Page last updated at 16:07 GMT, Thursday, 28 May 2009 17:07 UK

Musicians' call over BNP CD sales

BNP leader Nick Griffin
The website also sells an album written by BNP leader Nick Griffin

Musicians who object to the BNP's "politics and morals" are powerless to stop it selling their music to raise funds, a group of artists has said.

The party sells a selection of folk, classical and military compilations with patriotic themes on its website.

The situation showed artists had a "low level of moral rights", Musicians' Union and Featured Artists' Coalition members said in a letter to the Times.

A BNP spokesman said there was "nothing they can do legally".

The letter was signed by Musicians' Union (MU) general secretary John Smith and Featured Artists' Coalition (FAC) members Billy Bragg, Sandie Shaw, Marillion's Mark Kelly, Blur's Dave Rowntree, Pink Floyd's Nick Mason and Ross Millard, of The Futureheads.

Review call

"In the lead up to the European elections, it has come to our attention that the BNP is selling compilation CDs through its website in order to raise funds for campaigning," the letter said.

We would, on behalf of our joint membership of over 31,000 members, like to have our opposition to the BNP's politics and morals formally noted
The letter to the Times

It added that many of the musicians featured were MU and FAC members, "and they have no legal right to object to their music being used in this way".

"We would, on behalf of our joint membership of over 31,000 members, like to have our opposition to the BNP's politics and morals formally noted."

The letter called for a review of musicians' rights so they "are able to object to their music being used in situations which contravene their beliefs and morals".

Titles of compilation CDs on sale on the Excalibur music section of the BNP site include Rule Britannia and The Best of British Folk.

Very distressed

Bassist Paddy Gordon, of band Brier - whose songs feature on CD A Feast of Irish Folk - told the BBC News website he was "very, very distressed" when he discovered it was being sold on the BNP site.

He found out when a Musicians' Union colleague e-mailed him "saying he was very concerned and wondered why I was supporting the party".

Mr Gordon, from County Down, in Northern Ireland, added: "No way would we support the BNP."

There are more and more outlets where people can buy music and if people want and choose to buy it from us then that's up to them, isn't it?
BNP deputy chairman Simon Darby

He said: "We do know what they stand for and we don't want to be associated with it."

BNP deputy chairman Simon Darby said the party had been "selling these things for years".

He said the issue had "all of a sudden come up" ahead of European elections next month, "so obviously it's a political move".

"There's nothing they can do legally, once they release that music through their distributor, that's it.

"But it's a question of choice.

Dame Vera Lynn
Dame Vera Lynn's The White Cliffs of Dover is featured on one of the CDs

"There are more and more outlets where people can buy music and if people want and choose to buy it from us then that's up to them, isn't it?"

He said the party had "never made any suggestion" that artists featured on the compilation albums supported the party.

As well as the compilation CDs, the website also sells an album "of nationalist songs" - West Wind - written by BNP leader Nick Griffin.

Earlier this year, it was reported that singer Dame Vera Lynn, 92, was outraged that compilation album The White Cliffs of Dover, featuring her song of the same name, was being sold on the site.

The album is still available to buy on the site.



Print Sponsor


SEE ALSO
BNP boss pulls out of Palace trip
27 May 09 |  UK Politics
Musicians in line for cash boost
23 Apr 09 |  Entertainment
'Why music artists need a voice'
12 Mar 09 |  Entertainment
Dame Vera loses out on old songs
20 Feb 09 |  Entertainment

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

BBC iD

Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2019 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific