The British National Party has issued a ramshackle campaign video ahead of May’s London elections. In it, BNP leader Nick Griffin gives a tinny airing-cupboard narration over horribly staged footage of his party’s campaigners supposedly meeting ordinary people on the street. The faux-Joe Bloggses then tell the camera why they’ve been convinced to vote BNP – their reasons ranging from hatred of the congestion charge and wanting to smoke in pubs to fear of creeping Islamification, and a desire for ‘British jobs for British workers’.
This being the modernised, PR-savvy ‘New Labour’ BNP, the video has a lame stab at making Britain’s foremost cryptofascist political faction sound cuddly. Griffin, for example, warps the rhetoric of Obamamania into the BNP’s own nauseating ‘message of hope’. It’s not the first time the Party has shamelessly copied from elsewhere- since 2010 the Party has used an impressionistic scribble of a heart emblazoned with the union jack as its logo, clearly aping the modern Tories’ own Crayola-scrawled patriotic tree emblem.
The BNP election material has never exactly looked like it’d been given the once-over by Industrial Light and Magic, but the current video’s outstanding shoddiness reflects an organisation on the way out – severe financial difficulties and two internal power-struggles in as many years has left the Party floundering. Its electoral peak in 2009, which saw Griffin himself and veteran National Front organiser Andrew Brons elected as BNP Members of the European Parliament, seems a very, very long time ago. More recently, Griffin and co have been further eclipsed by the upstart English Defence League, who combine the BNP’s trademark mixture of incompetence and hair-raising bigotry with the headline-nabbing novelty factor. Rumours that EDL boss Steven ‘Tommy Robinson’ Yaxley-Lennon is being made deputy leader of the British Freedom Party, a faction that split from the BNP in 2010, hint at a far-right re-alignment that could leave Griffin’s Party out in the cold.
Meanwhile, in the kinds of places that were eviscerated by Thatcher, abandoned by New Labour and taken in by Griffin and Brons back in 2009, people are left to flounder. While their economic grievances are left unaddressed by mainstream politics, the far-right, in whatever form, will continue to make headway by scapegoating black people, Asians people, gay people and white liberals.