It is with a heavy heart I find myself having sympathy with Nick Griffin.
Today he is bemoaning his fate of having had to face a BBC organised lynch mob. No better than he deserves you might think and I’m inclined to agree; but I have to stick by the principles that meant I supported his appearance on Question Time in the first place.
The simple fact is that it was a programme about the BNP. The other participants appeared to have agreed a truce to fight a common enemy, the audience happily joined the alliance and the producers selected the questions to help them all fight the good fight.
Why was this wrong? Because mob rule isn’t suddenly justifiable because the cause is right. If we apply one set of standards to ourselves and expect others to respect them, we must abide by those standards for everyone. When we don’t we create victims, and those victims attract sympathy. While most people will have been happy about the way it went, those who are attracted to the BNP, I suspect, probably found themselves just that little bit more sympathetic to them than they had been.
Rather than exposing the BNPs weakness on policy, we simply attacked them again and again. Right minded people know the BNP is wrong, but we must prove that, rather than just saying it.
Instead of just attacking their stance on immigration, we should have been discussing how it’s made Britain greater.
Rather than decrying their views on Islam we should have been talking about how religious diversity makes us stronger.
Rather than digging out old Griffin quotes we should have been challenging his vision for the future and proving why the Conservative or Labour visions are infinitely preferable.
Much as I dislike them, the BNP are a registered, legal, political party. We can all have our fun seeing politicians and the audience gang up on him in Question Time, but that won’t stop his party nominating candidates at elections and won’t stop people voting for them. They have to be stopped in the same way as any other political party.
By demonising the BNP we only succeed in making them appear stronger. Instead we should be attacking where they are weakest, their policies.