BNP on Question Time: a farce made in heaven


8:26 pm - September 6th 2009

by Paul Sagar    


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The BBC has to let Nick Griffin appear on Question Time, for at least two reasons: legal and prudential. The legal reason is that the BBC is constitutionally sworn to treat all political parties equally. The BNP now has two MEPs; for the BBC not to allow it to speak would be a clear case of politicised partiality. It has to invite Griffin.

The prudential reason is that excluding the BNP will play into the party’s myth that it suffers from a conspiracy perpetrated by liberal elites stifling the opinions of “ordinary” people. If the BNP operated a no-platform policy vis-a-vis Griffin, this would substantiate the myth of persecuted outsider underdogs his party has crafted with effective electoral results.

Taking the prudential point, one could go further and argue that the best way to tackle the BNP is to debate them: putting them on a platform makes them easier to shoot at. On this point, I’m convinced of the classic liberal arguments espoused by Mill in On Liberty: the best way to destroy a pernicious opinion is to publicly expose it; the most counterproductive way of tackling such an opinion is to try and stifle it.

Except – and here’s the irony – QT is highly unlikely to achieve that, for the simple reason that QT is not a platform for debate. It’s an opportunity for political figures to sound-off their own prejudices without being subjected to scrutiny. And its format necessarily makes this so.

For debate to take place, what is required are a limited – ideally two or three – number of participants, who use reasoned arguments and verifiably facts to offer point and counter-point in order to expose and abandon bad arguments, all in an effort to strive towards the most intellectually tenable position.

QT encourages nothing of the sort. For a start, there are too many participants, who are structurally discouraged from responding to each other constructively. Instead, each are invited to sound-off about vague questions fielded from the audience, each pannelist given one slot to offer a reply, with bare minimum opportunity for response to previous points in an effort to eliminate falsehoods and bad arguments.

Because the audience fields several questions per show, the opportunity to consistently chase-up one issue and see where the arguments intellectually end up is denied: everyone gets one sound-off, and maybe the occasional retort. The result is rather than the interaction being “point, counter-point”, it’s “prejudice, counter-prejudice”.

Another thing required for genuine debate in a public format is a strong chair that forces participants to respond directly to challenges levied by opponents, and enforces the use of genuine facts. QT lacks this in abundance.

Anybody who recalls the EU Special edition of QT will remember David Dimbleby allowing Dan Hannan and Nigel Farrage to spout nonsense about the EU, and frequently allowed Farrage in particular to interrupt and shout-down Caroline Flint (for the record, also spouting nonsense), preventing her from putting a reasoned counter-case. In such an environment, debate is hopeless: all you get is grandstanding and the victory of the loudest gob.

Thus our conclusion: the BBC must let Griffin appear on QT, but the idea that QT offers a chance to debate the BNP and thus harm their cause is nonsense, not because debate is futile, but because QT isn’t a debate show.

More
Dave Semple: Once more on the “No Platform” policy
Sara Bedford MP: Why ‘no platform’ is no solution
Charlie Beckett: The BNP, the media and Belgium: ethical lessons from the Continent
Soho Politico: Iain Dale doesn’t understand freedom of speech
Sim-O: No Platform

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About the author
Paul Sagar is a post-graduate student at the University of London and blogs at Bad Conscience.
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Story Filed Under: Blog ,Media ,Race relations ,Westminster

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Reader comments


This is all quite right, but it’s undeniable that the BNP position will receive extra scrutiny and criticism simply by virtue of the fact that it’s the BNP. Hence Dimbleby is unlikely to leave their position unchallenged as he would with a more acceptable right-winger, for example.

Broadly, the criticism is right, though. The best episodes of QT i’ve seen have been the ones where they’ve cut it down to 4 panelists, and the worst was the 6-person Euro election special, which was risible.

Nobody with any sense takes David Dimbleby seriuosly any more.

He is, in my opinion incredibly biased towards the Conservatives. I no longer watch him or his brother. They both have their noses rammed up the backside of Prince Charles.

I wouldn’t mind right-wing bias if he could actually host the damn thing properly, which he can’t.

#Thus our conclusion: the BBC must let Griffin appear on QT, but the idea that QT offers a chance to debate the BNP and thus harm their cause is nonsense, not because debate is futile, but because QT isn’t a debate show.#

So you’re OK with him appearing on a show which is open to all other parties but you’d prefer if you could choose the format in order to inflict maximum damage to his reputation? Why did you bother writing this piece?…seems to me you’ve just gifted the BNP another piece of evidence to bolster their contention that “… it suffers from a conspiracy perpetrated by liberal elites”. Way to go Mr Sagar.

I’m sure I’d prefer Tories to appear dressed as Muppets, NuLab to be forced to wear T-shirts bearing the slogan “I’m a careerist cunt who’s sold the working classes down the river” and the LibDems to inhale helium before they answered a question but that’s not the way it works. The idea is we allow politicians an equal platform etc etc.

You seem to have little faith in the audience’s ability to see right through his gobshitery…why is that? Do you think that people can’t think for themselves without guiding words of wisdom from twenty-something, Oxbridge smart-arses popping up to provide “subtitles”. Couldn’t be you’re an “elitist liberal” could it? Personally, I’ve every faith in the British electorate’s ability to see through the fascist cunt for what he is…then again, I’ve got a bit of faith in the working class. You seem to regard them as childish proles who need your guiding, patrician hand to provide moral guidance.

Fucking liberals. This is the 21st century matey. You seem to think you’re a VIctorian philanthropist. Wouldn’t you be better off up the East End saving some fallen women? Or leading a Methodist mission to darkest Peru?

Don’t bother responding. Just splutter a bit and think on next time…slapping a bunch of brain dead, racist, air-heads doesn’t give you any sort of credibility…particularly when you think the answer’s to debate them. The debate was won conclusively thirty years ago…it’s been won and re-won since…they have no fuckin argument or policy worth debating. Their appeal is not intellectual, it’s visceral…they appeal to people who feel disenfranchised and alienated…you’re not going to dissuade potential supporters by trapping the BNP up some intellectual cul de sac, you’ll persuade them by making them feel they have a voice…and a party with their interests at heart.

Much as I bet you’d love to be seen as a “hammer of the fascists”…I really don’t think middle class Oxbridge bloggers have much to offer here.

I stopped watching QT after 15 or so episodes, for essentially the reasons given. If given a list of participants and questions, one could accurately script 95% of the program.

Question – Daily Mail/Telegraph has found government department X to be failing on issue Y.
Tory MP – This shows the government’s incompetence. We would totally change department X. (applause)
Right-wing columnist – Totally agree. Those idiots couldn’t organise their way out of a paper bag. (large applause)
Labour Minister – My friend (minister for department X) told me earlier that they have been working hard at Y, and it will be sorted shortly. Back in 1997, department X was even worse. (muted applause/silence)
Random celebrity appearing for no apparent reason – I don’t know anything about department X or issue Y, but politics sucks. (large applause).
Audience member – The government needs to do more to solve Y.

Then there’s the joy of QT Extra, which you might guess would allow more time to debate the issues. Actually, half of the program simply replays clips you’ve already seen, and the rest involves two columnists/policy wonks restating their party’s position. Joy.

@ monkeyfish, I had faith.. till 900,000-odd people voted for them.

I think the point is QT would be a lot better if the politicians who appeared on it weren’t allowed to lie, and present the lies as fact, yet remain unchallenged from Dimbleby.

Griffin will go on there, spout some nonsense about how immigrants/darkies/muslims/jews steal all our jobs/money/cars/children/wives and then make up a statistic to back it up and it will go unchallenged.

And then one of the other politicians will make up some counter-statistics to prove him wrong.

P.S.: Are there any bookmakers taking bets for this? I’d be willing to lay a considerable amount of money on Griffin saying “Well, actually, we’re not racist…” within the first 10 minutes.

#5

Which means 14, 7000 or 94% didn’t during a time when the reputation of the existing political class had reached what may have been an all time low. At a time when the media’s tendency to slam the BNP while denying them a platform probably doubled their vote. They became the whipping boys for a political class who were cast as venal, incompetent, self-serving careerists…how better to send them a message of no confidence than rejecting the one message they all shared “at least we’re not the the BNP” and actually voting for the bastards.

Political accountability and a very real crisis of democracy is the issue…micro-managed political clones all dressed in exactly matching free market, identity political outfits inspire nobody. If the working classes of this country of all ethnicities, cultures …whatever could be convinced that there was a very real common enemy ie. the corporate state..there would be a viable alternative.

Instead we have a liberal elite dictating debate and it seems…from this article…wanting to set the very terms and conditions on which debate is even possible. No wonder a bunch of fascist cunts can come along and attract support…all they have to do is appear to be a radical and maverick alternative. The middle-class, identity riven, Oxbridge elite who exert such a stranglehold should be challenged by the left, instead…it seems they “are” the left…or think they are.

The last Question Time I saw was very, very odd, and was like something out of a strange film. It was during the American election, and I think it was coming from the Tory party conference hence all the nuts in the Audience.

Mad Questioner…. Does the Panel think that Sarah Palin is the reincarnation of Jesus Christ?

Panel member. Well I think she is very inexperienced.

Audience……… Frothing at the mouth …..Boo , Boo , Boo (shot of extremely mad people, all bright purple in face, and as nutty as fruit cakes howling their displeasure at any criticism of darling Sarah)

Panel member Well I think Sarah is fantastic and will make a great vice President.

Audience……Cheering madly

Harriet Harmon ……I think Palin is a remarkable politician.

Only sane member of Audience. WTF?

It was like something straight out of 1930s Nazi Germany.

Monkeyfish,

Any chance that you might be able to write a comment that doesn’t invole a personal dig at me?

Just for the record though: I did not state that the audience was unable to see through Griffin’s lies. I argued that QT is not a debate show, and so it’s silly to argue that it offers an opportunity to debate Griffin and the BNP.

Why did I write this article (seen as you ask)? Well, to try and curtail the discussions about whether having Griffin on QT will allow people to “debate” him…thus allowing us to focus on other issues which are more relevant.

And listen, you don’t have to agree with me. that’s ok. I don’t expect everyone to. But do you reckon you could just try to not be really rude? Lots of other people manage it…

“you’ll persuade them by making them feel they have a voice…and a party with their interests at heart.”

Sure. You are quite right.

Who said this was incompatible with debate? Who said that it might not be best to engage both in public debate and do the things you say here?

Not me.

Now I did write a piece about the BNP on QT, given that this is now going to happen. But you’ve just gone and assumed a whole load of other things I never said or even implied.

p.s. you mention my educational and class background (though I suspect i’m not as well-off as you seem to assume) a lot…have you ever considered that judging me mostly on that is, erm, a little bit hypocritical?

@7: In comment #4, you said “Personally, I’ve every faith in the British electorate’s ability to see through the fascist cunt for what he is.” My point was that at least 900,000 lack that ability, and most likely more (considering that 60% of the electorate didn’t vote). I accept that the protest vote was a large factor, but even if the media did “double” the BNP vote through their treatment, that still leaves hundreds of thousands of people undeserving of your faith. I deeply wish that everyone in Britain shared our mistrust of the BNP, but I doubt that to be the case.

Monkeyfish seems to harp on about Oxbridge a lot. He probably went to Durham.

@12 hilarious.

Although you know that was a very elitist reactionary bourgeois joke.

If I was in charge you’d be sent to a “re-education” camp (probably a converted poly)

monkeyfish – if you spent a bit less time ranting and raving about liberals like a tin-foil hat wearer, I’m sure we’d all have a more enjoyable time debating stuff.

Why did you bother writing this piece?…seems to me you’ve just gifted the BNP another piece of evidence to bolster their contention that “… it suffers from a conspiracy perpetrated by liberal elites

I’m sure the BNP don’t need LC as part of their propaganda campaign. We’re allowed to discuss tactics here aren’t we? Or is that too liberal-elitist for you?

Allowing the BNP on QT won’t stop them arguing the BBC is biased. They’ll just say the host treated them unfairly, the audience were hand-picked and not “ordinary people” etc etc. They deliberately pick a form of argument that’s impossible to engage rationally with.

If they force their way on the show by twisting the BBC’s ridiculous impartiality rules to their advantage, all major parties should ban their representatives from appearing on the show.

“If they force their way on the show by twisting the BBC’s ridiculous impartiality rules to their advantage, all major parties should ban their representatives from appearing on the show.”

Hmm, and this will encourage those people disillusioned with the major parties to stop voting BNP? Or will it not play into the BNP’s image as the anti-establishment party sticking up for ordinary people against the corrupt winbags of westminster?

The thing is, 900,000 people voted BNP. Refusal to be engaged with doesn’t tend to invoke self-reflection and questioning in people, it tends to provoke resentment and entrenchment of the position. Such is the effect of being snubbed.

I’m not saying this is an easy issue with easy answers. It isn’t. But I’m just not convinced that snubbing the BNP – now a party with two democratically elected MEPs – is a particularly wise thing to do, strategically. (Obvioulsy, away from the world of tactics I wouldn’t piss on them if they were on fire, but that’s surely something we all agree on and not what we’re debating here).

We shouldn’t treat them as just any other political party. They’re not; they’re fascists. The Labour Party, Conservative Party and Liberal Democrats can’t prevent the BBC from treating them as any other party. But they can refuse to do so themselves, and that means not engaging with him as though he was Nigel Farage or Caroline Lucas.

I’m sure the parties not participating would get plenty of opportunities to state their reasons why they weren’t doing so, and in doing so effectively debate the BNP, only on their terms rather than on the BNP’s.

“I’m sure the parties not participating would get plenty of opportunities to state their reasons why they weren’t doing so, and in doing so effectively debate the BNP, only on their terms rather than on the BNP’s.”

I don’t really understand how you can say that refusing to engage with the BNP constitutes “effectively debating them”

Yes, the BNP are fascists. But I like the (effective) Millian dictum: the best way to show why fascists are bad and encourage people to reject them is to expose them. You don’t expose them by letting them have the platform all to themselves…

…but then perhaps you are right, in this case. Given what a joke QT is, refusal to engage may be a wise strategic choice.

Hmm…

Like I said, tricky issues.

#And listen, you don’t have to agree with me. that’s ok. I don’t expect everyone to. But do you reckon you could just try to not be really rude? Lots of other people manage it

Yeah…I was going to give the politeness thing a try..but that was before you avoided a previous question on another thread and announced that you weren’t responding because of ‘personal abuse’ which actually amounted to a bit of mild sarcasm. Fair enough…I thought…the guy seems a bit sensitive but he has a point.

Then it turns out that even though you refuse to debate with me…you’re quite prepared to do so with the BNP…hmmm? I thought. Am I really that bad? It’s this relativist thing I can’t get the hang of…you see ..I’m never sure how it works. On the one side we have a slightly ironic poster…and on the other a bunch of fascist thugs…

I’ll bear it in mind in future though.

However…I hope you’re consistent in your attitude to rudeness. Maybe when Griffin calls you a “limp-wristed, communist race traitor” or whatever (he has form in this area), you’ll stop debating him and instead suggest we fight them in the streets or give socialism a go?

#18

What I meant about “effectively debating them” is that the opportunity they’d get in press stories to say why they hadn’t gone on the show they’d be able to make political arguments against the BNP & expose them for what they are. Given that as you’ve pointed out, QT doesn’t allow for genuine debate anyway, that seems at least as good to me as what they’d get on the programme, without lending the BNP the credibility they’d otherwise get.

Monkeyfish,

In your original posts on this thread (i.e. before I responsed), I count at least 3 references to my background used as a way of denigrating me and by implication my position. That’s hardly “just a bit of sarcasm”.

On the other thread I stopped engaging with you because not only were you being abussive, but furthermore you were just repeating points that I’d already offered counter-points to, and that you were ignoring.

“Then it turns out that even though you refuse to debate with me…”

Except at 9 and 10 above I clearly offer reasoned responses to your points. Not all your points, because lots of them aren’t relevant and just spit bile at me. But I do try and engage with you…

“you’re quite prepared to do so with the BNP…hmmm? ”

Well, there’s surely a significant difference between who I, as a private individual, should choose to engage with in my leisure time, and what I advocate as a matter of political strategy/ethical positioning regarding engagement with the BNP. My saying “political parties should not adopt no-platform policies with the BNP” is perfectly consistent with me saying “Monkeyfish, stop being rude and personally abusive, or else I’ll just ignore you personally”.

To see this, imagine the following: you are not just an extremely angry comment poster on the threads of Liberal Conspiracy, but a leader of a national extremist party whose views I vehemently oppose, and in turn imagine I am the leader of another political party. Suddenly ignoring you stops looking like a) a sensible thing to do and b) a merely private matter.

So you know, trying to paint me as some sort of crazy hypocritical relativist on this issue, just because I don’t want to engage with somebody who is personally abusive of me, is a bit far fetched…

“We shouldn’t treat them as just any other political party. They’re not; they’re fascists. ”

Has George Galloway ever been on QT? The man is a member of a communist-backed party.

@25 Respect is also an Islamist-backed political party – that’s the real issue.

Also, @monkeyfish – i particularly found ‘this is the 21st century matey’ amusing, because the rest of your comment displayed such a parochial attitude towards class. You’ve clearly got some kind of chip on your shoulder..

26

Respect is Islamist-backed and a leftist backed party – that’s the real issue.

Yes, they have had Respect people on at least twice (?) with far less voter support…

Paul is right – QT is not a debate show, but it can serve up some great humiliation can’t it? (Eric Pickles needing a flat in town to ensure he gets to work by 9.30am etc….)

Let’s hope the audience gives Griffin the reception he deserves!

27. Denim Justice

How pathetic are the Greens, that the BNP now have as many MEPs as the Greens do, whilst UKIP have 13.

@27 – Well that too.

Good article, and quite correct with regards to the BNP. The no-platform policy suits them to a tee. They need to be brought out in the open for all to see.

With regards to QT, it would be a debate if the host acted more like a chairman, keeping participants in line and giving fairly equal time to all parties to put their point forward. As it is though, Dimbleby acts like he thinks it should be called ‘The David Dimbleby Show, featuring some politicians’. It should be the absolutely perfect program for the BBC to show why the license fee is a good thing. A program providing political parties a chance to come on and debate issues in front of a large audience. It fails because the host fails to do his job as he should.

“, Dimbleby acts like he thinks it should be called ‘The David Dimbleby Show, featuring some politicians’. ”

Lol, true.

“It fails because the host fails to do his job as he should.”

I’m a conspiracy theorist on this point. I believe it’s BBC editorial policy to prevent clear constructive debate, and for hosts to systematically muddy the waters of discussion. Why? Because real intellectual debate would lead to some arguments and positions being exposed as bad. And the holders of those arguments would then cry that they were being duffed up and that the BBC is biased against them.

Hence it’s much safer for the Beeb to systematically avoid genuine debate, thus avoiding the risk of that debate exposing lots of positions – on left and right – as inane and ill-thought-out, with the result being that it gets accussed of bias.

I personally think that as an elected and legal political party the BNP have every right to a platform, even if i can’t stand the garbage that comes out of their mouths. I don’t think the educated liberal elite has the right to ban them any more than the BNP has the right to ride roughshod over the educated liberal elite.

Bearded Socialist,

I agree. I always find there’s a mighty whiff of the hypocritical about the no-platform position.

I think this post, and most of the comments above, are possibly a bit harsh on old QT. Is it really that bad? Sure, its more often a platform for grandstanding than it is for reasoned debate, but thats down to the political climate we live in as much as the practical format of the show. You say you want a debate in which participants

“use reasoned arguments and verifiably facts to offer point and counter-point in order to expose and abandon bad arguments”

Sounds great, but I cant remember the last time I saw two politicians do that.

QT certainly ain’t perfect, but there’s no other show like it on terrestrial telly – i.e one that brings together a bunch of opposing political speakers and a public audience – that I know of. Sometimes it can be a very boring affair, but equally there’s been some very heated debates, and these usually happen when there’s a couple of controversial or particularly articulate speakers on – the debate between Michael Bolton and Tony Benn on the Iraq war, for example. Having Griffin on the show will, I think, create quite a tense atmosphere that will be worth watching.

We live in very apathetic times (which incidentally is one of the reasons people like Griffin have managed to get elected at all), and shows like QT might not be the perfect antidote to that, but at least its trying to bring political debate to a wide TV audience.

I meant John Bolton, obviously, not Michael. Durr…

35. Alisdair Cameron

Looks like Sunny disagrees over on CiF.
I disagree with Sunny, and side with ol’ JSM: you defeat bullshit noxious arguments by exposing them, not by suppressing them.

Jon,

IMO, QT is absolutely fecking horrific. It doesn’t even approach debate.

And as for the audience, clapping inanely at every comment, even when the comments are manifestly incompatible, as though it’s all an episode of Jerry Springer…

urgh

37. douglas clark

Question Time is, I think, designed to show that the British are essentially consensual. That we, as a nation are probably more sensible than our politicians, which wouldn’t be particularily difficult…

38. the a&e charge nurse

[39] Is there ANY telly show that epitomises the level of debate that would not prevent the full spectrum of political opinions being aired?

I suspect the BNP consists of 25% hard core nutters and 75% disaffected with the main stream parties – any forum which would enable them to be reclaimed is to be welcomed.

Paul Sagar

thanks

How could this be car-crash TV? Let me count the ways…

– The mere presence of Griffin will poison the well: everybody will be expecting a punch-up/racist outburst, and will be disappointed if they don’t get one, no matter what the questions are

– Griffin would look stupid trying to turn any question into one about ‘race’, but it probably won’t stop him trying, especially if he won’t be edited when the show is broadcast

– The other panellists: never mind the political selections, the ‘Other’ slot that goes to some random (anyone from Jarvis Cocker to Peter Hitchens via Jo Brand) is bound to be picked to set up a contrast/smackdown: pick any one from Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, Peter Tatchell, Rabbi Julia Neuberger, Inayat Bungawala, Reginald D Hunter; Bishop Michael Nazir Ali…

– Gaming the audience (anyone got the BBC telephone number for free tickets for a bunch of Hope Not Hate activists before the BNP make a block booking?)

– Location, Location, Location: Brixton or Buckinghamshire?

It would be worth it if Griffin was made to look an idiot, but that’s not going to automatically happen by inviting him on the panel, even though QT audiences can be very quick to pounce on bullshit.

I gave up watching QT for pretty much the reasons Paul gives here; I might just tune into it if I think the guests and audience will tear Griffin’s arguments apart and not just shout him down.

Actually, I suspect the Tories might put someone to the Left of the party on because the last thing any party needs to do is to be seen agreeing with him on anything – though I also suspect that the Tories will also play the BNP are socialist’ card as well.

“though I also suspect that the Tories will also play the BNP are socialist’ card as well.”

Which poses a question: will Griffin resort to labelling all his opponents and everyone who disagrees with him as “Stalinists” or “fascists”?

It’s quite possible that the countervailing demands of both make his small head explode.

I actually reckon he’s going to make a massive tit of himself on QT, because he’s just so angry and frothing-at-the-mouth-crazy that a good hard hour of the idiot on TV will do the BNP more harm than good.

Cicero, this guy aint.

#43 The latest BNP leaflet I’ve seen doesn’t mention race or immigration anywhere – I wouldn’t be surprised if he tries to talk about corruption and expenses instead. The leaflet uses a tagline “Voting BNP tells them we’re all angry”

so the BNP and the Tories will be calling each other socialists, when there won’t be a single socialist in sight! interesting. I’d go on….

Paul sagar

Fair enough..just don’t upset the BNP too much. They’re viscious so and so’s…might put a pea under your matress or something. Anyhow, I’ll desist and wait and see if they fade away this time around under the weight of logic…not a particularly effective anti-fascist strategy in the past but who knows?

carrion

“You’ve clearly got some kind of chip on your shoulder…”

If I had a penny for every time…

has the right to ban them any more than the BNP has the right to ride roughshod over the educated liberal elite.

The BNP do that anyway. All day, every day. And the liberals are free to ignore and marginalise the BNP if they wish. And vice versa. What’s the hypocrisy exactly?

47. douglas clark

Paul Sagar,

Does it have to invite Griffin? It would be a lot more fun if it invited the BNP’s head of legal services instead. A certain Lee John Barnes….

49. comment by
Sunny H

damn you for posting something just as i have to go home so can’t debate this for another hour or two

“And the liberals are free to ignore and marginalise the BNP if they wish. And vice versa.”

I wasn’t aware QT was run by liberals.

‘Does it have to invite Griffin? It would be a lot more fun if it invited the BNP’s head of legal services instead. A certain Lee John Barnes….’

Oh, absolutely. If only a reader of LibCon or Pickled Politics could confront him on TV and ask him to stand by the statements he’s made here on the Internet! The man has no self-control.

51. douglas clark

Shatterface @ 54,

Exactly. Someone should challenge him on the size, flaccidity, wrinkledness and general shrivelledness of my penis. He may be right on that, but I’d like to know how he knows!

And I tend to take badly to being threatened, which is what seems to be his modus operandi:

Pack your bags Douglas, because if you dont want to live in a Britain with a dominant British culture based on COMMONALITIES and not differences, then best you fuck off with the Islamists and colonists – as we intend to treat traitors like you just as we will treat them.

Wow!

I take it Lee John Barnes hasn’t read ‘How to gain friends and influence people’.

What a charming man.

Perhaps the no platform for the BNP is based on fear. A huge number of the British public are seriously pissed of with immigrants coming to our country claiming free treatment on an already overstreched NHS. Hindering our education system by filling our schools with childen who cannot speak english. Claiming benefits when they when have not paid into the system. Being given social housing and attempting to impose their culture on ours. I have worked from the age of 15 to the age of 68 and outside of my basic OA Pension I recieve nothing from the state. Yet as I understand it some can come here and claim benefits for children they say they have left in their own country or even claim for second wives which for us is bigamy. The BNP speak up for the disenfrachised british public and the do-gooder brigade cannot defend against a system that puts immigrants and ethnic minorities before the indidgenous population.

@ Sunny #49

Perhaps it’s not so much about hypocrist as about, you know, two wrongs not making a right…

@ Douglas #51

Hahahahaha

Yes, brilliant.

They are Nazis, for the love of f*ck. Nazis. Does that ring any bells? If you’re really not sure what it means, google a man called Hitler, or if you can’t be bothered, try simply SS. These people share the same beliefs. Understand that and the No platform line makes perfect sense.

Sorry to repeat my comments on the other thread, but there seems to be two similar threads and I posted to the wrong one:

BNP and Question Time

There are serious issues at stake here and it is not enough simply to be in favour of banning the BNP because they are racist or letting them speak on the grounds of free speech. It seems to me that the BBC is in a difficult position. If a legitimate political party is elected to public office within legitimate branches of local, national or international government, then publically funded media have to consider giving them a voice; otherwise no smaller parties would be properly represented by public media. In that sense, the BNP might benefit from the political correctness of minority representation as much as the Green Party or other smaller groups. And while, in my view, the BNP is not a legitimate political party, successive governments have not seen fit to ban or curtail the BNP (or their predecessors the NF) over several decades.

What we have here is an example of how racism has become so endemic that no major political party, no senior judges and no official watchdogs (such as the EHRC) have dared take them on. Racism is, after all, a problem in all our political parties and institutions and to move strongly against the BNP would be to make a symbolic move against racists in other parties; in other words, it is drawing a line in the sand that might disadvantage the major parties electorally. The BNP is seen by other parties as useful caricature against which their own racist tendencies seem mild by comparison.

The EHRC itself has few teeth and judges are prone to take a mild line against racist institutions on the basis of generations of similar precedent judgements and the fear of seeming too politically radical. What needs to happen is that the letter of the law needs to be enforced concerning racism. And for that to happen, racism itself needs to be better understood by the power-elite. It is not enough to see racism in terms of its violent or aggressive symptoms (such as physical attacks or verbal abuse on vulnerable targets); racism must be seen for what it is: the prejudicial advantaging or disadvantaging of particular identifiable groups on the basis of skin colour, ethnicity, nationality, gender, sexuality, disability or age. In that sense, anti-racist organisations need to learn from feminism. And if one might reasonably conclude that feminism has taken several steps back over the past two decades in the wake of the continuing successes of white-male-patriarchy in the form of high-consumerism, then it is no surprise that anti-racist measures by government and its agencies continue to back-pedal for the same reasons.

The recession has only made things worse. All manner of disadvantaged groups get the blame in recessionary times and the media are all too quick to sell advertising on the strength of popular fears of otherness. In combination with the fear of terrorist threats, resource scarcity and environmental disaster, the fear of otherness is both consequential and symbiotic. Those of us who are anti-racist must thus keep making the point that it is unacceptable for any group or party to base any policy or action on the grounds that some groups of persons are acceptable and others are not on the basis of their physiology or self-identification. But if we are loath to tackle such problems within out own groups, employers and political parties, how can we expect to see Government, the law or the EHRC do better?

I oppose the BNP appearing on Question Time; not only because the BNP may gain political advantage but because the BNP should have, and should be, banned under existing legislation. The trajedy is that, with racism as entrenched throughout society as it is, the BNP will continue to grow from strength to strength unless existing elected politicians empower the EHRC and the courts to stop them. I fear for the future, it’s going to be much, much worse than you think.

Best wishes

Nick


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  11. Billy

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