I was reading about the BNP yesterday. Unlike most woolly liberals of my type, I’m not unduly disturbed by the election of a couple of BNP MEPs. It’s not like they’re going to have any real power, and getting them elected might actually increase the profile of the BNP to the extent that rather than people thinking they’re just some vaguely patriotic organisation, their true nature emerges. Because although I have no evidence for this, I can’t help thinking that most of the people who voted BNP did so as a gesture of misplaced patriotism rather than because of genuinely fascistic leanings.
The BNP’s white supremacist beliefs have hardly been mentioned over the last few weeks. They’ve made great play of immigration from the rest of Europe and got mileage from Islamophobia, but nobody’s really focused on their ludicrous views about race. And I say ludicrous not because I disagree with them, but because they’re simply preposterous. I can see there’s a debate to be had (a debate too complex for me, and certainly far too complex for the membership of the BNP) about the recent flurry of immigration from within the EU. Personally I think that if people have got the wherewithal to get off their backsides and travel to another country to better themselves, that’s exactly the kind of people I want here, but I’m happy for people to debate it and actually feel the main parties have shied away from doing so for fear of being seen as post-imperialists. But there’s no debate to be had about “firm but voluntary incentives for immigrants and their descendants to return home” (which Nick Griffin updated from the previous policy of forced repatriation). I imagine almost everybody knows somebody like a colleague of mine – half Trinidadian and half Nigerian by blood, thoroughly English by birth and upbringing. If he is to be firmly encouraged (and it’s pretty easy to imagine what that would be like) to return “home”, to where? It’s as ill-conceived as it is repellent.
Similarly, I doubt most BNP voters are aware that Nick Griffin is a long-standing Holocaust denier. Or that he thinks that when a white person has a mixed-race child, “a white family line that stretches back into deep pre-history is destroyed. While the BNP is not racist, it must not become multi-racist either. Our fundamental determination to secure a future for white children is restated, and an area of uncertainty is addressed and a position which is both principled and politically realistic is firmly established. We don’t hate anyone, especially the mixed race children who are the most tragic victims of enforced multi-racism, but that does not mean that we accept miscegenation as moral or normal. We do not and we never will”. Or that the BNP proposes that citizens should keep a rifle and ammunition in their homes. Or – and this is my favourite – it plans “to end the conflict in Ireland by welcoming Eire as well as Ulster as equal partners in a federation of the nations of the British Isles”. Ha ha! I wonder if they’ve ever met anybody Irish. (Or perhaps I should say Eirish, since they seem to favour the archaic term which I’m told Irish people can’t stand seeing used in its English version, without the accent.)
I find it hard to get too animated about the BNP though. They’re a tiny minority, and – here’s the thing – they’re on a hiding to nothing. Britain is multi-racial, not just in its demographic but in its heart and soul now as well. Every Theo Walcott goal, every Nitin Sawhney album, every chicken tikka masala makes that more of a fact, and there’s nothing the BNP can do about it.