There's an old Groucho Marx joke about how he’d never join a club that would have someone like him as a member. It’s a shame more white people don’t feel that way about the British National Party.
Groucho’s self-deprecating one-liner was funny and clever, but if the BNP were the club in question, no one would be laughing. How can any political party that bans blacks, Asians and Jews – like Groucho – be taken seriously in a democracy, let alone garner enough votes to win two seats in the European Parliament?
But surely no non-white person in their right mind would want to join the BNP anyway, I hear you say, so what’s the problem? To which my answer is this . . . whether they want to or not is irrelevant. What’s important is that they should be able to.
Turning a blind eye to institutional racism is unacceptable in a civilised society. And you can’t get more “institutional” than writing a racist clause into your constitution. The fact that no one of ethnic origin would wish to associate themselves with the BNP is beside the point.
The Government’s new Equalities Bill will make it illegal for any organisation to insist – as the BNP does – on an “indigenous Caucasian” membership. We’ve waited too long for such legislation. Meanwhile, the BNP has been allowed to grow like a tumour by convincing disaffected Brits that it is benign. People concerned about immigration – not necessarily racists, perhaps even realists – have been suckered into supporting these fascists either through a misplaced sense of patriotism or as a consequence of giving Labour a good kicking.
Blinded by the glaring shortcomings of the Government and its main rivals, some view the BNP as a viable alternative instead of seeing the party for what it really is . . . a watered-down Ku Klux Klan. And if you think that’s going too far, let me remind you that during the BNP’s Euro campaign, photographs emerged of its leader Nick Griffin with the Klan’s grand wizard Stephen “Don” Black.
Black – who has an unfortunate surname for a white supremacist – famously defended a BNP leaflet that said black and Asian Britons should be referred to as “racial foreigners”. It also emerged on Friday that James Von Brunn, the crazed anti-semite who shot and killed a security guard at Washington’s Holocaust Memorial Museum, had close ties with the American Friends of the British National Party. That’s the calibre of “friends” they attract.
In all probability, the Equality Bill will not change the way people think about the BNP. The hardliners who support it will continue to do so. And the enforced change to the party’s constitution is unlikely to result in blacks beating a path to its door. But even if the new law turns out to be purely academic and the BNP’s odious membership rules are never tested, it’s important to have a legal sledgehammer with which to smash this apartheid constitution should the situation arise.
I sullied myself by looking on the official BNP website before writing this. On it, the party’s leader, Nick Griffin, claims its membership qualifications are “wholly within the law as dictated by the Race Relations Act”. He adds: “Nothing the Government does will change the party’s commitment to serving the interests of the indigenous population of our country.”
I don’t doubt that. An Equality Bill will not change what the BNP stands for. It won’t even clarify what is meant by the term “indigenous population”, which can be interpreted in a number of ways. What it will do is open up the BNP to greater scrutiny, and lay bare the myth that it serves the interests of anyone other than bigots and thugs.