How to gatecrash a Christmas party

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WHEN times are hard people get desperate. Nick Griffin of the Brutish (British) National Party had an embarrassing episode some years back where he was refused permission to attend a garden party thrown by the Queen at Buckingham Palace.

He then went on television on what the media called a “gloating spree” saying that he deserved to be invited on account of the one million people who voted for his party.

Pity he had not read my Idiot’s Guide to Gatecrashing a Party though I must admit that I am one of those who find what his party stands for, quite distasteful. I happen to be black and of African descent and the British National Party is as racist as they come.

For those not in the know, the British National Party has been seeking to restore the white ethnicity of Britain that it says existed prior to 1948 through legal means.

This includes “firm but voluntary incentives for immigrants and their descendants to return home” and the repeal of anti-discrimination legislation. He also is a Member of the European Parliament.

For all that he is worth, and it’s not much I’m afraid, Griffin broke one of the cardinal rules of gatecrashing, that is telling everyone that he had been denied entry. One never admits failure, especially on television. One cannot even begin to calculate the untold damage this has done to his already dubious reputation.

Buckingham Palace was justified to deny Griffin entry because it was their party after all and they can invite and uninvite at their pleasure. The trick is how one reacts. You don’t go shouting to the rooftops, but rather you retire to a quiet corner to restrategise.

In Zimbabwe, we are no strangers to the phenomenon. We have been pitching up unannounced at the doorsteps of relatives, friends and in a few instances stranger’s houses, particularly at meal times.

This is unlike Europe where they find it exceedingly rude to call on someone without invitation. That could be forever. In Africa, it is considered bad luck to turn away someone at your door.

Griffin, for all the repugnant things that he stands for, would be welcomed with open arms in some homes in Zimbabwe.

It’s a part of our culture that could be used as an excuse to gatecrash those parties during the festive season.

Another tactic that Griffin should have employed was to know who the real host was in advance. The mistake he made was to think that it was the Queen. Technically, she was, but in reality, it was Buckingham Palace, the institution. Griffin thought that he was going to appeal to Her Majesty’s grace and compassion.

Yet the guys who pull the strings behind the scenes were faceless bureaucrats who wouldn’t bat an eyelid at having him thrown out on his bum if it came to that. Just like security guards.

He should have thrown all modesty aside and scaled the palace wall. That he would run the risk of being shot in the process, which he surely deserved, would have been neither here nor there.

It might have attracted sympathy from otherwise disgusted guests. They are many who believe that Griffin is better off dead by the way.

Griffin could have besides pole vaulting over majestic walls, disguised himself as a waiter or better still the chef. We are not aware of any culinary skills that he possesses, but once inside, I doubt it if he would have been able to keep his mouth shut.

Any party organiser employs elaborate measures to ensure that only those invited get to enjoy. From fancy invitation cards, which Griffin ironically had when he was “PI”ed (declared a prohibited invitee), to security guards and bouncers.

Or in the case of Buckingham Palace, security measures that might have included metal detectors, satellite surveillance and invincible secret service personnel.

In such a situation, Griffin would have to make himself inconspicuous, another golden rule that he defiled. Griffin never moves without a cavalcade of goons (to label them politely) who are not known for being civil.

Now if you pitch up at any party with a phalanx of hangers-on and you meet an equally determined posse at the gate, isn’t that a recipe for World War III?

Nonetheless, in order to succeed against such odds, a professional gatecrasher has to be psychologically and physically prepared. One must always be a step ahead of the measures put up to prevent one from entry.

Dressing for the occasion, which unfortunately is no guarantee for entry as Nick woefully discovered, is one.

He told all and sundry on television that he now would have to return his hired morning suit, cravat and waist coat. The unwritten rule that the smartly turned out person is unlikely to cause trouble does not seem to apply to politicians. It could work for you though.

Finally, a gatecrasher should know what the occasion being celebrated is. In Africa, lack of this basic piece of intelligence has led to some people I know gatecrashing funeral wakes, tombstone unveilings and prayer meetings.

Griffin, unfortunately enough, knew what the party was for in the first place.

For all his troubles, the leader of Britain’s most reviled political party then ran into Peter Tatchell, the bane of all xenophobes.

Tatchell, we are told, called Griffin “a gutless coward” and demanded that he apologise for the “BNP’s history of anti-Semitism and homophobia”.

It is at this point that Griffin’s goons sprang into action. If only they had shown their bravery against the palace guards and not a “soft” target.

 Lenox Mhlanga is a social commentator
 Twitter: @lenoxmhlanga