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The British National Party (BNP) did very well at local elections in England on May 4 and now holds 54 council seats across the country. In some areas -- notably in East London -- it has replaced Labour as the dominant political force among the ethnically-British working- and lower-middle class.
According to the Spectator (April 15), Labour voters are switching to the BNP in such large numbers because they believe that only the BNP articulates what they are thinking: "Today's BNP possesses the local campaigning skills and ability to make a personal connection with the voter that mainstream parties have forgotten." Margaret Hodge, the Labour Employment Minister, told the press that 8 out of 10 white voters in her east London constituency of Barking admitted being tempted to vote for the BNP.
Is Britain on the verge of a major realignment, and can the bipartisan mould of establishmentarian politics be broken? Is the BNP becoming a respectable and electable party? This was the first question we put to Nick Griffin, the BNP Chairman, who gave us an exclusive interview during his recent visit to the United States:
Nick Griffin: I became involved with the British National Party out of desperation at the fact that no-one else was doing anything in Britain to stand up for the survival of Western culture, Western values, British independence in relation to the European Union, and a number of similar, closely related issues. I was elected to lead the BNP in 1999 and we changed it from being an unelectable joke into an organization with dozens of elected local government officials. We've been described by a number of hostile academics as having achieved more in terms of British nationalist success in three or four years than all the previous incarnations of this set of ideas since the 1970s. We are still a small organization, but with a very large and growing resonance with the British public as a whole.
Of course "respectability" is in the eye of the beholder, or whoever is publishing a newspaper, and we are not within the pale of the current British establishment. It is not somewhere where I wish to be, because that establishment has presided over the decline of Britain to a point where it is being destroyed as a sovereign political entity. Its traditional culture is being destroyed. The native peoples of Britain, according to our government figures, are going to become a minority in their own homeland somewhere between 2060 and the end of this century. The establishment which has done that while being paid out of our taxes, and which is putting in prison those who complain about it, is not an establishment by which I wish to be considered respectable.
We are ethno-nationalists but we are not racist. In any event, "racism" has become a Leftist cant term and now it can literally mean anything. Its real meaning is the belief that one race is superior to others, as opposed to being merely different from others. There are ethnic differences, there are racial differences between various groups around the world, which is a fact of life. If "racism" means anything, it means looking at those differences and saying that one group is better than another and entitled to a higher status than another. The ethno-nationalist position is to recognize that ethnic and cultural differences exist, that the best way to preserve the diversity of humanity and harmony within a community is to maintain as high a correlation as possible between the boundaries of ethnic groups and the boundaries of sovereign states. If you look around the world, the incidence of violence and strife is invariably high when this correlation between ethnic and national borders is low.
Q: In addition to your opposition to immigration, which is the defining trait of the BNP with many voters, what other issues do you regard as important?
Griffin: We are particularly concerned about the very rapidly growing Muslim population in Britain, and the associated problem of the way in which our establishment bends over backwards to favor anything Islamic over anything Christian, but also over anything traditionally secular that Muslims decide to find objectionable.
In addition, we are opposed to Britain's membership of the European super-state for a variety of constitutional, legal, political, economic, and practical reasons. The European Union has its roots in a socialist and materialist set of values that became dominant in Western Europe after the Second World War. Everything that the European Union touches, it seeks to homogenize. America is much bigger than Europe, but the process is vaguely similar in that it eradicates regional peculiarities. In Europe we still have huge differences in language and culture, ways of doing things, ways of being, ways of belonging, and all that within very small distances. The European Union, above all else, is about wiping out those differences. It is clearly eradicating them at the political and economic level, but also at the level of culture. It's a force for making the entire continent of Europe blend in the sameness that destroys all particularisms that make it interesting.
Q: Would this indicate that you see "global capitalism" as an enemy?
Griffin: We are not "anti-capitalist" in that we do not believe that the state should be the dominant force in running the economy, but we believe that the state has the right and also the duty to create the overall framework within which private enterprise works. Unfettered global capitalism breeds "globalism," which is a problem on several levels for people in any advanced Western society. It is in fact a threat to all the local identities, cultures, institutions, religions... of all peoples all across the world. We are witnessing a catastrophic wipe-out of human diversity. There is no giant conspiracy behind this, it's just the relentless grinding on of a system that regards money as God. I support diversity, but the notion of "multiculturalism" is a misunderstood version of true diversity. Human cultural diversity, as well as biological diversity, is better than the lack of diversity. Their local customs, their language, their native particularisms, are things that root people in their community and make them fully human. The importance of rootedness is reflected in high suicide rates in large cities, compared to the local communities in which people have a place and a sense of belonging.
Q: Would a BNP-governed Britain continue to be a key American ally?
Griffin: The respect for national sovereignty and ethnic diversity also colors out attitude to the United States. The best of America -- the Bill of Rights, say -- reflects not some abstract notion of "progress" but the gradual trend, also present in the British political and constitutional history, towards greater freedom. This became fossilized in Britain, but the development has continued in the United States. Our common law system is being massively over-ridden by the statute law, in a way that has not happened in America as yet. On the other hand there is a less attractive, globalizing side of America, the one that makes many nationalists, especially in continental Europe, ambivalent about or even hostile to the United States. But when you look at all of the constitutional and legal values and institutions that we in Britain share with you, it is clear that we cannot attack "America" -- in the way a French nationalist might -- without effectively attacking ourselves.
So much for the ideological background to our attitude to America. At a practical level, we want to get Britain out of the European Union. We have to assume that Brussels will not be happy about our withdrawal -- it could create a dangerous precedent for them -- and in that situation we'll need a political and economic counter-balance. While we don't want to "cozy up" to Washington or anyone else, in reality we'll have to keep our options open -- and that demand excludes any knee-jerk hostility to the United States. After all, if you are hostile to the U.S. on some doctrinaire grounds, America might do a Serbia on you and bomb you flat. America has developed this capability to convince herself of her right to go and interfere in the affairs of other countries in various parts of the world pretty much at the drop of the hat. She can do so either on the whim, or as the concerted policy, of one or another of her constituent elites. For those reasons, and in terms of regaining and maintaining as much British independence as is practically possible in what is unavoidably to some extent a globalized world, we are probably better off allowing U.S. bases in Britain to stay, for as long as the United States agrees not to interfere in our political affairs. We would not want the CIA or American multinational capitalism to impose any Ukrainian-style "orange revolution" on us in Britain.
Q: But would it be fair to say that such policy considerations are nevertheless not as central to your platform and to your party's electoral appeal as is the issue of immigration?
Griffin: How could it be otherwise when London has become "Londonistan"? That's partly a reflection of the way in which successive British governments have refused to treat Islamic radicalism, and Islam in general, as a threat to Western values. It I also a reflection of a huge scale of Muslim immigration into Britain, which started decades ago but has been on an upward slope ever since. Under the Blair regime we've seen a massive increase in immigration, with the result that more than a half of all children now born in the whole of the London area are of immigrant mothers. A very significant number of those who do not fit into that category are the children of parents who themselves are of immigrant stock and who are not counted as "immigrants" because it was their parents and not they who came to Britain, they were born there. Demographers who use the government's own statistics say that on current trends the native British -- English, Scots, Irish and Welsh, together with the limited numbers of fully assimilated Central and East Europeans who came to Britain after the Second World War and their descendants -- will become a minority in their own country, perhaps as soon as 2060. It's a very serious problem, but it does not affect the whole country uniformly. There are large areas of major cities with massive concentrations of Third World populations that have transformed them beyond recognition.
The relatively new factor, which became apparent with the "Satanic Verses" controversy with Salman Rushdie in the late 1980s, is the sheer confidence of Islam and the Muslim population in Britain. By now they've come to believe that not only Britain but the whole of Europe is going to become what has been termed "Eurabia." Their belief appears to be justified, because on current trends the rise of Islamic power is happening even faster than the demographic shift would have us believe. Because Islam is so aggressively powerful and such an effective political force, even if it commands the loyalty of only 15 or 20 percent of the overall population, it will dominate everyone else -- especially as the elites continue to uphold socialist and liberal attitudes.
It dates back to the pie in the sky attitude of Socialist Prime Minister Clement Attlee, who declared back in 1948 -- when the British Nationality Act was announced -- that wars are caused by clashes between different ethnic groups and different races, so the best way to bring peace on Earth is to integrate all of the races of mankind into one. This is an ideological project, as opposed to the French notion of "Eurabia," which was a geopolitical project meant to offset the power and influence of the United States. Both of them have had fatal consequences.
Q: You mention the Labor Party, but the Conservatives for the past 60 years have also played a significant role in creating this problem, have they not?
Griffin: Yes, the Conservative Party has played a major role in a number of the key issues that concern us. It was the Conservative Party that took us into the European Union, and its leaders have been responsible for signing the majority of the treaties that have sucked us further into it under the long rule of Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s and her successor John Major into the 1990s. There was a massive further wave of immigration, despite the fact that they were elected on the implied promise to stop it. The Conservatives have played their part in creating this problem and bear a direct responsibility for its magnitude.
They are also partly responsible indirectly. By portraying themselves as a party that isn't really comfortable with mass immigration, with multiculturalism, with the destruction of Western values, and by just hinting that they are the party that might do something about it, they've been able to persuade huge numbers of Britons who are very concerned about these issues, that those concerns would be addressed if they vote Conservative. In this way they've acted as a roadblock for any new political force to come forth and say, "this is our issue, this is an issue that really matters." It should at least be debated, because we re talking about changing the results of thousands of years of British history and converting the country, culturally, ethnically, linguistically, into something completely different. The fact that the Tory Party was there masquerading as the party of patriotism and the maintenance of traditional values and national identity merely acted as a major obstacle for anyone else concerned about those issues.
In addition, corporate interests -- traditionally influential within the Conservative Party -- are to blame for encouraging the trend that secures a steady supply of cheap labor. It enabled them to keep profits relatively high. Once the ruling elite decrees that the ordinary people of an advanced Western nation will have to compete on a level playing field with the workers from the Third World, the wage rates of that country will have to be pushed downwards. A very effective way of achieving this is to bring in continuing new waves of immigrant labor from much poorer countries. They are happy for a while, up to a decade perhaps, to work for low rates. Once they are settled down and unionized they'll ask for more, but there's always another country out there from which fresh cheap laborers can be brought.
Q: The fact that the Conservative Party and the corporate capitalist "right" act in unison with the multiculturalist "left" merits some attention. The "Old Left" insisted on the economic basis of all social relations, but from what you've said it transpires that today's leftists will be happily pro-"free market" for as long as that "free market" helps destroy the cultural cohesiveness and ethnic coherence of the host-society?
Griffin: That's a very important point. Big and medium-size businesses bring in cheap labor for economic reasons, but the cultural climate makes them able to do that. That climate is such that anyone saying, "this isn't fair on the white working class" is described as a racist. It is no accident that Trotsky invented the very term "racism" as a way of demonizing what at that time was, and still remains, an entirely normal manifestation of being human, which is to have an instinctive preference for your own, and to want to be with your own. The demonization of that totally natural human instinct into what a Conservative Member of Parliament recently described as "the worst thing a person can be" -- a "racist" -- is not incidental. The post-1968 Trotskyite generation started out mainly following Gramsci and his long march through the institutions, particularly the media and the schools, and the Frankfurt School of neo-Marxist political thought.
The result is that "political correctness" in Britain has acquired absurdly surrealist character. The '68 generation has used it to pursue their own social and cultural revolution through the subversion of our institutions, something the Communist Party had started doing right after the failure of the 1926 General Strike. When the Comintern in Moscow analyzed after 1926 why there had been no revolution in Britain, they concluded that a great deal of power was concentrated in the hands of a tiny number of people in Oxford and Cambridge, in the Church of England and the media. They set about staging a very clinical and cold-blooded infiltration of those institutions, which was especially evident with Philby, Burgess, MacLean, et al. But when the '68 generation started its own long march through the institutions, notably the teacher training colleges or the seminaries already dominated by people who were either already Marxists or "personal" post-Marxists, they encountered no resistance whatsoever. The people in charge of the institutions were already largely on their side.
Q: Judging by last May's local election results -- notably in East London -- your own party's long march, its attempt to become a major electable force, is also in full swing?
Griffin: We've moved the party over the last few years from being a political no-hoper into a position that in some areas has significant support. If it has happened in some areas, it may happen in others with the same or similar social, economic and ethnic mix. Considering that we are still heavily demonized in the mass media, although somewhat less than before, and badly under-funded compared with the other parties, that is quite an achievement. There's a lot of loose, "soft" sympathy for us out there among the British people. It still takes some special circumstances for that support to gel, but it can and will happen. The economic decline of the working people of Britain -- the working class as well as the middle class, in other words, the taxpayers -- will continue: they are under increasing pressure from trends related to globalization. As the backlash builds up there needs to be a party voicing that resistance, and we are the only one able to do so. Immigration is continuing too.
Political correctness is beyond absurdity, with local councils imposing a ban on "Easter Buns," baked with their crosses of currants since time immemorial, lest Muslims be offended. An elderly Christian was prosecuted for carrying a placard saying "Homosexuality is a Sin" but he was never tried because the stress and strain had killed him before the trial date was set. Undercover police agents in several cities are spending Friday and Saturday nights eavesdropping on customers in Indian restaurants for privately murmured "racist" remarks about the management or service, so that they can arrest the culprits on the spot -- and that in some cities like Leicester and Birmingham, which are torn apart by hard drugs and burglaries. It is beyond satire.
Q: Why are the British people putting up with it?
Griffin: A combination of things. It is "British" to have a stiff upper lip, not to complain, and to favor the underdog -- and the "minorities" are always presented by the media as the underdog. But of late we have a new factor, fear. There's far of losing one's job for employees, and fear of being sued for businesses. There's a new "Religious Discrimination Act," and its immediate result is that thousands of British companies and businesses have abandoned Christmas celebrations in any shape or form because they fear that a non-Christian employee may sue them because the festivities made him feel discriminated against. At the same time Halal meat is served on every ship of the British Navy, every prison, and every inner-city school.
In 1968 the Labour government passed the first of the Race Relations Acts, which made it illegal to allegedly "incite racial hatred." It was supposed to stop things against which there already had been laws on the statute books, and quite properly so. Even without this new Act the English common law could deal with people suggesting, say, violence against immigrants. It was enacted from the beginning by the Labour Party as a means of stifling any criticism of the multicultural, multi-racial experiment. It was strengthened in 1976, again by the Labour Party. Under the initial version they had to prove intent in order to prove that you've broken the law. They therefore made the law harsher and introduced the clause whereby it was sufficient to show that what you say or do or write is "likely to incite racial hatred." They moved the English law from the position where the defendant had to be shown guilty beyond all reasonable doubt down to the mere likelihood of his guilt, which is a huge shift. In 1986 the Conservative Party -- thank you very much, Margaret -- brought in a tougher version still. Finally the Blair government, with near-unanimous Conservative support, acted in a Draconian manner and increased the penalty for breaking this law from two years to seven years.
Q: This sounds like a new form of totalitarianism?
Griffin: And I have experienced the consequences. One of my Party colleagues and I were the victims of an undercover operation by the BBC and a far-Left campaigning magazine opposed to the BNP called Searchlight. They managed to infiltrate one of their moles to become a local organizer of ours in Yorkshire, who promoted an unpleasant, caricature version of the British National Party. They then went to the BBC and offered to let them make a secret film of what was going on at that local branch, with the view -- they hoped -- of finding criminality. The real unpleasantness was yet to come, with the broadening of the circle of people involved in this. You have a far-Left organization going to the BBC, which jumped at the offer, and the BBC then took their filmed material to the police -- edited from hundreds and hundreds of hours of footage shot by the agent-provocateur -- and the police took the tape to the Crown Prosecution Service, which decides if a case should be taken to court. The Attorney General decided to go ahead and prosecute me and another person. He is a personal friend of Prime Minister Tony Blair and a well-known member of the Labour Party elite. But worse than that, the Crown Prosecution Service in the few years before that had been funding this Searchlight organization, with taxpayers' money, to the tune of eight thousand pounds a year, which for a small leftist organization is quite a lot of money. So there was a complete circle of people. All of whom, every inch of the way, were hostile to us and determined to try and catch us out.
What they actually got on me and my colleague were a number of speeches, five in my case, of which they concluded that two may possibly have broken the law. In one of them I was talking of the unbelievable bias by the British mass media failing to report racially motivated hate crimes against whites by non-whites. On the other hand, I said, when a non-white is a victim of a racist murder, which is extremely rare, it's front-page headlines. When a white is a victim of a racist murder, which happens far more often, it is invariably ignored by the national media, and sometimes even by the local newspaper. So one of the two speeches they focused on was about this bias. It wasn't saying that non-whites are "bad" or that they go around killing whites as a matter of routine. It was saying that when a tiny minority of racist thugs from either community do horrible things, the media have vastly different reactions depending on who is the victim and who is the perpetrator. After thousands of police hours and hundreds of thousands of pounds spent on building the prosecution case connected to this speech, the jury found me "not guilty" by the majority of ten to one (the twelfth juror was sick).
My colleague Mark, who had made a number of fairly blunt comments about the "asylum-seekers" -- but not different from the comments that appear in many national tabloids -- was found not guilty on that count by unanimous verdict. Of course, this has only confirmed the view of those who wanted to send us to jail that the jury system should be abolished and that decisions in cases like this should be taken out of the hands of ordinary people and entrusted to legal "experts," i.e. brought into the realm of their patronage. Let me add that getting rid of the jury system is one of the goals of the European Union, which wants us to get rid of our Anglo-Saxon common law system and replace it with the EU corpus juris system. For now the jury system is one of the last bulwarks of the remnants of free speech in Britain.
On my second speech the jury couldn't reach the verdict. It was about the problems created by gangs of Muslim men, and the way in which they were inspired by the ruthless hostility to unbelievers and the contempt for women. The result, in a small Yorkshire town, was a rape epidemic: 60 gang-rapes by gangs of Muslim men -- not just teenage boys -- of young white girls, some as young as 13.
I was addressing a meeting in this town and advocating a political answer to this problem, by encouraging people to elect local councilors who would put pressure on the police to do something about this. There was no vigilantism, no hate, nothing that in my opinion broke the law. The law is bad anyway, it is an infringement on free speech when there is no incitement to violence involved, it is a bad law. Even that law was not broken, and 10 out of 11 jurors also thought so.
Nevertheless, the Crown prosecution Service immediately declared that it would seek a new trial. Normally they take weeks to decide whether to re-prosecute when a trial collapses because a jury can't reach a verdict, in this case it took them 30 seconds to decide. The told the judge so, but the judge advised them to take a few days to think about whether doing so would really be in the public interest. They came a week later and said they'd go ahead nevertheless, and so I'll have to endure a new trial in October.
By one of those strange quirks of fate, the very day after the trial collapsed, there was a march through London by Islamic fundamentalists against the Danish cartoons. They were carrying dozens upon dozens of placards bearing slogans such as "Behead those who insult Islam" or "Europe: 9-11 is coming your way!" This was publicized in the British media, and the contrast between them and my case was obvious. These people were not arrested by the police, they were not even cautioned by the police, whereas we've been through a grueling trial with the possibility of a prison sentence at the end of it, simply for talking about some of the problems caused by some aspects of mass immigration and saying that we need a sensible political solution to those problems instead of brushing them under the carpet. The contrast between what we were saying and what they were saying, and especially the contrast in how the British establishment treated us, has had an immense effect on the British public opinion.
By announcing their intention to re-prosecute, the Crown Prosecution Service made the whole issue sub judice, which meant that I was not able to make public comments about the case and generate publicity that would have been politically disastrous for them. I was not able to go ahead with a whole series of pre-arranged media interviews with major outlets. It doesn't stop me talking about the principles, of course, but it's enough to allow their legal department to say to their people it's better to be safe than sorry. These people are in the grip of a neo-religious cult of "multiculturalism" that obsesses them. They will accept no criticism of their cult. They cannot see any validity in any such criticism and they seek to criminalize any such attempt. We are not dealing with rational people running a government department any more.
Our society is being transformed and people do hate it. There's an immense undercurrent of discontent and anger, but fear has an effect on people, it makes them keep their mouth shut. You literally see it, in a pub or a workplace. If they want to make a comment critical of some aspect of multiculturalism, they literally look over their shoulders to make sure than no unfriendly ears can hear what they will say and drag them to court, or get them fired. To top it all, there's a very real physical fear that if you say something that some Muslims do not like, they will kill you. On one lever you had Theo van Gough butchered in the street in broad daylight, and at a different level in Britain, in suburb after suburb and a small town after small town, you have people who are afraid that if they say or do something their Muslim neighbors do not appreciate, those same neighbors will come round with baseball bats and beat them up. It happens, and when it happens the police are sufficiently unconcerned to make the far genuine for some millions of people. You put all these factors together, and the wise thing to do if you are a Briton is to keep your mouth shut until you can emigrate.
Q: But the problem is not confined to Britain, is it? It is prevalent in all Western countries, even so culturally and historically distinct as Spain -- where they want to remove the statue of St. James of Campostella, the "Moor Slayer," lest some Muslims feel offended -- and in Scandinavia, where even feminist activists are reluctant to speak out against the rape epidemic of Swedish, Norwegian, and Danish women by Muslim immigrants...
Griffin: Despite all the differences in the European culture, there are common themes and common threads. There's enough common cultural DNA to make us susceptible to the same viruses. We all have elites which are able to do the bidding of tiny interest groups and their demands for special "rights" and entitlements, because there's nothing to push back the other way. We have elites which have come to give their loyalty to their own class with its peculiar ideology, rather than their own people, perhaps a little more so in northern Europe -- in Scandinavia, Benelux, and Britain -- than in Italy and Spain, although mass immigration is rapidly changing those countries too.
All over Europe the elites don't have to live with the consequences of their supposedly "virtuous" policies, in the housing estates and local schools and health centers. It's ordinary people with very little voice in the society that suffer the consequences. It reflects a very ugly strand in the elite mindset. The holier-than thou, welfarist elite needs a permanently unhealthy, unstable society. The more discord, unhappiness, poverty and helplessness there is in the society, the more power the elite will have. The more people you have who need help, the more fractured the society becomes, and the elite acquires more power and prestige, closing the circle; the larger the empire they build, the more civil servants they'll have under them, and the larger their pension. The worse it gets, the more tendency there is to make it even worse.
Q: It appears that the electoral support for the BNP comes primarily from the working and lower-middle class that was supposed to have been influenced by the Marxist or neo-Marxist ideology of the "Old Labour" -- and yet they seem to have preserved the ability to maintain their collective memories, their identity and culture, far better than the Salariat?
Griffin: I don't think that's surprising. The reason that there existed an Old Labour solidarity was that these people came from a class that had suffered very grave economic injustice, had been downtrodden, and had reacted against it. Part of the reaction against it was reflected in the early days of the Labour Party, when it was built not on Marxism but on different strands of dissident Protestantism, Methodism in particular. There was a religious and moral basis to their belief that something had to be done by and for the community, instead of individuals. The experience of living at the bottom of the heap in a capitalist society, and on top of that the religious and moral reaction to the injustice, gave these people more consciousness, more solidarity, and more of a sense of identity. All of that has been hit hardest by the mass immigration into those areas, and hence their reaction against it. One of the factors is that the salaried classes, if their neighborhood starts to become something other than what it was when they first decided to move there, can afford to move; the working class cannot move, they cannot get out. So if they don't like it, instead of running, some of them at least will be inclined to stand and fight politically.
The interview appeared June 8, 2006 in Chronicles Magazine
Srdja Trifkovic is the foreign-affairs editor of Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture and director of The Rockford Institute's Center for International Affairs.
(http://www.chroniclesmagazine.org/cgi-bin/newsviews.cgi/ Old%20Europe/Nick_Griffin_s_Long.html?seemore=y). It is worth reading an earlier interview with Mr. Griffin in context of changes across the political spectrum in England. Click here.
The interview appeared June 8, 2006 in Chronicles Magazine
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