So – the British Labour Party is about to wrestle with its conscience and find that, would you believe it, it’s stronger than its conscience. Up to now Labour has refused to appear on television with the BNP, on the grounds that they’re a bunch of racists and to appear with them would be to lend them a spurious legitimacy. Hark! I hear an old war-cry, coming from the dark 1980s, from the rosebud lips of one M Thatcher. This war-cry declares that it WILL not give the oxygen of PUBLICITY to TERRORISM, and that’s why Sinn Fein are banned from the airwaves, except that is you can find an actor who will say the words in place of the Sinn Fein politicians. Ah me, how memory mixes with desire and what fun we had, deciding if the voice coming from Gerry Adams’s speechless lips should have carried a touch more menace, maybe more sincerity, perhaps a soupcon more passion, the teensiest better articulation…. In the end it’s the inconsistency that leaves you speechless with amusement or rage. Amusement if you enjoy watching establishment politicians tying themselves in knots as they argue the unarguable; rage if you still believe in that old-fashioned thing, free speech, where opposing views come forward, are presented , argued with and eventually seized on or rejected. If your opponents really are the numbskull crazies you claim they are, letting us hear and see them will surely expose their numbskullery and craziness? Or is it that our politicians believe they’re clever enough to spot fascism but we’re so thick, ten minutes of Nick Griffin might have us running onto the streets with lighted brands to torch immigrant homes?
So it’s good to know the BBC’s ‘Question Time’ has pressured Labour and the Tories and the Lib Dems into putting their bums in the same studio as the BNP. Mind you, they’re such a hapless shower, there’s a danger Griffin will look and sound convincing.