Thursday, October 8, 2009...9:30 am

Who's behind the BNP babes?

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The BNP seems to be engaged in some clever, if off-the-wall, underground marketing campaigning at the moment.
My students at yesterday morning’s online journalism seminar flagged up an odd post on the Vice Magazine site (which is, as you might guess, essentially sleazoid trash. Not that there’s anything wrong with that).
The post – Babes of the BNP – was presented as an interview with three young female BNP supporters, complete with pouty and slightly under-dressed photographs.
Several things struck me.
First, the site prefaced the post with some obligatory anti-BNP rhetoric.

You no longer need to be a hatchet-faced National Front refugee to join the whites-only club. The fascist menace no longer wears jackboots […] Feminism’s here, so now girls can dig race hate too. As the BNP’s attempts to reposition itself as a mainstream party have advanced its perimeter far beyond the usual crewcuts-n-tats brigade, we spoke to three of the more acceptable new faces of the unacceptable. What a bunch of hotties! Phwoar! Makes you aroused to be British.

So – this isn’t a pro-fascist piece or anything. Great.
Second, the girls themselves came out of the interviews seeming, well, a bit dim. Here’s full-time mum Rebecca (23) on the thorny question of national identity:

What do you think symbolizes Britain best?
Well, I used to know Britain as strong, and over the past couple of years, I don’t know if I’ve grown up, but I’ve seen it going soft. The memory I have is the war, and how we fighted [sic] all the people in WWI and WWII, and it makes me proud to be British.

So far, so derogatory.
But wait. How did this piece come to be written?
It’s the first thing I asked my students – and their reaction was on the lines of “well, this blogger has found these girls and just done this funny interview with them”.
Sure. Vice Magazine just happened to find three young, fairly presentable, female BNP members and went and interviewed them. And got hold of pouty pictures.
Nah. Actually what Vice did was visit – a strangely empty web site that features, oh, what a surprise, the same three interviews and photos. And nothing else. A fantastic piece of investigative journalism.
There’s no other information about the site at all – except a disclaimer at the bottom of the page:

© BNP Babes — BNP Babes is in no way affiliated with the British National Party or other similar organisations.

I don’t buy it. I suspect whoever’s behind the BNP marketing effort had a hand in this. Let’s face it, unless there’s a BNP Facebook page where all these girls have a profile (there isn’t, I checked) this has to come from somewhere – and that somewhere will have involved the BNP membership list at some point.
Of course the alternative is that this is all a hoax – someone’s just trying it on to see how far it’ll spread.
But I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it’s part of a BNP normalisation tactic. Yes, the girls seem very unpolished and, yes, it’s all packaged in an “aren’t the BNP ghastly” wrapper. But underneath that area couple of other messages

  • BNP members are ordinary – just like you, or your (slightly dim) girlfriend.
  • BNP members can be quite sexy – why not come and meet them?

I’m noticing quite a bit of this lately. One is the high-profile “should the BNP go on Question Time” meme. Then there’s the experience of a freelance friend of mine, who is having to bring the BNP into an article about election marketing.
Normalisation – it’s everywhere. I’d be very interested to hear anyone else’s take on all this.


  • Assuming this isn’t a hoax, it might well be part of what you call the BNP’s “normalisation tactics”. But the fact is that those who have voted for the BNP are not abnormal. Misguided, maybe; but abnormal, no. I’m not a BNP supporter, nor do I share any of their positions on race. But with the main political parties so disconnected from the concerns of ordinary voters, and so lacking in original policies, not to mention honesty and integrity, groups like the BNP will step in to hoover up votes.

  • Not abnormal? Wanting Britian to be entirely white and “getting rid” of all non-white people within England, whilst also hating homosexuals, and pretty much anyone else who is not WASP, is not really what I would consider normal. Infact anyone who holds them views I would consider to be near-brain damaged.

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