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The Bigot Is Back

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Nick_Griffin_BNPI think it’s fair to say that the British can be a little bit smug about how very open-minded and liberal we are. I think it’s also fair to say that the mentality, particularly amongst our politicians, of being almost over-inclusive has potentially backfired on us.

What we have now is a very frightening situation, where the real villains of British politics, the British National Party, have recently won two seats in the European Parliament.

This has been dismissed by many as a ‘protest vote’, a product of the apathy, or at the very least ambivalence, inspired by the policies of our leading parties, but to suggest that people are voting for a reported holocaust denier because they are disillusioned with the current political climate seems a little blinkered. When people want to make a vote of protest they vote Liberal Democrat, or for the Monster Raving Loony Party (yes, really). They do not vote for the BNP.

It’s seems bizarre that at a time when America is taking great leaps forward, there is a growing support in the UK for this extreme right wing group, and to dismiss this as a protest vote is naive at best. What it represents is that, as much as we may like to ignore it, there is a growing core of loyal supporters for the extreme right wing of British politics; a frightening backlash to our politically correct society.

Nick Griffin, the BNP leader who appeared last night on the BBC’s Question Time, likened the audience’s attack on him and the mob that formed outside to a lynch mob, but it was reassuring to see the united force of the protesters gathered outside the studios, and the articulate, intelligent questions put forward by the audience that left Griffin with egg on his face.

As one audience member put to a grinning Griffin, who had described white English, Irish, Scottish and Welsh people as “Britain’s aborigines”:

“Where do you want me to go? This is my county. I love this country. I’m part of this country. I was born here. I was educated here. You’d be surprised how many people would have a whip-round to buy you a ticket, and your supporters, to go to the South Pole. That’s a colourless landscape – it’ll suit you fine.”

I couldn’t have put it better myself.

Watch BNP leader Nick Griffin attempting to defend himself here.

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  • Adrian

    Maybe the reality is different. Right wing groups have always existed and they are enjoying something of a resurgence in the UK, Holland, Germany and France to name but four. Recessionary influences tend to feed these emergences, if history is anything to go by.

    One can argue about the merits of the BNP’s views, but is difficult in a democracy to argue that they do not have a right to be heard, particularly if a sizeable number of people vote for them – as they have.

    In this case Nick Griffin was at the centre of considerable media attention in the week preceding his question time appearance, and the show was roundly mishandled by allowing the audience and the panel to attack him repeatedly. Other agenda points of the week, such as the postal strike, were largely ignored.

    The result of this is that many commentators in the press and especially on the very influential political blogs (such as the market leader Guido Fawkes) have remarked that Mr Griffin acquitted himself well in the circumstances.

    It has backfired further, as the BNP has taken the opportunity to complain that the handling by the BBC was blatantly unfair. This is further substantiated by a large volume of complaints to the BBC from viewers, who also thought it was unfair. These views are too widely expressed to be dismissed as merely BNP members wading in.

    We cannot have democracy without accepting that some on the spectrum will have extreme views that the majority may find unpleasant. Falling into the trap of labelling them (for example as bigots), makes us seem blinkered, fearful and biased, and this inevitably dilutes the force of opposing arguments.

  • karin moorhouse

    Brilliant, incisive, sharp. It is such a joy to read your work, to see it in print, well done! xxx