Friday, 22 May 2009

Ban the BNP

The ongoing expenses scandal and approaching European elections has seen the mainstream parties in a state of apparent panic over the 'dividend' it might gift the British National Party. Much debate and proclamation has ensued as to how we collectively resist their racist advances. MPs are ever-ready with condemnations and warnings. Yet, few of the parliamentary class are willing to countenance the most appropriate measure available: electoral exclusion. Unpalatable as it might seem, the response of any civilised, humanitarian and reasonably-functioning democracy would be to ban the BNP from standing for public office.

On what grounds? Specifically, their core racist beliefs. In what way might this be done? Through the existing legislation on incitement to racial hatred.

A small illustration of how this should be pursued as a legal imperative. The BNP have been trying to build and sustain their presence this past year on Glasgow's city centre streets and have been met by a collective blocking strategy involving a variety of leftist and humanitarian groups. In effect, we surround them, explaining to passers-by that people or groups peddling hatred of others have no legitimate place on the streets.

On one occasion, a man stopped to ask them about their policy on jobs (this was during the recent power station strikes over foreign labour). The BNP person stated that it was about "British jobs for British people", proceeding to explain that he meant 'indigenous' - namely, white - people. The police were standing alongside monitoring and listening. After the man left, I courteously addressed the officers, ensuring the BNP could hear, posing this question: the BNP are saying they want a white-only, 'indigenous' workforce. That clearly means they don't want Asians or any other non-white people in the police force. They are, in effect, arguing openly for a discriminatory and illegal set of working practices. Isn't that incitement to racial hatred?

At this point, one of the officers came over and told me to be quiet and "not draw us into this." Later, another officer confided that he thought their message abhorrent, but could only do his job.

It made me reflect on the point and purpose of anti-incitement laws which still allows political parties and their members to vocalise hatred of other citizens.

BNP members are already proscribed from joining the police force, and are effectively blocked by unions from teaching in schools and other public sector areas. Why, then, should they be permitted to amplify that same message of hatred as a political party?

It's not rhetorical to say that we're on the fast-track towards an authoritarian, fascist state. Yet, the government and its parliamentary partners continue to give legal and political cover to the BNP, allowing it a mantle of respectability it shouldn't have as a party openly promoting hatred and discrimination.

Of course, we must persist in the fiction that we live in an 'open liberal democracy'. However, this is not, in essence, an issue of democracy and free speech. It's an issue of law, the interpretation of which should aim to prohibit those who advocate social apartheid, racial repatriation and selective hatred of minorities. The failure to enact the law in this way allows a public acceptance of hate-speak based not just on personalised prejudice but on an open manifesto of racial exclusivism.

Banning the BNP from public office would show that there's no acceptable place for that kind of fascistic politics in this country. It might also, in the process, help concentrate minds on the kind of totalitarian methods the state itself is using to monitor minorities and purge groups working to halt the erosion of civil liberties and protect citizens from racist hatemongering.

Which begs the darker question: what does this surveillance-obsessed government fear most, the growth of far-right politics or the threat of real freedom of speech and open democracy?



Anonymous said...

Just received this helpful piece of advice;

Should you receive a BNP election leaflet through your letterbox, don't, whatever you do, return it to them using the free admail address on the back. The address to which you shouldn't return your BNP leaflet or empty envelopes?

National Office
Admail 4148

It should also be noted that Admail covers responses up to 2kg, and the receiver pays by weight received. So please don't advise anyone to stick the BNP leaflet in a box with 1.999kg of rubble, cat litter or out of date jars of gherkins. God forbid any people do this and therefor cost the BNP lots of money :-)

Thank you for your co-operation. Please pass on this message to encourage other people not to abuse the free admail service.

Neil from Barra

Anonymous said...

What a ridiculous post, you cannot ban a democratically elected party from voting when people support their views and their party. I advise you read this article it would be a great shame if democracy was removed in such away that led to the rise of the Nazi, as it was out of fear for the communists that Hitler was allowed to remove them, further narrowing his opposition. How would you feel if the opposition to the party which you are aligned to was able to remove your political representation, thus rendering you powerless in your own country? Should we also ban parties which want the abolition of the monarchy? Or those wanting to withdraw from the EU? Just because their views are radical. I bet you have not read the BNP manifesto, and are basing your opinion on the media’s unfair depiction of them. I might not vote BNP but I would definitely not vote for anyone or stand by anyone who wishes the destruction of democracy

Unknown said...

Hitler came to power democratically. So might the BNP. BAN THE BNP!

Anonymous said...

So do you want to ban democracy just so parties with extreme views can't get in, or do you want to educate the electorate so they make informed decisions and don't vote for a party which has had a bad history?

Candour said...

It was Winston Churchill who once said "Fascism will return in the form of anti fascism"
How can you write such total twaddle you must be an idiot.

pcn said...

How can they possibly justify the banning of Islam4UK and not ban the BNP? crazy.

This is no longer a democracy - it is a dictatorship run by a group of international terrorists

Anonymous said...

The BNP are a facist, nazi party. I am all for democracy, but the BNP should be banned.

Why not? They themselves aren't democratic at all.


Paul said...

To those self-righteous hypocrites here that demand the BNP be banned, there is a quote by Noam Chomsky that applies to you: "If we don't believe in freedom of speech for those we despise, then we don't believe in it at all."

How true. That says it all about you people who claim to believe in democracy, but only insofar as it complies to what you consider 'acceptable'. That is the kind of democracy that was practiced in the old east European Communist states, and of countries like Iran.

It looks like you people are the real opponents of democracy and free speech.

Anonymous said...

BNP, and UKIP are both preaching in their manifestos to discriminate much of the populations. If you, as a person independently preached these ideas, you'd be breaching the law.

So the easy way to ammend this is: all BNP/UKIP members should be tried to racism.

Democracy is not full proof. "Two idiots can outvote a genius".

We're not opposed to free speech, and from your comment, i speculate you to be one of those rightoues type americans who preaches democracy but is afraid of your own government. America has deposed of multiple democratically elected leaders, and the BNP are against people for not specific reason other than white supremacy.

BNP also represent most of what Americans condemn, but pah.