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The Polish Obsession Of Britain's Far-Right National Party

Nick Griffin at a BNP press conference in 2009
Nick Griffin at a BNP press conference in 2009
Iwona Kadluczka

LONDON - Police are investigating complaints about a British National Party (BNP) election leaflet depicting Polish people as monkeys campaigning for the Labor Party.

This is just one of several recent controversies involving the BNP, an assortment of neo-fascists, nationalists and xenophobes, whose members have been accused of verbal and physical attacks against ethnic and national minorities. (Since last week's machete murder of a British soldier by two Muslim radicals, the party has been particularly virulant in its anti-Islam rhetoric.)

BNP leader Nick Griffin, who is a member of the European Parliament, has already been convicted for distributing racially inflammatory material. Among other things, he is a known Holocaust denier, having once said that the Holocaust was “the hoax of the 20th century,” and that “the ‘extermination’ tale is a mixture of Allied wartime propaganda, extremely profitable lie, and latter day witch-hysteria."

But the far-right party seems to have a particular obsession with natives and descendants of Poland. The latest BNP flyers were distributed in the streets of Maryport, Cumbria County in Northwest England, the region that elected Griffin to the European Parliament in 2009. Cumbria County is the third largest county in England and Wales, with a population of just under half a million people.

“Our kids’ houses...”

The flyer says Poles are being paid small amounts of cash to deliver Labor Party leaflets. In a variation of its usual slogan, “British Jobs for British Workers,” the BNP flyer says: “Labor has given the Poles our kids’ houses,” referring to social housing allocated by local authorities.

Barbara Cannon, the Labor Party representative in Allerdale, the borough where Maryport is located, notified the police about the leaflet. "I do not want Poles to think they are not welcome in our region," she said.

[rebelmouse-image 27086838 alt="""" original_size="620x451" expand=1]

The Cumbria police confirmed they were investigating the complaint but had not made any arrests.

When prompted by Gazeta Wyborcza, BNP spokesman Simon Darby denied the leaflets existed and said that the depiction of a monkey in election material was not a hate campaign against Poles, but only a reference to the English proverb: “If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys.” The BNP alleges the Labor Party hired Polish canvassers to distribute election flyers on the cheap.

"The leaflet was not racist, because we have very similar roots and would gladly change 500,000 Muslims for 500,000 Poles," Darby told us. "Mass immigration into the UK is not the fault of Poles but the fault of British politicians, who stopped taking care of British citizens," he added.

He went on to say that "Poles who agree to work overtime without overtime pay are taking jobs away from British people."

“New tactics doubled our vote”

Polish embassy spokesman in London, Robert Szaniawski, called the BNP flyers a “scandal.”

"This is not how you treat national minorities in civilized countries," he said. The Polish embassy said that they would decide what steps they would take against the nationalists after reviewing the matter.

The BNP’s anti-Polish campaign did not help it win the Cumbria local elections. That didn’t stop Griffin from tweeting: New BNP tactics tested in Maryport more than doubled our vote to 40%.

New BNP tactics tested in Maryport more than doubled our vote to 40%. #byebyebnp ? Jog on

— Nick Griffin MEP (@nickgriffinmep) May 3, 2013

The Cumbria incident is not the BNP’s first attack on Poles. In 2009, they launched an anti-immigration called “The Battle for Britain,” which was largely directed against Polish immigrants. The poster of the campaign was illustrated by a picture of a Polish World War II Spitfire.

However experts identified the plane as being flown by the Royal Air Force 303 Squadron, made up of expatriate Poles rescued from France before the Nazi occupation. Furthermore, thanks to a “Donald Duck” painted on its cockpit, the pilot of the plane was identified as Polish war hero Jan Zumbach, who shot down eight enemy planes during the Battle of Britain in 1940.

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Livestream Shopping Is Huge In China — Will It Fly Elsewhere?

Streaming video channels of people shopping has been booming in China, and is beginning to win over customers abroad as a cheap and cheerful way of selling products to millions of consumers glued to the screen.

A A female volunteer promotes spring tea products via on-line live streaming on a pretty mountain surrounded by tea plants.

In Beijing, selling spring tea products via on-line live streaming.

Xinhua / ZUMA
Gwendolyn Ledger

SANTIAGOTikTok, owned by Chinese tech firm ByteDance, has spent more than $500 million to break into online retailing. The app, best known for its short, comical videos, launched TikTok Shop in August, aiming to sell Chinese products in the U.S. and compete with other Chinese firms like Shein and Temu.

Tik Tok Shop will have three sections, including a live or livestream shopping channel, allowing users to buy while watching influencers promote a product.

This choice was strategic: in the past year, live shopping has become a significant trend in online retailing both in the U.S. and Latin America. While still an evolving technology, in principle, it promises good returns and lower costs.

Chilean Carlos O'Rian Herrera, co-founder of Fira Onlive, an online sales consultancy, told América Economía that live shopping has a much higher catchment rate than standard website retailing. If traditional e-commerce has a rate of one or two purchases per 100 visits to your site, live shopping can hike the ratio to 19%.

Live shopping has thrived in China and the recent purchases of shopping platforms in some Latin American countries suggests firms are taking an interest. In the United States, live shopping generated some $20 billion in sales revenues in 2022, according to consultants McKinsey. This constituted 2% of all online sales, but the firm believes the ratio may become 20% by 2026.

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