Scapegoating nonsense

Around the web: British National Party

Comrades wanting to know details of the British National Party's local election vote will not find them on the Anti-Nazi League's website (Weekly Worker April 24). Apparently a "full breakdown and analysis will be posted ... shortly"�. No doubt after the appropriate spin has been applied, to make the BNP's 13 gains look like some sort of setback. However, those turning to the BNP site in the hope of finding some analysis will also be disappointed. Logging on to the home page, one is immediately greeted with an annoying pop-up advertising their online donation facility. The photos featured here of BNP fuhrer Nick Griffin posing with two youngsters, backed by the homepage slogan, "Building a future for British children"�, will no doubt go down well with disaffected blue-rinse types. But what immediately caught my eye was a box to the right of the screen. Titled 'Daily party news', this premium (�1 a minute!) phone line presumably (I decided to give it a miss) gives out the latest BNP-endorsed information. Further down, viewers are invited to join the BNP's "platinum"� donators group, the Trafalgar Club. The words 'money' and 'grabbing' spring to mind. A 'Latest news' section, currently carrying 14 items, dominates the page. The most recent update calls for photographs from the party's election campaigns. The second (and probably the first port of call for many) provides the election results. As with the ANL's page, we are treated to useless hyperbole and results from areas where their candidates won or did particularly well. I did have a chuckle on the item on the National Front, where the unnamed writer lobs a few cheap shots in the NF's general direction, but overall there is little attempt at serious analysis. The rest of the news is a random jumble of 'anti-British' anecdotes, 'commentaries' on multiculturalism and other such reactionary rants. Five themed navigation boxes take up the left of the screen. 'The latest' carries information about the BNP's election campaign, front organisations, a seldom-updated article collection, a video, news archive, and downloadable information packs. The elections links is quite interesting, with information concerning seats contested, the council manifesto and the '12 pledges' - a mixture of new right, anti-liberal and populist nostrums. For light relief, check out 'The other parties' for what the BNP thinks of the Socialist Alliance. The next box is 'Material', carrying such items as campaigning paraphernalia, (slavish) letters to the BNP, poetry, the bookshop, etc. Unlike the websites of revolutionary groups, who tend to organise their site around 'the paper', for the BNP publications seem to play a relatively minor role. The pages for the 'theoretical' monthly Identity and the agitational Freedom are minimalist affairs. There is nothing online from the former at all, while the latter's archive features only selected highlights. However, articles going back to last summer are thematically arranged, allowing for an easy sample of the BNP's thinking on a particular subject. The 'Policies' box repeats some of the electoral material and manifestos. The policy forum carries contributions from BNP members on a range of questions, and encourages others to write in with their suggestions. Sad to say that such an approach is rare on most left sites. There is also a comprehensive 'Frequently asked questions', outlining the BNP's (Griffin's?) views on every subject under the sun - bar thorny issues like the holocaust, World War II, Nazi Germany "� 'Organisation' illustrates the party's structure, providing a neat hierarchical schematic of the BNP bureaucracy. Here we are also treated to a short biography of Nick Griffin, and a list of 'circles' (ie, front groups - there are almost as many as the Socialist Workers Party's!). Finally, 'Information' provides contact and membership details, and of course the Trafalgar Club gets another mention. The links section refers us to localised BNP websites, "grassroots"� community groups and international fascist co-thinkers. The youth site also deserves a quick mention. I for one would be interested to know what the BNP leadership, after carefully managing to construct a far-right site without the slightest nod toward the fascist tradition, thinks of the excessive use by 'Young BNP' of Germanic fonts! If this is not an example of Freud's 'return of the repressed', I do not know what is. Aesthetically it is not the prettiest of websites, and reminds me of word-processing packages for old machines like the Commodore 64. But in terms of content I guess it paints a comprehensive but sanitised picture of the BNP. As for the views on parade, the BNP's scapegoating nonsense is pretty easy to demolish - provided that the left gets its act together, instead of ploughing our petty sectarian furrows. Phil Hamilton