Posted on November 20, 2008

A Postcode Protest Against the BNP

Nicholas Blincoe, Guardian (Manchester), November 20, 2008

I have been searching the list of BNP members to find my postcode. This is a rigmarole. The document is 200,000 words long, twice the length of an averagely doorstop-sized novel. Printed out as a list, it would fill more than 2,000 sheets of A4 paper. But as an impressionable teenager, I leant the lyrics to the Specials’ rather earnest song Racist Friend (“If you have a racist friend, now is the time for the friendship to end”) and now feel duty bound to discover if any of my friends and neighbours are down with the boot boys.

I live in Westminster, and one of my local fascists appears to be the servant to the Queen mentioned in a two-year-old article in the Guardian. Another couple live on a local council estate, another off Sloane Square. In a rather limited sense, the BNP is an admirably democratic party: it appeals to everyone, rich and poor alike. As long as they are white. And their definition of “democracy” is worshipping the Master Race. And they are very, very stupid.

It is the stupidity I don’t understand. Not the racism or the militant hate-mongering: just the stupidity. There is a Mitchell & Webb sketch in which an SS officer notices the skulls on his cap for the first time and wonders if he might actually be one of the bad guys. The point, of course, is that the skulls were always part of the appeal. Germans were actively voting for an increased supply of death from their government. They wanted professionalised racism and state-led, streamlined murder. As a political programme, violent intolerance has never gone entirely out of fashion—which is precisely why it is so important to oppose racist parties, even through the medium of dour earnest reggae.

But I still do not understand the stupidity. Why do members of the British National party see themselves as patriots, when the whole of the British identity is based around resisting the onslaught of racists? The Bulldog Breed, the Few, the Dunkirk Spirit, V for Victory, Bluebirds and Spitfires—which part of the second world war do the BNP not understand?

I want to stage displays of disapproval to the members of the BNP in my neighbourhood. Not a witch-hunt, just something quiet, well-mannered and, I suppose, a bit British. Cutting them dead in the greengrocers, for instance. Or pointedly overlooking them while selling charity raffle tickets. Or, like Father Ted and Father Dougal in their protest against pornography, waving a politely worded sign outside their house (I know this is an Irish protest, but I could steal it in an ironically imperial kind of way). Frankly, any and all suggestions would be gratefully received.