Published on Friday, 19 October 2012 23:14 Written by Lizzy Davies
A gay couple whose address was posted on the internet by the leader of the British National party (BNP) have hit back at his appeal for a demonstration near their home, labelling him an "idiot" whose views on discrimination are out of step with the mainstream majority.
Hours after Michael Black and John Morgan learned on Thursday theyhad won their civil case against a Christian bed and breakfast owner who had refused them access to a double room on the grounds of her religious convictions, Nick Griffin posted several messages on Twitter urging his followers to stage a protest against the decision and making public the couple's address in Brampton, Cambridgeshire.
Police said they were investigating the messages after a number of complaints were made, and were watching Black and Morgan's home for any sign of a disturbance. Griffin had posted a message saying he wanted to bring "a bit of drama" to the couple "by reminding you that an Englishman's home is his castle".
Griffin, chairman of the BNP and MEP for the North West, has rejected campaigners' accusations that the messages were menacing in character and insisted the demonstration would be a peaceful protest "with no warning" against what he said was the "persecution" of Susanne Wilkinson, owner of the B&B in Cookham, Berkshire. Wilkinson has said she is considering appealing against the ruling.
The phrase "a bit of drama" was a reference to the couple's interest in amateur dramatics, he claimed.
"I've watched with increasing concern and anger over the last few years as the liberal left establishment, militant members of various minority groups, and an increasingly leftwing judiciary have demonised, persecuted and oppressed members of the silent majority in general and Christians in particular," Griffin told the Guardian.
"I think it's a campaign based on bullying. And the thing to do with bullies is to give them some of their own medicine. I think it's time that needs to be done."
He denied having publicised the couple's address, saying he had only identified the road and not the village of Brampton, which had been widely reported. "I merely pointed out to them [Black and Morgan] that we do know where they live so if they do want to bully people there may be consequences."
Asked why he had chosen to post their address online, he said the couple had "put themselves in the public eye by bringing a court case when they could simply have walked away and got another bed and breakfast".
Black, a writer and exams consultant, and Morgan, 59, a computer consultant, said the support they had received since they were turned away from Wilkinson's B&B in 2010, had convinced them that, contrary to his claims of representing the "silent majority", Griffin's views were not shared by most people.
"I think Nick Griffin has got very little support in the country," Black, 64, told BBC Breakfast. "Certainly, the public response to the incident, when it happened two and a half years ago, and again in the last 24 hours, has been overwhelmingly in support of our stand against discrimination, so hopefully that will mean the vast majority of the people in the country will just see what an idiot Nick Griffin is and reject his views."
In separate comments on BBC Wales, he added: "We've been told that Nick Griffin is threatening to come to our house and hand out leaflets outside. But we live in a village where it wouldn't be easy for him or many people to come and gather. There's nowhere to park for a start and very few people walk past apart from schoolchildren. If anything happens it would be a damp squib."
On Thursday night the Twitter account from which the messages were sent – @nickgriffinmep – was taken down, but by Friday morning it was back up. The message featuring the couple's address, however, had apparently been deleted.
Andy Wasley, from gay rights group Stonewall, said: "Placing a street number and name on Twitter, with tens of thousands of followers, as Mr Griffin seems to have, is clearly a decision that he either didn't think about very much, or he thought about a little too much. It was an alarming decision and that couple must have been deeply distressed by it."
Credit: The Guardian