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Friday, 14 May 2010

Stoke-on-Trent BNP councillor in Nazi salute row

A BNP councillor has appeared on an anti-BNP website holding a Union Jack flag – standing next to three  men doing a Nazi salute on a War Memorial in Stone.

Cllr Steve Batkin, who has served the Bentilee ward since 2003, has said he was attending a funeral and he has not had contact with the men since.
Maurice Cousins is the Deputy Editor of ‘Nothing British’, where the image is currently appearing:

“We thought this was disgraceful considering the British National Party dresses itself up in the flag and in the honour of those who have given their lives in this country.

“This man was elected in 2003, what is this man still doing there?”

Cllr Batkin defended his actions – saying it was down to the other men’s “drunken youth.”
“You’ve got a few seconds to think and when someone just puts their hands up in a few seconds and a fascist salute, basically you’re trapped.

“We’ve all said things in the past, including Nick Griffin himself, where we regret some of the things we’ve said and some of the situations we’ve been in.
“Nevertheless I do not condone right wing people doing right wing salutes and dressing in a cult. It’s counter-productive and it doesn’t help the BNP one bit.

“That’s how drunken youth react at times when they’re rebellious, they might do silly things.”

Stoke BNP leader Michael Coleman does not condone Batkin’s actions and doubts that the matter will be taken further within the party.
“I’d like to denounce it, it’s not part of the BNPs philosophy. I don’t want to represent those ideas, but it was 8 years ago and it was a different world back then.

Ex-BNP councillor Alby Walker, who left the BNP to stand as Independent, said that Cllr Batkin is not an exception and this is why he left the BNP:
“I shall make it my job now to expose to the public what the true face of the BNP is, what’s behind the scenes rather than the public persona they’re putting on at the moment.

“The true face of the BNP behind closed doors is quite different to what you will see publicly and that’s coming from the horses mouth.

“These are some of the reasons I had to move away from the BNP. I did try to change the image but obviously it’s still lurking in the background.”

Staffs live