You've had the 'but', here's the bit that should come before

A new 'Special Investigation' appeared in the Mail at the beginning of this week, headlined 'Special Investigation: English Defence League and the hooligans spreading hate on the High Street'.  It's actually a pretty good article, laying out the EDL's football hooligan background and barely disguised racism.  It might be something you'd be surprised to see in the paper.

That would be wrong, though.  The Mail likes to oppose extremist groups.  Its coverage of the BNP almost always resorts to namecalling and the attempt to distance itself from the shovelheaded goons, even if lots of the articles have a 'but' buried in them.  Its support for Oswald Mosely's blackshirts ended with the group's violent behaviour at a rally in Olympia in 1934.

There are a couple of reasons te paper turns away from its natural allies.  Trivially, there's a law and order issue.  The Mail generally doesn't like it when people break the law and become violent, and the EDL and BNP are chock full of convicted hooligans and violent thugs.  There's also the class issue.  The BNP and EDL are both made up largely of working and lower middle class people.  It would be truly frightening if a far right group sprang up that actually were what Nick Griffin tries to pretend the BNP is.  Were a bunch of disaffected extreme right wing middle and upper class people to emerge that had no thug shaped skeletons in their closet and an intelligent, christmatic - and posh - leader, the paper's disdain for far right exremists might disappear in a puff of racist smoke.

The biggest reason for counterintuitive articles like this one popping up anywhere in the right wing press though, is that they give the papers an alibi for their own racism.  "We're not racist," they can say, "because we hate those people over there who are racist.  If we were, we'd be supporting them."  It's a bit like homophobes who attack homosexuals to show how they're so totally straight and not gay at all.  Except they secretly have doubts, not to mention desires that disturb them.

Which brings me neatly to Richard Littlejohn.  Ol' Smellyface will really balk if you so much as try to suggest that his politics might resemble the BNP's in any way.  In a recent appearance, he demanded an apology from a BBC Question Time audience member who suggested he was Nick Griffin's favourite columnist.  He regularly calls the BNP names, so his politics can't have anything to do with them.

Except he deliberately stopped writing about race because when he did, the BNP reacted as though he supported them, and apparently sent him leaflets and supportive Mail and whatnot.  In this 2001 interview, he said:

'I don't often write about race,' he now says, 'because all sorts of people crawl out of the woodwork and think you are on their side. They think if I criticise the Commission for Racial Equality I am criticising blacks. Well, I'm not. So I don't want them sending me their British National Party letters and leaflets. I'm not interested. And I don't want them reading my column. I despise them. They can fuck right off.'
In this way, he's a little bit like the Mail in microcosm.  In order to discourage any connection readers might make between him and the BNP, he calls them names and writes negative things about them without examining what it is about his writing that led the BNP to think he was on their side.  The difference is that as much as most of his output points toward making such a connection, he at least stopped writing about race.

The Mail, however, will continue to write about Muslims in an exaggeratedly negative way.  As well as its own overblown coverage of Anjem Choudhary's little coterie of goons' protest at Wootton Bassett contributing to the formation of the EDL, its continuing coverage fuels the group's growth.  Press Not Sorry has an impressively massive list of anti-Muslim stories from te Mail, and examples of them being used by the EDL for support on its Facebook pages.  It barely scratches the surface of the many years' worth of bile coughed up by the paper.

But look!  The Mail has a negative special investigation!  It has nothing to do with the EDL.  It's not racist at all. 

Is it a coincidence that this new 'proof' of non-racism has appeared less than two weeks after the paper's one sided 'special report' into how there'll be too many black and brown people in fifty year's time unless the government keeps them out, just as it would seem the paper needs it?

Is this a belated 'we're not racist' that should have come before te last special report's 'but'?

What do you think?