Monday 19 October 2009

Griffin must be allowed on

I’ve written lots of stories on the rise of the BNP and listened to endless Labour bods tell me how a “robust and united approach” is needed to counter their gains in the party’s heartlands.

So it has irked me no end to see the cabinet sending out totally conflicting messages on whether Nick Griffin should be allowed on BBC’s Questions Time.

On one hand you have Hain threatening legal action if the BNP’s leader is allowed to appear and on the other you have Straw pledging to go on and debate it out.

The fight against the BNP is crying out for some leadership, but at the Lobby briefing this morning the PM’s spokesman suggested Brown was firmly on the fence – “understanding” Hain’s views but supporting Straw’s presence on the show.

For my part there is no question about whether the BNP, fascists that they are, should be allowed on or not – of course they should, they are democratically elected.

When any of us votes, we are not just voting for a single party, but for the democratic system as a whole. That system includes freedom of expression and it applies to everyone.

As Mills explains in On Liberty, by letting people speak out the duff ideas can be countered, and the good ideas can be proven in debate – giving us an opportunity to believe in good ideas for more than just dogmatic zeal.

In other words, it isn’t just right that all the weird, distasteful ideas are aired, it’s essential for the system.

The row has given the show more publicity than it’s actually worth. Let’s hope Straw can expose Griffin for the charlatan he is.


McGonagall said...

"Let’s hope Straw can expose Griffin for the charlatan he is."

And vice versa.

Democracy REQUIRES all views be heard. It's the fascists who want to shut people up.

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