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September 07, 2009

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howardclark@btinternet.com

Whilst I have no liking for the BNP they are elected officials and therefore should be allowed their say. To not let them have their say disrespects the entire democratic system.

They will quickly make fools of themselves with their repugnant views.

Talking about repugnant views - see this new article on why setting targets damages learning - it comes with video - and lots of evidence

http://www.thesystemsthinkingreview.co.uk/index.php?pg=18&backto=1&utwkstoryid=187

Nick Osborne

It is a damned if you do, damned if you don't situation. Much like throwing eggs at or covering him in Guinness, locking Griffin out will only make him, lamentably, more popular because people will feel sympathy towards him as being vilified by the establishment. On the other hand, debating him will give him more publicity and a platform to voice his abhorrent views.

But if the right respected and intelligent members of the major parties choose to speak on Question Time, hopefully Griffin will be shown up as the bigot he is.

Pauline Hanson in Australia was a similar character (although she was a dullard unlike Griffin who despite his horrendous and vulgar opinions, is disturbingly astute) with similar beliefs. Thankfully, even we Australians thought she was too right wing and ridiculous. After she was given her soap box, she appeared as ridiculous as her views and the people lost interest in her and her policies. Lets hope the same happens here.

Luis Enrique

Good post, and it's not easy to see what's going to change things for the better. From your X-factor post, we need "ways of structuring democractic choices that ... filter out ignorant or mean preferences" and also we need the cultural/media forums that foster deliberative democracy so that nasty populist arguments die like vampires exposed to sunlight, as opposed to thrive like tomatoes in a hot-house. A tall order.

ortega

"The BBC seems to think its job is to merely reflect a public opinion..."

I'm a spanish citizen, living in my country and watching regularly the BBC.
If I were to base my opinion on it, it would be very difficult for me to imagine that it reflexes a country with consecutive conservative-thatcherite and New Labour governments.

kardinal birkutzki

Further to ortega's post, would you care to elaborate on the sentence, "The BBC seems to think its job is to merely reflect a public opinion which has been debased by its private sector rivals"?

What precisely do you mean by this? Taking it at face value, what evidence do you have that the BBC thinks this; and are you seriously suggesting that the private sector -ITV et al- have debased public opinion; or that the BBC "seems to think" that they have?

kardinal birkutzki

I presume that means you wouldn't care to?

BenP

Not knotty, they will say whatever they must to get power then do away with democracy. They should be denied a platform and confronted before they gain power and exercise their Nazi ideology, have you learnt nothing from history.

georges

We could ban the BNP - prevent them standing in elections.

Outside of wartime, you can only really justify banning a party that advocates violent overthrow of the state, and the BNP don't clam to seek that. Politicians have repeatedly talked up the idea of banning Hizb ut-Tahrir, but haven't actually done so.

But if we don't ban them, and they get candidates elected, how can we refuse them the same rights to speak as we grant to others?

You want to prevent them speaking because you think they will argue the BNP case rather well, while their opponents will argue the anti-BNP case rather badly.

Well, maybe the reason their opponents are bad at arguing against them is because they've had virtually no practice.

chris

@ Kardinal Birkutzki - My statement "The BBC seems to think its job is to merely reflect a public opinion which has been debased by its private sector rivals" refers to 2 things:
1. The BBC's own statement that "due impartiality" obliges it to give airtime to the BNP:
http://www.google.com/hostednews/ukpress/article/ALeqM5irsQMIlrk0ZyjNyo3SPb6XzJzQdA
2. The consistent (and often false) anti-immigration stories run by the tabloid press. I was not referring to ITN: I would never, of course, impugn the great Julie Etchingham:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1567718/Sky-apologies-over-Tory-extermination-quip.html

chrisg

Given how awry our democracy has gone, perhaps the vote should also be denied those who have voted or risk voting for the wrong parties? Starting, presumably, with the million who voted BNP in the Euro elections. It is intellectually incoherent to deny a party that attracts significant support a media platform for its views while allowing that party to hold positions of power.

On the subject of the media whipping up anti-immigration sentiment, you might reasonably expect there to be a natural pro-immigration bias in the press - after all, business owners (including news barons) are unambiguous beneficiaries of high immigration unlike, say, low skilled native workers. My guess is that where the media has an anti-immigration bias it is often more reflective than formative of its viewers'/readers' views.

My impression is that media misinformation about immigration is pretty balanced on both sides, if not in volume then at least in ignorance. While there is no shortage of inane tabloid anti-immigration stories the BBC also dutifully reports (or regurgitates) the findings of the many deeply flawed studies on migration's impacts that typically start from a pro-immigration bias.

Rayatcov

Just why is it OK to accept Sinn Fein MEPs and MPs, who have murdered people, shot people in the knee caps and tried to kill a Prime Minister and members of the Royal Family, and not BNP MEPs, who to my knowledge have only passed an opinion and harmed no one.
You may have read this on other sites because I keep asking the same question but I never get an answer.

Rayatcov

Continued:-
Of course it's those pesky Nationalists.
First, they decide that they don't like foreign influence and foreign governments.
Then, they start to preach against these foreign things.
Next thing you know, they have a following.
Then the following grows and grows.
Then come the civil disobedience campaigns and before you know it, there's upheaval and they toss out the foreigners.
Of course, I'm referring to the Nationalist Ghandi, not the Nationalist Griffin.

Dipper

this is the inevitable result of New Labours warped world view. They consider people to be first and foremost not individuals but members of communities, and then replace the notion of the equality of individuals with the equality of communities. So unelected militant members of the Islamic community get to exercise power over others simply on the basis of the colour of their skin and circumstances of birth - a complete perversion of socialism. Given this outlook, the obvious response of white residents of highly immigrant areas is to vote on ethnic lines for the person who will represent their colour. Shame on Labour for their stupidity.

R F Norgan

I am utterly amazed at this article. It is simply saying that political parties with which the writer disagrees should not be allowed to voice their policies to the electorate via the media mechanisms employed by those parties against which the writer has no objection, notwithstanding that the objectional parties have a reasonable degree of support (in the case of the BNP they had 40% of the Labour vote at the European election).
Presumably the writer understands that he is an anti-democrat bordering on a totalitarian fascist.

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