Tuesday 20 October 2009

Just joking, says 'hang the army' Griffin

The real dilemma for the BNP is this: you want to pose as patriotic, but you hate everything about the country you live in.

So the whole 'saleability strategy' of keeping the core racist and fascist ideology hidden depends on keeping that inner rage under wraps.

Yet we got a glimpse of that today with BNP leader Nick Griffin's lurid desire to string up the military top brass.

You don't have to read much between the lines to find a violent Nuremberg revenge fantasy of the frustrated neo-fascist. (Asked what drives you by Catherine Mayer of Time Magazine, Griffin said ""I don’t know. You need a psychiatrist inside my head", but I suspect such therapy might just take the edge of his politics).

But the reaction has persuaded Griffin that it wasn't so smart after all. Having hit the top of the news agenda, he is deploying a ludicrous 'only joking' defence, telling BBC political editor Nick Robinson that the remarks were 'black humour'.

Without wanting to bash the BBC, I was disappointed in Robinson's response:

I suggested to Mr Griffin that the families of victims of World War II and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan might not get the joke. He did not respond.

Yet Griffin's statement that the remarks were a joke is obviously false.

If repeated, it should be challenged, whether by politicians or broadcasters.

This was no off-the-cuff remark in a broadcast interview. The comments formed part of a 750 word article on the BNP website. There is not one dot, comma or semi-colon of irony, satire or humour to be found anywhere in it.

And the statement was entirely consistent with the BNP's ultra-isolationist foreign policy.

Having come out today as Nick 'hang the Army' Griffin, the BNP leader deserves to find that this one sticks.


PS: The attempt to deny his own public statements repeats Griffin's well established pattern of claiming that scrutiny of his on the record remarks is illegitimate.

The BNP claims that attempts to ask Griffin about holocaust denial - including calling it the "holohoaux" - are smears. (The leader himself bizarrely told Kenan Malik for radio 4's Analysis programme recently that European law prevents him from saying what he does and does not believe now about the holocaust.

I’ve changed my mind on some of those points, but I cannot talk about these. I can’t tell you what I used to believe, why I’ve changed my mind on some things, and what I believe now. I’m not allowed to by European law.


Anonymous said...

we know what the Griff "used to think" about the holocaust, and of course these things a liable to get him in trouble. But why can't he say what he really thinks about the holocaust now if they aren't denial of it? Why is he a holocaust denier is what should be asked of him on Thursday, not the gift question what do you feel about the holocaust, the latter gives him the opportunity to wax lyrical about censorship laws, the former is question that will get him most hot under the collar.

Sunder Katwala said...

good point.

His answer to 'why are you ...' is 'is complicated, but i'm not allowed to tell you'

As you say, the legal barrier point is odd, as clearly implies he has views that are prohibited (despite there being no such legal bar to any opinion in the holocaust).

Is it intended to be a dog whistle to holocaust deniers?

Or perhaps this is really quite an important belief in his own mind, so he wishes to duck it rather than state the opposite of what he thinks.