Monday, 18 May 2009


I know, two posts in as many days, it's a bit of an achievement. And as I always say, never mind the quality - feel the width...

I'm off work with some kind of stomach-thingy so I was already feeling nauseous before I found the leaflet the BNP dropped through the door this morning. God it's creepy though. It literally makes my skin crawl. And I do mean literally - it felt like it was trying to crawl away from the thing.

A few years ago, we got this A4, black and white thing through the door claiming to be the 'Gateshead Patriot' which had - I shit thee not - a picture of an Asian man getting off a dinghy at a reservoir with the caption 'flood of asylum seekers - headed for Gateshead?' on it.

That was nasty, but so poorly executed that there was some comedy value.

This one is somewhat nastier, although I should find it funnier.

After all, it's got the hilarious Polish spitfire on it, the not-terribly real voters, and the bright friendly colours (strangely similar to those on the UKIP leaflet that got pushed through atthe letterbox at, interestingly, the very same time - what could that mean?) somewhat undermined by gratuitously racist text like 'British Jobs for British Workers - Because We've Earned the Right'. It's still a very poor effort, just a bit glossier.

Of course the reason it makes me uncomfortable is that it's got the level of faux-honesty about on par with the leaflets you tend to get from the real parties, and production values to match. When you get one from Labour, for example, they never seem to mention 'a key part of our manifesto is continuing to put the public sector in hock to Balfour Beatty until your children are nearing retirement' or 'we promise to serve the interests of the City of London for reasons too stupid to detail'. No, they focus on you, the hardworkingfamily. And if you're not a hardworkingfamily then you probably like hardworkingfamilies or want to be one, yeah? And so too with the BNP's scumlet: pics of white people with hard hats or doctor's coats on all apparently avowing how important it is to hate foreigners.

It's still poorly judged of course. I don't know quite how anyone is supposed to link jobs for white people today with victory at Trafalgar, and I think most people will find it a stretch, even assuming they can make the required leap to Planet Bigot in the first place, a magical fairyland where the colour of your skin means something to global capitalism. It reminds me of Labour's recent attacks on unemployment benefits, where in order for it to make sense you have to buy into the idea that the reason there are so many people unemployed is because half the workforce became institutionally lazy overnight, upsetting the Jobs Unicorn and making it skitter off into the Forest of Recession, never to be seen again.

In short, this leaflet really is just ghastly, and its similarity to proper political leaflets implies a bid for respectability, with its careful use of obfuscation and the unconvincing institutional fictions of actual politics. I can't even bring myself to treat it with the admirable lightness of touch that Anton Vowl has. I only hope that this is a last gasp and that Griffin gets nowhere near Brussels. If he does, their despicable narrative might actually gain currency.

Update: just caught Charlie Brooker's piece. Damn, that's good!


Benjamin Solah said...

So glad that guy didn't get let in Australia. Hope you deport him somewhere like Antarctica.

Christie Malry said...

Well I wouldn't be the first to point out that if the worst should happen there will at least be a supreme irony in the existence of a BNP MEP in the first place...