Hastings Observer review of Hitler Moustache
A political rally, a Hitler moustache and a warning against apathy and the BNP
01 March 2010
By Richard Morris
It is not often I spend my Saturday nights in a packed downstairs room watching a man with a Hitler moustache pontificate about the state of politics.
In fact, I can genuinely say that before this weekend it was something I had never had the pleasure of doing. Thankfully though, Richard Herring has changed all that.
The comedian was at the White Rock Theatre, showcasing his latest - and it is fair to say, most controversial - offering to date. No main stage for Herring though. Fittingly it was in the beer cellar-esque Sussex Hall that the comedian waxed-lyrical about the pitfalls of growing - and keeping - a Hitler moustache.
Herring is no fascist though. Far from a celebration of Nazi iconography, Herring is on a one man mission to reclaim the toothbrush moustache originally made famous by Charlie Chaplin.
But, there is a clear message in his set and one which should resonate perhaps more strongly in Hastings than elsewhere on his tour.
Herring bemoans the political apathy of voters which allowed the British National Party to post victories in the last round of European elections. He points out that people from across Europe went to Spain to fight Franco's fascists, while voters in modern day Britain couldn't even be bothered to walk to their local primary school and put a tick in a box.
And he has a point. Many people I speak to are quick to express their disgust at the relative success of the BNP here in 1066 Country. If they had all made the effort to vote, I dare say they would not have as much reason to be upset now.
Hastings has taken its fair share of knocks nationally in the last few years, not least after the media scrum surrounding the tragic death of Qatari teenager Mohammed al-Majed. Hastings was labelled racist, and while those of us who live here know that not to be the case, mud, it seems, sticks.
The BNP has made no secret of the fact they see Hastings as a target for future electoral success. Nick Griffin even came to town to rally a roomful of supporters.
Sadly, when I talk to friends back home or working elsewhere they have a poor impression of Hastings. Lazy journalism from the BBC doesn't help. Their out-of-context and disproportionate coverage of the BNP's election hopes did nothing to dispel the myth of 1066 Country rapidly becoming an enclave of racism.
With two elections looming locally (the general election and the local council election) voter apathy is once again threatening to boost the apparent popularity of the fringe parties. One thing is for certain, the BNP WILL mobilise its voters. It is up to the rest of us to make the effort whatever our opinions or otherwise of national politics.
If we don't and the BNP do well, we only have ourselves to blame.
How ironic that it took a man with a Hitler moustache to make us realise it.