30.5.03

We're going to have to stop seeing each other for a while. It's not you, it's me. I'm being stuck back on my regular nocturnal hair and motion duty, and am not scheduled to make more regular appearances until the autumn at the earliest.

However, if you've enjoyed our little adventures into learning, never fear. Ben's agreed to give me my own e-mail address (nightshift at felltoearth dot net) which I'll be able to check from time to time, and so will endeavour to answer as many of your questions as I can.

In the meantime, Ben's asked me to pass on the message that he's away north of the border for a couple of days on Alex's stag weekend. This involves, among other things, clay pigeon shooting. Quite why they're giving this lad live ammunition, I have no idea. They've obviously never seen his mood after a string of night shifts.

Oh well, that's all. Better let him get some sleep.

TTFN.

NSB.x.
Greetings, fact fans.

A bonus round of Q&A tonight, as you seem to have gone kwestion krazy. In a moment, we'll have a musical bonanza, but first Jane has a query of a more technical manner.

"What is a permalink, and why does nothing happen when I click on the word?"

Well, Jane, a permalink is actually a permanent link. In this context, it's the URL to the particular comment. Click here and you'll see you're taken to your very first comment on the blog or hit this link to be taken to your original question. And as for why nothing ever seems to happen when you click on it in the comments box? Well, it does what it's supposed to do. It just happens that you're already there.

Now, music maestro Jos ponders:

Perhaps nightshift Ben could solve a few of the questions that have vexed popular songwriters through the ages

I'll do my best. Fire away.

How many roads must a man walk down?
Fewer, Mr Speaker, fewer than under the last government becuase of our increased expenditure on public transport, a fact the honourable gentleman well knows.

Why does it always rain on me?
Yes, it because you lied when you were 17. And don't think the rain's the worst you'll have to suffer for it.

Can I touch you there?
Yes, but don't expect to enjoy it.

What should I do at the end of the day?
Have a delicious, nutritious meal, possibly with a modest amount of alcohol, then spend a couple hours doing something you find relaxing, such as watching TV, reading the latest Carl Hiaasen novel, or chatting with a close friend. Finally, retire at a reasonable hour so that you will be fresh for another day of invigorating work when you wake.

Will my kids be proud or think their old man's really a square?
The two are not mutually exclusive. Play it right, and they'll be proud their dad's a square. I know Ben is.

How do you do what you do to me?
It takes years of training.

Where do you go to my lovely?
Bridgend.

And of course the ever-popular "Why?"
I could tell you, but then I'd have to kill you.

29.5.03

This is the kind of deep, philosophical question I'm talking about.

What's the point of ties?

"I've always shunned ties. I think they're stupid. They serve no useful purpose." Beagle 2 project leader, Professor Colin Pillinger, a glorious Bristolian scientist leading the search for evidence of life on Mars this Christmas.

A man after my own heart...
Is there any point in me doing this? I mean, you all seem quite happy answering each other's questions, I might as well not be here.

Not that I'm at all bothered. Anyone can opine about green birds and dodgy directors - my mind is better suited to issues of greater importance, deeper research, historical magnitude, and questionable morality.

I'll be gone in a couple of nights, so use me while you can. After that, you'll just be stuck with Vanilla Ben - and as he's demonstrated on too many occasions to count, he don't know diddly.

28.5.03

Evening, truth hunters.

Tonight's question comes from Jane in Cornwall, who asks:

Why is the sky never green? It can be, according to the time of day and weather conditions, every other colour of the rainbow, and of course it can have rainbows too (except look carefully at a rainbow in the sky and is there any green in it? I thought not.) Nobody has ever come up with a satisfactory answer to that one for me, so I'm relying on you.

Well, Jane, you could do as Sam suggests (hey lady, who's supposed to be the oracle here?) and live between two nuclear reactors, but that would require a costly relocation, as well as the prospect of subjecting yourself to all manners of radioactive nastiness. Besides which, I'm not sure you could get Jonathan to abandon his much treasured golf club or internet-sourced hardcore.

Alternatively, consider the 1999 study of a Stone Age tribe from Papua New Guinea which suggested that perception of colour may depend on cultural influence. Maybe the sky is green and we've just been taught to see it as everything but.

After all that, if a green sky is still what you yearn for, here's my advice: pop into Plymouth, seek out a trendy accessories shop, and buy a pair of green-tinted sunglasses. Voila! Green sky whenever you please.

The simple answers are always the most satisfying. Next?

27.5.03

Hello all. I'm back for another session of overnight Q&A.

Once again, Jim from Portland kicks off the session asking:

Nightshift Ben, why are women evil? Or more specifically, why do women come up with excuses to not attend certain concerts a week before said concert, AFTER you've dropped $120 on the tickets?

Hey, you're asking me about women? Nice irony. It was my call that got Ben into his current pickle - and he's mighty pissed with me. But as for your predicament, she sounds like a cow, and she's probably sleeping with your best friend as it is. Maybe time to take advantage of your country's lax gun controls?

Seriously though Jim, you're too good for her. She's done you a favour. Did you really want to try it on with such a flake? You can now find someone better. Some guys have got to be less sensitive. Take someone you fancy along to the gig. Lie if you have to. After all, it appears those are the rules.

Any more for any more?

Before I let Nightshift Ben take over, I just want to share a bit of news. Saturday night saw me break my 10-year vow of silence.

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I'd been trying to kick The Three from my system, and leave myself unafflicted by fancying anyone. Well, I managed two of The Three with ease, but the last one was proving much more difficult to exorcise. So at my birthday party on Saturday night it occurred to me that an alternative ending might be possible with a forthright but gentle wooing, so helped by a good dose of Dutch courage (but not too much), I took the remaining person aside and suggested we might have a drink sometime.

"As friends?" she asked.

"Umm, as more than friends," I admitted.

"Ah..."

"Oh."

"I'm very flattered but..."

"Well, I had to ask. You don't ask, you don't get."

"No," she smiled.

"So just as friends then?"

"That would be nice."

There then followed the familiar conversation about being too nice and liking bastards and all the same old guff that I've become so well attuned to, as well as the novelty value of being told they were enjoying being single. And none of which is the slightest consolation.

An initial feeling of stoicism - sometimes even bordering on defiant optimism which told me (but of course not her) she was making a mistake - was followed by a day feeling foolish and sheepish, even imagining headlines on News Online along the lines of "Horror in west London as Ben dares to ask attractive woman out: victim tells all".

So finally after ten years of not popping the question, the last good few being told I needed to be more adventurous and chance my arm a little more, I find someone I'm willing to risk getting shot down for, decide to act on an impulse when everyone's relaxed and... end up with just the same answer I was getting 10 years ago. I'd tried to act on an attraction before it got out of control, and yet end up feeling just as bad as - possibly worse than - the last time.

What I don't understand, what makes me by turns angry, confused, frustrated, and depressed - all emotions I've experienced in the last 24 hours - is why they always say no. What is it about me? What's so wrong about lovely or nice or sweet? What's so unattractive about being a good guy and so attractive about bastards? None of this "They just are" shit. I want answers.

(I should, of course, point out that none of this is directed at the person in question, but rather at the world in general. As for she who shall remain nameless, I hope neither our professional relationship nor our fledgling friendship will suffer as the result of my suggesting something more.)

One of my favourite ploys when people are feeling hung over is to encourage them to "get back on the horse" and have another drink. I suppose I just need to take my advice and get back on the woman horse, if that can be said without causing too much offence. It's just that as I'm so used to getting my fingers burnt, it'll probably take me a while to allow myself to fancy someone again, never mind ask them out. Rejection is no fun - that's why I've exiled myself from asking people out for the last decade - and sad though it sounds, I can't see any sign of there ever being a different answer.

26.5.03

Returning to this Blog later tonight: Nightshift Ben. He's lucky I'm letting him near this thing, given the horrible mess he got me into the other night. But you asked for him. Just don't blame me if it all ends in tears...

20.5.03

One of my favourite things is finding out who else I share a birthday with. There are one or two people I've known for several years, but this year I've made an effort to expand the field. So...

Happy Birthday Cher. Maybe we could have a joint party at Oliver's Wharf sometime. The people in 1D are first class. Just promise not to bring your vocoder. Unless you're paying, that is.

Happy Birthday Jane Wiedlin. Hope the rush hour doesn't delay your celebrations. Geddit?!

Happy Birthday Ron Reagan Jr. You can't be held responsible for your father. But don't think he's getting any of my cake.

Happy Birthday Holly Black, star of Operation Sex Siege.

Happy Birthday Louis Theroux. Respect. But why did you look so miserable on your bike chatting to the bloke by the pelican crossing by White City tube?

Happy Birthday Busta Rhymes. You sold out East Coast hip-hop with your gangster vibe. Even though we share the exact date of birth, don't think you're invited to any more parties until you peace out, man.

And last, but by no means least, my all-time favourite birthday sharer... Happy Birthday Bronson Pinchot. Ladies and gentlemen - an actor who defines kitsch appeal.

Bronson, your roles in True Romance, Beverly Hills Cop (both I and III), as the eponymous blunderer in Blame It On The Bellboy, and Dumb and Dumber: The TV Series. are all very fine, but for me, none of them can touch your work in Perfect Strangers.

How many mornings did I manage to avoid revising because of your "hilarious" japes caused by your lack of understanding of the English language? Those are days I will treasure for ever.

Happy Birthday Balki!
Not a good first birthday present received upon awakening.

According to widespread reports, Newcastle United are about to sign Lee Bowyer on a free from West Ham, possibly on a five-year contract.

I usually get excited about the acquisition of a new player. This one fills me with dread and despondency. Yes, the man was found not guilty of participation in a racist attack... but the air of questionable morality and enlightment has followed him throughout his career. He's also serving a six-match European ban for stamping on someone's head while playing for Leeds. In the words of Ann Widdecombe, he has "something of the night" about him.

I don't believe we need him. I know I don't want him. And I know I'm not alone.

Oh, and it's raining.

I hope that the rumours are untrue. I also hope today gets better than this.
So long, Thirty. It's been a blast. We'll miss you, but I guess we've all got to move on. Maybe we can have a beer and catch up sometime. Mind how you go.

Thirty-one. Welcome to the team. Play your cards right and you could be in on something big. Have we got plans for you...

19.5.03

So there's this school in Northampton that has decided to ban parents from attending its annual sports day on the grounds that some children would find the competitive nature of the event "embarrassing". Instead they want to introduce something more "activity-based" and enjoyable to all, while mostly removing the edge of competition.

I'm very sorry, but in the all too predictable words of at least one parent, "This is political correctness gone mad".

Why? Well, I'm pretty certain that the largely ineffective nature of the UK's national sports teams can be at least partly attributed to the move away from competitive activities that emerged about 20 years ago. It had started to look like the trend had been reversed, but now the backlash against the backlash appears to have begun.

This is not a good thing.

Every child should be put through the ritual humiliation of sporting failure in front of their peer group and parents - it's character building... erm, probably. I speak as someone who endured plenty during my school career. Otherwise how will we distinguish those with athletic aptitude from those with none? The earlier you catch 'em, the sooner you can start their proper training - look to tennis for the examples of the Williams sisters and Jelena Dokic. Sure they've got raw talent, but they started concentrating on their sport while still young. The later you leave it, the less nurture will have an effect on nature.

Anyway, it's what you do after the race or match that counts as much as anything. I desperately wanted to win my sports day races at primary school. I came last every time. And even though the passion to compete and the frustration at my ineptitude never totally faded, it did mean I was able to realise where my strengths really lay.

So if we want top sportsmen and women, we have to be prepared to let our youngsters fail. It's those who bounce back from defeat or build on victory who will really make the difference.

In the day's other big story, the balding, bespectacled face of the Bush administration, Ari Fleischer, announced that he is stepping aside later this year.

"I informed President Bush last week that after 21 years of doing nothing but government and politics ... that I have decided that my time has come to leave the White House. And I will leave later this summer, most likely in July," Fleischer said.

Although I've never had any truck with the message he's been required to feed the world, I've come to grudgingly admire him as Bush's medium. In this profession there are certain people one becomes familiar with or fond of, based on prolonged exposure, and I must admit Ari's one of them. Like Dunc said, he's undoubtedly a bright guy who's come out to bat for Little Bush for on one unpalatable or awkward issue after another. Although he said his belief in the current president was "deep" let's hope he's leaving cos he just can't take any more of the crap that he's having to feed the American people.

Rarely can the office of Press Secretary have so vitally needed an articulate, intelligent incumbent as it does now. When it appears that Dubya can't even answer an unexpected question on issues of significance without a script, a strong frontman does the Bush administration the power of good. Unfortunately.

If it wasn't for the fact that she'd be working for such a rotten man, the campaign to appoint Alison Janney as Ari's successor would start here. But maybe we should save her for someone more deserving...

16.5.03

Well, the days have caught up with me and once more I'll be imprisoned in my night shift, making sure Ben's hair is done overnight and relieving the day boys when they tax Ben's body and mind too much and he needs to sleep. There's two of them on duty at any one time, you realise, and they still have the audacity to complain about their work. They don't even have to do their own thinking either, as the brain runs during the day. Due to economy measures, they switch the brain off overnight. But me, I cope fine on my own, even when faced with a fully operational body like this past week. Charming! Come the glorious day...

So what have we learned these past few nights? Three things.

One, that tequila with a worm is wrong.

Two, that had Ben been fully appreciative of Charlie's Angels in their heyday, he'd have been a Kate Jackson man.

And Three, that no matter how long you work in news, it can never cease to surprise you how on any given day one story can eerily be connected to another.

I'll be back the week after next, due to some freak rota accident. In the meantime, I'm sure plain old Ben will do you just fine.

Lots of love,

Nightshift Ben
As promised, if you ask, I, Nightshift Ben, will answer.

James from Portland, Oregon, writes with a question:

Why do they put worms at the bottom of a bottle of tequila (as if tequila wasn't nasty enough by itself)?

Well James, it's good to hear from you, and also to know that the youth of today have such inquisitive minds. I think I can answer this one with the minimum amount of research.

A quick throw to Jeeves, and indeed, he guides me to The Straight Dope, which provides this answer:

Okay, first things first: If you are buying tequila with worms in it, it's a fake. Take it back and demand a refund. The worms are only found in a particular type of mezcal, and while tequila is a type of mezcal, it's not the type with the worm in it. The kind with the worm is known as "mezcal con gusano." The worm itself, Hipopta agavis, lives in the stems of agave plants (the plant from which mezcal is made) and is a bright coral color. They are apparently fairly difficult to find, so some mezcal makers are replacing the true worm with a fake--the Atrovirens, a white worm which lives in the leaves of the agave plant. They are different in flavor, smell, and color, and the original is considered superior. You can easily tell the difference by color (and who knows, maybe by the taste). While the coral colored worms will become paler the longer they sit, they won't ever become completely washed out. The worm was originally put into mezcal as proof of alcohol content, but apparently it also alters the taste of the liquor, as well as the color and smell.

As for why it's "cool" to eat the worm, well, it used to be considered an aphrodisiac that blessed warriors with strength and virility. These days, it's pretty much just for the kick. The alcohol kick, I mean, not the kick your friends get out of seeing you suck down a dead worm.


La Universidad de Tequila seems to corroborate this, as well as providing many more facts about tequila and cocktail recipes that use the stuff.

My own opinion of the worm thing is that it's a test to see how trolleyed drinkers are. If they go for the worm, they must be pretty far gone.

But just to recap - if it's labelled tequila and has a worm in it, it's not kosher. If it's labelled mezcal and contains a worm, on the other hand, it's good stuff.

Not that tequila's not good, and I'm not unacquainted with the tipple myself, having had to deal with the aftermath on more than one occasion. I happen to know that Ben has a real penchant for a good margarita, and could tell you a story about Ben's first experience with tequila at university (his shoes needed cleaning, that all I'll say), as well as a glorious night during the 98 World Cup when England beat Colombia and Ben, Dunc and Caroline celebrated every goal with a shot.

Happy days.

But my time grows short, for the day boys will be back in charge tomorrow. Any more for any more?

14.5.03

Hello. My name is Nightshift Ben. Some of you may remember my ramblings from a little earlier this year, but for those unacquainted with me, I'll treat you to a brief introduction. As my title implies, I staff Ben during the dark hours, when he's asleep, so that the two operators who staff the body during the day can have a little R&R. Normally my duties are restricted to making sure Ben gets a decent amount of exercise during the night, and that his hair is fixed in a suitably flamboyant fashion in time for when he wakes. This I enjoy, as it lets me express my creative nature.

But occasionally Ben has to work overnight, and as the day boys charge extra for every hour they work between midnight and six, I get set loose on the internet site of a major world broadcaster.

I'd also like to take advantage of this opportunity to dispel a few myths about the body you know as Ben, and the first revelation is that he is an addict. Since downloading a version of Tetris for his mobile phone, he just can't get enough, especially now he's getting close to the magic 200 mark. For many of his waking hours, his mind's eye is filled with images of geometric shapes falling into place to better prepare him for the next assault on his target. The adrenaline rush on Tuesday night as he notched up a mighty score of 192 - just one more than his previous high score, but still one nearer the next goal - was quite intoxicating and even had me feeling a high. And the fact he no longer has a double-figure score on his high score board is actually a matter of pride. If this continues much longer, we may have to perform an intervention.

However, if there's anything you'd like me to tell you about the Ben you think you know, the inside info you think he's been hiding, just drop me a line. I'll be here until Friday morning, so get your questions in quick and I'll do my best to answer all I can before the day boys resume control.

11.5.03

Extraordinary (in the proper sense of the word) sight tonight on the way back from Robin's tonight (two or three of Brenda's lights were on again - how does she afford the electricity at 2.30 in the morning?) after spending a great evening with the Evanses, my surrogate family (not that I need a surrogate - my own is wonderful - but how often do you meet a whole family of non-blood relatives with whom you can feel totally relaxed, utterly confident, and love unconditionally?).

There were, in the middle of the night, literally thousands of men and women (though mostly the latter) walking alongside the Thames to bring aid and awareness to breast cancer, in the hope that what they were doing may fund the financing of a cure. What magnificent people.

Not wishing to make a gender issue of it (men get breast cancer too) but where are the marches for prostate cancer? And testicular cancer? And, for that matter, ovarian cancer? Why aren't the men out there on the streets? There's no shame in admitting you only have one ball, or that a medical doctor's stuck his finger up your arse to check your health. So why don't we encourage more to do it?

This predominantly young crowd had given up their Saturday night to bring the public's attention to the sreiousness of breast cancer. Men should get off their backsides and do the same, or face the consequences.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm really quite drunk and have to sleep...

8.5.03

Here's a story that's not had that much exposure outside London. Just thought some of the Friends Of Bush gathered here might like to see what the notorious Red Ken: Scourge of London Town has been saying about our beloved Dubya:

MAYOR ATTACKS BUSH
By Press Association News Reporters


London mayor Ken Livingstone today launched an outspoken attack on "corrupt" US President George Bush.

Veteran left-winger Mr Livingstone said he was as keen to see Mr Bush ousted as he was to see Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein go.

The mayor's outburst was condemned by Conservatives who warned it could put Americans off of visiting London.

It came as Mr Livingstone took questions from 200 schoolchildren visiting City Hall this morning, London's Evening Standard said.

Channel 4's Krishnan Guru-Murphy, who was chairing the meeting, asked the mayor to explain why he had made a personal attack on Mr Bush when he disliked answering personal questions.

The Mayor said: "I think George Bush is the most corrupt American president since Harding in the Twenties. He is not the legitimate president."

Mr Livingstone later added: "This really is a completely unsupportable government and I look forward to it being overthrown as much as I looked forward to Saddam Hussein being overthrown."


When the BBC's Rob Watson raised the issue with Press Secretary Ari Fleischer at the daily White House briefing, George's Metatron said: "First of all I've never heard of the fella. Second of all I'm not going to dignify it with a response." As a colleague wisely observed,"CJ would have done better."

By belittling British politics' best known newt lover, the poor fools don't know what they've just got themselves into. I doubt we've seen the end of this, though. What with Little Bush and the bomber boys feeling frisky and on a roll, if anyone needs me I'll be at my folks' in Wales.

7.5.03

PseudoDictionary NOW!
alcoholiday - A trip with no intention or aim other than being overly drunk throughout its whole duration.

A perfect example would be Paul's trip to London last weekend, which is pretty much why I've been quiet these last few days. You might say the blog's been alkisedated. We were both somewhat grogolific so any entry would have been decidedly moroculous.

Indeed by the time last night's Tuesday Club came around, I was feeling somewhat drunk out. The combination of the weekend and a strange conversation with a colleague during the afternoon left me needing a little headspace, so my enjoyment of the much-anticipated Lesbian Tuesday (really not as sinister or salacious as it sounds - just a reference to the absence of Robin's two flatmates) was somewhat muted. But I do now realise that I don't actually fancy The Woman any more. Funny how these things work out...

And I wonder what Brenda was doing up when I made my way home at 2.30 this morning. There were still a couple of lights on in her council house when the cab drove past it. You'd think that with another baby on the way into that already crowded household, the old girl would be getting her sleep in while she can.

Some people might say: "Last thing we need - another bloody parasite". Me? I couldn't possibly comment.

2.5.03

White menace
It's no wonder it's started raining again. Yesterday's local elections were depressing enough to make the whole world want to cry.

I'm not talking about the 500 or so council seats that Iain Duncan Smith and the Tories managed to pick up - like all the analysts say, it's a mild rebellion against the government by mid-term standards, and while plenty of people are happy to trust their towns to the Tories, the majority doesn't really believe the current team is capable of running the country even to Blair's half-arsed standard. Having said that, the ranks of young faces from Conservative Central Office gathered behind IDS as he hailed his "spectacular victory" made for uncomfortable viewing.

Why my contemporaries and our juniors would want to side with such an out-moded party, I can't think, but at least they seem to care about mainstream politics, and ultimately, that's got to be a good thing.

Because they can fight.

Because we're facing a growing force of evil.

The British National Party now have 16 seats on councils around the country, but half of those are in Burnley - making it the second largest party in that authority. Another couple are in Calderdale, West Yorkshire, the place I spent my teenage years, as well as Sandwell, Dudley, Stoke-on-Trent, and Broxbourne in Hertfordshire.

"So what?," some have asked. "It's a handful of extremist nutters who'll get lost among all the other councillors in the country. They're hardly relevant."

I admit it's easy to see them as a fringe group, only making political waves at election time... but that's where the danger lies. It may only be 16 out of the many thousands - of council seats in the UK, but it's still three times more than the BNP had 24 hours ago. And 16 more than they had two years ago. They have to be stopped.

Of course, the BNP claims it's not racist, and those who portray them as being so are telling lies, liberals unwilling to admit the truth, that the white man has become a second class citizen in his own land.

Many of those who admit to voting for them echo the party's belief that it's misunderstood, and that they themselves are not bad people for backing the BNP. "I'm not racist," they say, "but they've got policies I agree with."

So what are these non-racist policies touted by Nick Griffin and his chums?

The BNP favours repatriation of people who aren't British, by which they mean "the native peoples who have lived in these islands since before the Stone Age, and the relatively small numbers of peoples of almost identical stock, such as the Saxons, Vikings and Normans, and the Irish, who have come here and assimilated."

Don't think of them as black-haters or Paki-bashers. It's for everyone's good if the foreigners leave ... especially their own!

"This scenario would benefit not only the native British people, who would secure themselves a homeland, but those of foreign origin who would take invaluable benefits to their own countries by using the skills and money they acquired in Britain to help their lands of native origins develop."

They'd rather not have you think they're in favour of racially motivated attacks, because "the majority of racist attacks in this country are committed against white British people." Oddly enough they don't quote a source for this surprising statistic (probably a government cover-up!), but I'll take them at their word if you will. (Repatriating ethnic minorities will, it has just occurred to me, also substantially cut the UK's murder rate. If there are no blacks here, then the frightening increase in urban black-on-black fatal shootings will stop. Another problem solved!)

And please don't accuse them of being against mixed-race relationships on racist grounds. Although a bit of inter-racial howsyerfather is a definite no-no, they're doing it for the good of diversity and world culture. But I really can't state their case half as well as they can:

"We are against mixed-raced relationships because we believe that all species and races of life on this planet are beautiful and must be preserved. When whites take partners from other ethnic groups, a white family line that stretches back into deep pre-history is destroyed. And, of course, the same is true of the non-white side. We want generations that spring from us to be the same as us, look like us, and be moved by the same things as us. We feel that to preserve the rich tapestry of mankind, we must preserve ethnic differences, not ‘mish-mash’ them together."

Got that? Good.

"We also call for preference in the job market to be given to native Britons."

Now before you accuse them having of anything against employing non-British people on the basis of their race, they understand why you might want to... but you'd be wrong. After all, that's just the way it's been spun by the liberal-left media. They just wish to even up the playing field a bit and "abolish the ‘positive discrimination’ schemes that have made white Britons second-class citizens".

So, if I've got this straight, they don't want them to live here, they don't want them to work here, they certainly don't want them to indulge in a bit of slap and tickle, and they want to build a coalition of white, English-speaking states, but to pull out of the union with those who speak other tongues (although that doesn't mean we shouldn't talk to the white countries).

Hmmm...

They also want to solve the situation in Northern Ireland "by welcoming Eire as well as Ulster as equal partners in a federation of the nations of the British Isles." Can someone volunteer to tell them that the very old root of the problem is that the majority of the Irish consider themselves as being different from the British, and resent being told otherwise?

Naturally they see foreign aid as unnecessary, at least in its current form. They reject the idea that "Britain must forever be obliged to subsidise the incompetence and corruption of Third World states by supplying them with financial aid... We will link foreign aid with our voluntary resettlement policy, whereby those nations taking significant numbers of people back to their homelands will need cash to help absorb those returning."

Hands up all those who think this will just make things worse for those countries concerned? But no matter. After all, just because our forefathers screwed the places up to begin with, and our banks financially crippled the fledgling states from day one, doesn't mean we should have to pay for it.

Based on all this information, freely available on the official party website, no one, no one, could reasonably argue that the BNP was not in favour of discrimination on racial grounds, with the motive of empowering the white man at the expense of others. So what's the difference between these policies and explicitly racist ones?

Fuck all.

They can dress their white supremacist policies up in cloaks of altruism, compassion, pragmatism and understanding, but the underlying desire is there for all to see... There ain't no black in the Union Jack, so why don't the niggers just fuck off back.

And of course, if all this doesn't put you off, there's always the death penalty, the gay-bashing (are those their true colours sneaking out in the URL?), and the desire to turn women back into (white) baby-making machines.

So don't you dare tell me not to worry. We've got to crush this before it starts.