If you haven’t seen last night’s Question Time, you probably should. You can find it all on YouTube (UK residents, look on BBC iPlayer). Nick Griffin (whose ancestors were apparently travellers, not that that matters), was shown to be not the cunning demagogue that some feared, but rather the slippery, dissembling, sweaty fascist you and I already knew he was. I don’t think the BNP deserves a platform on primetime TV but I imagine the BBC got good viewing figures.
Over at Vice, there’s a bit of video about the Welsh Defence League marching in Swansea. I can’t embed the video, but you can see it here. The WDL/EDL are the street thugs of the BNP. Performing Nazi salutes, shouting racial threats and promising violence, these people are the real face of the BNP’s politics.
As a side note, it’s nice to see Andrew Fitton, SWP and Unite Against Fascism organiser in Swansea, on the video. I haven’t really thought much about Andrew or any of the other SWP activists since I left Swansea more than seven years ago… but seeing him on that video reminds me of both the joy of discussing and marching for something I believed in, and the bitter-sweet frustration that comes from being involved in a small political group. Seeing Swansea UAF on video reminds me that I need to get back to that kind of direct action right now.
So thanks, Vice, for that.
Those of us on the left who’ve ever had any interest in party organisation will be all too aware how often splits can occur. The recent wrecking behaviour of Galloway supporters in Respect is a classic example. So it is great to see that a potentially much more serious split is taking place in Britain’s main fascist party, the BNP.
Two key activists in the party, Kenny Smith and Sadie Graham were purged from the party after they attempted to maneuver against Mark Collett, the party’s publicity officer. Collett seems quite unpopular and general opinion among many activists appears to be that he is being protected by leader Nick Griffin. I remember Collett’s appearance in a couple of TV documentaries which showed him to be a particularly unpleasant neo-Nazi.
Now, many organisers and party officials seem to be resigning in protest at Griffin’s betrayal of the party for personal reasons. This is great news, of course, because a party in disarray is an unsuccessful party. Griffin’s authority is now being directly challenged and it looks like he’ll either have to get rid of his chum Collett or face more resignations. It all stems from various dark accusations of nefarious acts connected with Collett, as well as a claim that the BNP’s ‘intelligence team’ have hacked into blog sites and deleted posts.
Read the Lancaster Unite Against Fascism post for a more coherent explanation of what has gone down, and how grave the BNP’s problems appear to be. I’m going to have a celebratory cigarette.