Page last updated at 10:09 GMT, Wednesday, 28 April 2010 11:09 UK

Political ad breakdown: The BNP Loves Britain

BNP PEB montage

POLITICAL AD BREAKDOWN
Brian Wheeler's review of election broadcasts

The UK Independence Party must have thought it had cornered the market in the anti-politics vote with its "sod the lot, vote UKIP" poster.

But in this election broadcast, BNP leader Nick Griffin goes further still, urging people to use their vote to "get your own back" on the entire political class.

Voting BNP is, he says, the "one thing that will really upset the politicians".

Title: The BNP Loves Britain
Featuring: Nick Griffin, Union Flags. Elgar's Enigma Variations
Key scenes: Wartime footage of Winston Churchill, a Sikh man praising the BNP

He may be an MEP now, but the BNP leader still likes to portray himself and his party as political outsiders, who dare to speak the " truth" about issues such as immigration and what it calls in this film the "colonisation" of Britain by "foreign immigrants".

The broadcast strikes a doom-laden note from the start, with an air raid siren and wartime searchlights, before Mr Griffin tells us he is "terrified" for the future of "all our children" because "very soon this will no longer be our country".

A clipped, officer class voiceover then repeats familiar BNP claims about immigrants jumping queues for housing, jobs and benefits, before moving smoothly on to the subject of "crooked politicians" and their fiddled expenses.

The broadcast is aimed squarely at white working class voters in traditional Labour heartlands, who feel angry and disenchanted with the traditional political parties and anxious about the impact of immigration on their communities.

Race relations law makes it tricky for the BNP, or any party, to speak directly about "white" and "black" people.

Second-class citizens

There is a lot of talk here about "we British" and "our people" over stills of fresh-faced young white families and children.

"We're not second class citizens," reads one caption over a beaming family group.

Rajinder Singh
Until recently BNP member Rajinder Singh wouldn't have been able to join the party

The broadcast also attempts to soothe the fears of those who might have heard nasty things about the party from the "media liars" Mr Griffin rails against in his closing monologue.

A reassuring ex-policeman (Michael Barnbrook, no relation to the party's London assembly member Richard) and Commons "sleaze buster", who is now a BNP candidate, puts in an appearance.

A Sikh BNP member and "special advisor", Rajinder Singh (who until a recent court ruling ended its whites-only policy would not have been allowed to join) says the party is just "standing up for their own people".

Above all, the broadcast plays the patriotism card for all it is worth, using archive footage of potent national symbols such as the Spitfire, D-Day and, most controversially of all, Winston Churchill.

Despite frequent angry protests from the Churchill family about the BNP's use of his name and image in its campaign material, a framed picture of the former war leader is visible over Mr Griffin's shoulder all the time he is speaking at a desk.

It's also while sitting at this desk that the BNP's leader appears to make a subliminal comment on the Labour Party.

Gesture politics

"Labour, Conservatives, the Lib Dems, they are all the same," he says, as he lifts his hands slowly from the desk before clasping them together.

It is the sort of gesture a driver who has just been cut up in traffic might make out of his van window, although this is not as blatant.

Blink and you miss it. And perhaps it was entirely unintentional anyway.

But there is one thing that's definitely not on view in this broadcast.

In one of the more bizarre episodes of this election campaign, the makers of Marmite, Unilever, threatened legal action when a jar of the savoury spread appeared over Mr Griffin's right shoulder in an online version of the BNP broadcast that was released last week.

The BNP initially said the clip was a spoof, but then claimed it had not been responsible for adding the jar of Marmite.

The BNP broadcast was mired in further controversy ahead of its broadcast when members of broadcasting unions and the Unite Against Fascism campaign picketed the BBC to call for it to be withdrawn from the schedules.

The campaigners claim the BBC has given "unwarranted and uncritical" coverage to the BNP during this election campaign.

Censorship claim

A BBC spokesman said it was ''obliged to treat political parties contesting the election with due impartiality'', as set out in its charter and would "ensure appropriate scrutiny" of the party over the course of the campaign.

The BNP is fielding more than 300 candidates at this election, which means it is entitled to a broadcast, just as it was at the 2005 election.

The film also went out on commercial channels, although Channel 4 showed an old Lib Dem broadcast instead.

The BNP said Channel 4 had demanded last minute edits, which it had been unable to carry out in time. In a typical broadside against its perceived enemies in the media, the party accused the broadcaster of politically-motivated "censorship".

Channel 4 said it had not censored the BNP broadcast nor refused to let it be aired. Having seen the broadcast prior to transmission, it wrote to the BNP outlining "detailed concerns".

"Channel 4 received no response to our correspondence and no further tapes were delivered to the channel."


Here is a selection of your comments.

What on earth were the medals in the display case behind him all about? Were we supposed to imagine that Griffin himself had won all those?
Chris, Pewsey

The hand gesture was not subliminal at all. I'm disgusted that you allowed such a gesture to be broadcast. Have the BBC lost all political principle?
Constance Michaels, Burnley

My wife and I, although undecided who we will vote for, thought the BNP election broadcast to be the best we have seen in this entire campaign. And what exactly is wrong with, "a clipped, officer class voiceover"? It makes a pleasant change from all the local accents we hear so much on TV these days!
Alan, Battle. England



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