Should the EDL be allowed on Newsnight tonight?

The BBC, in it’s sometimes less than infinite wisdom has decided to allow the leader of the English Defence League a slot on Newsnight tonight. Let’s start from the top. This is an utterly hypocritical decision, were it to be one of those ‘extremist Islamic preachers of hate’ that the Daily Mail and Tom Harris seem to see round every corner, the BBC would have no hesitation in saying ‘thanks, but no thanks. Having said that we also have to say quite clearly, that No Platform is a nonsense tactic. Indeed, as Lisa Ansell rightly says;

No Platform, means no discussion. No discussion means censorship can justifiably be claimed.

I would also add, it gives them ‘anti-establishment’ kudos. Furthermore, as Lisa rightly says in comments, the purpose of these occasional appearances is to humiliate and denigrate organisations like the EDL, rather than seriously combat their politics,  and this only makes matters worse. However, I do feel differently when it comes to the British National Party and the EDL. The EDL are a different and more dangerous organisation and indeed they are in many ways directly comparable to a known supporter of Al-Qaeda, for example.  They are thugs and criminals and the most lumpen elements in our society.

So, the ‘No Platform’ question is, I would contend, slightly more complicated. Also, there is a difference between saying they should not be on Newsnight to saying they should be prescribed, for example. Certainly, I feel communities should have the right to stop both their and the counter-productive counter-marches access to their area if they so wish (just as I support the right of Northern Ireland’s Catholics to curtail the marching rights of the Orange Order).

Just screeching no-platform at the BBC however, is simplistic and rather a-political. I am sympathetic for calls for tighter restrictions on the EDL however, but this is not the way to defeat their politics ultimately and we cannot rely on the state or establishment to apply such restrictions even-handedly.  It is therefore wrong to see struggling for and demanding ‘no platform’ as an end in itself because it fails to challenge the EDL politically and expose the politics they espouse; and, finally, it leaves their fate in the hands of a state and or an establishment we  simply cannot trust to be even-handed.


About darrellgoodliffe


10 responses to “Should the EDL be allowed on Newsnight tonight?”

  1. jamie p says :

    If we are sincere in your wish to challenge the EDL politically thereby to expose the politics they espouse, then surely we must allow them to speak and we must allow them to demonstrate.

    I dislike the EDL intensely – BUT unlike my previous condescending blanket amusement at them, I was on this occasion given pause for thought when their representative(whose name I forget) attempted to explain how he represented a growing proportion of the working class.

    I do not know if his statement or its implication was hyperbole or not, but I do believe this : we must not allow the BBC to become an organisation for only the well educated and well spoken.

    For that reason alone, well done to Paxman & co for allowing the EDL a few minutes. And if 9/ 11 or yesterday in Norway could have been avoided by our journalists and news channels giving occasional space to unheard thugs and extremists – then we should have talked.


  2. amy1 says :

    I agree, we should listen to them more, not look down at them like serfs – no wonder they get angry. It is supposed to be their media too.


  3. gillig says :

    Why bother allowing them to speak and not listening?
    They are the population of your country.
    If you claim a right to political power, these are the people you must serve.
    Accept why they are protesting and do something about it.


  4. darrellgoodliffe says :


    No, they are nought but the section of the population that probably should in jail; they are malcontent’s, a rag-tag-and-bob-tail hooligan collective whose ‘politics’ is an excuse for them to impose their own tyranny on the weak and the only reason I am in favour of allowing them a platform is so that can be exposed before everybody and they can be politically crushed in the correct manner…


  5. gillig says :

    I think listening would be wiser.


  6. darrellgoodliffe says :


    No. They have nothing of interest to say.

    @James & @Amy,

    Have replied on other thread…


  7. alex says :


    i think that it an naive and flawed attitude to have, if you don’t listen you won’t understand why people behave and think like they do, you can’t just “expose” them and that’s the end of it. You have to listen and react in a way that is impartial and sympathetic to their feelings (regardless of whether you think their wrong or not) or you are creating a time bomb within society where one person out of their number does something awful because nobody will listen to their concerns and simply writes them off as not worthy members of society, oh wait that’s what has happened.

    By the way what is wrong with people being malcontent’s? A person who is dissatisfied and rebellious. surely as members of society they should be listened to all the more if the are dissatisfied and considering disruptive rebellious actions, are you arguing a case for some members of society being more worthy than others? because of their views we shouldn’t listen to them,

    of course this may not be your view but it does sound like that’s the direction your heading in


  8. darrellgoodliffe says :


    Never, in a million years, will I react in a ‘sympathetic’ way to these ignorant, bone-headed yobs. They are not ‘worthy members of society’ – they are the kind of members of society who only condemn the killing of 70 plus socialists in cold blood in a desperate bid to salvage their image. Ok, maybe malcontent’s is the wrong word – how about poisonous yobs?


  9. Usman Malik says :

    Though they see me a British-Muslim as a threat and want to chase me everywhere – I am willing to listen to them. In fact I want to listen to them. I just saw the show few hours back on iPlayer and I think it was a good thing for BBC to let them come and talk about it.

    And well had he not come on BBC, I wouldn’t have known about his threat towards the end.


  10. darrellgoodliffe says :


    As I said I have no problem with them having that platform; though the only reason is so they can be openly crushed politically as I said. But listening here in what is being said is coda for political adaptation and that kind of ‘listening’ I am not willing to engage in.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: