As it's the 2000th post on the current incarnation of the blog, we thought it was time to remind you of what a dickhead Mark Collett can be. Therefore, we have a treat for you, in the form of a repeat of the video Young, Nazi and Proud, followed by the Searchlight review.
Young Nazi and Stupid!
The man tipped to become the next leader of the British National Party has admitted he is a nazi sympathiser and is inspired by images of German nazis "sieg heiling" in the streets.
Mark Collett, leader of the Young BNP and a member of the party's ruling Advisory Council, made the admission to Channel Four last month. In a revealing documentary, he boasted of his support for Hitler's Germany, said he would prefer to live in 1930s Germany than in many cities of northern England today and declared that he could not understand why people should find images of German soldiers giving nazi salutes upsetting.
The BNP leadership moved swiftly to limit the fallout by publicly sacking Collett as leader of the Young BNP and announcing a tribunal to consider his very membership of the party. However, Searchlight has learnt that this is a scam to reduce political damage to the party. On Sunday 10 November, less than a week after the programme was broadcast, Collett shared a platform with Nick Griffin, the BNP leader, at a party meeting in Bradford.
Young, Nazi and Proud was an hour-long documentary that examined the new, respectable face of the BNP. For eight months, programme maker David Modell chronicled Collett's political and personal life. What emerged was an intriguing insight into the mind of a man who hopes one day to lead the party.
Collett was shown squaring up to Anti Nazi League protesters at Leeds town hall, confidently canvassing voters in Bradford and giving articulate interviews to television stations. Yet we also witnessed the real Mark Collett: insecure, vain and a social misfit.
"Collett was a case study in artless, idiotic arrogance. Pumping iron semi-naked in his basement and getting a little too animated about watching 'a brain-dead white slag' snogging a black man suggested there was something a little repressed about the boy," noted Gareth McLean in his review of the programme for The Guardian.
"We saw a swaggering young man high on self-delusion," wrote Andrew Anthony in The Observer. "A shot of him strutting manfully in front of Anti Nazi League demonstrators seemed to capture his almost pathological vanity ... What I found most shocking, though, were not Collett's views - as predictable as they were reprehensible - but the knowledge that he was a fan of Alan Partridge. How could he appreciate the absurdity of Partridge, you wondered, without recognising his own?"
In one of the most revealing insights into his character, Collett discussed with much bitterness the break-up of a relationship. After attacking his former girlfriend, he told Modell: "I like to break people. When you've broken them and sucked that last bit of life out of them. That's it.
"When people say that I am evil, yeah I am. But it all depends. I'm either the sweetest angel or the most evil being you've ever encountered. It just depends which side you push me. Never kill people. Push them to the point of despair where they do it themselves because that's when you've really won."
In another scene, the arrogant Collett told the reporter: "Hitler will live on forever and maybe I will too".
Searchlight had long known that Collett was a hardline nazi. He began his political life in the National Front and became its student organiser before switching his allegiance to the BNP. For the past two years he has been a regular on the nazi Blood and Honour music scene and, during a personal dispute with the former Yorkshire NF organiser, Tony White, boasted of a close connection with Whitelaw, a band linked to the British Movement. At the BNP's Red, White and Blue festival last year, Collett made a hardline speech in favour of "white power".
Despite his obvious nazi credentials, Collett became leader of the Young BNP after engineering the removal of its previous leader, Paul Golding. In the local elections last May, Collett coordinated the BNP campaign in Bradford and in June, as he finished his studies at Leeds University, he became a full-timer for the party.
Last spring he was approached by Channel Four with the idea of the programme. Despite the historical antipathy of previous programmes on Channel Four to the BNP and only six months after the damaging Panorama documentary, Collett needed little persuading to co-operate. A man whose ego is probably matched only by that of his leader, Collett believed it was an opportunity to become a household name. Unfortunately for the little Hitler, his eagerness to impress was his own downfall.
Among his more illuminating quotes were:
"National Socialism was the best solution for the German people in the 1930s."The BNP's decision to sack Collett as leader of the Young BNP and consider his future membership has been presented as an example of the new BNP discarding its nazi past."I honestly can't understand how a man who's seen the inner city hell of Britain today can't look back on that era [Hitler's Germany] with a certain nostalgia and think yeah, those people marching through the streets and all those happy people out in the streets, you know, saluting and everything, was a bad thing."
"Honestly now, would you prefer your kid growing up in Oldham and Burnley or 1930s Germany? It would be better for your child to grow up there."
"I'm going to level with you. I'd never say this on camera, yeah, and you can say this to whoever you want, 'cos it's true. The Jews have been thrown out of every country, including England. There's not a single European country the Jews have not been thrown out of. And let's face it, David, when it happens so many times it's not just persecution. There's no smoke without fire."
"To journalists who have alleged over the past couple of years that 'the BNP hasn't really changed', this action provides the proof that it really has," Nick Griffin announced the day after the programme. "Because extremist sentiments which would once have been commonplace and accepted - even flaunted - within the BNP have now led us to sack one of our best, most capable and organisationally most useful young assets."
In reality Griffin has no intention of losing someone who he sees as a possible replacement. Collett has had to stand down, but this is probably temporary or only for public consumption. Indeed, Collett and Griffin are believed to have watched the programme together.
Only days after the programme, when Collett was allegedly facing an internal tribunal, the two shared a platform at a BNP meeting in South Bradford. Collett apologised for the political damage he might have caused the party but heaped the blame on a disreputable programme maker.
Griffin has taken a similar line. In a statement on the BNP website he declared: "Despite its dismay at some of his comments and determination not take tough action over them, the party leadership does recognise and value the self-restraint Mr Collett showed when an individual he had somewhat naively come to regard as a friend revealed the extent to which he had betrayed both his personal confidence and his professional word about how he would conduct the filming for the programme.
"Then again, it would have been a thousand times better if Mark had not put himself - and hence the party - in such a position in the first place."
In behaviour now typical of him, Griffin absolves himself of any responsibility for this debacle. Being leader he should have had some control over the entire project but he overlooks that in his attack on the programme makers.
Collett's admissions reveal the true nazi beliefs of many in the BNP leadership. Griffin's public repudiation of him while privately backing him exposes the lizard-type nature of the leader himself. The reality is, as many BNP members privately concede, Young, Nazi and Proud will return to haunt the party in the future.