Now, this is a serious confession. I'm such a politics geek that I actually decided to watch a Party Election Broadcast last night. After all, our dear friends from the UK Independence Party were on and I dearly wanted to see how they managed. I wasn't disappointed. The spot looked something like a Yorkshire TV ad for "Mike's Carpets" or Tong Garden Centre circa 1992. A variety of odd-looking men in dated suits made their pitches in a mysteriously seaside-compere, aren't I kerazy voice. And who chose that colour scheme? Purple and yellow? The substance was poor, of course - a variety of dodgy statistics, wild hyperbole and thinly disguised xenophobia, and a couple of factual errors. The delivery was worse. There were signs of an effort being made - a token black member made an appearance - but it was still dominated by the dodgy estate agent characters who typify this lot. Why they didn't put Kilroy-Silk on it I've no idea - he may be a failed talk show host, but at least he used to be a pro. But - what do you expect from a party with folk like Mike Narrass, their national chairman who played a prominent role in the ad, in it?
Mike was a member of the New Britain party in the 70s, a far-right, anti-immigration, pro-Rhodesian/South African outfit founded (weirdly) by Patrick Moore with the support of General Sir Walter Walker's paramilitary GB75 group. This was a weird gaggle of retired officers, spooks and wealthy rightwingers that fantasised about a military coup and influenced various organisations as fronts and as political vehicles (especially the National Federation of Ratepayers and New Britain), as well as setting up a network of supporters known as "Civil Assistance". (NOTE: Most information on the web about this episode should be treated with extreme scepticism, as it usually either comes from paranoid far-left conspiracy nuts or hagiographic fascists.)This lot were ostensibly meant to offer aid to the constituted authorities in the event of a breakdown of law and order, and did things like drawing up lists of "trusted citizens". It was all very sinister but slightly ridiculous, and in the long run all it achieved was to legitimise the NF and to give lefties some good stories. (Mind you, some say they played all kinds of spooky roles in the miners' strike, Northern Ireland, Thatcher's election..) He's not the only one - another of their candidates at the last election, Alastair Harper (Dunfermline West), was the editor of something called "Northern World", a "Nordicist" magazine whose conferences had in the past greeted former SS officers. Mr H doesn't seem to be standing this time around, more's the pity. But who needs him when your party name appears in places like this?
UKIP - the BNP it's OK to like!