It is not so extraordinary that Nick Griffin has sought to link military generals with Nuremberg hangings. This is all part of the BNP tactic of gainsaying opponents with the Fascist motif; the political equivalent of those playground philosophical discourses that ended when someone said 'No, YOU stink! No comebacks.'
Hopefully, the public will see through this particular outburst and see Griffin for the ideological deceiver he is. Whether Question Time provides an opportunity to hold him to account is another matter. The format of the show does not allow for such grillings and only the cognoscenti are likely to watch. It will be interesting to see how the media reports the highlights. It was often suggested that David Beckham was ideally suited to US soccer due to the heavy reliance on big moments rather than the niceties of the game itself. Griffin will, similarly, be able to offer scraps for the soundbite-orientated media.
Today's eye-opener as to the mindset of Griffin et al on matters judicial comes courtesy of referring to Peter Hain as a bank robber in its latest email/begging letter to party faithful not put off by a potential further leak of membership details. Moreover the email is headlined, ' Former Bank Robber accuses BNP of breaking the law'.
For those not aware of the story upon which the BNP affixes its libellous statement, Hain was a leading member of the anti-apartheid movement and in 1975 was charged with being part of a raid on a Barclays Bank, stealing nearly £500 (even in 1975 not on the Ronnie Biggs level).
Hain was acquitted by a jury. As The Times explains in an article in 2007, there are allegations that Hain was fitted up by dark forces due to his extra-parliamentary activities.
In this fervid atmosphere, the police behaved in a way that would get the case thrown out now.
First, they put Hain in an identification parade after “Hain on theft charge” headlines had appeared, and even after the London Evening Standard had printed his photograph with the caption: “Peter Hain — due to appear in an identification parade today”.
(The bank cashier who had handed over the £490 duly identified him as the robber.)
Secondly, two senior officers repeatedly went at night to the home of Terry MacLaren, one of the schoolboys who had chased the robber. MacLaren did not think Hain was the thief and had agreed to testify for the defence. The apparent purpose of the police was to see him without Hain’s lawyer being present. MacLaren’s father sent them packing.
- Whether this was true or not, Hain’s lawyers decided they could not introduce it into their defence because it could not be proved and would be more likely to muddy what was a clear defence of mistaken identity.
Griffin urges followers to - after they've given some more urgent funds - to download a form to serve on Hain, who claims the BBC should not be inviting the BNP on to QT because it is (currently) illegal due to its constitutional limbo. I don't actually buy this but anyhow, Griffin bellows:
- Lawyers acting for the BNP have drawn up a legal "notice of interested party status" letter, which supporters can download and send to Mr Hain directly. A notice of interested party status letter can be sent by any person who can prove a legal interest in the matter. This automatically includes all BNP members and voters. This letter will oblige Mr Hain to include the sender of that letter a full copy of any legal action which he might institute against the BBC.
As I was out most of yesterday I didn't relise that Lancaster Unity had covered this first and that there is now a second email hastily changing the headline to 'suspect'. The implication is still there notwithstanding the alteration. Clearly in Griffin's judicial system you remain under suspicion 30+ years after an acquittal. On another note, the BNP refers to 1974 when the court case was in 1976 with the alleged offence the preceding year.
Scurrilous and potentially defamatory remarks are the stock-in-trade of our friends over at Mersey Nationalists (formerly Mersey BNP). In a typical attack today they state:
- While it is likely that a minority of the Labour Party are law abiding members of society, no responsibility can be taken on this site for the majority of the Labour Party that goes for the Conservatives as well who are out and out Nazi Fascists!