Monday, October 19, 2009

Should the BNP be given the oxygen of publicity

It is a question that seems to be of concern to many at present and opinion is divided; should British National Party leader Nick griffin be allowed to appear on BBC's Question Time? The no argument is based upon whether it is right that a group that holds views out of step with those of a multicultural society should be given a public platform and the credibility that goes with that. There is a danger in censoring the BNP in this way, that is that we silence all opinions we do not agree with and that is a slippery slope away from democracy and the ideal of free speech. The yes argument essentially focuses on free speech and the fact that the BNP is a legitimate political party. Peter Hain questions this on the basis of last week's ruling that they need to change their constitution or be outlawed, and interesting twist that could have some truth if they are unable to conform to the ruling. But there longstanding argument is that the BNP should be allowed to take part in open debates in order to expose their true character. If their arguments are contested openly, their validity questioned, particularly their arguments regarding repatriation, then they may have less credibility in the longer term. It is an interesting idea and one I have much sympathy with; but it very much depends on how the debate goes and who is fielded to oppose Griffin on Question Time - makes it almost essential viewing for all those interested in politics! But there is a big question here, should anyone have a say? Should some views be censored? Or should their ideas be given the oxygen of publicity that may give them credence or see them die under the spotlight of public and media opprobrium? Writing to the BBC, Hain argues "In my view, your approach is unreasonable, irrational and unlawful." but is he correct?

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