I would like to think that you know my feelings towards freedom of speech and information by now, o Readership. So it should come as no surprise that my reaction to the announcement that BBC Question Time has allowed Nick Griffin of the BNP to appear on the show is one of delight and relief.
It’s about time that he was given a chance to air his views and opinions in public, so that the people that elected him and Richard Barnbrook into office as MEPs earlier in the year can see exactly what it was they voted for.
The BNP have, by dint of claiming the role of outsider or maverick, been able to control the image they provide to the public, letting very little of what they say in closed meetings and rallies get out into the open air. They know that if that were to happen, the stink of their unfiltered outpourings would get people’s attention in the worst way.
Voters elected these two to office because they were represented as a way to protest against failures in the political structure of this country, and a way to register fears about the future. These views have, for the most part, been fuelled by an an irresponsible and at worst downright collusive right wing press. When the Express uses a BNP slogan as a direct front page headline, and the Star begins pretty active support of the hooligan paramilitary EDF, then you can see where the problem lies.
Freedom of information is all about freedom to correct information. The BNP are desperate not to be portrayed in the media as racists, despite the clear statements to the contrary in their manifesto. The EDF would like to be seen as protectors of an ill-defined “British way of life”, choosing to ignore the hundreds of years of multi-culturalism and tolerance that give a much truer picture of England’s history and heritage than these clowns would have you believe. Unlike most of Europe, this country has no history of mainstream representation of far-right political parties. We choose to treat racists with the respect they deserve. The respect you give to any ranting nutter.
I’m really happy that that Griffin is about to get his say, because it’s likely to open a lot of people’s eyes as to the truly toxic nature of his views. Frankly, I don’t think the producers of Question Time have gone far enough. I’d have a member of the EDF on there as well. Preferably in a balaclava. That’d kill two birds with one stone.