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BNP: Now Open To Racists Of All Colours
February 15, 2010 2:10 AM   Subscribe

Due to the threat of legal action the British National Party has amended its membership policy to be open to all races. It's first non-white member, a Sikh, will soon be handed his membership card personally by BNP leader Nick Griffin. Explains Griffin:
Anyone can be a member of this party. We are happy to accept anyone as a member providing they agree with us that this country should remain fundamentally British
posted by PenDevil (45 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
It warms the heart to see the dilution of the insane and fundamentally moronic BNP. Although I'd like to ask the the first non-white member about his motives. I can see a great many BNP members leaving the party.

But what is "British"?
What does the Daily Mail think of all this?
posted by Homemade Interossiter at 2:25 AM on February 15, 2010


Maybe he's blind?
posted by phrontist at 2:27 AM on February 15, 2010 [6 favorites]


Presumably this fellow.
posted by tavegyl at 2:28 AM on February 15, 2010


It feels strange to hear these words from a man in a turban, but Singh ­admits he's only wearing it for my ­benefit. He's not a religious man and is clean shaven, but he wore a turban the first time he ever had "media exposure" – on BNPTV, the party's online ­channel – and has decided to do so whenever speaking to the media because "the message carries more weight" coming from a turban-wearing Sikh.

But doesn't it carry less weight as soon as you admit that to the media?
posted by creasy boy at 2:39 AM on February 15, 2010 [4 favorites]


Ridiculous political failure by the EHRC; by this threat to sue the BNP all they've achieved is to give them an official stamp saying they're not racist that they can take to the doorsteps when canvassing. The BNP has to be defeated politically; all attempts to legislate them away will merely see them bend to the wind but otherwise continue to spread their divisive poison.
Rajinder Singh is I believe the racist loon who's long been on the fringes of the party and is wheeled out whenever it's politically expedient. No surprise they're using him to make hay after this, but the idea that there'll be a rush of non-white people to join the party, or that if there were the political forces the BNP represent would go away is farcical.
posted by Abiezer at 2:40 AM on February 15, 2010 [4 favorites]


It all becomes clear. If the BNP are accepting immigrants, no wonder our dear Pauline Hanson thinks there are more opportunities waiting for her in the UK.
posted by adamt at 2:42 AM on February 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


pip pip! and damn the natives!!
posted by the_royal_we at 2:50 AM on February 15, 2010


Ha, adamt. Pauline Hanson is going to get the shock of her worthless fucking life when she discovers Britain isn't full of white people.
posted by Jimbob at 3:00 AM on February 15, 2010 [7 favorites]


When I glanced over this pic on the Guardian web site I first assumed it was a link to the BNP story...

I remember some doc a while back about the BNP that had a black bloke in it who lived on a council estate in a northen town who admitted voting BNP because of the 'asians'. So I think they might get a few, misguided, non-white members. I've no idea that the hard-core white nazi membership will think of it.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:05 AM on February 15, 2010


I've no idea that the hard-core white nazi membership will think of it.
That's the other aspect where it's a complete free gift to Griffin - his whole trajectory in the BNP is as a 'moderniser' making the BNP a new euro-fascist type party and he's first wrested control from then steadily side-lined the old guard of out-and-out Nazis, Hitler fan-boys and completely blatant lunatics that used to keep the far right in the shadowy margins.
Only two speakers against the constitutional change at this meeting, which of course was only held because the result was a forgone conclusion. Griffin was able to get Richard Edmonds to speak in favour of the motion - Edmonds was a close associate of John Tyndall and is a link back to the old NF - with figures like that on board, there will be no split of any substance over this.
posted by Abiezer at 3:18 AM on February 15, 2010


I don't know where they got the idea that this means they aren't racist. They just have to pretend to not be, because racism happens to be illegal.

I don't understand why anybody who was formerly barred from joining the party would want to now though, unless they were planning some sort of inside corruption job in an attempt to get them to see sense. And that would probably be doomed from the start.
posted by mathw at 3:22 AM on February 15, 2010


Their press release reads like a state media report from China. Overwhelming! Extraordinary! Positive! Unified! So many unqualified, over-the-top superlatives. They sound like pod people.
posted by Rhaomi at 3:40 AM on February 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ridiculous political failure by the EHRC; by this threat to sue the BNP all they've achieved is to give them an official stamp saying they're not racist that they can take to the doorsteps when canvassing.

It possibly helps them this way, though being conspicuously forced to do it weakens that a little.

But on the other hand, the fundamental problem the BNP has is reconciling the various factions. It's tricky to keep the hardcore neo-Nazis happy while maintaining a wider appeal.

An interesting recent development is that the BNP have employed Tess Culnane at the London Assembly. She's previously associated with more extreme groups like the National Front, which were bleeding votes from the BNP. Her employment may be a sign that they're trying to include those elements in the BNP. It's going to be a struggle for them to incorporate them and get them to keep their mouths shut while presenting themselves as non-racists; and they could be provoked by having to share a party with oddballs like Rajinder Singh.

One great gift for the BNP has been the rise of Islamophobia as an acceptable prejudice. The classic fascist strategy is to combine electoral campaigning from their political wing with violence and intimidation from their brown or black-shirts. It's the combination of violence and politics that's disturbing about the BNP. It would be good if this development could drive a wedge between the thugs and the windbags.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 3:46 AM on February 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


It possibly helps them this way, though being conspicuously forced to do it weakens that a little.
Can't agree at all - that 'being conspicuously forced' will also play into their narrative of being opposed by the entire 'Establishment', so they win each way - those who were reluctant to be seen to support out-and-out racism now have a small sop that may set their minds; those who see the BNP as two fingers stuck up to the political elite they feel marginalised and ignored by will have their prejudices confirmed because the poor 'truth tellers' of the bold BNP are being hounded by the 'PC Brigade' etc. ad nauseum.
The return of figures like Culnane only confirms the victory of the Griffin line - he's been able to get complete loonspuds like her to toe his new line, not by concessions to their old style but by freezing them out and making the BNP the only game in far-right town, until they come crawling back or fuck off and whine on a blog somewhere. Which is why I also disagree when you say "It's tricky to keep the hardcore neo-Nazis happy while maintaining a wider appeal." It was tricky ten-plus years ago when Griffin started this process, but that's a long-won war now. So far as griffin's concerned, the hardcore can take his way or the highway now.
posted by Abiezer at 4:03 AM on February 15, 2010


In my view, the next logical step should be for every non-white person in the country to join the BNP, turn up to their meetings and vote in their internal debates. If the BNP's constitution allows it, they should then force a vote of no confidence and replace Griffin and his contemptible goons with non-white Britons. Then they could then segue the party into being a harmless roving theatre troupe, or something.

It'd only be a short term solution (we'd end up playing whack-a-mole with new BNP-like parties), but you can't deny that it'd be funny, immensely satisfying and probably quite effective.
posted by metaBugs at 4:42 AM on February 15, 2010 [17 favorites]


but you can't deny that it'd be funny, immensely satisfying and probably quite not at all effective.

FYP. I think I agree with Abiezer. Getting rid of racist parties does not get rid of racists. Probably the only way to deal with the BNP is to deal with the problems that make people vote for it. Whatever those are...
posted by I_pity_the_fool at 4:54 AM on February 15, 2010


I can only hope that this is the beginning of the BNP tearing itself apart. Although they'll probably gain a short-term boost from people energised by a new way of saying "we're not racist, honest, we just don't like them", the underlying tenet of racism is "people who don't look like me are not to be trusted". And as soon as the party get diverse enough for all groups to be in regular contact with a bunch of "people who don't look like me", breakdown of some kind is inevitable.

I hope.
posted by ZsigE at 5:12 AM on February 15, 2010


mathw: "I don't know where they got the idea that this means they aren't racist. They just have to pretend to not be, because racism happens to be illegal."

On this side of the pond, there's a gentleman named Michael Steele...
posted by Joe Beese at 5:30 AM on February 15, 2010 [3 favorites]


It'd only be a short term solution

Yeah, but you'd get to lock up their bank accounts and IP. They'd have to call themselves something else, the next party would be vulnerable to the same attack, and every new party is an opportunity for infighting over the leadership roles.
posted by Leon at 5:31 AM on February 15, 2010


Although I'd like to ask the the first non-white member about his motives.

He is quite explicit about this. From tavegyl's link (which is well worth reading):
Born in West Punjab in 1931, he witnessed the violence of Indian partition firsthand. Millions of Sikhs, Hindus and Muslims were killed during partition, his father among them, murdered when Singh was only 15. He lays the blame squarely with Muslims.
Naked Islamophobia being a perfect fit with the BNP.
posted by ninebelow at 6:09 AM on February 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Man, that's just Sikh.
posted by fourcheesemac at 6:16 AM on February 15, 2010


FYP. I think I agree with Abiezer. Getting rid of racist parties does not get rid of racists. Probably the only way to deal with the BNP is to deal with the problems that make people vote for it. Whatever those are...

I'd argue that the existance and legitimacy of the BNP is a big one of those reasons. Very few people will openly admit to being racist, as it's an unpleasant concept and a dirty word. But the BNP controls its message very carefully, and has worked hard to reframe its aims as being about "Britishness" and "Identity" which, er, only white, straight and nominially Christian people can have. By avoiding the stigma that comes with those words, they have enabled people to say "I'm not racist but..." with a completely straight face. Without an organised, controlled and PR-friendly central party to organise around, I think they'd lose a lot of those supporters who aren't willing to come out as overtly racist, and they'd sure as hell lose a lot of political power very suddenly.

Of course you're right that dealing with other underlying causes of racism is a much better idea and tremendously important, but it's also much harder and will take much longer. People will always find cultural/religious/political/racial/whatever groups to identify with so they can wave their pointy sticks at outsiders, and a subset of those people will always be dangerous nutters. It's a noble goal -- and one we should dedicate a huge amount of effort toward -- but I'd bet good money that it'll be a sisyphean task.
posted by metaBugs at 6:30 AM on February 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


This was front-page on the print edition of The Times this morning.
posted by djgh at 6:42 AM on February 15, 2010


Ditto "It's first non-white member".
posted by Mike D at 6:47 AM on February 15, 2010


Sooner or later, a member of the British royal family is going to convert to Islam, and then it will be very entertaining.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:05 AM on February 15, 2010


"...this country should remain fundamentally British..."
What exactly does he mean by this? Should they kick out all the Normans and return to a pre-1066 land of pure Picts? But surely they had cross bred with Vikings at some point lost in the fog of prehistory. Nick Griffin wants to stop the inevitable progression of race and culture that characterizes history itself. It's ludicrous. In 500 years the somewhat offwhite Muslo-ManUnited race of Britain will be screaming about the influx of... who knows? White people from the failed state of Texico, maybe.
posted by crazylegs at 7:23 AM on February 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


When Sarajevo was under attack from a group of genocidal Orthodox Christian Serbs, there were a few Bosnian Muslim and Croatian Catholic loonies who sided with them, despite the Serbian leadership's genocidal statements and (worse) genocidal atrocities and actions. I never understood that any more than I would understand a Jew sympathetic to Nazis (though they existed, too.)

For what it's worth, the few non-Serbs who joined up with the Serbs were more than tolerated, they were often held up as examples of how it couldn't be true that the Serbs were shelling innocent civilians, with the same sort of logic that causes people to claim they can't be racist because they had a black friend once. And more to the point, I don't think any genocidally-minded Serbs ever "quit" because of the existence of these few Croatian and Bosnian followers.

For that reason, I don't think you'll see many BNP members quit . . . at least not until a more racist and similarly "viable" alternative exists.
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 7:26 AM on February 15, 2010 [3 favorites]


This was front-page on the print edition of The Times this morning.

From the article: "The activists soon found themselves on a five-minute drive through East End suburbs to the Elm Park pub. "

HOLY SHIT THAT'S FIVE MINUTES WALK FROM MY HOUSE!
posted by I_pity_the_fool at 8:07 AM on February 15, 2010


It all becomes clear. If the BNP are accepting immigrants, no wonder our dear Pauline Hanson thinks there are more opportunities waiting for her in the UK.

I would love to be waiting for her at Heathrow with a banner reading "Hanson refugee scum: fuck off back to where you came from, you're not welcome here".

Anyone know her travel arrangements. Facebook group, anyone?
posted by dmt at 8:53 AM on February 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


Anyone can be a member of this party. We are happy to accept anyone as a member providing they hate niggers and pakis and yids as well.

FTFY
posted by PeterMcDermott at 9:05 AM on February 15, 2010


I've lived in England for 5 years now (I am one of those fucking immigrants) and all of them outside of London so I am an expert on what "British" means at least in the context of Middle England.

1. You must accept inferior quality everything without even a shrug.
2. You must never make eye contact while on the pavement.
3. When driving if you have 100 feet or more of space you must accelerate wildly.
4. You or one of your mates must vomit on the high street every weekend excluding stag or hen parties where you are obligated to fly somewhere else and vomit at the double the domestic rate while wearing a cheap nurses costume.
5. You must use only a loose approximation of English. Proper grammar reveals a lack of Britishness.
6. Meals are things you eat at bus stops.
7. If you are man you must be bald, balding or shave your head.
8. If you are a woman you must have a muffin top.
9. You must own exercise clothing
10. You must not exercise.
11. You must have a dog that could at any moment eat someone's face for the hell of it.
12. You must litter. Repeatedly.
13. If you are a retired man you must get drunk by 11am at a weatherspoons.
14. If you are a police officer you must flock together with other police. Doing nothing.
15. If you are school child you and all your friends must get on whatever bus I am taking.
16. If your mobile phone has a speaker you must use it to play music on the bus.
17. You must complain about the weather every day even though it is almost always the same.
18. You must think the monarchy is a bit daft but still want to keep it.
19. You must rant at me (an immigrant) about immigrants (them) coming over and taking British jobs (just like I have).
posted by srboisvert at 9:34 AM on February 15, 2010 [13 favorites]


When driving if you have 100 feet or more of space you must accelerate wildly.

You have to drive a Toyota?
posted by dirigibleman at 10:41 AM on February 15, 2010 [3 favorites]


In my view, the next logical step should be for every non-white person in the country to join the BNP, turn up to their meetings and vote in their internal debates. If the BNP's constitution allows it, they should then force a vote of no confidence and replace Griffin and his contemptible goons with non-white Britons. Then they could then segue the party into being a harmless roving theatre troupe, or something.
It won't happen, of course. You've got Griffin saying he welcomes non-white members "providing they accept and agree with our principles", as he knows full well that he's got the internal politics of the party tightly stitched up after years of in-fighting (as any quick Google for analysis of their constitution shows, e.g.).
They started taking their politics very seriously more than a decade ago and it'll take more than silly stunts if we want to offer a genuine alternative to the disenfranchised constituencies who make up a far larger proportion of the communities the BNP targets than hardcore racists.
posted by Abiezer at 10:50 AM on February 15, 2010


Interesting points. I'd always assumed that Griffin must have a very tight rein on the internal workings of the party, but had somehow picked up the idea that there was a minimum standard for democratic practices within a party. Daft of me in retrospect, especially given the various uncontested leadership transitions and other appointments within the main parties. That analysis of the BNP constitution is particularly interesting though, thanks. It's not a set-up that leads to much equivocation; on any given issue there'll simply be a correct answer, chosen by the leader. That black-and-white, iron-clad certainty about topics fits quite well with my impression of the thought processes of the BNP supporters I've met.

It is hard to know how to address the wider problem, though. Encouraging integration between the UK's various cultures would probably help but, I'd imagine, is easier said than done and might make things worse before they got better. Beyond that, I really don't see a way to quiet people's natural tendency to split the world into Us and Them then use Them as a scapegoat. The only ways to do it would seem to be to remove Them (Obviously I'm not a fan of this idea, and a new Them would be chosen somehow anyway) or to remove people's feelings that they need a scapegoat... so fix unemployment, the economy in general, pour more money into the NHS and welfare state etc., ideally while not raising taxes. Not an easy task.
posted by metaBugs at 11:16 AM on February 15, 2010


I've lived in England for 5 years now (I am one of those fucking immigrants) and all of them outside of London so I am an expert on what "British" means at least in the context of Middle England.

This is Britain.
posted by dng at 11:19 AM on February 15, 2010 [3 favorites]


I'm surprised the BNP caught on in Britian. American politics has so much fun tripping over the race issue. I mean, remember when Michael Steele accused Obama of being racist? Or the big debate on if Sotomeyor was a Reverse Racist?

If you yourself are proudly racist, you can't do that. You can do it if you're a stealth racist, though.

Also, you're obviously dehumanizing a bunch of people just because of how they were born, which is not okay. Plus, it makes you sound like you're from 1810.
posted by mccarty.tim at 11:39 AM on February 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


srboisvert, that's very rude. Especially as you are, as you point out, taking a job that would otherwise go to a native Briton, or otherwise go unfilled and reduce the wealth of the upper classes and, in some miniscule way, inequality. Unless you're denying that immigration is bad for those workers who find themselves in competition with immigrant labour?

Or maybe you just need to move to a better neighbourhood?
posted by alasdair at 11:49 AM on February 15, 2010


srboisvert, that's very rude.

I dunno, holding everbody else in the country in absolute disdain is pretty much the defining trait of "Britishness", I'd have said, as far as I can think of one.
posted by dng at 12:02 PM on February 15, 2010


I don't know if any of you are familiar with Have I Got News For You? As I was reheating some spaghetti bolognese, I had a little daydream about appearing as a panelist on it, with this as one of the stories of the week. This is how it panned out in my head (the bolognese was lovely, by the way):

Video of Nick Griffin speaking outside a pub

Ian Hislop: Ah, this is about the BNP.

Me: There's a village missing a cunt.

*Laughter*

Me: I can't say that, can I? We can't broadcast that. Can we do that take again, I'll say idiot or something.

Video of Nick Griffin speaking outside a pub

Ian Hislop: (Chortling) Ah, this is about the BNP.

Me: There's a village missing a cunt.

*Laughter*

Me: Sorry, sorry, I just say it how I see it. It's fine though, it's fine - some of my best friends are cunts.

*Laughter*
posted by djgh at 12:06 PM on February 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


BNP - shouldn't that be NBP?
posted by hangashore at 12:42 PM on February 15, 2010


srboisvert, that's very rude. Especially as you are, as you point out, taking a job that would otherwise go to a native Briton, or otherwise go unfilled and reduce the wealth of the upper classes and, in some miniscule way, inequality. Unless you're denying that immigration is bad for those workers who find themselves in competition with immigrant labour?

Or maybe you just need to move to a better neighbourhood?


I wish I could understand what you are trying to say but British subtleties are lost on me.

As for being rude: Of course I am! I am North American. It's a work Visa requirement that we be both loud and rude as it is clearly spelled out in the Life in the UK manual I had to study to get permanent residency. (You may remember that test that all the Brits twittered about failing that all immigrants have to pass.)
posted by srboisvert at 12:50 PM on February 15, 2010


You must rant at me ...

By way of clarification, srboisvert, is it that people, say, keep calling you a bit of a wanker - and things like that? (Just interested in confirming a personal theory.)
posted by Phanx at 1:41 PM on February 15, 2010


"he wore a turban the first time he ever had "media exposure" . . . and has decided to do so whenever speaking to the media because "the message carries more weight" coming from a turban-wearing Sikh."

Ah... so it's kinda like Colin Powell's afro and gold chains, and Condoleeza Rice's welfare baby, then?!
posted by markkraft at 3:08 PM on February 15, 2010


BNP welcomes Hanson should she decide to play a political role.
posted by Jimbob at 2:15 PM on February 16, 2010


Interesting, National Front to contest Stoke:
"They say they are getting a lot of people defecting from the BNP since the party voted to relax its whites-only membership rules..."
posted by TheophileEscargot at 6:28 AM on February 19, 2010


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