“I was horrified when I heard about this, because it makes them appear as if they are another political party sitting on a panel along with democratically-elected parties,” he said.
Firstly – unless Mr Hain has evidence of election fraud, in which case he should hand it over to the relevant authorities – the BNP are a democratically-elected party. It probably hasn’t escaped him that Mr Griffin is now a member of the European Parliament. But he is right on the other count. The BNP are not just another political party. They are a ragtag bunch of yobs, mead-drinking pagan weirdos and boneheads. And yet their vote is increasing all over Britain. And one of the reasons for this is that they are able to play the martyr card.
We’re not part of the establishment, they tell the electorate.But any half-decent frontline politician should be able to reduce the BNP to dust in a debate. From the top down – including Mr Griffin – the BNP are economically illiterate. Their manifesto, leaving aside the fact that much of it is odious by most people’s standards – doesn’t stand up to any scrutiny, even just pragmatically.
Look – the big parties gang up to make sure we don’t get a fair crack of the whip from the media.
We’re the voice of the little man kept away from the top table.
Let’s be blunt: the BNP are thick. The Question Time panel should be able to make mincemeat out of Mr Griffin, who gets away with it precisely because he never gets tackled on any of the big issues.
Rather than relegate the BNP to the electoral margins, as was intended, the “no platform” policy has had precisely the opposite effect, allowing the party to set its own terms without ever facing the kind of scrutiny other parties do.
What would the BNP do, given the chance? We know they’re not very keen on non-white people. But how would they tackle the black hole in the UK economy? What form of healthcare do they favour? What is their education policy? Where do they stand on regulation of the City? We don’t know, because we’re not supposed to ask.
It is the duty of every mainstream politician to go up against the BNP in debate and expose them. Not just expose them for their extreme views – but as being incapable of running a shoe-shine stall, never mind the most minor community council. Their councillors, when elected, frequently fail to show up to meetings. People such as Stoke councillor Steve Batkin, who attended none of a possible 30 committee meetings in nine months and spoke twice in his first two years as a councillor – once to ask what “abstain” meant.
Are these the sort of people Mr Hain and his fellow Labour ministers are worried about debating with?
Allied to this is the unspoken belief among ministers that the British public cannot be trusted – that as soon as Mr Griffin appears on TV, his poll ratings will soar as viewers up and down the country nod in agreement. Actually, they might be pleasantly surprised. They might find that, when in the full glare of the media, forced to answer questions on policy by opposition politicians, the public may see the BNP for what they are: a bunch of louts who have been getting away with it for far too long.