The question of how best to deal with the British National Party raised its head again yesterday with the news that BNP leader Nick Griffin will be asked to appear on Question Time in October.
The arguments for and against the BBC’s decision range from giving the BNP enough rope to hang themselves versus starving them and their supporters of the oxygen of publicity. Groups like Searchlight, Hope Not Hate and Unite Against Fascism work tirelessly on the latter, disrupting BNP activity and campaigning against them on the doorstep, street-by-street and town-by-town, often at great personal risk – some even receiving death threats.
Forensic analysis of their policies and line-by-line rebuttals of their lies, however, have been less prevalent, enabling the BNP’s racist propaganda to go virtually unchallenged. Belatedly, however, steps are being taken to rectify this. Last month Quilliam, the counter-extremism think tank, published a report cataloguing the BNP’s raft of anti-Islamic smears and quashing them.
The media can also play a role by conducting in-depth investigations into the BNP. A recent example of this is News of the World’s exposé of a BNP “family festival” in August which revealed the true face of the BNP.
Incidents included gollywogs being thrown onto braziers; people throwing wet sponges at a man in a Barack Obama mask locked in stocks; BNP officers making speeches describing Jadaism and Islam as “cancers”; BNP supporters giving “Sieg Heil” salutes; BNP members threatening an anti-Fascist protester with hammers and axes and skinheads boasting of how they had driven black families out of their villages.
The News of the World’s work is an example of the media at its best, but the BBC’s invitation to Nick Griffin to take a seat on their flagship news and current affairs programme, having already provided a platform on Newsnight will be considered by many to be totally unacceptable.Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.