Like every other person living in the UK that has any human decency and functioning brain-cells, I am distraught to learn about the election of two BNP MEPs last week in our European elections. HOWEVER, I'm also more than a little frustrated at the media coverage and finger-pointing that has been taking place in the last couple of days. And even now, as I write this with my laptop burning a hole through my knees, I have to endure Nick Robinson, Tory Puppy and BBC political editor, explain to the nation at the 10 o'clock news that the fault of Labour alone that these BNP MEPs have been elected.
Well, it all smells a bit like bullshit, doesn't it?
By way of further example, Monday morning on the Today programme John Humphrys took on Nick Griffin -- the slug-face who aspires to lead the British fascists to power -- and I'm sure Humphry's fans up and down the country waited in anticipation of their hero mauling the wannabe fascist. So did The Mighty Humph put the fucker in his place? Finally given a chance on national radio to turn his powers against the anti-Christ of British decency, did he provide the blood-bath we all wanted? Alas, one could only have concluded that the Humphrys, the Scourge of Westminster, wielded a very blunt, rusty blade and came off looking flaccid. Impotent. THEN, as if to re-assert his Manhood, he turns immediately to his next interviewee, Harriet Harmann, and does not suggest, but insists, repeating a familiar mantra, that it is all Labour's fault. Now against a mainstream politician (and woman), he looked very manly, where against Griffin he seemed to... lack something.
So how can the media better tackle the BNP, how can they confront their lies and misinformation? well, for a start, they could confront the lies and misinformation of the other parties, and their hypocrisy. Taking the stage in their post-election victory celebration last night, the Tory candidate (who's name I can't be bothered to look up), says something like 'It is incumbent upon me..' blah blah blah to condemn this election of the BNP in our riding'. He was followed by the recently-elected UKIP MEP -- who's name interests me even less -- who denounced his new fellow-parliamentarian as 'scum'. And too right! You're thinking. So they should! Except that when you look at successful UK parties dominated by white males, praying upon fears of immigration and racism and stroking the pathetic sentiments of British Nationalism, you don't need to turn too far right down the Road of Lunatic Fringe. In fact, glaring examples sit right along Main St. Politics UK in the Conservatives and UKIP. For when you look at the BNP campaign literature, it is really not at all that much different from that of the Tories and UKIP: save for the BNP promise to bring in 'voluntary repatriation' -- the hideousness of which should not be under-rated -- all three parties talk of bringing Britain out of the EU so that our common-sense is not trampled upon by the Brussels illuminati, all three parties talk about limiting immigration, more general threats to British values, British currency, British national identity.
(In fact, when I got my pre-election campaign literature through the door, I thought the BNP's looked rather more sophisticated than UKIP's, with it's shock sloganeering and the picture of Winston Churchill captioned, 'He would get our money back!'. Of course the BNP were being silent on their more insidious policies, but so were UKIP and the Tories.)
So it's their fault? the rise of the BNP can be blamed on the mainstream right-wing parties? Well, yes, and we need to call these mainstream parties on their hypocrisy. I am sure that the disdain those Conservative and UKIP MEPs felt for the BNP colleague was governed in no small part by class, i.e. they aren't as sophisticated in their racism. And Labour, too, is guilty, when they so inexpertly flirt with such populism, for that is their real crime in this, not (as Robinson and Humphys would have it) just being a tired old party drunk on power, as are all parties who have been drinking from the well of legislative privilege for so long. HOWEVER, it is incumbent upon the media to challenge all parties on such lies and vote-grabbing ploys. For if they do not, when confronted with the real thing -- and do not mistake me, the BNP is a much nastier, but more ugly and more dangerous beast than the Tories and UKIP -- the media lack the language, the rhetoric and, most importantly, the moral authority to attack them effectively.
If more evidence were needed, tonight -- again, while I write this -- BBC Yorkshire news, after a lead-item describing their shock and horror at the election of a BNP MEP in our region, has just run a happy little piece on the new Mayor of Doncaster, another who's name interests me very little. The problem is, of course, that he is an English Democrat, and is like-wise anti-immigration, anti-PC -- for which read misogynist, racist, homophobic -- and anti-democratic. These issues were raised in the report, but briefly, and the overall tone, as I said, was playful and cutsie, a harsh contrast to the more appropriately disgusted tone of the report on the BNP victory that immediately preceded it.
Wake up, assholes. Racism in this country isn't confined to the lunatic right. (Which is why, incidentally, historians think that fascism never really took off here in the 1930s -- racism was already main-stream, and the Conservative party of Britain typically panders to that extreme-right racist sentiment in this country.) Stop fucking around with your Westminster intrigue, stop hanging out in front of No. 10, pretending that you understand what's going on, stop thinking that the gossip of MPs represent the real issues of the country, and maybe we can avoid more of these bastards getting in next time.
On a happier and altogether more hopeful note, I was greeted at my door on election day by a small group of students from the University who were out canvassing, trying to get people out to vote for anyone except the BNP. One of them, to my further joy, was an ex-students of mine. Unfortunately, I can't pretend that I had a special hand in shaping his politics -- I seem to remember Sam's politics being spot-on long before he arrived in my dark, basement seminar room. (I can celebrate, at least, that I didn't fuck him up and 'turn him right' or anything. We must learn to celebrate even our limited successes.) But such activism goes some way in filling the massive gap left by our limp media, where we might one day hope to see a real, interrogating journalism. In the meantime, taking to the streets seems the best way to defeat the fascist bullshit.