General Sir Michael Jackson* called the BNP “beyond the pale”, but what standard is he measuring by? If you had to think of the single worst thing about the BNP, it’s hard to think of anything worse than the former BNP steward David Copeland, who planted a series of bombs in 1999 in an attempt to start a race war that’d make people go out and vote BNP. But as horrific as they are, Copeland’s attacks, which killed three and injured over a hundred, cannot begin to compare to the death and misery inflicted by the RAF in a single day of a standard bombing campaign.
Of course, none of this is to defend the BNP in any way. If they ever gain any real power, then ethnic minorities, women, LGBTQ people, and the entire working class would suffer greatly. But we should oppose them because of that, not because they threaten to dishonour the “proud” record of the military. We can point out the blatant hypocrisies of the BNP’s positions, like using pictures of RAF planes that were flown by Polish pilots, and we can wonder what side their more goose-stepping members would’ve been on if they were around during World War II, but we should never fall into the trap of thinking that the likes of General Jackson are any kind of alternative worth defending.
A last note: of course, none of this is intended to disrespect the very real suffering that many members of the Armed Forces have been through. It is an indescribable tragedy that so many have been killed and maimed, from the Somme to Basra, and we believe that the best way to pay tribute to their suffering is to make sure that never again will any cynical politicians – whether they’re the “extremist, racist” kind or respectable liberal ones – be able to sacrifice young lives for their power and greed.
* who must be really sick by now of people saying things like “We’re facing heavy resistance in Helmand Province, but with an extra few battalions it should be possible to beat it, just beat it, beat it, just beat it” and “Our boys will hold out as long as they can, but unless the Americans arrive quickly the situation’s looking bad, it’s bad, really really bad, shamone, it’s bad”. It’d almost be enough to make you feel sorry for him, if only he wasn’t involved in mass murder.