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Revealed: The picture which sparked Lichfield Cathedral’s row with the BNP

Alex Sproule with the BNP 'truth truck' outside Lichfield Cathedral

Alex Sproule with the BNP 'truth truck' outside Lichfield Cathedral

EXCLUSIVE: The picture which led to the British National Party being removed from the grounds of Lichfield Cathedral has been revealed.

The party’s controversial ‘truth truck’ rolled into the city yesterday and set up stall outside the cathedral, leading the Archdeacon of Lichfield, the Ven Chris Liley, to ask them to move the van from the area.

Following the incident, the Ven Chris Liley said:

“Lichfield Cathedral is a place of Christian worship and the centre of mission for the Diocese of Lichfield.  We are open to all and want everybody to feel welcome here – but people visiting the Cathedral must act in a way which does not damage the cathedral nor the welcome that we are able to offer other visitors.”

However, BNP spokesman Simon Darby told The Lichfield Blog the Cathedral had over-reacted.

He explained:

“We sent our truth truck along because a lot of people in Lichfield are very upset by the planned mosque. If this was a Labour or Islamic poster would the Cathedral have taken the same action? The Archdeacon should spend more time defending the Christian faith because it needs it.”

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  1. Jason Green

    22nd April, 2009 at 11:20 am

    I totally agree with the comments attributed to the BNP’s Mr. Darby. The Ven. Chris Lilley should be ashamed of himself. The BNP is doing more to uphold our Christian values than he and the rest of the Anglian Church put together. Furthermore, had the message on the vehicle been a pro-Islamic one then I doubt very much whether the Ven. Lilley would have even batted an eyelid – such is the state of the Anglican Church – no wonder it’s treated with contempt by the British public who have long since walked away from its pews..

  2. John

    22nd April, 2009 at 11:30 am

    Methinks they needed a wider lens, the shadow running across the top of the truck is distracting, and the truck is abit overexposed.

  3. Patrick

    22nd April, 2009 at 12:10 pm

    I agree John: Most distracting. Possibly the use of some fill in flash would help, this may also get rid of the ugly shadow in front of the poster.

  4. Keith

    22nd April, 2009 at 12:12 pm

    If all churches had one of these parked outside then they’d be packed to the rafters.
    Great photo, makes me proud to be British.

  5. Anon

    22nd April, 2009 at 12:13 pm

    Agree with John and Patrick (and I’m sure Mr. Brickett will agree with all three of us) – they need a better photographer if they’re to be taken seriously!

  6. David C

    22nd April, 2009 at 12:28 pm

    The Church of England needs to consider the future of Christianity in Britain. Many people are concerned at the growth of Islam in the UK and where further mosques are being planned there is often local opposition from many who would consider themselves Christains. The tolerance by the CofE of Islam’s relentless expansion in this country is in marked contrast to the manner in which many historically muslim countries would react to Christain groups growing in those countries. Sadly it is much easier for the CofE to continue posturing against the perceived intolerance of the BNP than to face up to the greater threats. I might be doing the Ven. Chris Lilley an injustice but I do harbour the suspicion that he would have been more reluctant to ask muslim organisation to move on!

  7. glassfan

    22nd April, 2009 at 1:01 pm

    might i suggest that thelichfieldblog is behaving irresponsibly and is being intentionally provocative by publishing this photo the day after posting that the “Cathedral authorities will be writing to the BNP to demand that they not publish any promotional or marketing material which uses the Cathedral as a backdrop or which implies any endorsement of the BNP’s views or policies by the Cathedral”? i understand that thelichfieldblog would claim impartiality, but aside from the rubbish photograph, this is yesterday’s news.

  8. Sammy J

    22nd April, 2009 at 3:04 pm

    Hi Glassfan, thanks for the comment. We are not offering any view either way – we’re merely presenting the information for others to make a judgement on it. To me new is the key bit of news: The picture was new and therefore news.

    There’s also the fact that we have never claimed to be just a news site. We deal in what’s happening – that’s the same reason we report BNP clashes with the Cathedral alongsid local society’s visiting whistle factories. Our articles are the starting point – the discussion which follows is what really matters.

  9. glassfan

    22nd April, 2009 at 3:39 pm

    fair enough. i would however contend that the discussion would still be taking place after yesterday’s post irrespective of posting a photo you could only have got via the BNP. for clarity, i am not suggesting thelichfieldblog is offering any particular view. my only concern is that thelichfieldblog seems in this instance to be attempting to generate its own news by irresponsible provocation.

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  11. Sammy J

    22nd April, 2009 at 4:59 pm

    glassfan – I think we’ll just have to differ on the view. The story was a good story yesterday – hence the Telegraph followed it today. I just feel that the image added to the story: what exactly were the Cathedral removing. You have to agree, that it’s a VERY big vehicle and would have caused quite a stir.

  12. glassfan

    22nd April, 2009 at 6:28 pm

    thank you sammy j for taking my posts seriously, and we may have to agree to disagree.
    i agree that yesterday’s story was strong, and i’m surprised that more nationals have not yet taken it up (although some religious nationals do seem to be gradually responding). it is only a matter of time before more nationals do. the point i guess i was trying to make is that by publishing the photo, it is therefore only a matter of time before nationals also print the photo thereby achieving exactly what the BNP were trying to achieve in the first place. i guess if you didn’t print the photo someone else would and it is important for your website that thelichfieldblog publishes first (and, now, second alongside Fabricant’s comments). i see the sense in what you have done, but it just gets me back to my first post unfortunately. i won’t post on this topic again.

  13. Lynford Owens

    23rd April, 2009 at 6:32 pm

    I agree 100% with the comments made by JASON GREEN, he is Politically right, if this lorry was splattered with MUSLIM PRO- ISLAMIC filth toward our British way of life this ante-preacher would have welcomed them with open arms. Shame on you preacher


    23rd April, 2009 at 11:09 pm

    Food for thought,
    a google video on the history of Islam,
    Please check it out, and then you can make a more informed decision on whether a mosque would be a good ideas in Lichfield.

  15. Mr lol

    24th April, 2009 at 12:12 am


  16. Postnotary

    24th April, 2009 at 1:12 am

    I’ve followed a link to this website from the Guardian Newspaper CIF dealing with this subject – you’ll be pleased to hear it has aroused a great deal of interest and -despite the Guardian being Left/Liberal with naturally a strong ideological antipathy among its readership towards the BNP- I think it’s fair to say the reaction is fairly evenly mixed along similar lines to the posters seen here. The incident is seen to centre around the now topically important issue concerning the right to freedom of expression where the views to be expressed may not be universally PC acceptable (God help the nation) and its encouraging to see the number of people prepared to stand-up and defend either view with equal vehemence. Long may it remain.

  17. 4 pillars of religion

    24th April, 2009 at 6:54 am

    Assassinate the character of the film maker,, the rantings of an obvious fanatic Habib Siddiqui, who critises many Vedic texts in point 16 he obviously has no understanding the evidence of non muslim experts and you can say nothing about the London demonstration in 2005 clearly showing the true face of Islam giving their aims to take control of the world and calling for Jihad.

  18. wellard67

    24th April, 2009 at 7:41 am

    Well done guys. If you have anything big planned again aginst the mosque please let us know and we can arrange a film crew to attend. Best wishes West Wales BNP

  19. Adrian Burbridge

    24th April, 2009 at 2:31 pm

    Being British has nouthing to do with the colour of your skin or your religion

  20. foxy

    24th April, 2009 at 6:29 pm

    What a rediculous request to build a mosque in Lichfield (A cathedral city). As rediculous as christians wanting to put up a cathedral next to the Taj Mahal……. Firstly, I doubt a request would even be considered but if it were the locals would be just as perplexed and outraged as we are now!!!! Absolutely rediculous ……. has the world gone mad? ! Should this happen then the whole “feel” of Lichfield would be ruined and I, along with many other people from this wonderful historic city will be moving away from Lichfield altogether!!

  21. matt

    26th April, 2009 at 7:01 pm

    Beautiful, this IS what Britains about, and I hope this IS the future – A pro-islamic banner would have been more than welcome, so why cant we welcome the truth? This picture puts the ‘Great’ back into Britain.

  22. Andrew

    26th April, 2009 at 7:41 pm

    David C, wise words indeed. I am a proud Englishman and christian but It’s a good job I am not a practicing christian because when working in Saudi had I demanded a place for me (an infidel) to pray I would have been publicly beaten by the police (believe it or not, the “Religious Police”) I witnessed such beatings on many occasions. Islam has no place in civilised society.

  23. Patrick

    26th April, 2009 at 9:05 pm

    Any chance of a spwell checker on this blog pleeze.

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  27. Maria Brodmann

    12th May, 2010 at 3:45 pm


  28. Marmiteguy

    28th July, 2010 at 11:40 am

    I myself have no problem with this truck being at the Cathedral. I think we need to up hold our right to free speech. As far as a mosque in lichfield goes, why not ? As long as the location is appropriate and all the planning rules and regulations are followed it should be fine. At the end of the day, not only do we have several stunning Anglican churches in lichfield, we also have a mormon, catholic, methodists and Jehovah places of worship, should they be closed for not being the ‘main’ religion. I am personally a Buddhist, yet carry out voluntary work at the cathedral each week, to help uphold our heritage, does that make me any less british ?

  29. Raoul Duke

    31st July, 2010 at 4:33 am

    @Marmiteguy –  Nobody is denying the BNP freedom of Speech. They we’re told to go park elsewhere. A racist Political Bill Board in front of the Cathedral was plain and simply a dumb idea.

    How long do you think the BNP should have been allowed to stay there for?