What has the BNP ever done for us?

Today saw another hoo-hah 2.0 in the blogotwittergeekerativersesphere. Presented with the membership data of the British National Party, as is completely normal, the mash-ups started popping up. And then disappearing. And sometimes reappearing, with caveats, when the blogger had sobered up.

Arguments raged about accuracy vs. inaccuracy and the minutiae of Google maps. Should it be allowed? Is it allowed? Isn’t it totally illegal? How would you feel if it was your personal data? I want to know if there’s a nazi next door! We should stone the paediatricians too! Can you believe John Sergeant has left Strictly? And there were quite a few points so arcane and detailed that I can’t parody them.

Mike Butcher of TechCrunch
became unusually and increasingly self-important as the day progressed, Ian Delaney hit the nail on the head and at times LolGriffin seemed like the sanest thing out there.

I really like the Guardian’s map and BNP Near Me? for their informative use of the data without risking vigilantism.

And what have we learnt? Not a great deal. Except that there really aren’t that many members of the BNP. They’re also woefully disorganised: the BNP website was overwhelmed by the traffic they were getting. No bad thing.

I’m rather of the opinion that when it comes to people like the BNP the best you can do is give them the oxygen of publicity. The great mass of the British people are clever enough to see through them and that makes me proud to be British. After all, the British people, whatever the BNP says, are the product of centuries of multi-culturalism. And that’s a good thing.


  1. “Unusually and increasingly self-important” was I? Not as self-important as a blogger who doesn’t check their facts before they post. But that’s the beauty of UGC huh? Any old idiot can create content.

    The simple fact of the matter is that this mashup of the BNP list and Google Maps was going to be released whatever happened, and it deserved analysis, however distasteful the whole business is. For your information, if I hadn’t had one-to-one conversations with at least two of these map-makers about anonymising the data as much as possible, we would today be staring at maps made with no thought as to the consequences for those sitting under a default Google drop pin.

    Maybe stick to blogging about eBay.

  2. Dan Wilson says:

    Well, Mike: thank goodness this wayward flock has the beneficent guidance and wise counsel of a thoughtful shepherd such as yourself. I am duly humbled.

  3. I love the smell of irony in the morning says:

    I admit I haven’t been following this story but I am very amused by the ironic way that Mike Butcher, having called Dan Wilson an idiot for suggesting that he had been ‘unusually self-important’, could then write such an extraordinarily self-important comment here.

    Mike says he spoke to ‘at least two’ (so that’s three then) map makers, thus personally saving us all from, as he said in his blog, ‘evil shit’. Has he suffered a self-awareness failure or did he just get out of bed the wrong side this morning?

  4. My apologies. Sense of humour failure after a hectic day. Keep on truckin’ kids.

  5. Good ding dong stuff, fellas!
    I enjoyed that.

    Now let’s all have a nice cup of tea and a chuckle at yet another amusing overdub of Fatherland, this time with a BNP spin:

  6. […] and geeks had shared it and started mashing it up. Some of the BNP maps were better than others. This episode highlighted two things. In the popular media, the net is seen as the wild west where civil concerns for privacy and […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.