Thursday, 21 May 2009

Peter Turpin's Bling Medal Councillor and disgraced ex-policeman Peter Turpin's favourite photo is of himself posing with chest puffed out with white pride, thrusting a collection of medals on his chest towards the camera.

A decorated Iraq War veteran wrote to Epping Forest BNP Watch, suggesting that Turpin was wearing a Telic medal alongside a Northern Ireland General Service Medal and a UN Cyprus medal, which was very odd as Councillor Turpin could not possibly have fought in the Iraq War. For the sake of accuracy, Epping Forest BNP Watch enquired with the Ministry of Defence on Turpin's record.

Sure enough, he earned his GSM and UNFICYP medals during his five years service. It appears he was a rifleman (private soldier) with the 1st Battalion Royal Green Jackets from 1976 to 1981. No problems there. what about that anomalous medal that looks almost identical to the Iraq War medal (pictured)? He has nothing on his army record to confirm it, so we asked ourselves: is it a bottle top or a bling medal bought on eBay?

Another former soldier explained that it was an "unofficial 'commemorative' Golden Jubilee medal of the type routinely bought and worn by Legion of Frontiersmen members and other assorted Walts [Walter Mittys]. He shouldn't be wearing the fake jubilee medal with two real ones - though it's an offence against military etiquette more than anything else - but the GSM and the UN medal were pretty common for soldiers who served in the 70s and 80s."

Turpin thrusts these medals into people's faces like he's a decorated war hero, so it is only right that we set the record straight. It is notable that another BNP councillor, Garry Martin, has not paraded his medals, although he must have earned some during his 30 years of active service in the army. That marks the difference between a Walter Mitty like Turpin and a professional soldier like Martin, who has not made a song and dance over medals.

Despite our leg-pulling about his short-temper, Martin is a 'good egg' and probably motivated more by patriotism than racism: misguided rather than malevolent. Turpin is a whole different kettle of fish. After serving in the army, he joined the police. He was forced out of the police for his involvement in the National Front. After his failed police career, he attempted to set up a vigilante group in Redbridge, an act that earned him condemnation from the borough commander. Turpin is always going on about law and order but according to the police he seems to have a problem distinguishing truth from fiction.

The trouble is that the BNP is keen to promote the self-aggrandising Walts. Turpin was on the BNP's party list for the Eastern Region during the last European elections and is now running as the BNP's candidate in the solid Conservative seat of Ongar and Rural in the Essex County Council elections. Perhaps the BNP has realised that Turpin is a bit of a loser, putting him in a seat where the BNP's past electoral performance has been nothing short of pathetic.

There are six candidates for the Ongar and Rural ward in the county elections, including the English Democrats which has scored a fairly impressive performance for a minor party in the district seats it has contested. The BNP is likely to win the bulk of its support in Shelley, a Labour-voting ward where the extremists could pick up a few votes from disillusioned ex-Labour voters. The best the BNP fantasist Peter Turpin can hope for is 10%, doubling its performance in the district wards it fought in 2006 and putting it into third place behind the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats. But few doubt that the Conservatives will win the seat. Turpin is a loser fighting a losing seat and hopefully he will lose again when he defends his Loughton Fairmead district council seat in 2010 - if he is reselected.

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