July 16th, 2004

Far Right

The BBC infiltrated a reporter into the far-right BNP. They screened the results last night. Basically what you see is one canny political operator- the Cambridge-educated Nick Griffin- trying to mould a bunch of thugs and losers and thickos into a respectable political party. He puts these chimps of his into grey suits and has them stand in local elections, but once away from the lime-light (or so they think) they relapse into default mode and fantasize about machine-gunning mosques.

So they're never going to get anywhere in real political terms. Or that's what I'd like to think. But they've already made some progress. Griffin isn't terribly smart or terribly charismatic, but a little goes a long way in any form of politics, and he's already managed to turn what was little more than a skinhead gang into a machine that wins council seats.

I tell myself that the Griffin and his gang are laughable, but then I remember that the nazis were laughable too. I've never understood quite how Hitler jumped from being a speechifying low-life to Chancellor of Germany. Conditions aren't right for Griffin yet; they probably never will be. But the raw materials of fascist ascendancy- fear and ignorance and stupidity- are always in plentiful supply.

If things continue as they are at present we're safe. But things never do continue as they are at present.

Sticky Little Paw

Things I picked up on my walk this morning:

Down by the lake- a grey goose feather.

A child's marble- multicoloured but mainly blue.

A spray of roses. I didn't pluck them; they had been ripped from the bush and discarded.

Once upon a time feathers were technology. Cut 'em one way to make quill pens- as used by William Shakespeare esq (and others.) Cut 'em another way to fletch arrows.

When I was a kid, I had a jam jar full of marbles. Convince me that rubies, emeralds and sapphires are any more beautiful.

I can't think of anything fresh to say about roses. Gertrude Stein summed up the current state of thinking on that topic.

What I have here- in my sticky little paw- are the materials for a History of Civilisation.