Saturday, 22 November 2008

Live by the sword, die by the sword

I am sure that everyone who follows the news is aware of the story regarding the leaking of the BNP membership list onto the internet. A couple of people have asked me what I thought of this and whether I was going to do a blog about it. Initially my feeling was that this was an intrusion into the privacy of the individuals concerned and as such, regardless of my opinion of their views, was wrong. A couple of things happened yesterday which made me think again.

The first was a friend of mine nipped in for a cup of tea on the way home. He is involved in a local football team and knows the children of Mrs Odia, the lady involved in the issue of the £1 Million house, being paid for by income support. He asked me if I'd googled her name and seen some of the coverage. I said that I hadn't. At his suggestion, I did. There was one website in particular which he'd seen which, if I'd not seen myself, I'd probably not believed. I don't want to go into what was on there, suffice to say that Mrs Odia and her children are described in the most vile and obnoxious terms possible. There are also extremely obnoxious images. On the same site there are similar pictures of the president elect of the USA, Barack Obama. There is much discussion on various BNP sites in similar terms. I am assuming that most of these sites are hosted abroad as I believe that the content is illegal in this country. Now whatever one may think of the case of Mrs Odia, her family does not deserve the vilification she's receiving. My friend used to work in a dole office (jobcentre) and if the BNP believe that abuse of the system is a racial issue, they are sadly mistaken. This is something which occurs with all colours and creeds. I seem to recall an episode of the wifeswap program where a white British family received vilification for living on £37,000 a year in benefits.
What is a typical BNP member's view of this story? "Someone needs to be lined up against a wall for this gaffe. End of." (posted by odins-rage on the merseysidebnp.blogspot.com site story - nigerianbenefits-mum-gets-1m-home-i-say).


Anyway as my friend trotted off home, I went down to our local Chinese takeaway for my supper. As I waited for my dinner, I happened to read the Sun, which was lying on the counter. In yesterday's copy, John Gaunt was talking about the issue in his column (click HERE to see it). He mentioned that when he'd interviewed Nick Griffen (BNP leader) on his radio show, he'd given him a rather hard time. Anyone who has listened to John Gaunt will know that everyone gets this sort of treatment, in fact he was sacked this week for calling a Tory councillor a Nazi. The thing was that after the Griffen interview, Gaunt's name and address were publicised and people were encouraged to harass him. I myself received a rather milder form of this treatment. In April, during the council elections, I made some comments on the Times website, disagreeing with a BNP sympathiser. Soon after, details of my business address and phone number were plastered all over the site, over 37 different comments were left. As it turned out I got a few calls from people (none of whom I knew) warning me. One actually ended up buying a guitar, but that isn't really the point.

Anyway I got to thinking about the matter. Take Councillor Brian Coleman. Now the fact that I disagree with is politics is widely known. I am not a fan of much of what he says either. As he's a Councillor, his address, email address and phone number are in the public domain. Does Coleman live in fear that I'll harrass him, ring him up at 3am, wait around the corner to beat him up, put dogpoo through his letterbox? No of course he doesn't. I bumped into him at the Watling Festival, the day after I'd written a blog ripping into him about his comments about the Olympics. What did he say? "Hello Roger, how are you?". You see in a democracy, we don't live in fear of people we disagree with. Brian Coleman doesn't hide away. I'm a member of the Labour party. I don't hide this. How do BNP members view members of other parties - one site had a story "Gordon Brown, Sub human gimp!!"

I thought you may like to see the response of Richard Barnbrook, BNP GLA member to a question from Brian Coleman (this is taken from Simon Darby's blog on the BNP site) :-

‘Hindu School
Question No: 1060 / 2008
Brian Coleman
Does the Mayor welcome the first state funded Hindu School in the UK, backed by the I-Foundation, which is to be built in Harrow?’


Richard Barnbrook responds :-

So here we have it, literally in black & white, a graphic example of how white people in general and Christians in particular are marginalised, discriminated against and, as a consequence, clinically airbrushed out of the political process at City Hall.


What is especially interesting about this quote is the fact that there have been reports of the BNP canvassing amongst Hindu's stating that only the BNP are prepared to stand up to Muslims.

BNP members claim that it infringes their human rights for their employers to know their allegiance. If you are a police officer or a teacher, the chances are that you have to deal with people of all races and creeds. There are good and practical reasons for this ban. If a Police officer arrests a black person for a crime and the defence team find out that the Police Officer is a BNP member, then this will be used by the defence to display prejudice. It could result in the acquittal of a person where all of the other evidence would indicate a guilty verdict. As to a teacher. If a teacher is teaching a child of a black person such as Mrs Odia (for example) and another child racially abuses them and upsets them, we would expect the teacher to take action. If the parents of the abused child are not happy with approach of the school and they become aware that the teacher is a BNP member, surely the school would face sanction for not dealing with their child fairly. Even if proper procedure had been followed, there could be no argument that the teacher would not have been prejudiced against the child.

Now personally, had I had the BNP membership list, I wouldn't have posted it. There may be all sorts of errors on it. A malicious person may edit it and add names of people with no association whatsoever. People may have changed their mind. It isn't really the way we do things in Britain and I'm not a fan of witch hunts.

Having said all that and for the reasons I've detailed above, if people belong to the BNP, given the views they have and the way they operate, it really is a case of "live by the sword, die by the sword".

2 comments:

Don't Call Me Dave said...

Rog

My immediate view on this was similar to yours. If someone sent me the list, how would I know if it was genuine? How would I know if someone hadn’t added names as part of a sick joke? What was I supposed to do with it, even if it was genuine?

Anyone who contacts people on the list is just handing a propaganda victory to the BNP. Who knows, perhaps this has all been an elaborate stunt by the BNP to gain nationwide attention?

The issue which needs to be addressed is not what to do about the list of names, but what to do to stop people feeling the need to join the BNP in the first instance. A friend of mine admitted that he voted for the BNP in the mayoral election this year. This was shocking in itself, but more so because he is the son of immigrants with a good education. He could not be described as an extremist and previously voted Conservative under Thatcher before switching to New Labour and Blair in 1997.

He told me that he knew the BNP couldn’t possibly win, but he simply wanted to send a message to the mainstream parties.

Of course, joining a political party clearly requires a far greater level of commitment than simply voting for one, but the BNP use moderate language, unlike the old National Front. Politicising need to deal with this aspect, rather than demonising the people who vote for the BNP.

Without wishing to trivialise the issue, look what happened on Strictly Come Dancing. The experts kept telling the viewers to get rid of John Sergeant and they responded by doing the complete opposite. In the real world, a similar situation is arising. Labour, Conservatives and the LibDems keep telling us what they will do about X, Y or Z, but don’t appear to want to listen. Consequently, there is a large group of people who feel ignored, and if you keep ignoring that group then those people will find the lure of a party which says all the things they want to hear naturally appealing.

You fight and defeat the BNP by exposing their policies, not their members.

Rog T said...

David,

Should the BNP ever hold power in Great Britain, I suspect the days of us having any say in the way things are run will be gone for a while.

Civilised society is all about listening to the arguments of people with whom we disagree and tolerating people we don't like.

That's the bit missing from the BNP's agenda which really makes the difference. It's all very well your friend saying he's sticking two fingers up at the powers that be, but he's also giving the thumbs up to what the BNP stand for.

I find it rather amusing that the BNP claim to be sticking up for Christian values, when Jesus himself said that "loving your neighbour" was the 2nd most important commandment. He didn't specify their colour (and given where he said it and who he was saying it to, we can guess that the colour wasn't very Aryan).

I generally shy away from bringing religion into these debates, but as the BNP claim to be defending Christian values, I really can't stand by and let this nonsense pass without comment.