It's a point we've remarked on time and again. A token negative adjective or two won't hide the fact that some British tabloids are doing some sound propaganda work on behalf of the BNP.
There is nothing new in newspapers or tabloids displaying political affiliation. The Mirror does it for Labour and the Telegraph has long-been known for its clear Tory sympathies.
Never, however, has the consonance between a party's narrative and the newspapers been so worringly clear.
In the run-up to the election, both the Express and the Daily Mail have increased their rate of bombastic anti-immigration stories. They're churning them out and recycling them one after the other, several each day, fitting exactly within the BNP's own narrative, nevermind the token smallprint that the BNP are "vile".
Today must be one of the most blatantly obvious examples.
While containing at least four negative stories (most of them grossly inaccurate) about foreigners, the EU, Muslims and "the immigrants", today's Mail is running an editorial titled Playing into the hands of the BNP. Sure enough, they call the far-right party "vile" and add that "[A]mong them are bigots with criminal records for inciting racial hatred and carrying offensive weapons".
But then, discussing the BNP's rising profile, the Mail remarks that:
"Of course, the explanations are not hard to find. In part, the BNP's success reflects public disgust over the Commons expenses scandal, which tainted every established party. But isn't it also a deeply worrying sign of voters' despair over finding a voice in the political mainstream for their legitimate concerns over mass, unrestricted immigration? Indeed, by seeking to close down debate on this highly sensitive issue, hasn't the political establishment played into the BNP's hands?"The irony is unbelievable. The consonance between the far-right's party and the Daily Mail couldn't be any more obvious. Basically, they're ugly, but they've got it spot-on on immigration (as well as more) and they're the only party who are talking about it. Just like we do.
For three days now, the Mail's website has sported a story about the NHS, Muslim nurses and crucifixes. The BNP's own website gave it exactly the same angle.
More, this morning's main story for the BNP is the words used by the Daily Mail's own Melanie Phillips in an article published for an Australian newspaper.
Taking shots at the Tories, Phillips -as quoted by the BNP- writes that "millions of conservative voters have been brutally abandoned" and that "[T]his great swathe of Middle Britain wants a halt to immigration, the restoration of the powers of self-government ceded to the EU [...] and an end to the onslaught on British national identity and morality through politically correct reverse discrimination against majority values".
You bet that, to a BNP reader, that will sound familiar. It could be one of their own leaflets. Which is why the article was promptly picked up by the BNP's website.
The Express are no better. Their massive front page headline says STRANGERS IN OUR OWN COUNTRY. As usual, it's based on a blatantly distorted reading of statistics. Even though the rate of foreign pupils in English schools ranges from between one in seven to one in ten, both the Express and the Mail choose to spin it as "English-speaking pupils now a minority", as they selectively refer to 1,500 schools only.
It's like having the headline ASTON VILLA FANS LARGEST GROUP IN BRITAIN NOW only for the article to then reveal that figures are based on football fans in the West Midlands.
For all the trite protestations that it's a "taboo subject" and that the debate is "closed down", distorted immigration scare stories are now a daily feature of Britain's biggest tabloids - presented with relentless regularity to a minimum of 3 million readers everyday.