ModernityBlog

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Abraham Lincoln

Posts Tagged ‘Question Time

Neo-fascism On The Sofa, Courtesy Of The BBC.

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You might almost get the impression that the BBC were vaguely sympathetic to the BNP or wanted to assist their growth?

Why else should the BBC want to provide these neofascists with the platform and normalise their views?

I’m not sure that it is as clear cut as that, but the BBC’s QT decision to invite Nick Griffin, BNP leader, started the ball rolling.

The Daily (Maybe) informs us that Griffin was recently invited to the Politics Show North West, last Sunday, 6th December 2009.

It is on Iplayer (35:00 in), what a spectacle. Treating a climate change denying neofascist as if his views are worthy of consideration. The BBC seems to have lost all editorial judgement in this matter, but it probably helps their viewing figures so they’re not going to complain.

Peter Cranie explains it well.

When, in years to come, people look back of the growth of British neofascism I suspect that sizeable blame will be placed on the BBC for legitimising the BNP’s views, aiding their propaganda and increasing their public profile.

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10/12/2009 at 13:22

No Platform And The Need For Thought.

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I didn’t want to post for a couple of days, but after reading a discussion on Socialist Unity blog I thought that it might be worthwhile to ponder the No Platform for fascists position whilst the ideas are still in my mind.

There’s quite a lot of debate going on there so I won’t rehearse the same arguments, but it strikes me that we need to look at it in a slightly more subtle fashion.

I think No Platform is a good idea, however it mustn’t be just a mechanical reaction, rather it needs to be expanded out and made the point of discussion in the public discourse

What we should be arguing about is a complete opposition to the normalisation and acceptance of neofascist parties, such as the BNP.

It was noticeable how quickly the conventional politicians capitulated on this issue, with the notable exception of Peter Hain and a few others.

That a once long-held view that neofascists should denied the oxygen of publicity has now been disregarded, thrown aside in a few seconds in reaction to the BNP’s appearance on BBC Question Time.

My approach is, that if BBC producers, their management and even craven politicians wish to accept or welcome into their bosom the BNP, that’s their choice, I won’t accept it and certainly others do not have to follow the precedence set by them like sheep. I would argue there is no good reason to concede any ground to these neofascists.

Normalising the BNP makes it fairly certain that they will grow exponentially, rather we should aim to stigmatise membership of this neofascist group.

We should aim to remind people of the origin of these cranks, their lust for power, their incompetence, their violence and stupidity, and along the way make it very clear that their arguments are a tissue of lies.

Above all we should remind people that the BNP are an inherently racial grouping, whose policies would lead to an ethnic minorities being placed in camps or murdered along the way.

We need to remind people that the BNP would violently dispatch any of their opponents, if they could get away with it. Any society or institution which becomes dominated by the BNP will lead to increased racial violence, strife, worse poverty and despair.

We need to remind people of the history of fascism, the tactics and lies used by modern day neofascists and where those policies have lead, to war and mass murder.

No ethnic or social minority will be safe with the BNP around, further, they would destroy the NHS, trade unions and the remaining social fabric of society, if they could.

Opposition to the BNP must be total, but it must be thoughtful as well.

The BNP will aim to use their Question Time exposure to gain more media attention, so opponents of the BNP must provide a counterbalance not only in opposition but also in the form of ridicule and argumentation.

Recent examples suggests that the British media would not give the BNP a particularly hard time, so it is up to antifascists to do that job.

All the natural opponents of neofascism and the BNP need to find common ground, put aside previous differences and take a longer term view of the situation, finding all and any sensible methods to impede the BNP’s growth. That’s what needs to be done, block the BNP at every turn.

We need to argue for, No Platform, no to normalisation and certainly no acceptance of neofascists.

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27/10/2009 at 01:06

The Beeb’s Management Learns Nothing.

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I have often found, from experience, that some of the most obtuse and dense characters that I have come across have been senior managers, who once convinced of an idea 1) can’t admit it is rubbish 2) continue with it until it blows up in their faces 3) will brook no dissent, etc

So it is with the BNP Question Time fiasco, the Beeb management have learnt nothing in the process, the Torygraph reports:

“Mr Byford said he did not regret Mr Griffin’s appearance on Thursday and he dismissed accusations that the programme was an attempt to boost viewing figures, insisting it had taken the same format as normal with audience members scrutinising the panellists.

“This was never about audience-chasing at all,” he told BBC1’s Andrew Marr Show.

The programme was watched by 8 million viewers at its peak time, the highest figures in its 30 year history.
Mr Byford reiterated that the BNP’s electoral support and two European Parliament seats meant the party fulfilled the necessary criteria to deserve an invite to the show.

While Mr Griffin would not be on Question Time regularly, Mr Byford said he could appear again from time to time because the BNP was “not banned from the airwaves”.

He said: “We will consider it in the same framework that we considered this one as well, and constantly monitor it. But I don’t regret it – in fact I think the BBC has been shown to take due impartiality incredibly seriously. It’s the central value.”

Update 1: Jim’s rather funny on Professor Griffin.

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25/10/2009 at 15:30

Baggage And Griffin.

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I wasn’t intending to post much for a while, but I had to laugh reading this article in the Guardian, even the knuckled heads in the BNP are ashamed of Griffin’s performance on Question Time:

“The leader of the BNP, Nick Griffin, found himself the victim of an extraordinary attack from his own supporters last night following his controversial appearance on the BBC’s Question Time.

As a public postmortem into one of the most divisive broadcasts in the corporation’s history attempted to gauge its impact on the party’s fortunes, Lee Barnes, the BNP’s legal officer, accused Griffin of “failing to press the attack” during the televised debate, which was watched by a record 8 million people. Others sympathetic to the BNP’s views expressed dismay at Griffin’s flustered attempts to appeal to the mainstream.

The BNP’s critics were quick to use the comments as proof of deep divisions within the party’s membership over how it should position itself with the electorate. Griffin has claimed that he has dragged the party into the political mainstream. But the resulting backlash from those on his own side suggests many are uncomfortable with the BNP’s attempts to cloak itself in more moderate terms.

In far-right chat rooms yesterday many were asking whether the Question Time appearance was a watershed. “Griffin carries too much baggage to act as spokesman for the BNP,” one said. “I lost count of the number of times past quotes came back to haunt him.”

Many times I think it is not so much the neofascists’ opponents that keep them split and out of power, rather the sheer incompetency and backbiting amongst these racists that helps to minimalism their impact, let us hope they never build up a critical mass or things could be very different, for the worse.

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25/10/2009 at 02:37

Question Time, Result.

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I was going to blog on the Question Time programme, but to be honest I lost concentration after about 30 minutes. From what I saw, I thought Jack Straw was piss poor and surprisingly (as I am unfamiliar with her) that Baroness Warsi made some pointed digs and was very sharp.

Brockley’s finest covers it in more detail, but if that’s the best that mainstream politicians can do to the BNP under the hot camera lights, then Britain’s fucked. Not very impressive.

I wish they had listened more to David Aaronovitch.

Update 1:
Whilst I remember, note to questioners. If a BNPer goes on how much they support Israel, just ask them *why* they do, and make the point that it is simply a bit of political camouflage, that its not that the BNP likes Jews or Israelis. Rather they don’t want to fight on two fronts and it throws their political opponents off balance. Far better to ask them about their weird views about Jews controlling the world, etc. That’s *if* you must.

Update 2:
Jim’s done a very good around up on the topic.

Update 3: I forgot to add that as well as normalising neo-fascism in Britain, the BNP’s appearance on Question Time will naturally increase their overall exposure in the media, as in the future other programme producers will use QT’s decision as an excuse to allow BNPers to spread their filth across the airwaves.

Update 4: Coatesy, again hit the nail on the head with the Dead-End Identity Politics.

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23/10/2009 at 01:04

Aaronovitch Takes On The BNP

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David Aaronovitch has some sound advice for those tempted to argue with Nick Griffin on Question Time, this Thursday:

“2 Don’t let him be the focus of the whole discussion. He’s the leader of a very small party. Outside the issues for which thhttps://modernityblog.wordpress.com/?p=4594&preview=truee BNP is best known (race, race and race) he has markedly less significance than the fisheries spokesman of the Welsh nationalist party. Who is . . ?

3 Don’t expect him to condemn himself by wearing an armband, yelling, jutting his jaw or making Hitler hand movements. He may have a hoard of DVDs and videos of fascist heroes hidden in his Welsh border cellar next to old piles of Spearhead and The Rune (both of which he edited), but he’ll have chosen his tie carefully and will have put in serious mirror time practising voice modulation and temper control. He may even have role-played the programme, with a hearty from the directorate playing you!

6 Bear in mind that all this is one of two things. Either Griffin has undergone a complete change of political, philosophical and moral outlook in the past ten years or he is a consummate liar. The first is just conceivable: he may have looked at the Italian Gianfranco Fini who took the neo-fascist MSI into government as the centre-right National Alliance in less than a decade. The second is more likely.

7 Griffin was shaped by racial politics. He believes that race is the basis of human society and that racial self-interest is the guiding instinct of human beings. This is not a youthful peccadillo — he certainly held that position when I interviewed him at length in 2002.

He believes it about Jews. In 1997 he wrote a pamphlet (available on the internet) called The Mindbenders: The Mindbending Power of the Masters of the Media. It is a list of Jews, or people Griffin assumed were Jews, in positions of power in the media in Britain and Hollywood. I asked him why I was on it. “The main reason you’re there,” he replied, “is that I was commissioned to find all the Jews in the media and you do rather stand out.” Standing out, in the words of his pamphlet, as part of the machinery of “enormous control over every form of mass media the Jews possess”.

Among those castigated were the commissioners of “disgusting pieces of decadence and perversion” on Channel 4, who had brought incest to Brookside, and Jon Snow, who “has made his sympathies clear by joining Jewish journalists in addressing a Jewish Chronicle-sponsored meeting on ethics in journalism”. And then there were the BBC Jews responsible for “Radio 4’s hysterical Holocaust propaganda piece 20/20 — A View of the Century”. Holocaust propaganda being, it seems, the view that the Holocaust happened.

As Griffin told me seven years ago, “[Jewish academics] originated political correctness. Because they saw it was good for the Jews. Because they saw a West made up of nations, each with its own consciousness as potentially a threat to Jews.” In other words, multiculturalism was a Jewish plot to undermine the West.

Why? “Because it’s natural.” Why? “That’s the driving force of human evolution. Different groups fighting for their own identity.” Then he added: “I am not anti-Jewish.”

8 He doesn’t want to admit it, but Griffin loathes mixed-race marriages and births. The BNP’s website had a Q&A section headed “Why are you against mixed-raced relationships?” and answering, anti-scientifically, that “all species and races of life on this planet are beautiful and must be preserved. When whites take partners from other ethnic groups, a white family line that stretches back into deep prehistory is destroyed.” He feels this intensely. Griffin’s problem is that mixed-race Britons are not just a fast-growing group, but increasingly successful. Pin him down on it. Don’t let him sidetrack on to Jews and Catholics preferring to marry within the group. Would he be happy to have grandchildren who looked like Leona Lewis, Lewis Hamilton or Damon Buffini? “

I somehow doubt that Griffin will be given a hard time.

Update 1: Phil BC asks some harder questions:

“1. Why has the BNP consistently (Stoke, Burnley Pendle) voted for above-inflation increases in council taxation, despite its claims against council tax increases and property-based council tax in general?

2. Why did Broxbourne BNP vote to block free bus passes for pensioners against their pledge that “pensioners should get free bus passes”?

3. Why did Halifax BNP councillors in abstain from voting to block the closure of a primary school in Mixenden despite election literature promising to defend all primary schools in the area.

4. Why did BNP in Kirklees agree to council service cuts in Sep 2009 declaring “a lot of the silly posts can disappear. I’ve always advocated that you get rid of 25% of council staff and no-one would notice. We won’t be able to guarantee early retirement and gold-plated pensions.”?

5. You, Griffin, have expelled certain BNP members for their political actions (including ex-Conservative BNP councillor Geoff Wallace in Halifax for supporting greenbelt housing) but not those who have implemented these above actions which harm the majority whose interests you claim to further. Why is there this discrepancy?

6. Why did you oppose the firefighters’ strike of 2002-2003, asserting that firefighters should not have the right to withdraw their labour to renegotiate terms and conditions of work? You declared firefighters “must be placed on the same level as military personnel and police officers and … forego their ambiguous position of using strike action”. Do you still agree with it?

7. Why did Stoke BNP exonerate chief executive Wayne Nutbeen for closing (in 2005) Royal Doulton’s last factories. Nutbeen’s explanation was the “company isn’t owned by Stoke-on-Trent. It is owned by the shareholders. The board has to ensure it does right by them”.

8. Why has Stoke BNP agreed to budgets (2004, 2005, 2007) that cut social spending including Citizen’s Advice Bureaus, old people’s services?

9. Which aspects of the “national good” in “Oriental countries” would you emulate in Britain first – a 2000% increase in work-related suicides, mass dismissals of workers for attending anti-government meetings or homeless nomad families working in low-wage sectors? (Your manifesto (2009) claimed “Oriental countries such as Japan, South Korea and Singapore have managed their economies to combine private enterprise competition with the national good, and these are the models the BNP would emulate.”)”

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21/10/2009 at 15:41

Antifascist Generals Outflank The BBC.

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Not quite, but at least a few incredibly conservative, small c, pillars of the military establishment are actually prepared to put some distance between themselves and the BNP, whereas the BBC couldn’t.

In the past, military officers and establishment figures have often been the mainstay of fascist parties, but these modern day generals are far more radical than the BBC, and in particular, those organising the BBC’s Question Time for this Thursday, as the Times reports:

““We call on all those who seek to hijack the good name of Britain’s military for their own advantage to cease and desist,” they write. “The values of these extremists — many of whom are essentially racist — are fundamentally at odds with the values of the modern British military, such as tolerance and fairness.”

They point out that 10 per cent of servicemen and women are from the Commonwealth. “The reputation of our Armed Forces was won over centuries of service in some of the most difficult areas of the world,” they say. “Political extremists should claim no right to share in this proud heritage.”

The letter is part of a campaign launched today that attempts to highlight the BNP’s strategy of cloaking itself in the military.

It comes amid anger at the BBC’s invitation to the BNP leader Nick Griffin to appear on Question Time this week. The Times revealed this month that the party had been targeting veterans’ charities to widen its appeal.

General Jackson told The Times: “The BNP is claiming that it has a better relationship with the Armed Forces than other political parties. How dare they use the image of the Army, in particular, to promote their policies. These people are beyond the pale.”

It is a pity that the producers of Question Time are so keen to legitimize neofascism in Britain all for the sake of ratings and their own self importance.

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20/10/2009 at 00:48

Greens On Question Time.

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Jim has a rather good post on the up and coming BNP appearance on BBC’s Question Time.

Update 1: Left Foot Forward has a related bit:

“Peter Hain, the Welsh Secretary, has written to the BBC’s director general, Mark Thompson, warning it will run a “serious risk” of a legal challenge if it allows Nick Griffin to participate. The media regulator, Ofcom, confirmed that the BBC was under no legal obligation to invite the far-right party on to the programme and was acting under its own interpretation of impartiality. Meanwhile, a posting on the BNP’s website describes Bonnie Greer, the writer and broadcaster who is appearing on Question Time, as a “black history fabricator”, and said that Baroness Warsi, the Conservative spokeswoman for community cohesion, who is of Pakistani origin, was a “product of Tory affirmative action.” Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, writing in the Independent, supports Hain’s stand: “I say the BNP should be interrogated on news programmes but an appearance on Question Time is a privilege which the BBC now bestows on racists. It sickens those of us who expect better of the corporation.”


Update 2:
I am not a big fan of Nick Cohen, but this piece at the weekend is good:

“Cruddas dismisses journalists’ boasts about the ruthlessness of television’s inquisitors as so much wind. Question Time “is just car-crash TV”, he says. “He who gets the best soundbite wins. If they were letting Andrew Neil loose on Griffin for an hour, that would be public service broadcasting, but this is pointless. It can only benefit the BNP.”

Maybe Neil could give Griffin a hard time, but the precedent set by his fellow broadcasters is not encouraging for those hoping that he will be unmasked on Thursday. The supposedly ferocious Jeremy Paxman turned into Barbara Cartland when he interviewed the then new leader of the BNP in 2001. “Can I ask you a simple question? If one of your children fell in love with a Muslim or an Asian, what would you do?” he began.

“I would be very unhappy about it, because I would have seen two very distinct lines with their own heritage and culture being destroyed,” Griffin replied. But, beseeched Paxman, “do you think that’s a greater consideration than the fact that they might be in love?” Griffin calmly pointed out that many Asian parents felt the same way as him because “the decision to stay with your own people is a very strong human instinct”.

When Paxman pressed again, Griffin concluded by saying: “Well, children are children and adults are adults, and they do what they want.” A stumped Paxman said: “Mr Griffin, thank you”, and grateful BNP supporters posted the interview on YouTube.

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19/10/2009 at 16:20

Asking Questions Of The Beeb.

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Flesh is Grass has more.

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18/10/2009 at 00:07

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No Plugs For Nazi Nick.

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Well, that’s what I have been told:

A protest has been organized for Thursday, 22 October 2009, between 17:00 – 19:00, at BBC Headquarters, Wood Lane, London W12 7RJ (White City tube).

For more info see the Facebook group, Say no to the BNP on Question Time

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02/10/2009 at 18:36

Scumbag On TV.

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The BBC with all of its high paid management, journalistic expertise and bags of integrity has capitulated to neo-fascism, in the form of the BNP.

The BNP leader, Nick Griffin has been invited onto the Question Time panel for Thursday, 22nd October 2009.

There will be some antifascist demonstrations on that day outside of various BBC offices, and in particular London, the final details are not clear at the moment. I will post when I receive more information.

I suspect in years to come we will look back on the decision by the BBC to treat these neo-fascists with such courtesy as a turning point, which the BNP will exploit to the maximum and use it to grow.

I can barely express myself on the nature of this profoundly idiotic decision, and how otherwise intelligent people can’t grasp why providing the BNP with free publicity will help the growth of racism and neo-fascism in Britain.

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27/09/2009 at 23:32

BBC Not Being Completely Honest.

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Is the Beeb telling porkies over Question Time and the BNP?

Lancaster UAF has more.

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10/09/2009 at 16:02

Labour Capitulates on BNP.

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I can’t quite work out what will do new Labour more damage, the story that they’ve capitulated on their previous policy of not sharing platforms with the BNP, or news that the doctors advising the Scottish government may have adjusted their prognosis to suit the outcome of political deliberations.

It seems that New Labour can’t do anything right, The Times has more:

Labour has been forced to drop its policy of not sharing a platform with the BNP after the BBC confirmed that it is to invite Nick Griffin to appear on Question Time.

The party’s leader together with another BNP candidate were elected as MEPs at the European elections in June, leading to a rethink at the corporation about how much coverage to give the far-right party.

Until now Labour has had a policy of refusing to share media platforms with the BNP. The Conservatives have made clear that they will field a senior representative for the edition of Question Time, which is expected to to be filmed this autumn in London.

John Whittingdale, the Conservative chairman of the Commons Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, said that the BBC had taken the correct decision. “It is the right thing to do to use this opportunity to expose the BNP for what it is,” he said.

Martin Salter, a senior Labour MP and leading campaigner against the BNP, described the BBC’s decision as lamentable. But he said that it made little sense for Labour to boycott the programme. “We have to deal with the world as it is,” Mr Salter said.

Labour is formally committed only to holding a review of its position, but a source made clear that it would field a representative. He said: “We are not going to have an empty chair.”

Useless New Labour tail ending the stupid Tories, how pathetic.

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07/09/2009 at 00:03