Article
Written by Student Rights on 6 December 2012 at 7pm

Students challenge the far-right in Cambridge

Last Thursday a campaign by students and other anti-fascist groups led to a sudden inability on the part of Kevin Scott, a former British National Party member and the director of Civil Liberty, to attend a debate at the Cambridge Union.

A senior figure in the newly formed far-right breakaway group the British Democratic Party (BDP), formed earlier this year by former BNP MEP Andrew Brons, the invitation of Scott enraged students who described him as a “lifelong fascist”.

In 2007, Civil Liberty was exposed by the Guardian as a front organisation designed to raise money for the BNP, with Nick Griffin quoted as saying “throw money at a group called Civil Liberty which helps members of the BNP”.

In this article Scott was also named as the BNP’s former north-east regional organiser, a role he had left in September of that year.

Civil Liberty also works to support BNP supporters it claims have been discriminated against because of their political beliefs, including Arthur Redfearn, who in November 2012 won an unfair dismissal case at the European Court of Human Rights after he was sacked for being a BNP member.

It is perhaps enlightening that the group’s article on the issue includes the line “Ironically, one of the judges to rule against him was the UK representative, Sir Nicholas Bratza, who is of Serbian descent, hence the foreign name”.

Civil Liberty has also published an article by Jack Buckby, the founder of Liverpool-based far-right student group the National Culturists, in September 2012, further highlighting that group’s connections to the British far-right.

Buckby and the National Culturists, profiled in this Student Rights briefing, also demonstrate that whilst most students are very good at challenging far-right extremism, it should not be assumed that fascist groups will not find support amongst the student population.

The determination shown by students in Cambridge and across the country to ensure that the far-right were not given either legitimacy or a platform to preach from is commendable, and it is encouraging to see how effectively students can unite against fascism.

Here at Student Rights we support the ‘No Platform’ policy operated by the National Union of Students (NUS), and have recommended a wider adoption by student unions as a tool with which fascist groups and individuals can be challenged.

We are always willing to expose attempts by the far-right to operate on the UK’s campuses, and if you find evidence of far-right activity on your campus, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.