Give ‘Em Enough Rope

Come Get Some.

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.

Use It Or Lose It

We may be making progress. The Mandelson-backed shift in the government’s policy towards file-sharing (cut people off from the internet on a record company’s say-so) has attracted enough negative attention that the members of the Open Rights Group have snagged a meeting with his staff on Monday to put their point (internet access is too important to cut off on a record company’s say-so) across. This is because people who care about freedom of speech and expression, people like you and me, Readership, are willing to raise their voices to say no thanks, actually, this is not the sort of thing I voted you into office to do. Actually, remind me. Who voted you into office?

Aaaanyway. A couple of linkies for you. First and foremost, to the ORG petition on the issue. 3000 sigs so far, and they’re aiming to get 5 grand for Monday. Stick your moniker on this one, it’s important.

And I’m gonna repost a great piece on NRRF which makes all the right noises while simultaneously making a politician after a few column inches look like a complete knob. This HAS to be a good thing.

Keep the faith, my lovelies.

*UPDATE*

The ORG are staging an open forum in London on October 2nd to discuss the policy, and better approaches to the issue. Tickets are available from the ORG site.