But apparently not, as Labour MPs seem convinced they are right to try and suppress the BNP, a legal and democratically-elected political party as Peter Hain has shown today by writing a letter threatening legal action against the BBC
Right...that's not remotely fascist at all
Hain's grounds for complaint are a tad thin - Griffin has admitted that their constitution may break 'race-relations legislation', as found by the Equalities and Human Rights commission and will have to reform it in the near future - however, this does not make them an illegal party, as the BBC responded:
"If there were to be an election tomorrow, the BNP would be able to stand"
Indeed they would, I seem to remember Labour broke certain equality legislation in 1996 by having all female shortlists - were they an illegal party then?
Hain's grounds are so feeble that they do nothing to hide his own bigotry, in his letter he says to the BBC
"in addition to the moral objections that I make. In my view, your approach is unreasonable, irrational and unlawful."
Moral objections? Moral? Why should I be giving a toss about your moral complaints any more than I should because Jonathon Ross swears? We start listening to morals then we're in big trouble, as for 'unreasonable and irrational' - who is the one providing fair coverage to a legal party based on their electoral successes, and who is the one trying to censor them because they dislike their politics?
Labour don't understand freedom - and unless the BNP are outlawed they have no case here, they don't like racism, and neither do I (and I really hate having to put in disclaimers every sodding time I mention the BNP) but it is not against the law to think racist thoughts or have racist beliefs and so you can't suppress them anymore than I can suppress a socialist because I really dislike their ideas - government cannot pick and choose who to censor, unless we wish to use the proper legal channels - in my view they could do exactly the same thing to Tories or Greens by this 'opinion' criteria, it's far more dangerous than anything a few bigots say on a soapbox
In other 'left-wingers are the most annoying hypocrites ever' news, the broadcasting trade union Bectu has warned that their members cannot be forced to work on the show - now I'm not an expert on current trade union law, maybe they are allowed time-off to protest anything (which is within the realms of probability I guess), but as far as I can see they refuse to work on the show because they dislike the BNP, and maybe want to protest outside
So does that mean that Bectu can do this to any party? What if they dislike Tories? Can members just refuse to work - it's exactly the same grounds, the BNP are a legal party, and if I didn't like the Tories view on, say...inheritance tax, could I refuse to work and get my union to threaten my bosses? If so, fair enough - otherwise it's pretty disgraceful that a union would throw their weight around
I also wanted to mention the choice of other people on the panel - most notably black playwright Bonnie Greer - now, I have nothing against Bonnie Greer, but it does seem a tad convenient that the BBC just so happen to invite a black person on the same show as Nick Griffin
Pure coincidence, I'm sure - and yes I agree it would be quite amusing to stick four non-white people on the panel, but the fact is this shouldn't be about the BNP's presence, it shouldn't be an attack on them simply because they are there - that to me is just as bad as censoring, they are there to answer questions from the public, just like everyone else - could you deliberately stack the panel with socialists against one Tory?
So while I agree for the most part with Janice Turner's article about this whole fiasco, I cannot agree with this:
It is only a shame that on Thursday alongside Lady Warsi there will not be more British black or brown faces....Where is David Lammy, Kwame Kwei-Armah, Kelly Holmes, Meera Syal, Sanjeev Bhaskar, Ian Wright? The heft and thrust of reason is one weapon: but better still is the face of someone fully at ease in their black-British skin. I hope that Sayeeda, warrior queen, wears that Union Jack scarf.
I can't justify inviting someone 'of colour' on to deliberately put one panelist under pressure - that's not impartial, I fully support the main political parties doing it deliberately, but it is not for the BBC to be hostile to a racist when they are trying to be impartial about it