Friday, 23 October 2009

The BBC Question Time, The BNP And The Rest Of Us

The decision of the British Broadcasting Corporation to give the British National Party the opportunity to appear in its Question Time programme is not a welcomed one. It is deplorable, an act of irresponsible journalism and lack of good editorial judgement and direction. The decision is not in the interest of the public and therefore should be a subject of criticism.

The British Broadcasting Corporation is a public-funded media house in sharp contrast to other media in the United Kingdom and with what is obtained elsewhere in the world. The meaning of this is that the British public are taxed through what is called the Television Licence in order to keep the BBC up and running. Because of this, it is not allowed to carry commercials to avoid a situation that could jeopardise its integrity.

In the United Kingdom, it is an offence to own a television or any other medium of watching a television programme without first applying and having a TV Licence which is often paid for yearly. Any person who flouts this law is liable to prosecution and the implication is that virtually about 60 million British population who owns or watch the television pays for it personally or through the main income earner in their household. Every household must have one to watch the television.

Bearing this in mind then, one could understand the enormity of the crime committed by the BBC in giving the right to opinion and speech to the BNP through the medium. Majority of the British population do not support the BNP as a result of what they stand for. Until a recent court ruling that forced the BNP to accept non-whites, the BNP is an only white party that does not give membership to other minority ethnic British people.

The BNP is of the view that the United Kingdom should be for the original white British people alone. The meaning is that those who do not have ‘white skin, blonde hair and blue eyes’ and other attributes of the original British race and blood should not be welcomed both into the party and the union. It is a racist and an anti-immigration party and according to its constitution, the BNP is "committed to stemming and reversing the tide of non-white immigration and to restoring, by legal changes, negotiation and consent the overwhelmingly white makeup of the British population that existed in Britain prior to 1948”.

Recently the leader of the party Nick Griffin suggested that boats carrying illegal immigrants from Africa into Europe should be sunk with open fire to stop them from arriving into Europe and as a deterrent to others. Apart from this, the BNP is historically an anti-Semite, anti-homosexuals and anti-blacks party and of recent has become very pronounced in its opposition to Islam and everything not British.

It is basically because of these types of ideologies and outbursts that the BNP is the public enemy number one in the United Kingdom and a party that is highly loathed from every angle. The hatred for the party is evident in the fact that despite its foundation about three decades ago, it won its first seat not even in the UK Parliament but in London Assembly and European Parliament just this year, thanks to the expenses scandal and recession that swayed the vote to them. However, prior to that, it was holding many Metropolitan Borough Council seats.

Against this backdrop then, one begins to question the sanity and sagacity behind the decision of the public-funded BBC to allow the BNP with this type of obnoxious, detestable and loathsome ideologies to appear in the Question Time. That is tantamount to insulting the public. I do not have anything against giving the media right to speech and opinion to the BNP, but the fact is that even as the BNP has the right to opinion and speech; it has no right to hatred and incitement of racial hatred, insinuation of racial inferiority of other races and their exclusion from the democratic process of this nation.

The right to speech and opinion is a constitutionally protected right but then that right is also limited in the sense that even as you are given the right to air your opinion, you do not enjoy the right to promote hatred. BNP is clearly anti-immigrants and anti-Semite using various forms of evil machinations and hatred and what the BBC just did was to give them the platform to promote that hatred under the full public gaze. That is not journalism. It is being naive, idiotic, stupid and out of touch with the feelings of the tax payers that fund it.

The BBC is supposed to be the fourth estate of the realm and the purveyor of the public opinion. The public opinion at the moment is that the BNP is not in touch with the feelings of the people. It is entirely the opposite of what the majority of the British population want at the moment. They are not one of us. They chose to be isolated with their firebrand archaic views. They do not want dialogue.

The modern British are very comfortable with the presence of immigrants from diverse nationalities and professional backgrounds who work hard to keep this nation alive. The modern British are happy and proud of the level of integration of the immigrants as well as the freedom and love and dedication with which they carry out their civic and day-to-day activities. That is the pulse of the people and the heartbeat of the nation. That is the feeling of the people. That is the voice of the people as well as the voice of God. Vox populi vox dei. It is therefore disgusting that the BBC chose in the name of political correctness and arrogance of an empty barrel to ignore these sentiments.

The BNP does not identify with any of these sentiments and if it does not identify with these sentiments why bordering to address the people they loath and ignore their contributions in this country since 1940s.

It is now over 60 years, since we came out of the worst racial crime of the century, the Jewish Holocaust by the Nazi Germany. Over 6 million Jews were exterminated using various forms of killing including the use of gas chambers by the Nazis. Also victims of this heinous crimes were the gypsies, the homosexuals, the disabled and in fact those that do not belong to the Aryan race. The Nazi began with similar sentiments being espoused by the BNP and won elections under same circumstances like the BNP. The effect of that crime as well as the after-effect of the Second World War is still here with us and it is purely this that agitates the mind on the reason the BBC could be so naive and careless to allow a party like the BNP to appear in that Question Time.

As I have already pointed out, the defence of the right of the speech does not apply here. BNP is a party that promotes racism and hatred and that is against the law, decency, commonsense and peaceful coexistence. The BBC is aware of this and should not have given them the platform to promote their contemptuous political jingoism, tarnish the image of the corporation and make the public an object of opprobrium. The BBC is wrong in allowing this to happen and can never justify their action and if nothing is done, we shall soon see the neo-fascist and neo-Nazis appearing in the public-funded programmes of the BBC in the name of freedom of speech and opinion.

Part of the blame should also go to other panellists who appeared in the same programme with the BNP leader especially the Justice Secretary, Jack Straw who should have taken the lead to distance himself from the BNP and its ideologies. Appearing in the same programme with the BNP leader is not in any way a mark of respect for the viewers but rather a great disrespect as well as tacit and indirect endorsement of what the BNP stands for. He and his other colleagues from the Conservative and Liberal Democratic parties should have completely boycotted the programme.

Similarly, ‘The Times’ Newspaper of London should also be reprimanded for its irresponsible article on page 2 of October 22, 2008 edition of the newspaper titled ‘The Right Question’ which tactically justified the appearance of Griffin on the grounds that it afforded us the opportunity to debate with them. The BNP is not a party to debate with at the moment since by its manifesto; it is never open to debate with any other people except white British. How then, can ‘The Times’ justify this atrocity in the name of debate? That is a mark of irresponsible and ‘out-of-touch-with-the-people’ journalism and ‘The Times’, should get the fact straight. We can only debate with the BNP when they refine their manifesto to have a semblance of what is written by humans and not like what appears like ranting of those high in skunk and new wine.

The government is also to be blamed for the calamity especially for not passing an urgent legislation to stop the appearance of a party that by its very nature and modus operandi poses risk and danger to the public peace and to the security of the state.

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