Thursday, March 11, 2010

Pointless boycotts... what's up with that?

Can someone, anyone, explain to me this rather silly no-platform/boycott approach to the BNP, because I just don't get it? Putting aside the freedom of the press argument, and the free speech argument, isn't the existence of the BNP somewhat justified simply as an unintended consequence of the identity politics followed by those who wish to no-platform them?

This isn't the first time I've said this, but if you're going to have and support a multitude of agencies, charities, organisations etc that define themselves in terms of the identity of their membership - perhaps on something like race - should we really be surprised if an organisation like a political party develops along those grounds, however unpalatable and crazy their views are?

We have black supremacists and we have white supremacists - so what? Both are followed by crazies and represent such a minuscule threat to sane democracy based upon individual liberty why should it matter, and why should it require a boycott, if they get interviewed by a magazine like Total Politics?

OK, so someone might argue that interviewing a racist fascist is something they don't agree with, but, where was the boycott of Channel 4 News when Tony Benn interviewed Saddam Hussein? Unlike the electorally insignificance holder of bugger all power Nick Griffin, here we had an interview with a dictator who had happily thrown around chemical weapons on his own people and ordered the murder of thousands. He was a proper bastard, not a wannabe bastard. Was there a boycott? No.

What's more, I can't help but wonder, if Total Politics was interviewing Omar Bakri, a crazy Islamist supremacist, would there be crying from the sidelines about the need for no-platform? Or would there instead be silence and possibly arguments about the need to understand the genuine grievances Muslims have against us Western imperialists?

Like I say, I really struggle to understand the no-platform approach to a fringe crazy that sits with other equally fringe crazies in a remote Parliament that functions in such a way that their crazy views are marginalised anyway and stand no chance of becoming mainstream. Interviewing such people is worthy for the comedy value alone as we all get to point at laugh at them, no?

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