So, protesters have been massing outside Television Centre all day ahead of Nick Griffin’s appearance tonight on Question Time. All very predictable and expected and the lines of demarcation in this debate are pretty well-drawn and well rehearsed to the point where it’s probably wise to accept that quite simply people are entrenched in their views. One commenter who contacted BBC’s Radio 5 Live this morning summed-up the problem with the no-platform position; they said that the British National Party were intolerant people who wanted to quash peoples right to free speech and anti-fascists were intolerant people who wanted to restrict peoples right to free speech.
This is a simplistic equation to be sure and doesn’t take account of the complete difference of perspectives, one group perpetuating racial hatred and one fighting against but I can’t help but think it’s a conclusion many people will draw. People complain about the media exposure generated for the British National Party through this but forget that *the furore surrounding their appearance* doubles, nay triples media coverage. James Cousins, writing on the House of Twits, links to the recent furore surrounding Jan Moir’s piece on the death of Stephen Gateley. He surely has a point when he says;
The Griffins and the Moirs of this world are fundamentally intolerant people. Personally, I’d rather that intolerance be out in the open where it can be defeated, but for that to happen we also have to be tolerant of them. If we aren’t, every single time they are shut out of the democratic process it strengthens their anti-establishment credentials and helps convince people they might have something in what they say – and that’s how we get racist MEPs and GLA members.
What is more; from a left-wing point of view it shows how deep the dis-juncture between left-wing politics and democracy is; is this really the way we want to fight our opponents, with bans and prescriptions? Are our politics really that weak? In the case of the ‘no-platformers’ that is clearly the case however, it is about time they realised that they really have failed; the British National Party is riding on their backs to winning more electoral representation because there is a fundamental failure in the way their opponents tackle them.