BNP leader Nick Griffin is to be welcomed onto the BBC’s Question Time programme. Chris Bambery answers common sense views on the Nazis and free speech
The BNP is an elected party. Isn’t it only fair to give it the same airtime as other political parties, like the BBC says?
The BNP is no normal party. Griffin is the “respectable” front man for an organisation rife with Jew-haters, and Hitler-lovers.
The English Defence League (see left) is trying to incite racial violence by marching in towns and cities and by targeting mosques.
It is led by BNP members and supporters.
But the BNP aren’t real Nazis, are they?
Griffin, one of two BNP candidates narrowly elected to the European parliament in June, denies six million Jews were murdered by Hitler’s Nazi regime in the Holocaust.
He has a conviction for this.
One of Griffin’s best friends is the hard-line Italian fascist Roberto Fiore, who was a member of the terrorist group that carried out the 1980 bombing of Bologna rail station killing 85 people.
Fiore was welcomed by the BNP at last month’s “Red, White and Blue festival”.
Andrew Brons, the BNP MEP for Yorkshire and Humberside, was convicted in 1983 after attending a march in Leeds where Nazis were chanting “white power” and “death to Jews”.
Can’t we defeat the Nazis through debate?
In the early 1930s scores of Nazis were elected to the German parliament. Once in power they removed all freedom of speech.
In Germany all sorts of liberals and ministers used the argument that “I don’t agree with what they say but I’ll defend to the death their right to say it.”
They claimed that if they were to suppress free speech for Hitler it would make them as bad as the Nazis.
Yet those same people were sent to concentration camps as soon as Hitler took power.
The late Paul Foot pointed out in his defence of No Platform: “The strategy of the fascists then and now is to use the freedoms won by fighters for democracy to gain respectability and electoral support so as more relentlessly to pursue their single purpose: to smash democracy and freedom to pieces.”