No, I’m not beginning a sad descent into homophobia – rather this is apparently (according to the Graun) the question currently being posed by a poll on one far-right website in response to the news that amongst the past achievements of the newly elected leader of the BNP group on Barking & Dagenham Council, Ricahrd Barnbrook, is a 58 minute home-erotic arthouse film called ‘HMS Discovery: A Love Story", which he both produced and directed.
Now, while my personal tastes in film run more down the lines of intelligent science fiction than art house erotica, I have no particular issue with Mr Barnbrook’s past artistic endeavours nor, taken on its own individual merits, is this anything that should affect his political career. Matters of sex and sexuality are, even for politicians, essentially personal and private – providing veryithng stays with the parameters of the law – and, by and large, of little importance to their capacity to undertake their public duties.
Hypocrisy? Now that’s a rather different matter, particularly when one belongs to a party running on an openly homophobic platform that that the BNP will:
seek a local referendum asking parents for their backing for a local prohibition on the teaching of homosexuality as an alternative lifestyle choice.
I feel it worth noting, with open admiration, the description of Mr Barnbrook’s film given by Patrick Barkham in the Graun, a journalist who is clearly enjoying his work today:
HMS Discovery: A Love Story contains scenes of flagellation, men undressing and frolicking in a river and a naked man apparently performing a sex act on another. While this may be hard for supporters of a party opposed to the "promotion" of homosexuality to swallow, Mr Barnbrook’s transgressions get worse: the 58-minute film, made in 1989, is described as "Marxist" by one film website.
Do I detect a touch of ‘Ooo-er missus. Ttitter ye not’ in there – I think i do, and indeed how could the BNP object? After all what could be more British than a nicely judged and delivered double entendre delivered in the classic style of a Frankie Howerd, Kenneth Williams or Julian Clary…
(Yep, you’re damn right – I am enjoying this immensely)
Of course, if one looks a little more closely, matters get even worse for the average BNP knuckledragger trying to make sense of all this.
As the Royal Navy’s records show, there have been six ships that have borne the name ‘HMS Discovery’, of which the least well known undertook a voyage of exploration in the eastern Arctic during the 1870s.
Two of the other vessels to carry this name have, however, a rather more auspicious role in British Naval history, albeit as members of the supporting cast to historical figures of genuine significance. The first Discovery was one of two consort vessels that accompanied Captain James Cook on his thord voyage of exploration, which led to the discovery of the Hawaiian Islands, while the second was commanded by Captain George Vancouver on his voyage of exploration from 1791 to 1794 before being refitted as a bomb vessel and seeing action under Nelson’s overall command at the Battle of Copenhagen.
Surely Mr Barnbrook cannot be impugning the honourable name of a vessel that has served Britain with such distinction, and if he is how could any truely patriotic BNP forgive such a slight…
(Yes that is fucking irony, btw, before anyone asks)
Could this situation beome any stickier for Mr Barnbrook – well yes, as it happens.
It seems one cinema listing cites Mr Barnbrook as having starred in and co-wrote the film, although there’s no indication as to whether he was personally involved in the scenes of flagellation, nudity or the apparent ‘sex act’ and he has firmly denied being the author of eoritc poetry that was set to the footage in question and which includes lines such as:
"It bares you like a foreskin’s folds" , and "Open-mouthed, I shall dream of altar boys."
This last line I find particularly intriguing from a man whose political party advocates the restoration of the death penalty for paedophilia, although to be fair nowhere it is suggested that the line in the film following "Open-mouthed, I shall dream of altar boys." isn’t ‘as I fall through the trapdoor and feel the noose tighten’, some maybe he might not be in quite as much trouble with the knuckledraggers as its looks a first glance.