Nick Griffin (born March 1, 1959) is a fringe-leader in English politics denounced as a hatemonger and white supremacist by many within his own country and abroad - although a vocal supporter of anti-immigration laws and a former member of National Front Nick Griffin has claimed (at least in public) the BNP is not a racist society so much as a "pro-British" movement.
Nevertheless, Nick Griffin has been accused of inciting racial hatred and some of his statements in the past have been seen to advocate violence, though he has always denied this and claims it was taken out of context. Tommy Robinson (later founder of the English Defence League) actually left the BNP because he believed that Griffin's ideals were too extreme.
A famous example of BNP racism was when thugs loyal to the movement took to the streets waving Union Jack flags and chanting "there's no Black in the Union Jack" - though per usual Nick Griffin denies that the BNP were responsible for such actions and blamed it on "rogue elements" in the society.
Griffin describes himself as a "moderniser", and "new nationalist", and after his election as leader of the BNP, according to The Guardian contributor Francis Wheen, was "contemptuous" of the party's traditional supporters. He has changed the BNP's traditional focus on immigration and race, to a defence of what it sees as "our traditional principles against the politically correct agenda" espoused by mainstream politicians. He has portrayed himself as a defender of free speech, and has repeatedly spoken out against multiculturalism. During 2000, he attempted to further the BNP's popular appeal by targeting specific groups, including lorry drivers—some of whom were at the time engaged in mass protests against fuel prices—and farmers. The BNP also produced a journal devoted to rural matters.
The BNP's constitution grants its chairman full executive power over all party affairs, and Griffin thus carried sole responsibility for the party's legal and financial liabilities, and had the final say in all decisions affecting the party. Griffin has frequently expressed views on Judaism, Islam and homosexuality.
Upon his election to the European Parliament Griffin unsuccessfully tried to form an alliance with right-wing parties, which would have entitled the group members to extra funding. He also held talks with other far-right European parties, such as Vlaams Belang and Jobbik. The BNP maintains ties with Roberto Fiore and fascist groups across Europe. Griffin criticised Gordon Brown's Labour government for its attitude toward the BNP, accusing it of treating elected representatives of the BNP as "second-class citizens".
Following his election, in a press conference held at a public house in Manchester, he criticised the privatisation of national industries, such as the railway network, and accused MPs generally of being involved in this "... giant looting of Britain". He accused private corporations and the "ruling elite" in Britain of building a "Eurocratic state", a process he called "Mussolini fascism ... under Gordon Brown." He supported the Gurkhas, stating that the BNP would allow them and their families entry to the country for medical treatment "for as long as they needed treatment, or for as long as they lived." He also suggested the removal of 100,000 Muslims "disloyal to Britain" and their replacement with the Gurkhas.
After assuming control of the party, Griffin sought to move it away from its historic identity, although on the BBC's Newsnight on 26 June 2001 he stated that Hindus and whites had both been targeted in the "Muslim" riots of 2001, and in the August 2001 issue of Identity (a BNP publication) he claimed that radical Muslim clerics wanted "... militant Muslims to take over British cities with AK-47 rifles".
When interviewed in August 2009 for RT, he distanced himself from the present-day National Front, which he claimed is "... a group of skinheads running around with no political direction, other than that we suspect which their masters give them." On The Politics Show on 9 March 2003, he appeared to accept ethnic minorities who were already legally living in the country, and, on 6 March 2008, he was again interviewed on Newsnight; when told of a poll that demonstrated that most working-class Britons were more concerned about drugs and alcohol than immigration, he linked the UK's drug problem with Islam, specifically Pakistani immigrants. His inclusion on the programme was criticised by contributor and radio presenter Jon Gaunt, who branded the decision as "pathetic".