September 08, 2009

The BBC's disgraceful BNP stunt

The BBC should not provide a platform for fascism. If Nick Griffin appears on Question Time the only winner will be the BNP

The BBC whose lavish salaries and expenses paid for by the poorest of the land are obsessed with media stunts as they watch ratings slump. Last week, it was Adam Boulton announcing he would "empty chair" Gordon Brown if he refused Sky's pompous demand to debate on Boulton's terms with other party leaders. Now it is the BBC that has staged its publicity coup by inviting Holocaust denier Nick Griffin on to its flagship Question Time Programme.

Is there outrage? No, the liberal world slumps deeper into its armchair having a little moan about how nasty the BNP is, while the mainstream parties meekly agree to appear with Griffin.

Inviting the BNP's Nick Griffin as if he were the same as a senior politician from a democratic party is a stunt too far. The only full-length written work by Griffin – Who are the Mindbenders? – plays on old Nazi propaganda that Jews are the secret controllers of the media. As with Griffin's denial of the Holocaust and the BNP's ideology of hate against Muslim citizens, the core ideas are directly descended from the pre-war fascist era.

Yes, they get votes in low turnout elections from folk concerned about immigration. But not one in 10,000 voters knows Griffin's record. The argument advanced by Peter Preston in the Guardian and Matthew Seyd in the Times , as well as the Lib Dem MP Danny Alexander in the Daily Mirror, is that debating with Griffin somehow exposes him and his loathsome ideology.

If only. Question Time is not about rational debate but a ping-pong of point-scoring and gimmicks for cheap applause. Some of the audience will snarl at Griffin, some will cheer, when he denounces the number of foreigners in Britain or damns the EU. Sunny Hundal has advanced cogent arguments demolishing the myth that this is about a free exchange of views from which the BNP will emerge the loser.

In fact, the only winner will be the BNP vote-bank. French TV journalists went through the same arguments as Jean-Marie Le Pen rose in the 1980s. He and other National Front politicians were elected to Strasbourg, the French national assembly and local town hall. They had MEPs, deputies and mayors. Like Griffin, Le Pen was obsessed with Jewish questions though his main focus was Muslims, other immigrants and pulling out of the EU. But each time he appeared on the French equivalent of Question Time, his votes went up and the other party leaders spent their hour abusing each other as Le Pen just smiled at their political antics.

Today, French TV journalism is wiser. Yes, as an elected politician leading a legal party, Le Pen is reported and awarded a share of time on the election news, just as Griffin has the right to. But given the undemocratic core of his views on Jews, Muslims and immigrants, French TV does not treat Le Pen and the National Front as just another party. British broadcasters should follow suit.

If the argument is made that an electoral mandate confers the right to be boosted by the BBC on Question Time, why not the hundreds of independent councillors, or the other small parties who win seats?

This is not about democracy but about the BBC losing its sense of moral balance and editorial integrity. The BBC, rather than the Daily Mirror and Searchlight, should be exposing Griffin – not boosting his insatiable ego. As he enters his eighth decade (old enough to have been born during Hitler's Reich), David Dimblely should refuse to provide a platform for British fascism.

Gordon Brown should make clear that no Labour minister or MP will appear on Question Time to validate this disgraceful BBC stunt. Alan Johnson has spoken for most, if not all, Labour MPs and activists by making clear he will not help Griffin up the political status scale by appearing with him. Labour MPs will discuss this at the party conference and Labour's high command should listen to those who fight hand-to-hand with the BNP on the doorstep before caving in to the BBC.

David Cameron, too, should remember that when Enoch Powell made a racist speech in 1968, the Tory leader Ted Heath ended Powell's career as a front-rank Tory MP. Heath went on to become prime minister. Cameron and Nick Clegg should be as brave today. All democratic parties should make clear that if Griffin appears on Question Time, David Dimbleby can have him to himself.



Gorgon Zola said...

Exactly what many people on here have been saying - Question Time is stage-managed, and doesn't allow for fascists to be exposed for what they are, live on air.

All it does is help publicise and spread the propaganda of Nick Griffin and the BBC.

Griffin will be well-rehearsed, the audience questions are vetted in advance, and the bastard will not put a single foot wrong, portraying the BNP as a moderate centre-right party rather than the fascists and neo-Nazis they in truth are.

Anonymous said...

If there was a "Legalise Paedophilia Party" which got European MEPs, would the BBC be as fair to them also by allowing them onto Question Time?

Anonymous said...

The one thing the Left in Britain is strong on is it’s complete lack of faith in the working class.Of course they are theoretically bound to the proletariat as a concept – but you wouldn’t want your daughter to marry one. Most people on the organised Left – including many anarchists – think the working class are brutish, racist, gullible and therefore……….they must not be allowed to hear what the BNP has to say because the gullible idiots might agree with it! Of course the SWP/UAF are the worst examples of this – as complete enemies of the capitalist state they are the first to call for it to issue bans and proscriptions on its opponents…even when they have been elected by working class people. Griffin is as entitled to be on Question Time as George Galloway – in fact representing more votes than the apologist for Islamisism. The question the Left needs to answer is why Griffin got those votes in the first place – but that would lead to a far too painful bout of self-examination.

So expect the usual leftist kneejerk call for Griffin to be barred from Question Time and the workers in their millions to flock to the BNP after the programme. God help us in what leftist idiots they’ll put on the programme against him. He’s far more likely to run into trouble from someone from the populist right rather than the organised Left.Who do we reckon would really take him apart – Kelvin McKenzie or Tariq Ali? Though Bob Crow v Nick Griffin – that’d be worth a look if Crow could ditch his antedeluvian politics but keep the patter! Don’t forget – it’ll be a high risk strategy for Griffin if someone lands a few telling blows on him or better still makes him look like a twat it could be over and out.

There is a need to have the fascists were we can see them and hear them, this allows us to deal with what they have to say and defend our views to the working class.If they don’t have a platform then we wrap them in this sinister shroud, which gives them this kudos with some white working class people, kudos which as we know is bullshit, but also allows people like searchlight to hype tiny little groups into small armies.

It comes back to this trouble is it could lead to Griffin becoming one of those must have political raconteurs that blight the news from time to time. Breakfast Time, Newsnight, Sky News he could be all over the place by fucking Xmas, read this.

The British National Party’s continuing electoral advances have propelled the party onto the national stage and initiated a debate about why it is achieving historically unprecedented results for the far right in Britain. What is driving its recent successes, how might it be stopped and what is the role of the left in this effort? This debate is essentially over strategy: about our relation to anti-fascism and what it ought to be in today’s conditions. There is one question that is not being asked, though: is ‘anti-fascism’ the answer to the BNP? Keiron Farrow says it isn’t.

At climate camp the Middle Class imposed a no racist no sexist rule, it was only Vegon, and this is what outreach to the Working Class? The BNP and the far right are erm right in one fact The Left/Anarchist are a fucking joke our class laugh at them often, as long as the continue to fail the Working Class we can only but see a rise in the far right, let Griffin on and lets start to expose them for what they are, when the rats have gone back under ground then we begin to deal with them, through force as it stands we have to re-think how we deal with them, no matter how hard this might be for the few anti Anti-fascism isn’t working..

# notes some text nicked from Ian Bone.

Anonymous said...

For some reason a million people voted for the bnp in the euro elections.That reason needs to be debated and not swept under the carpet.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
If there was a "Legalise Paedophilia Party" which got European MEPs, would the BBC be as fair to them also by allowing them onto Question Time?

9:28 AM, September 08, 2009

This sort of responce makes us look stupid.

Anonymous said...

I doubt that Griffin on Question Time will have any major impact on the voters of this country. Half of them probably don't even watch the programme.

Next year the electorate turn-out will probably be just as low as this year.

Apathy is the problem. Not the BBC.

Jamie The Antifascist said...

Would have to laugh in the face of Griffin if he ever claimed that his fascist party was "democratic" one of the goals/rules of their constitution was stated saying something like: "Once we get into power, every other political party mainstream or not will be removed from the electoral process"

How is that democratic? sounds very Stalin-era to me....

Anonymous said...

A very well written piece, brilliant, and one that i totally agree with.


Anonymous said...

An interesting post from "projectsheffield" there.

Is it a bit of a generalisation about 'the left' though?

Are such labels of any benefit to us anymore anyway?

I think there is a reasonable point in there though, about certain groups of people (not all of 'the left') seemingly treating 'The Working Class' as if they are thick. The Working Class are not stupid, stupid people are stupid.

Yet again I find myself in the middle of class nowhere. Why should it matter? All this talk about concentrating on "the working class" in order to cultivate some kind of uprising against the fascists, it appears.

I guess I'm getting a bit vague here but I feel that there are too many people trying to tell everyone else which is the best way to deal with fascism. Yes perhaps in an indeal world we'd have trusted opinions, we'd all unite behind one stance, the BBC wouldn't be putting Nick Griffin on TV. I shouldn't have to point out that this is not an ideal world.. well if it was, fascism wouldn't even exist! We aren't all united and the BBC is (considering) putting Nick Griffin on Question Time.

So why are falling overselves trying to get over what is an inevitable hurdle? Standing around discussing the stable door whilst the horse legs it.

People keep coming up with these arguments to scrap one tactic or another, citing the 1930s and the 1980s. This isn't 60 years ago, this isn't 20 years ago, this isn't even 10 years ago. Things have changed.

Years ago information was regulated much more, information was not so readily available to the average person. Sure, we could go to a library, there was less news on the TV from less sources. So it wasn't so easy for anyone to produce the information and disemminate it to millions of others.

All that has changed and this, I think, is both the reason why The BNP has faired better and the reason why employing a flat, no platform approach is a struggle.

I feel that it's all in the detail, the granularity. Instead of looking at the way we tackle fascism in such a (pardon the pun) black and white way I think we need to look at the individual circumstances.

In some places no platform is a good policy, on the internet it's a bit difficult, often impossible. I feel this is key here.

It seems that there may be a few people out there who might think "the internet? that's not the real world, you need to get out and talk to people in the community". Well yes, that needs to be done as well but I really think that The BNP's strength has alot to do with all those BNP supporters out there (no, sorry, they are not all sock puppets, I know this for a fact) who spend time spreading BNP propaganda for absolutely free! Look at it this way - imagine if a major corporation had that kind of advertising power, it's not just advertising, it's psychology. The public are being socially engineered by Nick Griffin and hundreds, possibly thousands of activists. There's no stopping them from doing this, there's no way of operating a no platform approach.

Unfortunately in my experience it seems that many people see this happening and decide to concentrate on other things. So they say - "exposing them and arguing with them doesn't work", well sometimes no it doesn't, I've faired pretty well with it myself as it happens though but for every one of me there appear to be tens of fascists. How is that right?

I really do think that unless we get more people to come up with good arguments and opposition to BNP trolls across the internet then the BNP and other fascists will gain more and more strength. Actually, I'm certain of it, it's happening right now.

I'm not claiming to have all the answers, or any answers at all but I'm bothered and quite frankly a bit angry at some people rubbishing other tactics without properly trying them or even considering them.

Anonymous said...


Why do you bang on about the 'working classes' so much?

Has their been a class breakdown of the BNP vote? Class definitions in Britain are very fluid and one person's upper working class is another lower middle - I'd have thought in places like Essex, the BNP vote would be as middle class as it is working. Owner-occupiers probably vote BNP in greater numbers than those on council estates.

Fascism's appeal is cross-class. Always has been. Opposition should, therfore, also be cross-class.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
If there was a "Legalise Paedophilia Party" which got European MEPs, would the BBC be as fair to them also by allowing them onto Question Time?

9:28 AM, September 08, 2009

This sort of responce makes us look stupid.

Have to agree with that; but, if such a bizaare thing were to happen, then yes, the BBC would be obliged to provide them with a suitable platform, so long as they remained within the law.

There is a lot of BBC abusing at the moment, but remember that it is the BBC who have been denying the BNP publicity for many years. Stormfront and the rest have been baying for Gri££in (or A N Other Fascist) to be on QT for years - the BBC refused on the grounds, first, that they had not won an election. When they started winning they changed the rules so that only parties that had won in more than one area could get a voice. When the BNP did this, they changed it to only a party that had retained a seat, as well as winning in two different areas. When they did this, they changed it to only parties that had MPs, MEPs, Scots, Welsh or NI Parliaments, or GLA. When they won in the GLA the BBC changed it to only parties that had won a national election could be represented.
Not only on QT, but with linkls to their party website, right of reply and so forth.
Eventualy, the BBC have given in. The only way they could have gone is to say only parties with MPs - but that would rule out the Greens, UKIP and so forth.
Each time the BBC changed their stance it was to one that was generally thought that the BNP could never do - but as they have, the BBC has had to give them extra air time. Otherwise, the BNP could well have had a case against the BBC for breaching their charter, by which they have to be representative of the viewing public - and like it or not, more than 1 in 20 of them are voting BNP.
Let's get off this ridiculous campaign to try and make people think that the BBC is a neo-Fascist, racist organisation panting with the anticipation of a nazi government. It just makes the anti-Fascist groups look very very silly, and loses all credibility, plus by calling everyone to the right of the SWP nazis and fascists, the terms lose all meaning. If everybody is a fascist, what is the point in campaigning for people not to vote fascist?
Instead, try to organise against the BNP. Obvious really, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

''what is the point in campaigning for people not to vote fascist?
Instead, try to organise against the BNP. Obvious really, isn't it?''

you'd think so, yes.

ferryman payer said...

I'm sorry I have to disagree!!!

Anybody who sneaked into the RWB this year would have seen hardcore white supremacism, speakers playing Hitler's marching songs, gollywog burning, and Thule Society-style Odin worship.

If the BNP aren't truly neo-Nazi at their core, what the hell are they???

smila said...

Wasn't there once a Pro-Paedophilia Party in the Netherlands once?

If so, did they get election broadcasts on the telly, with kiddy fiddlers arguing for child abuse to be decriminalised?

In this country, we don't need a Legalise Paedophilia Party when you have two of the BNP's bigwigs getting away with sexually abusing fourteen year old girls in a Blackpool Hotel!

Antifascist said...

@projectsheffield, anon at 6.50 and Joe

Some excellent and thoughtful posts there. I don't agree with every word of what everyone is saying but at least people are thinking about all this and that has to be progress.

Kev Scott loves The Jam said...

Again, project Sheff made some good points.

I feel that although Prick is making some headway in the mainstream media I dont think that vitriolic protest and agression is the way forward. Actually pinning the bastard down on his policies (or lack of), his past history, the bottom feeders that are actually his 'rank and file' will simply go towards exposing him as the money grabbing shite that he is. Just egging him on question time serves no purpose than to make him out to be the victim... this will make the vast majority of voters (ie the daily hate crew) more sympathetic to him/'his' party / his (publicly stated) ideals.

I hope that the Beeb do not give him a platform, if they do he actually gets a fucking hard time and if not that anti facists everywhere counter his claims with well reasoned argument.

On the last point... nuggets of well reasoned argument that people can use are always welcomed on here!!!!!

Anonymous said...

"If there was a "Legalise Paedophilia Party" which got European MEPs, would the BBC be as fair to them also by allowing them onto Question Time?"

They linked to the Legalise cannabis party

Licence payer said...

Take a look at the Alexa stats

After google, the BBC website provides the largest amount of traffic to the BNP site.

WTF is going on?

Anonymous said...

Listen to this Shit.

UKIP Treasurer Quits in Dispute over Funding Misappropriation
The financial impropriety which has plagued the phoney UKIP party has reared its head once again with the sudden resignation of their treasurer, Marta Andreasen.

September 8, 2009 - By BNP News
From BNP Website.

The BNP have sacked 4 treasurers for not cowering down to Griffin now """""6 JOB DARBY"""" is the Treasurer and living a few miles from Griff all BEGGING MONEY GOES TO NICKS PO BOX in Welshpool members need to wake up to this SCAM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

"After google, the BBC website provides the largest amount of traffic to the BNP site."

What it doesn't and can't tell you is the percentage of people who visit the site who are BNP supporters and the percentage who are anti-fascists!

For all any of us know most people who look at their website might be anti-fascists, same with those Facebook groups gloating over having over 7,000 members, yeah, members including - me, a rasta called Mikey Dread and a load of other antis who post more than the dim wit "We can't say wot we want wiv out bein' called racist" types.

Note: 5.4% of hits for the BNP website come from Japan.

How about a call for the BNP to publish it's search referrers then? That'd be interesting. Yeah, the BNP have all these hits.. as a result of searching Google for "Nick Griffin Holocaust denier and racist". Um.

Whilst we're on the subject try going to Google, type in "BNP beliefs" (without quotes) and hit the "I'm feeling lucky" button.