How will all this BBC air time fare for the BNP?

As is the custom (I say that, with my tongue in my cheek), I will not be linking to the page where I found this, needless to say it is currently held on the BNP’s homepage, where the BBC have recently put a link to, and an interview. In fact the following quote refers to that very interview:

Joey Smith, managing director of Great White Records, has expressed his deepest thanks to the controlled media for their free publicity over the last few days.

According to Mr Smith, the “controlled media’s hysteria over a recent radio show featuring myself and Mark Collett has greatly boosted visits to the Great White Records website and increased album sales.

“We never expected for a minute that the show would generate such fabulous publicity,” Mr Smith said, adding that it was totally untrue that he or Mr Collett had “hidden” who they were before the show was broadcast, as some reports claimed.

There is everything possible wrong with the above statement. Notice the way the media is described as ‘controlled’, invoking images of paranoiac sentiment and Jewish hostilities. Don’t for a second tell me they were not thinking it when they wrote it, or think it all along.

I’ve always found it trivial that the BNP are proud that their website has high traffic, because this – as I can vouch for – is the product of as many anti-BNP readers – probably more – as pro- .

But I’m worried that there is truth to this, the BBC are – regretfully – obliged to take seriously a legal party who have two elected MEPs. As such, they are already legitimised, it is not the BBC who are legitimising them, they are already so, for reasons I find quite absurd. For the BBC to ignore them, to disavowal them, would unfortunately go against their non-partisan standing, as much as that seems to unravel in places elsewhere.

It makes me sick to think that serious politicians like Jack Straw – like him or loathe him – should have to lower themselves to the level of Griffin. But that is politics, people make stupid decisions and voting Griffin, and his party alike, is a stupid decision.

I hate to turn against my own, but there would be no vetting of anti-fascists, if anti-fascists refrained from taking to pointless acts like the possible blockade of the BBC’s studios. This will be met with snorts and angry words no doubt. But an anti-fascist group should not themselves act like animals, it makes other, more serious activists look foolish. The BNP have plenty of dirt, we can open it out at a strategic scale, who thought it embarrassing when activists hissed at a performance of Giselle because it starred BNP member, and one time friend with benefits of Richard Barnbrook, Simone Clarke. Such hisses should be based on what Griffin says – and it will attract hisses – not pre-prepared stuff, which has informed the BBC of its decision. Having said that, it isn’t as thought-police, McCarthyite-esque, as some have opined.

Still, by the very fact that the far-right have called anti-fascists ‘communists’ – also on their homepage – one can hardly feel sorry for them.

Now that they are definitely on QT, there is no point regretting it. But a wishlist we on the left should have, for what will be asked of Griffin. Was what he said on the stage with David Duke, about only seeming to moderate, when in fact the heart has not changed at all (funny, Peter Hitchens has also mentioned this), does he really feel the Jews own the media, does he really feel climate change is a myth, whose side was he really on in WWII (remember he described the RAF’s bombing of Dresden as ‘mass murder’). Hopefully Straw, Greer, Warsi etc will pull these questions out. If not it will be a disaster. If so, it’s going to be tricky, embarrassing, and arse-clenchingly brilliant telly.

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Oborne the Brave

Do we remember when Nick Cohen had a druken pop at two conservative columnists who were shortlisted for the Orwell Prize, he questioned their journalistic braveness (against his Martin Bright standard, who took his right wing ideas to the Statesman – like a man), Peter Hitchens for playing it safe in the Mail, and Oborne for much the same reason. Well I wonder if they took heed, I recently saw Hitchens write a reply to an article mentioning him in the staggers, and today Oborne today wrote a kind of introduction to his new book in favour of the Human Rights Act in the Guardian.

Oborne noted;

Myths abound about the act. These start out as newspaper reports. Soon they enter popular discourse. It is not long before they are used in the speeches of politicians. And yet almost invariably they are fabrications, or sometimes even outright lies. In our book we provide numerous examples. It is widely reported that hardcore pornography is available in prison thanks to the act, that the police cannot put up “wanted” posters thanks to it, and that it prevented Britain deporting Learco Chindamo, the killer of headteacher Philip Lawrence. All these stories – and many others – have distorted and poisoned public discourse on the Human Rights Act. They are false.

These myths (and/or major criticisms) about Human rights, I wondered, in which newspapers would they be likely to appear in, remembering for a moment who Oborne’s employers are? Perhaps this Metro report can help us. Of course the Metro are owned by Associated Newspapers (as are the Daily Mail). Does Oborne despair over this, perhaps not enough, causing one interested blogger to ask ‘why Obore didn’t write that in his Mail column?!’

This article by Afua Hirsch also details other examples where the Mail were responsible for erroneous reportage on Human rights, in particular the story headlined “The war criminals we cannot deport because of their human rights” which “suggested the Human Rights Act, and not – as is actually the case – a loophole in the UK’s implementation of international law, was to blame for genocide suspects living with impunity in the UK.”

She mentions in her article the case of Denis Nilsen who the press went crazy for when it noted he was allowed to view hardcore pornography as part of his human rights. Oborne himself mentions this in today’s article, as can be seen in the given quote above.

No prizes for guessing which organ of the press also had fun with this story. For those who can’t guess, see here!

Squiffy writers, cui bono?

Work might be the curse of the drinking classes as Oscar Wilde opined, but for writers it is an apparent remedy. Just search for writing drunk and see what comes up in support of it. It helps expand the mind is a popular position. It limits inhibitions is another. Was Shakespeare an alcoholic is a question asked by one study.

The writer and notorious member of the drinking classes, Christopher Hitchens, wrote enthusiastically about a report that portended to show drinking alcohol as an advantage to ones health, significantly reducing the risk of heart attack, just as a clove of garlic a day was once seen as helpful to a tight prostrate or as smoking good for developing short term memory.

In the same article Hitchens takes on the view of Tom Dardis who’s work “The Thirsty Muse:  Alcohol and the American Writer,” blames drink on the undoing of such writers as Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Eugene O’Neill. In their defence Hitchens notes that what Dardis cannot account for is the fact that “they did some of their finest work when blotto, smashed, polluted, shitfaced, squiffy, whiffled, and three sheets to the wine.”

Hitchens clearly has a high regard for drinking etiquette as well. Writing in Slate, with extreme arrogance unlike any other I’ve ever seen or heard of, he castigates waiters who share out a bottle of wine between a gathering of dinner guests in the restaurants they are waiting in. “The nerve of it,” he yammers. He styles out the rest of the article saying perhaps female drinkers don’t want to drink the same amount of wine as him, but given his anecdote at the start, what this really means is that he doesn’t want to share his wine. What a big sod.

His brother, the columnist Peter Hitchens probably doesn’t take the same view – as with pretty much everything else. But the proof of this is a little nebulous. This Hitchens took issue with fellow writer and columnist Nick Cohen, when Cohen attended the George Orwell Awards shortlist debate. Cohen was, its fair to say, a little squiffy and poured scorn on Hitchens, prompting Hitchens to poke fun at Cohen’s drunken state. But here we must throw up the notion of cui bono, or for whom did Cohen’s drunken stupor benefit? Who came off vindicated by his performance, Cohen or Hitchens? Judge for yourself, the video of this became rather popular overnight, but what seemed interesting was that Cohen’s lacking in reserve not only made his argument in good humour, but also arduous, simultaneously.

Amusing that three years previous Cohen had written on the subject of drink in a style that suggested his seriousness as a journalist and intellectual obligated him to abstain from such Dionysian lark. Cohen writes;

I’m a mere journalist and don’t drink in as many pubs as Oxford dons. I visit them occasionally, however, when my editors insist I must, and see that a lot of the old culture survives.

That ‘old culture’ refers to the certain etiquette that is unwritten, yet utterly expected in English pubs that distinguish them from wine lodges or continental styled bars. Cohen notes that this ‘old culture’ sums up “the British way with alcohol that Charles Dickens or George Orwell would have recognised.” So perhaps there were more clues when Cohen shouted down the choice to include Peter Hitchens in the shortlist for the George Orwell prize; he took no risks in his journalism, and he knew nothing of the drink etiquette.

So one possible argument to draw from this is that drink removes those boundaries making debate seem effortless, and the downright clownish persona with which the squiffy employ makes it very difficult for ones sober opponent to garner those real intellectual punches. Cohen, irrespective of the point makes it virtually impossible for his adversaries to get a word in edgeways, and Hitchens by hogging all the wine at dinner parties means that the only person who might interrupt a good anecdote is the waiter himself. So is it true, can a drink really be an egg in ones beer for writers?

Lies, deceit, hate and Tory melancholy

Tory hacks are not as wry as before the expenses scandals. I mean, everyone is sulking, but Labour have plans up their sleeves, whereas the Tories main election winning force – i.e., “liberal conservatism” – is shaking.

Three events have been talked about today that have made the Tories just that little bit sadder.

Firstly, the family of Winston Churchill, notably Tory MP Nicholas Soames, are angry that the BNP have hijacked Churchill’s sayings in order to drum up national pride (although the uncovering of Nick Griffin’s edited magazine ‘The Rune’ has wiped smiles of the far-right’s faces, showing Griffin on record praising the SS and attacking the RAF).

Second, Tory Student has asked readers to vote UKIP (pretty standard this one?)

And thirdly, Daily Mail writer Peter Hitchens is sick of BNP voters using the Mail as a platform of their own, waving Read the Daily Mail placards and bombarding their comments pages with hate messages (because that is the job of the editor).