It has been the subject of debate and outcry for a few weeks now, but last night Nick Griffin of the British National Party appeared on BBC’s Question Time, along with Jack Straw, Baroness Warsi, Chris Huhne and Bonnie Greer.
I was disturbed by the number of supposedly leftist people and organisations that said the BNP should not have been allowed this platform. I was under the impression that these were the ones arguing for free speech? Are they now saying that that comes with restrictions, and is therefore no longer free? Or are they saying that they have so little faith in the British public that they think we’ll all be taken in by what the BNP has to say? This was also the first time I’ve seen any politicians engage with Nick Griffin, and they did an alright job (although Bonnie Greer was by far the best on the panel).
I’ve done a bit of reading about ‘all this’ this week, including the leaked BNP membership list. I was disturbed that trade unions want to ban BNP members, when we are free to have whatever political alliance we choose and keep it secret if we want. These lefties seem to forget that is not that long ago they would’ve been the subjects of the witch hunt.
I was surprised by which of my facebook friends had watched QT and left comments – some I really wouldn’t have expected to. Some didn’t think he was grilled on the Holocaust denial enough, but personally I felt the historical argument was going on a bit long and getting in the way of discussing today’s policies and issues. I was bemused by Griffin’s comment that there was a genocidal attack on British white people. Genocide being the “deliberate and systematic extermination of a national, racial, political, or cultural group”. A very slow extermination then. We’ll probably manage the job better ourselves by tipping the world into nuclear war.
But what is more worrying is the number who didn’t watch, don’t care, don’t seem to think it affects them, etc. (or perhaps they just don’t want to share, which is fine). The political elite has become so far removed from the people they represent that apathy seems to be the flavour of the month (and year and beyond). This is a huge opportunity for the major parties to re-engage. BNP membership is still relatively small and even Griffin agreed that some who voted BNP did so because they felt the big three were letting them down. It’s time get involved, for zeal to be the flavour of the month (and beyond). If the parties are worried about the BNP, then get talking to the public, find out what they want, and do it. If the public are worried about the BNP, use your vote.
If anything QT confirmed that Nick Griffin’s immigration policy is no clearer than any other party’s, as he now tries to dress up fascism as moderately right-wing. I’m confused as to which non-indigenous people are allowed to stay – do they have to be born here, is it a certain number of generations that have to have been born here? What I found deeply disturbing is that no one on the panel or in the audience suggested or asked about alternative answers to immigration issues, such as Britain being a more positive influence on the world. The first world has reached its elevated position through ‘others have to lose so we can win’ attitudes and behaviours. Is it really that surprising that those we plundered are fighting back? Britain put itself on this pedestal through its historical ‘achievements’. Is it really surprising that it is now considered an attractive place to relocate?
It may be considered naive, but I believe we can all win. There is no need for others to suffer so we can live a life of plenty. We (as a global population) need to change our attitudes and behaviours so that community rather than self becomes important. We need to take more time understand different cultures and learn tolerance.