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'White power' bands target Bathgate

NEO-Nazi bands are targeting a Scottish town, with a series of gigs featuring groups linked to the far-right due to be held this year.

Among the headline acts listed on flyers for four events taking place this year in Bathgate - which do not specify the exact location - include Endstufe, whose music was banned in Germany in the 1990s during a crackdown on neo-Nazi rock bands.

Three of the events feature Pressure 28, fronted by Kevin Gough, who has been linked to the BNP and neo-Nazi group Combat 18.

While this group's website claims it is named after a local scooter club, anti-fascist campaigners say the 28 refers to the second and eighth letters of the alphabet - with B & H referring to Blood and Honour, the neo-Nazi music promotion network which derives its name from the motto of the Hitler Youth.

Edinburgh-based Bakers Dozen are also among the dozens of names appearing on the list. The band have their music listed under the category of Nazi/white power CDs on the website of the Nationalist Socialist Movement, one of the largest neo-Nazi groups in the US.

Both Endstufe and Bakers Dozen also appear in a flyer published under the category of upcoming events on a website for the East Anglia branch of Blood and Honour, which says it promotes "white power music and resistance".

But Bakers Dozen - the only one of the bands which replied to a request for comment from the Sunday Herald - said they have "never been and never will be Nazi/white power" music.

One local who wants the gigs stopped said he believed they had been going on for a few years, but until now it had been an annual event with just a few far-right bands.

"Now it's on four times this year, with more bands from across Europe and later in the year there are bands from the US," he said.

"I'm really surprised to learn about these gigs and the local scene being so big, and really disappointed to know the amount of ordinary people I know who knew about them, but chose to ignore them and just let something like this grow and fester in the community."

Dr Paul Jackson, a senior lecturer in modern history at Northampton University, who specialises in research into the post-war far right in Britain, said: "It is deeply disconcerting to see not just one such event develop, but a small co-ordinated series of gigs and events and is perhaps indicative of deeper issues of growing support for this type of politics in the area."

Paul Sillet, national campaigner for Unite Against Fascism, said the white power scene was "under the radar".

He said: " There may not be more than 100 at the same gig and it is often the same people - but it is the same bands, the same faces keep cropping up. It is small, but obviously it is very nasty.

"Bands these days don't always come out with anti-semitic filth and racism so openly. But their hardcore supporters know what it is about.''

Bakers Dozen said they had been around for 18 years and had "no idea" why the National Socialist movement would sell their CDs.

"We are a non-political Oi! band and have been from day one," the statement said. "We have certainly never had any dealings with them.

"The bottom line is that Bakers Dozen have never been or never will be a racist band.''

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