BBC’s decision to invite the British National Party’s (BNP) Nick Griffin onto its programme ‘Question Time’ has rightfully invited a storm of protests by anti-fascists. The BNP is a racist political party which until a few days ago had a constitution that did not allow Blacks and Asians to become members of its organisation. The BBC has had to defend its decision vigorously, saying it is not for them but the government to censor groups like the BNP. Their justification for inviting him is that editorial impartiality demands it and that if more than a million people had voted for the BNP in the European elections, practical reality as well.
It has also been framed as a debate between those who oppose free speech and those who uphold it.
All of this is rejected by the coalition of ‘Unite Against Fascism’. At a protest meeting last night at the Conway Hall in Holborn (picture above), the debate was framed quite differently. Does freedom of speech really apply in a case when a party is committed to suppressing the rights and freedoms of an ethnic minority? So what if the BNP won a certain percentage of the vote in the European Parliamentary elections, doesn’t their racist ideology remain wrong regardless of whether 6% or 60% voted for it? Isn’t the BBC legitimizing a well-known fascist who incidentally has also learnt how to adapt his message depending on the audience he is speaking to?
I heard an interview Nick Griffin did with Sky News and its obvious that the man has learnt how to speak in code. For instance, he’ll say that although not “indigenously British” he has absolutely no problem with law-abiding Asians or Blacks. They may stay. But those who can’t stay within the law, can’t stop snatching British jobs from British workers and can’t stop ruining the peace and tranquility of these lovely islands, should leave. And on and on he can go while appearing as though he is being targeted for standing up for the rights of white people.
I think there are very clear-headed reasons for not allowing Nick Griffin onto Question Time. I’ll update this space with an op-ed soon.