Guess who's coming to tea?

James MacIntyre at the New Statesman is, er, a little unhappy at Nick Griffin’s appearance at Buckingham Palace for the Queen’s garden party today.

When it emerged that British National Party leader and author of “Who Are The Mindbenders” Nick Griffin had been invited to a garden party at Buckingham Palace, I was invited to defend the decision on BBC Radio Five Live. The former Labour MEP I discussed the topic with was shocked — shocked! — by this outrageous insult to the Queen’s Black, Asian and minority ethnic subjects — especially those serving in the armed forces.

The argument against Griffin attending functions such as this is almost compelling: post-Empire, Britain’s over-riding narrative is the defeat of Nazi Germany. Witness the dismay at David Cameron’s truthful description of the UK as a “junior partner” in World War II. While it’s plainly true that the UK could not have survived without logistical support from the US pre-1941, and the Nazis would not have been defeated without US troops post-1941, for even the most unpatriotic Britons it still seems beyond the pale to suggest that the war was won by anyone other than a few plucky Spitfire pilots flying out of Biggin Hill. Maybe with some help from the Russians, at a push.

Griffin’s status as leader of Britain’s most prominent neo-fascist party clearly makes his invitation to the Palace a problem.

But if MEPs are to be invited to the Queen’s house for tea as a matter of protocol, as the palace claims, then a snub of Griffin would be far more problematic.

The BNP is a legal political party. Should the palace deny a member of a legal political party the same privilege it extends to others, the monarchy immediately becomes politicised. Undesirable, and constitutionally problematic.

So, you have two choices: ban the BNP (not a move I could ever support), or, sooner or later, let Nick Griffin eat a few cucumber sandwiches in the garden of Buckingham palace. It would seem the palace has made the decision to get this one out of the way.

Update: Channel 4 News is reporting that Griffin was refused entry to Buckingham Palace after he “overtly used his invitation for political purposes”

This I find problematic. While it’s obvious from a cursory glance that Griffin is using his invitation as vindication, (“…I will be there for the one million British patriots who now vote for this party despite all the hate from the media liars, the old parties and their thuggish far-left allies.”), aren’t people in Griffin’s position as MEP invited exactly because they are elected? Implying they are representing the people voting for them?

By pointing out Griffin’s politicisation of the event, has the palace allowed itself to become politicised?