Dead Party Walking

I never liked BBC Three. It always seemed like the loutish cousin in the extended family of our public service broadcaster. Through this temperamental media conduit, the middle-aged, middle-class, middling executives of middle-England attempted to forge a connection with the “yoof of the day,” the consequences of which were often a mixed bag. For example, the channel’s just finished “getting under the skin of racism” via a few documentaries and an over-obvious pun which it took me rather too long to fathom. Britain First and the KKK glided across bleak screens, whipping boys for the sort of scorn which I’d previously directed towards the neon logo in the top-left of the picture.

But we mustn’t forget that old bastion of such sentiments, alive and kicking in the British Isles whether we like it or not. Hopefully, it will suffer a slow and painful death – almost as agonising as BBC Three’s long march to the scaffold for crimes against good taste in television. I’m invoking the waning spirit of the BNP, a pellucid apparition with which I take issue on two fundamental matters besides those which immediately spring to mind. The first is the frequent misuse of the term ‘far-right.’ The second is the not inconsiderable number of people who take Griffin and his bigoted mates seriously.

From the off, I’ll make my thoughts and feelings unambiguous: the chauvinistic nonsense which the BNP has made it its mission to spout whenever a good opportunity rears its ugly head is absolutely deplorable. But that doesn’t exactly make them ‘far-right.’ Occasional belches of tactless propaganda espousing the joys of a great, omnipotent Britain, a brave new world fuelled through a few wish-list policies such as the renationalisation of the rail network, a position actually supported by sworn enemies in the shape of Labour and the Greens – none of it falls into line with a predominantly economic term which should come to be associated with struggles against excessive taxation and radical minarchism.

Whether these free-market causes are righteous or misguided is a question completely external to the equation. The point is that they’re legitimate positions, often well-reasoned, don’t imply extremism and are a pretty safe distance from the true BNP. So ‘far-right’ isn’t a byword for ‘socially authoritarian,’ and the last remnants of our new favourite joke fit only the latter description in reality. In fact, they’re much more hilarious than the unfairly derided Nick Clegg.

More to the point, ‘far-right’ suggests a sound, coherent ideology. I’m not so certain. To me, it seems more like a few loose strands drawn together in a crude, populist vat; the result is a desperate attempt to forge some kind of electable values which fall flat on their decidedly pallid faces when subjected to any kind of rigour. In go the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, gratuitous campaigns which place British lives on the line. If public opinion hadn’t said so, I’m sure a crusade against those pesky Muslims would have been in order instead.

Rising to the top like a brazil nut in a glass bowl is this weird form of watered-down xenophobia which they’re so keen on. Publically, at least. Privately, I doubt there’s much progress on that particular front. So this melting pot is actually a front for the unaffected racism which still defines the party. And yet such a party is elected on its principles, and those are hardly feasible or lucid on any level. It’s an utter farce.