Freedom of speach and the BNP, should they have their say?

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  1. profile image0
    Kathryn LJposted 13 years ago

    The British National Party finally had their say on Question time, a popular BBC political debate programme and the guy was howled down by public and MPs' alike.  Now whilst I object to everything the BNP stands for, (how anyone could take a party seriously when their leader plays down the extermination of Jews during the 2nd world war is beyond me,)  it does make me feel uncomfortable about not allowing this party a political platform.  Its kind of saying the British public can't be trusted to make up their own mind and that someone spouting their racist rubbish will turn us all into facists.  Should the BNP have their say?

    1. ledefensetech profile image68
      ledefensetechposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      That's what you get for 12 years of letting politicians "protect" you.  Let them talk.  By their actions they will be known.  I believe most people in the UK, like most people in the US reject that sort of nonsense out of hand. 

      It's just like politicians to think that just because someone appears on the idiot box, that means that people will fall in line for whatever crap is spewed over the airwaves.  It's no wonder they seem to live in la la land. 

      Unlike the 1920s and 1930s there are many more news outlets available, and of course the Internet, which makes propaganda much harder to succeed.  Gennady Stolyarov wrote a great article about autocracy and media:

      The very fact that we can talk about this issue with people around the world in a free manner shows just how hard it is to "brainwash" people.

    2. Fourquet thoughts profile image61
      Fourquet thoughtsposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      Nick Griffin has decidedly odd views on the human race. Having visited Auchwitz I am aware of the truth. It made a deep impression. Yet Mr. Griffin stands out in representing a deep running malaise in British Society.  The culture of the UK has changed for the worst.  Amongst our young (and others) there is the culture of hooliganism, binge drinking, drug taking.  Teachers are not respected.  On immigration, he is correct that it compounds the problems.  It is just not true that 'there have been waves of immigration' into Britain as his opponents so often proclaim.  Yes indeed there have been times when certain groups have been given refuge (hugenots, jews for example), but the UK stock has indeed been fairly constant for a thousand years.  My own ancestry comes from the Normans - [even they, who were of the same Nordic race as the conquered Angles, did not invade in large numbers!- Neither did the Romans. The British 'civitas' or tribes were largely romanised celts, even though many troops included mercenaries from distant lands.] I maintain that I am English through and through.  When Jack Straw states that 30% of the people in his electorate are of recent immigrant stock I am appalled.  That London is similarly said to have 25% of its population as immigrant stock I am appalled.  That there are schools in Bradford with 100% of the pupils with immigrant stock, one can but be astonished.  That, in the audience of the BBC Question time, most of the front rows seem to be of immigrant stock seems astonishing.  One is aware that many immigrants are indeed fine people.  We can all quote names.  Yet it is an obvious truth that immigration on such a scale in recent years is changing the physical appearance of our towns and the cultural life of our society. It is true and self evident that the indigenous cultural life of England (in particular) is western Christian.  Equally true is that apart from immigrants from Europe, the immigrants have introduced cultural views which are anti-pathetic or at least out of kilter with that indigenous culture.  And yet I also deplore the appalling degradation of our own culture which is home-bred and plaguing our young.
      Then again, there are indeed too many people in Southern Britain.  One need look no further than a view at night from space.  No where is more illuminated than Southern England. 
      In short there is more than one problem, all interlaced. In recent decades the Governments have most certainly failed to maintain the social structure and cultural standards of Britain.  In a naive and blundering manner, Nick Griffin is drawing attention to this.  How one can achieve again a healthy and united country, I really wonder.

  2. jenblacksheep profile image70
    jenblacksheepposted 13 years ago

    Yes. There is no doubt that the BNP should have been allowed on.  I think there would have been a lot more complaints if they hadn't been. At the end of the day I don't really think it made a lot of difference. It's not like any more or less people are going to vote for them on the basis of what they heard on QT, and he made a fool of himself anyway.

    So in the end the BBC come out looking really good and the BNP come out looking like idiots. Win win I'd say!

  3. mcbean profile image65
    mcbeanposted 13 years ago

    Let them have as much air time as possible.

    The more that comes out of their mouth, the more idiotic they look.

    24/7 coverage is my vote.

  4. profile image0
    Kathryn LJposted 13 years ago

    Thanks for the feedback.  My thoughts exactly, he's only dangerous whilst he's not allowed to speak, maybe he should have a regular spot.

  5. Sufidreamer profile image80
    Sufidreamerposted 13 years ago

    Personally, I think that the BBC was correct - whilst I detest their views, they have the right to speak, just as we have the right to point out that they are a snide, racist, nasty little party.

    There will always be a minority who go along with that, but I hope that this publicity will shake off the apathy and encourage people to go out and use their vote to combat these fools. mad

  6. Mark Knowles profile image58
    Mark Knowlesposted 13 years ago

    I am not sure which is worse actually.

    A political party that is openly racist.

    Or a party that pretends not to be and is really? sad

    Do I think they could be any worse that the other 2 parties? Both of whom are quite happy to run a non-racist war in Iraq and Afghanistan?

    Hard to tell. They are broke anyhow and any body who does not think getting elected is a matter of money........

    All the really do is distract from the other two horrible choices we have.

    Personally - I am utterly disappointed in the liberals for never having got their act together.

    1. profile image0
      ryankettposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      Tell me about it, they always get their manifesto spot on - and never the charisma or will to sell it to anybody. That said, Clegg is the best leader they have had for years Mark - but it looks like he has come at the wrong time.... the first time in years that the public have warmed to a Tory leader. It seems to me like Labour and the Liberals have given up already, shame though.... because I haven't heard a single policy from Cameron which isn't 100% populist.

  7. profile image0
    Kathryn LJposted 13 years ago

    Good point Mark, they are a distraction.  Focusing on immigration is a complete red herring and the BNP come out with outragous statments that you get the feeling other parties would love to spout.  This all miss - directs away from more pressing issues like the rights of older people and the NHS admitting that discrimination agains them is endemic within the health service.  Incidently, if it wasn't for guest workers, the care system in the UK would cease to exist.

  8. jenblacksheep profile image70
    jenblacksheepposted 13 years ago

    The lib dem guy that was on QT was clearly jealous that the when people had turned away from Tories and Labour they had been voting for BNP and not them.

  9. mcbean profile image65
    mcbeanposted 13 years ago

    I used to live near barking in east London - the BNP "Stronghold".

    Quickly got sick of the rubbish they came out with.

    I personally used to love how they found me OK as an immigrant because I was white. All other immigrants - not so cool

  10. hindleyite profile image59
    hindleyiteposted 13 years ago

    Course the BNP should have their say. Anyone with half a brain could see from his Question Time appearance that Mr. Griffin is not the kind of man we want running the country, even if he is infinitely more entertaining to watch than any other politician, save maybe Boris Johnson.

    Also, is it me, or did the other guys who appeared on the same show only have to frown slightly in Griffin's direction to automatically look good? wink

    1. mcbean profile image65
      mcbeanposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      Ahh Boris. Comedic Genius. Olympic Closing ceremony anyone? Career defining performance

      1. profile image0
        Kathryn LJposted 13 years agoin reply to this

        Yes brilliant, he defined the word 'buffoon' and I was strangely proud of him, good old Boris.

  11. profile image0
    EmpressFelicityposted 13 years ago

    I agree that the BBC was right to allow Nick Griffin on Question Time - freedom of speech should be universal, regardless of how unpleasant the opinions of the person doing the speaking.

    On a side note, it's a shame that the only two UK parties that I know of who are Eurosceptics (the BNP and UKIP) are also anti-immigration.  Personally I don't think immigration is a bad thing, as long as we have the power to deport people who turn out to undesirable - like rapists and murderers for example.

  12. Susana S profile image94
    Susana Sposted 13 years ago

    I've got really mixed feelings on this; on the one hand I totally support free speech on the other, I worry that the more tv coverage and front pages they get the more suppport they will get. The thing is racist people and borderline racists are ignorant and therefore aren't going to spend time thinking about and chewing over stuff - they'll just accept the lies as fact.

    I could not believe the amount of crap that Nick guy was coming out with, especially about "indigenous british" people!

    1. profile image0
      EmpressFelicityposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      How far do you need to go back to be "indigenous", I wonder?  The Vikings?  Saxons?  Beaker people?  LOL.

      1. Susana S profile image94
        Susana Sposted 13 years agoin reply to this

        He said the indigenous people of Britain were from the last Ice Age, 11,000 years ago. I wonder where those people came from, lol! Most likely scandinavia, but I guess at least they are white!

    2. hindleyite profile image59
      hindleyiteposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      Yeah, I did find that laughable, and the fact everything Griffin said was greeted with vociferous boos humorous.

  13. profile image0
    Kathryn LJposted 13 years ago

    Yes someone should inform Nick that Saint George came from Portugal.  Maybe he wouldn't be so keen on waving that particular flag.  The English are actually from Wales and as you say Susan, how far back do we go?  Considering the first human biengs in Europe were immigrants from Africa and the middle east!

    1. Susana S profile image94
      Susana Sposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      Cool, didn't know that about St George. Yes, it's been shown that modern humans came out of Africa - that's why I just can't understand racism.

  14. Sufidreamer profile image80
    Sufidreamerposted 13 years ago

    It is possible that St George was Turkish - that should really cheer Griffin up lol

    We have a similar anti-immigration party in Greece - they get a small percentage of the vote, but the vast majority of Greeks see right through their thinly disguised racism and hatred. I have faith that the British people see the BNP in the same light. smile

    Must agree about the Liberal Party - they had a real chance to push on during the aftermath of the Iraq war, but fannied about and missed the opportunity. Cameron was my MP and he is a genuinely nice guy but, as Ryan said, he has little substance.

  15. Helen Cater profile image59
    Helen Caterposted 13 years ago

    Let us not forget that he also wants to arm all servicemen with weapons whether they are in service or not. Turn us into a nation with even more weapons. This party stands for more than just rascism, but war amongst ourselves. I think the followers they have do not fully understand their manifesto and by appearing on question time, can only show them up for what they are. Nazi lovers, and war merchants.

  16. Sufidreamer profile image80
    Sufidreamerposted 13 years ago

    Didn't know about that one - certainly echoes of the Brownshirts with that idea.

    1. Helen Cater profile image59
      Helen Caterposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      He also thinks Hitler may have gone a little too far....understatement indeed..

      1. Sufidreamer profile image80
        Sufidreamerposted 13 years agoin reply to this

        Maybe just a tiny bit - apart from the mass genocide, warmongering, political oppression, subjugation of entire nations, racism, brainwashing, and intolerance, he seemed to be fairly moderate in his outlook.

        Of course, according to the BNP, the Holocaust never happened, so that makes everything OK. mad

  17. profile image0
    Kathryn LJposted 13 years ago

    And thats why we need lots of media exposure for the BNP.    Lets get al their outragous views out in the open and then lets see how many people think he has a point.

  18. profile image0
    ryankettposted 13 years ago

    I had no objections to letting him on whatsoever. If we preach freedom of speech, and other liberties that our grandparents died to protect, then we must allow it. People should be free to make up their own mind. As it happens, I bet he lost more votes than he won.

    He is a hideous little man, but its not like we have learnt anything new from the experience. I cant speak for everybody, but surely there is enough of his illogical ranting on the internet and on youtube for us to know what he was like already? If you didnt, then he is exactly the type of person that he is targetting - the ignorant.

    He even made Jack Straw look like a complete gent on a day when he would have been ripped to shreds without the presence of that nutter.

    1. LondonGirl profile image82
      LondonGirlposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      I agree, Jack Straw definitely owes him one.

  19. profile image0
    Kathryn LJposted 13 years ago

    Can't agree with you there.  Perhaps some people are too young to remember the racist riots that break out in the UK from time to time.  We have a shameful history of treating outsiders badly going back to Saxon times and beyond.  It is simplistic to think that supporters of the BNP are ignorant and only attract the ignorant.  This arguement would logically lead to claims that Germany post 1920 was ignorant, Bosnians' are ignorant etc.  Ethnic cleansing is organised and carried out by 'normal' educated people.  Don't run away with the idea that bigotry isn't dangerous.

  20. Sufidreamer profile image80
    Sufidreamerposted 13 years ago

    For those interested, the complete show is going to be on the BBC World channel tomorrow - I think that it is at 9.10pm CET. smile

  21. profile image0
    L. Andrew Marrposted 13 years ago

    I think Jack Straw was correct when he said that now people are looking up who they voted for and will see what they stand for. One million people voted for BNP and the majority of those were only because it seemed like a good idea due to a protest vote.

    Now more people see the BNP as the anti-semitic, KKK loving, neo-nazis that they are.

  22. DennisBarker profile image61
    DennisBarkerposted 13 years ago

    The publicity for the BNP is unfortunate, but if it means that we start to have an adult and informed discussion about immigration then that might be a positive thing. I've confronted a local BNP activist in my local pub on occasion and always found the logic to be completely missing. Their arguments are emotional and based on fear.Any kind of informed rational discussion should blow a whole in the level of support they get.

  23. KevCC profile image75
    KevCCposted 13 years ago

    The danger is that a lot of people who don't usually support the BNP think that the mainstream parties don't give a damn about them while their too busy fiddling expenses and setting them selves up for jobs in the European union or with the banks.

    1. profile image0
      EmpressFelicityposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      Exactly.  Being a bit of a cynic I'd say that people don't get into high level positions within mainstream politics unless they're either corrupt in the first place, or a willing if unconscious tool of the EU Commission/special interest lobbies/large corporations.  Or George Bush's administration, in the case of Tony Blair.

  24. Helen Cater profile image59
    Helen Caterposted 13 years ago

    I have to agree with Kevcc on this one. It was awful how they fiddled and diddled and I think lots of people moved over because all the rest were trying to take our hard earned money even though we were in finacial meltdown. Shame on them. If they put as much effort into their manefesto as they did scamming us taxpayers maybe the BNP would not have had a look in.

  25. Sufidreamer profile image80
    Sufidreamerposted 13 years ago

    I know what you mean - we had a relative stay with us, a few weeks back. I could not believe the amount of anti-Polish sentiment - she seemed to blame Polish immigrants for everything that was going wrong in her life.

    That is the sort of sentiment that can easily be whipped up and fed upon by the BNP - As an immigrant, I am on the other side of the coin, so find such rhetoric extremely distasteful hmm

    1. ledefensetech profile image68
      ledefensetechposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      That's true anywhere you go.  People have an innate distrust of the other.  That's one of the reasons I think the US tends to have higher crime rates than the rest of the world.  You're all liked by common culture, myth, history, religion, what have you.  We don't have that here, just a diminishing regard for the ideals of the Enlightenment. 

      Look at how the Mexicans are portrayed here in the States, or how the Chinese were in the last two centuries.  The Irish were as hated at one time as the British were.  How about the Italians?  They were so marginalized it gave rise to the Cosa Nostra, or Our Way.  Yet even the Italians and Irish have assimilated into mainstream US life.  Heck, today everyone loves Italian food and everyone's Irish on St. Paddy's Day. 

      I imagine people fear the Poles and that's what the BNP counts on to get people to go along with their schemes.  As long as people know what the party is truly about, they don't really stand a chance.

  26. BristolBoy profile image63
    BristolBoyposted 13 years ago

    I must say I completely agreed with the BNP being given a chance on Question Time.  However, I feel that if anything the programme was too much BNP bashing which could cause problems.  Firstly there are complaints about the way in which they were treated (note more people complained to the BBC about the audience/other panelists being against NG than objected to him actually being on there).  This does nothing but help the BNP/their supporters in their documents which say that the 'white, indigenous population' of the UK is persecuted.

    However, I suppose the alternatives were to actually discuss real issues (eg the Royal Mail postal strike, global warming, war in Afganistan etc) in which the BNP often has the populist policies of all!  Note that even the Guardian (a famous liberal/left wing paper in the UK) ran a piece which says that the BNP have the greenest policies of any UK political party (even than the greens!). 

    And before people accuse me of being a BNP supporter, I am anything but, my support would naturally be to the Liberal Democrats or Greens.

    1. profile image0
      EmpressFelicityposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      Discussing real issues?  Nah, that would much too sensible.

      Having had a skim through the Green manifesto on its website, my first thought was "oh yeah, how are they going to pay for all this?"  A lot of what they propose would be better off happening without government involvement anyway, IMO.  Taking one specific example - allotments: there's a scheme called Landshare which was started by Channel 4, in which people who own a bit of spare land can link up with others who want to grow their own veg and don't have access to land.  AFAIK, it's had no government funding.  If the government did get involved in something like that, I can well imagine that it would cost a lot more to run and be a lot more bureaucratic (form filling, CRB checks, blah, blah...)

  27. Paraglider profile image87
    Paragliderposted 13 years ago

    There used to be a formula for how much BBC airtime a political party was entitled to, based on the number of seats held in Westminster and their number of local councils. Does anyone know if the formula is still in force, or if the decision is now just down to the producers?

  28. Paraglider profile image87
    Paragliderposted 13 years ago

    @Fourquet - do you think it is Government's job to 'maintain social structure and cultural standards'? Or should these come largely from the involvement of the people in their communities?

  29. prettydarkhorse profile image57
    prettydarkhorseposted 13 years ago

    hi paraglider!

    Fourquet thoughts: hi, i think culture is thus evolving and it cant be dictated, it isa  product of societal intearctions, the blending of the present customs and tradition of the people, (plus the influx of immigrants) they bring a whole lot of new perspectives and way of life.....

    immigrants bring a whole lot of culture changing the labor mraket and familial struture as they will later on intermarry or they children go to school etc.

  30. kephrira profile image60
    kephriraposted 13 years ago

    All the people who kick up a fuss about this kind of thing and try to stop people they don't like having a say really shoot themselves in the foot. This question time program got 3 times as many viewers as a normal program, not because people find the BNP interesting, but cos of all the fuss. Its like when films used to get banned or they put parental advisory stickers on music albums - and all of a sudden the sales go up massively. The best thing to do about the BNP if you don't like them is just to shut up and ignore them, not to go around shouting about them and whipping up interest from people who would otherwise have paid no attention themselves.

  31. profile image0
    Kathryn LJposted 13 years ago

    I kind of agree with you.  But does ignoring something and hoping it goes away actually work?  I found the protests outside the BBC disturbing because they were trying to silence someone.  On the other hand, if you don't object to racists, does their rhetoric become the norm?


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