Friday, April 27, 2007

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.


China Blue said...

I agree.

As tempting as it is to want to give the lot of them a good shoeing, the fact remains that they are legally entitled to promote their policies. When they are censored, we should all become afraid.

They will, with any luck, remain a minority group, but it worries me that they win hearts and minds so easily by pressing the 'immigrant' button, while conveniently ignoring a)the consequences of stopping it b)the consequences of repatriation and c)what Britain is based on. Oh, and d)that Brits who emigrate could face the same disgusting treatment from bigoted locals.

Reading those comments make anything you could read in the Mail or Torygraph look like an edition of The Voice or New Nation.

I don't know if you remember this story, but years and years ago there was a black guy who said that if the BNP promised to send him 'back' to Africa, he'd vote for them, and encourage other black people to do the same.

To no-one's great surprise the idea didn't catch on in the black community, and the man is still waiting for his fare to be paid for, but it did expose the BNP for what they are: idiots who talk fast, think slow, and couldn't run a clothes stall at a nudist colony.

Did you read Naomi Wolf's Graun piece about the US following the 10-point plan for becoming a fascist state?

Alicia Carter UK said...

The above is one of the reasons I have decided to switch allegiance from the Conservative party to the BNP at the 11th hour.
I didn't find this link in the press or on the BBC but from an e-mail from a friend in Canada.
The suppression of news, the open door policies on immigration and a castrated Tory party who oppose nothing are what has led me to believe that the BNP as a protest vote is probably the only way to make those in government know we exist.

Liz said...

Well said, CB. I don't recall the story you told me about but it sounded a good way of exposing them. I haven't read the Naomi Wolf piece but I'll remember to check it.

Alicia, don't be fooled by the BNP's rhetoric. They are not what they seem, their core membership consists of a bunch of unreconstructed racists and Nazis. They are mired very deeply in that tradition. Their recent 'facelift' is a pure publicity stunt, as a more careful reading of them and their policies will show. If you want a 'protest vote' go for the Greens. Immigration is not the cause of Britain's problems, although it is an easy target to point to. I don't think the government's policy is 'open door' at all - plenty of people get sent home every day, many of whom shouldn't be (at least not in my view). I recognise that it would be impratical to simply let everybody in, but I do believe that people suffering prosecution or intolerable conditions should be welcome here.

james higham said...

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.

Precisely, Liz. The recent attempts to stifle me on immigration are a case in point.

Political Umpire said...

There are a few of the usual suspects involved here:

1. The BNP have shaped their policies away from straight racism because they realise that they will get almost no public sympathy that way anymore. Instead, they cotton on to the fear of the day, Islamic extremists and the shambolic state of the Home Office regarding immigration. But their ultimate aim remains the same: England for the (white) English, and a slight change in their methods shouldn’t blind anyone to that.

2. Well meaning local authorities don’t like the BNP anymore than the rest of us. But they forget that the suppression of political debate is the wrong path to take when trying to do something about it. (i) it will enhance, not decrease the BNP’s profile – news media will run stories about the BNP being banned, and the BNP will be able to say that the authorities are afraid of them and are trying to victimise them; (ii) more to the point, in principle only fascists like the BNP try and ban political opposition. Anti-Nazis shouldn’t turn into Nazis.

3. Since the local authorities don’t have the power to ban political speech, they use underhanded methods like bending ‘health and safety’ laws (in New Zealand a few years ago – and I’m sorry Liz for mentioning that place :-) – a local authority banned someone from painting a swastika on his house, using the Resource Management Act – an Act designed to protect the environment, not regulate political speech!). This, again, is actually classic fascist behaviour – ignoring the rule of law in an attempt to engineer one’s desired political outcome. And, again, it plays straight into the hands of the BNP who will be able to portray themselves as victims.

4. One should remember the attempted prosecution of Nick Griffin, and how that backfired hopelessly: he got a public forum both at the court and on tv afterwards to peddle his poison, the case failed and the BBC looked ridiculous.

5. The best way to beat the BNP is to allow them to make idiots of themselves by defeating their arguments intellectually, and in public. Simply pointing out what would happen to Britain if all the 'immigrants' (me inclusive) were kicked out would be a start.

Serendipity said...

Good words.