The story surrounding today’s ‘Nothing British’ campaign rumbles on. Aside from General Sir Mike Jackson being called a ‘Tory lapdog’ – if anything, he’s a Labour lapdog – its been a very interesting day for ill-informed use of History.
Stung by the well reasoned criticism of so many respected and well regarded generals and veterans, the BNP leader decides to compare them to ‘Nazi war criminals at Nuremberg’. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were illegal, they argue. Wrong? possibly. Badly managed and poorly justified? definitely. But illegal? In this historians opinion, no. They’re showing a very selective view of History indeed.
Doing some reading, it turns out that the well known leader of the BNP has in the past called the RAF’s Bomber Command ‘war criminals’ for bombing Germany. Yet it would not surprise me in the slightest if they decided to use a Lancaster Bomber in their publicity if it suited them, such is their hypocrisy.
It has also come to my attention that the Spitfire that the BNP have used in the promotional material was in fact flown by a Squadron of Polish Pilots. Top marks for research on that one! In the past the BNP have been outspoken about Polish immigration, but probably dont want to admit that thousands of Poles fought alongside us in the war. In the past they have been outspoken about ethnic minorities, but jumped on the pro-Gurkha bandwagon when they realised they could capitalise on the issue.
You wouldnt expect anything different from a party whose leader has argued that the scale of the Holocaust has been blown out of all proportion, and that only ‘hundreds or thousands’ of Jews were murdered, and shot, not gassed. This flies in the face of all researched, balanced historical thought. The evidence is all there to see, former perpetrators have admitted to their roles, and what other explanation is there for the near-complete disappearance of Jewish communities all over Europe between 1939 and 1945?
We ignore History at our peril. When there are big social and economic problems, and people are apathetic, extremists will say and do anything to take advantage. History gives us a clue – its happened before, and we don’t want to go down that road again. Anyone with any sense can see right through them.