|Griffin is under attack once more, but the ruling class got a free pass from BBC|
Last night's edition of Panorama was a devastating exposé of the far right British National Party's dismal accounts. Fronted by investigator Darragh MacIntyre (brother of Donal), it unveiled multiple likely scandals in the organisation's financial dealings over the last few years. Clearly, the BNP are in big trouble balancing their books, and at the end, MacIntyre posed the question "Will money rather than racism spell the end for Nick Griffin's British National Party?" However, the programme was also yet another example of how the 'mainstream' corporate media uses the far right as a punch bag, and in doing so works to implicitly legitimise the far larger misdeeds of the political elites.
Throughout the half hour course of the show, allegation after allegation was levelled against the party, and ultimately, its 'chairman'. Perhaps the most damaging amongst these was the charge that Griffin had ordered an official to fake an invoice, in order to get money out of the European Union for party expenses. Griffin had been elected to the European Parliament in 2009, having run a populist campaign which accused Euro politicians of behaving like pigs in a trough. Once in this minor position of power, the programme claimed that Griffin's regime sought to gorge themselves.
Former 'super-activist' Jim Dowson described the shady ways in which he raised money to fund the party's 'truth truck' and other enterprises. An ex party webmaster recalled the Griffin response to a cyber attack on the BNP website, which was rather hyperbolically described as "the largest DOS attack known to mankind". Griffin announced that supporters needed to raise £5000 to counter the attack, when in fact the bill came to less than £200. Griffin claimed the surplus found its way back into party coffers.
The BNP has also apparently failed to declare who gave three donations over £5000, as they are required to do under electoral law. The party's former treasurer also denies that he was paid tens of thousands, in an apparent attempt to explain away other missing money. The man in question was no longer a member when this money was supposedly paid. Other matters include an alleged kidnapping.
At the time of writing, the BNP's website was down, but Griffin has responded in his own fashion, by issuing a defiant video, in which he declared "that most of what you've just seen is in fact lies and distortions" by an "anti-British" organisation - i.e. the BBC. For his part, Nick Lowles of Hope Not Hate has been blogging excitedly, and calling for supporters to demand the Electoral Commission investigates the Panorama allegations.
Were the BBC to ask disgruntled former employees of the Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat parties, they would no doubt be able to uncover examples of fraud on a far greater scale. This possibility would never even occur to a BBC producer - comfortably embedded as they are in the propaganda machine - yet no working class person would seriously doubt that the elites so mired in Murdochgate, the expenses scandal and individual sleaze would produce a doctored set of accounts.
So technically correct though the latest Panorama allegations probably are, they do nothing to clean out the Augean stables of official politics, and will no doubt suit the martyr image carefully cultivated by Griffin and his cohorts.
The party has certainly had its brushes with the law in the past, but it has survived thus far. For the capitalist elite, it is a convenient distraction from the immense social harm that its own policies cause, and the blatant corruption which takes place at the top tables. But by the same token, liberals and 'lefts' who call for state intervention against the BNP, English Defence League and their ilk play into the hand of that same elite, who would love the opportunity to decide exactly what political opinions are permissible. As ever with Panorama, the big picture was missing, and for that reason, this edition was a subtle but implicit argument for exactly such repression.
BNP: The Fraud Exposed can be viewed on BBC iPlayer.