“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Abraham Lincoln

Aaronovitch Takes On The BNP

with 9 comments

David Aaronovitch has some sound advice for those tempted to argue with Nick Griffin on Question Time, this Thursday:

“2 Don’t let him be the focus of the whole discussion. He’s the leader of a very small party. Outside the issues for which th BNP is best known (race, race and race) he has markedly less significance than the fisheries spokesman of the Welsh nationalist party. Who is . . ?

3 Don’t expect him to condemn himself by wearing an armband, yelling, jutting his jaw or making Hitler hand movements. He may have a hoard of DVDs and videos of fascist heroes hidden in his Welsh border cellar next to old piles of Spearhead and The Rune (both of which he edited), but he’ll have chosen his tie carefully and will have put in serious mirror time practising voice modulation and temper control. He may even have role-played the programme, with a hearty from the directorate playing you!

6 Bear in mind that all this is one of two things. Either Griffin has undergone a complete change of political, philosophical and moral outlook in the past ten years or he is a consummate liar. The first is just conceivable: he may have looked at the Italian Gianfranco Fini who took the neo-fascist MSI into government as the centre-right National Alliance in less than a decade. The second is more likely.

7 Griffin was shaped by racial politics. He believes that race is the basis of human society and that racial self-interest is the guiding instinct of human beings. This is not a youthful peccadillo — he certainly held that position when I interviewed him at length in 2002.

He believes it about Jews. In 1997 he wrote a pamphlet (available on the internet) called The Mindbenders: The Mindbending Power of the Masters of the Media. It is a list of Jews, or people Griffin assumed were Jews, in positions of power in the media in Britain and Hollywood. I asked him why I was on it. “The main reason you’re there,” he replied, “is that I was commissioned to find all the Jews in the media and you do rather stand out.” Standing out, in the words of his pamphlet, as part of the machinery of “enormous control over every form of mass media the Jews possess”.

Among those castigated were the commissioners of “disgusting pieces of decadence and perversion” on Channel 4, who had brought incest to Brookside, and Jon Snow, who “has made his sympathies clear by joining Jewish journalists in addressing a Jewish Chronicle-sponsored meeting on ethics in journalism”. And then there were the BBC Jews responsible for “Radio 4’s hysterical Holocaust propaganda piece 20/20 — A View of the Century”. Holocaust propaganda being, it seems, the view that the Holocaust happened.

As Griffin told me seven years ago, “[Jewish academics] originated political correctness. Because they saw it was good for the Jews. Because they saw a West made up of nations, each with its own consciousness as potentially a threat to Jews.” In other words, multiculturalism was a Jewish plot to undermine the West.

Why? “Because it’s natural.” Why? “That’s the driving force of human evolution. Different groups fighting for their own identity.” Then he added: “I am not anti-Jewish.”

8 He doesn’t want to admit it, but Griffin loathes mixed-race marriages and births. The BNP’s website had a Q&A section headed “Why are you against mixed-raced relationships?” and answering, anti-scientifically, that “all species and races of life on this planet are beautiful and must be preserved. When whites take partners from other ethnic groups, a white family line that stretches back into deep prehistory is destroyed.” He feels this intensely. Griffin’s problem is that mixed-race Britons are not just a fast-growing group, but increasingly successful. Pin him down on it. Don’t let him sidetrack on to Jews and Catholics preferring to marry within the group. Would he be happy to have grandchildren who looked like Leona Lewis, Lewis Hamilton or Damon Buffini? “

I somehow doubt that Griffin will be given a hard time.

Update 1: Phil BC asks some harder questions:

“1. Why has the BNP consistently (Stoke, Burnley Pendle) voted for above-inflation increases in council taxation, despite its claims against council tax increases and property-based council tax in general?

2. Why did Broxbourne BNP vote to block free bus passes for pensioners against their pledge that “pensioners should get free bus passes”?

3. Why did Halifax BNP councillors in abstain from voting to block the closure of a primary school in Mixenden despite election literature promising to defend all primary schools in the area.

4. Why did BNP in Kirklees agree to council service cuts in Sep 2009 declaring “a lot of the silly posts can disappear. I’ve always advocated that you get rid of 25% of council staff and no-one would notice. We won’t be able to guarantee early retirement and gold-plated pensions.”?

5. You, Griffin, have expelled certain BNP members for their political actions (including ex-Conservative BNP councillor Geoff Wallace in Halifax for supporting greenbelt housing) but not those who have implemented these above actions which harm the majority whose interests you claim to further. Why is there this discrepancy?

6. Why did you oppose the firefighters’ strike of 2002-2003, asserting that firefighters should not have the right to withdraw their labour to renegotiate terms and conditions of work? You declared firefighters “must be placed on the same level as military personnel and police officers and … forego their ambiguous position of using strike action”. Do you still agree with it?

7. Why did Stoke BNP exonerate chief executive Wayne Nutbeen for closing (in 2005) Royal Doulton’s last factories. Nutbeen’s explanation was the “company isn’t owned by Stoke-on-Trent. It is owned by the shareholders. The board has to ensure it does right by them”.

8. Why has Stoke BNP agreed to budgets (2004, 2005, 2007) that cut social spending including Citizen’s Advice Bureaus, old people’s services?

9. Which aspects of the “national good” in “Oriental countries” would you emulate in Britain first – a 2000% increase in work-related suicides, mass dismissals of workers for attending anti-government meetings or homeless nomad families working in low-wage sectors? (Your manifesto (2009) claimed “Oriental countries such as Japan, South Korea and Singapore have managed their economies to combine private enterprise competition with the national good, and these are the models the BNP would emulate.”)”

Written by modernityblog

21/10/2009 at 15:41

9 Responses

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  1. I think 2. is particularly true. I rather hope that the whole thing will be a big damn squib for all those extra viewers tuning in. With luck he’ll either be monumentally dull or lose his rag – as long as the others don’t also do this (ohoh) we’ll be fine.

    jim jay

    21/10/2009 at 17:18

  2. Jim, you’re right.

    I think a few well aimed but subtle digs at him might achieve more, Griffin will try to put it on, and speakers have to be careful about giving him issues that he can exploit.

    But either way I do hope that this whole episode will re-invigorate the antifascism movement in Britain, and get people thinking about the issues.


    21/10/2009 at 18:02

  3. The general problem with “anti-fascists” and “anti-racists” is that they tend to level charges of “fascism” and “racism” at evryone on the political Right. When they engage themselves against actual fascists and racists, they find to their surprise that their quiver is filled with rather limp arrows.


    21/10/2009 at 19:01

  4. Yeah but you could say that for almost *any* political dispute, the number of times I have been called a “commie” for saying that north Americans deserve universal healthcare is no one’s business.

    Oh, and that nice man, Mr. Obama got similar treatment 🙂

    Which simply proves (if it proves anything) that there is a lot of hyperbole about?


    21/10/2009 at 19:31

  5. I agree with you there, mod, 100 percent.


    21/10/2009 at 20:01

  6. Good point Modernity.

    By standards of those who judge Obama a Marxist for his health care reform, they would denounce Margret Thatcher as Leon Trotsky for defending the NHS all her life.

    Andrew Murphy

    21/10/2009 at 22:34

  7. I keep getting called a damn “neo-con” for my opposition to the Taliban, so I have a degree of sympathy for President Obama 🙂


    21/10/2009 at 23:48

  8. Not everyone on the right is a racist, of course, and not everyone on the left is an anti-racist, because racism is an insidious feeling based on existing prejudices.

    Some people use racist feelings and appeal to those existing prejudices by manipulating half-truths and outright lies and those people should be vigourously denounced and exposed as racists.

    Some people are permeable to racist speech and become racists themselves without even noticing, it can all of us unless we constantly reflect critically on our own thoughts, words and actions, because prejudices and stereotypes always have a base in reality that makes them easy to provide simple explanations to certain facts and behaviours.

    People who reveal to be unconsciously absorbing racism should also be made aware of it, and in many cases the only way to do so is to point it out to them directly.

    To dismiss anti-racists as extremists of opposite side of racists is the same thing as denouncing Simon Wiesental’s activities as a nazi hunter as acts of persecution.

    This is not to say that some people do not abuse of the possibility to label someone else as racist. I have been labeled racist myself for believing in cosmopolitanism and dismissing communitarism (or its cosmetic version ‘multiculturalism). However, anyone with sense may take their own conclusion by analysing claims of racism according to facts, such as the person’s behaviour and statements.

    Sarah Correia

    22/10/2009 at 05:01

  9. […] wish they had listen more to David Aaronovitch. Update 1: Whilst I remember, note to questioners. If a BNPer goes on how much they support Israel, […]

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