The question of how best to deal with the British National Party raised its head again earlier this week with the news BNP leader Nick Griffin will be asked to appear on Question Time in October.
The arguments for and against the BBC’s decision range from giving the BNP enough rope to hang themselves and starving them and their supporters of the oxygen of publicity; the optimum solution, as always, being a combination of the two.
Groups like Searchlight, Hope Not Hate and Unite Against Fascism work tirelessly on the latter, disrupting BNP activity, squaring up to them and campaigning against them on the doorstep, street-by-street and town-by-town, often at great personal risk - some even receiving death threats from the “democratic” BNP.
Forensic analysis of their policies and line-by-line rebuttals of their lies, however, have been less prevalent, enabling the BNP’s racist propaganda to go virtually unchallenged, though steps are, belatedly, being taken to rectify this. Last month Quilliam, the counter-extremism think tank, published a report cataloguing the BNP’s raft of anti-Islamic smears and quashing them.
The third part of the strategy takes us back to the media, and how best they should cover the BNP. This is probably the most important aspect, with the press in particular conducting many in-depth investigations into the BNP. A recent example of this is News of the World’s exposé of a BNP “family festival” in August which revealed the true face of the BNP.
Among the shocking incidents which took place included gollywogs being thrown onto braziers; people throwing wet sponges at a man in a Barack Obama mask locked in stocks; BNP officers making speeches describing Jadaism and Islam as “cancers”; BNP supporters giving “Sieg Heil” salutes; BNP members threatening an anti-Fascist protester with hammers and axes; skinheads boating of how they’d driven black families out of their villages… the list goes on and on.
The media at its best, but the BBC’s invite to Nick Griffin to take a seat on their flagship news and current affairs programme will be considered by many to be totally unacceptable. The BBC have already given Griffin countless platforms to spout his bile, from Newsnight interviews to radio phone-ins, but Question Time, Question Time, in front of a live studio audience???