Hope Not Hate on the BNP’s History of Stupidity

This is further to my last on the collapse of the BNP as a political party, thanks to them not actually bothering to register with the Electoral Commission. Hope Not Hate has an interesting and, in places, funny piece about how the BNP has very effectively managed to destroy itself through its leaders’ factionalism, venality, stupidity and massive incompetence. It’s at http://www.hopenothate.org.uk/blog/insider/the-bnp-a-history-of-believable-incompetence-4695.

It begins

At the end of 2014 we remarked that our highlight of the year was the “total collapse of the BNP.” Nick Griffin had been booted out of the European Parliament, forced out as Chairman and then, humiliatingly, expelled from the party he had built into a once serious electoral proposition.

Between 2001 and 2009, the British National Party had an unstoppable feel about them. The party was full to burst with nazis, cranks, conspiracy theorists and even rapists and murderers. But they persisted with pushing ahead with a rebranding of an old nazi party into something that would at least look like it did not smell quite as bad as it once did.

They were picking up the odd council seat here and there, quite incredibly got a member elected onto the London Assembly in 2008, and by 2009 the party held over sixty council seats and had two MEPs. Close to one million people voted for them in the European Elections.

The BNP wanted to be seen as a serious political party; but in becoming a serious political party, Griffin had to make enemies. In November 2008 the party’s membership list was leaked by a disgruntled official. A proper party they wanted to be, but few people actually seemed to want to be on the dreaded list. Still, despite the humiliation, they forged ahead from that disaster in time to win those near one million votes. It was clear that the BNP was often its own enemy and Nick Griffin perhaps both their greatest and their worst asset.

One of the most interesting internal documents I have ever seen from the BNP was a secret letter that Griffin wrote to BNP officials after his election to Brussels in 2009- begging them to not take advantage of the European Parliament’s generosity. So aware of the likelihood of this happening was Griffin, he only entrusted party employee timesheets and expense claims to his wife Jackie (a midwife). The party’s treasurer, by all accounts a “great bloke”, was addicted to internet pornography so they had removed his office computer and given him an old ledger to work on instead.

The far right, like the far left, has a history of factionalism and in-fighting, with groups continually splitting and reforming. It’s beset with wannabe Fuehrers, Duces and Caudillos, all jockeying for power in their ambition to be the next Hitler. And their character and general behaviour is less than inspiring. I can remember way back in the early 1970s, when one of the leaders of the National Front was banged up in jail for about two weeks for stealing women’s underwear from a department store. And when they began to make electoral inroads about a decade ago, they couldn’t hold back their deep instincts to make a mess of things. Private Eye in its pages ran a number of pieces chronicling their truly impressive displays of crass ignorance and sheer inability to organise anything, or behave in anything like a reasonable or competent manner. High lights of this long career of idiocy include:

The seven BNP councillors on Tower Hamlet’s borough council not bothering to vote for a motion that the rest of the council had accepted should be put to the vote, on the grounds that they didn’t know you had to do it. As a result, the proposal failed.

A press meeting, in which various BNP members in pig masks were supposed to leap out and start slobbering over a trough to symbolise the greed of the other, mainstream parties. This also went spectacularly wrong, and thing’s didn’t quite work out.

A fight between a Labour councillor and his BNP colleague in a pub, when Dagenham and Barking council adjourned there. The Labour local politician called the stormtrooper a ‘poof’, so the squadristi responded by calling him a ‘Fascist’. Then fisticuffs broke out.

There was also much schoolboy sniggering and speculation over the sexuality of the BNP’s spokesman for the arts. He styled himself a ‘conceptual film-maker’. He was mostly known for making a art film entitled ‘HMS Venus: A Voyage into Love’ or some such, which featured naked young men frolicking in a river. This is an unusual piece, considering how totalitarian movements, like Fascism, are generally hostile to experimental art, and the far right’s own bitter homophobia.

The leak of the party’s membership lists produced yet another Downfall parody. In this one, an exasperated Hitler rants about Griffin’s incompetence.

And satire and mockery is an effective weapon against the far right. The Eye also chortled when they got hold of documents from the BNP from former members explaining why they weren’t renewing their subscriptions. One ex-member forthrightly stated it was because he was tired of the paper being a joke in Private Eye.

Well, they’ve continued being a joke, but this time, hopefully, it’ll be the democrats and anti-Fascists who have the last laugh.

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