Wednesday, 28 October 2009

How I (accidentally) got the BNP to confess they are causing climate change

Recently, I accidentally strayed into the world of investigative journalist. This is an unusual thing to do, so let me preface it.

I am just coming to the end of my Neuroscience PhD, so have been busy over recent months. I also do stand-up comedy, whenever I can. I’ve been doing comedy for over 4 years now, and now that my time is freeing up, I decided I should make more of a go of it. And sometimes, the quickest way to the top is by catching a ride on the bandwagon.

The BNP have been in the news a lot recently, and as such have been subjected to much satirical and comedic analysis. Who am I to swim against the tide? That’s how you end up beached. I’m a fan of the beach, but let’s not confuse a metaphor. So I decided to write some BNP based jokes.

I’ve heard recently that the BNP sell party merchandise such as T-shirts via an online shop. This both amused and worried me. But then a thought occurs; Are the garments made in the UK, or abroad, like most garments these days? If it’s the latter, then the BNP is giving money to foreign countries, which seems counter to their policies. If it’s the former, judging by the reputation of the British textile industry, anyone who buys one will probably ‘send them back’.

However, my scientific side wouldn’t let me make any reference to this without doing the research. So I explored the online shop, which is a veritable treasure trove of twatness, complete with an entire ‘Gollies’ section. However, I found no sign of the information as to whether the merchandise was locally sourced or not.

I had to know. The fact that it wasn’t mentioned suggested that the merchandise was made abroad. They wouldn’t pass up the chance to add a ‘100% British’ logo would they? But I won’t make accusations without evidence. That’s their game, not mine. So, setting up a new email account (I don’t want to end up on any lists myself), I emailed the address provided. In order to avoid seeming like someone taking the piss, which what I planned to be, I decided to be well mannered but poorly educated. The ideal BNP target; polite, but thick. Here is the genuine email I sent. All spelling mistakes are deliberate.

ME: Hello
I was browzing your online shop. Tho I like all your merchandize, I was wondering, are your shits and others merchandize all made in
Britain? I want to check before making a purchaze

Less than five minutes later, I got this reply.

SHOP: We've been unable to change Britain's climate to grow cotton locally, hence the cotton for the shirts comes from overseas.

May I assume that your computer, car, and appliances are all made in Great Britain? I'd just like to check for consistency, and make sure you're not being hypocritical.

All the best

I guess this is why most customer service centres are based overseas, if the typical British response is to berate anyone who makes an enquiry. However, much to my surprise (and everyone else’s I’d imagine), it turns out that the BNP are deliberately causing climate change. That’s not a wise thing to tell a casual enquirer, I thought. More on that later.

The last point is fair, I would be hypocritical if I was making a genuine enquiry. Is it wrong to lie to strangers? I always thought it was, but then I remembered how the BNP recruit people, so I thought British Monkey see, British Monkey do.

ME: Hello again

Thanx for reply. I see your point. I try to buy British where I can. I bought this PC from my brother and hes from the same town as me.
I dont have a car, cant afford it, but will get a british one if I do.
Ill ask my mam where all our other stuff comes from when she gets home from work
Thanx again

Like I said, polite but thick is what I was going for. I threw in a few, by my standards, obvious jokes, so I didn’t expect a response. 5 mins later, my expectations were dashed.

SHOP: We do the best we can to source local merchandise that is affordable, but it's not always possible.

All the best,

I was getting the impression that this person was bored. It usually takes several days for a response from an online retailer, and I’ve had 2 within 10 minutes of my first message. I guess the silent ‘majority’ that the BNP claim to represent are happy to make their own shirts out of old Klan uniforms and immigrant blood. Or something. So, now that I’ve started…

ME: Thanx
Also, do you ave to pay by credit card? I dont ave one yet as im not 18 for 2 years and its my dads birthday present so want it to be a suprise

I wondered, are the BNP willing to take money from a naive, semi-illiterate teenager?

That was a pretty stupid question, as it turns out.

SHOP: You can pay by cheque or postal order made out to @!@! The address is Blah blah blah avoid getting sued etc. The only problem is that it will take longer and might not arrive in time. When is your dad's birthday?

They did give me the actual address of course, which seemed foolish. I don’t like leaving a question unanswered though, even if they are addressed to someone who doesn’t exist. So…

ME: Not for while yet, so thats ok, was just looking now because Im suspended from school.
He doesnt get out for another 3 weeks anyway, so its cool I think

So, I’m a misbehaving, poorly educated teenager with an incarcerated father. Or possibly he’s in hospital. What advice would they give a person like me? Surely they would advise against me spending money on their hatemongering merchandise?

SHOP: OK, that's no problem then. I'm sorry for the tone of my first email. I get tired of journalists causing trouble.

All the best to you, and keep out of trouble!

In my defence, I’m not a journalist. In their defence, I am a comic doing research that will be used to openly mock them and their ideals. Is that better or worse than a journalist? And the BNP told me to stay out of trouble. Anyone see any problem with that? What do the BNP define as trouble?

So, as a result of my self-inflicted obligation to back up my meagre jokes with facts, I now have written statements from the BNP that they are actively contributing to climate change and will continue to do so until Britain’s climate is altered (in order to support non-native organisms, ironically).

Supporters could argue they aren’t being serious. But why say it in the first place? It’s the sort of comment that would seriously get seized upon in the world of politics, which they vehemently claim to be part of. If I were a journalist, this would put food on my table for quite some time.

Supporters could also say that I’m interacting with someone who’s not responsible for speaking for the party. I would disagree, this person has to deal with enquiries from the general public, and if they’re more indicative of a typical party member then I’d say their statements are more valid, not less.

What if it’s true? The BNP are actively attempting to destabilize the climate? This could be corrected by my own system, where instead of fossil fuels, we burn the BNP to generate electricity, providing bountiful energy (if Nick Griffin is indicative, they’re all large individuals) while cutting down consumption, giving whole new meaning to the term ‘White Power’.

But more sinisterly, my hapless ‘probing’ reveals that the BNP are happy to take money from ignorant children, with incarcerated or ill parents.

If I wasn’t anti-BNP before, I am now. And I was before, so now I am more so. All I wanted to do was avoid making false claims like they do, and I ended up concocting a whole new identity and background in order to lie to a stranger. I’m not proud of myself, but then any blow against the BNP is worth it, I feel. They do far worse, I’m sure.

It seems the BNP are wary of journalists and politicians, but have no fear or concern for comedians. I like to think I’ve shown that, even if it was an accident, this is an oversight that they’ll end up seriously regretting.


Paul Blanchard said...

Very good! Only the BNP could actually make themselves appear worse by trying to help a 'child'...
Also, I like the 'white power' slogan. In the name of science, someone should test how long Mr. Griffin would burn for...

Manic Impressive said...

Oh man, that's just wonderfully wonderful! Hilarious, I tell ya. The BNP - the one thing they ARE good for is a laugh....but, a nervouse of those "This would be a lot funnier if they weren't actually serious and people weren't actually joining this party" kind of a laughs.

Anonymous said...

Alternativly, you are as you say just trying to jump on the bandwagon and find any way possible to have a pop at the BNP.

I am opposed to what the BNP stand for, but regretabely you have not uncovered anything and false critacism just gives them excuses.

The comment about climate change was clearly sarcastic and taking this piss...this was pointed out later ("I'm sorry for the tone etc"). And no they were not a spokesperson for the BNP, they just happned to be in the BNP and were speaking (not the same, if I vote Labour and then say I want to make alcohol illegal it doesn't mean that Labour does).

As for saying they sell hateful things to children with parents in prison. Well yes, they are a shop selling T-shirts (even if they are hateful T-shirts, this is your view, not theirs). Would you suggest clothing companies refuse to sell to children if their parents are in prison?

A shop selling things to people who enquire is not sinister, even selling clothing to give as presents!

Le Dave said...

@Anonymous Please tell me that you're not being serious! This blog was written by a comedian. It's their job to blow things out of all proportion so that we can all have a giggle! Clearly you are unable to understand something written quite so tongue in cheek.

Dean Burnett, Neuroscientist said...

Mr Anonymous (fimiliar name that, you must post a lot)

From a totally objective viewpoint, you are of course correct. But most clothes shops are just that, shops. businesses concerned with making a profit. This is not a clothes shop, it is a means by which a supposed political party hopes to generate revenue, which is another matter all together. If a more prominent political party such as Labour were discovered to be willing to take money from unaware children with broken families, they would almost definitely come under intense fire from it, and if the BNP want to be treated as legitimate, then they have to accept similar consequences.

Also, they were worried about journalists, but were willing to, unprompted, make such a ridiculous claim like deliberately causing climate change, assuming it would be seen as an obvious joke. From their perspective, I'm either a journalist or a customer, and their initial response shows a shocking lack of respect either way which can't do their reputation any favours. And many labour voters have controversial opinions, no doubt, but I imagine those in charge have at least the self awareness not to put those with outrageous views in charge of dealing with public enquiries. The BNP, clearly, do not. Either they don't have the awareness to do this, or they don't have anyone better to choose form. Either way, that says a lot about the party.

And I don't think they'd deny that the merchandise is hateful. From the literature I've seen, the BNP make no secret of their hate for other races/communities/genders.

There's plenty of information there, as a scientist I would never rely on 'false criticism', that's why I felt compelled to enquire in the first place.

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