Of course, this was foisted on the BNP by the Equality and Human Rights Commission on pain of facing further action in the courts and I'm sure some of the hardcore Nazis in the BNP's ranks will not be best pleased. I'm inclined to agree with former Stoke group leader and ex-BNP councillor Alby Walker who said "I think some hard-line members will see this as a sell-out by Nick Griffin and leave the party." With any luck this might include a few in The Potteries who then go on to stand against the BNP in the imminent local elections. If any of them are reading this I say go on, you know you want to ...
Ultimately this won't make a blind bit of difference. You can't really disagree with Weyman Bennett, chair of Unite Against Fascism, who notes "I think that regardless of the vote, the changes are cosmetic and have only happened because the courts forced them to stop racist practices." Even in the unlikely event of an influx of deluded idiots from BME backgrounds, nothing will stop the BNP facilitating and sustaining the racist networks that in turn animate the organisation. The window dressing of a few non-white faces will not prevent it from being a danger to the labour movement and any kind of democratic politics.
Fortunately, so far the BNP have proven completely inept. After a decade of near perfect conditions for the far right - a decay of the Labour vote, the ebbing away of 'class politics', media obsessions with radical Islamism, alienation and atomisation, the largest wave of immigration Britain has ever seen *and* an economic crisis - their support remains around the two per cent mark, they have around 50 local authority councillors (and, apparently, another 50 parish councillors), one member of the London Assembly and two MEPs. Only a political leadership devoid of all talent could equal the BNP's dismal show of support.
But one must not be complacent. I pretty much agree with this piece from Mark Seddon. The EHRC ruling will make it easier for the BNP to market itself as a non-racist populist hard right alternative to mainstream politics. Because the BNP's leadership are too stupid I don't think they will pull it off (plus there is too much ugly political baggage attached to the name). But that isn't to stop something even more frightening in the future from emerging. An immeasurably greater threat to politics as is would be a neo-fascist organisation at peace with the presence of most minorities and wraps its message up with a strong dose of liberal tolerance. It happened in The Netherlands once.
In the mean time, immediately after declaring the BNP "had changed" they proved their democratic credentials by assaulting an invited journalist and publishing an endorsement by a fictitious black guy. So the new 'non-racist' BNP marks a significant milestone in its history with violence and lies. Oh well, start as you mean to go on.