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Friday, October 23, 2009

On that BNP Question Time experience

For all my arguments that the BBC had no choice but to engage with the BNP and that in a democracy we need to debate with and expose fascists, I could not help but feel uneasy watching last night's Question Time.

The first part of the programme was everything I expected it to be, with some very experienced politicians and the awesome Bonnie Greer dismantling the BNP leader, his views and his policies. In many ways that was always going to be a one off as was demonstrated when the panel got onto wider issues. It was then that the odious Griffin came across as just another politician, albeit a fairly incoherent and shallow member of the political class.

The fact that demonstrations took place outside the studios was a sign of a healthy democracy, but the extent that some took their protest to was not and played into the BNP's hands. Peter Hain and others argue that we should not provide a platform for fascists but in my view their premise is based on an under-estimation of the intelligence of the electorate.

Yes, there were some who may have sided with Griffin because he was being 'picked on' but most people would have listened to the arguments and understood why the BNP have no credible policies on any of the major issues facing our country today. They would also have seen how Griffin's views are based on a flawed analysis of British history and a poor understanding even of his own ancestry.

Of most interest was the view, ably articulated by Chris Huhne that the majority of people who vote for the BNP are not racists but voters who have real issues with the way that the system has treated them, their family and/or their friends. In these cases their dissatisfaction is reinforced by the misinformation put about by the BNP, which was very effectively answered last night.

As Chris Huhne said, where parties like the Liberal Democrats campaign on these issues and address people's concerns directly, as they have done in Burnley then the BNP can be rolled back and defeated. I agree with him. The real problem in tackling the BNP is that there are not enough Liberal Democrats around the country to do the job properly.
sorry, but no. Those protests outside the studio were not "a healthy sign of democracy". I bet none of those people protesting voted in the Euros (to keep the BNP out), and then they kick off and show their "votes" via riot, smokebombs and raised fist salutes. Makes you wonder who the fascists are, the ones in the studio, or the ones outside.

Democracy means casting your vote. They.. we.... should do well to remember that at the next elections.
You will note that I qualified my remarks by saying that the extent to which they took their protest was not healthy. Democracy is more than voting at elections. It is about the ability to protest and debate as well, but within the law!
Note that I have corrected a passage relating to Peter Hain's views whereby I inadvertently left out the word 'not' thus misrepresenting him.
Griffin had been asking to go on TV he got his chance, democracy is the right to protest something new labour do not like much.

I think people vote for the BNP because they are to some degree racist, they believe all the woes and problems are caused by immigration blacks Asians, when in fact it's caused by bad controls and this country putting all it's chickens into the financial sector.
Its not what we think,its what the wider public got out of it and the way it was handled may well have given him a platform for even more support.
It needed to be a normal programme format.in the end it was a Nick Griffin special
I agree with VM, it was a nick griffin special. At times Griffin was incoherent, inconsistent and attempting to make temporary allies to assuage the onslaught he received. I thought Baroness Warsi was excellent and Jack Straw rather weathered.
Protesting is a healthy sign of democracy within the law.
It is unfortunate that there are people with the same views as Griffin. They should not be allowed to be in politics.
I think that is a matter for the voters to decide.
so you condone that type of protest then?

OK, when Hain and his cronies come to the Senedd to tell us we can't have a referendum, then it's ok for a couple of hundred of us to block the streets and attack his car, lay seige to the senedd and attack police, and several of us to storm the building in an effort to stop him? That's ok with you? Just checking... you said it was a healthy sign of democracy...
No I said peaceful protest is a healthy sign of democracy. I also explicitly said that the level of protest outside the BBC studios went too far and was not healthy. This is now the third time I have said it in this post. You would have thought you might read what I write before misrepresenting me.
"I think that is a matter for the voters to decide."
to quote president Hindenburg ...
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