What demons we unleash in our sleep! On Wednesday I posted up a photo guide to catching the red signal crayfish, an introduced species from the US which is trashing the aquatic ecosystem and killing our indigenous crayfish. By catching as many as you can, you can help to control this invasive species, while getting a great meal for nothing.
Innocent enough you might think. Well it was until it got picked up by the British National party.
I think you can probably guess how this story pans out, but here's the BNP's legal officer, Lee John Barnes, in his own words:
The North American Crayfish is the Mike Tyson of crayfish. It is a diseased, psychotic, evil, illegal immigrant colonist who displaces the indigenous crayfish, colonises their territory and then reproduces until it totally devastates the indigenous environment and indigenous crayfish. I am saying nothing governor.Subtle, isn't it? Without necessarily contravening the laws on incitement to racial hatred (and we can expect the BNP's legal officer to know just where the line is drawn), Mr Barnes appears to be comparing the American red signal crayfish to human immigrants, whom he apparently wishes to put to death. "I'm saying nothing governor" means: you know exactly what I'm saying, but if you do your worst I can't be held responsible.
But theres a phrase of his [George Monbiot] that I believe should be the motto of the Eco-Xenophobes everywhere. I intend to use it more and when I do I will accredit it to George Monbiot; DEATH TO THE USURPERS !
Barnes is not the first person to make an analogy between invasive species and immigrants, though these days it is seldom spelt out in such stark terms. The analogy suggests that people from other parts of the world belong to a different, non-human species. Perhaps he's been watching District 9, where the alien asylum seekers do look a bit like crayfish.
Unlike Mr Barnes, I don't know exactly where the line is drawn, but is it possible that he has not been quite as clever as he thinks he is? Is there a legal-minded person out there who can offer some advice?
George Monbiot in the Guardian
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