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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.

Friday, 8 April 2011

BNP support collapses (Epping Forest, UK)

In a dramatic collapse of support the British National Party will be fielding no candidates in the forthcoming local elections.

Only four years ago the BNP had seven members on Epping District Council, more than at any other time in their recent history.

But this year none of the 32 seats that are up for re-election on May 5 will be contested by the far-right organisation.

Many of the seats are in Epping and Waltham Abbey, and the Liberal Democrats are looking to use the opportunity strengthen their position and oust Loughton Residents Association as opposition to the dominant Conservatives.

District Councillor Stephen Murray, who is an independent, said: “I was pleasantly surprised to see that the BNP are putting forward no candidates this year. It can only be a sign of weakness. Only four years ago there was talk of them being a majority, now their membership on the council is down to one.

He said that internal divisions and campaigning by ant-fascist organisations were the root of the the collapse.

“Eddie Butler, who is married to a former BNP councillor from the area, stood against Nick Griffin a recent leadership contest which has caused fratricidal disputes", said Councillor Murray.

“I also think that Searchlight have done valuable work in the area in waking people up to the true nature of the BNP as a racist organisation.

“However it is very important for people not to become complacent and for us to keep an eye on them.”

Councillor Murray was sceptical about the Lib Dem's chances of becoming district's second most powerful party, saying that their centre-left support could collapse having formed a coalition government with the Conservatives.

The BNP's one remaining District Councillor, Pat Richardson, said: “Sometimes it is hard to find candidates. Most parties are going through difficult times.

“None of the seats in Debden and Alderton where we have most of our support are up for re-election so that is another factor.

“I think at the minute people are more interested in their home lives than in politics.

“It is swings and roundabouts, the game of politics. Recently Labour had strong support now they only have one district councillor.”

Walthem Forest Guardian

Gov't to sign agreement with Roma self-government (Hungary)

Prime Minister Viktor Orban announced on Thursday that he would sign an agreement with head of the National Roma Self-government Florian Farkas designed to resolve problems of the Roma community.

Orban told the 5th European Roma Platform that the agreement will include offering community work to more than a hundred thousand people and training to tens of thousands of young Roma to acquire marketable skills. The issue of recognising and supporting the cultural self-government will also be covered by the agreement, he added.

"If all goes well, the agreement can be signed next week," Orban said.

European Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship Viviane Reding told the event that Europe had joined forces to resolve the problems facing the Roma and the aim is not only to reduce the burdens on the community but also to give them more opportunities.

The Hungarian presidency of the European Union has done much to include Roma integration in the EU agenda, said Reding. The European Parliament and the Commission have achieved much already and member states must now make progress because there is a Roma community in each country, she added.

Reding said only 42 percent of Roma children in Europe attend primary school, which means "we do not prepare the rest for life."


Messy living 'can foster racism' (UK)

Living in a messy environment fosters racism and discrimination, according to psychologists.

Chaotic surroundings bring about a desire to restore order, leading people to resort to stereotyping as a "mental cleaning device", a study suggests.

Scientists tested the theory with a series of experiments, one of which took advantage of a strike by cleaners at Utrecht train station in the Netherlands.

The researchers asked 40 white, Caucasian travellers to sit anywhere in a row of chairs and complete a survey about stereotypes.

When the station was strewn with litter, participants put a greater distance between themselves and a black member of the team occupying the first chair than when it was clean.

In another experiment, the researchers carried out a street poll of 47 passers by who were also quizzed about stereotypes.

During the first round of interviews, tiles were removed from the pavement, a car parked on the kerb, and a bicycle abandoned in the street. On the second day, the street was cleaned to make it look neat and orderly.

The scientists found people discriminated against others more in their survey answers when the street was messy. They also donated less money to a fictitious charity collection for ethnic minorities.

Professor Diederik Stapel and Professor Siegwart Lindenberg, from Tilburg University in the Netherlands, wrote in the journal Science: "Our studies show that disorder increases the need for structure and, thus, the goal to create order. The study also shows that stereotyping is an effective mental way to reach this goal.. Stereotyping is a mental cleaning device that helps people to cope with physical chaos..

"Thus the message for policymakers is clear. One way to fight unwanted stereotyping and discrimination is to diagnose environmental disorder early and to intervene immediately by cleaning up and creating physical order. Signs of disorder such as broken windows, graffiti, and scattered litter will not only increase antisocial behaviour, they will also automatically lead to stereotyping and discrimination."

Belfast Telegraph