No Place Like Home

Nick’s is a fresh approach is that, rather than going undercover to infiltrate hate cells, he meets people openly as a journalist. The book is therefore a record of Nick’s conversations with various extreme right figures, both the infamous and the unknown. Such interviews are simply spewing with hate; race hatred, class hatred and misogyny are constantly espoused until the encounters begin to take on a frightening sense of déjà vu. While this repetition helps Homeland draw links between various international groups and political parties, the geographical scope makes such contrasts incomplete and hurried. Likewise, the sheer volume of racist, homophobic and anti-Semitic remarks retold in Homeland completely overpowers the literary prose and authorial interjection, which attempts to provide some wry humour and a more detached analysis of such ideas. While this may be a problem stylistically however, it does enhance the overall impact and intensity of the book.

At the start Nick poses the question ‘why?’ What drives this culture of extreme hate and violence? While various reasons are raised, no conclusion is reached and ultimately Homeland is unsure whether it is the sheer number of ‘weirdos’ that is unnerving or the apparent normality of some of the people encountered. What is clear is that the vivid descriptions of ‘families, kids, the elderly, all screaming “our own people first!”’ are ultimately the most haunting images from the book which endure when the names of the individual figures have vanished.

Homeland reminds us that this climate of hate is not a distant, far off world but an uncomfortably close one, as the BNP’s Nick Griffin talks to the author about recruiting graduates and ‘targeting the Oxbridge circuit to build a fifth column within the establishment.’ The picture that the book gives is unnerving but also provides a vital reminder of the horrific flip side to the tabloid rants against immigration – and the deceptively glossy and formal propaganda of certain political parties.

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