As a mixed race man who considers himself British and indeed English, you may be surprised by what I’m going to say next.
I think the BNP have some good policies. I UNDERSTAND what they mean about preserving the white race, I personally don’t want to see any group of people disappear.
I like their ideas on crime, if perhaps a little draconian, at least they are taking a tough stance. However, I have been critical in the past of the BNP because of their approach to race issues. We all know that race is the sticking point that the BNPcan’tt seem to get over, it’s what stops them from gaining any real power across the country.
Being born of the NF the BNP started out racist, had racist views from the outset yet, recently, they claim to have changed.
Now, I’m not saying all BNP supporters are racists, but be sure, some are. Probably a lot are because the BNP are the party that wants to restore Britain to what it used to be before non white immigration happened on large scale.
Since I have started writing articles for Pits and Pots, as opposed to just making the odd comment, I have decided to try to be as impartial as possible. Rather than shouting at, and about people because I don’t agree with their views I’m trying to listen, and question them.
Hopefully, recent examples of this practice have been the Tommy Robinson interview
the Baroness Warsi Interview http://pitsnpots.co.uk/news/2010/04/pitsnpots-meet-baroness-sayeeda-wars… and the two Interviews with Simon Darby and Mike Coleman.
I want to understand the views of people before condemning them.
Thursday was a very interesting day. I went to the Civic Centre with some trepidation, not knowing what to expect. I have to give the BNP their dues in certain respects. Everyone was polite and courteous and I chatted to a few of the BNP workers who were there before I got to the politicians.
I asked one of the BNP security team what leads someone to join the BNP? He told me that he came from St Helens, and that the town had been decimated by unemployment after all the mining and industry had been wiped out.
I asked if the town had a problem with migrant workers and he told me it was something like 97% white. He was a man of few words really, but I didn’t get the impression he was massively motivated by race issues.
The camera man was decent too, whilst setting the camera up in the chamber, I spotted a camera that was set up properly and had used gaffer tape to make the mic lead safe and not a major trip hazard like so many of the others. I asked a small bald headed chap if he had any gaffer tape I could borrow, he said ‘yeah sure’ and disappeared off to fetch it for me. Only later on did I find out that he was the BNP camera man.
I then went over to chat to him and we talked about the fact that I could now join the party. I explained the worries of a lot of people like my self had a bout the BNP, about the stigma the party has because of the race issue, the history of the BNP etc
The conversation was alright, although I did a fair bit more talking than him, that’s just me though, and I was a bit nervous about being in a 12ft square room with Nick Griffin and 2 large members of his security team.
However, once inside the room everything was fine. Griffin is an old hand at being interviewed and isn’t without his charm. He was well mannered and good humoured.
Despite our little hitch with the mic, the Griffin interview went off well, the strangest moment for me came as I was packing up my camera, After shaking hands with Tony, Mr Griffin looked up at me as he rose from his chair, he smiled warmly and offered his hand.
I don’t really know what I had expected really, I had always known this could happen but had assured myself that if I lurked in the background I’d be ignored as a mere assistant, and not have to face a personally awkward situation.
I think I froze for a second, and I’m sure that showed on my face but I smiled and shook hands. It was a difficult one for me because despite trying to be professional in the way I approach all stories. Nick Griffin is still the leader of the only party that, until recently didn’t allow non whites to join.
I seriously oppose racism of any kind and to shake hands with someone who may want to potentially expel me and my descendants from the country is a strange emotional sensation. Manners is the order of the day though and I wasn’t about to be rude to anyone who had shown me hospitality.
Whether or not the BNP have really moved beyond their racist roots or not is irrelevant, if I’m to do the job of reporting political stories with any integrity, then professionalism must guide me, not emotion. After the Griffin Interview I had the opportunity to interview Deputy Leader Simon Darby and local councillor and PPC Mike Coleman.
Simon Darby had been great with us all day, he was chatty and made sure we were before the mainstream media in line for the interviews with Nick Griffin.
This is because pitsnpots always try to be fair with everyone we interview and give them the opportunity to have their say and let the readers decide.
The established media actually barged past us and forced us to be last, however, that wasn’t Mr Darby’s fault, more our own naivity and inexperience in standing our ground.
When we sat down Mr Darby was relaxed and gave well considered answers. If anything was lacking it was my own questions, I could have queried him a little more forcefully on a couple of points. My style isn’t adversarial though, in real life situations I am certainly more gregarious but when Interviewing I at least try to let the interviewee feel comfortable because I want them to talk, not lock up.
I also want my interviewees to walk away thinking that I was fair, and that any information offered by accident was more their their error than my aggressive attempt to trip them up. Like this http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/the_daily_politics/8639811.stm .
Whilst I thought her questions were actually very good, her manner was abrasive and put Simon Darby in the Defensive, thus we didn’t get the answers. Perhaps Jo coburn thught she was upholding the rights of the people by dismissing Mr Darby in a terse manner, but I think her interview style simply made him appear to be the victim of a biased media. That’s what sticks in peoples minds, not the fact that he dodged the questions.
Building a relationship with the people you interview is, in my opinion more important than sensationalism. Only over time can you really get a true feel for the people you are interviewing.
Simon Darby has a serious demeanor and steely grey eyes which could un-nerve anyone, but he’s a no nonsense guy, and someone I feel is willing to answer questions freely if approached in the correct manner.
The BNP seemed a lot better in the flesh than what one is able to glean from the internet and newspapers reveal about them, lending some weight to the BNP’s argument that the media is biased against them. Having been at the launch from start to finish, I know what went on, I know what was said and what wasn’t, but on the evening of the event the mainstream medias coverage was poor and paltry.
Considering that they waited all day for their interviews, they certainly took it out on the party by way of their reports. They chose to focus on the man dressed as St George, more than the content of the manifesto or the words of the politicians. I’m not a trained journalist but I believe that this approach is wrong. Whether you like the BNP or not I believe they have the right to speak, and that only by analysing and delivering the words of politicians can we ever hope to understand what they really stand for.
The blanket approach of the mainstream media who mock and ridicule the BNP, refuse to deliver their policy detail and spin every story simply make the BNP and parties like them appear more enigmatic and more wrongly damages the reputation of what should be an impartial media. For example: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/bnp-launch-is-politics-wit…
Just like any other political party there are plenty of examples of the BNP making gaffes, Not all of these gaffes are in the distant past either. There are plenty of causes of concern in what the BNP have said. Examples like Mr Griffins comments on President Obama and the attitude of black people
It was only 13 Years ago Nick Griffin told Roger Cook that ultimately he would force non whites to leave whether they wanted to or not.
This Thursday we saw Nick Griffin promise to protect the rights of “settled minorities” who had paid into the system and earned their right to be British.
Within the last Decade the BNP has had links with more extreme organisations, and more worryingly what Mr Griffin told a group of White nationalists about the sort of language that needed to be used to win over the British public.
These are the things that I believe the BNP need more questioning on.
It’s no good shouting “ Nazi Scum” and throwing eggs at people, that isn’t democracy. Listening to the words, and scrutinising is really how to make informed choices. Without hearing the whole story, who can see the wood for the trees?