Rod Liddle

Labour’s stance on the BNP is morally and intellectually wrong

Labour's stance on the BNP is morally and intellectually wrong
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It’s not just death and taxes you can depend upon – you can also be absolutely certain that the Labour Party will, at every opportunity, take precisely the wrong decision about the BNP. You may have seen Fraser’s blog about Labour MPs voting not to allow democratically elected BNP MEPs into the House of Commons. It is a convention that our European Union representatives are allowed the use of Westminster facilities, but not one which Labour will extend to the BNP for the simple reason that they do not like them. One of the first members to sign up was Andrew Dismore, MP for Hendon, who has a long and noble record of trying to ban people with whom he disagrees. In the past he has called for various Muslim groups to be made illegal – Al Mujharoun, Islam4UK, Hizb ut Tahrir. It is quite possible that given a free rein Mr Dismore would make everybody in the country illegal, except for himself. Although he does have an affection for the corrupt and vicious regime in Uzbekistan, for some undisclosed reason, and has spoken on their behalf in parliament on several occasions. It almost goes without saying that given this track record, Dismore is chairman of the Joint Committee on Human Rights.

Banning the BNP from the House of Commons is, of course, wrong morally and intellectually and an insult to the 900,000 or so people who voted for the party. Much as trying to keep fat Nick off Question Time was wrong morally and intellectually. That argument alone should be more than enough. But of course – and it hardly needs to be said – persecuting the BNP is wrong pragmatically, too; the more it is persecuted, the more it is seen to be a victim of establishment spite and oppression, the more the votes roll in from the white working class which feels itself (rightly) to be all but disenfranchised. Right now voters will be comparing Labour’s treatment of the BNP MEPs with its treatment of Sinn Fein’s MPs (for whom they quite possibly held a welcoming party in the police canteen at Westminster, with jelly and cakes.)