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.