Friday, 23 September 2011

BNP seeks common ground with Irish fellow racists

Back in the late 80s/early 90s I  had a stint in London AFA (Anti Fascist Action).  The reason I joined was not out of any desire to make the world - or London - safer, nicer or fluffier; but purely out of self interest. 

I knew of someone with red hair and freckles who was beaten up after straying into an Isle of Dogs hostelry around the time of the Canary Wharf bombing. The local assailants assumed he was Irish with his funny accent spouting contrarian views. As it happened, he was from the north of England with a funny accent spouting contrarian views.  Nationalists, eh?

Then there  was the local Irish Centre in Stratford, east London.  At a loose end, I called in and mentioned this story to them, thinking the fash only had to get lucky once, and I did not want to be The One.  But the Children of Lir Society, or whatever they were called, appeared to be more interested in bodhran playing, Irish language lessons and set dancing.  In other words, the very shite I had been trying to get away from all my young life.   Nationalists, eh?

It does not matter what franchise of exclusive cultural nationalism is in question, nationalism is like religion - it is something we need to evolve beyond.  I see this especially now in Ireland, where even the anarchists are patriots.

But is is funny to watch the ex Paddy-bashing (along with Paki-bashing, of course) BNP-ers in England  try to reconcile their new "we're all white - all right" policies with their actions of the past.  Thanks to F of Lancaster Unity for the following report:

Simon Darby, the BNP’s media spokesman, spoke to The University Times about his party’s connections with Ireland ahead of Nick Griffin MEP’s visit to the College in October.

Mr. Darby highlighted the “great deal of concern” he felt existed in Ireland at the moment over the issue of immigration. The number of recent radio interviews Nick Griffin had done with Irish broadcasters, he said, evidenced “the interest the Irish people have in the issue”.

He was also keen to point out the “considerable amount of people of Irish extraction” who had voted for Nick Griffin in the recent European elections. Mr. Griffin MEP represents the North-West England constituency, which includes Manchester and Liverpool, two towns with long-standing connections to Ireland. Mr. Griffin finished fifth in 2009’s election, behind Britain’s three largest parties and a UKIP candidate, polling 8% of the vote.

The BNP have traditionally included the Irish among their classification of the “indigenous British”. In an interview with the BBC in May of 2010 Mr. Griffin said, “We are certainly not going to shut the doors to the Irish, because the Irish, as far as we are concerned, are part of Britain and fully entitled to come here.”

This drew a rebuke from Jennie McShannon, chief executive of the Federation of Irish Societies in Britain. “We do not recognise the portrait of ‘White Britain’ painted by the British National Party,” she said. “When the Irish arrived in Britain in the 1950s alongside immigrants from the West Indies, we were met by boarding house signs reading ‘No Irish, No Blacks, No dogs’. The racism stirred up by Nick Griffin’s predecessors created a climate of fear with lasting damage to the physical and mental health of both communities. In today’s Britain, we recognise the contribution of generations of migrants to the diversity of our shared culture. As Irish people we wish to be included and our Irishness celebrated, and so, too, we extend this support to other communities.”

Mr. Darby was keen to clarify the BNP’s position on the ethnicity of the Irish, saying that they “did not regard them as British as such.” He also sought to tackle the “quasi-imperialist” impression he felt had been given by the reporting of the BNP’s suggestion that Ireland be re-incorporated into a union with Britain.

“We don’t want British rule in Ireland. What we mean is a loose federation, a loose collection. It would be rather like an emasculated version of the European Union, but just for the British Isles.”

Speaking about the possibility of the BNP hosting a rally in Ireland or seeking to make contact with similarly minded Irish political groups Mr. Darby said that this was “another matter” that was best “not confused” with the debate.

“We are aware of the existence of a number of groups. But there simply isn’t anything tangible there at the moment. There is nothing I would like to see more than an Irish National Party representing the interests of the Irish people.”


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Blog Master said...

Isn't it strange that you have more in common with them, than you would have with many on the left.

The Gombeen Man said...


Ella said...

Hi GM, like many an Irish person I lived in London for a time and I distinctly remember that the BNP didn't like Irish people. On Paddy's Day they were known for doing a spot of Paddy Bashing or whatever they called it.

I remember one occasion going from Finsbury Park tube station to Victoria with HIMSELF (looking like a mod) and me looking like a SKIN (bar the hair do) and a whole load of NF supporters got on our carriage. They tried to engage with us, the threat of violence very much in the air. Instinctively we both knew to keep our gobs shut or they would have attacked us.

Luckily for us the driver had informed the plod of all the fash getting on the tube and they were at Victoria to meet and greet us. Anyway...

The idea that anybody would want to join the BNP is mad and the idea that they think they have a market here is goddam scary.

john said...

The BNP are up to their eyes in debt and despite the media hype they will remain on the fringe of politics. I do not see their brand of fascist thought fitting in with our home grown right wing nationalists.

The Gombeen Man said...

Yes, John. I reckon some kind of localisation is required, at least!

Dakota said...

Now that would be off the radar altogether. Talk about rewriting history.....if that was to come about. Strange if it did, as the Irish way was always the suble way.

The Gombeen Man said...

True enough, Dakota. Yourself and John are correct - I do think an openly racist Irish party would take a different form than across the water. Maybe more emhpasis on "culture" and all the rest? I think that would be the Irish way. You don't really see Nick Griffin dressed up in a Morris dancing costume, on the other hand. "Rights for whites" was more the BNP style.

Anonymous said...

I'm a bit confused.
Are you saying you are NOT a supporter of the BNP?

You've been writing this blog for years, with so many clear areas of overlap, but you are NOT a supporter of the BNP?

Confused of Cork County

The Gombeen Man said...

I am an anti-racist, anti-fascist. That could not be clearer from my blog.

I physically opposed the BNP when I lived in London. I am quite clearly opposed to all forms of narrow nationalism, be they British or Irish.

Please explain your confusion.

Anonymous said...

Ok, Lets see now,

Essential BNP qualities,

A fanatical belief that 'British is best' no matter what, ignoring all evidence to the contrary - CHECK

As you so helpfully quote "The BNP have traditionally included the Irish among their classification of the “indigenous British” - CHECK

A fanatical intolerance of all things 'not-British' focusing in your case of all things Irish - CHECK

Explaining problems with racial stereotyping in a way that suggests it is a unique to a particular race or culture, when in fact it is universal - CHECK
(See your previous post as an example - do you honestly think that Ireland is the only place where thieves steal this king of stuff?)

Confused of Cork County

The Gombeen Man said...

Jasus. You're confused alright.

Dakota said...

@10:51 Now that's Irish.......

Anonymous said...

So let me see if I have this straight.

You are an anti-racist, anti-fascist - a new kind perhaps who has no problem with negative racial stereotyping (the core of much racist and fascist belief), provided it is Ireland and the Irish who are cast in a negative light?

You thank Lancaster Unity for the report. I checked out their website and noted lots of good links - one to a blog called 'Stand up to Hate'.

I suppose your take on this is 'Stand up to Hate, except if you hate Ireland, in which case fire away'.

I'm glad to see though that you do have friends, like-minded friends even, one of which (Dakota) comes to your aid with... you guessed it... a negative racial stereotype. Priceless!

Confused of Cork County

The Gombeen Man said...

No, you haven't got it straight.

I am Irish - and currently living here through all the madness, I might add - and I have every right to be critical of the country, my fellow citizens, the government and the State in general.

You might also consider the fact that "the core" of much fascist thought is a deep rooted patriotism and attachment to nationhood - often complemented by a large helping of myth.

Do not call me names because I oppose such nonsense.

You sound more foolish than confused.

Dakota said...

Ah now there's gratitude GM I thought are great patriot would have seen that as a compliment;)

No seriously Confused of Cork County,
I don't wish to insult but this is childish. I will indulge you a little as I can see you are not jesting about the Confused part. What you call patriotism is what it was, and always will be, nothing more than an unhealthy and unquestioning subservience to power. The very basis of your argument is flawed. At this point in time, it really is sad. At an intrinsic level, have the last 4 years passed you by? (Oh and by the way, top tip, look up the definition of fascism). Maybe you're the "new" in all of this, there is an awful lot of it around, you know?

I think Edmund Burke said it best, "evil only triumphs when good men do nothing." Who is the greater and truer "patriot"?

Ella said...

@ Dakota in respect of your comment at 20h22 - LOL here, couldn't have put it better myself!

Anonymous said... Trinity College withdraws invite to British National Party leader to debate

Jobs a guddun :)