Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The real reaction to Nick Griffin and the British Nationalist Party

The BBC, who are always eager for ratings, recently decided to perk up the flagging viewing figures of their sophomoric discussion show ‘Question Time’ by inviting controversial politician Nick Griffin to appear on it.

The gamble paid off. More viewers tuned in than at any other time during the show’s 30-year history. Over eight million people watched Britain’s white-supremacist pariah wrangling with the likes of Lord Chancellor Jack Straw, Conservative politician Baroness Warsi and Liberal Democrat Chris Huhne on the tricky issue of immigration.

The show itself was at turns both farcical and terrifying.

Nick Griffin, as expected, came off terribly – with Max Hastings writing that “the panel had little difficulty making Griffin seem slippery and indeed repugnant.” However, an unintended consequence was making just about every other panel member look equally as incompetent and duplicitous.

The problem was; nobody stood up to tackle the issue at hand.

Jack Straw, Baroness Warsi and Chris Huhne showed a united front in attacking Nick Griffin on his party’s disgusting policies – but offered absolutely nothing of value regarding their own attitudes towards immigration. Because it’s considered politically incorrect, or even ‘racist’, to question the right of millions of foreign nationals to settle in England, they had nothing to say on the issue – while Nick Griffin said plenty.

The upshot? A stark and terrifying demonstration of why Griffin’s rancid, white-supremacist party stormed the elections earlier this year – and why support for the BNP continues to grow.

Amongst the people of Britain, there is a very real, very tangible anger about the country’s ‘open door’ policy towards immigration – and the mainstream political parties refuse to even acknowledge that dissatisfaction.

The obtuse ignorance of the Labour party was amply demonstrated following Question Time. While the media scrambled to interpret the fallout of the controversial episode, Jack Straw smugly announced that Nick Griffin’s appearance had capped “a catastrophic week for the BNP.”

The truth? The exact opposite.

Following Question Time, the Telegraph polled people who’d viewed the show and found that one in four would now consider voting for a BNP candidate as a result of what they’d seen.

YouGov acknowledged that the party’s support in opinion polls had climbed 33% in the following weeks. The BNP itself announced over 3,000 new party members – all because of Griffin’s appearance on Question Time. The BBC received 357 complaints about that particular episode of Question Time – and the majority of them, 243 to be exact, were complaints that the show was unfairly biased against Nick Griffin, not to complain about his appearance.

So what does all this mean?

I honestly don’t believe it implies that Britain is a racist country – or that Nick Griffin’s ‘white’s only’ rhetoric resonates with many people. Given the conspicuous silence from the mainstream political parties on the issue of immigration, perhaps the groundswell of support for the BNP simply means that an increasing number of voters support something that Nick Griffin’s party stands for – but not everything.

And that something? Immigration.

Britain is in the midst of an immigration overload at the moment. England’s population – already the most dense in all of Europe – swells by over a million foreign immigrants every two and a half years. Within a decade, the population will be over 70 million – with millions of them having been born elsewhere.

It’s considered very politically incorrect to talk about immigration in anything but positive terms, but that’s how millions of British people see it.

The open door immigration policy has led to the creation of virtual ghettos in inner cities across the country. Some schools have discovered that English is no longer the common language. Over 40% of state-funded housing applications are coming from families born in another nation. As far as many British people are concerned, immigration has become more about colonization than integration.

And that’s what is at the heart of the problem – and why the BNP is winning over more and more supporters. It’s not the immigrants themselves who are the problem – in fact, so much of what makes modern Britain wonderful stems from our rich history of immigration. It’s the fact that the millions of new arrivals aren’t becoming part of British culture – they’re just coming – and this isn’t their fault, it’s ours.

And even the British Nationalist Party fails to address that issue satisfactorily. They're morally bankrupt and ethically bereft because they believe in a white Britain – and Britain hasn’t been white for generations.

Think of some of our most uniquely ‘British’ institutions – like curry on a Friday night (thanks to immigrants from India and Pakistan.) Or quintessentially ‘British’ figures like comedian Lenny Henry (whose parents were Jamaican immigrants,) newsreaders Trevor MacDonald and Moira Stuart – both Afro-Caribbean. Even non-white sporting heroes like boxer Frank Bruno, F1 driver Lewis Hamilton and show-jumper Oliver Skeete (perhaps the only show-jumper sporting dreadlocks!)

When singer/songwriter Craig David – born of Jewish and Grenadian parents – won the BRIT award for best male singer, he even leaped to the stage to declare “I’m proud to be British.”

Being British – and being proud of the fact – has nothing to do with skin color.

Britain’s become such a wonderfully multi-colored culture that my idea of hell would be Nick Griffin’s ‘all white England’ – and I optimistically believe that most of the country feels the same way I do.

The reason more and more people are supporting the BNP isn’t because they want to racially ‘cleanse’ the country as Nick Griffin and his cohorts have implied. It isn’t even that they want to stop all immigration into Britain. It’s not about race, or ethnicity, or skin-color or nationality. It’s not a racist or xenophobic issue. It’s just simply about new arrivals being required to integrate with British culture.

Not assimilate – part of the way British culture has evolved is through adopting aspects of new arrivals, and people should be allowed to remain true to their heritage – but a requirement to make a few cultural adjustments.

And instead? We have the ‘politically correct’ parties advocating the opposite. In the interests of 'respecting' foreign culture, it’s allowed to exist almost autonomously. We’ve even reached the stage in which certain Muslim communities are allowed to operate their own legal system – based on ‘sharia’ law, instead of the laws of Britain.

It’s this disconnect – the foundation of isolated colonies within British towns and cities – which has fostered resentment from the native Britons (black, white and brown) who live alongside them.

Until one of the mainstream political parties is willing to tackle this cultural disconnect, that resentment will continue to fester – and the parties who stoke it for their own cynical ends, like the British Nationalists, will only increase in popularity.

1 comment:

Paul said...

Racism begins with our families, parents, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, grandparents, people we admire, respect and love.

However, as we grow and mature we come to the realization that what we were told by our family when we were children were slanted lies base on their prejudices. We realize that most people are like ourselves and not so different and want the same things, like a home, steady work, a Medicare plan and schools for our children (if you travel you will see this). We realize that most people are of good hearts and goodwill.

This reminds me of a parable from the good book where a Levite and Priest come upon a man who fell among thieves and they both individually passed by and didn’t stop to help him.

Finally a man of another race came by, he got down from his beast, decided not to be compassionate by proxy and got down with the injured man, administered first aid, and helped the man in need.

Jesus ended up saying, this was the good man, this was the great man, because he had the capacity to project the “I” into the “thou,” and to be concerned about his fellow man.

You see, the Levite and the Priest were afraid, they asked themselves, “If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?”

But then the Good Samaritan came by. And he reversed the question: “If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?”

That’s the question before us. The question is not, “If I stop to help our fellow man (immigrant) in need, what will happen to me?” The question is, “If I do not stop to help our fellow man, what will happen to him or her?” That’s the question.

This current climate of blaming others for our woes is not new. We have had this before and we have conquered it.

Remember “Evil flourishes when good men (and women) do nothing”. Raise your voices with those of us who believe we are equal and we can win this battle again.