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23 February 2009updated 17 Jan 2024 5:42am

Dame Vera strikes back

Praise for the Forces Sweetheart and fun at the expense of the FSA, in our weekly blog round-up

By Paul Evans

Some sunny day

A shaft of light pierced the darkness last week; news that Dame Vera Lynn is mulling over court action against the British National Party, for failing to secure her consent to use ‘The White Cliffs of Dover’ and ‘All alone in Vienna’ on a fund-raising album. The cloudy issue of rights ownership aside, bloggers generally regarded it as a pleasing and symbolic rebuke to the far right.

The album carries the image of a Spitfire, provoking Duncan Borrowman to ask: “What would those brave fighter pilots fighting the Nazis think of being associated with a party like the BNP?” In a similar vein, Labour Euro candidate Anthony Painter wrote that:“The BNP advocate a set of supremacist and divisive values that are the precise opposite of what my Grand-parents and yours fought for in WWII”.

Far right bloggers sought to make light of the row, one insisting that bizarrely that the Daily Mail reporter who delivered their take on the story was in for “some stick from their colleagues”.

Studio manager Roger Tichborne, who also plays with a band called The False Dots, had a personal recollection. His father, a bomber pilot during the war, gave him an introduction to Vera Lynn which lead him today to appreciate that her “judgement hasn’t been dimmed by 91 years of shining”. Worth reading in full.

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This is by no means the first time that the BNP has sought to appropriate Britain’s fight against fascism for it’s own ends – nor the first time that the generation who who sacrificed their youth have rejected the far right’s noxious rhetoric.

Meanwhile a fascinating post on Harry’s Place highlighted the final reunion of the 42 Group, Jewish ex-servicemen who battled against fascism in post-war Britain, while Hope not Hate launched a petition against the the BNP’s planned rally in Liverpool.

What have we learned this week?

That politicians can curse along with the best of us. While Boris Johnson’s blue tirade at Keith Vaz took place in the context of a private conversation (the releasing of which, Martin Meenagh speculates, may have amounted to a civil offence) – others are seemingly happy to swear on the record.

The week began with Peter Mandelson demanding to know “who the f**k is he?” of Starbucks’ Howard Schultz, a sign of the strain in the Brown government, blogged the Indy’s Jane Merrick. And on Wednesday, notorious tease Iain Dale revealed extracts of his interview with David Cameron, in which the leader of the Opposition rebutted accusations of opportunism with an impassioned “bullshit!”.

Around the World

The Egypt-focused Arabist blog examines the diplomacy behind the release of former MP and human rights advocate, Ayman Nour.

Video of the Week

The Financial Services Authority is lampooned in this amusing abuse of old footage from Rainbow.

In light of speculation over whether the Bank of England will inject greater quantities of cash into the economy, Best of the Politics Blogs is offering a prize this week . A nearly new copy of Conor Cruise O’Brien’s memoirs will be sent to anyone who records a song entitled ‘Quantitative Easing,’ preferably to the tune of Marvin Gaye’s ‘Sexual Healing’.

Quote of the Week

“Anyone for a game of Bigots’ Bingo?”

Sadie Smith provides a guide to nuanced discussion of online racism…

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