Sunday, January 30, 2011

Brand BNP

The screengrabs are from a video released by the British National Party as they confirmed Enis Dalton as their candidate for the forthcoming (when Eric Ilsey finally gets round to resigning, that is) by-election in the Labour stronghold ofBarnsley Central

Enis' speech is unlike most you would initially expect from BNP candidates. Learning from Sarah Palin, it would seem, the speech was full of bashing the Establishment, standing up for 'people like us, and our families at home', and talking up the Party as 'for the working class'. The acceptance speech, such as it was, drew pictures of Nick Griffin's Party as the natural place for working class voters to turn in times of economic uncertainty and political unrest.

Ms Dalton, who uses 'you know' as a natural gap between every other sentence, is a known local community campaigner and organiser, and as a woman can deflect many of the automated criticisms of her Party. The new schtick - that the British National Party are the natural home for disgruntled low-paid workers - is notably different from their main rivals on the far-right of politics. Talk to supporters of the English Democrats, or England First, if you can find any, and their rhetoric sounds like the Griffin of old. BNP supporters today are trained to avoid anything unsavory; keep race and religion to a minimum and don't mention Nick Griffin by name. Enis does this to an absolute tee; if it didn't sound so silly, I'd brand her the next potential leader of the Yorkshire Tea Party.

Oh, look, I just did.

However...Look again at the screengrabs. Do you notice something even more significant than either Ms Dalton's smart-ish appearance and the gurning Nick Griffin sneering in the background?

The BNP logo has been rebranded and redesigned, swapped from the old-style "BNP" in block capitals, to the Union Flag encased within a heart-symbol, the words "British National Party" spelled to its side. For reasons I cannot fathom....go on, guess....the word "National" is coloured silver/grey, barely legible from certain angles or in bright light.

In conjunction with the 'softer touch', diluting the racial policies and repositioning themselves as the working class party it's okay to vote for, the BNP now seem intent on losing the very word "national" from their name. Who would feel the need to shy away from voting "British Party", all hearts and flags and 'showing the establishment who's boss"? Shrewd? Desperate?

It should not take any person long to find the tumultuous waters surrounding the BNP which has led to this last attempt at rebranding. An estimated £250,000 is 'unaccounted' for, a figure taken from their latest [late] accounts lodged with the Electoral Commission for which they will be fined [again]. Bank Service Charges are admitted to be over £26,000, actual debt on credit cards, tax and unpaid invoices clocks in at over £393,000. Following the disastrous General election campaign, in which Nick Griffin finished third in their only target seat of Barking, and which saw every Councillor defeated at Barking & Dagenham Council, the Party has been hemorrhaging supporters and money month after month. Rebranding and refocusing now seems hopelessly naive. Virtually bankrupted, the Party are not likely to see the 2015 General election in one piece.

The BNP hope to capitalise on the growing protest movement within the UK, to attract disenfranchised voters to their take on the 'anti-establishment' cause. This threat to the growing grassroots movements would, once upon a time, been enough to mobilise thousands against Griffin, his mobs, his rent-a-crowds, his rhetoric. It seems, just like the very word "national" in the logo, the threat is fading.