Having failed to get the verdict it wanted in the BNP case - pesky juries - New Labour wants to change the law. In this, we see two of its less pleasant features.
One is its illiberalism:
Chancellor Mr Brown said: "Any preaching of religious or racial hatred will offend mainstream opinion in this country."
Tim calls this right - offending "mainstream opinion" (by which Brown means "opinions like mine") is no reason whatever to make something a crime.
Put it this way. In The God Delusion (ch9), Richard Dawkins likens religious education to child abuse. Is there really a clear difference between that and Griffin's description of Islam as a "wicked religion"? Any law against religious hatred would surely forbid both.
The second unpleasant feature of New Labour is that it favours management over politics. It thinks problems should be managed away, not debated. So it thinks it can combat the BNP with the law, not politics.
In a better world, it would fight the BNP by showing that it is a vicious gutter party, which no respectable person could support. Instead, New Labour panders to its nasty illiberal racism, by denouncing the veil and by pretending that the Stupid Party isn't tough enough on immigration.
What's more, a decent governing party would not have tolerated the vast chasm between the ruling class and the indigenous working class. The BNP is exploiting an alienation that New Labour's centralist managerialism encouraged.
Let's then be clear. The BNP is a party that's nasty, vicious and small. New Labour is nasty, vicious - and big.