Wednesday, January 03, 2007

The BNP Ballerina

Like most Americans, when I hear about the British National Party I think of SkinHeads like we saw from The Wall - or a bunch of yob'ish soccer hooligans from Eurotrip.

As is often the case, the truth is a little more complicated. Over in Ole Blighty, there is much naval gazing, gnashing of teeth and rending of clothes over the wonderfully named Simone Clarke.
Giselle is perhaps the most romantic of the classical ballets and always among the most popular. It is a tale shot through with passion and fear as the heroine, a naive peasant girl, is first seduced and then betrayed by a fairytale prince.

So when gifted lead dancer Simone Clarke takes the title role in the English National Ballet production at the London Coliseum next week, all eyes will naturally be on her.

But she will not be under the spotlight for her bewitching elegance and poise alone. No, the audience have a startling extra reason to focus their attention on Simone - because just days ago she was named as the BNP Ballerina.

The dancer's membership of the British National Party was exposed by a Guardian reporter who had gone undercover to join this unpleasant organisation and it came as a nasty surprise all round.
Sneaky reporters. Go figure.

So, what was it that made her shift to the "repugnant right?" (sic)
"I joined about 18 months ago," she says. "Yat and I were watching the television. As usual I was moaning about something that I had seen on the news and he just said, "Well, stop moaning and do something about it."

"I didn't really know anything about the BNP but they had come up in conversation a few times because they had just won some local council seats.

"We went on to the computer and we looked them up and I read their manifesto. I'm not too proud to say that a lot of it went over my head but some of the things they mentioned were the things I think about all the time, mainly mass immigration, crime and increased taxes. Those three issues were enough to make me join so I paid my £25 there and then.
She is part of a growing trend.
Simone is certainly honest. More to the point, she is increasingly typical of the albeit tiny band of seemingly respectable, middle-class voters that the reshaped, carefully 'branded' BNP is anxious to woo.

The tatooed skinheads who once dominated the party are nowhere to be seen, in public at least. Instead it is led by a savvy Cambridge graduate in a suit.

That leader, Nick Griffin, advocates the repatriation of Muslims, denies the Holocaust and believes that black footballers who represent the national team cannot be classed as English.

Yet crime and immigration are real and understandable fears, and they provide a fertile recruiting ground for the BNP that extends well beyond the traditional ranks of the deprived and disaffected.

By focusing, instead, on the politics of Middle England, Griffin has managed to win 55 council seats in England. According to a recent ICM poll the BNP could attract seven per cent of the UK's total vote in a General Election.

The veneer of respectability might be paper-thin but it is enough to attract people like Simone.
Why? Well, where else does she have to go? Cameron's Tory party is trying to be New-New Labour. If the BNP can keep the loons away - watch it grow. Heck, if "Reformed Communists" and Socialists can have a party, why not the BNP?

Oh, who is Yat? Her boyfriend? A racist, anti-immigrant white supremist who will prove that she isn't just a Skinhead, but sleeps with one as well?
Two weeks after she was named by the Guardian as a card-carrying member of the far right group, the ballerina hit out at her critics, voicing her belief that the BNP seemed to be the only party "willing to take a stand" against immigration. She claimed that her boyfriend Yat Sen-Chang, who is also an acclaimed lead dancer, encouraged her to join the BNP. Sen-Chang is of Chinese-Cuban extraction.
Oops. Try again. And admit that the fact that though she is a good looking ballerina is nice enough - The fact that she is a BNP Ballerina just makes her that much more hot. Admit it.

Hat tip Powerline and The Brussels Journal.

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