Monday, 19 October 2009

Banning Griffin now would fuel the BNP's persecution complex.

Popular opinion on Nick Griffin’s scheduled appearance on Question Time divides broadly into two categories. First, the argument runs that extremism is nurtured in dark corners and the way to defeat it is through open, democratic debate. Second, it is recognised that an organisation like the BNP craves publicity, and, given that all reasonable and reasoning people agree that its views are abhorrent, it should be denied it wherever possible.

Unfortunately it has been a bad weekend for those who subscribe to the latter view. The debate on BNP participation has already commanded many inches of newsprint. Whether one agrees with the BBC’s decision to include Griffin in its panel, or not, the path of least resistance must surely now dictate that he appears. If he were replaced at this late juncture it could not fail to nourish the erroneous sense of grievance on which his party thrives.

In Northern Ireland we have seen the way in which extreme political views can be insinuated into the mainstream, until they become, effectively, unremarkable. Griffin will have ambitions to achieve a similar outcome. In common with another rabidly ethno nationalist party, Sinn Féin, the BNP’s support grows in accordance with its persecution complex.

It is too late to deny the BNP publicity; it is possible to avoid needlessly fuelling its sense of persecution.


stephen said...

It is totally unfair to single out Sinn Fein, here. The two major unionist parties also campaign, almost exclusively, for a share of an ethnic vote.
Read your own blog from Friday for details.

Chekov said...

Tell you what Stephen, maybe you could have a hard think and see if you can't come up with some reasons why Sinn Féin might be considered extremists in a way that the rest of the parties in Northern Ireland are not.

Joe said...

Such a relief to find I am not the only human being utterly baffled by the different standards applied by the press to the BNP... and numerous other "British" nationalistic parties.

Anonymous said...

Hard not to disagree with this post. And I really don't see how Hain can get so worked up about the BNP on the BBC when he said damn all about political parties with terrorist links on TV when he was NI Secretary.


Gaw said...

The pity is that now the BNP have got some Euro seats and a place at the table they could be here to stay, their views becoming 'unremarkable' as you say Chekov. And all this despite their share of the vote not actually going up in the recent election!

We should thank 1999's introduction of PR for this grisly outcome: not the first time a nominally progressive and 'fair' policy will result in a nasty piece of regressiveness.