Thursday, March 18, 2010

Nick Griffin, Denis MacShane & The Guardian

How very odd. Despite resigning from the Total Politics Editorial Board over our decision to interview Nick Griffin, Labour MP Denis MacShane seems very happy to grace the pages of The Guardian with his prose today. Why is that odd? Because The Guardian had a long interview with Griffin on Saturday. One rule for The Guardian...

Though Cowards Flinch has a short interview with Denis in which he explains his decision.

If you would like to read the interview with Nick Griffin, the new issue of Total Politics goes on sale on Saturday. But here's short section from the interview which didn't make the final edit. It concerns the incident recently when Times journalist Dominic Kennedy was violently ejected from a BNP meeting...

ID: What does it say about the BNP when violence is used to throw a reputable journalist out of a press conference?
NG: Well, if I came to your house as your invited guest, or even worse, if I walked through your front door uninvited and just sat down, you would ask me to leave.

It was a press conference
It wasn’t a press conference
Well what was it then?
It was an AGM and at the end of it, we allowed certain journalists to enter. But the Times has established quite recently such a shocking record of unfair treatment of our events and our people and when reporting on us that we exercise the right to say to the Times, no, we don’t want you there. He got in and then we found someone asked him to leave. He was asked to leave more than half a dozen times and he wouldn’t go, so he was escorted out of the premises, which is unfortunate.
But all that achieved was pictures of BNP heavies throwing a journalist who has a national reputation out of a meeting. What benefit did that bring the BNP?
It didn’t.
So why do it?
Because we’d already made a decision not to co-operate with the Times, because when you co-operate with a newspaper, with a journalist, the moment you start speaking about the issue, you give them more of a right and more credibility.
But on that basis, you can say ‘I’m not co-operating with any newspaper’ because you don’t get any positive coverage.
We’re not asking for positive coverage, we’re asking for the truth. And if someone says ‘we threw a Times journalist out because he was struggling, his nose was pulled, that was rather rough and that made the BNP look thugs’, that’s fact and opinion. That’s fair, that’s legitimate. But the Times has repeatedly lied in recent months about us to our people’s detriment about what’s going on so why should we allow a group of journalists and a newspaper who make money about lying.
I’ll tell you why, because you’re a national political party with elected representatives in the same way that the Conservative Party is. Should the Conservatives not allow Times journalists into their press conferences because of what they said about Lord Ashcroft?
They have the right, but as far as I know, what they’re saying about Lord Ashcroft is true. But I know what they were saying about us were the most outrageous lies.
But every political party has that, and they don’t go around banning journalists from press conferences.
They do, or they simply don’t hold them. If you look at the Labour Party’s spin machine, in terms of manipulating journalists, yeah, they’re more sophisticated and more experienced, and if they had a journalist they wanted to throw out, they’d get the police to do it. We haven’t got that.
The point I’m trying to make, is that if you want to be treated as a mature political party looking to get more electoral representation, you collectively are behaving in that instance, in a way that no other political party would.
But no other political party has journalists who work with Searchlight to put lies and smears out on the scale that try to get our members thrown out of their jobs.
Look at the Daily Mirror, every few months they try and infiltrate Conservative Central Office, but the Conservatives still allow Kevin Maguire to go to their press conferences, in the full knowledge he will never write anything positive about them.
Well that’s rather up to them, it’s not a matter of positive, it’s a matter of the most outrageous lies. When they lie about the Conservative Party, it doesn’t increase the chances of Conservative members having their houses petrol bombed and their children burned to death. For us it’s much more serious, the lies are much worse and because of the climate this creates and all the rest of it, it actually puts our people at risk for their lives and their livelihoods.
How do you react to being called a fascist? And what would you say are the three things that differentiate the BNP from being a fascist party? It’s the word that is most often used to describe the BNP- that or racist.
We’re not fascist. If fascism is defined in its proper sense, it’s about worship of the state or of a man that personifies the state and our tradition is very much in the British tradition of limited government with checks and balances and so on.
You could have fooled me. Half your policy programme envisions a larger state.
We’re not fascist in that regard. It’s about a close, almost incestuous relationship, between the state and the corporations. Its corporate fascism. The Thatcherite, Blairite PFI − that’s fascist. We believe in a mixed economy where the state or the big capitalist bits should only be there because economies of scale make it necessary, or control makes it necessary. Where possible it should be done by small businesses , family farms or workers’ co-operatives. So completely unfascist. The final defining factor of fascism is the use of political violence as a political weapon against you’re opponents. And we’re the victims of a Marxist fascism – we do not either practice or want to practice violence against anyone else.
Apart from throwing journalists out of press conferences...
Apart from throwing out lying journalists when they’re asked. He was breaking the law. He’d been asked to leave a private premises and he refused. He’s breaking the law. So you’re entitled to use the minimum force necessary to break the law. I’ve been instructed that the fellow that quite gleefully grabbed his nose and twisted it, shouldn’t be put on duties like that anymore because that was over the top. But he was still breaking the law and he was removed with the minimum force necessary.
In which year did you stop denying the Holocaust?

You'll have to read the magazine to find out the answer to that question!


javelin said...

I think you're trying to appease the left by trying to land a few punches, rather than produce an objective account that can hold them up to scruitny.

Iain Dale said...

That, if I may say so, is a fatuous comment. I am not trying to appease anyone. And as a long term reader of this blog I would have hoped you would know differently.

This is a short extract from an interview which was two and a half hours long! Read the whole thing, and then let me know what you think.

Jon Lishman said...

From these bizarre responses, all the Griffin gargoyle strikes me as is one very confused little man.

Harry said...

McShane is a scabby little turd. You're best off without him, I don't know why you're surprised.

Most journalists are the sluts of media world, on a par with lawyers, both of whom should be gassed like badgers, Iain.

You are well aware that the BNP does not get the coverage from even one facet of the media that even Respect - a dangerous and heady brew of communism and Clerical Fascism - or the Green Party, followers of such progressive ideas as Eugenics and Euthanasia - - gets.

And thus, I guess, you can (perhaps without wanting to admit it) understand the frustration that breeds. The press is run by the worst kinfd of chatterati Guardianistas. You yourself accept and appreciate this with the efforts you have made at building an alternative media system.

Henry Wood said...

Are you now, or have you ever been, a student of Humphries et al style of interviewing as demonstrated daily on "Today"?

You are certainly acting like a Humphries/Paxman **** in that interview.

I am disappointed. I come here to see and listen to a real discussion of political points/subjects.

You just joined the MSM so far as I can see. (Maybe the full interview will show different but I will not pay for it going on your expurgated excerpts.)

Keep up the rest of your good work.

Gordon Brown said...

The dangerous thing about Nick Griffin is that he is intelligent.

cassandra said...

The BNP has recruited a Sikh member, he can be seen proudly holding his BNP membership card.
The BNP website story about this new member has hundreds of comments welcoming Mr Singh to the party, is this the actions of a nazi/racist party? Read the comments and ask yourself are these members racist?
So now the BNP welcomes British nationalists regardless of their colour/race and instead of welcoming this true modernising action led by a reforming leader the media continues its mindless hate campaign.
The BNP grows stronger by the day, the old tactics of hate/smear/attack and no platform have not worked, I can assure you that smug nit picking and fault finding will not work wither.
Ordinary people have been lied to and betrayed by the political classes, the captive media can no longer rely on the dirty tricks of the leftist(the ends justify the means)rabble to destroy the BNP.
I tell you this, the future will see a huge swing to the BNP and it cannot be stopped by lies and tricks, the more dirty tricks and lies used the bigger the BNP will grow.
People now see the real agenda and the true intentions of those who display such intense hatred to British nationalism.
The utter folly of attacking the BNP with every dirty trick and tactic instead of taking on board the anger and frustration of the British people is clear to everyone except the political classes.
If the established parties cared about the British nation and its people and adressed their concerns then there would be no BNP.
The British people have not spoken yet, when they do the political classes will tremble.

Thanks Iain.

Unknown said...

Really looking forward to the full version. However, Griffin does seem a lot more collected, thoughtful and generally together than he did in the Guardian piece. Did you catch him on a particularly 'good' day, or did John Harris just catch him on a bad one, I wonder...

Jimmy said...

"The point I’m trying to make, is that if you want to be treated as a mature political party looking to get more electoral representation, you collectively are behaving in that instance, in a way that no other political party would."

In other news...

"Former Tory minister Lord Tebbit is facing possible prosecution over claims he kicked a dancing dragon during Chinese New Year celebrations.

Police confirmed yesterday that they had received a complaint from a member of the public about the 78-year-old peer's behaviour.

Officers are now preparing a report for the Crown Prosecution Service which will decide whether he should be charged with an offence.

Lord Tebbit apparently became upset by noisy Chinese celebrations on the night of February 16 outside his new £840,000 Georgian townhouse in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk.

He allegedly ran 100 yards down the street, grabbed a drum and cymbal that someone was banging and planted a kick in the backside of a dancing dragon.

An adult was said to have been in the front of the dragon costume wearing a traditional mask and a boy was in the rear."

Unknown said...

Am I missing something here, are you saying that Denis MacShane sits on the editorial board of The Guardian? If not then a rather lame comparison.

Moriarty said...


I'm not surprised that you are fascinated by men dressed up in fancy dress.

I have a wager for you. I'll bet you £1000 against your pocket money that Cameron ends up with a 50+ majority. Up for it? Or are you a coward?

Jimmy said...

"The BNP has moved on somewhat,"

I think it was Garry Trudeau who coined the phrase "compassionate fascism".

Dick Puddlecote said...

Why worry about Denis McShane? He's an idiot, and so is his squeeze.

Stephen Pol Haydon said...

Whatever your opinion of the BNP, they have yet to prove themselves. The interview excerpt seemed to be a little too aggressive on a subject which cant really determine a basis for the BNP being fascist or not. However it is well known the BNP=racial attacks regardless of a Sikh member now being introduced.

tory boys never grow up said...

Can I presume that Total Politics will be offering Searchlight the right of reply to Griffin's smears and accusations? You never know your readers may become better informed as to the true nature of the BNP.

Iain Dale said...

No, you can presume no such thing. This was not an article by Griffin to which a right of reply can be given. It was an interview, where I constantly challenged his assertions, as you will see when you read the full version.

You don't understand a lot about rhe media, do you?

neil craig said...

Perhaps next time you are interviewing a leading character in one of the main parties you will ask them "In which year did you stop supporting genocide, ethnic cleansing, the sexual enslavement of children & organlegging by our police in Kosovo."

Perhaps not.

The BNP never supported that criminal war let alone those crimes against humanity that the Lab/Lib/Con Party so enthusiastically su[pported in the Nazi cause.

Can anybdoy seriously suggest that all 12,000 BNP members together are as racist as each individual MP who supported war crimes, genocide & organleging?

Moriarty said...


so you're a coward. The confirmation is welcome.

tory boys never grow up said...

I understand that Griffin called Searchlight liars and the interviewer allowed that smear to go unchallenged. Given that you failed to do so perhaps the decent thing is to offer Searchlight the right to respond.

Perhaps I understand that the media doesn't always do the decent thing - but I see that as no reason why I shouldn't ask you to do so. I have noticed much reticence on your part it making requests to other parts of the media to do what you believe is the decent thing - even though you probably know that there is little chance of them doing so.

Iain Dale said...

Tory boys, Pure fiction. Quite how you can make such an assertion when you can't have seen the interview is quite beyond me.

tory boys never grow up said...

"But no other political party has journalists who work with Searchlight to put lies and smears out on the scale that try to get our members thrown out of their jobs."

There is the smear of Searchlight by Griffin - I look forward to see your specific challenge of it in the full article - unfortunately it wasn't there in your blog posting.

Anyone who knows anything about standing up to the likes of Griffin knows that it is Searchlight's assiduous research that does far more to shine a light on the true nature of the BNP and their ilk than anyone else - and they really should be stood up. I suspect that the latest copy of Serchlight - buy here - - will say an awful lot more about the BNP than Total Politics.

Iain Dale said...

You really don't read, do you? There is no mention of Searchlight in the interview which will appear in TP. Capiche?

tory boys never grow up said...

So its ok to have unchallenged lies and smears about Searchlight in your blog, providing that you edit it out of the TP version??

Didn't the BBC get into a similar mess with its previews for the Leibowitz documentary on the Queen?

Iain Dale said...

You really are a fool.

The whole interview was 23,000 words long. We devote 6 pages to it in the magazine - about 5,200 words. I specifically said at the top of this piece that this part of the interview did not make the final cut in the magazine. The most difficult aspect of doing these In Conversation interviews is deciding what to leave in and what to edit out. I could not possibly keep in all 23,000 words. Surely even someone as blinkered as you can see that.

Are you seriously suggesting that I didn't challenge him during this extract? If so, you're even more deluded than I thought.

tory boys never grow up said...

"Are you seriously suggesting that I didn't challenge him during this extract?"

No - I'm not, I'm just saying that Griffin's smear on Searchlight was left unchallenged - that is all.

I'm afraid Griffin's approach to those who expose his true beliefs is usually to resort to insulting those who expose him. I wait to see if your interview achieves the same treatment from Griffin.

Stillian said...


Can I assume you will be giving Labour and LibDem members the chance to prove their adolesence as well?

You are after all, posting on a publicly readable blog, insulting them via your very name.

Ridiculous argument? Yes. So is your's. Go away.

Interview seems reasonable from that extract. Griffin is a lot more composed than usual, but then I've never doubted his intelligence. He's a very clever man and knows how to appeal to the public - moreso than any other party leader of today. Whether the rest of his party will match that at the election will be an interesting thing to see, however.