Sunday, October 25, 2009



So what else is new in state broadcasting?

According to those polled by an ICM survey conducted on October 23rd and 24th, following the grilling of British National Party leader Nick Griffin on a BBC television show the previous day, fully one third of the 504 respondents support the BNP policy that “UK-born ethnic minorities should lose all benefits to pay for them to leave.” And two-thirds felt that the mainstream parties had no credible policies on immigration.

Yet the BBC engineered a panel and a packed London audience that excluded such sentiments in what may be termed as a premeditated verbal lynching of Griffin and his party. It is ironic that the BBC and the stacked deck they presented on stage are no doubt stridently supportive of preferential hiring practices that would secure employment in every institution for ethnic or racial minorities in the proportion to their numbers in the general population. For it is obvious that neither they nor the political elite favour proportional representation for politically incorrect views. It may be argued that they discharged their democratic duty merely by having Griffin appear on a television “interview”. But an interview should not consist of one man facing the vitriolic and unanimous hostility of a mob, including the presenter. Rather, it should consist of an impartial moderator who referees a balanced exchange of ideas. What Nick Griffin said or did not say in the past should not be the exclusive fixation of an interviewer or those ranged against him. What he or his party say about the future in a broad range of policies is at least of equivalent interest.

In the fine tradition of state broadcasters like the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) and the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation), the BBC betrayed its mandate. According to its own guidelines as articulated in 2001: “Due impartiality lies at the heart of the BBC. All BBC programmes and services should be open-minded, fair and show a respect for the truth. No significant strand of thought should go unreflected or under represented on the BBC.” And clearly, the poll results from IMC research and the recent election of two BNP politicians, including Nick Griffin indicates that Griffin’s views constitute a “significant strand of thought” in British society. Call them odious, disgusting, vile or deceitful if you may, but given the evidence, you cannot call them uncommon or un-British. In fact a poll reported by the Daily Telegraph revealed that support for the BNP rose after Griffin’s inquisition, and some 22% are actually prepared to vote for the BNP. So the question then is, on what basis can the Welsh secretary or any other politician or commentator demand that in a democratic society a citizen cannot give voice to opinions that reflect those of one to two-thirds of the electorate? Proscribing views that one judges “racist”, “hateful” or un-British presumes that objective criteria exist for those sins and that those who can identify them are qualified to make those judgments. And rigging a debate so that those views cannot be presented in coherent and comprehensive way is tantamount to censorship. More than that, it is a presumptuous violation of the rights of those who should have the opportunity to hear proscribed views. In an authentic democracy, the people have a right to hear or read reputedly “racist” remarks and make their own judgments. If they are not to be trusted with that right, then elections are of dubious merit.

Whether Griffin’s contribution is helpful or not is a matter of opinion. Some of those who oppose the BNP say that the broadcast was beneficial in that it allowed people to see Griffin’s true colours as, in the words of Lord Carey, “a squalid racist”. Other opponents, including Carey, lamented that the BBC made a mistake and that the interview was a gift to the BNP. In my view, Griffin is to be credited for putting immigration on the front burner. Without the threat of losing support to the BNP, what incentive exists for any of the main parties to satisfy the wishes of the majority of Briton in this area?

It is however, very unfortunate that Griffin, and Enoch Powell before him, have framed the issue in racial terms, giving growthists the home field advantage of tapping into public antipathy to racial discrimination. The most critically relevant debate should be fought on the more neutral battleground of population growth and its impact on sustainability. That is, first and foremost, the discussion should revolve around the optimum number of citizens rather than their pigmentation or composition, and then on culture, as distinct from race, as it may or may not affect social cohesion or fertility rates. Culture matters, but numbers matter more, and race shouldn’t matter at all. Try getting the BBC, the CBC or the ABS to understand that.

Tim Murray

October 25/09

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