Peter Hoskin

Question time for the BNP

Question time for the BNP
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The Beeb's admission that they have invited Nick Griffin onto a future episode of Question Time is causing quite a stir.  Two main questions are emerging from it all.  First, should the BBC give a platform to the BNP?  And, second, should other politicians appear on a show with BNP figures?  The Tories have already said they're "very happy" to put forward a shadow cabinet member to debate Griffin, while Labour are wrestling with their "custom" not to share a platform with the BNP.

My take on each question is that, first, the Beeb aren't wrong to give the BNP a platform.  Personally, I find the party's views and its politics repellent, but the fact remains that British voters have given them two seats in the European Parliament.  An impartial broadcaster would be negligent if it didn't somehow take that into account.

And, as for the second question, the other parties should welcome this opportunity to take on Griffin and his ilk.  The BNP exploits rational concerns about, say, unemployment and immigration, and twists them into irrational fears and hatreds.  The other parties have to show that they're prepared to discuss those concerns, otherwise they're just establishing a space in which the BNP can continue to operate and thrive.  There's no better forum for that than a TV debate; especially as the Griffin facade tends to crack in front of the cameras.