Keeping up with the BNP
Now is potentially the most dangerous time in the battle to keep the BNP out of Parliament, and from expanding their presence on town and county councils. After Griffin’s arrival speech in Brussels, demanding that immigrants’ boats be sunk whilst at sea, its very tempting to just accept the BNP’s victory as a done deal. However, the BNP haven’t yet won at Westminster, and they’re hardly likely to be resting anytime before May 2010’s General Election.
One could follow Unite Against Fascism’s lead and simply regroup and make sure things like email lists are up to date. The same is broadly true of Hope Not Hate’s current efforts. This, it shouldn’t need saying, is a very good use of the current time. But groups like UAF will never thrive on organising themselves; as with any other activist group, action is the defining thing, and if there’s no action, many will see no purpose to the group. So again, there’s a problem.
Another solution might be a trip to the Red, White and Blue festival come rally that the BNP hosts in Derbyshire. On the Saturday, Unite Against Fascism have a march, and there will be much better transport arrangements than on previous occasions (for instance, a coach has been organised from York). My concern is that this will merely turn into a chance for people to have their photos taken by the police and BNP simultaneously. The wider public to whom campaigners need to appeal will be miles and miles away. Apart from anything else, though, the demonstration will likely cause the BNP to have to invest more of their money in security operations, money that would otherwise be spent on publicity, so no bad thing!
But that isn’t the only work the BNP will be up to right now, nor the most damaging. Of course, I’ve said it before, but it bares repeating; the BNP as a group of people don’t just work through the party apparatus that they have built up. Now is the time for British National Youth Organisation groups to be doing their summer camping trips and other activities. Its the school holidays, so there’s a massive need for activities for young people on housing estates, and in steps the BNYO, “providing a service” and receiving a supply of minds to indoctrinate in return.
The thing with the BNYO is that they’re not really a youth-wing to the party like the Labour or Tory Youth, they’re more of a Boy Scouts with added Racism; the politics is more incidental to the main task of instilling British values of discipline, fitness and competitiveness in young lads, who one supposes are then ready to kick some black heads in come the race war many staunch BNP members fantasize about.
Its very hard to know how to disrupt the BNYO’s activities. One way is simply to provide alternative youth activities, but sadly these are unlikely to get very far especially at short notice. One might put round leaflets warning parents against allowing their children to become involved, but this risks publicising what is thankfully a relatively small operation. The problem is, the BNP know better than to advertise in neighbourhoods where they’ll get a negative reaction. In York’s case, that means the far end of Acomb,
Part of the problem is that the council still thinks of York as one city undivided, whereas the BNP know full well that talking about Acomb issues is their best chance at gaining seats on the council. So where does that leave campaigning? First, with an imperative to find positive local campaigns, and try and edge the BNP out that way. When the only time you can be seen is just before an election, people see you as opportunist outsiders, but when, like the BNP, you work locally all the time, you build credibility. And credibility is going to matter come May 2010.
Information gathering is also required. What are the BNP likely to use as their local angle in an area? Which pubs are they going to to spread their lies? Which pubs are they hosting meetings in? Simply fighting them over a few quotes their leaders might have given in the past doesn’t work very well when they bring out their own newspaper with stories that one has to credit are actually on local issues, even if factually dubious at the best of times. People are far more interested in knowing local gossip about neighbouring asylum seekers than they are about Hitler it seems.
But whatever does happen, we mustn’t lose sight of the fact that BNP electoral victory could be just 10 months away now, and with an incoming Tory government wanting to show its in touch with the British people, listening to people’s regurgitations of the BNP’s lies could become a very common occurrence. Now is definitely not the time to let the BNP push ahead on the road to Westminster. Now is the time to find ways, both positive and local, and also confrontational and national, to stymie their growth and development.