by Ben Cohen
The BBC’s invitation of BNP leader Nick Griffin to its flagship political show ‘Question Time’ has created uproar in the U.K. Hundreds of of protesters are picketing the BBC offices in West London and politicians have condemned the tax payer funded television company for its decision to include Griffin in the panel.
Broadly speaking, I agree with the BBC’s decision to include the BNP leader in its show. They are a legal political party and have just as much a right to be a part of the national dialogue as anyone else.
However, there is an inherent danger in giving manipulative fear mongers like Griffin a platform. Given the severe economic crisis, his nationalist message will resonate with many parts of Britain. Those disenfranchised from the political system may find solace in Griffin’s easy fix solutions and anti immigrant rhetoric.
Nobody needs a history lesson on why fascism becomes popular.
The outrage over the BBC’s decision is certainly not unfounded, but I believe censoring him would be even worse. Freedom of expression is an extraordinary gift, but it must apply to everyone, including those we cannot stand. Griffin is a reprehensible figure who has made a career out of generating hatred and prejudice. But if, heaven forbid, Britain were to be ruled by the BNP, would anyone question the right of others to speak freely?
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.