RIGHT- WING EXTREMISTS have overshadowed the appointment of the new Archbishop of York, Ugandan born Dr John Sentamu, by announcing plans to stand for York City Council.
The inauguration, at the end of last month, of the new archbishop broke conservative church tradition, featuring leopard skin clad dancers and a cruise into York to wave to members of his new diocese.
His appointment has been met with general enthusiasm for what has been branded an impossible task by some. It is hoped his open and liberal attitudes will help prevent the potential split over homosexuality in the Anglican church as well as calm racial tensions in nearby Bradford and Keighley.
This comes at a time when the British National Party, have recently declared their intentions to stand for council elections in the next 18 months. The party embarked on a leafleting campaign in the Haxby area, just North of York St John College. Standing on the grounds that the mainstream parties have failed the people.
The leaflets blamed the mainstream parties for the July 7 attacks as well as condemning multi-culturalism, claiming: “The old parties worked together to turn our once all-white country into an overcrowded multicultural slum”.
This ties in with other manifesto pledges including voluntary ‘repatriation’ of legal immigrants and maintaining racial groups by discouraging mixed race relationships.
Dr Sentamu has been met with racist abuse from British National Party supporters, who have sent hate mail and offensive emails to the archbishop. He is however assured that the people of York wouldn’t allow the BNP to succeed on their own accord, urging them to reject the BNP at the ballot box. “It is legitimate for them to put up candidates.” Mr Sentamu said “I don’t want to silence anybody. I want to beat them at the ballot box. We need to reject their arguments through the ballot box”.
He added that anyone in this country was entitled to express his or her own opinion, “Thank God for that”. Spokesman of the York Diocese Martin Sheppard said “The Church will never welcome any organisation which brands people or criticises them on the basis of their ethnic origin.”
Local BNP activists believe the leafleting and their likeliness to stand reflects their growing popularity in York as an alternative to the mainstream parties. Labour MP Council leader Steve Galloway disagreed: “They have nothing to offer York”, he said, “other than division and their own particular brand of bigotry.”
Unite Against Fascism responded to the litter drop by sending their own material to homes targeted by the British National Party.
By Ben Toone NEWS CORRESPONDENT