Welsh Secretary, Peter Hain, has warned that the plan for BNP leader Nick Griffin to appear on the BBC debate programme Question Time this week could well be illegal. Hain believes that the membership conditions of the BNP should exclude it from being considered as a legitimate political party.
The BNP presently excludes all except ‘indigenous Caucasian people’ from membership. This has recently been challenged by the Human Rights Commission, and the BNP has agreed to amend the membership clause, so any member could be any colour.
Obviously, it’s unlikely that non-white people would rush to join a racist party, but the question is really over the timing of this change to their membership policy. Hain argues that with this exclusion in place, the party cannot be considered a legitimate political party and should not be given a platform at the debate alongside mainstream parties.
The BBC appears to be taking the line that the BNP is a democratically elected party, and they deserve the right to be included in the debate, regardless of Hain’s point of view – and in any case, the BNP has vowed to amend the offending policy.
I take the view that the BBC should allow the debate to go ahead regardless of these issues. Hain is a prominent campaigner on race issues with decades of experience of campaigns such as the anti-apartheid movement. He knows all about the anti-racist movement, but there are people who will be voting in the 2010 general election who were born in the 1990s. They can’t remember apartheid or even more recent race incidents such as the Rodney King beating in Los Angeles.
I think it would be more educational and demonstrative to get the BNP up on the stage and to allow the other speakers on the panel the opportunity to hang Griffin with his own rope. How about asking Griffin about the pamphlet he wrote on Jewish domination of British media? Or asking why the BNP constitution actually refers to ‘stemming the tide’ of non-white people in the UK? Or asking why Griffin denies that the Nazi holocaust ever occured?
Many British people are concerned about immigration, not even non-white immigration. Movement within the EU causes enough consternation for many people who feel they are competing for jobs that Eastern Europeans will do for less. If the mainstream parties addressed these issues over immigration more directly then there would be no fuel for the far-right. They are gaining strength because there is a perception that the mainstream parties are not dealing with immigration.
There is plenty of ammunition for the other Question Time panelists to use against Griffin. Let’s hope they expose him as the nasty little fascist he really is.