[3]

The initiative first produced results in the Millwall ward in October 1992 when a strong canvassing effort by local activists helped BNP candidate Barry Osborne capture 20% of the vote in a by-election.[4] Millwall had long been a seat of unemployment associated with the declining docklands area. Most of the population had been descended from the 19th century workers who had built and operated the docks. With the building of the Limehouse Link Road, predominantly Bangladeshi families from a run-down Council estate in Limehouse (the St Vincent Estate) were rehoused in properties in Millwall. These properties had been marketed as 'luxury', but had failed to sell after a downturn in the property market. This was presented as favourable treatment on grounds of race by the "Liberal Focus Team" seeking to capitalise on the issue. However, in a close three-way contest, the BNP gained from this campaign more than its authors.

A Labour councillor resigned in the same ward soon after this, sparking another by-election on 16 September 1993. Beackon was chosen as the candidate this time, following the local party's policy of rotating members. Beackon's campaign followed Butler's blueprint of emphasising 'Rights for Whites' through canvassing and leafleting. He abandoned the old policy of holding a public meeting as he felt they proved too counterproductive by attracting large crowds of protesters, particularly from the Anti-Nazi League and Anti-Fascist Action.[5] Beackon won the by-election of 16 September 1993 with 1480 votes (33.9%), beating Labour by 7 votes, with an overall turnout of 44%.[6] He thus became the first elected representative for the party.

Reaction to Beackon's win

The immediate reaction to Beackon's election was widespread condemnation from many sections of wider society. The Daily Mirror headline on 18 September read "SIEG HEIL...and Now He's a British Councillor", setting the tone for a slew of condemnation on the basis of Beackon being a British nationalist.[7] Among those to express their outrage were the main political parties, the Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey and the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Sir Paul Condon.[8] Beackon's own use of immoderate language also damaged him and he was quoted in the Daily Mirror when, after being asked about refuse collection, he said that "The Asians are rubbish and that is what we are going to clear from the streets."[9] However, Labour also criticised the Liberal Democrats for distributing a leaflet, "How Labour Spends your Money", detailing how Labour allegedly spent £30,000 and £175,000 respectively on Bangladeshi flood relief and youth movements, then asking "Has it helped you recently?", causing anger in the local community.

Beackon as a councillor

As a councillor, Beackon found it hard to discharge his duties effectively because of a boycott by other councillors and staff, who staged a protest walk-out after his election. He was hobbled by his own inexperience and lack of capability: the BNP press office had to speak for him after he failed to distinguish between the housing and social service departments in a newspaper interview with the East London Advertiser. He had to flee his flat in Wapping to live in hiding with his brother in Bethnal Green during which time his housing benefit was cancelled. He was unable to fulfill his promises to influence housing allocation to benefit white constituents. Overall, during his time in office Beackon was characterized as a weak councillor who had trouble following the council agenda.[10] At the time it was suggested that Beackon was virtually illiterate and was unable to read council documents; he later strenuously denied the allegations while admitting that he had trouble understanding their meaning.[1]

When the seat went up for election again in 1994 a strong mobilization of voters against the BNP was undertaken by Labour, with the turnout rising to 65%.[11] Despite Beackon's generally ineffectual performance as a councillor he added 561 votes to his total, although the seat was lost as the rest of the vote largely coalesced around Labour, and the Liberal Democrat vote collapsed.[12] He was the only successful BNP candidate during John Tyndall's tenure as party leader. The BNP did not win any more council seats until they won three seats in Burnley in 2002.

Chief steward

Before and during his run as a Tower Hamlets councillor, Beackon served as the BNP's chief steward, which included the job of ensuring order at BNP meetings. As chief steward he was given the job of leading the party's bodyguard group set up in 1992.[11] Made up largely of casuals and white power skinheads, the group soon proved difficult for the middle-aged Beackon to control, and before long, real control lay with Charlie Sargent and his brother Steve.[11] Following Beackon's election, the group became disillusioned with the electoral path and broke away from the BNP, adopting the name Combat 18. Eddy Butler and Tony Lecomber were among the BNP members targeted for attack, in what became a bitter split.[13]

Later BNP activism

Beackon's profile fell away somewhat after his election defeat as the BNP failed to capitalise on their breakthrough. He remained loyal to Butler, who had fallen out of favour with Tyndall, and was interviewed for the first issue of The Patriot, a dissident journal within the party associated with Butler, Lecomber, Michael Newland, Steve Smith and others on the party's 'modernising' wing, all of whom went on to back Nick Griffin in his successful challenge to Tyndall's leadership.[14] Indeed, Beackon appeared in Moving On, Moving Up, a glossy brochure produced by Griffin during his leadership campaign, endorsing the former Political Soldier for the BNP leadership.[15]

Despite this support Beackon remained a peripheral figure within the BNP under Griffin's leadership and before long he fell in with the group of anti-Griffin activists around Tyndall. His eulogy to Tyndall was one of the few written by an active BNP member to appear in the final issue of Spearhead, released immediately following Tyndall's death.[16] Still nominally a member of the BNP he has become associated with the 'Friends of John Tyndall', an informal anti-Griffin group largely controlled by Richard Edmonds and John Morse in attending a speech by Valerie Tyndall which they had organised in July 2007. The event included stalls by a number of political parties - the National Front, England First Party and the British People's Party. The BNP did not participate.[17]

Re-emergence in Thurrock

Beackon re-emerged as a BNP activist in Thurrock, Essex. He was a BNP candidate for the Orsett ward of Thurrock Council in May 2008. This is a safe Conservative ward and Beackon finished in third place with 330 votes, 17.8% of the total.[18]

For the 2010 council elections, he stood for the Chadwell St Mary ward and gained 811 votes (19.8%).[19]

By 2012, Beackon had left the BNP and joined the National Front, standing as a candidate in the Chadwell St Mary ward for the local elections in Thurrock[20] and gained 103 votes (6.1%) in fourth place out of five candidates by beating the Liberal Democrat.

References

  1. ^ a b c 'Derek Beackon Interview', The Patriot, No. 1, Spring 1997, p. 3
  2. ^ Copsey (2004), pp. 52–53
  3. ^ Copsey (2004), pp. 55–57
  4. ^ Copsey (2004), p. 53
  5. ^ Beackon interview, p. 5
  6. ^ Copsey (2004), pp. 53–54
  7. ^ Eatwell (2004), p. 67
  8. ^ Copsey (2004), p. 54
  9. ^ "Who are Britain's Nazis" from the Anti-Nazi League site
  10. ^ Copsey (2004), p. 63
  11. ^ a b c Copsey (2004), p. 65
  12. ^ Copsey (2004), p. 64
  13. ^ Copsey (2004), pp. 65–66
  14. ^ Beackon interview, pp. 3–5
  15. ^ Copsey (2004), p. 110
  16. ^ Spearhead, Number 438, August 2005, p. 4
  17. ^ Searchlight, August 2007, p. 14
  18. ^ Wards and Elections Archived 30 March 2009 at the Wayback Machine, Thurrock Council website, May 2008
  19. ^ "Thurrock's Wards And Elections". Thurrock Council. Archived from the original on 30 November 2010. Retrieved 25 October 2010.
  20. ^ "Local election candidates announced", Thurrock Gazette, 4 April 2012

Bibliography

  • Copsey, N. (2004). Contemporary British Fascism: The British National Party and the Quest for Legitimacy. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Eatwell, Roger (2004). "The extreme right in Britain: the long road to 'modernization'". In Roger Eatwell & Cas Mudde (eds.). Western Democracies and the New Extreme Right Challenge. London: Routledge. pp. 62–79. ISBN 9781134201563.CS1 maint: Uses editors parameter (link)

External links

1990 Tower Hamlets London Borough Council election

Elections to Tower Hamlets London Borough Council were held on 3 May 1990. The whole council was up for election. Turnout was 42.9%.

1993 Millwall by-election

The 1993 Millwall by-election was a local government by-election in the Millwall ward of the London Borough of Tower Hamlets on 16 September 1993. The result became widely publicised due to the first ever electoral success for the far-right British National Party by Derek Beackon.

1994 Tower Hamlets London Borough Council election

Elections to Tower Hamlets London Borough Council were held on 5 May 1994. The whole council was up for election and the Labour party gained overall control of the council from the Liberal Democrats.

2008 Thurrock Council election

The 2008 Thurrock Council election took place on 1 May 2008 to elect members of Thurrock Council in Essex, England. One third of the council was up for election and the council stayed under no overall control.After the election, the composition of the council was

Conservative 24

Labour 22

Independent 2

British National Party 1

Anti-Fascist Action

Anti-Fascist Action (AFA) was a militant anti-fascist organisation, founded in the UK in 1985 by a wide range of anti-racist and anti-fascist organisations.

It was active in fighting far-right organisations, particularly the National Front and British National Party. It was notable in significantly reducing fascist street activity in Britain in the 1990s. AFA had what they called a "twin-track" strategy: physical confrontation of fascists on the streets and ideological struggle against fascism in working class communities.Among its more notable mobilisations were violent confrontations such as the "Battle of Waterloo" in 1992 and non-violent events such as the Unity Carnivals of the early 1990s.

Ayesha's Rainbow

Ayesha's Rainbow is a 2006 children's novel written by Rabina Khan about a young Bangladeshi girl who befriends an elderly white neighbour despite escalating racism around them.

British National Party election results

This article lists the British National Party's election results in the UK parliamentary, Scottish parliamentary and Welsh Assembly elections, as well as in the European Parliament elections and at a local level.

Eddy Butler

Edward Mark Butler (born in Bloomsbury 13 November 1962) is a former National Elections Officer of the British National Party (BNP) and was dubbed the party's "elections guru" by its newspaper, Voice of Freedom, until being suspended and expelled from the BNP in 2010 by Nick Griffin. He is currently a member of the English Democrats.

Football Lads Alliance

The Football Lads Alliance (FLA) is a movement in the United Kingdom founded by John Meighan in 2017. According to The Times, "the movement was set up as a self-proclaimed 'anti-extremist' movement" but has increasingly become associated with far-right politics and far-right activists.The Premier League has warned clubs that "the group is using fans and stadiums to push an anti-Muslim agenda". Concern has also been expressed that the Alliance is "giving cover to the far right" and "uses a secret Facebook page full of violent, racist and misogynistic posts".

Kenneth Francis

Kenneth Francis (died 2011) was a British politician and a former leading member of the London British National Party (BNP). He was expelled from the party in 2002 because he had a foreign girlfriend.

Francis was the former BNP organiser for Newham in east London and had been a candidate for the BNP in the 1997 general election, securing 3.6% of the votes. His membership was withdrawn for living with teacher Annie Hernandez, an asylum seeker from Ecuador. The expulsion came despite party leaders, including chairman Nick Griffin and his then deputy Tony Lecomber, being regular guests at the couple's home. Hernandez also attended several party conferences.

Francis claimed that no one from the BNP criticised the relationship until November 2000 when he received a letter from Lecomber telling him he should leave the party. Francis said, "They had always made out that they didn't have a problem with her. Then they stabbed us in the backs." However, Lecomber told The Times that he and other BNP officials had disliked Francis's relationship with Hernandez, but had not been able to act because Francis had powerful supporters within the party; they had since been ousted. Lecomber said: "I didn't like it one bit. I used to put up with it on sufferance."

According to the Evening Standard, Francis's departure damaged the BNP in East London, the site of its first success in local elections in 1993 when Derek Beackon was elected as a councillor in Tower Hamlets. Under Francis' leadership, the area had the highest number of BNP candidates anywhere in Britain for the 1999 European Parliament elections. However, in March 2001, the BNP was beaten by the Christian People's Alliance in a by-election in the Beckton ward in Canning Town, leading the party to withdraw from the area.On 21 June 2011, he died from cancer.

London Forum (far-right group)

The London Forum is a loose organisation of alt-right and far-right individuals based in London but with regional headquarters across the United Kingdom. It maintains links with and has inspired similar formations in the United States.

Meetings held by the organisation have been met with significant protest by anti-fascist activists and have been infiltrated by journalists. Prominent anti-fascist groups such as Searchlight and Hope not Hate have included the group in their research on far-right politics in the United Kingdom.

Millwall

Millwall is a district on the western and southern side of the Isle of Dogs, in east London, England, in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. It lies to the immediate south of Canary Wharf and Limehouse, north of Greenwich and Deptford, west of Rotherhithe, east of Poplar (Cubitt Town), and has a long shoreline along London's Tideway, part of the River Thames. It is part of the traditional county of Middlesex, but for administrative purposes was part of the County of London following the passing of the Local Government Act 1888, it later became part of Greater London in 1965.

Millwall had a population of 23,084 in 2011 and includes Island Gardens, The Quarterdeck and The Space.

National Party (UK, 1976)

The National Party of the United Kingdom (NP) was a short-lived splinter party from the British National Front (NF). It was formed on 6 January 1976, and was dissolved before the 1983 general election.

Poplar, London

Poplar is a district in East London, England, and is the administrative centre of the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, and is a part of the East End and the Port of London, and is 5 miles (8 km) east of Charing Cross and is in East London, and has a long shoreline along London's Tideway, part of the River Thames and forms the eastern and northeastern side of the Isle of Dogs. It is identified as a major district centre in the London Plan with it district centre being Chrisp Street Market, which forms a significant commercial and retail centre surrounded by extensive residential development and includes Poplar Baths, Coldharbour, and Mudchute Park and Farm. It also has three localities, Blackwall, South Bromley and Cubitt Town.

It is part of the traditional county of Middlesex, but for administrative purposes was part of the County of London following the passing of the Local Government Act 1888, it later became part of Greater London in 1965. Originally part of the ancient parish of Stepney, Poplar became a civil parish in 1817. In 1855, Poplar joined with neighbouring Bromley and Bow to form the Poplar District of the Metropolis. The district became the Metropolitan Borough of Poplar in 1900, and in 1965 merged with the Metropolitan Boroughs of Stepney and Bethnal Green to form the new London Borough of Tower Hamlets.

Rabina Khan

Rabina Khan (Bengali: রবিনা খান; born 15 September 1972) is a Bangladeshi-born British writer, politician, councillor for Shadwell, former Cabinet Member for Housing in Tower Hamlets Council, community worker and author of Ayesha's Rainbow. In 2015, she unsuccessfully contested the Tower Hamlets Mayoral Election. She was the leader of the People's Alliance of Tower Hamlets, but joined the Liberal Democrats in August 29, 2018.

Screaming Lord Sutch

David Edward Sutch (10 November 1940 – 16 June 1999), also known as 3rd Earl of Harrow, or simply Screaming Lord Sutch, was an English musician and serial parliamentary candidate. He was the founder of the Official Monster Raving Loony Party and served as its leader from 1983 to 1999, during which time he stood in numerous parliamentary elections. He holds the record for losing more than 40 elections in which he stood from 1963 to 1997. As a singer he variously worked with Keith Moon, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, Ritchie Blackmore, Charlie Watts and Nicky Hopkins.

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The Link (UK organization)

The Link was established in July 1937 as an 'independent non-party organisation to promote Anglo-German friendship'. It generally operated as a cultural organisation, although its journal, the Anglo-German Review, reflected the pro-Nazi views of Barry Domvile, and particularly in London it attracted a number of anti-semites and pro-Nazis. At its height the membership numbered around 4,300.

The Link was opposed to war between Britain and Germany, and because of this attracted the support of some British pacifists. When The Link and the Anglo-German Review were included among a number of peace organisations across the political spectrum in the Peace Service Handbook (a publication put out by the Peace Pledge Union), the Daily Telegraph and The News Chronicle published articles accusing the PPU of supporting Nazism. In response, PPU member Stuart Morris wrote to the papers stating there was no connection between the PPU and The Link, and that the former organisation did not support the German demand for colonies or peace at the expense of smaller nations. The PPU also sent a letter to its group leaders dissociating The Link from the PPU, and ceased publishing the Peace Service Handbook.The organisation was investigated by Maxwell Knight, head of counter-subversion in MI5 and future role model for James Bond's boss M. The organisation closed shortly after the start of World War II in 1939.

Barry Domvile was interned in 1940 as someone who might "endanger the safety of the realm".According to Anthony Masters, the Link was allegedly resurrected in 1940 by Ian Fleming, then working in the Department of Naval Intelligence, in order to successfully lure Rudolf Hess (deputy party leader and third in leadership of Germany, after Adolf Hitler and Hermann Göring) to Britain in May 1941.

Tower Hamlets London Borough Council elections

Tower Hamlets London Borough Council, the local authority for the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, is elected every four years.

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