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Life Imitating Art?

Interviewer -Can you think of one positive aspect of immigration?
Nick Griffin – Well, a wide range of curries is a plus. But there again, I’ve got the recipes. 24/03/10

The following is a sketch from Not the Nine O’clock News from about 30 years ago. The relevant bit is about 1 minute 20 seconds in.

And while we’re on the subject of Rowan Atkinson, I like this too.

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Cassetteboy v Nick Griffin v Question Time

BNP Warning.

Thanks to a regular reader who emailed me to say he thought I’d been a bit lenient in my posting below about Nick Griffin.

He sent this link which is to an Independent article headed “10 things you should know about the BNP”.

I didn’t think I was lenient at all about Griffin but in case that’s how it came over then please read the Indy article.

Nick Griffin

I’m a bit behind with this posting as there has been so much written and said since his appearance on Question Time the other night. However I’m going to add my twopence worth.

Let me say a few things at the outset here. I find Griffin a horrible, loathsome character. Having watched him the other night I also have formed the opinion that he’s not very bright. I mean how did he get a law degree from Cambridge?

As I had never paid very much attention to him until this week, I wondered if perhaps he was a latter day Oswald Mosley. Mosley a fascist who enjoyed widespread support in the UK in the 30’s (Daily Mail headline “Hurrah for the Blackshirts!”) and was described by political foe Michael Foot thus:

“No rising star in the political firmament ever shone more brightly than Sir Oswald Mosley. Since by general assent he could have become the leader of either the Labour or the Conservative Party. What Mosley so valiantly stood for could have saved this country from the Hungry Thirties and the Second World War”

Thankfully Nick Griffin is no Oswald Mosley.

But……

I tuned in on  Thursday to see what Griffin had to say as part of a democratic forum. What I saw was a smug self satisfied man wrapped up in his own political philosophy. A philosophy that has had to change to reflect society’s shift.

However, enough about Jack Straw.

The audience seemed carefully hand picked. Griffin was howled down, interrupted and scorned by all. Fair enough you may say but unless we hear what someone has to say how can we properly argue against it?

For instance it was pointed out by David Dimbleby that Griffin had called Islam a “cruel and wicked” religion. I wondered how the panel and audience would react. Islam does after all involve a fair share of dogma, discrimination and misogyny.

However, whilst we are at liberty to berate Griffin for his crazy beliefs, doing the same to Islam is quite beyond the pale it seems. The very notion that anyone should challenge a religion or religious belief no matter how at odds it (the religion) may be with modern thinking was anathema to the Question Time collective.

Why is this?

I would contend that Richard Dawkins has it pretty well spot on in the God Delusion. He states that if apartheid South Africa had based their constitution on religion, then much of the global opposition to them would have “tiptoed away”.

If Griffin is smart therefore (of which I saw no evidence on Thursday) he’ll stop criticising Islam but positively use Christianity to help him. Beliefs can be as crazy as you like but so long as there’s a man in the sky with a white beard to back them up then………….

My summary of the programme was that Griffin looked and sounded like a political buffoon supporting one policy, aborrent to any decent person, that he really has no idea how to achieve.

However David Dimbleby, the panel and audience did a very poor job of opposing Griffin. Never have I witnessed such a cozy coiteree of middle class, platitudinal nonsense on a BBC programme.

Griffin was their Wicker Man.

Griffin on Question Time

Griffin on Question Time

Griffin won’t care. He was talking not to those in the studio but over their heads to the disenfranchised working class at home.

Royle families and their equivalent all over the country will have been impressed no doubt.

I lived in a working class area in London thirty years ago. An old couple who I knew as kind and friendly told me that they would be voting “National Front next time” rather than Labour. They were going to do this because they felt abandoned by mainstream politics.

Unless UK politicians start engaging with their constituents then they will find that the sons, daughters and other descendents of the couple I describe above may find the BNP an attractive alternative at the next election.

Griffin seems to be labouring (sic) the point about politicians and parties being  “the political elite”.

On that point at least he is (very far) right.

Footnote: I’ve just realised that I haven’t used the word racist or racism (doh!)

Letter to Nick Griffin from The British Legion

This has been doing the rounds on Facebook Thanks to Stu for the heads up.

Dear Mr Griffin,

We couldn’t help but notice that there was egg on your face (and on your suit jacket) on the day after you were elected MEP for North West England.

Please don’t leave egg on ours.

You wore a Poppy lapel badge during your news conference to celebrate your election victory. This was in direct contravention of our polite request that you refrain from politicising one of the nation’s most treasured and beloved symbols.

The Poppy is the symbol of sacrifices made by British Armed Forces in conflicts both past and present and it has been paid for with blood and valour. True valour deserves respect regardless of a person’s ethnic origin, and everyone who serves or has served their country deserves nothing less.

The Poppy pin, the Poppy logo, and the paper Poppy worn during Remembrance are the property, trademark and emblem of The Royal British Legion.

For nearly 90 years, The Royal British Legion has pursued a policy of being scrupulously above the party political fray. It is vital that everyone – the media, the public and our beneficiaries – know that we will not allow our independence to be undermined or our reputation impaired by being closely associated with any one political party. This is more important now than ever.

On May 27th, 2009, the National Chairman of The Royal British Legion wrote to you privately requesting that you desist from wearing the Poppy or any other emblem that might be associated with the Legion at any of your public appearances during the European Parliamentary election campaign.

He appealed to your sense of honour. But you have responded by continuing to wear the poppy. So now we’re no longer asking you privately.

Stop it, Mr Griffin. Just stop it.

Regards,

The Royal British Legion