Who We Are

Our intention is to inform people of racist, homophobic, religious extreme hate speech perpetrators across social networking internet sites. And we also aim to be a focal point for people to access information and resources to report such perpetrators to appropriate web sites, governmental departments and law enforcement agencies around the world.

We will also post relevant news worthy items and information on Human rights issues, racism, extremist individuals and groups and far right political parties from around the world although predominantly Britain.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Man jailed for posting racist video clips on YouTube (UK)

A man has been jailed for 15 months for uploading racist video clips on to YouTube.

Gareth Hemingway, 29, of Bognor Regis, earlier pleaded guilty to five offences under the Public Order Act at Leeds Crown Court.

The clips called for a "racial holy war" and were designed to provoke violence against ethnic minorities, particularly in Dewsbury.

When he was arrested, police found Nazi and racist memorabilia at his home.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said the material came to the attention of police when a journalist researching Dewsbury on the internet came across videos Hemingway, of Longford Road, had posted and reported them.
Racist imagery

The CPS said they included titles such as 'red, white and blue through and through' and 'Dewsbury needs help'.

They also featured racist references and imagery including an assault on a black man by a white man.

Stuart Laidlaw, reviewing lawyer for the CPS, said: "Gareth Hemingway decided to use the very public forum of YouTube to distribute videos of racist and inflammatory nature which he had edited, and which were designed to provoke violence against ethnic minorities, particularly those living in Dewsbury.

"They called for a 'racial holy war', described acts of violence and made supportive references to far right groups such as Combat 18 and Patriots of White European Resistance."

Mr Laidlaw added: "Freedom of speech carries with it responsibilities.

"Publishing something that is abusive and insulting and that is likely to stir racial hatred is against the law and the CPS will work with the police to prosecute robustly anyone who does so."

BBC News

Austrian intel agency engulfed in neo-Nazi scandal

Verfassungsschutz agent reportedly has close ties to neo-Nazi website; Jewish editor questions country’s ability to combat radical ideologies.

Austria’s domestic intelligence agency, Verfassungsschutz, which is responsible for combating terrorism and neo-Nazi extremism, was plagued by disclosures last week in an APA news report of one of its agents having close ties to the leading neo-Nazi website alpen-donau.info and the Austrian far-right extremist movement.

Rudolf Gollia, a spokesman for Austria’s Interior Ministry, told The Jerusalem Post during a telephone conversation on Friday that intelligence agent Josef Fertschai is continuing to work for the ministry and there is no reason “to sever ties” with him because his son, Benjamin Fertschai, is active on the “right-wing nationalist” scene.

While the Austrian media have not revealed the full names of the agent and his son, the Post obtained them from sources in Vienna. The Austrian Interior Ministry transferred Josef Fertschai this summer from its intelligence division to a new position in the ministry.

According to the APA, there are indications that the neo-Nazi site received sensitive information about the activities of the domestic intelligence agency, leading to Fertschai as the leak. The alpendonau.info website is widely considered to be one of the leading neo-Nazi sites in Central Europe, and frequently incites hard-core hatred against Jews.

Gollia told the Post that although the site is a German-language homepage, the server is in the US. According to Austrian media reports, the police have jump-started searches of homes connected to alpen-donau.info in a number of Austrian regional states. Gollia said the site contains “anti-Semitic content.”

Critics in Austria and Israel have long slammed Austrian officials for failing to crack down on alpendonau.info and its anti-Jewish content.

Samuel Laster, the editor-in-chief of the Vienna-based online Jewish news site Die Jüdische, told the Post on Friday that the site had termed him a “dirty Jew.” Laster, who has over the years published articles documenting and criticizing the anti-Semitic tirades appearing on alpen-donau.info, has been the subject of threats from the extreme right-wing website.

Earlier this year, the neo-Nazi site issued a death threat against the spokeswoman for the Austrian chapter of Stop the Bomb, which seeks to halt the Iran’s nuclear program and promote Israel’s security.

Laster told the Post that “apparently, the people from the Interior Ministry have not told the truth to the media... There is a complaint against the father as well as the son, and both are the subject of an investigation.”

Given the links between Austria’s extreme far-right scene and an agency responsible for fighting the right-wing extremists, “How should people feel protected against the dangers of terror?” Laster asked. “How many other Nazi moles are involved in the security structures?” The Austrian authorities are “insensitive toward the victims“ of Nazis, said Laster. He noted that a representative of Austria’s public prosecutor had said that “it is not our goal to shut down the website.”

Laster raised further question marks over Austria’s ability to combat radical ideologies such as Islamic terror.

One of Austria’s largest political parties, the FPÖ (Austrian Freedom Party), has strong ties to Austria’s neo-Nazi scene. FPÖ leader Heinz-Christian Strache has an affinity for neo-Nazi groups, and has in the past attended events organized by the Viking Youth in Germany, a radical nationalistic group that has since been outlawed.

The FPÖ has associations with Holocaust deniers, and scored dramatic vote results in this year’s Vienna mayoral election.

The party is also represented in the Austrian federal parliament.

The Jerusalem Post 

Neo-Nazis Rally For Arizona Immigration Law (USA)

 A Neo-Nazi march held in favor of Arizona's SB-1070 immigration law in Phoenix over the weekend was disrupted by equal rights activists in what quickly devolved into a mob scene.

Members of the National Socialist Movement were heavily outnumbered by protesters who confronted the Neo-Nazi parade on its way to the federal courthouse. Police arrived in riot gear to separate the two factions, a move that was followed by multiple injuries and the arrests of two protesters who threw rocks at officers.

In the video, the Neo-Nazi march organizer, J.T. Ready, can be seen explaining to a group of protesters that the assault of his members is not acceptable.

Ready reportedly shares a connection to SB-1070 architect and Arizona state Rep. Russell Pearce (R).

Though Pearce denied having knowledge of Ready's involvement with the National Socialist Movement during his alleged proximity to the group's organizer in 2007, when Ready was in the midst of being ousted from a low-level GOP post, a video released last year showed Pearce in attendance at a 2009 rally headlined by Ready.

As ThinkProgress points out, the alliance between white-supremacy groups and Arizona's anti-illegal immigration legislation appears to be more than a matter of personal associations.

According to an immigration report from change.org earlier this year, numerous groups linked to white nationalist causes have provided monetary support to Arizona's SB-1070, both in its early stages as well as to its legal defense fund.

Huffington Post

Birmingham conference to tackle hate crime (UK)

Fiona Pilkington (left) and her daughter Francecca Hardwick
A national conference to tackle hate crime is to get under way in Birmingham later this week.

The event, run by the Birmingham Racial Attacks Monitoring Unit (BRAMU), takes place in the city centre on Thursday.

BRAMU wants to eradicate all forms of prejudice based on race, religion, disability or sexual orientation.

The government has said it wants all different types of hate crime brought under one banner so it is easier to record how many people report abuse.

A spokeswoman for BRAMU said following the death of Fiona Pilkington in 2007 hate crime had become a top priority for police and the criminal justice system.

The 38-year-old from Leicestershire killed herself and her disabled daughter after suffering years of abuse from local youths.

The conference aims to bring individual agencies and victims of crime together to discuss the challenges.

BBC News

Anger as BNP gives speech to kids of 10 (UK)

A Euro Mp from the racist BNP has given a speech to Sea Cadets - sparking outrage among parents.

Former National Front chairman Andrew Brons - who sits with BNP chief Nick Griffin in the European parliament - was guest of honour at a prize-giving ceremony.

Horrified staff and guests watched as Brons shook hands with the cadets - some as young as 10 - and gave the main speech of the evening.

Brons, 63, steered clear of the BNP's more extreme themes but told his impressionable audience in Doncaster, S Yorks: "Preparing from one's youth and even one's childhood to be equipped mentally, physically and by training to protect one's country is about as serious as one can get."

The BNP leadership quickly seized the opportunity to hijack the event - publishing an article about Brons' speech on the party's website.

One member said: "Another example of how the party, and the ideas attached to it, is slowly but steadily becoming more mainstream." Sea Cadets bosses have launched an investigation after condemning Brons' appearance. Brons said : "There were no political messages."

The Mirror

Police to investigate mosque protest (UK)

Police say they will investigate the protests which took place outside a Portsmouth mosque on Saturday.
Scores of demonstrators gathered outside Portsmouth's Jami Mosque. They were protesting after a small group of Muslims - not from the city - burned poppies in London during the two minutes' silence on Armistice Day.

The protest, led by former soldier David Tallard, congregated outside the mosque at midday and numbered about 40.

It broke for Pompey's home game against Doncaster, and gathered again shortly after 5pm this time with about 100 taking part.

Peace protesters who had heard about the protest also gathered outside the mosque.

Shouting between the two groups then ensued with firecrackers, an egg and a golf ball being thrown into the peace campaigners.

There was a strong police presence with one man from the demonstrators being arrested after a confrontation. He has now been bailed.

A 6ft poppy had also been graffitied on the mosque the day before.

Portsmouth police commander, Chief Superintendent Nigel Hindle said: 'The majority of those taking part in the demo's did so peacefully however there were a number of objects thrown and we did make one arrest for a public order offence.

'We will now be reviewing CCTV footage and collecting evidence to find those who did commit offences. People can be assured we will track those responsible down and deal with them appropriately.'

'As a precaution following yesterday's protests additional resources were put in place today (Sunday) as a measured response. This was to make sure the Remembrance Day service in the city passed off peacefully – which we are pleased to say it did.

'Extra officers will continue to be present in the areas around the city's mosques today to ensure public safety and provide reassurance to the whole community.'

The Muslim community in Portsmouth said they condemned the burning of the poppies and that they would have joined any protest, had it not been directed at the Jami Mosque.

Akf Suyeb, of the mosque, said: 'When these people are pointing their fingers at us about this, it's not right.
'We condemn the people who burnt the poppies, and we do show our respect to the people who died in war.

'After all, Indian people, Muslim people, also died during the first and second world wars. We should remember that.

'As Muslims, we are not allowed to wear images of animals, but flowers are fine.

'And we would have been happy to have a poppy painted on the mosque - but it was graffiti, and they should have asked our permission before painting on our building.

'We would have absolutely joined in a protest, because the Muslim community condemns this act, but not when it is against our mosque.'

Former soldier Mr Tallard, 25, who was injured while serving in Iraq in 2004, insisted the protest was not racially motivated despite the location outside the mosque on Victoria Road South.

He said: 'It is a busy road, and someone had already painted a poppy on the outside of the mosque. This protest has nothing to do with religion.

'We just don't want to see poppies being burned. It's just not right.'

A coach-load of members of the English Defence League nationalist group made the trip to Southsea from London to join in the protest.

The EDL has a reputation for anti-Muslim protests and acts, though the group insists it only opposes Muslim extremists.

Mr Tallard, who served as a private with the Princess of Wales' Royal Regiment, added: 'I don't know too much about the EDL but I do agree with some of what they say and it was good to see them here giving us their support.'

Simon Magorian, of the Unite Against Fascism group, said he believed the poppy issue had been 'hijacked' by members of the EDL.

He said: 'They don't care about it, they just want to stir up as much ill feeling against Islam as possible.'

Portsmouth News

Mass. Woman under Police Watch after Video of 'Racist Attack' on Mailman Goes Viral (USA)

A Massachusetts woman was put under police watch Saturday after a video of her allegedly attacking a mailman and using racist language made her the target of an internet hate campaign, the Boston Herald reported.

Erika Winchester, 60, was seen in the video demanding that former mail carrier Jean Hugson take back a certified letter for which she had signed. When Hugson refuses to take back the letter, Winchester is seen repeatedly using the n-word, telling him that African Americans “turn on each other." She also appears to slap Hugson in the face.

After footage of the 2009 incident was uploaded last month to YouTube, users tracked down and posted on the web details of Winchester’s home address in Hingham, Mass., and her phone number. The video was posted on several national blogs last week.

Harassment from users of web forums like 4Chan prompted police to put her under watch. “Because of the attention that this has gotten in the media, we feel she needs to have protection over there right now,” Hingham police Lt. Michael Peraino said.

Entertainment website Gawker called the phone number listed for Winchester on YouTube early Saturday morning and spoke with a woman who sounded like Winchester. The woman told Gawker it had called a pizza parlor.

Hugson was fired from his Postal Service position in November 2009, a month after the videotaped incident. US Postal Services spokeswoman Christine Dugas said his termination had nothing to do with the video.

Winchester is a former off-Broadway actress and singer who has a history of run-ins with the law, including an incident at a fundraiser in which she threatened to shoot people with a machine gun and told the officer who arrested her for disorderly conduct that she would “chop off” his genitals.


War Horse stagehand claims racist bullying behind the scenes (UK)

A stagehand who worked behind the scenes on the critically acclaimed West End production War Horse is pursuing a case for wrongful dismissal after blowing the whistle on an alleged culture of drunkenness and racism, which he claimed was making life traumatic for cast and crew.

Leon Donnelly, who has worked backstage and as a writer and actor for many years, claimed that a number of his former colleagues at the New London theatre – until recently owned by Andrew Lloyd Webber – would come into work drunk. When he complained, he alleged, he was subjected to swearing, threats and racial abuse about his Irish ancestry.

Even more disturbingly, he added, he and others were plagued by mystery "accidents" such as hammers being dropped from platforms above the stage. In one incident, Donnelly alleged, he narrowly escaped serious injury when a full-size replica first world war tank was dropped "intentionally" on his legs.

Donnelly says he was so appalled by the behaviour, and by the management's failure to condemn it, that he made direct contact with Lloyd Webber and the National Theatre, where War Horse made its West End debut in 2007.

He was then sacked for breaching confidentiality with his "damaging and derogatory" remarks and for having recorded conversations with his line manager.

"I have done nothing wrong, yet I was sacked as a malicious troublemaker when all I wanted was for managers in the theatre, the home of liberal arts, to step in and stop what was going on before their eyes.

"I didn't want an actor or member of staff to be injured or killed because we have drunks on the stage crew," said Donnelly, who was offered a £25,000 payoff in return for his silence, an offer which he turned down.

Donnelly is not the only person to have voiced concern over the backstage culture at War Horse, the first world war drama impressing audiences with its depiction of the horrors of war for both men and animals.

Carlos Cruz, a former stagehand who took up a formal grievance with the theatre management and has since left the UK following a financial settlement, claimed to have been ridiculed because of his nationality, called "Manuel" and a "fucking Spanish waiter".

He also said that he had been told his mountain bike was "a bit gay" because of its pink lock, and had one night found it plastered with pink stickers.

Cruz's abuse allegedly climaxed backstage when he was head-butted by one of the gang while being restrained by another. He needed hospital treatment and gave a statement to the police, but the gang produced three witnesses to say that he struck first. He dropped the case when the police warned that he might be charged with assault.

For his part, Donnelly claimed he narrowly missed being seriously injured while working on the play, which has potentially lethal sets, including giant puppet warhorses and a replica tank. He said that, during a performance in November last year, he was underneath the replica tank connecting up hydraulics that make it move. "Before I was finished one of the gang intentionally dropped the tank, hitting me heavily on the knees," he said.

The play, a stage adaptation of the book by former children's laureate Michael Morpurgo that centres on the relationship between a young farmhand and his horse Joey, moved to the New London Theatre last year after two sell-out seasons at the National Theatre.

Two weeks ago Lord Lloyd-Webber's Really Useful Group sold four theatres, including the New London.

It is understood that just one of the men at the centre of Donnelly's allegations is still employed on War Horse.

A spokeswoman for the Really Useful Group refused to comment.

The Guardian

Woman shouted racist abuse at playing children (UK)

A woman told two young Asian children wearing headscarves they were "dumb people from dumb Islam" before swearing at them at a Bristol shopping centre.

Lisa Jarvis made fun of the youngsters, aged nine and 12, in an unprovoked outburst as they played outside a shop in Knowle, Bristol Magistrates' Court heard.

The brother and sister, who cannot be named for legal reasons, were playing on a moving toy machine at the Broadwalk Shopping Centre when Jarvis, 39, began to poke fun at them by mimicking their dancing. Magistrates were told she then began pointing at their headscarves and saying "look at that on your head" to one of the children.

When one of the youngsters ran inside a shop to a parent, the other was mocked by Jarvis, who said "dumb people from dumb Islam" before swearing.

She then swore again and called the child a name before saying: "What a dumb religion to follow."

Jane Cooper, prosecuting, said Jarvis was led away from the siblings by security staff but refused to explain her behaviour when she was questioned.

Jarvis, of Queenshill Road, Knowle West, appeared before court to be sentenced for two counts of using abusive words which were religiously or racially aggravated.

Rodney Wilson, defending, said her client was ashamed of her behaviour.

He said: "She originally pleaded not guilty to these offences and denied them because she believes it's not something she would ordinarily do. Her lack of previous convictions tends to support that.

"On this occasion she had argued with her partner and no doubt alcohol played a part. This is a lady who suffers from psychosis and bipolar problems for which she takes medication and is on a methadone script. She has an argument and has difficulty controlling her anger.

"She's remorseful, disgraced and ashamed by her actions and she insists she's not someone with innate religious or racist feelings."

He said his client should be ordered to pay the two victims compensation "to make them feel good about themselves" in the run-up to Christmas.

Magistrates gave Jarvis a 12-month conditional discharge and ordered her to pay £100 in compensation to each of her victims and £125 costs.

This is Bristol


The Archbishopric needs to make clear whether it has been financing far right organisations or not, said migrant rights’ activist Doros Polycarpou yesterday. Speaking at the presentation of a study on racist crimes yesterday, the head of migrant support group KISA called on the Archbishopric to clarify its link, or not, to extreme organisations like those involved in the attack on a group of festival goers at Larnaca promenade last Friday. Polycarpou said he had “unconfirmed reports” that the Archbishopric was financially supporting racist groups. “We have unconfirmed reports that to some degree these organisations are receiving financial assistance from the Archbishopric for their activities,” he said. He called on the church to deny the charges if they were unfounded, adding that the participation of certain groups with connections to the church at last week’s anti-migrant march was a cause for concern. The under-fire NGO representative has been the subject of criticism for last week’s violent clashes after KISA’s decision to hold an anti-racist festival in Larnaca to counter the planned anti-migrant march by extremist organisations.

The police and Polycarpou have exchanged accusations as to who was to blame, with the latter arguing that police were too ill-prepared, under-equipped and unorganised, failing in their duty to keep the two groups apart. KISA handed over photographic and video material to Larnaca CID in the hope of criminal prosecution, reportedly showing members of the public instigating the violence. Polycarpou yesterday said the people involved in the fracas and allegedly identified in the video material were “people that none of us would suspect”. He proceeded to list a Nicosia high school literature teacher, a judge from Greece, a person with a leading role in the Larnaca scouts and an Agriculture Ministry official. He warned that last week’s events revealed that these fringe organisations have now acquired “access to significant people in decision-making centres”. Justice Minister Loucas Louca said yesterday that the police file on last week’s violent episode has been handed over to the Attorney-general to decide on whether any criminal offences were committed, including possible racist crimes. The police will also evaluate whether any disciplinary offences were committed.

Meanwhile, co-author of the report on “Racist and related hate crimes” in Cyprus, Nicos Trimikliniotis, said yesterday that last week’s incident “was not a bolt out of the blue”. Trimikliniotis, from the National Focal Point for Racism and Xenophobia, highlighted the inadequacies of the recording and monitoring of racist related crimes in Cyprus, with real cases exceeding official figures. He estimated that the recent escalation of racist crime was “based on the fact that the measures taken are not effective because the relevant provisions of the law are not being implemented”, adding that the situation was “deteriorating”. Head of the Authority against Racism and Discrimination, Aristos Tsiartas, didn’t hold back in his assessment on the recent violence. “The symbolism of the raw violence shows that the explosion and diffusion of criminal violence unfortunately is winning continuous ground and now taking on alarming proportions,” he said. “Without doubt, the problem of racism and xenophobia is becoming a dangerous issue in Cyprus,” he said, adding that violent racist acts were increasing with the main culprits appearing to be young members of far-right organisations. He said the report compiled by Trimikliniotis and Corina Demetriou was “timely”.

Noting the wide-spread condemnation of last week’s violence, Tsiartas described as “less understandable and somewhat hypocritical” those who, on the one hand, feign surprise and concern, and on the other, systematically reinforce their “bigoted and anti-migrant rhetoric, poisoning society with feelings of insecurity and fear”. A characteristic thread linking all recent cases of racial crime is the lack of punishment of perpetrators. He proceeded to ask: “What sanctions were imposed on those responsible for mass invasion into the homes of migrants in Ipsonas (Limassol) two years ago? What sanctions were imposed on those who attacked en masse, in December 2008, a pupil of African descent in a basketball match? What sanctions were imposed against those who attacked Turkish Cypriots who dared to go down Makarios Avenue (in Nicosia) two years ago? What sanctions were imposed on the perpetrators who attacked an African student on July 20 (2010)? Or the perpetrators of the attack on the building of the Palestinian community in Larnaca last April?” He called on the relevant authorities to record, monitor and tackle racist and hate crimes with decisiveness and resolve. “What comes out of the report is that racist violence against migrants unfortunately is a painful reality of modern Cypriot society,” said Tsiartas. Nicosia Mayor Eleni Mavrou concurred: “From the findings of the report and other studies preceding it, I think you will agree that there is prejudice, there is xenophobia and there is racism.”

Lagging behind
The reort on ‘Racist and related hate crimes’ revealed that Cyprus is lagging far behind in recording, monitoring and dealing with race crimes. “Unfortunately, despite the significant improvements made after EU accession, our country has no tradition of effective recording and monitoring of racist or other hate crimes,” said co-author Nicos Trimikliniotis. The report is based on evidence collected on behalf of the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights. According to the report, recording racist crime began in 2005 with the police creating “a rather basic mechanism” for recording racial incidents. It notes that the relevant police unit is understaffed and overloaded with other mandates. Co-author Corina Demetriou highlights that since 2005, around five to six racist attacks were recorded on average each year. In reality, cases are much higher but tend to go unreported, either as a result of state inadequacies or the victim’s fear or reluctance to do so. Only two of these cases were prosecuted for racism related offences since 2005 when the recording system came into operation.

Regarding the prosecution of racially motivated crimes, the report notes a number of restrictive factors including: “the dilemma in safeguarding freedom of speech, the wide discretion of the Attorney General to prosecute or not and the negative precedent of the Court acquitting a blatant far right offender in 2005” which made the prosecution authorities reluctant to prosecute offenders for racial crime. “Instead a tendency has developed to prosecute for lesser offences (breach of the peace, assault etc) in order to secure convictions,” it added. Citing research on racial hatred, the report reveals “the negative predisposition of Cypriots towards immigration and towards non-Greek-Cypriots which manifests itself into violence towards particularly vulnerable groups such as the female migrant domestic workers, black footballers at the pitch and Turkish Cypriots”. The study attributes the escalation of racial violence in recent years to the rise in far right extremist elements coupled with the inadequacy of measures to combat racial hatred. “Little is available by way of good practice in this area,” it concludes.

Cyprus Mail

Black and Asian candidates face racism in Westminster, report finds (UK)

Black and Asian people hoping to become MPs face “outright racism” as they struggle to overcome “dinosaur attitudes” among party activists, a report has warned.

In one case a local councillor told a parliamentary candidate, “people like you clean toilets at Heathrow”, while another prospective MP was regularly “marched out” to defend the party against allegations of racism.

The study from Quilliam, the counter-extremism think tank, warned all three major parties that they must work harder to eliminate prejudice from Westminster politics.

Researchers conducted 70 in-depth interviews with MPs, parliamentary candidates, councillors and party members, for the report, Skin-Deep Democracy.

They found that the major parties had made progress in recent years, with a record 27 non-white MPs elected at the May 2010 general election.

However, prejudice and sometimes “outright racism” remained significant hurdles, particularly in the selection of candidates at local level.

George Readings, the report’s co-author, said that promoting the integration of minority groups through involvement in Westminster politics would help tackle extremism in Britain’s “diverse society”.

“It is vital that the parties do all that they can to ensure that everybody who has the talent and desire to become involved in politics can do so, whatever their background,” he said.

“Unfortunately, our report also found a worrying number of examples where dinosaur attitudes held by some individual party members undermined this important goal.”

The study detailed numerous cases in which individuals experienced racism, sexism and religious prejudice during the process for selecting candidates for elections.

One candidate, from a minority background, told the researchers: “A councillor in my local area said to me ‘you’ve come a long way my dear – isn’t it wonderful you’ve been elected [as councillor]? People like you clean toilets in Heathrow’.

“The [local party] officers know about this man and his views – he’s a known bully – but they don’t understand why I’m being so sensitive.”

An Asian candidate described appearing at a selection panel for a predominantly white parliamentary seat as an “absolutely horrific” experience, adding: “Those at the selection were white, middle class, and sneering.”

Another told the researchers that the local party chairman “took me aside and said that they wanted me to stand down because of my gender and my ethnicity”.

More commonly, candidates from ethnic and religious minorities found themselves “pigeonholed” and were deployed in the media to prove that their parties were not racist, the report said.

Some election strategists treated racial or religious groups as a “bloc vote” to be won, rather than addressing the concerns of individual voters.

However, the researchers warned that centrally-imposed positive discrimination in the selection of potential candidates could backfire because it continued to define politicians by their race or religion, rather than ability. Such an approach has been favoured by David Cameron with his “A-List” of candidates for the last election, to the dismay of some grassroots Conservatives.

The report recommended that parties should redouble their efforts to recruit a wide range of new members to bring “new blood” into Westminster politics.


Australian politician Hanson abandons move to UK

Australian anti-immigration firebrand Pauline Hanson on Sunday said she has abandoned plans to move to Britain because "it's overrun with immigrants and refugees".

Hanson, the former One Nation party chief who famously warned that Australia was at risk of being "swamped by Asians", said France was also inundated with foreigners and she had decided to stay in Australia.

"I love England but so many people want to leave there because it's overrun with immigrants and refugees," Hanson, 56, told the Sun Herald newspaper

"France is becoming filled with Muslims and the French and English are losing their way of life because they're controlled by foreigners."

The former fish and chip shop owner in February announced she was emigrating to Britain due to disillusionment with Australia's immigration and trade policies.

The far-right British National Party said Hanson would be "very welcome" in their party, lamenting the "politically correct intimidation and bullying" which had driven her from her home country.

But after a 10-week tour of Europe Hanson said she had decided life in Australia was not so bad.

"Problems are worse over there than they are in Australia," she said.

"Australia is still the best place in the world to live, (though) the same sorts of awful things are happening here too."

Hanson drew international condemnation but briefly won domestic support in the 1990s with her anti-immigration and trade protection policies, before losing her seat in 1998.

She spent several weeks in jail in 2003 for fraudulently spending electoral funds before the judgement was overturned.

In 2007, she ran unsuccessfully for a national Senate seat, switching her target from Asians to Islam and calling for an end to immigration by Muslims to protect "Australian culture".

Last year, Hanson blamed her failure in the Queensland state election on the publication of raunchy photos purportedly taken by an ex-boyfriend. The pictures turned out to be of another woman.

Hanson also hinted at a return to politics, saying she had "constantly" been encouraged by well-wishers in Europe.

"I still haven't got politics out of my system," she said.

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