This has been a while in coming. For the past few years, since Nick Griffin took control of the organization, the BNP has drastically reworked its image. Gone were the obvious links to racism and violence that plagued it in the past. Word substitution and careful rephrasing of ideas became the new way, and the more boisterous members were told to leave and join the National Front. Recent world events -- most notably 9/11 and an increased understanding of the dangers of radical Islam -- have made some of their less-changed messages seem much more palatable, even sensible. And, given the short memories of the electorate, that's been more than enough to gain the BNP support and votes from people you'd think would be more sensible.
On the surface, it seems as though the BNP have risen from a questionable past to a better future. The truth is not too deeply hidden, though; if you know where and how to look, it's clear that the party has only changed its language, and not its heart. It remains to be seen if the BNP's remarkable -- but still modest -- gains will pave the way for future successes, or give them a chance to shoot themselves in the foot in front of the cameras, rather than behind them. But no one should be fooled by the hype -- past the propaganda, this is still your father's BNP.
These days, the BNP packages itself behind a slick -- if overly busy --web page that has just about every answer you could want, except for the truth. The real face of the party leaks out, though, thanks to undercover work by The Guardian (in 2006) and the occasional embarrassing photograph from David Duke's European American Conference (in 2005). So much for learning from errors of the past!
In fact, the most ironic thing about the BNP's much-vaunted page proving they're not racists or White Supremacists is that it proves them, by their arguments, to be White Separatists, which is also a racist philosophy. (It also shows they can't debate worth a damn, which is why they may have so many problems getting elected, until now).
For example, lifted straight from the page:
i. Why do you disapprove of mixed marriages?
We believe in human diversity and in preserving the individuality and identity of all different ethnic groups. It is sad when a unique human genotype becomes extinct - as has happened around the world in the past and is happening today in the Amazon and in New Guinea. While a small number of mixed marriages – or mixed race children - in Britain won't, in themselves, make any difference, if this is encouraged however as it is at present by politicians and the media then inevitably the traditional British genotype will be endangered in the long-term. Environmentalists are always keen to preserve unique animal species in the wild, so why shouldn't the same principle apply to people? We believe that Britain's proud history of glorious achievements demonstrates that the British genotype is a valuable one and deserves to be preserved.
iv. If you believe that the races are different then you are racists.
Not at all. The definition of a racist is someone who hates people of other races. We do not hate anybody. Anyone who says the BNP is racist is either misinformed or a liar.
v. Why don't you let blacks and Asians into the BNP?
For the same reason the Girl Guides don't allow boys to join. Does that mean they are sexist? Does it mean they hate boys? Of course not, it's just that their aim is to cater for the interests of girls, and similarly the BNP isn't racist, but our purpose is to cater for the interests of the indigenous British population. The indigenous population of Britain is now the only group which is facing systematic, legalised and institutionalised discrimination, harassment and oppression. That's precisely why the British people need the BNP - because we are the one and only organisation that has their interests at heart. There are hundreds of organisations exclusively for blacks or Asians, but only one organisation for the indigenous population - the BNP.
viii. Do you accept or deny that blacks/Asians born in Britain are totally British?
People are partly the product of their environment, but mainly of their genes. Spike Milligan and Joanna Lumley were born in India – do you think they are Indians? It was the Duke of Wellington who said that just because someone is born in a stable that doesn't make him a horse.
To be truly British one has to have a British genotype, as well as to have fully adopted British culture. Blacks and Asians born here are legally British and should be treated as such, but they are not genetically British. Indeed, most blacks and Asians do not see themselves as wholly British, and often refer to themselves as British Asians, or British Pakistanis, etc.
xi. Do you want an all-white Britain?
We have no objection to a limited number of people of different races or cultures, but they shouldn't be so many that they actually change the area they live in. Ethnic minorities should be just that – minorities, making up no more than 2-3% of the population of any given area. In some areas their numbers have become too high, and there are parts of our towns and cities which have become visibly foreign. We want a traditional Britain.
Note the use of "indigenous" for White. Note how they very carefully say that they aren't racists because they don't hate, but won't acknowledge directly that the reason they want a more "traditional" (that is, mostly White) Britain is because they think that immigrants bring crime and hate with them, to say nothing of freaky religions they can't understand. On a more visceral note, they're terrified of a creeping, brown shadow turning their cities and towns non-White, one filled flat at a time.
Is it White Supremacy? No. But it is White Separatism, which is just as racist as hating someone because of the color of their skin, or thinking them inferior. In this case, you're stating, through your desire to keep non-Whites out, or at least to 2-3% of the population, that there must be something wrong with non-White people, otherwise you'd be accepting them with open arms.
Then there's the old Nick -- Nick Griffin, who spearheaded and managed the BNP's conversion from overt racism to coded racism. One of his chief detractions is that he's a denier of the Holocaust, which is another matter that the party would like swept under the rug. And to his credit, Griffin has done most of the sweeping.
As the BNP says on its "Truth" page:
vii. Your leader is on record denying the Holocaust ever happened and claiming that Jews control the media -- you are clearly an anti-Semitic party.
Not at all. Dredging up quotes from 10, 15, 20 years ago is really pathetic and, in a sense, rather fascist. Everyone knows that people's political philosophies evolve and change as they develop – at least three Labour ministers were previously Communist Party members, for instance - and Nick Griffin has repeatedly stated that he has changed his views since then. The BNP is in no way anti-Semitic nor do we deny the Holocaust. We have many Jewish members and are pleased to have a Jewish councillor in Epping, who is, indeed, the group leader there.*
The 10 years ago is a very significant number, as that's the last time that Griffin really got caught with his trousers down on the subject. Since his conviction for incitement for what he wrote in The Rune, long ago when he and his colleagues weren't aiming for respectability, he has been very, very careful about how he couches things.
He used to talk about the "Holohoax." Now?
"Then we have an hour plus of Q&As and debate ... several of the leftists try to sidetrack the debate down the Holocaust road although that does at least allow me to set the record straight and deal with the combination of Wikipedia lies and out-of-context propaganda and to put on record the fact that -- while I used to be very angry at (and rude about) the way the left-liberals use the Holocaust as a moral club to silence debate on the key issues of our time -- I have never denied the fact that the Nazis murdered huge numbers of Jews in one of the great crimes of a century of terrible inhumanity."
Angry and rude? Oh, definitely. And he isn't lying when he says he never denied the fact that Nazis killed huge numbers of Jews. However, as with so many things the BNP, or their spokespeople, say, that's a rather slippery half-truth.
The truth is that, as someone who does not like Jews and non-White people in his Britain, he denied the full verifiable, historical record of the Holocaust in order to support his dislike when faced with being likened to the Nazis. The old argument, most often prompted by claims that "If you hate Jews and non-whites, and don't want a multi-racial society, you're like the Nazis, who killed six million Jews in the Holocaust" was "They didn't kill six million Jews. They only killed a thousand, maybe a few hundred thousand. More people died on the battlefields. The Holocaust simply did not happen as described."
An example of the old argument can be seen on the Cook Report, just over a decade ago. He trots out the "hundreds of thousands" number at 36 seconds in. Gas chambers? "Nonsense," he says: "exposed as a total lie."
The new argument can be seen in action during this talk-turned-shouting match at Michigan State University, when MSU's infamous chapter of Young Americans for Freedom brought him in to speak about the "dangers" of Islam.
Using the careful language that he's employed in recent years, Griffin spouted the line that he once said "very rude things," because he was upset that the Holocaust had been "used as a business" and as a "huge moral club to prevent any discussion of things such as the preservation of nationality" and problems with mass immigration. But that said that "I have never doubted that vast numbers of entirely innocent Eastern European Jews were murdered by the Nazis and their allies during the Second World War."
So far, he was on message. But then he made the mistake of allowing himself to be tired down to actual numbers, rather than saying "vast." How many dead? He said that he believed that 20 million were killed, according to what was stated at Nuremburg. (Video is here. He starts talking about the Holocaust at 4:02)
20 Million? Where on earth did he get that number? The best estimates we have -- bolstered in part by the Nazis' excellent record-keeping -- is around 11 million, when all victims, including the Jews, are totaled together. The only number I can find in reference to 20 million killed in a Holocaust would be the 20 million killed by Josef Stalin in the 1930's while remolding the Soviet Union to fit his desires. (Lest anyone forget that, in terms of sheer bodycount, Stalin was much worse than Hitler)
Again, this isn't a "recanting" or "retraction" of his earlier, stated beliefs but a dodge, and a rather slippery and slimy one at that. Nick Griffin hasn't changed his views: he's just learned to parse his statements, and hopes that no one can remember that he did deny something quite important. The fact that he won't seriously answer how many died in the Holocaust is a sign that he hasn't really put any thought behind the gravity of his previous errors.
Indeed, according to a rather intriguing article by Searchlight magazine -- which chronicles Griffin's career with the National Front, before coming on board with the BNP in 1995 -- "As recently as April 2007 Griffin told a reporter that he did believe in the Holocaust but only because "European law" required him to do so."
Let it be resolved, then: Nick Griffin's BNP is, was and will most likely always be bad news. Still, as a nose-broken Geraldo Rivera once said (after dealing with the sort of people Nick Griffin and the BNP might clasp to their bosom), Sunlight is the best disinfectant. One can only hope that having a BNP man in full view on the London Assembly will show the British people exactly what they're dealing with, and lead to the party's swift fumigation the next electoral cycle.
*(Note: The BNP does have Jewish members, yes. However, they appear to be non-practicing Jews if the reports are correct. Also, we should remember that, in the case of genuinely anti-Semitic Jews, Black Confederate soldiers, and Gay Republicans, that no one is immune to drinking the kool-aid when it comes to joining an organization that doesn't like you.)