July 26

Above politics – even in the garden

Buckingham Palace has denied a British National Party politician entry to a Garden Party at Buckingham Palace. The Garden Party was to be attended by The Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, the Duke of York, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester and the Duke of Kent.  This decision is in keeping with the constitutional role of the Crown which is above politics.

The politician is Mr. Nick Griffin, who is the Leader of the British National Party in the European Parliament. He was accused of using his personal invitation for Party political purposes through the media.

“This in turn has increased the security threat and the potential discomfort to the many other guests also attending,” a Palace spokesman said. “Mr Griffin's personal invitation was issued to him as an elected Member of the European Parliament. The decision to deny him entry is not intended to show any disrespect to the democratic process by which the invitation was issued. “However, we would apply the same rules to anyone who tried to blatantly politicise their attendance in this way.”

…Griffin objects….

Mr Griffin condemned the decision as an “outrage” and "anti-British" and accused the Government of orchestrating the move.  “This is quite amazing news,” he said .” At no time was I informed that I wasn't allowed to talk to the media about this. Other people have talked about attending. Why a double standard here?

 “To say that one person in the country cannot speak to the media is an outrage. The move has obviously been made under pressure from the ConDem regime who are desperate for any reason to bar the BNP. I am held to a different standard to everyone else in the country – that is thoroughly anti-British.”

…why did he want to go?…

Daniel Hannan is a writer and journalist, and has been Conservative MEP for South East England since 1999. He speaks French and Spanish and loves Europe, but believes that the EU is making its constituent nations poorer, less democratic and less free. He is the winner of the Bastiat Award for online journalism.  In a comment in the London Daily Telegraph he says that the Palace was perfectly within its rights to withdraw Nick Griffin’s invitation.

“He had behaved thoroughly boorishly by turning a private invitation into a publicity stunt,” he added. ”More interesting, surely, is the question of why Griffin wanted to meet his sovereign. The BNP, being a far Left party, has never much cared for the Crown. Although it is just about savvy enough to keep overt republicanism out of its manifesto, several of its papers and articles call for the abolition of the monarchy.”

  Mr Griffin, was invited last year as a guest of a party colleague who is an elected politician. He pulled out after a public outcry.  A Unite Against Fascism spokesman said they were delighted by the Palace's decision to bar Mr Griffin.

He told the Telegraph’s Martin Evans : "I think this is a fantastic decision that's been taken. the invitation in the first place was a blow for those who suffered in the Holocaust and more recently those who have suffered at the hands of racists and homophobes.  

"The fact he was invited anyway is a little bit concerning. The Palace needs to understand and the establishment in general, who are giving these privileges, that the whole point of him being so excited about going is because it gives him the chance to legitimise himself."

…reasons for the decision….

  Mr. Evans says that the decision was taken by the most senior members of the Royal household, including Mr. Christopher Geidt, the Queen's private secretary, who took advice from the Metropolitan Police about the possibility of Mr Griffin's attendance causing public disorder outside the Palace.  

Mr. Evans also reported that a Royal source denied the decision – which gave Mr Griffin blanket coverage on TV news channels – had backfired, saying: "He got an awful lot of publicity before we said he wouldn't be allowed in, and we've got to look at the bigger picture. He was turning it into a party political statement. 

 "We had a lot of information about marches and people protesting outside the railings, and also we have to think about how it's going to affect the other people at the garden party. 

 "We couldn't make this decision any earlier because we had to wait and see how much mileage he was getting out of it. It wasn't a decision which was against the BNP, because we had Andrew Brons inside the garden, who didn't try to use it for publicity. If Nick Griffin had done the same he might have been enjoying tea with the family.  

"A lot of people at the party said they were glad he wasn't there because they wanted their visit to be about them, not Mr Griffin."  



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