The BNP’s attempts to adopt a mask of respectability are proving ever more effective. From winning its first seats in the European Parliament to Nick Griffin’s infamous appearance on Question Time, the far-right party is edging its way into the political mainstream.
But how can we oppose the politics of race, fear and hatred and stop the “normalisation” of the fascists? The answer, as demonstrated by the newly established Expose the BNP website, is to show the party’s true nature, rather than lazily reporting its vision of Britain’s doom.
This is remarkably easy to do. While party propaganda and Griffin’s speeches carefully avoid racist references, such a deeply prejudiced organisation cannot conceal its core beliefs.
Potential voters should visit Excalibur, the BNP’s online shop, which betrays an unhealthy interest in race and genetics (which, despite Griffin’s denials, are obsessions the Nazis shared).
Four Flags: the Indigenous People of Britain is a booklet the BNP says “proves that the vast majority of the British people have ancestors going back to the last mini-Ice Age more than 12,000 years ago”.
Although this may seem irrelevant in the context of the coming general election, it demonstrates the main appeal of the BNP — especially when it is coupled with exaggerated claims about immigration. This is the party’s technique for creating fear of an Immigration Invasion (the name of another book that Excalibur sells), which it says is destroying Britain.
Excalibur also boasts the “Golly Collection”, a range of items based on the dolls now widely seen as racist, especially since a 12-year-old girl burned one at a BNP event. The party refused to comment on what place the dolls had in a shop whose stock includes DVDs on the Zulu wars and books such as Race, Evolution and Behaviour and Folk and Nation: Underpinning the Ethno-State (which Griffin co-authored).
The website also sells T-shirts bearing the slogans “It’s cool to be white” and “British by birth: English by the grace of God” as well as one that warns asylum-seekers: “Don’t unpack, you’re going back.”
Even with a small membership of about 14,000 and limited electoral support, the BNP is damaging to British politics and society, not least because two of its members represent us in the European Parliament.
To ensure that Nick Griffin joins Oswald Mosley as an unpleasant footnote in the history textbooks, politicians must challenge the view that the BNP is the only party with a clear immigration policy, addressing the concerns of people who feel that immigration is out of control, but without pandering to bigotry and intolerance.
Journalists must challenge popular myths, rather than repeat misleading claims that fuel the BNP’s politics of fear.
What they fear is the truth — that no one will vote for a party of hate. To see the truth for yourself, just visit their online shop.