Probably the twenty year old me would have approved of the treatment of Nick Griffin today in London.
The newly elected MEP was speaking to the media outside Westminster.
Griffin was elected on as the world remembered the freedom fighters of D-Day.
With the defeat of the Third Reich Western Europe could reinstate the democratic governance and, slowly, come together into what is today the EU.
Griffin’s politics I find abhorrent, but he was elected.
On this island ,in the South and the North, elected members of Sinn Fein were non-persons in the media.
Unionists would deal with them in council chambers despite being democratically elected.
In the Republic Section 31 of the Broadcasting act meant that elected Sinn Fein politicians could not be interviewed on the airwaves.
Then Thatcher, as she descended into madness, banned the voices of Adams and McGuiness.
We saw their faces, but actors like Stephen Rea made a good living speaking their words.
It was bizarre and it didn’t work.
Dialogue brought Sinn Fein fully into the democratic tent.
Ken Livingstone and John Hulme were both correct on this.
Everyone else was wrong.
Sinn Fein with their mandate respected discussion and debate could then take place.
No one ever seriously suggested that Sinn fein were akin to fascists, but they were pariahs becuase of their associations with the Provisional IRA.
Subsequently I was saddened to see the behaviour of Jim Allister.
Back to the future he refused to acknowledge Sinn Fein’s Bairbre De Brun.
For the record De Brun was elected Allister was not.
The people have spoken.
Ignoring Sinn Fein didn’t stop the northern war, speaking to them, dealing with them did.
Hundreds of thousands of people voted BNP in the UK, I wish they hadn’t, but they did.
That means that their choice has to be respected.
It is a knee jerk of the student left to “smash the fascists off the streets!”
What is much moiré effective it to debate with then, dismantle their arguments and, hopefully, see their electoral support ebb away.
It isn’t as photogenic as the placard waving students on the Channel four news this evening, but engaging with the BNP in a robust debate is what, eventually, will neuter them.
That is why Channel Four was correct to interview the BNP’s other MEP Andrew Brons just as it was appropriate to tell us about Bron’s youthful high jinks as a member of the National Socialist Movement.
The NSM was founded on Hitler’s Birthday.
Brons joined the National Front and resigned in 1984 when he had risen to be the NF’s national chairman.
It was the defeat of Hitler’s regime that allowed Bron the opportunity to take part in the democratic process.
The BNP proudly state that they have a Jewish councillor yet they attempt to denigrate the Victoria Cross awarded to Private Johnson Beharry.
The first VC awarded in twenty years. BNP Nick Griffin dismissed the award to Beharry who he called “ an immigrant.” Saying that the solider had been given the VC because he was black and that “all he did was drive fast away from trouble.”
The BNP described Beharry’s conduct during the ambush in Iraq as “routine.”
A journalist colleague who covered Beharry’s storey told me that he had spoke to the soldier’s commanding officer (the man who wrote the citation).
There was no doubt that Johnson Beharry is a hero and thoroughly merited his Victoria Cross.
Beharry was born in Grenada and moved to the UK in 1999.
Surely this is an immigration success story?
Young man joins the armed forces of his adopted country serving with bravery and distinction.
Not a bit of it.
The BNP’s problem with Johnson Beharry is the colour of his skin not his conduct in the face of the enemy.
That is exactly why the BNP should not be chased off public platforms.
Now they have a democratic mandate it is all the more reason to submit their toxic views to the scrutiny of public debate.
I do not believe that the BNP, once engaged in public debate will soften, but I do think that they will lose their appeal as pariahs.
Ordinary people in Britain are, quite rightly, disgusted with establishment politicians post the expenses scandal. The man on the Clapham omnibus is going to look kindly on the party that the denizens of Westminster tell him not to vote for.
Sending the BNP to Coventry will only result in them finally being returned to Westminster.
The twenty year old me believed, simplistically, that the scourge of fascism was a problem that could be “smashed”. In today’s digital age the virus of race hate that the BNP seek to spread will be eradicated by education, education, education.