The British National Party's representative on the London Assembly, Richard Barnbrook, has claimed a personal victory after Boris Johnson scrapped Europe's largest anti-racism festival.
Writing on his own website, Barnbrook claims that:
"Last week I asked Boris Johnson to confirm how much money from the London Assembly was used to finance last year’s RISE festival. You will remember that last year’s event was nothing more than an orgy of anti-BNP rhetoric heightened by a desperation to prevent me from becoming elected onto the London Assembly."
Barnbrook then claims that Boris replied with the information that the event would cost the GLA £300,000. 'Impressed' that Boris had responded so quickly, Barnbrook then claims to have replied with the following:
"The net cost to the GLA of this event will be £300,000. With this in mind can you confirm if this festival will once again be a political ground with active campaigning against the British National Party as in previous years? Obviously this event is being funded with public money and as it is being arranged by the GLA it would be totally unreasonable to campaign against a member."
Boris's decision to remove the anti-racist message from the Rise Festival will therefore predictably be portrayed by the BNP as their first significant victory on the Assembly.
And whether Team Boris were actually influenced by Barnbrook's correspondence or not, the decision to remove the anti-racist message will undoubtedly allow Barnbrook and his friends to label Rise 2008 as one big 'slap down' to the anti-fascist cause.