John Tyndall, founder of the British National Party, has died at the age of 71. From the Guardian’s Sandra Laville and Matthew Taylor :
Tyndall (above) was known among followers and observers of the far right for his jackboots, arrogance and dedication to Nazi racial ideals. After forming the BNP in 1982, he imposed his particular brand of doctrinaire leadership, holding marches, threatening violence and promoting openly racist policies such as the compulsory repatriation of all foreigners.
“He was one of the two or three key players in the post-war era,” said Gerry Gable, the anti-fascist campaigner who was Tyndall’s foe for much of the last 40 years. “But essentially he was a loser who never managed to see a realisation of his national socialist ideals.”
In the last few years, under the leadership of a Cambridge graduate, Nick Griffin, the BNP has striven to present an electorally viable face. But Tyndall, who did little to dispel the view of it as a neo-nazi organisation, was a constant thorn in the side of the movement as it attempted to convince the public that it had moved away from its roots.
In the run-up to the local elections last year Tyndall was banned from speaking at a meeting and told by the new leadership: “The many photographs of you in neo-nazi uniform … are a public relations handicap for the party.”
He was due in court in Leeds this Thursday, charged with race hate crimes which carry a maximum sentence of seven years. Tyndall was charged together with Mr Griffin following a BBC documentary, The Secret Agent, in which an undercover reporter filmed him making a speech at a social club in Burnley. During the speech he was filmed saying: “The only thing the Africans have given us is voodoo, witchcraft and Aids.”