Thursday, 20 November 2008

The BNP and vegan butchers

News that a list of members of the British National Party has been published on the internet has met with a mixed reaction. For those who don't know, the British National Party has a rather narrow approach to matters political. It argues for the UK to be self-governing in every respect. In that it is not unique, a great many members of the Labour and Conservative parties are adamantly opposed to the UK being ruled by the Eurocracy of Brussels and the UK Independence Party has self-governance as its main policy. Where the BNP differs is in its approach to immigration and race. Although it tries to hide the fact with weasel words, the BNP is opposed to persons of dark pigmentation living in the UK. It supports forcible expulsion of those whose skin is other than blotchy pink. If you don't burn at the first flicker of sunlight in March you aren't welcome here.

It is always amusing listening to members of the BNP being interviewed. They have a stock line to put: "the BNP is not a racist party", which always elicits the question: "so would you welcome black or asian members in the BNP?" to which the answer is always stony silence followed but some deep throat clearance and a pathetic attempt to evade answering the question. Because the question is so simply any evasion gives the game away and more often than not the evasive answer provides a more damning indictment of the BNP than a simple "no". They just cannot stop themselves using such terms as "indigenous population", "established culture" and "true British people". At least they would appear honest if they said "no nig nogs here thank you, whiteys only, that's what we want". They could then be dismissed as the comic fringe they are. Instead their prevarication makes them appear not just narrow minded but sinister and positively dangerous, thereby giving partial justification to the other extremist elements that want their party banned and the individual members to be treated like syphilitic paedophiles at a children's naturist convention.

The current fuss has reminded me that membership of the BNP is considered officially incompatible with certain types of employment such as being a policeman or a prison warder. The justification claimed for this is that someone holding discriminatory opinions cannot be trusted to act impartially towards those who are the object of his bigotry. This is a rather strange concept. Anarchists can become police officers, policemen who support Arsenal can patrol at Spurs' matches, greenie policemen can give tickets to drivers; indeed policemen with any opinions at all are expected and trusted to leave those opinions to one side when performing their duties except where their opinions are against those of dark pigmentation AND they join a particular political party. Holding such opinions without being a member of the BNP is no bar yet once they've paid their subscriptions they can no longer be trusted. It's all rather flimsy. I wonder whether there is any evidence that policemen who are members of the BNP have in fact acted with bias against our dusky bretheren. If they have it is their conduct and not their opinions which should be the subject of disciplinary proceedings. My guess is that the arbitrary ban is nothing more than a political gesture, devoid of any factual basis and designed to do nothing other than grab headlines.

I am not opposed to the holding of certain beliefs being a bar to employment where the beliefs make it impossible for someone to do the job properly. Employing a vegan as spokesman for an "eat more meat" campaign would seem likely to fall into that category, but employing him as a butcher would not. If he is prepared to work as a butcher and has the skills required for the job the mere fact that he believes eating meat to be a thoroughly bad idea is neither here nor there. One cannot assume he would turn customers away or put arsenic in the sausages and there is no logical basis for assuming that a policeman's political beliefs would cause him to fail in the duties his work entails.

This is not just a matter of freedom of speech. That aspect of it is being covered by many other bloggers and I have nothing new to say on the subject. My concern is that loose thinking is preventing able people doing jobs they want to do and which they could do well. I can see no justification for such an arbitrary disqualification. Give them the job if they are qualified to do it, if they do not perform their duties impartially they won't be doing it for long.


David Cantrell said...

I believe that the justification for banning the police from being members of the BNP is that as well as *being* fair to pigmented chaps (which no doubt some of the less knuckle-dragging members can force themselves to do) they have to be *perceived* to be fair, lest the community that consents to them having certain powers over them withdraw that consent. When that consent is withdrawn you get large-scale rioting and a great deal more damage is done than would be done by declining to employ the one police officer on that list.

And it's pretty obvious that an "out" member of the BNP would not be perceived to be fair, because BNP members are known to be bigots. Eh-hem. Sorry, known to discriminate unfairly.

And for what it's worth, I wouldn't go to a vegan butcher for the same reason that I wouldn't employ a non-smoker in a cigar shop. You don't just buy meat from a butcher, you also get advice from them - if he doesn't have any lambs' livers, for example he can advise you on whether chickens' livers or calves' livers will taste similar enough to work in a recipe; and if the cigar shop is out of Cohibas, a non-smokers wouldn't have the faintest idea what to offer instead.

TheFatBigot said...

Fair point Mr Cantrell.

Since penning this musing I have read that police officers are not permitted to be members of any political party. If that is so I hope there will be a concerted effort to search out all in breach of the rule.

As for the vegan butcher and non-smoking purveyor of tobacco products, I think the position is slightly different. Vegetarians and vegans are people who do not eat meat at the moment. It doesn't mean they have not done so in the past and will not do so in the future. They can have all the necessary knowledge to assist customers, as can the non-smoking ciggy seller. It's a long time since I smoked Cohibas, oh happy days.

As for liver, I'm a pig man. Thinly sliced, dusted in seasoned flour, casseroled with lots of fatty streaky, tons of onion, yellow split peas and a good strong stock. Serve with roasted or mashed spuds, roasted parsnips, peas and steamed white cabbage. How I pity those who have never had real food like that.