Wednesday, 29 July 2009

BNP’s “tribute” to Harry Patch, the Last Tommy

From There's Nothing British About the BNP:

A strategy often used by the neo-fascist British National Party is to eulogise Britain’s wartime past as a means to garner more support. This propaganda tactic aims to legitimize their party in the face of accusations that they admire the Nazis (i.e. not patriotic).

A recent example was the BNP’s “tribute” to Harry Patch, the Last Tommy who died over the weekend. After giving a history lesson on the First World War the author, going by the pseudonym “Titvs Advxas”, lightly touches on Harry Patch’s life and then says, “The British National Party, it seemed to me, was the only political party who remembered Henry Allingham in the previous week, at meetings and in their own press. This weekend, the shame from the other parties from their own neglect, has forced them to remember Private Henry John Patch”.

The BNP are perfectly entitled to remember Britain’s sacrifice, but to wrongly imply (see Gordon Brown here and David Cameron here) that they are the only party that cares for veterans and the war dead is politically arrogant and immoral. The legacy of our veterans should be left out of politics.

Having read Harry Patch’s obituaries (see here and here), it is obvious he was an honest and caring man. He had the gentle and very British qualities of tolerance and sympathy towards other peoples suffering. These aspects of his character are the very antithesis of the BNP who have sought to claim him, and Henry Allingham, as one of their own (notice how they wouldn’t have dared done this while they were alive. The dead can’t bring about legal proceedings).

Harry Patch said that he was glad that he never killed a man, deliberately aiming instead for the ground. He was so deeply affected by his experience during the Great War that he would not even watch a war film. But even mild mannered Harry Patch, knowing the difference between good and evil, said: “Hitler wanted to govern Europe, nothing to it. I would have taken the Kaiser, his son, Hitler and the people on his side … and bloody shot them. Out the way and saved millions of lives.”

Contrast Harry Patch’s admirable views to the views of some of the BNP:

- Barry Bennett - former BNP candidate for the South West in the European elections, once said “whatever’s good enough for Hitler’s good enough for me.”

- Mark Collett – former head of the BNP Youth and now head of the BNP’s publicity unit said “Hitler will live forever; maybe I will”.

- Nick Griffin – leader of the BNP said on Hitler, “Adolf went a bit too far.”

Could their obsessive use of Britain’s former military glories during the World Wars be a compensation for their fascination with Nazism? Some might say that they are using British military sacrifice as a physiological defence mechanism.

David Cameron’s and Gordon Brown’s tributes show that it is possible to respect veterans in a non-political way. However, the amoral and emotionally insecure BNP’s idea of remembrance is to use our inherited freedoms, left to us by our hard fighting ancestors, as neo-fascist propaganda.

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