Although the BNP has been trying to present a more professional image for some years, the message has not filtered down to the Gateshead group if the events of this Friday lunchtime were anything to go by. These days, a man in a baseball cap shouting through a loudhailer in front of Enoch Powell posters which look like they’d been downloaded from the National Front website is apparently good enough for the BNP.
Today, Keith Macfarlane, Gateshead BNP organiser, made up in volume what he lacked in style as he hollered to largely indifferent shoppers outside Iceland about saving the country. Perhaps he thought if he shouted loud enough it would disguise the fact that his colleagues didn’t seem to know what they were doing there at all. I tried to speak to Ron Fairlamb and George Bainbridge, who had obviously been press-ganged into helping out, but couldn’t get any sense out of either of them. Keith’s son Ted was equally inarticulate, despite his eagerness to appear in the Chronicle boasting of his association with fascists and criminals.
Bizarrely, they needed the assistance of Newcastle activist Ken Booth to run a stall south of the Tyne. Ken, a recent convert from the gang of racists, hooligans and jailbirds that is the National Front has cut his hair in an attempt to improve his image, but obviously hasn’t understood that the company he keeps might also have something to do with it.
There were few takers for Keith’s suggestion that passers-by part with 50p for a copy of the BNP’s Voice of Freedom rag. The Gateshead public may have been confused by the fact that the leaflets the BNP were handing out related to the party’s skinhead candidate in a recent by-election in County Durham. A bit of local focus in your literature is always a good thing, Keith, but try and make it local to your area next time.