Fat Hitler
October 23, 2009 8:31 AM   Subscribe

Last night, leader of the BNP Nick Griffin controversially appeared on the BBC's flagship political discussion programme Question Time. Missed it? Cassetteboy provides a handy summary.
posted by mippy (61 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
Best moment was when Dimbelby chided the Nazi goon for smiling during his holocaust denial past, other than that he got off quite lightly I thought. His comments about the 'mostly non-violent KKK' were breathtaking.
posted by Mintyblonde at 8:39 AM on October 23, 2009


Very good. "And finally, Adolf Hitler."

alasdair's household last night:

* Speaker on Question Time "Of course, London is really multicultural: we don't like the BNP here."
* Me: "Hey, did she just call us non-Londoners racist BNP supporters?"
* My Wife: "And who is our MEP? Would it be that BNP guy there on the telly?"
* Me: "Oh. Um. Fair point."

It's a sad thing that I only now know the name of one of my MEPs...
posted by alasdair at 8:43 AM on October 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


I thought Griffin would be better than he was, he didn't manage to make any of the other panelists uncomfortable for a second and basically came across as the buffoon he is. And he made a cock of himself with his "I didn't say that" responses.

The best moment was Jack Straw personally giving him permission to explain his views on the Holocaust.
posted by fire&wings at 8:45 AM on October 23, 2009


Background Cassetteboy are two blokes who are fond of splicing audio (first by dual cassette decks, thus their name) and later on computers. They've been on the blue twice before. They have 16 clips on their YouTube profile, and their discography has more info.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:45 AM on October 23, 2009


I love Cassetteboy!

I don't like Nazis.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 8:45 AM on October 23, 2009


This is great
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 8:49 AM on October 23, 2009


Not sure if these can be viewed in the US, but here's the debate part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6.
posted by litleozy at 8:50 AM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Mintyblonde, I thought I heard "mostly non-violent" last night, but listening to that same line on Radio 4 today it appears to be "completely non-violent" (which is considerably less funny, alas).
posted by alasdair at 8:51 AM on October 23, 2009


By now, anyone that cares too has seen this. His social theory may be deplorable, but his grasp of the fiscal situation is good: bad economic news is good political news for racist nationalists. The GBP and wages are rising, but so is unemployment.

These guys seem to be gaining traction. Don't go broke, Britain.
posted by clarknova at 8:52 AM on October 23, 2009


Nick Griffin said today he was the victim of a "lynch mob" audience drawn from a city that had been "ethnically cleansed" and was "no longer British".
posted by Artw at 8:55 AM on October 23, 2009


alasdair: it was "almost completely non-violent".
posted by EndsOfInvention at 8:56 AM on October 23, 2009


Hey has everyone heard? The new "I'm not a racists but..." isn't "I've got loads of black friends and I even let them use my bathroom...", no now it's "I really hate Nick Griffin and think he's a nasty piece of work..."

For example: ""I really hate Nick Griffin and think he's a nasty piece of work, here's my really strict deportation policy."

Come on, everybody join in!
posted by litleozy at 8:57 AM on October 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


Nick Griffin wants a return to Christian values, but if he witnessed the Second Coming he would tell the fithy hook-nose to bugger off back to the Levant.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 8:57 AM on October 23, 2009 [6 favorites]


I thought Griffin would be better than he was

I agree with this point. I'm a professional political consultant and I am astounded that he was clearly as poorly prepared as he was. He knew that he would be a lone gladiator in an arena full of people baying for his blood but he was clearly discomfited by the situation. He wasn't up to it and we saw the measure of the man last night.

The best moment was Jack Straw personally giving him permission to explain his views on the Holocaust.

Agreed - hysterical. It was a ludicrous notion that EU law somehow gagged him on this point and he was a fool to offer this gambit.

The really interesting issue is whether the BNP now sees an upswing in voting, not because of the quality of Griffin's performance but because his participation last night legitimises the BNP as an actor in the political system. That was France's experience in 1984 and I am deeply concerned that we're going to see the same thing here. Like it or not the hard right is resurgent all over Europe and I am worried about the world that my two year old will come of age in.
posted by dmt at 8:58 AM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


What distresses me about this is that I'm trying hard to imagine a debate on Canadian or American television where the host is (a) well-informed enough about defamation law that he can refute Griffin's claim of illegality, and (b) bold enough to stand up and talk the point down.

Frankly, I can't. I can imagine a lot of scenarios where our Griffin analogue, whoever that may be, blusters out some nonsense and the host nods blandly and smiles, or where the host adopts a mildly troubled expression but can't make himself heard, but I can't imagine a North American news/politics show where somebody routinely gets called on their bullshit by a well-informed and firmly grounded moderator.

Before anyone brings up Jon Stewart, yes, he's got the brains and the brass, but he's not moderating panel discussions.
posted by Shepherd at 8:58 AM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


I did miss this, as I was out having cocktails with the rest of the liberal media apologists.

Nobody seems to mention the BNP's views on abortion, gay rights, 'artificial promotion of women into roles which are not biologically suited to them' and working mothers, as set out in their manifesto prior to the last general election. I guess because they give enough cause for complaint with their reactionary views on race.
posted by mippy at 8:59 AM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


'Flush 'em out & fuck 'em' up has been my phrase for the week. It does piss me off that things have to get this far before people get off their arses and start causing a fuss* but at least it's woken people up to the fact that Fat Hitler is trying to sneak in to legitimate politics without being properly challenged.

Irony of the week: The Daily Mail opinion piece with the tag line 'A bigot damned by his own vile words'. Heh.

* In fact, in these social media times, people can actually stay on their arses and get things done.
posted by i_cola at 8:59 AM on October 23, 2009


"Hey! Who ate all the apfelkuchen and then invaded Poland? Argh....FAT HITLERRRR!"

Sorry.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 9:00 AM on October 23, 2009 [6 favorites]


I'm no fan of the BNP but I have to say I hated this programme. Just lining him up for easy shots from all the other politicians who get to score 'goodwill' points just by bashing him. He seemed to handle the objections well in a politician style, and there was no deeper probing to really destroy his counterarguments.

The only one worth listening to was that Bonnie Greer, and even she seemed to say one dimensional stuff sometimes.
posted by Not Supplied at 9:00 AM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


litleozy: For example: ""I really hate Nick Griffin and think he's a nasty piece of work, here's my really strict deportation policy."

That was the most interesting thing about last night - Straw, Warsi and Huhne clambering over the other in an attempt to convince everybody that their party was the strictest on immigration. Amazingly, the Liberal Democrat appeared to win that argument.

Griffin looked like the amateur he is compared to the others.
posted by afx237vi at 9:02 AM on October 23, 2009


The GBP and wages are rising, but so is unemployment.

Your second link there is from 1990, I'm afraid. Wages sure aren't rising here. And the pound is about 20% lower against the USD than it was 18 months ago, probably more against the Euro (though it has risen recently).

From Artw's link "That audience was taken from a city that is no longer British ... That was not my country any more." I do hope he's right. I loved [Mayor] Boris Johnson's response "Nick Griffin is right to say London is not his city. London is a welcoming, tolerant, cosmopolitan capital which thrives on its diversity. The secret of its long-term success is its ability to attract the best from wherever they are and allow them to be themselves – unleashing their imagination, creativity and enterprise. The BNP has no place here and I again urge Londoners to reject their narrow, extremist and offensive views at every opportunity."
posted by Infinite Jest at 9:02 AM on October 23, 2009 [5 favorites]



Nobody seems to mention the BNP's views on abortion, gay rights, 'artificial promotion of women into roles which are not biologically suited to them' and working mothers, as set out in their manifesto prior to the last general election. I guess because they give enough cause for complaint with their reactionary views on race.


Or it was because the panel was too busy scoring political points by shouting at the Bad Man.
The best way to deal with the BNP is head on by getting to discuss their position on concrete issues like the economy, the military, how the banks should be run and so forth. If that happens everyone can realise that they do not have working views on these matters and Nick Griffin just deflates into a corner. Instead you got three tried political parties who lack political legitimacy and relevance trying to show how unracist they are. They completely played into his hands
posted by litleozy at 9:03 AM on October 23, 2009


Shepherd: you should take a look at Rachel Maddow, who called Tim Phillips of Americans for Prosperity and his ilk 'parasites tht feed on America's fear', amongst others, and said this to his face.
posted by mephron at 9:05 AM on October 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


What does the tag "ul" mean?

Ugly fat Hitler racist pondscum Lookalike?
posted by MuffinMan at 9:10 AM on October 23, 2009


Agree with Not Supplied - he was worse than I thought he'd be (failed attempt to be matey and non-confrontational that ended up looking like rictus), but the spin the BNP are giving it today - 'lynch mob'; 'political class' - will resonate with the kind of people Griffin expects to win votes from. They know his views are anathema to the London liberal intelligentsia, and that's partly the appeal.
So the biggest negative for them was that Griffin personally looked creepy. He was the leader who dragged the BNP out of the even loonier fringes of the far right and had the skills for that more than this; maybe the next figurehead will be a pretty boy with better media appeal a la Jorg Haider and while we still aren't addressing the conditions that create the BNP constituency and while sections of the population still feel abandoned by the other political parties and especially the former party of the working class, they'll continue to grow.
posted by Abiezer at 9:15 AM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Wait! Are we talking about this Nick Griffin?

Oh, we are? Carry on then, chaps, carry on.
posted by chillmost at 9:15 AM on October 23, 2009 [2 favorites]



That was the most interesting thing about last night - Straw, Warsi and Huhne clambering over the other in an attempt to convince everybody that their party was the strictest on immigration. Amazingly, the Liberal Democrat appeared to win that argument.

Griffin looked like the amateur he is compared to the others.


Because he's already won the argument. He's made the assumption that immigration is a bad thing completely unassailable by playing on people's fears of a dying Britain being overrun by foreigners. So now the 'real' political players don't even question that idea but instead try and work out how best to stop the evil immigration, or at least make it sell-able to the supposedly racist public.
posted by litleozy at 9:21 AM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


These guys seem to be gaining traction. Don't go broke, Britain.

Well put, clarknova.

The BNP will always be the floating turd in the British public loo, as it were.

(I'm less inclined to worry about permanent traction, though. Their candidates are invariably too offensive for the long haul.)
posted by Jody Tresidder at 9:22 AM on October 23, 2009


That's the thing though. If he says he's changed from his fascist days then there's not a lot you can say to that...same as members of the Labour party that used to be stalinists or whatever.

They have to score better points.
posted by Not Supplied at 9:24 AM on October 23, 2009


I can't decide if litleozy's approach of just plonking Griffin into a normal Question Time, with the standard range of questions would have been more effective (exposing him as a political no-hoper) or if that's the insidious problem - his views are so outrageous that they don't deserve to be given any respect and airtime in kind of setting. On balance I tend towards the latter, though I agree with the points made about the other politicians desperate to look better than each other in their BNP-bashing.
posted by patricio at 9:31 AM on October 23, 2009


What does the tag "ul" mean?

It was meant to say 'UK', but I can't type in a straight line today.
posted by mippy at 9:37 AM on October 23, 2009


I was distressed by the way that the programme never seemed to really shift away from the issues of race and immigration. The BNP is attempting to field immigration as the big number one election issue. The party is aided and abetted by a political semiotic field prevalent in the last decade or so ('bogus asylum seeker', 'British values') and by the obsessions of a reactionary tabloid media. The thing is, immigration isn't the number one political issue, despite the impression last night's Question Time might've given. Immigration shouldn't even really be on anyone's top ten list of important issues, unless it's to discuss how inhumane the system currently is.

Ideally, I would've liked to have someone on the panel who could've said to Griffin "you know, a lot of the problems you attribute to immigration are nothing to do with immigration and everything to do with the economic ravages of capitalism, and if all the major political parties weren't headlocked in a massive race to the right, symbolised largely by them seeing who can shout SEND THEM ALL HOME AND PULL UP THE DRAWBRIDGE the loudest, we'd have some public discourse on important things like the collapse of working class political representation, class inequality, and burgeoning privatisation."

I'm also frustrated that fascists on the telly knocked the postal strike off the front pages. It's probably the most important piece of industrial action in the UK since the Miners' Strike and has largely been buried in the news because of Question Time.
posted by somergames at 9:39 AM on October 23, 2009 [6 favorites]


Just watched the beginning of the 3rd clip here and Im actually with him on Islam. Up to the point where he says Christianity isnt as bad. Then he loses me. Theyve both got oppressive, grotesque, brutal things in their books.
posted by ElmerFishpaw at 9:45 AM on October 23, 2009


Just out of curiosity, are there any viable predictions floating around for what might happen once the Northern European Caucasians cease to be the majority race in the US? Obviously there's a disconnect between who is on television news and cereal commercials and who is the average citizen of America or even of the world. But "culture" doesn't seem to be catching up to the decline of WASP prominence. Will that shift occur, and what might it look like? Do we have reason to suppose that groups like this won't rise in prominence? I mean Pat Buchanan is basically saying exactly the same things. What will this start to look like?
posted by jefficator at 9:50 AM on October 23, 2009


I am astounded that he was clearly as poorly prepared as he was. He knew that he would be a lone gladiator in an arena full of people baying for his blood but he was clearly discomfited by the situation. He wasn't up to it and we saw the measure of the man last night.

I agree. For a man who has known for at least several weeks that he was going to be on the programme, he was shockingly unprepared. For example, one of the most well-known tidbits about Nick Griffin is that he's a holocaust denier. Obviously it's going to come up. But when David asks him about it, he says - I don't know why I said that and I don't know why I've changed my mind. Really?? That's the best he could come up with? It was downhill from there - giggling like a schoolboy, trying to be matey with Bonnie Greer - who wasn't having any of it - well, he was given some rope and did with it what one would expect.

And all this nonsense about him being bullied and not given a chance to speak is a bunch of utter gobshite. This was one of the best platforms anyone in his position could have asked for and he blew it. Jack Straw didn't have much of a problem stating his piece, even when it meant talking over David Dimbleby. Griffin made no such effort - and if he had, Dimbleby would have probably given him a bit more leeway to explain himeself. Also, it seems to me that part of being a politician is being able to take the criticism and heat. I've watched QT religiously for a long time and I've seen plenty of politicians get more of a bullocking than Nick did and were still able to stand their own anyway. The row over expenses when Margaret Beckett was on was at least as heated, if not more, than anything that Griffin got thrown at him.

I'm happy to see Nick Griffin exposed as the joke that he is. Him going around today saying he was "taken aback" by the response he received is ludicrous. If he really was surprised, than that would probably make him the only person in all of Britain, given all the coverage his appearance has gotten in the last few weeks. He went on Question Time and fell on his face. If he really couldn't anticipate the questions he was going to get asked, then he's not smart; if he went on there too nervous and intimidated to convincingly argue in defense of his strongly held positions, he's not fit for leadership. Either way, he's not the kind of person who should be the head of a political party. He's the Sarah Palin of Britain.
posted by triggerfinger at 9:55 AM on October 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


Another moment that got my goat was some chunter in the audience shouting out the liberal-bingo classic 'immigrants do the jobs the British won't' to massive applause. I've personally always found an unwillingness to do shit work for peanuts if avoidable to be an admirable quality and a value I share with many of my compatriots, a legacy of the days when we could negotiate terms and conditions.
Smug and effectively neo-liberal cheerleading that might be designed to link immigration with precarity and shit work, which as has been pointed out above is not in fact the case - so don't make it look like it is for the BNP.
posted by Abiezer at 9:55 AM on October 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


I missed it. Did anyone ask whether he was really Martin Webster's ex-toyboy or not?

Ah yes. I see they did.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 9:56 AM on October 23, 2009


Martin says differently though.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 9:58 AM on October 23, 2009


I can't imagine a North American news/politics show where somebody routinely gets called on their bullshit by a well-informed and firmly grounded moderator.

There is one piece of British political interviewing above all others in this vein . . .
posted by protorp at 10:11 AM on October 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


Nick Griffin said today he was the victim of a "lynch mob" audience

Lynch mob, eh? I'd be happy to gather up a few of the lads and show him what a lynch mob really looks like. Until he's actually beaten to death with a crowbar - and I wouldn't really mind if he were - I don't want to hear his pissant whining about it.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 10:13 AM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


You guys ever see the "Rumpole and the Fascist Beast" episode?
posted by johngoren at 10:25 AM on October 23, 2009


We actually did that and won when the far right wanted a street war Optimus, so they changed tactics and now we're here today and need to address the political and social situation, as they are doing with no small success.
posted by Abiezer at 10:25 AM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Of course, given that his support is unlikely to expand beyond what it is already (and yes, it's too damn much) the real problem would be that his every idiot pronouncement is front page news - and whose thought is that, really? The greens have more supporters and votes, and they'd be lucky to get a column inch on anything.
posted by Artw at 10:29 AM on October 23, 2009


For that matter the BNP Lite party UKIP has way more votes, often of the "I really hate Nick Griffin and think he's a nasty piece of work, but..." type, but doesn't really receive the same level of scrutiny.
posted by Artw at 10:31 AM on October 23, 2009


Very true re UKIP Artw. On your earlier point, was reading somewhere that BBC has some rule on appaerances on QT based on votes or whatever that means you get a Green or UKIP eye-swiveller every three months and that might mean Griffin every six. Presume he'll be a bit more polished next time out if that's true.
posted by Abiezer at 10:35 AM on October 23, 2009


Well, he does call the KKK "almost completely non-violent", so perhaps this is what he thinks a lynch mob looks like.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 10:38 AM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


They're going to write a very stern editorial on his lawn.
posted by Artw at 10:49 AM on October 23, 2009 [4 favorites]


We actually did that and won when the far right wanted a street war Optimus, so they changed tactics and now we're here today and need to address the political and social situation, as they are doing with no small success.
posted by Abiezer at 10:25 AM on October 23


I'm pretty familiar with the AFA and AFA-alikes of the UK, actually; it's a goddamn shame the closest thing we in the States had were the SHARPs, whose members ran the gamut from true believers to dickless homophobes.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 11:56 AM on October 23, 2009


From Artw's link "That audience was taken from a city that is no longer British ... That was not my country any more." I do hope he's right. I loved [Mayor] Boris Johnson's response "Nick Griffin is right to say London is not his city. London is a welcoming, tolerant, cosmopolitan capital which thrives on its diversity. The secret of its long-term success is its ability to attract the best from wherever they are and allow them to be themselves – unleashing their imagination, creativity and enterprise. The BNP has no place here and I again urge Londoners to reject their narrow, extremist and offensive views at every opportunity."

I didn't watch the program, but found this little statement and response quite interesting. Firstly being that, well, BNP have a London Assembly seat, and as seen as there are only 25 members of that assembly, they're probably better represented in London than anywhere else. Secondly, the claim that London has been "ethnically cleansed" will play pretty well in northern areas - it's close to statements about London I've heard many many times from people who fall into his "constituency". If his appearance on Question Time was less about winning an argument than showing the division between London/Westminter/elites and the "real" England, then he's actually doing well. Griffin "looking like an idiot" on telly may just reinforce the idea that "the BBC laid a trap, and made him look like an idiot", cause you know, they're evil lefty elites working against the good of the working man.

It's a real fear that not only will the mainstream parties fail to provide alternative analyses to BNP voters and win them back, but that the BNP (along with other minor parties) will successfully redefine political space for a large number of people - away from parliament and Westminster and the mass media - and cut them off from the main stream of political discourse for a long time. I don't think we're at that stage yet, but finding out how citizens of some towns/cities view political legitimacy and authority might be a real eyeopener.
posted by Sova at 11:57 AM on October 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


Man, Actual Hitler is pissed.
posted by Artw at 11:59 AM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


He was much worse than I'd been expecting, given his performance on Channel 4 News a couple of nights previous. So badly prepared, for a start; and smirking whilst talking about the Holocaust? Yeah, good PR, that. I was impressed by Dimbleby, though – normally he seems such a milquetoast.

That said, I think that Griffin's bad performance is of secondary importance to the fact that he was allowed on at all; no matter how badly, or how well, he was going to perform, it was the turning up which conferred the legitimacy. And in between his KKK-sidestepping and Holocaust-denial non-denial ("I've never been convicted of Holocaust denial," indeed), he sometimes came out with the kind of populist, fuck-the-political-establishment rhetoric that people eat up like it's a Sunday morning hangover fry-up, especially when the country is in the throes of a bad recession.

It's interesting. I was talking to my dad after the programme about how the BNP and the far right are more popular now than at any time since the late 1970s. And back then, there was a major anti-fascist movement which mobilised to defeat the National Front; there were riots and street battles and anti-fascist concerts* and it took time, but fuck, it worked. Not the same level of anti-fascist action now, of course, and I think my dad put his finger on why: Back in 1978, plenty of the anti-fascist activists were old enough to have lived through – or, indeed, have actually fought in – WW2. Come 2009, even the youngest of WW2 veterans is going to be 80+; that collective memory, or rather, collective experience, of the fight against Nazism, is so much weaker than it used to be. Which is one of the key reasons why the BNP – and their European analogues, like the For Fatherland and Freedom party in Lithuania, which has a grim hard-on for the Waffen-SS – can exploit patriotic signifiers in the way that they do, and why they can downplay or deny or marginalise the true effects and costs of the Holocaust.

This, I think, is the real danger of people like Nick Griffin – and I don't doubt for a minute that he knows it; that, the further we get from WW2, the easier it will be to present his own sick, skewed version of that conflict, because eventually, there will be no-one left alive who escaped the death camps. Or who liberated them.

Frothing immigration paranoia, which has been stoked by the major political parties and the likes of the Daily Mail, reaches its obvious conclusion with the likes of Griffin, and he has/will ruthlessly exploit the mainstream debate on this to further his own ends; scaring the public about hordes of foreigners coming over here and taking our jobs is the start. Saying, as Griffin did, that Hitler went "a bit too far" comes next. I'd rather not contemplate what comes after that.




*which my parents went to many of, sometimes with a few-months/years-old me; up until last night I didn't know that I saw The Clash before I was old enough to speak!
posted by Len at 12:32 PM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


I think that's a really good point about there being less collective memory about the consequences of the far right. I think in certain respects, WW2 is now frequently viewed in nationalistic rather than ideological terms. The chant 'two world wars and one world cup' springs to mind: while facetious, it demonstrates quite nicely the mindset which views the Second World War as being primarily an anti-German and not anti-Nazi war.

The reason there's not so much of a "street" movement against the BNP is that the BNP themselves have primarily shifted away from street battle tactics, as Abiezer pointed out above, so now there's less opportunity to 'bash the fash', so to speak.

Having said that, there actually is a street movement to tackle certain far right movements, in terms of the English Defence League. In Birmingham when the EDL came there was a pitched street battle, as there was in Luton, and to a lesser extent in Manchester. Whether you view the EDL as the street fighting wing of the BNP, a splinter group, or an entirely different organisation is a matter for debate.

I think there's maybe less of a mass class-conscious kickback against fascism, in the sense that a lot of the overwhelming tone of protest, certainly in the mass media, has been liberal as opposed to socialist.
posted by somergames at 1:35 PM on October 23, 2009


He does look kind of indigenous, in some kind of horrible Lovecraftian sense of the word.
posted by Artw at 1:43 PM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


I think in certain respects, WW2 is now frequently viewed in nationalistic rather than ideological terms. The chant 'two world wars and one world cup' springs to mind: while facetious, it demonstrates quite nicely the mindset which views the Second World War as being primarily an anti-German and not anti-Nazi war.

God, there are whole dissertations that could be – scratch that; probably have been – written on the "two world wars and one world cup" meme. But I think even at the time, the war was – intentionally – portrayed in nationalistic rather than ideological terms, because that was about the only way that the British government was going to get the public behind it. Of course, fighting the Nazis as an abstract force of evil was a component of that. But more important was fighting The Germans as an embodiment of the people who were ultimately to blame for the deaths of countless millions during WW1; remember that a huge number of the armed forces in WW2 were the sons and daughters and nephews and nieces of men who had died in the trenches in 1914-18.

And because of that previous conflict, the best way to sell the war against Hitler was to play up the war that had killed their parents, aunts, uncles, older brothers, etc. Make it personal, and get a fighting force that is more determined as a result. (Not that that was necessarily the right way to go about it, but that's a debate for another day.)

If it had been presented purely as a war which was going to restore democracy to a foreign state – or rather to foreign states plural – I'm not sure people would have gotten behind it in the way that they did. (Witness how unsuccessful Blair was in selling Iraq, not to mention how wrong he was.) Of course, all of that kind of dissolves once you get into what was happening in 1940, with the Battle of Britain, the bombing of Coventry, and so on.

In short – I think WW2 was always viewed in nationalistic terms, because doing so was necessary (as far as Churchill was concerned) to defeat an ideology.
posted by Len at 3:06 PM on October 23, 2009


It occurred to me today that Dimbleby missed a bit of a chance when he asked the Islam question, "what is your position on Islam" or whatever it was. When he answered, "what we want is a truce with Islam" I feel he should've said "Truce? That's between enemies. Are you acknowledging you see Islam as an enemy?".
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 3:28 PM on October 23, 2009


Another few links. Public Relations Officers on Griffin's performance (via Flip Chart Fairy Tales). Geneticist complains Griffin hijacked his work. Protestors charge BBC Television Centre. Extracts from Question Time. Daily Mash: BNP to offer free didgeridoo lessons for Britain's aboriginal population.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 4:14 PM on October 23, 2009


In short – I think WW2 was always viewed in nationalistic terms, because doing so was necessary (as far as Churchill was concerned) to defeat an ideology.

More generally, aren't major wars always fought in nationalistic terms? Which ones weren't or aren't? Sure, leaders might use language like "freedom" or "rights" or "self-defence" or "god", but they generally come down to "let us default those smelly evil foreigners!" That's just human nature.

Exceptions - American Civil War? Or were the Southerners fighting against alien black people by proxy? English Civil War? Oh, so civil wars in general? Hmmm.
posted by alasdair at 3:48 AM on October 24, 2009


There was a really interesting but depressing feature on Newsnight recently looking just why people vote BNP.

When you've got pockets of 50% unemployment, the longest recession in living memory, three major parties that are all right of center and offering nothing to the old unfashionable working class it seems almost a certainty that the BNP's bullshit can sweep up more votes. I think the establishment is in for a real shock come the next general election.

Though Fat Hitler was bleeding useless on QT... I was really surprised he didn't bring up Jack Straw's Burqa comments.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:58 AM on October 24, 2009


Fake document published by the Daily Mail to discredit the BBC, and BBC Response.
posted by Artw at 12:46 PM on October 24, 2009


Tabloid hypocrisy re the BNP
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:04 AM on October 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Lynch mob, eh? I'd be happy to gather up a few of the lads and show him what a lynch mob really looks like. Until he's actually beaten to death with a crowbar...

MetaFilter: Home of the Violent Sociopath™
posted by MikeMc at 5:21 PM on October 25, 2009


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