Whenever the BNP feature in the news, in any form, it always provokes intense reactions. I guess this is the nature of being a controversial and extreme political organisation. The latest furore however is the announcement by the BBC to invite BNP MP's, including its leader Nick Griffin, to feature on Question Time.
The "Have Your Say" segment of the BBC and other forums are awash with heated comments in support and against dear old auntie's invite for tea, cake and politcal debate.
This can only be a good thing after all it strikes at the very core of what a democracy is all about; free speech for all even the minority. Stifiling the rights of bigots, either by censorship or frequently shouting and drowning them out will only strengthen their cause turning them into the underdog, and we all know how us Brits like to side with the downtrodden.
Let them have their say, after all like it or not they are a legitmate political party with duly elected representatives. Whilst it is easy to poke fun at the BNP and their electorate, berating them for their right to the right of Genghis Khan mentality, if one expects their views and position to be taken seriously, it is important we show the same consideration for those on the opposite side, no matter how much it pains to do so. This lies at the heart of free speech.
Also hasn't Question Time included on its panel many times, individuals with extreme views? A popular example being religious leaders, berating people's race, opposing faith and sexual orientation yet seldom is their right to be heared questioned. The BNP are no different to these people, despite their claims to the contrary, and although their political stance is growing, they are still lagging behind the main parties. The reason for their being a high profile party is not just their views but the fact that they shout so loud about them, like any group who preach on the extreme side.
Besides when you consider the viewing figures for Question Time, which is on after 11pm on a Thursday night, when most people are out on the town getting a head start on the weekend, or simply turning in early for work the next day, they are hardly preaching to a mass of fence sitters. The internet is a more far reaching arm for to plug their agenda, so to complain about giving them a spot on a seldom watched panel show is over the top to say the least.
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