Thursday 18 October 2012

Nick Griffin's Desperate Stunt

On a day that demonstrates the thugs of Golden Dawn in Greece aren't necessarily having it all their way; on a damp, cold island off the coast of North West Europe, a beleaguered co-thinker attempts to stir up some controversy:

It's likely the small band of A Very Public Sociologist readers who've returned to the fold post-reboot have a passing familiarity with the case mentioned by Nazi Nick.

There is more than a hint of desperation to Griffin's tweet. It's hard to believe it's been three years since the BNP was something of a power in the land. In the grand scheme of things its two MEPs, London Assembly member, and 50-plus councillors (including threatening concentrations in Barking and Dagenham, and our very own Stoke-on-Trent) didn't really amount to much, politically speaking, but they attracted coverage way beyond those numbers. The BNP fed off anti-immigrant feeling whipped up by mainstream parties and the press, and sparked off panic right through the political spectrum when it appeared they were making inroads into what some now euphemistically term 'marginalised majority communities'. They congealed the logical end point of widespread immigrant-bashing and Islamophobia, legitimated it to a degree, and then pushed the political spectrum even further to the right on these issues. Looking back now, it's a wonder the BNP didn't do even better.

What a difference a few years can make. When the shine had come off the BNP's polished turd, the party found itself losing its membership database twice, wracked by ruinous local splits, subject to persistent allegations of of fraud, on the receiving end of an expensive and protracted court case, two leadership challenges, and, of course, disastrous election results that saw the BNP's council representation down from 50 to just three councillors.

Then there is the small matter of recent events. You may not have heard about it, but the BNP are undergoing what is probably its most damaging and, possibly terminal split. Fascist "elder statesman" and BNP MEP for Yorkshire and Humber Andrew Brons announced his resignation from the BNP just yesterday. I expect the standing he has among the party's dwindling ranks will encourage a number of core cadre to follow him out the exit.

Saddled with an imploding party and haunted by the spectre of continuing electoral irrelevance, Nick Griffin's tweet is an attempt to jumpstart the BNP's fortunes and, perhaps, distract his remaining loyalists from the crisis engulfing his organisation. As the one party that frequently and ostentatiously styles itself as the champion of Christian Britain (though, arguably, the BNP is the party least in tune with Christian values), and with the Islamophobia market currently cornered by the EDL, Griffin's publication of Michael Black and John Morgan's address and subsequent threat will probably see him arrested. The subsequent outrage and comment, of which this post is part, and the prospect of a court appearance might be enough to scoop up a few hundred gullible recruits and several thousand quid in 'defence fund' donations. But it could also help boost his position as the far right's most prominent personality and, in the event of a conviction, might prevent him from running again in 2014 - giving him the stuff from which to fashion a claim to political martyrdom.

With the run of absurd convictions around offensive and tasteless Facebook posts and tweets, it's hard to see how der Fuehrer won't get his wish.

Whatever happens, it will be a while before we truly see the back of Nick Griffin.


Robert said...

Your sounding like poor old Gordon Brown who thought all the working class had moved to the BNP.

Your giving the BNP to much political savvy, they are pointing out about this poor couple who's house is a castle.

I suspect Griffin would be trying to prove a political point, sadly he like Brown are politically blind

Phil said...

Good to see you back, Rob. I hope you're well.

I don't think the working class turned to the BNP in large numbers - if you reread my piece you will see I don't make that claim.

I also don't think Griffin is without ability. You do need to have something about you to rise to the leadership of any political organisation, even if its membership is comprised mainly of numbskulls - like the BNP's.

Griffin is calculating and entirely opportunist. This affair allows him to destract attention from the ongoing crisis in the BNP while (attempting) to attract media attention.