Blog post

Trilling Frightens Critics: Mainstream Media takes notice of those ‘Bloody Nasty People’

Matthew Cole12 September 2012

The full irony of a book about the British National Party being called ‘Bloody Nasty People’ was not lost thanks to the Sunday Herald which was keen to point out that Daniel Trilling’s title was lifted from a front-page headline in The Sun, one of the many mainstream media outlets that the author takes to task over their complicity in the rise of ultraright-wing politics. 

In the Independent, Yasmin Alibhai-Brown sums up the primary thrust of the work:

Neo-Fascist racism is getting more brazen and popular. Its reach is misread by the left, tolerated by liberals, excused and even encouraged by the right- wing political classes and the media, ignored by apolitical citizens, and denied by the deluded many who still believe members of the BNP, English Defence League and other organised belligerents are just loonies with deviant hobbies. Trilling incisively cuts through all that..

Instead, he locates the nationalistic fantasies of the BNP in the “home-grown intellectual traditions” of Britain, As the Morning Star notes, Trilling provides evidence of both Blairite Labour and the Liberal Democrats borrowing BNP rhetoric—the former proclaiming that asylum-seekers were ‘swamping’ British schools, and the latter promising housing for “sons and daughters” in Tower Hamlets in the 1990s. He also contends that, post-9/11 securitization, the BBC has capitulated to right-wing pressure, allowing the BNP-EDL brand of politics into the realm of civil society.

Importantly, Trilling also traces the history of the BNP, in particular how their tactics how changed over the years. The Sunday Herald notes,

One of the more arresting themes here is how the far right’s approach has changed over the years. For the most part (and certainly for their media image) gone is the ideological framework of racism – the idea white people are fundamentally superior. Instead, [Nick] Griffin paints white people as a victimized underclass, manipulating a complicit media with fabricated tales of Asian families jumping housing queues, or police not prosecuting immigrant offenders for fear of being called racist. Trilling shows statistics never bear out the propaganda...

That compelling propaganda polarizes populations and catalyzes movements is well-known, the problem is how to fight it when it becomes an integral part of normative political discourse (as is the case now with the conservative government). Trilling asserts that we must remain resolutely opposed to the far-right precisely because mainstream media and politics have largely failed to be.

Visit the Sunday Herald to read the article in full.
Visit the Independent to read the article in full.
Visit the Morning Star to read the article in full.