While browsing I came across this. Now I have not yet mentioned that I now live in Bournemouth. The reasons for it are a bit drawn out. But it does seem necessary to mention it now it appears relevant politically.
I have noticed, having known the town quite well for a while, that it does appear to have a climate where racists feel relatively welcome. The hostile (and sometimes racist) remarks the journalist received say quite a lot. Bear in mind that the Echo is owned by News West (who also own the Mail, not exactly a bastion of liberalism). She seems to get accused of being a 'wet liberal' simply for writing a straightforward report on the issue. It also appears that she has a point - I can imagine the council would hesitate to allow them there due to fear over the activities of anti fascists, a large proportion of them being communists of some stripe.
I am a believer in freedom of speech and believe the BNP should be entitled to air their views, no matter how obnoxious they may be. I have come to realise that such is the price you pay in a democracy. If you silence one group - the question remains of who will be next. It would not be logical to suppose that those who wish to silence the far right would stop there. There are no doubt some among them who would ideally like the 'no platform' principle applied to anybody who questioned their views, even those from the left as well as from the right.
I was for a time an activist on the far left and did have my reservations about the tactics of 'anti fascism'. I always suspected that it may have had the potential of being the mirror image of what it claimed to oppose. Fascists support the use of force - does this mean I must become like them and get involved in breaking up the meetings? Breaking up the meetings of opponents by force seems to imply that you cannot handle opposition. This is a tool which fascists have in fact used against the left in order to prove it's undemocratic nature. It can be a gift to them.
I believe in counteracting racist propaganda by challenging it. Challenging the BNP by exposing who they are. There is nothing wrong in standing outside a hall with leaflets and banners, but to physically stop a meeting? Count me out.