British far-right leader welcomes Hanson

BY PAOLA TOTARO
Last updated 12:16 17/02/2010
hanson
The Age
COURTING CONTROVERSY: Pauline Hanson.

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The leader of the British National Party has declared that Pauline Hanson would not be regarded as an ''immigrant sponger'' if she moved to Britain, and if she wished to play a political role she would be ''very welcome''.

But the BNP leader, Nick Griffin, warned that Ms Hanson should choose carefully where she makes her home, as Britain has become one of the ''most overcrowded'' nations in the world, thanks to the Labour Party's decision to admit ''3 million spongers''. He told the Herald that more than 100,000 ''indigenous'' Londoners had fled the British capital every year over the past two decades, driven out by immigration.

''It has been a relentless flow because they can't stand living there and feeling like foreigners in their own city. I'd recommend she stay away from inner London and go off and find somewhere that is recognisably still British. Any of the smaller towns or the country, places you know you are in Britain and are not the Third World yet,'' he said.

''I feel very sorry for her … that she has been forced out of her country by this politically correct intimidation and bullying … she would not be a sponger. We would regard her as a good addition.''

Ms Hanson unveiled her plan to move to Britain, sparking headlines in Australia, just as the British political party that is One Nation's philosophical soulmate made the front pages after it held a meeting to accede to British equality laws and open party membership to blacks and Asians.

But as Ms Hanson announced that she had ''had enough'' of a nation that no longer offers opportunity, the BNP made lurid front-page headlines as security thugs ejected a senior Times reporter covering the rule change, bloodying his nose and throwing him against a car.

Mr Griffin said the ultra-right party's leadership had long observed Ms Hanson's career from afar and her ''persecution'' by Australian mainstream parties was an experience well understood by BNP members.

''We followed the One Nation story and the ups and downs. I read her book a few years ago. We watched with sympathy at what has happened and that most vicious stitch-up by the Australian establishment of her and her party.''

He said mainstream parties used electoral funding laws to persecute opponents like the BNP and the electoral fraud charges that led to Ms Hanson's brief stint in jail were an example of how rules are applied more stringently to some parties.

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Ms Hanson, he said, had not made contact with the BNP and perhaps wanted to move to Britain to be able to walk around unrecognised and be left alone: ''You can't go anywhere without ordinary people wanting to shake your hand … sympathy is the last thing you want, it gets in the way,'' he said.

''Perhaps the last thing she wants is to be in the news. But if she does, perhaps as [Britain's] most recent immigrant, she will be very welcome if she wants to join and become involved. She has had some very interesting experiences in terms of persecution, and there would be a role for her if she wishes.''

- Sydney Morning Herald

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