When Nick Griffin declared his bankruptcy to the public, he reassured us all that he would not be stopped from serving as an MEP – the collective British nation was surely relieved. “A note for all: Being bankrupt does not prevent me being or standing as an MEP. It does free me from financial worries.” Griffin posted this note on Twitter, and later revealed that he was intending to reveal a ‘booklet on dealing with debt’.
Ultimately, Nick Griffin and his party, The British Nationalist Party, are figures of no small amount of turbulence; often hailed as a racist organisation, Griffin has, in his tenure as leader of the party, become a not overly liked member of the population. Certainly pictures of him in his earlier years supporting as a member of the National Front and a variety of, not entirely positive, interview quotes have circulated widely around the media. It is perhaps fair to say that, at this stage, when our country is so multi-cultural and diverse as it is, reports that Griffin has fallen on hard times is unlikely to be met, by many, with any great sadness.
In truth, support for the BNP is overwhelmingly, well, underwhelming. A brief spell of fame several years ago catapulted Griffin into the public eye, with a particularly memorable appearance on Question Time, and since then, and perhaps in no small part down to the very poor light Griffin found himself in, support for him and his party has dropped off since the very brief 2008-2010 spike.
…remembered for racist comments…
It is an interesting reflection of modern British tabloid interest that a man that, in many respects, is little more than a fringe player in terms of real politics is making any headlines; to me it seems that Griffin has become a celebrity in almost the same way that ex League One footballers are – remembered for racist comments and for long ago taken pictures, Griffin has been relegated to the level of celebrity most commonly found in the Big Brother house or in the jungle during I’m A Celebrity. Griffin’s profile is certainly more a reflection of the phenomena of British celebrity than any legitimate section, faction or corporeal part of the British political system.
Searching for statistics about the BNP is perhaps interesting enough; Googling the phrase brings up years old statistics and forums from around the time that Griffin’s short celebrity tenure occurred and recent ones are difficult to come by – in fact, the overall impression of the state of the BNP is that it is a ‘political party’ with very little, or indeed a negligible, following. Many people have argued that erstwhile supporters of the party have defected to the more readily acceptable UKIP, but all that is clear is that Griffin’s plight is news only because of his radical beliefs and peripheral position.
Infamy and fame are separate status’; Griffin’s situation rests somewhere in the midst of the two. Although his actions have not been, at least not widely, illegal, he has been subject of major disapproval as a result of his beliefs. Infamy, and the visage of celebrity that Griffin has found himself occupying, are, as I said, not dissimilar from the fame shared by members of reality television, and his fame will, unfortunately perhaps, continue until he has passed from his position in petty politics – until then it is admissible that his bankruptcy is news – until 2004, declaring bankruptcy would invalid a candidate from standing for the position but this rule was reversed.
…there is, at the moment, little hope of their party rising into real power…
As I touched on earlier, the modern state of the British populations means that, for the foreseeable future, the BNP will not hold any real sway in the way that this country is run; similarly, for those purportedly defecting to UKIP, there is, at the moment, little hope of their party rising into real power – interestingly, UKIP leader Nigel Farage is a similar sort of spectacle not to unlike, although certainly not so vilified as, Griffin that is sometimes in the press as a sort of comic relief element to politics.
So in conclusion. Nick Griffin, leader of the BNP and once labelled Britain’s Most Hated politician, a victory that he held over David Cameron and Gordon Brown, has declared bankruptcy; he’s going to be creating a booklet about bankruptcy, in which he will presumably reminisce about his own financial troubles; and he is also still the leader of a small, although disproportionately publicised, political party. At the very least I predict that we can expect to find Griffin, at some point in the next year, strutting his stuff on national television – whether in Tom Daley’s Splash, Ant and Dec’s Jungle or in some other ‘celebrity’ show – Griffin’s celebrity goes only so far as his coverage allows.