Published on Thursday, 14 June 2012 19:17 Written by Sonia Gable
Hot on the heels of its link-up with the violent English Defence League, the tiny British Freedom Party has proudly announced the appointment of an organiser for Croydon, south London. Step forward Charlotte Lewis, a former frequent British National Party election candidate who, after Derrick Bird took his guns and went on a killing spree in Cumbria in June 2010, wrote on her Facebook page, “I wish Derrick Bird could have come down to London and shot dead some illegal immigrants, rather than killing his fellow British people”.
This is not Lewis’s only connection with racism and violence. During the 2010 general election campaign, when Lewis was the BNP parliamentary candidate for Carshalton and Wallington, she was exposed as a foul-mouthed racist who encouraged attacks on the home of a teenager, writing: “I hope she gets cancer”. She had earlier caused offence by turning up at a Halloween party dressed in a burka, swigging alcohol from a bottle and flashing stockings and suspenders, an act that she described as “hilarious”.
In 2001 Lewis received a six-month prison sentence when she wrote threatening letters to staff at the Huntingdon Life Sciences animal research laboratory. One threatened, “This is a warning. Your life is in grave danger if you don’t stop working at HLS. You will find yourself having a gun aimed at your stupid ugly head.”
After a brick was thrown through the window of one family’s home, Lewis wrote to them saying: “I was there when a brick was put through your window. If you don't quit HLS you can expect more of the same.”
Announcing Lewis’s appointment yesterday, the British Freedom Party, which styles itself British Freedom in an attempt to sound less like the BNP but has not registered that name with the Electoral Commission, quoted Lewis saying inanely:
“I joined British Freedom in the hope that it can emulate the success of the Dutch Freedom Party and the French Front National. I decided to become the Croydon organiser because I believe this area has potential. I suspect that the local council are trying to turn the south of the borough into the north: for example, the council are, in conjunction with a housing association, building 55 new homes next to Coulsdon South train station for, ahem, ‘local people’ (not sure if that’s local to Coulsdon or local to somewhere in the third world). Speaking as somebody who recently escaped from the north to the south, I know how wholly unacceptable that is.
“Britain needs to recapture many of the values it had 30 years ago. Good manners, discipline and decorum need to replace political correctness, Cultural Marxism and anything that can be attributed to the ‘Frankfurt School’.”
Lewis’s knowledge of the Frankfurt School is unlikely to be any greater than her understanding of “good manners”, “decorum” and the points of the compass. It’s a good thing that she never achieved her ambition to become an airline pilot: drawing up and following a flight plan would have been way beyond the capacity of her small but nasty brain.
Her experience as a BNP candidate should stand her in good stead. In 2006, Lewis put a false Sutton address on her nomination form for the May council elections in St Helier, Sutton, to make her eligible to stand and was questioned by the police over possible election fraud. However she blamed another party member and was not charged.
The BFP described its London region as “growing rapidly”. One member to two would represent 100% growth. The party’s recently published 2011 accounts put its national membership at the end of 2011 at 449 including “paid and non-paying members”. Membership income in 2011 is stated to be £2,187.00, which would suggest that members who actually pay for the dubious privilege number fewer than 150. Donations were just £231.38. No rounding to the nearest pound in the BFP’s accounts: when a party is that small, every penny matters. In contrast the BNP’s draft 2011 accounts showed income of over £632,000.
Nevertheless the BFP made a profit of £526.68 after spending the grand sum of £0.00 on leaflets. It’s an internet campaign: £706.79 was spent on “internet activities”. With Lewis on board, alongside the EDL leaders Stephen Lennon and Kevin Carroll, the BFP is likely to carry on going nowhere fast.