September 07, 2009

Why should the BNP sit with the grown-ups?

This year, the British National Party gained 6.26 per cent of the national vote at the European elections. That was, from their point of view, a great success, and appears to lift them from an insignificant contributor to political debate to a minority presence. They crossed the psychological threshold between those parties who field candidates, and those who have gained seats at a more than local level.

A councillor here or there on a local council may not mean very much. But to have two MEPs playing their part in representing the large regional constituencies of the North West is a different matter. It is conceivable that next year, a parliamentary constituency might return a BNP member. The question of what is to be done with their ideas begins to be asked, and the BBC has come to a particular conclusion. It has just invited Nick Griffin, the party chairman, to take part in its flagship round-table programme, Question Time.

Other parties are divided on the issue. The Labour party has a long-standing convention that its senior politicians do not debate with the BNP, and several important figures, including Alan Johnson, have already said that they would not accept an invitation on the programme.

The Conservative party, on the other hand, has said that it will be happy to field a shadow minister to debate with Griffin. The BBC is claiming that its need for impartiality actually requires it to invite the BNP.

The history of media freedom accorded to extremist parties is a strange one, and I don't think the matter is as clear-cut as the BBC says. It is certainly required to broadcast party political broadcasts by small and eccentric parties, down to those yogic flying people. The government in 1988 passed a law banning representatives of Sinn Fein/IRA from speaking on broadcast media, leading to the curious situation for some years where Gerry Adams was seen, but his words spoken by an actor. Even so, it would have been very peculiar of the BBC to have invited apologists for an active bombing campaign to appear on a discussion programme.

The situation with the BNP is a similar one. Their revolting ideology places them in a different position to other political parties. They choose the constituents whose interests they are prepared to support, or even recognise. Membership of the party is open only to what they describe as "indigenous Caucasians", leading to the piquant prospect of a case against them by the Equality Commission forcing them to accept non-whites as party members.

Some senior figures in the party have a history of genocide denial which would be illegal in many European countries, and there are clear instances from the past of statements inciting racial or religious hatred which are illegal in this one. The BBC has a responsibility towards free speech, but free speech is also limited by law. I can't think of a British political party whose representatives, before appearing on Question Time, would have to be instructed that some of their opinions could not be broadcast.

The BBC is making a mistake here. I don't believe that the BNP should be banned from the media altogether. The BBC has a clear public duty to quiz its representatives, and interrogate their policies. But there is no obligation whatsoever on the corporation to include the full range of political opinion on any one of its programmes, even Question Time. It would be sending a responsible message by refusing to let these spotty proponents of hatred sit with the grown-ups.



Anonymous said...

If the invite gets pulled now the BNP will have won the sympathy vote and the propaganda war, putting arrogant Gri£$in on there may not be so bad. Last time he faced the cameras he came out with that sink immigrant boat line which has and will haunt him for a long long time.

He's bound to get carried away again on Question Time.

Give 'Em Enough Rope...........

Joe Chapman said...

I'm still in two minds about this.

I don't think the BBC has to invite the BNP but perhaps it would have been wiser to invite someone from the party other than Nick Griffin, so they could still look impartial but maybe it wouldn't be so risky.

One of the problems for me here is that I think it is essential, if the BNP is to be represented, that those people in the audience and those people on the panel and in the chair, are actually clued up enough about the BNP. If certain other politicians are already refusing to go on the same programme there is a risk that the BNP will get a platform and not be properly exposed for what they really are and that could do untold damage to us all.

On the other hand it could be a good opportunity to get rid of some of the myths around the BNP, such as the myth that The BNP is an anti-immigration party. The problem here is that all too often people have a habit of debating with the BNP on their terms using their definition of 'immigration' which does not include white people. So when we start talking about immigration with the likes of Griffin and don't question what the BNP mean by 'immigration' we invariably end up discussing race, accepting the BNP's definition and accepting that The BNP is an anti-immigration party when it is not, it is simply a racist party.

Ideally if the BNP are to appear on question time we need someone who is trusted and respected by the public, who is clued up about the BNP and who would be good in a court room getting their hands dirty and asking the right questions, to be on hand. Otherwise there could be trouble.

Maybe it shouldn't be happening at all but it seems to be too late now.

StageManaged Television Woes said...

The Goebels of the BNP, Looney Lee Barnes has admitted on his blog that the BNP will use question time as a proganda exercise to gloss over the neo-Nazi pedigree of the BNP, aiming to convince the viewers dishonestly that they are no-longer racist, just because the party has forced to drop its whites only entry policy, a move forced on the party, but one which Mr Gri££in will undoubtely claim falsely that was a unilateral policy decision to make the party more inclusive.

The entire Question Time show will be stage-managed to ensure that Gri££in appears moderate, topics will be pre-chosen and won't test BNP policies, audience members will be infiltrated by a significant number of neo-nazi Stormfronters, and any opposing members of the public will be limited to watered down, pre-determined questions which steer away from outright condemantion of the BNP's vile fascism.

Crowd booing will be muted by turning microphones off, and if everything gets too controversial, David Dimbleby will say "let's move on, time is short".

Last but not least, the programme will be edited in Nick Griffin's favour, removing all damning material that would help the public make its mind up once and for all that the BNP is racist.

The BBC most obviously wants to help make the BNP a part of the establishment, which suggests some of the governers of the BBC sympathise with its racist and homophobic policies, which is a travesty when you consider the significant number of brave BBC journalists who are featured on Redwatch, and have to endure daily death threats from active BNP members, their crime, to expose the BNP for what it is.

By stage-managing Nick Griffin's appearance in-front of a mickey mouse audience, with the show all set to be edited in Nick Griffin's favour, the racist, sexist, homophobic neo-nazi leader of the BNP will be sanitised for mass consumption, which will lead to a wider public acceptance of race, gender and sexual orientation hate, but will lead to a definate rise in hate crimes.

Troll Destroyer said...

Not dispelling the general (and quite reasonable assumption that the EDL and the far right are thick), BNP member and EDL supporter Lorne Cartlidge has just posted his intellectual critique as a defence of his fellow football hooligans in the Times newspaper(Online): -
(see comments after article)

lorne cartlidge wrote:
"as churchill said the facists will come in the desguise of anti facists,the far right are nuisances the far left are sinister,as for uranating on buses,how long were they caged on the busses?
September 6, 2009"

UkTimesOnline Recommend? (12)

Unsurprisingly 12 people recommended this thicko's bullshit pro-fascist hooligan comment, which suggests that someone on Stormfront has allerted several unemployed neo-Nazi trolls to get out of bed and start trolling.

NewsHound said...,+says+chief/

Anonymous said...

I agree, the BBC will sadly most definately stage-manage the whole fiasco in Griffo's Favour, and edit out the controversial bits, cos that's the pro-fash BBC to a tee.

Joe Chapman said...

This accusation of a pro-fascist BNP is worrying me somewhat. Why is it happening? I don't really see any evidence that the BNP is pro-fascist. However, perhaps it will help if people keep calling the BNP pro-fascist because it may force the BNP to prove that it's not by not stage managing Question Time in the way that we expect.

Anonymous said...

With all this going on and the fact that Griffin is hogging all the limelight Dicky has hit the bottle big time.

His website/blog have not been up dated since June, he got a very brief mention on London Patriot last week, but thats it nothing de nada.

He has been seen stumbling round town from pub to pub spending his money buying anyone who will sit with him a drink just so he has someone to talk to.

It really is a sad life when your time is over and Dickys time is really over. Yesterdays man.


Joe Chapman said...

Ah balls! I got BNP mixed up with BBC. How silly. It was early in the morning, that's my excuse!