10 August, 2009


Barrelscrape of the year?

Surely this piece in the Mirror (via the ever-entertaining Lancaster Unity) must be a contender for the most desperate bit of barrel-scraping journalism of the year.

Apparently Julian Leppert, BNP councillor in Redbridge and one-time London Mayoral candidate, drives a car (and you may want to have smelling salts handy before reading on) with the registered number
Tireless Mirror newssleuth Nick Owens brings this to our breathless attention in a piece snappily entitled
Exclusive: BNP member Julian Leppert causes outrage by driving car with number plate that looks like 'Nazi'
Who, I wonder, is outraged by this tenuous optical illusion, best viewed I suspect by standing on one's head and looking at the number plate through the wrong end of a telescope, preferably with both eyes closed. Not, presumably, the 17,000 other people driving cars with the NA51 prefix, issued in 2001/02 by the Newcastle-upon-Tyne DVLA office, if I understand how the system works. (Think of it, 17,000 Northerners driving round not realizing they're Nazis. Terrible, innit?)

Step forward Cllr Veronica Cole:
"When I first saw the number plate on his car I couldn't believe my eyes. It is sickening and appalling.

"It beggars belief that even a BNP councillor could think this kind of behaviour is acceptable."

Hmm! Four years doing a linguistics degree really ought to have equipped me with the lexical resources to encapsulate this little episode succinctly. Ah yes, I have it. The very word. Ze mot juste:


The article is even more desperate than this earlier News of the Screws piece, published shortly after the Euro elections, which brought us the shocking news that a one-time BNP local council candidate (or "failed councillor" as the NOTW puts it) still lives in the parental home ("lives with his mother") at the age of 25, and also brings us this curious photo:

which purports to show a BNP notable giving a "Nazi salute". (I wonder what he's looking at.) What's worrying about this picture is that I made a very similar gesture yesterday afternoon, and to a Black man, too. I do hope he won't report me to the police. After all, I was only trying to indicate that I would be pleased if he would stop his bus momentarily so that I might board. Honest, officer. Ouch! No I won't just sign this confession so I can go. Ouch! What do you mean the duty solicitor doesn't represent fascists? Ouch! No I don't know either of Nick Griffin's dogs personally. Ow!

What's interesting about all this — well the word really cannot be bettered so I'll use it again; no monologophobe am I! — what's interesting about all this bollocks is the ongoing desperation it clearly implies. You will recall that in the run-up to the Euro elections, the state commandeered pretty well all of the mainstream newspapers in the country for a sustained and intensive anti-BNP smear campaign co-ordinated through its Searchlight operation. It was certainly the most single-minded national campaign I have seen in my lifetime.

The campaign was in the end only partially successful. At a rough and uninformed finger-in-the-wind guess I would suggest that the campaign, together with the availability of UKIP as a sump for the "respectable racist" vote, may have reduced the number of BNP MEPs from 4 to 2. Unfortunately for the Establishment, it now has to deal with the fact that the BNP will have elected representatives at supranational level for at least the next five years and must be treated with the corresponding level of seriousness and respect. So the smear campaign continues to tick over, in order to chip away steadily at the credibility of the BNP ready for a fresh campaign in 2014 to ensure that Griffin and Brons or their successors are not reelected. Clearly some of the co-opted journos are finding it hard going, even at a much reduced "background" level.

Fascinating stuff. It suggests that the political establishment are terrified of the rise of the BNP. Unfortunately it's a genie out of the bottle and they are going to have to confront it and deal with its "demands" more directly. Thatcher dealt with the rise of the NF in the 1970s by apparently taking on board some of their policies. She was lying of course but the NF were succesfully neutralized. NuLabour is tentatively trying the same response. It's not working. It's not working because it's half-hearted, reluctant, unco-ordinated and above all because nobody believes these bastards any more. Let's face it, would you believe any of the "main party" politicians if he told you he was going for a crap and he'd be back shortly? You know damned well he'll be climbing out through the shithouse window and doing a runner.

Interesting times, eh?

Interesting times, indeed. One watches with equal interest the developments arising from the recent Luton confrontations and the little débâcle in Brum at the weekend. That, I suspect, is another manifestation of the same genie.

"..."It beggars belief that even a BNP councillor could think this kind of behaviour is acceptable."..."

Since it's a legal number plate, and not something he knocked up himself, shouldn't she direct her ire towards the DVLA for allowing this to be registered in the first place?

I thought they had a unit that prevented this sort of thing...

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