April 28, 2011
Burnley BNP candidate's racist slurs on Facebook
A BURNLEY BNP candidate has been condemned for posting racist jibes on his Facebook site.
Christopher Vanns said the entries, uncovered by anti-fascist magazine Searchlight, were ‘just jokes’ in the style of the late Bernard Manning or Cockney comic Jim Davidson.
But critics have blasted the views of Mr Vanns, who is standing in May’s borough council elections for the BNP in the town’s Trinity ward, as ‘offensive’ and ‘unacceptable’.
Searchlight has also uncovered evidence of similar posts by his son, Christopher William Vanns, who is also seeking election in the Rosehill with Burnley Wood ward.
In the posts Mr Vanns senior makes jokes about Asians being drowned, jibes about mixed race babies and people from Pakistan in Emmerdale.
His son, who posts under the name ‘Tiff’ Vanns, also made remarks about black people and stealing and made other slurs against Asian people.
The pair, from the Dugdale Road area of Burnley, admitted posting the comments and jokes.
Mr Vanns said: “At the end of the day they are just jokes. I could make them about white English people. The problem is anyone can say anything they like about white English people though.
“They are just jokes though, they make people laugh. They are not real life, that’s the point, they are just humour.
“I was brought up with the likes of Bernard Manning and Jim Davidson and when you listened to them it didn’t make you go out and attack anyone or confront anyone.
“Everyone laughs at jokes, it doesn’t make them racist.”
His son said: “I just cut and paste jokes on there if I think they’re funny. I’ve posted lots of things and I don’t know anyone who has been offended by them. It’s just one of those things.”
Coun Sharon Wilkinson, BNP group leader in Burnley, yesterday distanced herself from the pair.
She said: “They're not councillors, so it’s absolutely nothing to do with me and I'm not eligible to comment.
"What they do in their private lives and in the privacy of their own homes is up to them. They are not representing the party because they haven't been elected.”
Simon Cressy, of Searchlight, said: “Not only is Chris Vanns a racist but also likes to mock the disabled.
“I doubt the people of Burnley would want someone like Vanns representing them on the local council.”
Burnley MP Gordon Birtwistle said: “I find these remarks totally offensive and totally unaccceptable. It is not the sort of thing we want in Burnley when we are trying to create prosperity for all members of our community.”
Coun Shah Hussain, a Labour councillor in Daneshouse ward, said: “I am not shocked because the BNP is a party that is divisive to our community and if it has people like this running for it, it can only do harm.
“I hope people in the Trinity and Rosehill with Burnley Wood wards will know the kind of characters they are and, through our democratic process, will make the right judgement.
“These people are right-wing extremists and we don't need them in Burnley.”
Coun Peter Doyle, Conservative Party group leader in Burnley, said: “Any form of racism is unacceptable."
Angela Vanns, wife of Christopher senior, is also standing for the BNP in Burnley’s Coal Clough ward.