The BNP fires up the youth leader’s clown car. Again.

Posted on February 22, 2013

It can’t be easy trying to make the BNP look youthful and relevant. After all, Gangnam Style isn’t rapped in English, the Harlem Shake comes from a nation almost entirely made up of immigrants and even though One Direction’s name implies they might advocate a totalitarian focus on national unity, in reality they are so anti-Aryan they’re currently engaged in publicly murdering Blondie.

This is presumably the reason Griffin’s barmy outfit always come full-circle to the same idea: organise a media interview with whichever fresh-faced youth leader is the most latest to do the solo in “Tomorrow Belongs To Me”.

And so it has come to pass. The latest, err, Great White Hope is Jack Buckby – who, judging from his photo, has finally brought hipsters and political loons together in their shared love of lapel pin-badges. The chosen publication is Vice magazine, who have picked up several fascinating features in the last few weeks.

As usual, the interview starts off with hair-splitting. He’s not a fascist, or a racist, he’s a “culturist”:

In essence, culturism is the opposite of multi-culturalism. So it believes that diversity can only exist with culturism, because multi-culturalism doesn’t promote diversity, it brings too many cultures together and creates a world where every country is the same.

Ok. So “culturism” believes in diversity but opposes diversity when it means, you know, a diverse range of people being in the same place?

Diversity is ensuring that all national identities are preserved so that there’s a diverse range of cultures across the world, rather than them being pushed into borders.

Ah, right. So “culturism” is in fact true diversity because they’re talking about cultures being extremely diverse – in a geographical way. A wide range of people in the literal sense of their being wide, open ranges between them.

And what are the indicators of which culture someone is from? The food, music or God they prefer? The clothes they wear? The passport they hold, or the cricket team they support?

I grew up in an area that I think is about 97.8 percent white; it’s quite a British area.

Oh.

Currently there’s this idea that the BNP is racist, as I’m sure you know. I don’t believe that.

Where have people got such a silly idea from?

I just believe that every country should be populated predominantly by its own people. I do believe in the racial aspect of that.

Aaaaand the wheels have fallen off the clown car, just as the audience knew they would.

Indeed, as Tim Stanley points out poor Jack has even posted a video of himself online about “culturism” being a “spin” rebranding of the same, old ideology. Outing yourself as a fascist who is pretending otherwise is quite impressively stupid.

There’s a cringe-comedy element every time the BNP puts a youth leader in front of a journalist. I doubt they’d appreciate the comparison, but it’s like Meet The Fokkers (with fewer jews in the cast, for obvious reasons). It doesn’t matter how long they walk the tightrope of distinguish racism from disliking people of other races, it doesn’t matter how many times they manage to recite whatever new name they’ve come up with for their position, eventually the inevitable prat-fall occurs.

It’s as though the urge to tell everyone just how dapper armbands look and espouse the economic benefits of remilitarising the Rhineland is just too great to resist.

In fact, that’s almost exactly what one of Jack Buckby’s ill-fated predecessors did in a memorable interview a few years back. In 2002, Mark Collett was Nick Griffin’s chosen mini-me, and explained at length to Channel 4 why the BNP aren’t racist, before helpfully explaining that:

National Socialism was the best solution for the German people in the 1930s. I honestly can’t understand how a man who’s seen the inner city hell of Britain today can’t look back on that era [Hitler’s Germany] with a certain nostalgia and think yeah, those people marching through the streets and all those happy people out in the streets, you know, saluting and everything, was a bad thing. Honestly now, would you prefer your kid growing up in Oldham and Burnley or 1930s Germany? It would be better for your child to grow up there.

Ooh and the boots were so shiny, weren’t they?

Scottish Defence League parade neo-nazi iconography

Posted on January 21, 2013

The English Defence League (EDL), and their offshoots the Scottish Defence League(SDL) and the Welsh Defence League (WDL), have long been at pains to claim they are not “extremists” or “neo-Nazis”. To quote one backside-covering statement:

We will not associate with any individual or group that does not reject extremism. If any such group does decide to attend our demonstration, they will be swiftly removed. We want to make it clear to racists, neo-Nazis and any other extremists – you are not welcome.

All of which makes the behaviour of the SDL at an Edinburgh protest on Saturday rather awkward.

Here they are spotted by CrashBangWallace reader @Mr_Mark_Brown:

That placard they’re holding is the logo of the Golden Dawn, whose name they were also reportedly chanting. Golden Dawn are the Greek neo-nazi movement which alarmingly secured Parliamentary Seats during the country’s ongoing Euro crisis.

As you can see, the Golden Dawn logo the SDL waved on Saturday is absolutely in no way similar to the swastika – no sirree:

Golden Dawn Logo

And the Golden Dawn definitely haven’t openly adopted the Nazi salute, one of their MPs definitely didn’t quote from classic anti-semitic fraud  “The Protocols Of The Elders of Zion” in the Greek Parliament last year,  while another Golden Dawn MP definitely doesn’t have a tattoo of the party’s logo alongside the slogan “SIEG HEIL” on his arm.

So by parading the Golden Dawn logo, and chanting their name, in Edinburgh this weekend the Scottish Defence Leage definitely aren’t neo-nazi. Got it?

Mehdi Hasan airbrushes the Stasi from history

Posted on June 21, 2012

To say the new edition of the New Statesman gives Angela Merkel both barrels would be an understatement. At the hands of Mehdi Hasan, the outgoing Political Editor, the German Chancellor gets the full Rasputin treatment – poisoned, shot, beaten and then thrown into a freezing river to ensure the job is done.

The cover splash describes her as “Europe’s most dangerous leader”, while inside the magazine Hasan’s article is headlined with the claim that her “mania for austerity is destroying Europe”. The piece itself takes the verbal assault even further, arguing that Merkel’s refusal to support a Keynesian solution to the sovereign debt and Eurozone crisis “has brought the continent, and perhaps the world, to the edge of a second Great Depression”.

Strong stuff, but not necessarily a surprise – I doubt I will ever be surprised to learn that Mehdi and I don’t always agree on economics.

(The one element of their coverage that I sympathise with is their portrayal of her as the Terminator – though while this is intended to imply she’s destroying everything, I prefer to interpret it as saying she has been sent by the children of the future to stop 2012’s politicians running up crippling debts that they will have to pay off.)

But he then goes further, shifting from hyperbole to the downright ridiculous.

“Merkel is the most dangerous German leader since Hitler.”

Yes, let’s read that again: The. Most. Dangerous. German. Leader. Since. Hitler.

To Hasan’s credit, he does acknowledge the risk of fulfilling Godwin’s Law (“As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1”) up front.

But that’s not what bothers me – it’s the historical ignorance, wilful or otherwise, involved in making such a claim.

Let’s consider the proposition: who were the other German leaders since Hitler?

To be charitable, we’ll start by assuming he really meant “The most dangerous German leader since the Nazis”, given that Hitler’s two immediate successors were Josef Goebbels and Admiral Donitz, who even Mehdi must surely recognise were pretty dangerous. I guess “since Hitler” simply sounds catchier.

And after Donitz? Well, there were the Chancellors of West Germany – Adenauer, Erhard, Kiesinger, Brandt and Schmidt – all a rather inoffensive bunch overall.

Then there was Helmut Kohl, who oversaw the reunification of East and West Germany.

He was followed by Gerhard Schröder, not a dangerous man per se (though if the New Statesman thinks Merkel is dangerous for her attempts to solve the Euro crisis, surely some blame should be allotted to the man who led Germany into the Euro in the first place?).

If we accept Mehdi’s core belief that austerity in the face of a sovereign debt crisis is dangerous, then perhaps Merkel is indeed the most radical of that list. But that list is only half the story.

Somewhere along the way he seems to have forgotten (or ignored, or absolved?) the leaders of the entire other half of Germany between 1949 and 1990. That is to say, the GDR, commonly known as East Germany.

Those men – Erich Honecker, Walter Ulbricht, Egon Krenz and plenty of others in the confused hierarchy of single-party East Germany – were truly dangerous.

Under their authoritarian regime, the Stasi spied on East Germans on a scale and with a rigour that even the Gestapo never reached, with some estimating that they gathered over 1 billion pages of information on a population of 16 million people. Thousands were tortured, murdered, kidnapped, beaten and even allegedly irradiated to induce cancer for the simple “crime” of not supporting the regime.

They attempted to run a prison state, constructing the Berlin Wall and killing those who tried to flee to freedom.

If domestic terror and oppression isn’t enough to qualify them as more “dangerous” than Angela Merkel, perhaps the run-down of their international activity might bolster the case. Among their crimes abroad you can count: setting up Idi Amin’s secret police, funding neo-Nazis in West Germany, providing supplies and a safe haven to Carlos the Jackal, and sponsoring the murder and bombing campaign of the Baader-Meinhof terrorist group. There are plenty more crimes where those came from, too.

So it seems Mehdi’s charge against Merkel is just plain wrong.

This isn’t a flippant point, it matters that these crimes are remembered, rather than brushed aside for the convenience of bringing a shocking-sounding charge against someone the New Statesman disagrees with on economic policy.

Aidan Burley attack teacher fights in gutter, gets dirty

Posted on February 10, 2012

The problem with fighting in the gutter is that everyone tends to get covered in muck.

So it is with the latest set-to around Aidan Burley, the MP who became notorious for attending a stag do where someone wore a Nazi costume.

This week, a schoolkid on a trip to Auschwitz tweeted:

aiden burley seen texting and dozing whilst listening to an concentration camp survivor #torynazi?

Burley denied dozing or being disrespectful, a position that was given quite a bit of credibility by a statement from Dr James Smith, the Director of the Holocaust Centre, who sat next to him at the talk in question.

Something seemed a little fishy, particularly given that teenagers on school trips aren’t normally that big on recognising backbench Tory MPs, so perhaps it wasn’t a huge surprise that the teacher leading the group of school children turned out to be a Labour councillor, Suzannah Reeves. According to PoliticsHome it was she who recognised Burley and “confronted” him.

The problem for Councillor Reeves (other than the appalling grammar of her pupils) is that she’s not exactly in a position to preach about controversies involving alleged anti-semitism.

As well as being a teacher and a Labour councillor, she’s also the Chair of Governors at Parrs Wood High School. Only last week, she and the school’s Headmaster were called to a meeting with Jewish community leaders angry that the school was hosting an event run by a Hamas-linked charity, Human Appeal International, listed by the US State Department as being linked to terrorism.

The school has since had to cancel the event, which was particularly embarassing given previous controversies over a pupil’s skewed perspectives on the Middle East.

Now, I’m sure Cllr Reeves isn’t anti-semitic in any way, the school trip she was running shows that she must have an understanding of the importance of Holocaust education, and there’s no suggestion she personally played any part in organising the HAI event.

But should she really be attacking Aidan Burley when the school she is meant to Govern has drawn the attention Department of Education’s extremism experts due to agreeing to host an event for a charity which is linked to funding Hamas, an anti-semitic terrorist movement dedicated to destroying Israel?

My point is simply this – perhaps the gutter isn’t the best place to fight, if you want to stay clean.