Yesterday I had to go down to that London on for a business meeting. Being from Derbyshire, I duly marvelled at the sights (electric light, horseless carriages, etc), and, having time free before my train home, I called on an old friend for coffee and a chinwag.
She's a radio producer who once researched a documentary about the BNP, and conversation naturally turned to the state of the party...
I filled her in on the splits, the recriminations, the fraud and financial mismanagement, and much of it was news to her (since making the programme she has a passing interest, but she isn't obsessive about it).
Then I showed her a series of screen grabs of threads that have appeared in the last few days on one of the BNP talkboards where Griffin and Jim Dowson (as “the Bruce”) had (supposedly) made an appearance.
To say she was astonished doesn't quite do it justice. If it were a bad 1950's comedy, the poor woman would've done a double take, then looked, bemused, at her glass of wine and carried on to a triple take while clapping her hand to her forehead and shouting “Yikes!”.
“They actually carry on like this?” she laughed. “It's like a nursery!”
Perhaps a nursery for severely damaged adults who constantly threaten one another with psychotic violence, run by neo-Nazi rapists and thieves, I thought, but not any nursery I'd ever want to send my own kids to.
She suggested we go up to a different floor and see a Colleague of hers. I was surprised to see that he was completely up to speed with the current goings-on; he was perfectly au fait with all of the names and personalities involved.
His “special project” has, for some months now, been a documentary charting the last days of the BNP, from the Question Time fiasco to the (increasingly) bitter (and twisted) end. Other than that, he played his cards close to his chest. He claimed a “very senior” figure in the Party is prepared to go on the record, but wouldn't be drawn as to who it might be (Any ideas, Chums?).
He, too, was fascinated by “The Bruce” and his septic waffle. He said he'd even joined the forum in question, and had made contact, privately, with some of its inhabitants. He took a copy of the grabs and said he'd look into it further.
The problem with the BNP's recent travails getting the coverage they deserve from the media has, before now, been the insanely Kafkaesque nature of the saga. Sadly, the fact is that (even if you were to confine your programme to, say, just the Truth Truck scam or the Belfast story), the vast majority of the Audience would soon be lost in a morass of minutiae and bizarre characters. But quite apart from this, the whole sorry mess is simply too far-fetched for regular people in the Real World to believe.
Who, after all, could ever be reasonably expected to fall for the story of a National Political Party who manage to keep on finding excuses for not having their accounts in on time? (I'm still half expecting Cyclops to try using one involving Ledgers + Pet Dogs + Hunger.)
What Viewer in their right mind would believe the tales of self-styled clergyman, fantasy Loyalist and pretend “Industry Expert” Jim Dowson and his hold over the Party?
And just how out of whack with reality would anyone have to be to fall for the bizarre notion that the Leader of a National Political Party and an elected Member of the European Parliament would not only be reduced to endless, increasingly tacky, appeals for donations, but would routinely tell outrageous lies to his own Members, allow a fake “vicar” to hold “services” at official events, change his Party's constitution to ensure his own position to be practically unassailable and, by now a virtual dictator, round things off by using an elderly Welsh fantasist with drink issues and a somewhat unsavoury personal history as his mouthpiece and main cheerleader?
A few years ago, a friend wrote the screenplay for a war film – now considered a classic. Everything that happened in the movie was true. Nothing was invented for dramatic purposes. The problem was, that the acts of heroism shown were so extraordinary, so far removed from people's own reality that many critics simply didn't believe them.
I reckon people might have much the same reaction if they were told even a fraction of the zany carry on that is the Fall Of The Griffin Empire.