Posted Under: Democracy,Media,Racism/Fascism
Tomorrow, for the first time, the leader of a fascist party will appear on the panel of a televised national debate. Nick Griffin’s appearance on Question Time has caused quite a stir in the mainstream media and in the blogosphere. Some, remaining steadfast to the principle of no platform, have campaigned vigorously against the BBC’s decision. Others, like Liz Stephens on The Third Estate, argued that Griffin should be allowed on the programme and given just enough rope to hang himself with. And there will always be the BNP supporters who claim that it is their right to have their views aired alongside the other, more paletable parties. In most cases, however, the question has been framed in terms of the dichotomy between freedom of speech and opposition to racism.
I was, then, extremely interested to be sent this article by Anthony Barnett for Our Kingdom. Barnett takes a completely fresh look at the issue, setting aside the debate on free speech, and making the case that the BBC, as part of the larger political elite that has been thoroughly discredited in recent months, is attempting to show that the very public that is up in arms about expenses, is a breeding ground for fascist thought by allowing Nick Griffin to spew his bile.
The Convention [on Modern Liberty] showed that there is a smart public that does not want to be patronised and wants to think about how we are being governed. This same attitude emerged again more strongly with the expenses crisis. A true public service broadcaster as opposed to a regime service broadcaster would welcome this, probing the strength and vitality of the concerns. This should be the duty of the BBC. Instead…it broadcasts fascists.
Why? Because it is in the interests of the regime service broadcaster to project public opinion as dangerous and potentially racist. Responsible democratic opposition is squished and deprived of ‘oxygen’. But if you can show that beneath the veneer the public are worse than unwashed they are proto-fascist, why then, we will indeed need the BBC to protect us, won’t we?
It’s a startlingly cynical point and one that almost borders on conspiracy theory, but it is well worth a read and certainly worth debating. Whilst I personally can’t subscribe to its conclusions, the fact that they have been reached in itself demonstrates the level of distrust currently felt towards political and media elites. And it is this distrust which has helped turn a small group of racist thugs into a national political party with two MEPs, almost a million voters and a slot on Question Time.