Right-wing bigot hits out at bigger right-wing bigot

The BBC should really know better. Perhaps it was pre-emptively avoiding claims of suppression from the Bigoted Nazi Party by allowing Nick Griffin to speak on air, but when you invite a moron to speak you can’t be too shocked when he says something idiotic. So it was last night when Nick crowbarred some Islamophobia into a topic on white working-class fears over a drink-and-drug culture. An intemperate, ludicrous statement that even had Jon Gaunt (yes, that Jon Gaunt) distancing himself from Griffin’s remarks.

It’s tempting to feel that Griffin and his merry band of fascist fuckwits should be ushered from the airwaves and never given a platform to speak. After all, for their claims to be a mainstream political party, they do not have, and never have had, a Westminster seat. Even Respect have one of those. They have some seats on local councils – which makes them equal in impact to the Cornish separatist movement. They even got excited at coming second in a parish council election. Given their negligible, virtually non-existent political imprint, they could justifiably be under a press blackout for reasons of irrelevance. But then we’d hear them cry out about being “gagged” because they “tell the truth”. We know, of course, that “the truth” is their eternal enemy, but they do love their persecution complex.

Since they dumped the boots, put on suits and decided to play at being real, grown-up politicians, the BNP have been exposed a thousand times as the racist scum that they are. Griffin’s comic stylings on Newsnight were instantly derided not only by Gaunt, but also by Kirsty Wark, but the people who chose to interview Griffin for the show also need to take a look at themselves. Was it really sensible to ask a question – any question – of a man whose political relevance is minuscule and derived entirely from intolerant rabble-rousing? Griffin claims to speak for the white working-class, but so do a huge number of other people, including a great many who, if they see a red light on a TV camera, don’t immediately think “Durrrr, I’m on TV again, time to say something naughty!”

Disappointingly, this move gave Gaunt a chance to lambast the BBC for painting the white working class as bigots, and align himself for perhaps the first and only time with the Observer’s Andrew Anthony – but even more disappointingly there was a lot to agree with in the rest of what Gaunt said.  Nick Griffin is not a fair representation of what working-class white people (a subset of society in which I am included) think and feel.  His politics of fear and hate have been rejected time and time and time again when it matters, and yet he still plays the “censorship” card in order to cling to some spurious relevance.  The media, more fool them, fall for it and give him time to air his nonsensical ramblings in the name of free speech.

The press and the television media need to have more confidence in saying “no” to Griffin and other extremists.  When the tiresome and inevitable cries of unfair suppression go up, they can point to the fact that for all the acres of coverage the BNP have already had, the party still has no MPs in Westminster, is running far behind the main parties in the race for London mayor, and can only garner a small protest vote at council elections which confer as much power as the average Parent-Teacher Association.

There is a counter-argument, of course, that allowing the BNP to speak forestalls any accusations of lack of balance.  This argument, however, is defective because these accusations continue even today.  It doesn’t require a change in policy to keep these idiots off the air, just a realisation that the BNP really aren’t that important.  Balance is one thing, going out of your way to appease tossers is quite another.

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