Friday, 23 October 2009

The BNP and No Platform Policies

Well, after the best hours worth of tv to come out of Television Centre in many years, I think that could be said to have been useful. The BNP must be held up to ridicule for its attitudes, policies and outright racism, and I think the BBC was right to do so.
No platform policies do not work. It didn't work when the UK government tried to suppress Sinn Fein by barring their leaders from being heard. It doesn't work in Trade Unions when the central heirarchy tries to suppress factions and groups: they just keep coming and getting bigger. If you aren't allowed to talk about it, people instinctively want to talk about it, and censoring the BNP will just make them (a) more interesting and (b) able to play the martyr card.
From experience talking to people its quite surprising how many don't realise exactly what the BNP stand for, they just see the "no to foreigners" or "british jobs for the brits" etc and tick the box.  A lot of people didn't realise what the NSDAP stood for in the early thirties, if you look at their manifesto (such as it was), the vast majority of their policies seemed reasonable to a people suffering from economic catasrophe (ring any bells). Indeed, some of their policies would not be unpalatable to those of us on the left (nationalisation and increasing the old age pension being two of them).  If all that people get told is what appeals to them, they'll vote for what sounds good.

What we have to do is make sure that the vast majority of decent people in this country don't get conned and vote for them, in the way the German people did in 1933, because they have a facade of reasonableness...and I think we're doing well on that front. However, I think we can do better, and the various anti-fascist movements (why can there never just be one group opposing someone, its not like its the Peoples Front of Judea for crying out loud) need to change tactic. "Denying the BNP the oxygen of publicity" won't get us anywhere, we need to engage them in public debate (although the demos are still a good thing) and make sure people know how vicious they are.
It would also help if there was someone we could tell them to vote for instead. None of the main parties are particularly palatable at the moment, anyone got any suggestions?

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