September 16, 2009

Other threats from within

Threats to public safety and national security in the UK come from a variety of sources; and not all of them are Islamic.

We have seen the newly energised extreme right wing of UK politics flex its muscles on the streets of several cities. The last being the planned demonstration in front of a mosque in northwest London. While other extreme political strands like radical Islam make their hostility to mainstream British life clear. The extreme right-wing undermine it while claiming to defend it. This is something the government is seeking to address.

"John Denham, who has replaced Hazel Blears as the communities secretary, will ensure that funding goes to a wider range of organisations and the Prevent programme focuses more explicitly on rightwing racist extremism as well al-Qaida inspired ideology."

There is a tendency to focus so intently on Islamist extremism that "the enemy of my enemy" approach makes people who consider themselves open minded suddenly get up and go share a bench with those who admire Hitler. 


"Nick Griffin (the head of the UK's main extreme party) wrote a pamphlet in 1997 called "The Mind-Benders", in which he said of the Holocaust: "The 'extermination' tale is a mixture of Allied wartime propaganda and witch-hysteria."

Griffin usually dismisses these examples by putting them down to excitable youth. Because we've all got embarrassing snippets from our teenage days, so it hardly matters which of us wore crazy kipper ties and which wrote pamphlets denying the Holocaust, and the fact that Griffin wrote that when he was 38 only shows how young and full of life he is.

But around 10 years ago the BNP hit a snag, realising that their approach was holding them back. Maybe they had a focus group, with someone reporting that, "OK, if I can share my feedback, some of the policies, such as distrust of Europe, supporting British farmers, I'm hearing lots of positive energy. But, and don't take this the wrong way, the praising Hitler angle is proving mostly negative, I'm afraid."

So Griffin set about making them appear respectable. They would deny they were fascist, and claim to be an upstanding legitimate party. This creates another problem with them in the media, as their leaders are determined to conceal what I believe is their real mission, which isn't just to campaign in elections but to build a force of street-fighters. After a BNP member was elected in 1993 Griffin said: "The electors of Millwall did not back a post-modernist Rightist party, but what they perceived to be a strong, disciplined organisation with the ability to back up its slogan 'Defend Rights for Whites', with well directed boots and fists."


Preserving and strengthening the kind of communities and country we want to live in involves guarding against those who seek to undermine both overtly and covertly.