God knows I’ve done my best to make this blog an election free zone. I’ve resisted commenting on the televised debates (mainly because I’ve very easily resisted watching them). I’ve resisted making derogatory comments about the Tory poster campaign featuring David Cameron, tie off, sleeves rolled up, man of the people getting ready to “muck in” with the rest of us. I’ve even resisted posting a photograph on this blog of the papier-mâché butt I have fashioned out of all the political fliers that have been posted through my letterbox over the last two weeks – enough to account for a large denuded hillside in Scotland, I shouldn’t wonder.
I didn’t want to get political, you see. Not because you’re not interested (though possibly most of you aren’t) but because it has reached saturation point here in the UK and I’m sick of it. It’s being overdone and it’s being overdone badly. We don’t overdo things here in the UK as professionally as the Americans do. When we overdo things it just looks excessively shoddy instead of just shoddy.
But Monday night I accidentally caught a little bit of the televised Party Political Broadcast by the British National Party.
And it riled me. It offended me.
I felt affronted.
Not by anything that was said because when I saw it was the BNP I immediately switched off mentally.
But I was offended by the imagery.
It opened with air raid sirens wailing over a black and white archive footage shot of an anti aircraft searchlight.
Trying to tap into that war time spirit, you see. Trying to tap into the received stereotype of the good old honest-to-God white faced blue collar worker standing at arms with his neighbour in the face of adversity; in the face of overwhelming odds.
And then the icing on the cake: Nick Griffin squatting behind his desk like Jabba The Hut in a Burton’s suit talking reasonably and calmly about whatever it is the BNP would like us to believe that they believe. And in the background, deliberately in shot, the ultimate in product placement. A nice little framed portrait of Sir Winston Churchill.
Plainly the BNP do not do subtle.
And that is what annoyed me.
Do they really think people are that dumb? Do they really think that people who weren’t even around to experience the actual real war will buy into the BNP on the back of some pseudo contrived fake mishmash of Britain’s old war time 1940’s spirit?
Do they really think that people’s knees can be jerked so easily?
Plainly they do. Plainly they think that the British people really are that dumb (and dumberer).
Plainly the BNP think that their party embodies the spirit of Winston Churchill, Boudicca and The Ghost of Christmas Future all rolled into one fat red, white and blue stick of Blackpool rock.
Roy Chubby Brown is the fifth horseman of the Apocalypse: stupidity.
It is this assumption of the nation’s gullibility that makes me angry.
And it is the BNP’s willingness to manipulate the truly gullible among the population with this trite 6th form pub lounge campaign that makes me angry most of all.
Because there will be people, alas, who will fall for it. Who will buy into it. Who will give themselves over to it and think they are doing the patriotic thing. The right thing. The war time spirit and all that. Fighting the good fight.
For all I loathe the concept wars, the semantic duelling and the psychological fencing of both the Conservative’s and Labour’s political campaigns they do at least credit the nation with some intelligence with all their subliminal posturing. They at least assume that the average man on the street is in some way media savvy.
But Winston bloody Churchill and WWII?
Oh come on!
All it did for me is make me mentally replace the portrait of Churchill with one of Hitler and hang a swastika behind Nick Griffin’s head. I mean one stereotype is as good as another, right? If we’re going to deal in knee-jerk broad strokes and buy into old propaganda let’s do it properly.
On the positive side, I at least know [if I didn’t already] who I’m not voting for.