October 29, 2007

Letter: The BNP must operate honestly

I was astonished to see a letter from Grenville Green saying that I'd referred to demonstrators against a BNP meeting as "left-wing thugs". This description is not from me.

What I said in a report to constituents is this: "The BNP booked the parish hall under an assumed name ("the British Heritage Association") and declined to leave any contact details, which stirred suspicions, and local trade unions organised an anti-BNP picket at which 100 or so people turned up. The police were forewarned and prevented any serious trouble between the groups though I gather there were some scuffles and the meeting was curtailed.

"I was down in Westminster so the above is all second-hand. My personal view is that legal parties are entitled to hold meetings, but should do so under their actual name; opponents, thus forewarned, are then entitled to express peaceful disagreement.

"I was tempted to get a friend to go to the meeting and insist on addressing them at length about Morris-dancing and the design of Napoleonic-era warships - well, if you've announced that you're having a meeting on British heritage, you can't reasonably complain if people want to talk about it, can you?"

Grenville Green asks for my source for this, since I wasn't there; it was a senior police officer responsible for policing the event, who also added that the BNP hadn't informed the police of their subterfuge, so it was only because they heard about it from other sources that they were aware of the event at all. It's not surprising that some town councillors were upset at this underhand use of council property.

Free speech is central to democracy, and that applies to all sides. Grenville is right that the BNP are entitled to hold meetings and express their views; we should oppose any attempt to disrupt their events, but they should be honest.

Nick Palmer MP House of Commons London

Nottingham Evening Post


Anonymous said...

Is this an apology for your disgraceful behaviour then?

Anonymous said...

I think we all know that if a venue is advertised intimidation follows not democratic protest.

Anonymous said...

I wish the nazi trolls on the Lancaster UAF Blog would fuck off back to Stormfront. This is meant to be an anti-nazi blog.