Wednesday, 11 November 2009

The BNP's exploitation of military valour continues

The Norwich Evening News 24 reported:

A full-size replica Spitfire was driven into Norfolk earlier this month with a police escort.

The painstakingly accurate model, constructed of a glass-reinforced composite, arrived at Lotus' Hethel headquarters for a spruce-up at the hands of the firm's expert bodywork engineers. On one RAF truck the fuselage was strapped upright, while its wings were removed and stacked on a second. At the front and back of the convoy was a pair of Lotus' latest production car, the Evora.

The model was sent to Lotus by the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF) after it heard that the company had previously repaired the RAF team's bobsleigh. The material used in both the bobsleigh and the replica Spitfire is similar to that used on some parts of the Lotus, making the company unusually qualified to work on them.

This Spitfire model being repaired in Norfolk with scrupulous care is for the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight. Care that is in stark contrast with the slapdash buffoonery of the British National Party (BNP) approach to the image of a Spitfire they exploited in their campaigning.

Pictured is the Spitfire the BNP chose to illustrate their Battle FOR Britain campaign (even the name of their campaign is a knock-off). A blogger, Plane Jane, first spotted something not quite BNP about the image. She wrote:

The Spitfire picture – “Romeo Foxtrot Delta” – is the one on the BNP website. It’s identifiable from its “RF” marking as belonging to 303 Squadron. And guess what? 303 was a Polish squadron! It seems that none of the “patriots” at the BNP know or care enough about the history of the Battle of Britain, despite all their enthusiastic flag waving, to get this detail right. Whereas I, a female of the left-wing political tradition, spotted it as soon as I got hold of a colour version of the picture. - Still, it’s an easy mistake to make. After all, if they just picked a random photo of a Battle of Britain plane, they would have had about a 1 in 5 chance of picking a “non-Brit”.

The Polish-piloted Spitfire story was publicised by all major newspapers in Britain and by many abroad, and made the BNP a laughing stock, but unfortunately the light-fingered mentality of the BNP and its practice of nicking symbols of valour and honour continued. Exposure did not stop the BNP's blatant rip-offs of iconic images, but the shambolic Party does not often get away with it.

The BNP illegally used BBC footage of the Edinburgh Military Tattoo to promote its agenda among young people, and BBC lawyers announced that they will be writing to the party demanding the footage be taken off BNPtv, its online television channel.

Villagers in Wales were 'outraged' and shocked to see the photograph of their VE Day party in Cromwell Street, Merthyr Tydfil, used as a backdrop by the far-right party at an event in Manchester, and called on BNP leader Nick Griffin to apologise for using the image and to stop using the picture in publicity.

Andy McNab told the BNP, “give me my books back”. The ultimatum comes after Nick Griffin announced that signed copies of Brute Force and Seven Troop would be auctioned to raise money for Help for Heroes. McNab – ex-SAS hardman, Gulf War veteran and best-selling author – told There's Nothing British About the BNP:

When someone called me to say that the BNP was using one of my books in a publicity stunt, I was sick to the stomach. I served with men of all colours and from many nationalities. They were all equal to me. That’s what the army teaches you. He doesn’t understand that what makes the British Army great, and what makes this country great. It’s the way we draw together people from all around the world and give them ideals worth believing in: tolerance, fairness, decency, looking out for the little guy. It’s the British way of doing things. That’s why I’ve asked for my books back. Because I don’t want anything to help the BNP promote their poisonous politics of segregation and hatred.
The BNP habit of stealing important military images has become so endemic that British generals have voiced their concerns:

We call on all those who seek to hijack the good name of Britain’s military for their own advantage to cease and desist.
The values of these extremists – many of whom are essentially racist – are fundamentally at odds with the values of the modern British military, such as tolerance and fairness.
Commonwealth soldiers, who comprise about 10 per cent of the Services, represent an invaluable contribution to the success of Britain’s military, both in history and the current day. Many have won the highest awards.
A fortnight ago There's Nothing British About the BNP launched a campaign by veterans to reclaim the honour of Britain's Armed Forces from the BNP. Veterans are invited to sign a petition reading:

We, the undersigned, call for the BNP to STOP using the honour of the Armed Services community and the memory of fallen heroes to promote the politics of extremism and racism.
Already over 600 have added their names to the Wall of Honour.

Last weekend in Ypres 13 y/o William Robey foiled another cynical attempt by the BNP to hi-jack British war history when the schoolboy thwarted Nick Griffin's attempts to appear statesmanlike amongst imagery of the fallen of WWI. Griffin exploded with irritation when asked about the 40th Pathans, an Indian infantry regiment.

None of this seems to have deterred the apparently shameless Nick Griffin. Yesterday he was pictured in the crowds at Wootton Bassett as the bodies of six soldiers passed through the town after their repatriation from Afghanistan to British soil.

According to the Times: His presence attracted an angry reaction among some members of the crowd lining the streets. Ira, a 49-year-old woman who works for a charity settling refugees said:

He should not be here. This is about families, not political leaders. He should not be anywhere near here. He is just doing it for the limelight. It takes the focus off the locals and the families.

Nothing British notes: As highlighted in Nothing British’s Stolen Valour report, the BNP are deliberately targeting the military and using emotionally charged occasions such as this and Remembrance Sunday to score cheap political points off the other mainstream parties.

These repatriation ceremonies are about the dead soldiers who have lost their lives fighting to protect the freedom we enjoy at home. They are a time for unity and patriotic pride in the sacrifice of our fallen heroes. But NG’s presence introduces an element of division and nationalism.

Simon Weston, a veteran of the Falklands War, told Nothing British yesterday:

This is a blatant attempt by Nick Griffin to try and get cheap publicity out of an incredibly solemn event. He shouldn’t be allowed to hijack such a sad occasion. Legally he may be allowed to attend but morally he shouldn’t be there.
Besides the propaganda coup, the neo-fascist BNP hopes that by exploiting the exceptional heroism of our Armed Forces it will hide the fact it is a party mired in corruption, criminality and extremism.

No comments:

Post a Comment