Stewing: British Politician’s Cooking Outpolls His Politics

A SLIGHTLY LIGHTER NOTE to see the week away; the recently bankrupted leader of Britain’s National Party (BNP) — Nick Griffin, a member of the European Parliament — made a foray into the world of the TV chef last month, hosting a 30-minute “cooking show” as the first in a promised (threatened?) series for the BNP’s online TV channel. Your columnist at The Red And The Blue was suitably curious to cook the proffered recipe.

Let’s call a spade a spade: the BNP, just to be clear, is an odious political organisation; widely recognised as sitting on the far Right (I would say almost the lunar Right) there is nothing mainstream about it, advocating as it does a cessation of immigration, Britain’s withdrawal from the EU, and the return of immigrants (and their British-born descendants) to their country of origin. And that’s just for starters. It’s a quasi-fascist party based on right-wing nationalism that panders to the prejudices of the abject depths of the white British poor.

Some readers who follow world events may recall that a month or so ago there was a bit of a hubbub over the BNP’s leader — Nick Griffin MEP — recording what (just) passes as a cookery show; the object was to demonstrate how to cook a tasty, healthy, nutritious meal for “less than a tenner” (£10): an enterprise perhaps reflective of Griffin’s status as one of Britain’s newest bankrupts.

Anyone who didn’t catch the story — or whose senses of curiosity and humour are piqued, as mine were — can access this report from The Independent, complete with the 30-minute video showing Griffin strutting his stuff in what presumably is his kitchen at home.

Perhaps showing my willingness to try new things, I transcribed Griffin’s recipe — “a simple, good British stew” — and whilst it’s taken a little while to find the time since seeing the article, I cooked the dish yesterday.

I must report it was very good indeed. Despite being billed as fare “for beating the Tory blues” — a reference to Britain’s Conservative Party-led government — I would have to say it’s worth having a batch of it in the freezer as an easy standby for nights someone gets bogged down in work and doesn’t have the time to cook from scratch.

Despite being aimed at providing a solution for poor people to eat, even more advanced cooks like myself would find this worth a try.

Readers inclined to watch the Griffin video, perhaps surprisingly, will probably enjoy it; there are very few references to BNP policy in the episode, although it’s certainly palpable nonetheless: In one aside to his viewers, for example, Griffin remarks that “we’ve got a Mexican restaurant in a town not far from here. The place isn’t swamped with Mexicans. You take the recipe – that’s really all you need.”

He does however take a swipe at the Greens (who are the same the world over, regrettably) noting that electricity prices are going up all the time “because of all that Greens bullshit” — which even means there’s something in his little show that I agree wholeheartedly with.

And it is also perhaps unsurprising that Griffin himself presents as charming, personable, even appealing: there’s the power of the screen at work for you, and someone adept at playing it…

Media comment on this exercise — predictably, and probably rightly — was cynical, describing the video as “bizarre” and noted the BNP henchmen at the end employed as tasters for Griffin’s handiwork (and noted the surly, sour teenage girl who was neither asked her opinion in the presence of the men in the room, nor offered it).

I thought I would belatedly share this; the delay is only reflective of the time it took me to get around to cooking the actual meal, and the entire episode might give readers something to laugh about, a “car crash” moment (you know, when you just have to look) or something to simply shake their heads over if they can’t find the proposition remotely plausible.

Have a look. And a laugh if you like. And if anyone wants the recipe and can’t work out how to write it down from the video leave me a comment (remember, you give your email address to comment on this site) and I will type my notes and send it to you.

Bon Appetit 🙂