Politics Magazine

Why Britain’s Leading Fascist, Nick Griffin, Is Finished

Posted on the 22 July 2014 by Thepoliticalidealist @JackDarrant

Nick Griffin has been removed as leader of the declining British National Party (BNP) in what looks like a remarkable coup by the BNP executive.

Nick Griffin led the strongest revival of the far-right in Britain since the heyday of the National Front in the 1970s. Under Griffin’s leadership, the BNP peaked with a series of electoral successes in 2009 including the election of two MEPs and dozens of local councillors. There is no doubt that Griffin was key to those successes: he was virtually the only high-profile BNP figure during his 15 year leadership and his “moderate” platform made the BNP brand more palatable to the electorate.

N.B. By “moderate” I mean advocating voluntary repatriation of BAME Brits rather than exiling them; limiting Holocaust denials to private meetings rather than public ones; and proposing white-only housing waiting lists rather than white British-only.

Not surprisingly, Nick Griffin has offended a lot of people.

Yet, as UKIP’s recent rise into the electoral stratosphere has shown, being controversial can be a strong electoral and political asset. Thus other factors led to the BNP’s decline and, consequently, Griffin’s downfall.

Firstly, the party’s finances were destroyed by its defeat two lawsuits. The Equality and Human Rights Commission engaged in a long dispute with the party as to the legality of its constitution, which excluded black and Asian people becoming members. Quite why a black person would want to join a party aiming to remove them from Britain remains a mystery, but the BNP eventually conceded defeat and removed the offending rule. Shortly after this, the BNP used Marmite branding in one of its broadcasts without obtaining permission from its manufacturer, Unilever. The company proceeded to donate the resulting massive compensation payment to an anti-racsim charity.

As a result, the BNPs finances were devastated. The party was left without the basic resources needed to mount an effective election campaign- all the more problematic given the other factors working against it.

The BNP, in common with many extremist movements, rose with the discord caused by recession. When the economy recovered in early 2010, this discord did start to dissipate, with BNP support declining too.

What is easy to forget is that the 2010 general election was quite a depressing one, as far as activists were concerned anyway. Labour was on the defensive, its membership base eroded and demoralised by the declining rececptiveness and popularity of their party since circa 2003. The sole task of campaigners was to limit the depth of the party’s inevitable defeat. For the Tories, the chances of the landslide that Cameron had promised them were slipping away with every opinion poll.  Furthermore, all three parties saw the TV debates make a bigger impact than any leafleting campaign ever could. Consequently, the campaign on the ground looked a little subdued.

Or it would have done, had a lot of hot air surrounding the BNP’s prospects in certain constituencies not been carefully circuated. The result: a flood of young, energetic anti-racism activists into a few seats doing their level best to mobilise the anti-BNP (typically Labour) vote. While there was no serious risk of BNP victories, many have reason to be proud of their efforts, which restricted their target’s vote to just 1%.

With the BNP’s momentum stopped, and renewed competition for the anti-immigration vote from a surging UKIP, the party saw the hopelessness of the situation and turned in on itself. Splinter parties, leadership challenges and warring factions sapped its strength, meaning the BNP lost every single candidate up for re-election between June 2010 and June 2014. Its sole elected representatives are now just two lone councillors on borough councils.

In light of this, the bizarre personality cult surrounding Nick Griffin became increasingly hard to sustain. The BNP rank-and-file looked up from their copies of Voice of Freedom to the leader who had promised them a fascist Valhalla and now presented YouTube videos advising members how to cook budget meals and retelling the Nativity.

Image source: independent.co.uk

Griffin offered EU-funded shopping trips to BNP members. But most strangely of all, there came the absolutely serious claim that he had personally prevented British intervention in Syria. A fascist MEP wrote a letter to someone and singlehandedly stopped a war, apparently. The whole affair reminds me of the scratchy tape recordings of hysterical applause after cult leader Jim Jones ‘healed’ those with feigned injuries.

Maybe BNP high-ups didn’t believe their own spin.  Or maybe Griffin did actually grow tired. Whatever the cause, yesterday he was demoted to the figurehead role of ‘President’ of the BNP, replaced as leader by the unknown but probably similarly dimwitted Adam Walker. I doubt that the party can recover its fortunes under an unknown figure when its public image is so closely aligned with  Mr Griffin.

Many moderates will today be toasting the end of another episode of British fascism. Like a bad headache, the BNP seemed like a big issue at the time, but we’ll soon be unable to remember it. Now the task is to prevent the Nick Griffins of tomorrow inflicting their toxic ideology on the world.

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