Monday, 8 October 2007

Lunchtime in the Freedom Office

It's been a busy morning with lots of reports of BNP activities and comment on the current political situation filling my inbox.

At lunchtime I normally trawl through some of the regional newspaper websites that start to post their stories online at this time, but with Monday always a quiet day, I'm taking the opportunity to update my blog.

Although I'm a blog novice, I have had a couple of websites which has helped to instill the discipline needed for regular updates to keep the website of interest.

My first website was Books on Vietnam, which as the title describes was where I bought and sold books about that country. Of course 75% of the books were about the American/Vietnam War but the most popular ones and most in demand were the books dealing with the military and political situation before the American troops arrived in 1965.

Another website was Burnley Bravepages which had a brief and fraught existence back in 2002 in the run-up to the May elections in that Lancashire town. Visits to the website grew steadily during the early part of that year and we were receiving around 2,000 hits a day. Once the campaign started and the website address went out on election leaflets, visits were up to 5,000 a day.

With about two weeks to go to polling day, I came down one morning to find that there had been 15,000 visits to the site overnight. I knew something was up and my fears were confirmed when Bravenet emailed me to say they had received 13,000 complaints about the site and were pulling it.

The customer services chap was very apologetic. He said he couldn't see anything wrong with the website but that the high number of complaints and the threats to take this issue to the highest level were more aggravation than he needed.

I later found out that a campaign against Burnley Bravepages had been organised by a trade union and they had fed all the anti-BNP websites with an email complaint form to Bravenet. Thankfully there were a couple of mirror sites, and by using the BNP server we were back online within a couple of days. I think the website played its part in helping to secure the BNP's three new councillors in those local elections - and by the reaction of our opponents, they must have thought so too.

Books on Vietnam? Why Vietnam I can hear you ask, and the simple answer is that I don't really know. I think it must have been something to do with the TV images that were on screen almost daily from 1965 to 1975, charting America's disastrous war in Indochina and that they left a lasting imprint on me. The first book I ever read on America's war there was Neil Sheehan's A Bright Shining Lie, the story of John Paul Vann. It left so many questions unanswered that my fascination was stirred, so much so that at one time I had over 2000 books on Vietnam.

My interest was always more in the political nature of the time, especially the ill-fated rule of President Ngo Dinh Diem, a Vietnamese nationalist ruthlessly murdered in 1963 by an American financed and promoted coup. Once Diem was gone so was any chance of Vietnamese nationalism and the way was left clear, despite America's military might, for the Communist takeover of the country.

It's a complex story, but I find it riveting and shall return to in future posts.

Now back to work on Freedom and a report of a successful fundraiser in Stockport on Saturday.


Jonathan Wood said...

How does Nick Griffin feel about you blatantly flouting BNP rules by running a BNP blog?

precious-stones said...

The first rules of negative politics are - always try and set the agenda and define opponents before they can do so themselves. Those tenets never seem to change whether its French-Indo-China, or Burnley.

alfredthegreat878 said...

"The first book I ever read on America's war there was Neil Sheehan's A Bright Shining Lie, the story of John Paul Vann."

I've read that, very much the march of folly, and very striking resonances with the Iraq lunacy which Blair dragged us into. And of course so did the author of "Courage", our very heroic new Prime Minister, much as he tries to weasel out of it.

At least Wilson had the sense to steer well clear of Vietnam