Monday, 17 August 2009

Mad as well as bad

From The Guardian:

The near million who voted for the British National party in June's Euro-elections are certainly angry and no doubt racist to varying degrees, but how many of them would really be up for sending a gunboat down the Liffey? Very few, because there are surely not a million people so lunatic that they would want to start a war on these islands. Yet that would surely be the result of the BNP pledge of "welcoming Eire as well as Ulster as equal partners in a federation of the nations of the British Isles".

Just like the cheery talk of welcoming Ireland back into the union, the party's Derbyshire garden party over the weekend provides the flimsiest veil for a programme that is not only nasty, but rooted in delusion and paranoia. Alongside the tea, cakes and patriotic memorabilia – designed to create a "family" atmosphere and reinforce the half-respectabilty afforded by winning two Euro-seats – the Red, White and Blue festival featured a clutch of white crosses to commemorate people supposedly killed "as a result of anti-white violence". Persecution complex by day gave way to evening self-confidence, as far-right fanatics outside the camp gave fascist salutes and shouted "sieg heil".

We report today how the BNP shipped in fascists from overseas to address its gathering. The party leader, Nick Griffin, no doubt regards links with far-right parties abroad – many of which are much better established than his own ragbag outfit – as a way to make the BNP look serious. Tellingly, however, his attempts to form a grouping in Brussels failed, as even fellow extremists feared the damage that would be done by associating with the BNP.

It is not hard to see why. A handful of BNP leaders may nowadays don suits, but a large proportion of the activists, councillors and candidates remain boot boys, often with criminal convictions for violence. Mr Griffin's one fellow MEP, Andrew Brons, has a genteel manner but was, as a young man, involved with Nazi-style groups that engaged in arson attacks on synagogues. He has German, and quite possibly Jewish, ancestry making his embrace of the most exclusive form of British nationalism a source of psychological speculation.

The brutal mindset of Griffin himself was betrayed only last month, when he suggested that the Europeans should "sink several ... boats" carrying African immigrants. Mindful, perhaps, that few of those who had voted him would truly support drowning men, women and children at sea, he added as an afterthought that they might be thrown life jackets. The hope must be, as has already happened in some town halls, that the more the public gets to know the BNP the more they will lose patience with people who are as unpleasant as they are odd.

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