Since I was young I was told that organisations like the National Front and the BNP were bad. They were allegedly similar to Hitler and his thuggish followers. When you are young you quickly learn what things will be beneficial to believe and what things won’t. Even when I was much older I didn’t realise that groups like Unite Against Fascism were often worse than the groups they attacked.
I still have no idea how bad right-wing organisations like the BNP really are and it is more than possible that they are stuffed to the rafters with thugs. I actually find this quite likely, and if I found out more about Nick Griffin I might hate him and his party as much as I hate UAF. I have enough hate to go round.
Anyway, instead of trusting the voices that have always told me to keep well away from men like Nick Griffin I thought I would find out for myself what he believes. So I watched a video of him being grilled by Jeremy Paxman and I have to say that nothing Griffin said sounded beyond the pale to me. In fact my own views seemed to line up far better with his than with Paxman’s, though quite what really Paxman believes is hard to know.
On the face of it Paxman couldn’t understand why Nick Griffin wants Britain to be populated predominantly by ethnic Britons, nor why he objects to the idea of Britain one day becoming a majority Muslim country.
Yet it isn’t only Nick Griffin who worries about such things. Most people who aren’t Muslims do. I think all women, all gay people and all apostates from Islam should worry. And when you see what is happening to the Coptic Christians in Egypt, perhaps everyone who isn’t a Muslim heterosexual man should worry. After all, which currently Muslim country would an civislised person want to live in? Egypt? Syria? Lebanon? Iraq? Iran? And why would a Muslim Britain be any better than these present-day Muslim countries?
Still, it is far easier for BBC interviewers to paint those fearful of a Muslim take-over as racists than to give them a fair trial. Paxman has nothing to lose by presenting himself as the tolerant, live-and-let-live, multicultural sophisticate and Griffin as the uneducated troglodytic jingoist. And if the day should ever come when Muslims do indeed form a majority in Britain, then Paxman will either be dead or unable to grasp what role he played in Islam’s ascendancy. People are very good at excusing themselves.
Just to illustrate the above point, ten years ago Nick Griffin drew attention to the gangs of Muslim men who groom young white girls for sex. At the time no one listened to him because ‘Griffin was a racist’. However, now he has been proven right you would imagine that people would be apologising to him, right? Wrong. The Independent newspaper ran an article claiming that precisely because it was Nick Griffin who had drawn attention to the problem, dealing with it after that became more difficult. Griffin had therefore prolonged the suffering of the groomed girls simply because it was him who drew people’s attention to it. By such dishonest arguing, the people who refused to hear the warning are able to sleep easy in their beds, knowing that it was Griffin’s fault all along rather than their own complacency.
One reason I have some admiration for Nick Griffin is that I can imagine the kind of attacks he is subjected to every day. Organisations like Unite Against Fascism can make a person’s life hell, and someone as high profile as Nick Griffin must have spent the last 30 years of his life just trying to stay safe. That he is still quite an urbane man speaks hugely in his favour.
He also went up in my estimation when I read he was awarded boxing blues while studying at Cambridge University. The writer Joseph Conrad said how being a sailor on the old sailing ships put you in touch with reality in a way few other things did. If your pet theories and reality were out of kilter then you soon paid the price. Thus you were constantly having your ideas tested. Boxing strikes me as being the same. You simply can’t bluff your way to winning a boxing match in the way you can when writing a newspaper article or when you hold opinions which are never tested.
Since it is hard to pin down almost any country’s native ethnicity, Paxman made this his main point of attack. After all, if he could show that there is no such thing as an indigenous Briton, then surely everyone has an equal right to live here? Why does Nick Griffin feel that he has more right to live in Britain than someone from Somalia or Pakistan?
Paxman asked Griffin if the Russian Jews who came to Britain to escape the pogroms in the 19th and 20th centuries are British. And how about the French Huguenots who came in the 16th and 17th centuries? Are they indigenous Britons?
As Griffin pointed out, being British consists of two things, the ethnic part and the civic part. Both the Russian Jews and the Huguenots are so well assimilated into British life that yes, they are now totally British in the civic sense. It seems to me that most British Hindus are now British in the same sense. On the other hand, there is a large group of indigenous people who are British in the ethnic sense, though I wish they weren’t. These people often have no civic sense at all. People like this and this.
Of course I would much prefer to live among civilized Hindus than among uncivilized ethnic Britons. Civility is more important to me than ethnicity, as it is to every sensible person. In my own town, Hindus seem to me to be the most civilized group.
Even so, I think Paxman was being disingenuous when he mentioned the Russian Jews and the French Huguenots. Only about 150,000 Jews escaped to Britain during the pogroms over a period of about 35 years, and only 50,000 – 60,000 Huguenots came to Britain over the space of 50 years. But apart from the fact that the Huguenots brought with them new skills and trades, as well as their own money, their numbers were also much smaller than the number of people entering Britain today. If it were just a case of assimilating some 50,000 literate people from a similar culture over the space of half a century then immigration would pose no problem at all. But assimilating hundreds of thousands of barely literate people from the Third World in a couple of years is a different matter.
Paxman seemed to find the whole concept of there being an indigenous British population bizarre. Would he have had the same trouble if they had been talking about indigenous Indians, Nigerians or Chinese? I doubt it. Only the ethnicity that is problematic for people like Paxman is white. That is, it is problematic until the conversation turns to any perceived historical wrong that whites have committed. Then there is no problem at all in distinguishing an indigenous Brit from a Pakistani who got his British passport yesterday; one is guilty of oppression and exploitation, the other is as pure as the driven snow.
It is very hard to define an ethnicity exactly and Griffin had his work cut out. However, such difficulties aren’t restricted to ethnicity. Think about the way that colours blend into each other at their borders. Orange merges into yellow and red. Does this therefore mean that the colour orange doesn’t really exist?
The same is true of ethnicity. Simply because there are fuzzy edges doesn’t mean that there can’t exist such a thing as an indigenous Briton. After all, until 1948 the gene pool of Britain had hardly changed over the previous 6,000 years. Compared to most nations our genome has been remarkably stable for millennia. At least it was, until the mass immigration of post-war Britain changed the whole concept of what it means to be British.
Paxman made the silly argument that since the BNP wouldn’t be able to stop Muslims from outbreeding the indigenous Brits, then it was already too late and there was really no point in stopping immigration now. This is like saying that since the police can’t prevent all crime they may as well just let criminals have a free run.
Although the media like to portray Nick Griffin as an extremist, to my mind he is not. I find nothing extreme about someone who doesn’t want his ethnic group to be swamped by another ethnic group. I call this normal and natural behaviour. We understand this well enough when it comes to Inuit, Tibetans and Maoris but not when it comes to indigenous Britons.
I sometimes wonder if there isn’t something patronising about this double standard. Does Paxman think that Tibetans, Inuit and Maoris are primitive tribalists who can be excused for not appreciating the benefits of multiculturalism? Does he think that people like Nick Griffin should know better because he is white? Would Paxman call an Inuit who didn’t want his people to be overrun by white Canadians a racist and a fascist? In short, why it is okay for an Inuit to want to protect his heritage but not for a British person to do the same.