Reports and Campaigns
Reports and campaigns:
No to BNP TV platform
THE BBC has announced that Nick Griffin, leader of the far-right racist BNP, will be invited to take part in Question Time, taking place in London on 22 October. The BBC's justification is the need for "due impartiality". This is laughable. As National Union of Journalists representatives at the BBC pointed out, the laws being invoked actually only apply in the period immediately before elections.
And in reality, the BBC has repeatedly shown that it is not impartial. In the run-up to the European elections, for example, Question Time refused point blank to let Bob Crow, general secretary of the trasnport workers' union, the RMT, appear on behalf of No2EU - the trade union based European election challenge. But while militant trade unionists are not given a voice on Question Time, the BNP are to be allowed to spread their poison.
The BNP has gained votes by falsely posing as a party that defends the interests of the white working class. The reality is very different. This viciously racist party attempts to divide working-class people, therefore weakening workers' struggles to defend pay and conditions.
And when actually faced with a battle to defend workers' interests, the BNP have repeatedly been on the wrong side. Most recently a BNP councillor in Huddersfield welcomed the Labour council's proposals to slash public spending, leaving it to the trade unions and socialists to fight in defence of services [see page 1].
The BNP's new constitution reveals that, despite its new veneer of respectability, it remains as racist as ever. Its "statement of principles" reads, "The British National Party stands for the preservation of the national and ethnic character of the British people and is wholly opposed to any form of racial integration between British and non-European peoples.
"It is therefore committed to stemming and reversing the tide of non-white immigration and to restoring, by legal changes, negotiation and consent, the overwhelmingly white make-up of the British population that existed prior to 1948." To achieve this would mean forcibly deporting more than five million people from Britain.
Increased electoral support for the BNP - however skin-deep - inevitably gives racists more confidence and leads to an increase in racist attacks and harassment. Nick Griffin has a long history of support for neo-fascist ideas, and the core of the BNP undoubtedly still holds these views. If they were able to implement their neo-fascist agenda it would mean a destruction of all democratic rights - including the right to vote, to join a trade union and to demonstrate.
That is why the trade union movement should mobilise to stop the BNP gaining a platform for its anti-democratic ideas. Where the BNP has already managed to establish a platform, it is necessary to be prepared to take them on directly in political debate in order to undermine them.
However, this is not yet the case on Question Time. We need to step up the campaign to demand that the BNP is not allowed on the programme. If, despite this, the BBC goes ahead, we will need the biggest possible demonstration outside - organised around clear class slogans like 'jobs, homes and services not racism'.