Wednesday, 21 October 2009

No such thing as bad publicity?

I wish I could take delight in the BNP’s home goals this week:

Just days away from their much sought opportunity to join the mainstream on this week’s Question Time they have their membership leaked (again), their party constitution is ruled in breach of human rights law, leading generals condemn them and their mis-appropriation of military iconography – and Griffin responds by likening the same generals to er…Nazi war criminals.

The trouble with this is that it plays to the ‘nobody likes us we don’t care’ siege mentality that the BNP are trying to build in the white working class heartlands. In fact the more the opposing voices come from elites - whether they are Tory-leaning army bigwigs or the liberal intelligentsia – the more it feeds their whining persecution complex.

When the panellists sit down at the table with Griffin tomorrow night conspicuous by its absence will be opposition to the BNP from the point of view of white working class socialists.

So a favourite parlour-game at the moment on the Left is ‘who would you choose to face Griffin on Question Time?’ Personally I like the suggestion of Bob Crowe as one of the few nationally known figures on the Left who could pull the rug from under the feet of the self-appointed fascist champions of the abandoned white working class – by force of argument and an ‘impeccable’ demographic. But it’s not a serious suggestion and it’s not going to happen.

Anyway the rise of the Far Right will not be staunched in the manner of a debating society no matter how effective the participants in the debate. But the Bob Crowe suggestion does highlight a more fundamental point in the question of how to take on the BNP.

Exposés and marginalising of the fascists have their place - but they also have their dangers if they turn the BNP into persecuted martyrs of a disenfranchised working class. There is absolutely no substitute for taking them head-on on those issues that effect the daily lives of ordinary people – jobs, housing, education and health.

And of course just occasionally taking time out to confront them when they make a show of force on our streets, and to ridicule their in-built propensity for contradictions and shooting themselves in the foot.

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