BNP leader and generals

The BBC have been criticised by some for having Nick Griffin of the BNP on Question Time (due on Thursday). Some suggest that his opinions should not be given air time: the counter argument is that only by taking him on can the generally poor intellectual and political quality of the BNP’s at times highly contradictory positions be exposed. The rebuttal to that is “No publicity is bad publicity” or variations on that theme.

Mr. Griffin seems intent, however, on testing the whether bad publicity is indeed worse than no publicity. Two former heads of the army General Sir Mike Jackson and General Sir Richard Dannatt are amongst thiose to have signed the following letter which was written in response to the BNP using images of Winston Churchill and wartime insignia during recent European election campaigns. The letter reads:

“We call on all those who seek to hijack the good name of Britain’s military for their own advantage to cease and desist. The values of these extremists – many of whom are essentially racist – are fundamentally at odds with the values of the modern British military, such as tolerance and fairness. Commonwealth soldiers, who comprise about 10 per cent of the Services, represent an invaluable contribution to the success of Britain’s military, both in history and the current day. Many have won the highest awards.”

Other signatories include Lord Guthrie of Craigiebank, former Chief of the Defence Staff, and Major-General Patrick Cordingley, the Gulf War commander.

In response Griffin who has apparently likened himself to Churchill has the following on his web site:

“Those Tory generals who today attacked the British National Party should remember that at the Nuremberg Trials, the politicians and generals accused of waging illegal aggressive wars were all charged — and hanged — together.”

“There is a prima facie case for charging Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, William Hague and David Cameron with waging aggressive war against Iraq,
The Nuremberg War Crimes Trials set the precedent when the leaders of Nazi Germany were charged with invading other countries which represented no military threat to Germany.
Along with the political leadership of Nazi Germany, the chiefs of staff of the German army, Alfred Jodl and Wilhelm Keitel, were also charged with waging aggressive war.
Sir Richard and Sir Mike fall squarely into this bracket, and they must not think that they will escape culpability for pursuing the illegal wars in Iraq and Afghanistan,”

Whether or not Griffin thinks this will play well with his hard core support is unclear but since the senior generals have been generally publicly popular despite the unpopularity of both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars his comments are unlikely to endear him to some of the new voters the BNP relatively successfully gained at the European elections. More likely the limits of Griffin’s political and media ability and those of his party are being exposed. Mary Riddell in the Daily Telegraph has some thoughts about trying to kill off the BNP: it seems as if Mr. Griffin is at the moment trying a bit of self destruction.

  • RepublicanStones

    Obviously some in the BNP like the idea of invading arab lands and sticking a well bulled boot up the AAAArab ass for them daring to come over to blighty and ‘take our jobs’ or call God by a different name. So it may interesting to see how this plays out, but with the success at European elections and shoe-horning the party into the mainstream current affairs programme, I fear his position isn’t as ‘untenable’ as one might think.
    As regards using the imagery of Churchill and spitfires etc, Churchill would be quite suited to the BNP, given his views on other races, also a nations military past isn’t copyrightable,and the fact the BNP resort to it shows quite clearly the level at which they operate.

  • Thereyouarenow

    The BNP are getting on question time to make the other thieving politicians look good.

    Yes folk thats how bad all(nearly all) the politicians are.

    All this talk about expenses for politicians.

    What I want to know is what they were doing to earn their actual wages.
    The country is in a mess what were the politicians doing.

    If a builder built a house and it fell down completely before he sold it he would not expect to get paid for it “would he”

  • Wilde Rover

    Is there any other party, besides the BNP, that has had electoral success in England and called the Iraq/Afghanistan wars illegal?

    If not, then it is a damning indictment of the political set up and the electorate there.

  • Jo

    What is the TUV attitude to the BNP, given their attitude to what defines Britishness?

    I note that other extreme loyalists believe the latter to be a “far left” party.

  • 6countyprod

    The only thing I know about Nick Griffin is what I have read or heard from the British media, and, to be honest, I haven’t paid much attention.

    Following the recent media storm over him and government attempts at the suppression of free speech, I thought it would be good to watch a video clip of Griffin on Telegraph TV and get it from the horse’s mouth, so to speak.

    Griffin was not at all what I expected him to be. Maybe that is why some people want to deny him airtime. I am now curious how he handles himself in a debate because he definitely makes some interesting points.

    It’s amazing that the extreme left (including many contributors to Slugger) and the BNP are on the same page when it comes to illegal wars! 🙂

  • Brit

    “Obviously some in the BNP like the idea of invading arab lands and sticking a well bulled boot up the AAAArab ass for them daring to come over to blighty and ‘take our jobs’ or call God by a different name”

    Well the policies of the Party were to oppose the War and are now to bring the troops home (mirroring the policies of the Far Left, Islamists and the “Peace” Movement) and the calls to prosecute “war criminals” for an allegedly illegal war mirror the kinds of things you will see and hear on any Far Left meeting / march/on-line forum. BNP and SWP leaflets on the issue are substantively identical.

    There is no signficant arab immigration to Britain so even from the totally flawed analysis of the BNP it is not arabs to blame for “taking our jobs”. They are against all non-whites but there real hatred is (for opportunist reason) directed at British Muslims the vast majority of whom trace their families back to Pakistain, Bangladesh or India. Although there communities are long established in the UK they are trying to whip up hatred on the basis of the small minority of British Muslims who are supporters of violent and extreme Islamism. The BNP’s position is, of course, based on racism, rather than a concern over the reactionary nature of Islamism.

    Britian is a country which played a signifcant role in the war against Fascism (unlike some countries in the vicinity), it has a long tradition of anti-fascist political activity from Cable Street to the 43 Group to Searchlight and AFA. No fascist has ever been elected to Parliament. There is nothing British about the BNP.

  • Brit

    As to the “illegal war” claims, I love how Slugger readers and many others who have never opened a legal text book are suddenly experts on international law and the laws of war. It has been repeated so many times (in certain circles) that people are starting to think it is true.

    The truth is that a legal expert can (and they have) make arguments either way.

    International law and its institutions are fundamentally flawed. With China and Russia holding a veto on the security council of the UN and most of its members not being democracies it does not have the moral right to make laws in the way a democratic legislature does. In practice something being “illegal” under international law often means something that the Chinese government is not willing to support, or the Russian government. Those beacons of justice, democracies and progressive foreign policies!

    I am interested whether all those who oppose the Iraq war on the basis that it was illegal (there is no serious argument that the Afghan war was illegal) also opposed the Kosovo war on the basis that it was arguably illegal in the absence of any UN sanction?

    I am also interested in whether they would oppose a Just War which was (arguably) illegal, say an intervention to stop a genocide in progress?

    If not then your opposition is political / moral and drop the saloon bar lawyer bit.

  • Rory Carr

    Britain… has a long tradition of anti-fascist political activity…

    Indeed. Necessary political activity, I would say, given that it has a long history of pro-fascist activity from Oswald Mosley onwards.

    To say that “There is nothing British about the BNP” is of course complete nonsense. It simply is a British party that supports a political philosophy akin to fascism and fascism itself is no more alien to Britishness than is social democracy, monarchism, feudalism, mercantilism, republican dictatorship, communism, socialism (whether scientific or altruistic) or any other of a hundred and one political creeds. Indeed by attempting to label the BNP’s politics as somehow “un-British” or “foreign” you fall into the same trap as they do when they point to the foreigness or un-Britishness of the religious and cultural sensibilities of other British citizens. You in effect play the BNP game which is hardly surprising from one who constantly draws a moral distinction between the “good bombing” of civilians by the US/British military and the “bad bombing” by those who oppose the “good bombers”.

    I realise of course that you do so dearly wish that the BNP were not British, that you are embarrassed by their very existence and growing popularity and I can really empathise with that – we had much the same feeling in Ireland with the rise of Paisley. You see the world saw him as an Irish phenomenon and much as we would have liked to pass him off as British (as indeed he proclaimed himself), we were stuck with his Irishness and all the consequent squirming when his name was brought up in polite society just as you must be as you watch your fellow citizens embrace these slimeballs in the BNP.

    But then you must be feeling more than a little bit guilty too, no? Was it not the very breakdown of any trust in mainstream politicians engendered by the duplicitous rogueishness of the the very ones that you so much admire that has allowed these thugs to prosper on the disillusionment of the common man?

  • Brit

    Rory your post smells faintly of knee-jerk anti-British sentiment. But maybe I’m being a little oversensitive.

    “Indeed. Necessary political activity, I would say, given that it has a long history of pro-fascist activity from Oswald Mosley onwards.”

    Well pretty much all modern societies have experienced fascist/neo-fascist political movements and, sadly, Britain is no exception but they have historically been very small minority cults.

    “To say that “There is nothing British about the BNP” is of course complete nonsense. It simply is a British party that supports a political philosophy akin to fascism and fascism itself is no more alien to Britishness than is social democracy, monarchism, feudalism, mercantilism, republican dictatorship, communism, socialism (whether scientific or altruistic) or any other of a hundred and one political creeds. Indeed by attempting to label the BNP’s politics as somehow “un-British” or “foreign” you fall into the same trap as they do when they point to the foreigness or un-Britishness of the religious and cultural sensibilities of other British citizens. You in effect play the BNP game which is hardly surprising from one who constantly draws a moral distinction between the “good bombing” of civilians by the US/British military and the “bad bombing” by those who oppose the “good bombers”.”

    I was using a slogan used by a campaign group http://www.nothingbritish.com/ and would have thought the reference would have been picked up by readers here (but I am obviously closer to anti-fascist activity than most people and my assumption was probably wrong). In a sense you are right. The BNP is British and has British members and supporters. Furthermore to argue that something is bad because it is foreign or unBritish is wrong, and in direct opposition to my internationalist and anti-nationalist values.

    That said it is important to prevent the BNP from appropriating Britishness, in the patriotic / cultural sense rather than their narrow nationalist political sense. The flag has long been associated with the Far Right and needs to be wrestled back. Progressive British citizens should not be ashamed of their country or their flag and allow the Far Right to portrary the Left as not patriotic. Furthermore Britain is a country in which extremist politics and political nationalism have never had a hold. Where totalitarian movements and undemocratic and anti-democratic politics have never swayed large tranches, at least in modern times (which distinguishes it from, say, most of continental Europe). I would say that Fascism and Communism are much more alien to Britishness than social democracy. The latter was supported in large numbers by the overwhelming majority of the working class and its organisations, the latter were supported by small sub-strata.

    My views on the rights and wrongs of waging war are totally irrelevant to this topic. They are also completely mainstream and would be shared by the vast majority of legal theorists and moral and political philosophers. I am a non-pacifist who believes that unintended and undesired civillian deaths are a sad but unavoidable result of fighting just wars, and are in no way comparable to the targetting of civillians (whether for just or unjust causes). The US and British armed forces have either targetted or failed to take adequate precautions against civillian deaths in various just wars. The US have also done the same in unjust wars such as Vietnam.

    “I realise of course that you do so dearly wish that the BNP were not British, that you are embarrassed by their very existence and growing popularity and I can really empathise with that – we had much the same feeling in Ireland with the rise of Paisley. You see the world saw him as an Irish phenomenon and much as we would have liked to pass him off as British (as indeed he proclaimed himself), we were stuck with his Irishness and all the consequent squirming when his name was brought up in polite society just as you must be as you watch your fellow citizens embrace these slimeballs in the BNP.”

    I hate fascism, totalitariansim, islamism equally whether in Britain, America, Algeria, Gaza, France or China. I wish the BNP had no support rather than they were not British. I also wish the French FN had no support, or HAMAS in Gaza.

    “But then you must be feeling more than a little bit guilty too, no? Was it not the very breakdown of any trust in mainstream politicians engendered by the duplicitous rogueishness of the the very ones that you so much admire that has allowed these thugs to prosper on the disillusionment of the common man? ”

    No and no.

  • Peter Fyfe

    Looking at his reply to the generals, the man is a fool as so is anybody who says he makes some good points. He is comparing Blair and Brown to Hitler or Himmler, surely such base comparisons disgust any right thinking person. Then of course includes two opposition politicians and accuses them of War crimes, I am not Dave’s biggest fan but that’s a stretch. Let the little twat on Question time, they shall make mincemeat out of him. I just hope they don’t fall into the usual BBNP trap of simply saying we are not allowed to speak and some muppet trying to justify why they should not be allowed to speak. Let the man speak his disgusting views and challenge them at every turn.

  • Squig

    “Britian is a country which played a signifcant role in the war against Fascism (unlike some countries in the vicinity)”

    Of course they have, that’s why they had an arms embargo on the legitimate gov of the second Spanish Republic as they wwere overrun by a dictator backed by the forces of European fascism.

    I’d wager that per capita more Irishmen volunteered to fight for the Spanish Republic than people from “some countries in the vicinity”

  • Brit

    I was talking about WW2 Squig.

    There is a debate as to whether Franco was fascist.

    In any event in per capita terms the proportion of volunteers against Franco between the two countries is fairly even.

    It is notable, however, that for every Irisman who volunteered to fight againt for the Republicans, there were nearly 3 who volunteered for the nationalists.

    The number of British volunteers for Franco was de minimis

  • Wilde Rover

    I am glad to read the comments of those who divide their time here between expressing outrage at some killings and offering justification for other killings. As usual, they have made a good stab at defending the indefensible in an eloquent fashion, employing only the most tasteful slurs.

  • Rory Carr

    I think that by emphasising the similarity of Griffin’s declared opposition to the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan and his insistence on their illegality with the view taken by the left (and indeed the majority opinion) we are in danger of allowing ourselves to be bamboozled by this dirty little spinner of lies.

    His purpose is not so much to declare opposition to these inavasions and occupations and the horrendous civilian casualties that they have caused (most of which we can be sure his followers drunkenly cheer to the hilt) but rather to absolve the Third Reich of its criminality on the basis that, if Bush and Blair could justify their adventurous butchery, then it was most unfair that Nazi leaders were tried as war criminals simply because they did much the same. By implication he wants Bush and Blair justified in order that his beloved Nazis can be similarly justified with hindsight.

    He’s a sneaky little fucker all right but let’s not fear him as though he’s Satan himself, only one of his impish minions. Just keep saying, “Boo!”, followed by a hefty kick up the arse.

  • Brit

    Mr Rover,

    Unless you’re a pacifist (a minority sect and morally flawed at that) then one needs to justify some killing (though I would not express it in such terms) and condemn other killings.

    I justify the killing of Wehmarcht soliders in Stalingrad. I condem the mass murder of Jewish civillians in the holocaust. Nothing contentious there.

  • Brit

    “His purpose is not so much to declare opposition to these inavasions and occupations and the horrendous civilian casualties that they have caused (most of which we can be sure his followers drunkenly cheer to the hilt) but rather to absolve the Third Reich of its criminality on the basis that, if Bush and Blair could justify their adventurous butchery, then it was most unfair that Nazi leaders were tried as war criminals simply because they did much the same. By implication he wants Bush and Blair justified in order that his beloved Nazis can be similarly justified with hindsight.”

    Thats not at all right. The BNP proposes a purely realist self-interested and non-interventionist foreign policy. It opposed wars (for Israel) and the death of our “boys” to interefere in foreign troubles amongst inferior races who they viewed as fundamentally unsuited to democracy and just savages.

    They are pushing the anti-war line now because it is popular amongst a signficant section of British opinion and much more likely to get people to engage with the BNP than going on about how they love the “white race”

    “His purpose is not so much to declare opposition to these inavasions and occupations and the horrendous civilian casualties that they have caused (most of which we can be sure his followers drunkenly cheer to the hilt)”

    The BNP’s position for a long time (and I think from the outset) was to oppose the Iraq war and I’m sure its supporters, supported its policy.

  • Brian MacAodh

    I have seen Nick Griffin on TV a few times and he comes across much better than I would have thought he would have. He makes some good points that just don’t get addressed. of course, in those interviews he skirts around previous comments he made that are ridiculous and close to be blatatnly racist.

    His response to the Generals is laughable. To compare the invasion of Iraq to the wars of Nazi Germany is absurd and not worthy of comment.

  • Wilde Rover

    Brit,

    “I justify the killing of Wehmarcht soliders in Stalingrad. I condem the mass murder of Jewish civillians in the holocaust. Nothing contentious there.”

    And yet when a Palestinian civilian dies as a result of the actions of the IDF you have been quick to label it as a justifiable killing here, not murder.

    Of course, I expect you to claim that they are all probably terrorists anyway, in much the same way the Nazis labeled all Jews as communists.

  • Wilde Rover

    Brit,

    And while you’re at it, perhaps you could explain how the BNP are different from the Likud Party?

  • Brit

    “And yet when a Palestinian civilian dies as a result of the actions of the IDF you have been quick to label it as a justifiable killing here, not murder.” WR

    In general (and as contrary to much received wisdom around the world) I strongly believe that the IDF complies with the laws of war and its own internal high standards in relation to not targetting civillians and taking all reasonable steps to avoid civillians casualties. The IDF is subject to the jurisdiction of the Israeli Supreme Court which applies, independently, the kind of laws that we would recognise in the RoI, UK or other liberal democracies.

    Individual soliders have, of course, committed crimes, and been punished. In fact I would be surprised if some murders have not happened as a result of individual solidiers actions but not as a result of sanctioned policy from the IDF command or government.

    In Gaza the IDF targetted combatants in a confused situation, in a highly populated area, against an enemy using human shields (in breach of the laws of war). They used intelligence, and warned civillians to get out by text, phone and leaftet. The high level of civillian deaths was an unavoidable, but tragic consequence of this, but it does not of itself establish any war crimes let alone murder.

    I am aware of the recent Goldstone report. I do not think it is a bunch of lies but that its findings are based on its particular application of grey legal concepts such as what is, and what is not reasonable and proportionate and how much of a margin of appreciation should be afforded to commanders in the field acting under intense pressure.

    At worst the IDF is guilty of failing to take reasonable measures and not complying with the requirement of proportionality. Even if this charge is valid it does not mean that the killing was murder (in a legal or moral sense).

    The point is that if Israel could have somehow used a magic weapon which only hurt Hamas fighters and their allies but spared all civillians it would have leaped at the chance.

    Furthermore if the approach of the Goldstone report was applied to pretty much any war fought in build up areas (like in Iraq, Serbia, Kosovo) then the protagonists would be guilty of war crimes and I would argue that no General would be prepared or able to avoiding committing war crimes against the Goldstone standard.

    “Of course, I expect you to claim that they are all probably terrorists anyway, in much the same way the Nazis labeled all Jews as communists.”

    No I don’t think all Palestinians or those civillians killed were terrorists. The Nazis didn’t label all Jews communists because they also castigated Jews as capitalists, money lenders and landlords.

    “And while you’re at it, perhaps you could explain how the BNP are different from the Likud Party?”

    One difference is that the latter is an Israeli political party and one which has held office on a number of occasions, whilst the other is a British political party which has never weilded any real political power in office.

    The other difference is that the BNP believe in a racial analysis which distinguishes difference races some of whom are superior and others who are inferior. It wants to expel or deport the non-white citizens of Britain.

    Likud doesn’t adopt a racial analysis and nor does it want to expel or deport the non-white citizens of Israel. Nor does it want to expel the non-Jewish or arab citizens of Israel.

  • Wilde Rover

    Brit,

    “They used intelligence, and warned civillians to get out by text, phone and leaftet. The high level of civillian deaths was an unavoidable, but tragic consequence of this, but it does not of itself establish any war crimes let alone murder.”

    That could have been copy and pasted from a Provisional IRA statement from the 1980s.

    “Likud doesn’t adopt a racial analysis”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Likud#Anti-Arab_statements_by_Likud_members

  • westone

    ”I’d wager that per capita more Irishmen volunteered to fight for the Spanish Republic than people from “some countries in the vicinity”

    and even more irishmen per capita volunteered to fight for the spanish fascists than people from ‘some countries in the vicinity’….

  • Brit

    That could have been copy and pasted from a Provisional IRA statement from the 1980s.”

    No doubt the Nazis propagandists said their use of force was proportionate and reasonable, what matters is what was true.

    And the offensive quotes from Likud members (a party I loathe like the British Tories)do not prove that Likud adopts a racist analysis of society. S

    I could quote from all sorts of right wing and Monday Club Tories who have said racist comments but that doesnt meant he Tories are the same as the BNP. The proper analogy would, in any event, be offensive descriptions of Germans given by politicians when Britain was at war with Germany.

    I could also find lots of anti-semitic quotes from Fatah/PLO but that does not make the Party inherently anti-semitic (in the way HAMAS is).

    To compare a centre-right liberal democratic party with the BNP (many of whose members are closet Nazis, holocaust deniers and virulent anti-semites)shows how widepsread is the ignorance about Israel and how succesful the demonisation of Israelis has been.

  • pól

    Brit – It isn’t only Jews who are semetic you know.

  • Brit

    Anti-semitism is the term I used and it means racism / antagonism towards Jews. If you dont believe me look it up.

    And if you think its bad terminology you can use Judeophobia.

    But its got nothing to do with any of my comments on this thread.

  • border bandit

    someone like the bnp has to take a stand in ireland we are being over run by nigerians .they are getting everything thats going .the best health care education free housing and welfare handouts now a small country like ireland cant afford this .only someone like nick griffin and a good irish name me thinks can stop this invasion..they are alreddy acording to todays news the big players in the drugs trade in ireland .nigerians are the most dangerous race of people in africa and we are awash with them..god help ireland

  • paddy

    cant wait to vote for them must be better than sf

  • Wilde Rover

    Brit,

    “No doubt the Nazis propagandists said their use of force was proportionate and reasonable, what matters is what was true.”

    I see. The IRA are the same as the Nazis and you are the arbiter of truth.

    “And the offensive quotes from Likud members (a party I loathe like the British Tories)do not prove that Likud adopts a racist analysis of society.”

    Well, since you have set yourself up as the ultimate judge of everything I suppose you would know.

    “I could quote from all sorts of right wing and Monday Club Tories who have said racist comments but that doesnt meant he Tories are the same as the BNP.”

    If you say so.

    “The proper analogy would, in any event, be offensive descriptions of Germans given by politicians when Britain was at war with Germany.”

    So these comments by Likud party members about the Arabs are just like British comments about the Nazis? Gotcha.

    “I could also find lots of anti-semitic quotes from Fatah/PLO but that does not make the Party inherently anti-semitic (in the way HAMAS is).”

    Again, since you are the Decider on everything, I will have to take your word for it.

    “To compare a centre-right liberal democratic party with the BNP (many of whose members are closet Nazis, holocaust deniers and virulent anti-semites)shows how widepsread is the ignorance about Israel and how succesful the demonisation of Israelis has been.”

    I get it. Everyone is a Nazi, and Israel is on the receiving end of poor treatment.

    And if East Jerusalem is cleared of Arabs and the remaining population is herded into small enclaves on the West Bank it is because the Arabs are Nazis.

    The BNP are Nazis. The Arabs are Nazis. Any Irish person who does not consider themselves British is a Nazi. Anyone who is critical of British war mongering is a Nazi, and probably anti-semitic.

    Well Brit, this is one pig ignorant muck savage that is delighted to be enlightened by someone as sure of all the facts as you.