Not even the BNP. Which is why they’ve wrapped up their race hate message in a tissue-paper parcel of culture wars speak (with some BNP material aimed exploitatively at children) and done it so successfully that even some of their own candidates didn’t realise quite what they signed up for. Corinne Tovey-Jones, a BNP candidate in Worcester, says she was persuaded to join the BNP after her husband was made redundant, but after having her electoral statement rewritten to criticise the “anti-social behaviour” of “an unruly minority”, she has tried to withdraw her candidacy and is now asking people not to vote for her. She says:
I don’t want people thinking I’m racist when I’m not. My sister’s married to an Italian – how could I be? My mum and dad are religious – they don’t need the upset.
Of course, it’s a lot easier for people like Tovey-Jones to remain ignorant if the reporting they’re exposed to is the uninquisitive fluff I looked at last week rather than the sort of work the Manchester Evening News has been doing. MEN editor Peter Horrocks says:
We took the decision to expose more details on their policies and, when we tried to speak to the deputy leader, Simon Darby, to confirm the BNP’s manifesto in 2005, when it wanted all non-white Britons to leave the country, he essentially said ‘Yes’ but refused to talk about the issue any further. When you think about that, to try and suggest that in multi-cultural Britain we in effect ‘repatriate’ society, it’s just an outrage and we felt it right to bring details like that to our readers’ attention.
The BNP really don’t like having that sort of thing brought to anyone’s attention. In fact, they’re so unhappy with it, they’ve attempted to orchestrate a campaign against the MEN’s advertisers. From the BNP’s email to supporters:
If enough people do this, the companies in question will moan and groan to the Manchester Evening News’ business directors, forcing a behavioural change vis-à-vis the editorial team and journalists. We are calling on all genuine British Nationalists to heed this call and complain to one of the companies.
The BNP knows that its views are unacceptable. They recognise that “racist” is one of the most dismally pejorative labels anyone can pick up, and they’ve made a distinct rhetorical choice to explicitly deny being racist while expounding policies based on tortuously-defined ethnic groupings. And in turn, that’s why it’s so important that journalists aren’t satisfied with the simplistic point and counterpoint journalism which lets falsehood glide through under cover of “balance”.
Obviously, I agree with the MEN’s stance – but more importantly than that, what they’re doing is good journalism because it gives their readers information they can’t get from the official source. Hopefully, the MEN’s advertiser’s will recognise the value of that, and the perfect worthlessness of bending to a marketplace of bitter bigots.