No secrets left to conceal

Daily Mail, 5th June 2004:

Dr Phil Edwards is the national press officer of the BNP.

He may have an academic title, but Dr Edwards makes his living by letting off fireworks. When contacted via the mobile phone number given for his fireworks display company he is, unusually for a party political press officer, baffled and then furious that a journalist can call him, knows where he lives and has dared to pay a visit.

And, by the way, Dr Phil Edwards isn’t his real name. It is Stuart Russell. When asked, Dr Edwards/Russell tetchily says he uses a pseudonym for ‘personal reasons’ and it’s none of my business why. He is not unusual among his cohorts. Several have used names other than their own for ‘personal reasons’.

Stormfront ‘White Nationalist’ board, 17th April 2006

boutye: Phil Edwards did a great job, and the interviewer knew it. Someone was on earlier from Searchlight saying that isn’t his real name. What’s the crack on that?.:.BNP.:.: His real name is Stuart Russell, he is the father of Julie Russel
[attaches picture of Julie Russell with Jean-Marie Le Pen]

Sweetlips: That’s a bit strange. Why doesn’t he use his real name for heaven’s sake?

BNP’er: Strange? I’ll tell you what’s strange! The Doc and his missis have suffered so much ****e you couldn’t wave a stick at it. He is a personal friend of mine and, like me, he has suffered for the cause of his race. No wonder it was decided to give him a non-de-plume. What I find strange is some stupid bitch trying to imply he has something to hide.

Guardian, 27th April 2006:

Even if it is not your usual thing, there is a video report worth watching on the Sky News website. It concerns Phil Edwards, the far-right BNP’s national press officer, and the recording of a telephone conversation he had at the start of last year with a student. When the student started working, Mr Edwards explained, he would be paying taxes to raise black children who would “probably go and mug you”.

Daily Telegraph, 27th April 2006:

Dr Raj Chandran, a GP and Mayor of the Borough of Gedling, Nottinghamshire, was not prepared to let the unfounded allegations on the BNP website go unchallenged, said solicitor Matthew Himsworth.

Mr Himsworth said that the BNP press officer Dr Stuart Russell – who wrote the article – and website editor Steve Blake “freely and completely” accepted that Dr Chandran was misidentified in the article.

Guardian, 21st December 2006, “Exclusive: inside the secret and sinister world of the BNP”

The techniques of secrecy and deception employed by the British National party in its attempt to conceal its activities and intentions from the public can be disclosed today. Activists are being encouraged to adopt false names when engaged on BNP business, to reduce the chance of their being identified as party members in their other dealings with the public.

The techniques, adopted as part of the campaign by Nick Griffin to clean up his party’s image, were discovered after a Guardian reporter who had joined the party undercover was appointed its central London organiser earlier this year.

Nothing like investigative reporting, eh?

Update 12/2/07

Last week “Dr Phil Edwards” made another appearance in the Graun, in an article co-authored by Ian Cobain (he who went underground in the BNP and emerged with the shocking news about activists being encouraged to adopt false names). I complained, as I generally do, but this time I included some of the material I dug up for this post. The result was a phone call from Ian Mayes (the paper’s Readers’ Editor) who was very concerned; he said he’d advise the news department to refer to Stuart Russell under his real name from now on, and asked me if there was anything else I wanted from them. (I said No, since I don’t really feel that I’ve been defamed by the blighter. There was one occasion a few years back when my mother said she’d heard “Phil Edwards of Manchester” announced on Any Answers and been quite surprised by the views which followed, but I doubt many people were confused.)

So: a result, provisionally (we’ll know when the Graun refers to Russell under his own name). I think it was probably the Torygraph quote that swung it. Top tip: if you’re going to publish under a pseudonym, don’t write stuff that puts you in the dock for libel.

Update 8/5/07

Here we go again:

Asked if there were serving police officers who were also BNP members, Phil Edwards, a spokesman for the extremist organisation, said: “I believe there are.”

I’ve written to the article’s author and to Ian Mayes, again. We shall see.

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6 Comments

  1. Duncan Money
    Posted 27 December 2006 at 16:22 | Permalink | Reply

    This is brilliant thanks.

    Dr Phil Edwards is an important BNP figure to expose since he is very effective at keeping the mask of BNP respectability in place and telling smooth lies about the BNP’s opponents.

    I was on the receiving end of this treatment a few months back which makes it even better to find out things about him.

    You might also be interested to know he thinks apartheid was a good political system.

  2. Phil
    Posted 27 December 2006 at 20:18 | Permalink | Reply

    Cheers, Duncan. But use quotes another time – as the court appearance in April shows, “Dr Phil Edwards” of the BNP reverts to being Dr Stuart Russell when he’s under oath. Dr Phil Edwards without any quotes writes this blog (although I don’t generally use the title when I’m not applying for academic jobs).

  3. Anonymous
    Posted 29 December 2006 at 16:54 | Permalink | Reply

    I think that the Guardian were wrong to publish personal workplace details of ordinary BNP members. It smacks of McCarthyism and could open them up to violence from political opponenets or harassment from employers.

    In opposing the BNP we should act ethically and not adopt reactionary positions.

  4. Sandy MacDonald
    Posted 27 October 2009 at 03:14 | Permalink | Reply

    I was fascinated to find out about the activities of your pallid
    “Dr. Phil Edwards”. At the time I found your log, I was looking for information on a much more heroic version. So I present you, the real Dr. Phil Edwards, “Man of Bronze”: http://www.sportshall.ca/accessible/hm_profile.php?i=339
    Obviously your miscreant was inspired by my hero’s association with his hero at the ’36 Olympics!

  5. Posted 27 October 2009 at 10:24 | Permalink | Reply

    Thanks, Sandy – another namesake to add to the list, and a particularly illustrious one. So we’ve got an Olympian, a surfer, a French country star, a serious Unix geek… and me.

  6. Tom
    Posted 10 January 2015 at 21:37 | Permalink | Reply

    Dr Russell says he “dreads to think”what Fry & Fiancée do in the privacy of their own home.
    I have a feeling Dr Russell gets past the dread, and thinks about what they do. Often.

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