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    Celebrating the egging of Nick Griffin

    by Sunny on 20th June, 2009 at 11:27 pm    

    I’m a bit late to this of course, but this comment by Daniel Davies on Crooked Timber (via Don Paskini) is worth highlighting:

    As I’ve noted before, there’s a Laffer Curve implicit here. If nobody ever egged Nick Griffin, then he’d never get egged, which I presume nobody wants. On the other hand, if he was egged every single time he went out, then he’d never leave his house – result, no eggings. But I really don’t believe that we’re on the right hand side of that Laffer Curve, not yet.

    And in this particular case, the egging itself is actually a very important speech act and a significant contribution to our national debate. Based on the fact that they got two MEPs elected, non-white British citizens might justifiably be looking with suspicion at their white neighbours today, thinking that a significant proportion of us were secretly harbouring fascist sympathies.

    And as a commenter notes right underneath that blog post: “As I recall, the fascists didn’t like it when people chucked bricks at them back in 1936; Mosley’s Blackshirts didn’t gain political support after that, they lost it.”

    So frankly, I can’t say I have I did that much hand-wringing over Nick Griffin’s pelting. It is our democratic right to signal disgust at fascists and the pelting didn’t go completely over-board. Though I would probably draw the line at Unite Against Fascism basically stalking the guy and trying this at every possible event.

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    35 Comments below   |   Add your own

    1. Clairwil — on 20th June, 2009 at 11:47 pm  

      Well if Colin Brown is anything to go by they’d have been better leaving the eggs at home and asking a question about policy. That seems to get them hopping mad!

      Still from what I can gather once Herr Griffin wobbles up Downing Street we’ll all be sorry we laughed at them. Oh yes scrutinising the BNP is a ‘war crime’ apparently. What with all the genocide going on in Britain these days.


    2. Leon — on 21st June, 2009 at 12:14 am  

      It is our democratic right to signal disgust at fascists and the pelting didn’t go completely over-board. Though I would probably draw the line at Unite Against Fascism basically stalking the guy and trying this at every possible event.

      So it’s better to pelt an egg and then let them go around as they please the rest of the time?

      The way I see it you either throw eggs and harrass them left right and centre until they cease or you find other tactics.

      Sunny I’m a little surprised, I’d thought you’d appreciate the Alinsky rule being followed here: make your enemy go outside their experience at every turn. ;)

      Griffin is trying to smarm around as a media darling wannabe (hence the choice of location for the press conference that never was), harrasing him at every attempt disrupts his tactic and forces him off balance. :D

    3. Jamie Sport — on 21st June, 2009 at 12:46 am  

      I agree. Griffin made the news that evening for being egged rather than for what he said, which is a good thing as far as I’m concerned. This delegitimised him for a lot of 6 o’ clock news watchers.

      The BNP *did* get a lot of votes from people who didn’t realise all that they stood for, so to see the man they voted in being called out as a ‘Nazi’ and ‘fascist’ by a large number of protestors could well have made a few people sit and up and realise that Griffin is nastier than they thought. Even though nobody likes Brown he doesn’t get egged and likened to Hitler.

      And disregarding all the hand-wringing, since when was being mean to evil racists considered a bad thing? I’d quite happily use colourful language or lob something at a fascist, despite those who worry about ‘making victims out of them’ or ‘giving them exposure’. They’d do that, and get that, anyway.

    4. Refresh — on 21st June, 2009 at 1:03 am  

      Absolutely Leon.

      There are lessons to be learned from the 70s and 80’s.

      One in particular cannot be ignored. Hemel Hemstead.

      A rally organised by the NF was disrupted by the AFA. It was being held in a school and the NF was escorted by the Police from the railway station to the venue. Anti-fascist protestors marched separately to it, also escorted and protested loudly at the school gates which were manned by riot police (I am led to believe by reliable sources that their riot shields and helmets were marked up ‘C18′).

      The Police then escorted a 3rd contingent of marchers (one of whom was a black girl) right through the protestors through the gates and into the meeting.

      And from all accounts as soon as this 3rd group got into the school hall, all hell broke loose. Chairs could be spotted flying through the air. Meanwhile the riot police remained at their posts.

      Needless to say it wasn’t simply because a black girl had entered the hall. That I believe was the AFA.

      I still wonder what role the police played on that day.

    5. Kulvinder — on 21st June, 2009 at 2:35 am  

      The way I see it you either throw eggs and harrass them left right and centre until they cease or you find other tactics.

      Yeah it also works on those fucking romanians

      Oh, no wait. Its only ok to physically assault someone when you lump in racism and call the opposition ‘fascist’ (ah irony).

      The constant mentioning of the 70s and 80s by those seeking to justify the attacks is - to say the least - pathetic. An ethnic victimhood from a time most of you were children; the ‘oppression’ of that time righted with the violent ‘reperations’ of the present.

      I’m afraid i can’t join in the self-flagellation, as much as the stories of how the BNP were perpetually camped outside your house for two decades are no doubt interesting; the various strands of my family spent those years running away from African and Indian brutality rather than the British nationalist type.

      Now i could spend my time plotting against the various black and brown people that brought grief to the clan, but quite frankly i find it beneath me. I’m pretty sure ive said it before but achievement through association is the first act of the unworthy.

      And getting your sense of victimhood from what happened 20+years ago marks you out as little more than untermensch.

      Nick Griffin isn’t satan, i wouldn’t even call him evil. Hes simply a politician whose niche focuses on ethnicity and race. You magnify his danger and pander to his ego.

      Assault him as many times as you wish, ask the BNP as many idiotic rhetorical questions as you desire; you still haven’t comprehended the fact he was democratically elected.

      He voice resonates not because of who he is but because of what you are.

      He doesn’t create the barbarians at the gate he simply points them out as they counter his arguments with violence. You think disrupting a press conference outside parliment and harrasing him disrupts him?

      You fool

      It provides absolute justification for what he preaches.

      The far right say the left abhor democratic principles, that respect and a lack of communal violence is beyond the intelligence of the niggers and the pakis that flood the country.

      All that comes out of their mouths are words, the ‘proof’ comes from the idiots who resort to violence and moronic harassment.

      An awareness of the perception others have of you is a fundamental foundation of democratic politics. The farcical aspect about the BNP success in the recent elections (apart from the fact it was to a pointless and powerless foreign parliament) is that their rhetoric is justified by those that most vehemently oppose them.

    6. Leon — on 21st June, 2009 at 2:53 am  

      Jesus Kulvinder talk about grabbing the wrong end of the stick. How you can compare victims of racisms sympathetically to fascists is beyond me…

    7. atropos — on 21st June, 2009 at 7:30 am  

      “The way I see it you either throw eggs and harrass them left right and centre until they cease or you find other tactics.”

      Well done, Lad. Uncle Benito would be proud of you. Now read his memoires to polish up your justification of stifling free speech.

      Kulvinder. Very well put. You have the right of the argument.

    8. Boyo — on 21st June, 2009 at 7:31 am  

      What Kulvinder said. If the BNP didn’t exist, then they would most certainly be invented. The BNP is the closest ally to the very people “egging” them on - both ultimately wish to suppress reasonable debate.

    9. dave bones — on 21st June, 2009 at 7:44 am  

      I would probably draw the line at Unite Against Fascism basically stalking the guy and trying this at every possible event.

      err.. isn’t that what UAF are totally set up for?

    10. Ravi Naik — on 21st June, 2009 at 7:44 am  

      Kulvinder is spot-on. The egg throwing and the harassing is disgraceful and undemocratic, and it helps the BNP consolidate its narrative that the Left, the Muslims and ethinic minorities are against the principles of free speech and democracy.

      This really serves their purpose, they have nothing else to say - certainly not about policies on how to solve healthcare, education, the economy - why are we denying the opportunity for them to speak about those issues, and other fantasies like taking Britain all the way to… 1948?

      If we are incapable of defeating them using our tools - rational debate, facts and logic - and instead resort to violence, then I have to say we have a real problem.

    11. Rumbold — on 21st June, 2009 at 8:36 am  

      Let’s say that we believe that throwing eggs at people is wrong unless incredible benefits come from it. Therefore, does the anti-BNP cause benefit from this? Of course it doesn’t. Nobody who might be mildly sympathetic towards the BNP will become less so after this. As Ravi says, this simply feeds into their victim narrative.

      Is it okay to pelt anyone we disagree with? Can I throw eggs at socialists, since I believe they propose policies that damage this country?

      Fascists in 1930s Britain didn’t really get too much support for three reasons: they were thought ridiculous (wuth their black shorts etc.), there wasn’t the conditions, and the advent of WWII turned them into traitors.

    12. Refresh — on 21st June, 2009 at 9:52 am  

      Egg and tomato throwing has long been a form of protest in politics in this country - ask John Major, ask Anne Widdicombe who said as much the other day. An occupational hazard.

      As for what has happened to the Romanians and the BNP-affiliated organisation (and others) seeking to rally more thugs to the venture, it just tells us there is another battle going on which could easily get out of control.

      Of course you have to tackle the lies, deceit and conceit of the BNP through argument, but equally it makes sense that UAF does not believe they should be given the air of respectability either. Which is exactly what Nick Griffin was seeking to do by holding a press conference outside Parliament. Marking his arrival. Very poor judgement on his part.

      And no doubt the UAF and other organisations will be working amongst the working class to challenge the ideas of the BNP. They can show that the BNP does not represent the working class and are against their interests.

      The logical rational arguments will also have to reach the coalface and it will be these organisations who can do it.

    13. blah — on 21st June, 2009 at 10:37 am  

      “As I recall, the fascists didn’t like it when people chucked bricks at them back in 1936; Mosley’s Blackshirts didn’t gain political support after that, they lost it.”

      The ironic thing is that while the Battle of Cable Street stopping Moseleys fascists marching through the East End is today universally celebrated, were the BNP to try that today and the locals try and stop them we would have Mad Mel and the right wing press talking about “Londonistan” Muslims controlling London and a threat to freedom of speech by Muslims

    14. blah — on 21st June, 2009 at 10:39 am  

      Kulvinder is clearly a white nationalist masquerading as someone with an Asian name. Ah well its progress of a kind I guess. Maybe the BNP will start serving curry at their meetings

    15. Refresh — on 21st June, 2009 at 11:01 am  

      Sorry Blah, kulvinder is a well-respected contributor here. He is as you find him and will often challenge everyone’s thought processes, which of course must be welcomed.

    16. Refresh — on 21st June, 2009 at 11:06 am  


      ‘The ironic thing is that while the Battle of Cable Street stopping Moseleys fascists marching through the East End is today universally celebrated, were the BNP to try that today and the locals try and stop them we would have Mad Mel and the right wing press talking about “Londonistan” Muslims controlling London and a threat to freedom of speech by Muslims’

      This has already happened. Recall Bradford, Oldham etc. And that was even before the term 911 was coined.

    17. cjcjc — on 21st June, 2009 at 11:42 am  

      Can I throw eggs at both Griffin and the UAF crowd, please?

    18. billericaydicky — on 21st June, 2009 at 12:40 pm  

      There are still people out there who simply do not understand what is happening in relation to the BNP. First thing to do, forget Mosely and the thirties and the NF in the sixties and seventies. That was then this is now.

      After he became hair in 1999 Griffin moved the whole thrust of the BNP away from street confrontational politics to the ballot box. The slogan was “Off with the boots, on with the suites”. Basically the much truncated Anti Nazi League was therefore sidelined becuase it was geared to waving lollypos and shouting ” Nazi scum off our street” seemingly not noticing that the nazis were not marching on the streets any more.

      The alternative strategy that was devised by the Searchlight group was geared to the change of direction by Griffin. There would now have to be a long haul. It was clear that there was going to be no collapse of the BNP in the way the NF had when the Tories that had left the party essentially over the decision by Edward Heath to honour the passports of the East African Asians returned to the fold after Thatcher became leader.

      UAF was formed as a backroom deal between two Trotskist groups, Ken Livingstone’s Socialist Action and the Socialist Workers Party which had always controlled the ANL. It was a marriage of necessity. The SWP/ANL could still put people on the streets or at least fill a conference hall.

      Because of their wheeling and dealing in the unions the main union bosses wouldn’t give them any money. The Livingstone/Jasper front the National Assembly Against Racism had no activities, few members and no credibility but through Livingstone had access to City Hall and Union money.

      Initially there was an attempt to keep Searchlight out but at union insistence they were given two places on the steering committee. From day one there was tension becuase of totally different strategies and tactics.

      The first thing UAF did was to demand that all existing Searchlight allied groups around the country change their names to UAF and put themselves under the control of the UAF headquarters based in the SWP dominated colege lecturers union that is now UCU.

      This was refused as Searchlight strategy was that anti fascist work must be locally based,what the BNPis doing in Lancashire is not what it is doing in Essex as well as the fact that it was exactly this kind of SWP control freakery which destroyed the ANL.

      After several attempts to intimidate local groups through threats of violence the SWP just renamed all branches as the local UAF branches. What also happened was that on the insistence of the black nationalists of NAAR the white full time organisers were sacked and two complete incompetents were parachuted in, Weyman Bennett and Sabby Dhalu. Neither had a clue of any kind of grass roots organising and were actually hostile to white people claiming that they were all racists.

      Searchlight eventually brought into being the Hope Not Hate campaign a title I was never comfortable with but which is now a brand name and the biggest anti fascist movement this country has ever seen. From day one therefore there were two parallel campaigns.

      After a year the two Searchlight repson the UAF steeting committee and Searchlight itself resigned saying that decisins were not being taken democatically and that it was impossible to work in such a way.

      Basically NAAR and the SWP Central Committee would decided on some publicity stunt and expect it to be implemented. What they wouldn’t do was actually get out into the white areas that were voting BNP and leaflet, knock on doors and talk to people. They were and are stuck in the seventies with the demos and pop concerts.

      What Hope Not Hate have been able to do is build a genuine popular front that isn’t controlled by any faction. Each group around the country reacts to the BNP in its area with specific campaigns and literature and because they are locally controlled they cannot be infiltrated and taken over which, as a left libertarian, suits me perfectly.

      As the years went on it became clearer and clearer which tactics were working and which were not. Union support was gradually pulled from UAF as it was clear that it was doing nothing and that in fact the union money was being diverted to pay the bills of the SWP. In 2006 in the campaign against the BNP in Barking and Dagenham we saw no sign of UAF atall because they were all in Tower Hamlets as Respect.

      In the campaign to keep the BNP off the GLA last year UAF did nothing but when Barnbrook was elected they held a march through the West End of London to demand that he be sacked, something which was legally impossible. Similarly in the last Euro campaign they were nowhere to be seen mounting a badly attended po concert four days before the election which attracted the age group least likely to be registered to vote or to vote atall.

      UAF is virtually dead in the water and it is only by stunts like the one at Parliament that it can hope to maintain any kind of presence. Let’snow look at what happened and the fall out. Firstly there was no ecrte that the press conference was to take place, it was announced on the BNP’s web site as was Simon Darby’s mobile number.

      I called him as an freelance journalist that morning and he gave me the details and also said that they expected the far left to turn up. I saw what happened and it was clear that at no time was he in danger of beng phsically attacked. His security team were more than capable of dealing with the lollypop wavers and there was never any intention of a punch up by UAF even if they had anyone capable of mounting such an attack.

      I spoke to Darby again afterwards and he seemed wuite happy about the whole thing. It is clear that UAF were lured into a set piece situation from which they emerged looking stupid. Their performances on TV were absymal. Bennett came over as thick, which he is, and Martin Smith with his fake mockney accent came across as a thug, which he would like to be but hasn’t got the bottle for.

      Everyone I have spoken to regards the whole thing as apublic relations disaster for not just UAF but the anti BNP movement in general because we all get tarred with the same brush.

      This is what UAF now is, a handfull of studenty types throwing a couple of eggs in a situation that was set up to humiliate them. I have always seen that there is around the movement a kind of person who gets a vicarious thrill from any kind of violence and there are some posting here.

      People of my age who have experienced real violence against the far right will attest that there is a time and a place for it but that was then, this is now.

      On the Cass report into the death of Blair Peach the Commissioner of the Met Sir Paul Stephenson is to be questioned Thursday coming at a meeting of the Metropolital Police Authority at City Hall where I will be asking the Commissioner to release the report and if not why not.

    19. Leon — on 21st June, 2009 at 1:40 pm  

      In case anyone is actually interested I was talking about tactics which work not the morality of using said tactics…

    20. Hantsboy — on 21st June, 2009 at 1:50 pm  

      non-white British citizens might justifiably be looking with suspicion at their white neighbours today, thinking that a significant proportion of us were secretly harbouring fascist sympathies.

      Why should it bother them what whites think of them ?
      There are laws in place to protect immigrants and those of minority ethnic backgrounds.
      When the British (indigenous) ran India they didn’t give a damn what the natives thought of them.

      There is nothing whites can do now unless they rise up in rebellion like Geronimo.
      And I can’t see that happening. Can you ?

    21. Katy Newton — on 21st June, 2009 at 10:22 pm  

      I’d like to think there’s a better answer to the BNP than chucking eggs at them. Utterly juvenile. What delegitimises the BNP in the eyes of the majority of the electorate is their blatant racism, not a bunch of “activists” slinging eggs at them. I can’t fucking stand the BNP, but when I saw the video the first thing I thought was “what a bunch of pointless amateurs”, and I wasn’t talking about Nick Griffin and his band of white supremacists, either.

      I don’t care whether it’s undemocratic or not, you understand. By all means shout them down with a megaphone, but throwing an egg isn’t freedom of speech, it’s pointless (albeit petty and minor) violence. Can’t we do better than that?

    22. Sunny — on 22nd June, 2009 at 3:09 am  

      Katy we can. I didn’t say that was the only tactic going forward to tackle the BNP.

    23. Kismet Hardy — on 22nd June, 2009 at 9:53 am  

      I told my mum I was off to egg Nick Griffin. She made it into omlette, put onions and spices in it, then packed it in a tupperware box for me.

    24. Ravi Naik — on 22nd June, 2009 at 10:27 am  

      Katy we can. I didn’t say that was the only tactic going forward to tackle the BNP.

      Actually, what we need is a sound strategy and remind ourselves what is our goal. The goal is to make the BNP irrelevant and out of mainstream. A tactic of throwing eggs is satisfying for those of us here, but it makes the BNP stronger because it fits their victim narrative - so the tactic “celebrated” here not only does not work, it actually goes against our goal.

      And there was another initiative to throw ethnic food on BNP officials, I mean really? (And yeah, throwing and wasting food is really a nice way to protest in rich countries). You might as well have the BNP organising these “anti-fascist” events.

    25. Ravi Naik — on 22nd June, 2009 at 11:05 am  

      Yeah it also works on those fucking romanians


      And my favourite rotten egg on Nick Griffin’s face.

    26. hantsboy — on 22nd June, 2009 at 11:34 am  

      Don’t forget to separate the whites (from the eggs)

    27. Golam Murtaza — on 22nd June, 2009 at 11:37 am  

      @Ravi. Agreed. Anyone who dares to waste excellent food by chucking it at the BNP needs their head examining.

    28. Sgt Twining — on 22nd June, 2009 at 5:55 pm  

      Chaps, ladies, throwing egss is an assault.

    29. Sgt Twining — on 22nd June, 2009 at 5:55 pm  

      eggs even.

    30. Sgt Twining — on 22nd June, 2009 at 5:56 pm  

      Didn’t someone once throw an egg at Prescott?

    31. Katy Newton — on 22nd June, 2009 at 10:29 pm  

      @Sunny: there is a part of me that enjoys seeing Nick Griffin covered in yolk, I just worry that it trivialises the debate in the long term.

    32. Gareth — on 22nd June, 2009 at 11:24 pm  

      My opinion is that the egg throwing will galvanise the core supporters of the BNP against ‘the left’ (a label they seem to use against anyone who questions them), and give the party as a whole ammo, with regards to having their free speech stifled. But what is more damaging is that when given the opportunity for debate (on the Big Question) the UAF refused.

      I can understand their reason for this, but I don’t agree with it. The more air time/column inches that can be given actively and intelligently challenging the BNP’s policies the better.

      What really worries me is, as billericaydicky said, the fact that the BNP were happy with the outcome. And as was seen at the G20 protests it only takes one person to smash a window (or in this case throw a punch or something harder than an egg) to completely discredit a cause in the eyes of the public.

      Also do not underestimate the scorn that a lot of people hold for protesting students, “liberal lefties” and do not think for one second that the BNP aren’t capatilising on this.

    33. Sunny — on 22nd June, 2009 at 11:37 pm  

      I agree.

      more on this soon

    34. Refresh — on 23rd June, 2009 at 12:15 am  

      I don’t for a moment believe BillericayDicky’s assertion the BNP were happy. They have no choice but to say that.

    35. billericaydicky — on 23rd June, 2009 at 7:43 am  

      Refresh, Information coming from within the BNP confirms they are more than happy with the publicity. As I pointed out the useless perfomances on tv by Weyman Bennett and Martin Smith have made us all look stupid because Joe publci will equate the mainstream anti fascist movement with the morons of UAF.

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