What do David Cameron, Alex Salmond, Greek neo-Nazis, German neo-Nazis and the Taliban have in common?
In the UK if a political party wants to gain an edge over its rivals all it has to do is suck up to Rupert Murdoch.
David Cameron and Alex Salmond, despite their protestations, have clearly benefitted from befriending the billionaire.
Or at least they think they have.
But what happens when you live in a country which doesn’t interest a sugar daddy,
According to The Sunday Times, Golden Dawn, a far right party in Greece, is racing up the polls thanks to a unique carrot and stick approach.
The carrot is food.
The stick is something so sinister, it wouldn’t surprise me if the BNP adopt it soon as one of their flagship policies.
In his disturbing report from Athens, Matthew Campbell writes: “When Christos, a Greek Taxi driver, was attacked by his passengers he did not report it to the police. Instead he complained to Golden dawn, a neo-Nazi group, which promised to punish his Somali assailant.
“Last week Christos held up a scarred finger to show where the man had bitten through to the bone. ‘The bastard tried to rob me’ he said.”
I suspect there is a chance Christos may have misunderstood the Somali’s motives. It’s possible he was just hungry.
Certainly, as the economic woes continue to bite there isn’t a lot of food to chew on in Greece.
Campbell describes how one man killed himself during the morning rush hour earlier this month “so as not to have to root around in dustbins to assure my subsistence”.
Members of Golden Dawn, who like to warmly greet each other with sieg heil gestures, are distributing food to the needy in some parts of the country and in those areas support for them has reached 10%.
Their other big idea, and this would certainly appeal to some nutters in this country, is to seal Greek borders with landmines. (Note to English Defence League, we’re surrounded by water so it won’t work here).
The upshot of all this creative thinking is that Golden Dawn could win around 15 seats in the new Greek parliament at the forthcoming elections.
Creative thinking isn’t confined to radical politicians from Greece these days.
In the country which gave us the father of all neo-nazis, the local right wing extremists have come up with an ingenious plan to gain support from the most unsuspecting of sources.
It’s such a brilliant idea, I have to raise my right arm and salute them.
The Observer’s Katie Connolly reports from Berlin: “German consumers are being warned that when they buy organic produce they may be supporting the far right movement, following the revelation that right wing extremists in Germany have embraced the ecological movement and are using it to tap in to a new generation of supporters.”
The eco-friendly stormtroopers have even begun publishing their own conservation magazine, complete with gardening tips and the dangers of genetically-modified milk.
In some parts of Germany followers of the National Democratic Party (sounds familiar doesn’t it?) have launched an Aryan agrarian revolution.
They propagate a way of living which involves humane raising of plants and animals.
They produce German honey, bake bread from homegrown wheat, sell their own fruit and vegetables and knit woollen sweaters.
While the neo-nazis use food to gain support, the Taliban are best noted for burning vast areas of fertile land when they ruled Afghanistan.
They didn’t care if they got no votes from the starving population because nobody had the vote anyway.
But that was ten years ago before the Americans invaded.
And now it looks as though they may have turned over a new leaf.
The Taliban are better known for burning books than writing them.
Not any more.
The world’s best beheaders, whose hatred of culture is matched only by their mistrust of reason, have, according to The Sunday Times, turned to poetry in a bid to win new support.
According to James Gillespie: “Dulce et decorum est it is not. The Taliban have decided to resort to a new weapon: poetry.
“To those familiar with the war poems of Wilfrid Owen, Rupert Brooke and Siegfried Sassoon, the wordsmiths of the mujaheddin may seem a little blunt.”
He’s not kidding.
One anonymous bearded bard writes: “We are happy when we are martyred for our extreme zeal and honour. That is the reason we strap bombs around our waists.”
Maybe it loses something in translation but it doesn’t work for me.
However, 235 similar offerings have been collected in Poetry of the Taliban which will be published next month.
Apparently the poems are frequently used as the soundtrack to accompany Taliban films of attacks or beheadings
Despite that the book’s editors, a couple of Germanic-sounding chaps, are highly enthusiastic. “There is a lot which is interesting from a thematic and literary perspective,” raves one.
How long before the Greek and German neo-nazis start to burn them?
COLIN GRANT is a former journalist who now runs Spectrum PR, a Glasgow-based public relations and media consultancy.