Monday, May 17, 2004

Fascism as a Family Business

This Guardian story on Jennifer Griffin, daughter of notorious BNP thug-führer Nick Griffin, really has to be read to be believed. The naiveté of the girl is really something! One almost (with the stress on almost) feels sorry for the poor sheltered creature for being so taken in by her father's claptrap.

Were it not for her ambition to lead the British National Party, Jennifer Griffin would be a typical 17-year-old girl, preoccupied with fashion, cosmetics and a boyfriend who makes her blush every time she mentions his name.

But Jennifer is not typical. As the eldest daughter of Nick Griffin, chairman of the BNP, and Sharron Edwards, a powerful party campaigner in her own right, Jennifer has been raised in a household thick with politics.


'The Welsh language and identity is being threatened by the white flight of native-born Britons who are moving to Wales to escape the growing number of immigrants entering England,' she says, thumping her Coca-Cola back down onto the table.

'One day I want to lead the BNP or at least have a high position that enables me to help them. I only decided that for certain last year though; before that, I wanted to be a vet but because I don't like blood and hate seeing animals in pain, I thought I would take the easy path and go into politics.'

When pressed as to how her beliefs can co-exist with the findings of the latest census showing that the only population transfer threatening Wales is that of outward migration, Jennifer flushes. 'Really?' she says in amazement.

When told that 22 per cent of those classifying themselves as Welsh now live elsewhere in Britain, with the greatest loss being the decision of the young and university-educated to move to the south east of England, she fiddles with her pink mobile phone.

'If that was true, I am sure my father would have told me,' she mutters. 'The Daily Mail seems sure that illegal immigration is causing terrible problems across the country. [See, what did I tell y'all about the Daily Wail?] I am only 17. I can't be expected to know all the facts.'


Jennifer rejects any comparison between herself and Stowe, claiming that she has made her own political decisions. At the same time, however, she dismisses the idea that Britain benefits from migrant labour because, she says, her mother told her that only 8 per cent of nurses are foreign-born. (According to the Home Office, 47 per cent of nurses and 23 per cent of doctors are foreign born.)

She admits that despite her claims that Britain is the land of milk and honey for asylum seekers, she has no idea how much they receive in benefits each week. When told that adult asylum seekers exist on £37.77, 30 per cent below the poverty line, she is genuinely shocked.

'They should receive more than that,' she gasps, then pauses and adds quietly: 'Of course, dad would not agree.' She glances into the backroom of the pub where her father is sitting out of earshot. 'I guess there are a few things he and I disagree on after all but I decided the BNP was for me at the age of 14 and I will never change that view. It guess it is just in my blood.'

Those final two paragraphs give some indication that the young Ms. Griffin hasn't actually absorbed her father's viciousness into the marrow of her being. Here's hoping it's just a phase of parental approval-seeking that she's going through, and that she'll find the strength to look on her father with a more detached eye and reject his politics. If that bit about deciding that "the BNP was for me at the age of 14" is like most schoolgirl promises to remain "bestest friends forever", it won't be more than a year or two before the break with Griffin pere comes along.