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Aaron Kiely

Aaron Kiely is the NUS Black Students' Officer.

Open Letter: Remove fascist Nick Griffin’s platform in the ‘Leeds Student’

We are appalled by the decision of ‘Leeds Student’ – an official student society of Leeds University Union – to publish an interview with Nick Griffin, leader of the fascist British National Party (BNP), on their website.

We demand that the Editor of ‘Leeds Student’ remove this offensive interview that gives a platform to a fascist immediately.

In the interview itself Nick Griffin defends the fact that he has shared a platform with the Ku Klux Klan – a white supremacist organisation responsible for attacks on and lynching of Black people in the US.

In describing his views on gay people, Nick Griffin says in the interview: “gay people have complained for years that the rest of society hasn’t understood how they feel, and has had to make allowances, has to be tolerant. So why can’t you people simply get over it and tolerate the fact that a lot of heterosexual people – we don’t want to persecute you – but we find the sight of two men kissing creepy. That’s just a fact. What’s the problem?”

He goes on to tell the interviewer that civil partnerships will mean that, “children will die over the next few years” because it undermines the institution of heterosexual marriage.

These abhorrent and utterly offensive views are just a snapshot of what the BNP represents.

The BNP is a fascist organisation which stands for an “all white Britain”, a goal which can only be achieved by violence, the annihilation of entire groups of people and the ending of democracy. Nick Griffin, leader of the fascist BNP is a convicted Holocaust denier.

In justifying the publication of this interview, the ‘Leeds Student’ states that the “paper is proud that we live in a democratic society, and that we can openly challenge and debate all manner of opinion and ideas.”

The BNP stands for the elimination of the democracy and all freedoms that the Leeds Student claims to support. 

We should always remember that the millions of people who died at the hands of the Nazis’ slaughter – in the gas chambers and the concentration camps – did not die because their debating skills or arguments were not powerful enough.  They died because once fascism had abused the democratic system to get its grip on power it soon closed down any freedoms to prevent any resistance. That is why we must never give a platform to fascists anywhere in the student movement.

In publishing this interview the ‘Leeds Student’ risks giving legitimacy to a fascist organisation, and boosts the BNP’s attempts to join the political mainstream when we should be isolating them.

We the undersigned demand the editor of the ‘Leeds Student’ to reconsider this grave error and remove the interview with fascist Nick Griffin from their website and newspaper immediately.



* Aaron Kiely, NUS Black Students’ Officer

* Malia Bouattia, NUS NEC (Black Students’ Campaign)

* Jamie Woodcock, NUS NEC

* Mike Williamson, NUS NEC

* Fiona Wood, NUS NEC

* Samayya Afzal, NUS Black Students' Committee & Black Students' Officer, University Bradford Union

* Sacha Hassan, NUS Black Students' Committee and Black Students' Officer, University of Birmingham Guild of Students

* Yusuf Molade, NUS Black Students' Committee & University of Manchester Students' Union

* Jess Bayliss, NUS LGBT Committee

* Emma Kerry, NUS Women's Committee & Leeds University Union

* Varinder Singh, Sikhs Against the EDL

* Jen Izaakson, Editor, 'London Student' - University of London Union student Paper

* Ben Jackson, News Editor, 'Roar!' King's College London SU student paper

* Hilary Aked, former editor, London Student, University of Bath Students' Union

* Charlie Hore, Life member Leeds University Union (proposer of LUU 'No Platform for fascists policy 1977)

* Steve Cedar, NUS NEC 1981/82

* Louise Bryant, President, Bournemouth University Students' Union

* Harrison Lanigan-Coyte, Co-President Finance & Communications, SOAS SU

* Carla Fyfe, President, Glasgow Caledonian University SU

* James McAsh, President, Edinburgh University Students' Association

* Alex Peters-Day, General Secretary, LSE SU

* Vincent Sandro Yong Vetrhus, Writtle College

* Callum Stanland, Leeds University Union

* Kristian Bruun, Academic Affairs Officer, SOAS SU

* Maham Hashmi, International Student' Officer, SOAS SU

* Georgia Emblen, Leeds University Union Alumni

* David East, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Officer, SOAS SU

* Elizabeth Sylvian, Leeds University Union Alumni

* Lewis Cameron, Leeds University Union

* Osama Zumam, Leeds Metropolitan Students' Union

* John Ward,  Leeds University Union

* Ibrahim Ali, BME Officer, Kingston University Students' Union

* Blackburne House, Women's Education Organisation

* Mary Prescott, Equality and Diversity Officer, University of Sussex Students' Union

* Fiona Edwards, Student Broad Left

* Zita Holbourne, Black Activists Rising Against Cuts

* James Phillips, University of Birmingham Guild of Students

* Nathan Akehurst, Oxford University Student Union

* April Reilly, Women's Association, University of Birmingham Guild of Students

* Kate Mayer, GMB member, Leeds

* Sam Playle, Postgraduate Representative, Queen Mary Students' Union

* Amberine Khan, Women's Representative, Queen Mary Students' Union

* Shakira Akther, Black Students' Officer, University of East London SU

* Conrad Landin, Youth and Student Officer, Labour Party Irish Society

* Thomas Pinhorn, Birkbeck College SU

* Godfrey Atuahene Junior, President, University of Portsmouth Students' Union

* Kester Richardson, Stop the War Society, Queen Mary Students' Union

* Al-Hussein Abutaleb, Black Students' Councillor, Sheffield Students' Union

* Shelly Asquith, Students' Union University of the Arts

* Pete Gillard, Leeds University Union Council (1973/75), former NUS NEC

* Kashka Georgeson, Merseyside LGBT Students' Network & LGBT+ Society, Edge Hill University

* Kara Stubbs, LGBT Officer (Women's Place), Kent Union

* Luke Cooper, Leeds University Union Alumni

* Luke Simpson, Leeds University Union Alumni

* Jacob Mirzaian, Leeds University Union & contributor to 'Leeds Student'

* Shohidur Rahman, University of Sheffield Students' Union

* Elizabeth Kitching, Leeds University Union Alumni

* Kd Tee, Leeds Metropolitan Students' Union

* Alan Borgars, University of Hertfordshire SU

* Matthew Smith, Ruskin College

* Ayesha Brown, Wyggeston and Queen Elizabeth I College Students' Union

* Dominic Smith, University of Portsmouth Students' Union

* Revolution - Socialist Youth

* Dan Edwards, Leeds University Alumni

* Max Brophy, Education Activist Network, University of Sheffield Students' Union

* Stephanie Stevens, Kent Union

* Charlie Hayes, Birmingham City University Students' Union

* Samuel Nelson, King's College London

* Adam Collins, University of Bristol Students' Union

* Alfie Meadows, Birkbeck College SU

* Adriano Merole, University of Sussex SU

* Christiana Makri, Maastricht University

* Helen Lettison, University of Nottingham SU

* Omer Sibbon, University of Sussex SU

* Jamie Lewis, University of Manchester SU

* Sonja Coquelin, University of Manchester SU

* Zekarias Haileselessie, University of Bradford Union

* Arnie Joahill, University of East London SU

* Fraser Anderson

* Cate Inverso, SOAS Students' Union

* Ozzy Amir, Queen Mary Students' Union

* Amy Gilligan, Cambridge University SU

* Harieke Mueller, Oxford University SU

* Paris Thompson, Leeds University Union

* Sheila Leatherdale, Kingston University

* John McDermott, Leeds University Union

* Candice Armah, BME Students' Campaigns Officer, University of Brighton Students' Union

* Matt Williamson, Education Activist Network & NUS Delegate, King's College London SU

* Tom Sainsbury, King's College London SU

* Ross Speer, LSE SU

* Bunny La Roche, King's College London SU

* Natasha Brown, Ethnic Minorities Officer, Kent Union

To add your name or organisation as a signatory please email aaron.kiely@nus.org.uk.


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