Letting the BNP speak


by Rumbold
27th November, 2007 at 10:00 am    

BNP leader Nick Griffin and Holocaust-denying ‘historian’ David Irving spoke at the Oxford Union yesterday. There had been intense pressure on the Union to cancel the debate, and the event was marred by protests:

“Thirty protesters pushed their way into the debating chamber to stage a protest about the inclusion of the two men. Earlier, 500 people held a sit-down demonstration outside the gates of the building but the debate eventually began about one-and-a-half hours late.”

Many people, including the great Peter Tatchell, thought that the two speakers should not have been invited in the first place:

“Let’s be clear. Support for free speech does not oblige the Oxford Union to reward these men with a prestigious public platform, which will give them an air of respectability, raise their public profile and allow them to espouse their intolerant views. It is helping them propagate their bigotry.

Not offering hate-mongers a platform is not the same as banning them. Hundreds of topical public speakers and first-rate debaters never get invited to address the Oxford Union. They are not being censored. I don’t feel comfortable arguing against free speech. But in this case, on balance, not giving a platform to Irving and Griffin is the lesser of two evils.

Tonight’s debate will promote the fascist BNP. If it had a chance, the BNP would deny freedom of speech to others. The BNP is a threat to human rights. It should not be promoted.”

I understand Tatchell’s argument, but I have to say that I agree with the President of the Oxford Union:

“The president of the Oxford Union Debating Society, Luke Tryl, told the BBC he was disappointed by the actions of those who tried to stop the event going ahead. “The way to take fascism on is through debate and that’s how we’re going to defeat them,” he said. “David Irving came across looking pathetic. He looked weak. The flaws in his arguments about free speech were exposed and I’m pleased that that happened.”"

There will always be people who vote for the BNP, or a similar party. The question is, how do we reduce their support to this permanent rump? The best way surely is to take on their arguments and points and grind them into the dust. One of the BNP’s best electoral weapons is the self-denying ordinance that the rest of the political spectrum seems to have enforced on debating with them. Thus, the BNP can claim to be the voice of the oppressed, who have been silenced by the ‘liberal establishment’ because their views are dangerous because they are true.

Plenty of people criticize the BNP, but that does not really work because those critics need to get involved in a debate and tear these people apart. Most rotten ideology, when exposes to the light of debate, withers. The BNP have not yet had that pleasure. Refusal to debate with them has given them an aura of mystique, and made them more attractive to vote for. Such people are best defeated when confronted, not ignored. Just look at what happened when they were forced to stand up and be counted (as elected councillors), and not just spout poisonous rhetoric unchallenged:

Luke Smith (Burnley). Smith was forced to resign after he smashed a bottle into the face of a Leeds BNP organiser. Despite claiming to be the party of law and order, the BNP failed to call in the police and press charges. When Smith was chosen as a BNP candidate he had only recently been convicted of football violence. He has had several more convictions and was sentenced to 11 months’ imprisonment after being caught fighting in Manchester.

Dan Kelley (Barking and Dagenham). Kelley resigned from the council only eight months after being elected after admitting that he was completely out of his depth. “There’s meetings that go right over my head and there’s little point in me being there,” he told the local paper.

Richard Mulhall (Calderdale). Mulhall was found guilty of benefit fraud in October 2006, including against the council on which he is BNP group leader, and sentenced to 200 hours’ community service.

Robin Evans (Blackburn). Evans left the BNP after complaining about the drug dealers and football hooligans who dominated his local BNP branch. He also criticised the Burnley BNP councillors as useless. He had previously admitted that council business was “mumbo jumbo” to him.

Steve Batkin (Stoke-on-Trent). Batkin attended none of a possible 30 committee meetings in the nine months to March 2005. Batkin only spoke twice in his first two years as a councillor and one of those times it was to ask what “abstain” meant. He was once told to stop talking to the media after he questioned key facts relating to the Holocaust, including saying that Jewish people refused to debate the subject because they would be exposed as liars.

Paul Cromie (Bradford). Cromie came under investigation by council legal officers for giving £5 notes to local pensioners in Christmas cards in December 2006. Most of the pensioners were appalled at his action. After Cromie’s election in May 2006 police investigated allegations, which he denied, that he bought votes by giving £100 to pay for a Christmas party at the Goodwin House sheltered housing complex.“

These are the people we refuse to debate with. Debate and exposure is the only way to shatter their image.


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  1. Kesara — on 27th November, 2007 at 10:28 am  

    Much ado about the background to the debate, the protests etc but little revelation of what was actually said during the session!

    I wanna know the sordid verbal encounters between the speakers, not about how many hippies you can fit in a chamber.

  2. Leon — on 27th November, 2007 at 10:44 am  

    Debating with them is one thing (personally I don’t see the point but there you go…) but giving them such a high profile and privileged platform is blatantly another.

  3. Shahzada Jamrud — on 27th November, 2007 at 10:49 am  

    The platform is only high in the eyes of people who place Oxbridge on such a high pedestal.

    The more reflective amongst us view Oxbridge and Ivy League as a breeding ground for genocidal maniacs, war criminals and general buffoons: Indira Gandhi, Tony Blair, George W Bush, Jinnah, Nick Griffin etc etc etc

  4. Ismaeel — on 27th November, 2007 at 10:54 am  
  5. Ismaeel — on 27th November, 2007 at 10:56 am  

    By the way, for once Sunny i agree with you

  6. Refresh — on 27th November, 2007 at 11:30 am  

    Consider the protest as part of that debate. Its not what they say, its how they will use the platform away from the public gaze.

    You can just picture how their leaflets will now attempt to make Griffin look intellectual and high-brow having addressed future leaders of the world.

    Don’t be fooled, the debate has already been had and they lost. This event has nothing to do with free speech. Its the sort of platform they need.

    Knowing that David Irving looking pathetic and weak is meaningless, what we don’t know is how many of the elite members will have absorbed the poison and how they will go on to use it.

    Keep an eye on the attendees.

  7. sonia — on 27th November, 2007 at 11:49 am  

    the high profile comes from the controversial views. engaging someone in discussion gives no legitimacy to the views themselves, but gives legitimacy to “discussion” with other humans. they might be “heinous” views but suppressing them would be no different to church views on heresies and blasphemy. if you dont want to engage such people fine, why would you say to others that their engagement of such people is wrong. again, that’s what the church tried to do, ostracise and isolate. if people want to ostracise and isolate others, that should be a freely decided thing, and if people do have “terrible” views that will be quite a wide-spread thing anyway. so what have we got to be afraid of? that if people hear these views they will be ‘infected’?

    and no need to restrict oxford union’s right to speak to whomever they want to. discussing openly with people about whatever ideas they have is a much better way of dealing with things that are troublesome.

    and good point rumbold, i agree with what the president of the union said as well.

  8. Parvinder — on 27th November, 2007 at 11:49 am  

    But in defence of Peter Tatchell, in his article about free speech he says:
    ‘That is why I argue the right to free speech can be legitimately restricted only when it involves incitement to violence or libel/defamation.’

    I too would draw the line here. We wouldn’t give people advocating rape a platform too would we?

    Agree with your Leon, giving the likes of Irving and Griffin a legitimate platform was bang out of order. Liberals in 1930s Germany gave Hitler a platform in the name of free speech and we all know how the fascists took advantage of it. The image of their students, burning books in front of their universities should remind us all what their real intentions are.

    The ideas Irving and Griffin are espousing, ie. that the holocaust didn’t take place is code for ‘so what if 6 million were killed and if we had our way, it would take place again.’ History should teach us that wherever they have given a platform and are made to look respectable, attacks on Black, Jews, Asians and Gays go on the increase.

    The way to confront fascists is not to legitimise them by giving them platforms, but to solve the deep seeded problems in society that lead some people to vote for them, lack of affordable housing, poverty, poor schools and segregated communities.

  9. Shuggy — on 27th November, 2007 at 12:00 pm  

    “The best way surely is to take on their arguments and points and grind them into the dust.”

    Their arguments have already been ‘ground to dust’ – in Irving’s case, in a court of law, no less. Inviting them to speak merely perpetuates the lie that they have some valid contribution to make that requires an answer. Given that the Irving trial was prompted by his attempts to silence his critics through the libel laws, the idea that he has anything to contribute to a debate on free speech is particularly bizarre.

    At least you’re not suffering from the delusion that the right to free speech creates an obligation to provide a venue – an idea that has appeared on this blog before. The best of the posts skewering this strange notion is here.

  10. Shuggy — on 27th November, 2007 at 12:09 pm  

    Hmmm – distinct lack of grinding to dust going on last night according to this account:

    Last night’s Oxford Union debate failed to ‘crush’ David Irving – he was given a shamefully easy ride

    It’s hardly surprising – follows the pattern set by the invitation in the first place – which was, as a number of people have pointed out, shameful in itself.

  11. sonia — on 27th November, 2007 at 12:19 pm  

    personally i have always thought the traditional “debate” to be a very silly form of structure, with one side winning and one side losing. typical of our linear mindset i suppose and win/lose polarity.

  12. Ravi Naik — on 27th November, 2007 at 12:22 pm  

    The best way surely is to take on their arguments and points and grind them into the dust. One of the BNP’s best electoral weapons is the self-denying ordinance that the rest of the political spectrum seems to have enforced on debating with them. Thus, the BNP can claim to be the voice of the oppressed, who have been silenced by the ‘liberal establishment’ because their views are dangerous because they are true.

    I believe that the BNP and David Irwing were invited to talk about freedom of speech, and I think it was an ill choice. The BNP thrives on being a victim of the system, it knows precisely that they will get more sympathy with the anti-BNP demonstrations than whatever they will say. So, by giving such prestigious platform, Oxford is giving two for the price of one.

    You cannot debate opposing ideologies at its core. You either believe that race matters in our society, or you don’t. The BNP clearly does, and so there is little argument about their beliefs except for the lying and cheating. It is not right, in my view, to penalise people because their ideology opposes ours.

    Hence, I don’t believe the BNP should be arrested for believing what they do, nor David Irwing. They should be sued for slander, for lying and cheating – these people cannot live without financial support. So hit them where it hurts the most and discredit them for deceiving, not because they are racist, and people are suppose to spit on racism. The Left must adapt and not fall for the BNP trap over and over.

  13. Edsa — on 27th November, 2007 at 12:25 pm  

    May I move to a related aspect?
    If the BNP and Irving were to launch a scathing attack on the Muslims, no mainstreamers would assemble to protest. Muslim culture would be dismissed as primitive, not understanding free expression. And Muslims have put up with much demonising through inflammatory statements and cartoons.

    But when Jews are targeted, their powerful lobbies promptly round up friends to object. Why are Jews so sensitive to criticism about their past and routinely label alternative views as anti-semitism? They too should allow free speech. Let’s at least hear what dissenters like Griffin and Irving have to say.

  14. Jai — on 27th November, 2007 at 12:46 pm  

    If the BNP and Irving were to launch a scathing attack on the Muslims,

    There is no “if”. Nick Griffin has already been videotaped and (I believe – someone correct me if I’m wrong) investigated for making inflammatory remarks about Islam in public. Amongst other things, he called it a “vile, vicious faith” and was going on about “women you can possess with the right hand — that’s the sword arm” etc etc.

    The analogy about Jewish people is irrelevant to this topic and, frankly, uncalled for. For example, black people also respond forcefully to derogatory attacks by racists (and rightfully so), so referring specifically to Jews is (to use a PP phrase) “whataboutery” and singling them out is nasty to say the least.

  15. Shuggy — on 27th November, 2007 at 12:49 pm  

    “May I move to a related aspect?”

    No, stay where you are – otherwise you may find yourself in a place where you’ve lost the plot somewhere in disturbing stereotype land. Oh dear, you’re already there, aren’t you? Irving and Griffin are dissenters now, are they? Edsa, seek help. Or simply an education.

  16. Jai — on 27th November, 2007 at 12:51 pm  

    The question is, how do we reduce their support to this permanent rump? The best way surely is to take on their arguments and points and grind them into the dust…..those critics need to get involved in a debate and tear these people apart.

    I would have to agree with the above, although personally I think that you should let these people express their views to a limited extent (specifically so that you can publicly destroy and discredit their opinions, and so that they can essentially “hang themselves with their own rope”) rather than giving them an unlimited free platform to lecture others with their propaganda unchallenged.

  17. Ravi Naik — on 27th November, 2007 at 1:27 pm  

    Why are Jews so sensitive to criticism about their past and routinely label alternative views as anti-semitism? They too should allow free speech. Let’s at least hear what dissenters like Griffin and Irving have to say.

    Edsa, what Griffin and Iriving have to say, they have said it. What makes Irving and other islamists so odious is that they are denying a historical fact – as if this subject has not been looked at in every possible angle – that millions of people from 3 generations were systematically killed for their ethnicity.

    So why is it so odious to deny the holocaust? Because there is an implicit message that jews have conspired to tell the biggest lie of all, forget that they were the victims.

    I suggest that you read about it. There have been several articles showing the flaws of David Irving’s writings, and that is why he was discredited as a historian.

  18. Ravi Naik — on 27th November, 2007 at 1:29 pm  

    “I disagree with the BNP, but when I have been approached by one of them, I have debated and challenged their opinions. “

    What opinions did you challenge?

  19. Cover Drive — on 27th November, 2007 at 1:32 pm  

    I’m all for free speech but why give Nick Griffin and David Irving such a prestigious platform? They’re entitled to say what they want in a free democracy and they do despite trying to portray themselves as free speech martyrs.

    Griffin and Irving couldn’t have asked for a better opportunity to try and shake off their pariah images. They must have loved the publicity they got, the protestors, and the media attention. Griffin thrives on confrontational politics. I do not think Griffin and Irving are interested in intellectual debate. How can you seriously deny that 6m Jews were killed by the Nazis? They just want publicity to spread their message and yesterday they got a golden opportunity.

    I’m disappointed with the university.

  20. bananabrain — on 27th November, 2007 at 1:32 pm  

    as a jew with a father-in-law who is an auschwitz survivor, i believe free speech must include the right to deny the holocaust – but not the right to incite people to do it again. i also believe that when someone has been proved in a court of law to be lying through their pointy yellow teeth because they’re a big fat anti-semite, the matter ought to be settled. having “things we can’t talk about” can enable people to peddle their conspiracy theories about “this is something They don’t want you to know” – and the only way to prove it’s bollocks is to talk about it. on the other hand, there’s nothing to stop irving or griffin talking subsequently about the debate to try and make out that they won it.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  21. Parvinder — on 27th November, 2007 at 1:50 pm  

    Oxford Union President, Luke Tryl: “I think fascism is awful and abhorrent, but the way to take on fascism is through debate.”
    Why stop at Irving and Griffin, if Tryl had his way, would have invited Himmler and Heydrich, despite being architects of the Final Solution at least they were good at debating.

    The strategy of the fascists then and now is to use hard fought freedoms to gain respectability and electoral support in order to pursue their single purpose: to smash democracy and freedom to pieces. In that, they are unique.

    Rumbold, we’re not saying that they should be ignored or ban be put on them. It’s giving them respectable platforms which is the problem. The asians and anti-racists in Southall didn’t need to give the NF a platform at Southall town hall to debate back in the 70s as to whether they should march through the town, it was united action on the streets that stopped them in their tracks. The NF leader, John Tyndall even admitted this at the time.

  22. Sofia — on 27th November, 2007 at 2:09 pm  

    Did Irving or Griffin have some new book out that they needed to plug? Did they have something new to say? No..so why invite them? And if this about FoS, then who next? This was not about FoS, this was about giving ppl like these the type of platform they did.

  23. Ismaeel — on 27th November, 2007 at 2:11 pm  

    As Aristotle one affirmed, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say.”

    Now this quote has been given to Aristotle who didn’t say it, neither did Voltaire who is more popularly associated with it but rather one of the latter’s biographers. Talk about memes

  24. Sunny — on 27th November, 2007 at 2:39 pm  

    edsa: But when Jews are targeted, their powerful lobbies promptly round up friends to object. Why are Jews so sensitive to criticism about their past and routinely label alternative views as anti-semitism?

    Firstly, this is rubbish, and as racist as those people who claim that all Muslims are stupid or unwilling to take criticism (like Martin Amis). What ‘lobbies’ are you talking about?

    Secondly, I agree with Joy1 at #17 on this issue.

  25. Rumbold — on 27th November, 2007 at 5:13 pm  

    Shahzada Jamrud:

    “The more reflective amongst us”

    Heh.

    Refresh:

    “Knowing that David Irving looking pathetic and weak is meaningless, what we don’t know is how many of the elite members will have absorbed the poison and how they will go on to use it.

    Keep an eye on the attendees.”

    It is hardly fair to besmirch people who go along to such a debate. Should you only listen to people you agree with then? If people did leave the Union hall as fascists, then they were probably on the edge anyway. I commend them for going to listen to such a debate, and running the gauntlet of those unpleasant protestors (who seemed angrier at the audience than at the speakers). They had a right to protest, but there was no reason to be so unpleasant and abrasive.

    Sonia (#7):

    Yet again, you say it better than I did.

    Parvinder:

    “The way to confront fascists is not to legitimise them by giving them platforms, but to solve the deep seeded problems in society that lead some people to vote for them, lack of affordable housing, poverty, poor schools and segregated communities.”

    I agree that one of the ways to weaken the fascists is to win over their lukewarm supporters (i.e. those who vote BNP because of housing, etc.). However, their core ideological beliefs still need to be exposed to the full rigour of debate.

    Shuggy:

    “Their arguments have already been ‘ground to dust’ – in Irving’s case, in a court of law, no less. Inviting them to speak merely perpetuates the lie that they have some valid contribution to make that requires an answer.”

    Some people still agree with them. That is reason enough to debate their ideas again and again. Vigilance has to be eternal- we cannot just pretend that these ideas do not exist and have no adherants.

  26. Rumbold — on 27th November, 2007 at 5:26 pm  

    Ravi Naik:

    “The BNP thrives on being a victim of the system, it knows precisely that they will get more sympathy with the anti-BNP demonstrations than whatever they will say.”

    We agree on that but reached different conclusions. Take away the BNP’s ‘victim’ routing and you remove one of its most potent weapons.

    “You cannot debate opposing ideologies at its core. You either believe that race matters in our society, or you don’t.”

    That sounds far too defeatist. You might not change the views of committed racists, but the people you are looking to influence are the ones who are wavering.

    Jai:

    “I would have to agree with the above, although personally I think that you should let these people express their views to a limited extent (specifically so that you can publicly destroy and discredit their opinions, and so that they can essentially “hang themselves with their own rope”) rather than giving them an unlimited free platform to lecture others with their propaganda unchallenged.”

    It was hardly an unlimited platform. There were opposing speakers and questions. If this sort of thing should not be debated at places like the Oxford Union, then where? Margate municipal town hall?

    Joy1:

    “You may even convert some in the process to take a good look in the mirror. We need to remain positive. The same methods and processes ought to be utilised in regards to Hizb Ut Tahrir Britain, where we can openly challenge their opinions.”

    Exactly. The ostrich defence simply does not work.

    Parvinder:

    “Rumbold, we’re not saying that they should be ignored or ban be put on them. It’s giving them respectable platforms which is the problem. The asians and anti-racists in Southall didn’t need to give the NF a platform at Southall town hall to debate back in the 70s as to whether they should march through the town, it was united action on the streets that stopped them in their tracks. The NF leader, John Tyndall even admitted this at the time.”

    But physical action can only do so much. Their ideology is still out there, and the only way to keep it down is to expose and it and prove its adherants wrong.

  27. Refresh — on 28th November, 2007 at 2:09 am  

    Rumbold

    “It is hardly fair to besmirch people who go along to such a debate. Should you only listen to people you agree with then? If people did leave the Union hall as fascists, then they were probably on the edge anyway.”

    I too have stood up to and talked to a skinhead twice my size (well almost), and both of us came to the conclusion we weren’t too bad after all. Yes talking makes people think.

    Besmirch? You can’t be too careful – lets at least keep an eye on the ones on the edge.

    I reiterate, its not the debate in the chamber its what they do in the shadows and alleyways. We did not go through the 70′s and 80′s with 8 year olds kicked to near death (as was the case for a cousin of a good friend of mine), and parents forever wondering how and when their kids would get home, for faux intellectuals of Oxford to spout on about freedom of speech. They already have it. How else do they get to stand for council elections?

    I remind you of something I heard Peter Hain say about Rock Against Racism ‘it was at a time when the immigrant community was hanging by their fingernails’. Never a truer word.

    He was one of the main organisers of Rock Against Racism. He recognised the serious threat posed by the National Front – given their objective was to spread fear by marching through immigrant areas.

    Trust me Rumbold, if it hadn’t been for all those white protestors who took them on directly, you and I would not be exercising OUR freedom of speech.

    So I congratulate all those protestors, each and every one. For standing up to be counted.

    As for the ideology being out there, that is a failing of our current batch of politicians, who exploit us all. They do not challenge the lies, and nor do they resolve the issues the BNP are happy to exploit for themselves.

  28. Refresh — on 28th November, 2007 at 2:11 am  

    Just an aside, there seems to be the feeling the NF was only really challenged in Southall – they were challenged right across the country.

    And the tactics of the NF were repreated by the BNP in Bradford and other northern towns in 2001. Despite the impression given by the cowardly Blunkett.

  29. Refresh — on 28th November, 2007 at 2:32 am  

    “as was the case for a cousin of a good friend of mine”

    For those watchers of all things ethnic and geographic, the little lad was a Sikh, in a northern town.

  30. Jai — on 28th November, 2007 at 10:13 am  

    Rumbold,

    It was hardly an unlimited platform. There were opposing speakers and questions. If this sort of thing should not be debated at places like the Oxford Union, then where? Margate municipal town hall?

    I was speaking generally, and was not referring specifically to the debate in Oxford.

  31. Ravi Naik — on 28th November, 2007 at 11:46 am  

    The BNP thrives on being a victim of the system, it knows precisely that they will get more sympathy with the anti-BNP demonstrations than whatever they will say.”

    We agree on that but reached different conclusions. Take away the BNP’s ‘victim’ routing and you remove one of its most potent weapons.

    I do agree with what you have said. But it remains the fact that they were offered a prestigious venue. And not surprising, here is what the BNP had to say: Intellectually, physically and morally the BNP has demonstrated to the British people once again that we will not be pushed around or intimidated. We won the battle of Oxford last night, quite simply, because we passionately believe that what we say and what we do is the right thing.

    See how it works? They speak at Oxford, and therefore they think they are entitled to put “intellectually” in their list of virtues. :)

    You cannot debate opposing ideologies at its core. You either believe that race matters in our society, or you don’t.

    That sounds far too defeatist. You might not change the views of committed racists, but the people you are looking to influence are the ones who are wavering.

    It is not defeatist at all. The point I was making is that the BNP should be challenged on the basis of its lying and deceiving, and not on the fact their core values oppose ours. Whereas the latter is based on subjective values of what constitutes a just and humane society, the former is objective and much more demaging politically.

  32. sonia — on 28th November, 2007 at 12:14 pm  

    good points rumbold.

    anyhow who cares what they (BNP) think? just cause you go down to oxford to have a debate it doesn’t mean shit, or say anything about your intellectual stature. the fact that other people seem to think that by being invited to a debate at the OU, is somehow ‘confirming’ someone’s legitimacy – is worrying.

    if the BNP think by being invited to oxford means intellectual stature, well that is a very strange ‘wannabe’ thing to think – just gives it away how people are in ‘awe’ of ivory towers, perhaps because they are so far removed from academia? this is starting to sound very much like a class thing to me. ‘ooh oxford, oh right it must be something ‘solid’ then.’ What rubbish. It reminds me of when the Law Society invited John Bellinger III ( legal advisor to the US dept of State) to speak at LSE to ‘justify’ the war in iraq’s legality. Now perhaps Condi and John and Dubya took this to mean some kind of legitimacy -ooh! we’re going to London and some Law Lords are going to come down and listen to us speak! wow, this must mean that our war was legitimate, and that they think so too! eh. The man turned up, poor thing, and wasn’t heckled in an obvious manner, or anything, probably went back and told Condi how civilised everyone was and how nice they were to him, but so what? Everyone there had a good laugh, it was just the ripples of merriment when he said something, and looked so earnest. Lamb being sent to slaughter. I was starting to feel sorry for him by the end of it.

  33. sonia — on 28th November, 2007 at 12:17 pm  

    and it was the Oxford Union – the whole point is to make interesting stuff happen and not pull the carpet over controversy.

    it would be completely different if some college, or Research Institute, offered Nick Griffin and his mates a fellowship or academic post of some kind.

    really im most suprised at today’s “progressive generation”

  34. Cover Drive — on 28th November, 2007 at 1:13 pm  

    Today the BNP are rejoicing in their new found ‘respectability’ because some so-called intellectuals and liberals decided to give them a chance to debate on a prestigious platform. This breaks the forty-year-old tradition of mainstream parties not sharing a public platform with the far right. For the BNP this was a coup. It gave them publicity which is the oxygen for their survival. Every extremist organisation loves publicity and by unnecessarily giving them that we are allowing them to spread their fear, their ideology and effectively endorsing their survival. We should be squeezing them out.

    The liberals love debate and free speech but the fascists only want to destroy democracy. The liberals allowed Hitler to come to power through constitutional means but once in power he went about destroying freedom in Germany. The concentration camps were full of liberals.

    The BNP are gaining votes because the main parties are not seriously addressing the issues of housing, unemployment, education and social mobility in the white working class. They are pandering to far right politics in a hope of winning over the white working class people. This is just playing into the hands of the BNP.

    Rumbold:

    These are the people we refuse to debate with. Debate and exposure is the only way to shatter their image.

    So who do you want to see invited next at Oxford? Hizb ut-Tahir? Ku Klux Klan? We know what kind of views of the these organisations have. They don’t deserve the publicity or exposure you loony liberals want to extend them.

    Well done to all the protestors the other day. We have a right to speak out against the fascists.

  35. Parvinder — on 28th November, 2007 at 1:20 pm  

    Well said Cover Drive.

    Duncan Money had this to say:
    ‘Essentially what the Oxford Union has chosen to do is to legitimise and promote fringe fascist views. Griffin is a fringe politician and Irving a failed historian, how exactly this qualifies them to speak at allegedly one of the world’s most prestigious institutions I don’t know. Whatever the intentions of those who invited him, the event is billed as a ‘free speech forum’, the consequences are clear, fascism being granted a prestigious platform and the BNP being able to claim it is a normal legitimate political party, which is ridiculous…I don’t think there is anything to be gained by debating with Griffin and Irving. If Holocaust denial and racism could be beaten with reasoned debate then the BBC ‘exposes’ into the BNP would have seen the party consigned to the political graveyard a long time ago.’ http://nation-of-duncan.blogspot.com/2007/10/he-doesnt-give-up.html

    Now, as Ravi has rightly pointed out, the BNP are gloating at the fact that they were invited to speak and are boasting that they have finally broken the left’s ‘no platform’ policy to Nazis. They are even plugging Griffin’s speech…what great advertising for the ‘master race’.

    ‘We won the battle of Oxford last night, quite simply, because we passionately believe that what we say and what we do is the right thing.’ (from BNP website).

    Is this the outcome we all want?

  36. Shuggy — on 28th November, 2007 at 1:32 pm  

    “Some people still agree with them. That is reason enough to debate their ideas again and again. Vigilance has to be eternal- we cannot just pretend that these ideas do not exist and have no adherants.”

    Some people still think the earth is flat. I don’t think the way to deal with them is to invite them to debate, as if there were some mutually-contested concepts here. These have already demonstrated that they are impervious to evidence. Same with Irving. Specifically with regards to any contribution to a debate about free-speech, both Irving and Griffin have demonstrated that they are not committed to free speech – so what useful contribution could they make?

    I don’t agree not giving them a platform amounts to pretending they, their followers and their ideas don’t exist. Rather, it is a measure of our disapproval – and it is the least we can do to show our contempt for them. Those who have been saying the OU should have been ashamed of themselves have this right.

  37. sonia — on 28th November, 2007 at 1:52 pm  

    again, i totally fail to understand how having a conversation legitimises a point of view.

    by that line of thinking, Pickled Politics is legitimising all sorts of things.

  38. sonia — on 28th November, 2007 at 1:54 pm  

    a lot of you bloggers out there – we should perhaps be monitoring the kinds of conversations you are having, and see who YOU are legitimising. The oxford union at the end of the day, has no responsibility other than to the students who form that Union. Perhaps we should leave it up to them to decide if they are so Outraged as you all seem to be.

  39. Ravi Naik — on 28th November, 2007 at 2:01 pm  

    “Some people still think the earth is flat. I don’t think the way to deal with them is to invite them to debate, as if there were some mutually-contested concepts here.”

    That’s precisely it. And in the world of (incomplete) information, skewing, exagerating which in essence equates to lying or doing politics – one also needs to evaluate if the opposing view is doing it in good-faith or not. Which is not as hard as one would think.

    I am reminded about the “debate” on whether there is such a thing as climate change.

  40. Parvinder — on 28th November, 2007 at 2:08 pm  

    #41: ‘The oxford union at the end of the day, has no responsibility other than to the students who form that Union.’

    I think, although I could be wrong, there’s a difference between the Oxford Union, which inviting Griffin and Irving and the students’ union, the Oxford University Students’ Union, which like most students unions of the NUS have a “No Platform to Fascists” policy.

    It has been argued that the former, really a debating society is trying to upstage the latter which is elected by the students.

  41. Shuggy — on 28th November, 2007 at 2:12 pm  

    “again, i totally fail to understand how having a conversation legitimises a point of view.”

    Inviting them to have a ‘conversation’ at all – on free-speech, of all things – legitimizes them. Don’t you get it?

    a lot of you bloggers out there – we should perhaps be monitoring the kinds of conversations you are having, and see who YOU are legitimising.

    Oh, is this some kind of pomo relativising we’re doing here? How many ‘bloggers out there’ are there who would entertain people in their comments boxes who denied the Holocaust? If there are any, let me know and I could offer them some free advice.

    Do you know what all this sub-Voltaire posturing reminds me of? It’s like when you get this feeling that middle-class opponents of the death penalty get so angry at the death penalty’s supporters, they have no rage left for the actual murderers. How can this event be ‘marred by protesters when the very thing, it’s very existence, was marred from the beginning?

  42. Ravi Naik — on 28th November, 2007 at 2:27 pm  

    “by that line of thinking, Pickled Politics is legitimising all sorts of things.”

    There is a difference between those who comment, like you and me, and people like Sunny, Leon or Rumbold. If the latter started writing posts commenting about the virtues of Mao or Estaline, wouldn’t you say it would undermine the credibility of this blog?

    Shuggy nails it, in my view. After 50 years of several of independent investigations, thousands of interviews, and hard evidence that there was a massacre at very large scale, you still have people whose mission is to put doubts in people’s minds about what happened 50 years ago, which is both hurtful and insulting to the victims and their families. People should have the right to say whatever they feel without being criminalised, but I see little or no point to give them this platform – unless of course, they are ready to accept: the 8-year old who believes in Santa Claus does exist, the guy who believes he was abducted and anal-probed by green aliens, and the science-fiction author who wrote a book about how climate change is – you know – fiction, and is now a consultant to Bush on climate change.

  43. Sunny — on 28th November, 2007 at 3:57 pm  

    My only issue here is where the line gets drawn. It is easy to demonise Griffin and Irving because they are cretins and have been shown in court to lie etc.

    But should we stop at offering a platform to people on the basis that it would be legitimising their views? I would argue we shouldn’t do.

    How do you then make a distinction between Griffin and someone not as universally hated like Al-Qaradawi? A few decades ago the Prime Minister and her bunch of idiots were calling for Nelson Mandela to be hanged. No doubt they’d say hearing him would be legitimising a terrorist and therefore he shouldn’t be given a platform. Where does it stop?

    It usually stops at giving a platform to minority views, some of them which minorities may find abhorrent, but some that minorities may very much like to hear.

    How and where do you draw the line at restricting access to people whose views are thought to be abhorrent?

  44. Ravi Naik — on 28th November, 2007 at 4:38 pm  

    “But should we stop at offering a platform to people on the basis that it would be legitimising their views? I would argue we shouldn’t do.”

    It is not a question of finding things abhorrent, because you fall into the trap of believing that our core values are better than theirs. I draw the line on the following:

    1) Anyone who believes that violence is the solution to problems.
    2) Anyone who is found to lie, cheat and deceive and work in bad-faith.
    3) Anyone who gives “scientific” opinions based on unscientific methods… this goes hand-in-hand with 2).

    People who are systematically found to operate on those parameters should not be given a platform, which is not to say that such attempts of misinformation should not be addressed or debated on those terms.

  45. Parvinder — on 28th November, 2007 at 4:51 pm  

    #46: ‘How and where do you draw the line at restricting access to people whose views are thought to be abhorrent?’

    Sunny, the issue isn’t about how abhorrent some peoples’ views are because they would run into thousands and we can’t and should not restrict them all.

    Fascists should be treated differently. Why?.. because their ideology and its practice centers on:

    - getting rid of free speech
    - murder of non-Aryans

    They may mask this and turn up wearing suits, but believe me, they are only using our good nature as a stepping stone to another holocaust. Some may call them nutters and crackpots but I view their leadership quite cleaver. They have a history, only 70 years old, a blueprint of how to get to power, and they used existing platforms of free speech then and they are trying to do again now.

  46. Jai — on 28th November, 2007 at 4:59 pm  

    Fascists should be treated differently. Why?.. because their ideology and its practice centers on:

    - getting rid of free speech
    - murder of non-Aryans

    They may mask this and turn up wearing suits, but believe me, they are only using our good nature as a stepping stone to another holocaust. Some may call them nutters and crackpots but I view their leadership quite cleaver.

    Such people should be given a “platform” only as an opportunity to tear their bigoted views apart, and even then only if their debating opponents (audience members or other “lecturers”) have the intelligence, knowledge and skills to be able to do so.

    Basically, set them up so you can shoot them down, but only if there is a considerably above-average probability of their opponents winning the argument.

    Otherwise you really are unwittingly giving them a platform from which to preach their propaganda.

  47. bananabrain — on 28th November, 2007 at 5:11 pm  

    which is why the pizza HuTers were so successful, because they trained for precisely this contingency. what you need to do with such people is PREPARE. prepare, prepare and prepare again so you can undermine their authority. in the case of HuT, this means wheeling out authoritative islamic scholars who can fluently, in a completely understandable way, demolish their claims. with the bnp, it means discrediting their policies by demonstrating how their solutions are incorrect – and providing alternatives. it’s hard work, but it’s the only way.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  48. Rumbold — on 28th November, 2007 at 5:43 pm  

    Refresh:

    “Trust me Rumbold, if it hadn’t been for all those white protestors who took them on directly, you and I would not be exercising OUR freedom of speech.”

    I was not criticising the people who stood up to the NF in the 1970s and 1980s, but rather those who were screaming at people who simply were going along to listen to the debate.

    “As for the ideology being out there, that is a failing of our current batch of politicians, who exploit us all. They do not challenge the lies, and nor do they resolve the issues the BNP are happy to exploit for themselves.”

    If the BNP’s success is a result of the failure of mainstream politics then surely it is doubly important to bring their views out into the mainstream and defeat them.

    Jai:

    “I was speaking generally, and was not referring specifically to the debate in Oxford.”

    So who decides the limits then?

    Ravi Naik:

    “See how it works? They speak at Oxford, and therefore they think they are entitled to put “intellectually” in their list of virtues.”

    But as you pointed out, the BNP lie and spin anyway, and they would have made a great song and dance of it if they would have been disinvited. The fact that the BNP are crowing about such a thing is not reason enough to not do it, otherwise it is the BNP who are dictating the agenda.

    “It is not defeatist at all. The point I was making is that the BNP should be challenged on the basis of its lying and deceiving.”

    They should be challenged on the basis of that as well.

    “It is not a question of finding things abhorrent, because you fall into the trap of believing that our core values are better than theirs. I draw the line on the following:

    1) Anyone who believes that violence is the solution to problems.
    2) Anyone who is found to lie, cheat and deceive and work in bad-faith.
    3) Anyone who gives “scientific” opinions based on unscientific methods… this goes hand-in-hand with 2).

    People who are systematically found to operate on those parameters should not be given a platform, which is not to say that such attempts of misinformation should not be addressed or debated on those terms.”

    But on that basis then we should never let anybody from the Labour Party speak (not a bad idea- heh), on the basis of all their lying and cheating over the past few years.

  49. Rumbold — on 28th November, 2007 at 5:53 pm  

    Sonia:

    Good points yet again, especially this:

    “And it was the Oxford Union – the whole point is to make interesting stuff happen and not pull the carpet over controversy.”

    Cover Drive:

    “Every extremist organisation loves publicity and by unnecessarily giving them that we are allowing them to spread their fear, their ideology and effectively endorsing their survival. We should be squeezing them out.”

    Extremist organisations do like publicity, but the alternative is pretending that they do not exist, and never dealing with them. This allows them to thrive unchallenged. Plenty of people condemn the BNP, but because they refuse to debate with them they are never really shown up for the charlatans that they are.

    Shuggy:

    “Some people still think the earth is flat. I don’t think the way to deal with them is to invite them to debate, as if there were some mutually-contested concepts here. These have already demonstrated that they are impervious to evidence.”

    Hardly anyone votes for a party that advocates believing in a flat-earth. The BNP on the other hand does have plenty of supporters. We think that their ideology is completly illogical. Others think it logical. Take the statement that “there are too many immigrants in this country.” I disagree, but I know others differ. The BNP wins votes with statements like this, and the only way to reduce those votes is to stand up and debate with the BNP and explain why we think that they are wrong. Merely branding them ‘fascists’ and ‘racists’ will not stop the sort of people that vote for them voting for them.

  50. Ravi Naik — on 28th November, 2007 at 5:54 pm  

    “what you need to do with such people is PREPARE. prepare, prepare and prepare again so you can undermine their authority”

    I do agree. The age of the dumb extreme-right-wingers is over. They have mutated into a dangerous form, and I feel like the mainstream politicians are not prepared to address that.

    Ignoring and dismissing them as fascists will not work for long, as they are increasingly appearing to the public as democratic, pro-freedom-of-speech, and non-violent. I read the BNP manifesto last night, and it has evolved to phrases like: we accept that Britain will always have ethnic minorities, as long as they are kept as minorities.

    The last thing we need is allowing the BNP to say they have been given ‘intellectual’ credibility by having been given that platform.

  51. Rumbold — on 28th November, 2007 at 5:59 pm  

    Parvinder:

    “I think, although I could be wrong, there’s a difference between the Oxford Union, which inviting Griffin and Irving and the students’ union, the Oxford University Students’ Union, which like most students unions of the NUS have a “No Platform to Fascists” policy.

    It has been argued that the former, really a debating society is trying to upstage the latter which is elected by the students.”

    .

    The Union (as opposed to the Student Union) is made up of members of Oxford University. It is simply a debating society, and as far as I am aware has made no attempt to take on the responsibilities of the Student Union. There is no competition between the two, nor would there be.

    Shuggy:

    “Oh, is this some kind of pomo relativising we’re doing here? How many ‘bloggers out there’ are there who would entertain people in their comments boxes who denied the Holocaust? If there are any, let me know and I could offer them some free advice.”

    I would tolerate Holocaust deniers in the comments, and they would have explained to them, by me, why the Holocaust is factual, and then I would challenge them to bring forth their fictional evidence.

    “Do you know what all this sub-Voltaire posturing reminds me of? It’s like when you get this feeling that middle-class opponents of the death penalty get so angry at the death penalty’s supporters, they have no rage left for the actual murderers. How can this event be ‘marred by protesters when the very thing, it’s very existence, was marred from the beginning?”

    Hardly. I despise the BNP, but that does not have to mean that I approve of the way that the protestors conducted themselves.

  52. Ravi Naik — on 28th November, 2007 at 6:14 pm  

    “But on that basis then we should never let anybody from the Labour Party speak (not a bad idea- heh), on the basis of all their lying and cheating over the past few years.”

    No Rumbold, on that basis you are ensuring that you are not adding disinformation, lies and distortions to the mainstream.

    And unless the Labour Party’s core values are lying and cheating, then I don’t see why anyone affiliated to the Labour Party should be silenced for doing nothing wrong. On the other hand, those that have…

  53. Refresh — on 28th November, 2007 at 6:24 pm  

    Rumbold

    “If the BNP’s success is a result of the failure of mainstream politics then surely it is doubly important to bring their views out into the mainstream and defeat them.”

    The BNP’s success would be based on exploiting those failures through scapegoats, not providing a solution for them.

    And the job would be to expose the failures of the politicians in power and their lack of vision and substance.

    “I was not criticising the people who stood up to the NF in the 1970s and 1980s, but rather those who were screaming at people who simply were going along to listen to the debate.”

    Once you get to this stage gentility is of little concern. I am pleased to see the spirit of the 70′s and 80′s lives on.

    “And it was the Oxford Union – the whole point is to make interesting stuff happen and not pull the carpet over controversy.”

    Interesting would be having Kermit the Frog talk about Miss Piggy. This is different.

  54. sonia — on 28th November, 2007 at 6:29 pm  

    great post sunny #46

    Rumbold, thanks – and

    “But on that basis then we should never let anybody from the Labour Party speak (not a bad idea- heh), on the basis of all their lying and cheating over the past few years.”

    :-) good one!

    (i’d extend that to all politicians probably..yes as far as i can see their core values are power grabbing so.. And nation-states imho whose core values are keeping most of us in a social contract we ourselves didn’t sign, and armies to kill enemies ( the BNP isn’t even armed, and who else, let me think.. )

  55. Refresh — on 28th November, 2007 at 6:30 pm  

    And before anyone gets carried away – I do think that was controversial. Never in the annals of academic progress have we had a section of the self-absorbed elite prostate themselves so before their own cleverness.

  56. sonia — on 28th November, 2007 at 6:34 pm  

    “Inviting them to have a ‘conversation’ at all – on free-speech, of all things – legitimizes them. Don’t you get it?”

    no i don’t get it at all shuggy.

    legitimises them as a human being because you are conversing with them – and why the hell not? I’m not about to turn into some Lordy lord person who thinks other human beings are inferior illegitimate beings because they have different views to me! Jesus, listen to yourself. I can just see Church Fathers having exactly the same moral high and mighty ground. YOU are not a better human than someone and you cannot decide who has the legitimacy to be conversed with by someone else – that is potentially dangerous and fascistic, the way i see it.

    i really find this very worrying, i’m suprised more people aren’t worried about the points of view being expressed on this blog, ooh perhaps im legitimising it by discussing this with yoU!

  57. sonia — on 28th November, 2007 at 6:37 pm  

    this is PRECISELY how social injustices have been perpetrated throughout the ages – by people saying to others what can and cannot be talked about openly in society. getting people to feel they cannot broach certain topics because they are controversial because they think somehow engaging those topics legitimises the controversy. !!!

    I am amazed people can’t see that as the wider issue at stake here, not just ‘free speech’ in the bloody abstract, and not the bloody BNP who have got you all so worked up all its doing is showing their power over you.

    Listen to the lot of you. If this is truly the progressive generation we may as well all turn into misanthropes like Morgoth.

  58. douglas clark — on 28th November, 2007 at 7:14 pm  

    I was never very happy with the ‘No Platform for Racists’ position, largely for the reasons Sonia outlines in 60.

    I do, however, have a feeling, no more than that, that folk who are attracted to any extremist position are attracted to it for the self preening that it allows them.

    If Trylls’ real intent was to defeat fascists on the debating floor, which could have been an admirable objective, then why was the debate framed around ‘free speech’ and not about ‘mad right wing politics’? You might as well have had a debate along the lines of Gardeners Question Time with Irving and Griffin saying interesting things about aphids. It would not, I suggest, have been particularily illuminating. Neither was this. ‘Free Speech’ is, like your Moms Apple Pie, something everyone approves of, though the definitions are all different.

    It might have been more interesting to hear Griffin debate Icke, as they both seem to think we’re being invaded!

  59. Ravi Naik — on 28th November, 2007 at 7:14 pm  

    “this is PRECISELY how social injustices have been perpetrated throughout the ages – by people saying to others what can and cannot be talked about openly in society.”

    Please, Sonia, don’t exagerate, and you don’t need to insult us to the point of comparing us with Morgoth.

    I haven’t seen anyone defending that David Irving and Nick Griffin should be either criminalised or even censored for saying what they have said. In fact, I am completely against stupid laws that have put David Irving in jail in Austria, or even putting Nick Griffin on trial for saying something off the record (or on the record, for that matter).

    Now with that in mind, why don’t you read what has been written before, and try to understand our point of view? You don’t need to accept it, but at least don’t dismissing it as an attempt to curb freedom of speech of anyone, because it has nothing to do with that.

  60. Ravi Naik — on 28th November, 2007 at 7:15 pm  

    Damn it, it came all red. I do apologise for that.

  61. Ravi Naik — on 28th November, 2007 at 7:40 pm  

    In my view, the fallacy of Sonia and Rumbold is to believe that any idea or belief should be given the same platform, because not doing so is censoring, an attack on freedom of speech, or being just Morgoth.

    It all comes to credibility that you entrust to the platform. And we need that in the age of information.

    Some scientific journals, magazines or newspapers have more credibility than others. What does that mean? That perhaps we value more the information given by these venues, then those with less reputable credibility.

    And why do we need to trust? Simply because we are incapable of verifying that information by ourselves.

    So if people who lie, deceive, follow no scientific principles are given a credible platform, what do you think will happen?

  62. Cover Drive — on 28th November, 2007 at 9:50 pm  

    Rumbold:

    Extremist organisations do like publicity, but the alternative is pretending that they do not exist, and never dealing with them. This allows them to thrive unchallenged.

    I am not suggesting the BNP should be banned or gagged. That would drive it underground and really make them look like martyrs. I don’t know why they had to be invited to Oxford University to debate about free speech. They do not have a single seat in the House of Commons and they abuse free speech to spread misinformation. So why treat them equal to any other mainstream party? Luke Tryl must have foreseen the protests and the media attention – he’s had his moment of publicity.

    Generally the press did not report anything about the debate itself. What then was the point in having the debate? Some of the press have been echoing the same message from Nick Griffin that the anti-fascist protestors were as bad as the fascists in Nazi Germany. There are many people who find the views of the BNP abhorrent – not just minorities. We’ve seen fascism in Europe before and it’s a failed spectacularly so why don’t we just learn from our mistakes?

    All in all a great publicity coup for the BNP.

  63. douglas clark — on 28th November, 2007 at 10:43 pm  

    Ravi Naik @ 64,

    I know that what you are saying is the ‘No Platform’ manifesto. And there is a bit of me that agrees.

    The problem with the idea is that ‘No Platform’ means what it says on the tin. It means that ridiculous ideas are spread by a samizdat of nods and winks,or yellow press, rather than by facing direct challenge.

    I am not happy about that.

    I think it can be challenged directly. Easily, even.

    The problem is not driving this debate out of the Oxford Student Union, it is about knocking it on the head in mainstream media.

    You and I might look for other sources for info., but that is, frankly, atypical. What folk digest from media is what they believe.

    The media should therefore be the target. But the wee buggers defend themselves, don’t you think? Liars, charlatans and less than Estate Agents, who’d have thought it?

  64. Ravi Naik — on 28th November, 2007 at 11:08 pm  

    To follow up on #64, let me give you an example using Irving.

    Irving had claimed that there was no evidence of gas chambers at the Auschwitz concentration camp, despite massive evidence that there was, plus the countless accounts of holocaust survivors. What happens if he and other people like him are given the same credibility in the mainstream as reputable historians?

    Whom are you going to believe? You can’t obviously verify for yourself every single claim, as you and I are not experts in that and other fields.

    That is why we tend to trust journals, newspapers and magazines which we believe follow a code of ethics and rigor, which tabloids and blogs may not.

    And that is why people like Irving should not be given those platform. It is incredibly naive to believe that every voice should be given equal standing, just for the sake of freedom of speech.

    And that is why Watson’s comments about blacks were so damaging. Because his standing in the world of science gave respectability to ideas to people who know nothing about science.

    I could go on. But I will shut up now.

  65. Ravi Naik — on 28th November, 2007 at 11:21 pm  

    “It means that ridiculous ideas are spread by a samizdat of nods and winks,or yellow press, rather than by facing direct challenge.”

    Of course, in practise you are dealing with the BNP and our media. And the narrative was: Nick Griffin was invited to speak in Oxford, and he was a victim of the Left who demonstrated against his freedom of speech. In the end, the BNP won it. And that should not surprise anyone. To be honest, I feel a bit more disgusted at the presence of Irving than Griffin.

    You and I might look for other sources for info., but that is, frankly, atypical. What folk digest from media is what they believe.The media should therefore be the target.

    You are right, douglas.

  66. douglas clark — on 29th November, 2007 at 3:39 am  

    Ravi,

    Of course, in practise you are dealing with the BNP and our media. And the narrative was: Nick Griffin was invited to speak in Oxford, and he was a victim of the Left who demonstrated against his freedom of speech.

    That is the narrative the yellow press chose to run with, right enough. I cannot disagree with you there. The objection, for me at least, is that that is not the right narrative.

    You can look at a news story with any hat on you wish – Sunny has done an amazing job of pulling some press stories to bits, for instance – but it seems next to impossible to move them off their fixations.

    What’s to be done about it?

  67. Rumbold — on 29th November, 2007 at 12:22 pm  

    Ravi Naik:

    “And unless the Labour Party’s core values are lying and cheating, then I don’t see why anyone affiliated to the Labour Party should be silenced for doing nothing wrong. On the other hand, those that have…”

    Now you get it. Heh.

    “In my view, the fallacy of Sonia and Rumbold is to believe that any idea or belief should be given the same platform, because not doing so is censoring, an attack on freedom of speech, or being just Morgoth.

    It all comes to credibility that you entrust to the platform. And we need that in the age of information.”

    You do not endorse someone’s views by letting them speak, or even legitimise them. The Oxford Union was not saying that the BNP was right, merely that they should be allowed to speak at the Union.

    Refresh:

    “The BNP’s success would be based on exploiting those failures through scapegoats, not providing a solution for them.”

    Sorry, you misunderstood me. I was not saying that the BNP had good ideas and solutions, rather that the BNP are using these issues to get votes and we need to prove that the BNP do not have the solutions.

    ” Interesting would be having Kermit the Frog talk about Miss Piggy. This is different.”

    So something that is controversal cannot be interesting as well?

    Douglas:

    “If Trylls’ real intent was to defeat fascists on the debating floor, which could have been an admirable objective, then why was the debate framed around ‘free speech’ and not about ‘mad right wing politics’? You might as well have had a debate along the lines of Gardeners Question Time with Irving and Griffin saying interesting things about aphids.”

    I agree that such a debate would have been better. However, I think that free speech is a good topic to discuss when propunded by men like Griffin and Irving, because the contradictions in their arguments are usually exposed (“we want free speech, just not for others”).

  68. Jai — on 29th November, 2007 at 12:30 pm  

    You know, folks, Ravi’s point about the risk of giving the BNP too much credibility via the precise forum they’re invited to is spot-on. Their “message”, such as it is, would potentially carry far more weight in the eyes of their audience if they were preaching it from Oxford (or on a major news channel like CNN) than if their diatribes and dissimulation were confined to some obscure local pub or town hall, for example.

    As I said before, giving them such a platform specifically so their views could be debated and torn apart is one thing — and something I support — but having them as “guest speakers” on tangentially-related matters such as freedom of speech is an entirely different issue.

    On a semi-humorous note, here’s one hypothetical suggestion: Give them a chance to debate and defend their views. Freely, and in a respectable venue/forum. However, the catch is the following: If they are unable to successfully support their arguments and they are clearly discredited, then they have to immediately dissolve their organisation and never again preach their poison anywhere in any formal capacity in future.

    Now that, as they probably say at some poker & roulette tables in Las Vegas, would “make things interesting”.

    I wonder if Mr Griffin has the guts to gamble everything on a single roll of dice like that, if he truly has the courage of his convictions. Russian Roulette, debating-style.

  69. Rumbold — on 29th November, 2007 at 12:35 pm  

    Cover Drive:

    “I don’t know why they had to be invited to Oxford University to debate about free speech. They do not have a single seat in the House of Commons and they abuse free speech to spread misinformation. So why treat them equal to any other mainstream party? Luke Tryl must have foreseen the protests and the media attention – he’s had his moment of publicity.”

    The BNP get a fair few votes. They do not get those votes because they speak at the Oxfrod Union, or go on Question Time. They get those votes because they go door to door and explain their policies to people. Not letting them speak at prestigious venues would not hamper their support- in fact it increases them because they can claim that they are being gagged.

  70. sonia — on 29th November, 2007 at 12:36 pm  

    yeah by that line of reckoning, no one can say or do anything ever again because the ‘media will twist’ it.

  71. sonia — on 29th November, 2007 at 12:37 pm  

    clearly the dumbed down big centralised broadcast media is the big problem here

  72. sonia — on 29th November, 2007 at 12:48 pm  

    You do not endorse someone’s views by letting them speak, or even legitimise them. The Oxford Union was not saying that the BNP was right, merely that they should be allowed to speak at the Union.

    yes this seems to take some repeating. As far as i can see, many people seem to think that by “letting” someone speak you are endorsing them and making them “important”.

    and the rest of your points Rumbold are spot on. I’m glad someone is speaking sense in this whole place.

  73. Rumbold — on 29th November, 2007 at 12:51 pm  

    Sonia:

    “I’m glad someone is speaking sense in this whole place.”

    That makes two of us.

  74. Leon — on 29th November, 2007 at 1:16 pm  

    no one can say or do anything ever again because the ‘media will twist’ it.

    Either that or you hire an army of spin doctors and media consultants to ‘counter’ the effect…

  75. Ian — on 29th November, 2007 at 2:25 pm  

    I’ve been thinking about this all week, and taken into account quite how odious Griffin & Irving’s views are, but I cannot come to any other conclusion than that, within the law, the Oxford Union should be able to invite whoever they like to take part in whatever debate they feel the need to.

  76. Ravi Naik — on 29th November, 2007 at 2:27 pm  

    You do not endorse someone’s views by letting them speak, or even legitimise them.

    Honestly, that is incredibly naive, Rumbold. And no one is concerned about Oxford endorsing anti-semitism or racism. But you are absolutely wrong in assuming that every individual has the capability to distinguish between lies and truths. By reading David Irving’s books, how do I know he is telling the truth? Am I an expert in that field?

    I know he is lying because experts in that field have said so, as well as in a court of law. I know Griffin is a liar on immigration and other issues, and a liar when he says his party is neither racist or does not follow fascist ideals because several people within the party and undercover reports have said so.

    So what does the mainstream gain from having these certified liars and decievers in a prestigious academic platform? Well, absolutley NADA. What do these people without credibility, who have nothing to lose… have to gain in appearing in Oxford? As we have seen, a lot.

    I do agree with Douglas that the media shares responsability in showing one side of the narrative. But given the equation of what they have to give, from what we have given them… I can’t see the real narrative as being far off from the one presented.

    David Irving was proven to lie in his evaluation of the holocaust over the last two decades. If his work was proven to be wrong by experts in the field, what on earth makes you think we need him in a credible platform, so that you and I can evaluate his work? You think it is just a matter of finding contradictions?

    I do want a platform for minority and abhorrent views, and specially those that keep challenging the estabilishment. We need to keep evolving, and that is why we need freedom of speech, so that the majority does not eclipse the minority. But it is naive to be fundamentalist about it: certified liars should be shunned from credible platforms because it gives us nothing in return. Both Griffin and Irving have been proved wrong over and over, but repeating those lies one thousand times in credible platforms, and they become truth to lots of ears.

    Let’s review case by case, and not put every minority and abhorrent view on the same bag. It is simplistic to do so. David Irving and Nick Griffin would like to present themselves as martyrs of freedom of speech, because frankly they have nothing more to offer.

  77. Guessedworker — on 29th November, 2007 at 2:33 pm  

    Nick Griffin has a long experience both of hard exclusion (“No Platform”, refused press ads etc), and the soft exclusion of the a priori delegitimisation of his views. This latter is practised devotedly in the liberal media, up to and including supposed right-wingers like Simon Heffer.

    So, he would seem to be absolutely the right person to ask to address a debate about the limits of free speech.

    Something else needs to be understood by the those of English descent posting here. At the moment, Griffin’s little party are the only people prepared to give voice to the natural rights and ethnic interests of the English. In the liberal zeitgeist, non-English are entirely free to pursue their interests, and nobody bats an eyelid. Nobody calls Ravi and Jai racists because the can espouse ethnic interests that happen to run confluent with liberalism.

    But all ethnic interests are not equal. There are those of aggressors and those of defenders. Uniquely, in the zeitgeist, the interests of the aggressors are entirely ignored, while those of the defenders are ruthlessly delegitimised.

    On what moral basis, then – repeat, moral not political – is Griffin’s defensive stance illegitimate?

  78. Ravi Naik — on 29th November, 2007 at 3:28 pm  

    At the moment, Griffin’s little party are the only people prepared to give voice to the natural rights and ethnic interests of the English. In the liberal zeitgeist, non-English are entirely free to pursue their interests, and nobody bats an eyelid.

    Nobody calls Ravi and Jai racists because the can espouse ethnic interests that happen to run confluent with liberalism.

    I don’t like the concept of belonging to an ‘ethnic minority’, but I guess my only “ethnic” interest is to have the same duties and rights as any other member of society. Why would anyone called me a racist on those grounds?

    What are your “interests” as an ethnic majority that you think the BNP is fighting for? To live in a country with only pure white anglo-saxons? I really want to know, because by reading the BNP manifesto, they are not fighting for that anymore.

  79. Rumbold — on 29th November, 2007 at 3:55 pm  

    Ravi Naik:

    “Honestly, that is incredibly naive, Rumbold. And no one is concerned about Oxford endorsing anti-semitism or racism. But you are absolutely wrong in assuming that every individual has the capability to distinguish between lies and truths. By reading David Irving’s books, how do I know he is telling the truth? Am I an expert in that field?”

    I know he is lying because experts in that field have said so, as well as in a court of law. I know Griffin is a liar on immigration and other issues, and a liar when he says his party is neither racist or does not follow fascist ideals because several people within the party and undercover reports have said so.”

    Griffin and Irving are liars, in the sense that some of what they say is demonstably false (as opposed to say the idea that there are too many immigrants in this country, which is a view). However, some people still listen to them. Do we never engage the BNP by saying that they are a bunch of liars, or do we engage them again and again, and prove them wrong every time? Every time Irving speaks we can remind the audience that he is a convicted liar- if we refuse to engage with him then he will go along to meetings and rallies and be unchallenged about his past.

    Guessworker:

    “Something else needs to be understood by the those of English descent posting here. At the moment, Griffin’s little party are the only people prepared to give voice to the natural rights and ethnic interests of the English. In the liberal zeitgeist, non-English are entirely free to pursue their interests, and nobody bats an eyelid. Nobody calls Ravi and Jai racists because the can espouse ethnic interests that happen to run confluent with liberalism.”

    Nobody calls Jai and Ravi racists, because they are not racists. In what world is this ‘liberal zeitgeist’ you speak of? There is plenty of criticism on this site of things like ‘honour’ killings, ‘community’ groups and soforth.

    I am white and English, and Nick Griffin offers me nothing. He encourages me to hate my neighbours, talks spuriously about the ‘white British community’, as if one existed, and blames non-whites for things when he knows who really is at fault. Why should I vote for someone as nasty and as bigoted as him?

  80. Jai — on 29th November, 2007 at 4:02 pm  

    Extrapolating Ravi’s point — at least the way I see it — would those advocating giving Griffin an open platform support the notion of him being allowed to write full-page articles on any given subject in, for example, The Times, The Economist, or the weekend supplement of the Financial Times ? Or letting him be a “guest writer” on a blog/online discussion forum run by any of the aforementioned journalistic companies ? And that’s before we even get started on the question of exactly what qualifies him to lecture others on anything — there’s a difference between a person doing so as a “layperson” (eg. “this is just my subjective opinion”) and actually representing himself as some kind of voice of authority on any given subject.

    I agree with Ravi’s remarks that some people here are being naive, both in terms of political astutements and human psychology. The exact forum which is given to the speaker can make a considerable difference to their credibility and the impact their views will have on people. This is common sense.

    **********************

    Nobody calls Ravi and Jai racists because the can espouse ethnic interests that happen to run confluent with liberalism.

    Ravi and Jai cannot be called racists because their “ethnic interests” do not involve discrimination, persecution or prejudice towards other ethnic groups.

    But all ethnic interests are not equal. There are those of aggressors and those of defenders. Uniquely, in the zeitgeist, the interests of the aggressors are entirely ignored, while those of the defenders are ruthlessly delegitimised.

    Exactly who are the “aggressors” and the “defenders” here, in what ways are the former being “aggressive”, and exactly what are the “defenders” defending ?

    On what moral basis, then – repeat, moral not political – is Griffin’s defensive stance illegitimate?

    Let’s turn this around. On what moral basis, then – repeat, moral not political – is Griffin’s racist stance legitimate ?

  81. Jai — on 29th November, 2007 at 4:20 pm  

    political astutements

    That should say “political astuteness

  82. Cover Drive — on 29th November, 2007 at 4:42 pm  

    Shouldn’t university students have some say about controversial speakers coming to debate in their universities? I would think many of them would object to it.

    We know extremists groups, including the BNP and Islamist groups, are active in British universities. The government talks about tackling extremism in universities on one hand and then raises no objection about extremist speakers visiting universities. It seems a rather inconsistent approach. I would prefer if these debates were held outside universities as there’s always the possibility of some trouble flaring up.

  83. Parvinder — on 29th November, 2007 at 4:50 pm  

    So therefore it follows that, if tomorrow the two of them made an appearence on the Beeb’s Question Time? we would be ok with that?

    At least we’re not ‘gagging’ them.

  84. Chairwoman — on 29th November, 2007 at 5:39 pm  

    Freedom of speech must be one of our most contentious issues.

    Yesterday, when young Dmitri told me that he was ‘Exercising his right to free speech’ after he had said something quite offensive, I told him that free speech was the right to express political opinion, not the right to be rude, insulting, and offensive.

    But where do we go with political opinion that is rude, insulting, and offensive?

  85. Don — on 29th November, 2007 at 6:21 pm  

    You can respect someone’s right to free speech without feeling obliged to hand them a megaphone.

  86. sonia — on 29th November, 2007 at 6:31 pm  

    well given everyone thinks what is rude offensive and insulting varies from person to person, we have quite a job there.

    Rumbold, i think you’re doing a great job with countering what effectively amounts to being: well people aren’t very clever, they need to be “protected”. and along that way, lots of us cant do and say much because “someone” will twist it and boom! all the “dumb” people will be Well i agree people aren’t very clever, but its not my job to decide who is clever who isnt and frankly thats what politicians assume – that we need to be protected, and its a vicious self-perpetuating cycle. People need to take agency and we need to stop mollycoddling everyone.

    plus human psychology shows the more you try and forbid something, the more attractive it becomes, and in many cases, “highlights” it all the more. in the eyes of people to whom the BNP appeals to in the first place – that would effectively ‘legitimise’ what the BNP is saying.

    the question i have is – are people really worried about what the people who are susceptible to BNP think? Or are they more annoyed at the BNP and concerned with the outrage to their own selves – i.e. why do i have to watch the BNP doing all this stuff, oh its bigging them up and i dont like it.

  87. sonia — on 29th November, 2007 at 6:35 pm  

    also sounds like actually people are worried that if you let the BNP speak then lots of people will agree with them, rather than think what a bunch of silly twats. Now that is interesting. Either people think the BNP have a point and don’t want to hear it – or what is it?

  88. Don — on 29th November, 2007 at 8:39 pm  

    sonia, Rumbold, guys,

    This is not about letting the BNP speak, it’s about affording them the prestige of an Oxford Union venue for no good reason.

    OK, I confess, my initial reaction was emotional. Like a few others here I have known and opposed the NF/BNP since the eary 70′s and, although my complexion has meant I was never their prime target, it still burns me up to see these scumbags being treated as though their venom were a part of civilised discourse. It gets my goat. So yes sonia, it was largely personal outrage. Can’t apologise for that.

    But letting them speak? Do they ever shut up? They are handing out their flyers at football matches, their god-awful CD’s outside schools and a couple of years ago some of them showed up with leaflets in my home town – my bloody home town. That particular crew were from the Sunderland chapter and if there is anything I hate more than a bigot it’s a makkem bigot.

    As for the noisy demonstrators outside, well when they showed up here the local young people (my daughter included) flash mobbed them. Nothing kicked off as the law were all over the market place, but if it had and she had ended up in the cells on a breach of the peace I would gladly have stood her bail – and then stood her a three day shopping trip to New York.

  89. Lee Barnes — on 29th November, 2007 at 9:55 pm  

    1) The MAJORITY of the British public agree with the BNP policies, as stated in this Sky News poll here ;

    http://news.sky.com/skynews/article/0,,30000-13520516,00.html – so pretending the British people find the BNP abhorrent is a fiction.

    The issue is simply that the media portray the BNP in such a way that this alienates public support for them, though the question is do we really want the media to have such power in a democracy so that they decide who gets elected or not – I thought the people should do that and not the editors of the Telegraph or the Guardian ?

    2) The right to free speech is not dependent upon people liking what is said – the basis of free speech is that it does offend people. The very definition of fascism is that we all say the same things, all think the same things, all hate the same things and all vote for who we are told to vote for by the media. That is fascism – not the freedom to offend a few spinless and hypocritical liberals.

    3) The fact that the socialists and the communists of the SWP/UAF organised the demo sgainst the BNP was an example of sickening hypocrisy – some who post on this site may have forgotten what Communism meant but I havent. There was no free speech in the Soviet Union- only the Gulag for those who dared spak out.

    The fact that the communists organised the demo against the BNP in the name of free speech is like rapists organising a demonstration in favour of womens rights.

    4) I want to live in a country where I dont have to listen to the facile, asinine politically correct cant of the hypocritical liberals and leftists morons that run this country. I want to be offended and I want people offended. Perhaps then they will wake up instead of crwaling on their bellies at the mere mention of the word racism. Grow a spine you gutless bastards.

    5)Once upon a time this country valed freedom, not it rewards cowardice. I want to live in a FREE BRITIAN, where someone can insult me all they like for any reason they like and I will turn the other cheek. Thats what being British is all about. Instead this nation has been hijacked by the ‘ ban it’ brigade who despise our ancestral rights and liberties. Once our people were thrown into pyres by kings, churches and popes because they dared to say something some jumped up little bigot didnt like – and now those days are back. This time though the bigots like to wear moral masks so that their crimes appear in the name of the public good.

    The public good is the last refugse of the tyrant, criminal and liberal fascist.

    What next eh – a politically correct version of Sharia law where we cut off the tongues of all those that dare say something some self righteous politically correct taliban doesnt like.

    Give me freedom – and if you dont like that then **** off to Iran or the Sudan.

  90. Lee Barnes — on 29th November, 2007 at 9:58 pm  

    Excuse the spelling mistakes – I type like I tap dance.

    Badly.

  91. sonia — on 29th November, 2007 at 11:43 pm  

    if there is a negative influence in society, and people feel really strongly about that, it is even more important to ‘take it on’.. not ignore it. clearly different people have different opinions on how to ‘take it on’ -that’s good, and just as well in a pluralistic open society for everyone to be able to voice that. there’s no point getting into this ‘oh my god if you do this, you’re on their side” kind of hysteria, which is what i think i am seeing. personally i dont think that kind of ‘moral panic’ is that fruitful, but pls go ahead and vent.

  92. Guessedworker — on 29th November, 2007 at 11:59 pm  

    Ravi and Jai cannot be called racists because their “ethnic interests” do not involve discrimination, persecution or prejudice towards other ethnic groups.

    Of course their ethnic interests involve discrimination. Your innocence is quite astonishing. All peoples discriminate not because they are “racist” or “evil”, but because Nature pressages them to prefer their own kind in ways to innumerable to detail here.

    “Exactly who are the “aggressors” and the “defenders” here, in what ways are the former being “aggressive”, and exactly what are the “defenders” defending?”

    Population inflows necessarily aggress on living space and compete for resources. Had you really not noticed this? A healthy people not infected with the pathologies of advanced liberalism (such as hyper-individualism and official ethno-masochism) will defend itself from aggression from without.

    “Let’s turn this around. On what moral basis, then – repeat, moral not political – is Griffin’s racist stance legitimate?”

    If Griffin is a racist, what are you? Your rejection of kind in favour of abstract idealism is a clear form of discrimination, since you uniquely deny your own people (assuming you are of English descent) the right of self-defence, the right to genetic continuity, the right to possession of the homeland. These things you would, as a good liberal, be quick to allow any indigenous people in the Third World. But you are politically blinded when it comes to our people.

    However, to answer your question …

    All living organisms – and a people is a living organism – want to live. This is the ultimate interest in life, ranking above secondary interests such as prosperity or peace by an order of magnitude. It is unimpeachable from a moral perspective. Take a look at the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, agreed in September. Article 8 is interesting, and applicable in the crisis confronting Europeans throughout the West.

  93. Ravi Naik — on 30th November, 2007 at 12:18 am  

    The exact forum which is given to the speaker can make a considerable difference to their credibility and the impact their views will have on people. This is common sense

    Well said, Jai. :)

    OK, I confess, my initial reaction was emotional. Like a few others here I have known and opposed the NF/BNP since the eary 70’s and, although my complexion has meant I was never their prime target, it still burns me up to see these scumbags being treated as though their venom were a part of civilised discourse. It gets my goat. So yes sonia, it was largely personal outrage. Can’t apologise for that.

    And you damn shouldn’t. It is thanks to people like you that the racist discourse from the 70s is no longer acceptable.

    The MAJORITY of the British public agree with the BNP policies

    You mean better education, better transportation, better immigration control, more police, tougher on crime? :) Oh my, is that what thugs and skinheads are defending now?

    “Once upon a time this country valed freedom, not it rewards cowardice. I want to live in a FREE BRITIAN, where someone can insult me all they like for any reason they like and I will turn the other cheek.”

    I understand you want to turn the whole country to hooliganism. But the point of freedom of speech is not to insult people, and turn everything into an ugly argument where nothing is achieved except violence and disharmony.

    Information is power, and thus we can find ourselves in two extremes: not having it – or being controlled by the state, and the other extreme where people abuse it by injecting lies, slander and insults, half-truths, exaggerations, skewing facts.

    Defending freedom of speech, in my view, is fighting both extremes to achieve its goal of creating better and more evolved societies.

  94. Ravi Naik — on 30th November, 2007 at 12:30 am  

    “Of course their ethnic interests involve discrimination.”

    Can you explain this? Because it seems like you don’t know what you are talking about.

    “since you uniquely deny your own people (assuming you are of English descent) the right of self-defence, the right to genetic continuity, the right to possession of the homeland.”

    So you feel that you have the right to dictate to your countrymen to whom they should marry in order for you to have the “right of genetic continuity”? It is a bit greedy (or has the liberals would say fascist) to say so, considering you have the right to choose your partner, and continue your genetic material.

  95. Bert Preast — on 30th November, 2007 at 12:33 am  

    “1) The MAJORITY of the British public agree with the BNP policies”

    Aaaaahahaha rubbish. The majority of the British public have no idea what the BNP’s policies are. They just want more controls put on immigration.

  96. Guessedworker — on 30th November, 2007 at 12:43 am  

    Ravi,

    Actually, the point of any form of tolerance, which include freedom of speech and freedom of association, is to bind a people together. It is a method of in-group altruism. It’s meant to garland the lives of one people in one land. It is nothing to do with out-groups, alien population transfers, or postmodern racial politics – all of which clearly impact upon both freedoms negatively. Nothing “better” or “more evolved” can flow from that.

    Local displacement, national dispossession and creeping deracination are catastrophic for any people. It is contemptuous to pretend that there is something enriching or to be celebrated here.

  97. Don — on 30th November, 2007 at 1:16 am  

    ‘It’s meant to garland the lives of one people in one land.’

  98. Refresh — on 30th November, 2007 at 1:24 am  

    Scary stuff Don.

  99. Refresh — on 30th November, 2007 at 1:38 am  

    Sonia, people are not venting. They are talking about their experience of this type of politics.

    Again, if its a question of freedom of speech, then what is your response to all the electioneering which includes leaflets and at general elections their party political broadcasts?

    The question of protecting sensitive (or ill-informed) ears from the message of the BNP is an obfuscation.

    “….and just as well in a pluralistic open society for everyone to be able to voice that”

    That’s what you are not getting. BNP does not want Britain (and Europe) to be a ‘pluralistic open society’.

  100. douglas clark — on 30th November, 2007 at 2:22 am  

    But, Refresh, when these blood perfect examples of the human race come here, which is not, quite yet, a forum to quite measure up to Oxford University, we let them away with shite like this:

    All living organisms – and a people is a living organism – want to live. This is the ultimate interest in life, ranking above secondary interests such as prosperity or peace by an order of magnitude. It is unimpeachable from a moral perspective. Take a look at the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, agreed in September. Article 8 is interesting, and applicable in the crisis confronting Europeans throughout the West.

    Quite apart from the obvious desire for anything under the microscope to want to live, and then attributing that to ideas of race, when it clearly is has nothing whatsoever to do with that….

    What cheap paperback did this moron read? What, exact, crisis is confronting Europeans throughout the West? Might it be an inability to make a coherent arguement? If so, he or she or it, is certainly infected.

    Griffin is worse than a racist, he is a complete utter, fool. And you, young guessedworker, are the plankton he feeds on. To paraphrase an arguement that you thought you had.

    Away and play with your plastic Crusaders, dimwit.

  101. Refresh — on 30th November, 2007 at 2:47 am  

    Douglas, on the contrary this forum does not ‘let them away with shite like this: ‘ as you’ve just proved with your own timely intervention :) .

    There should be a smiley for high-fives, don’t you think?

  102. Cover Drive — on 30th November, 2007 at 5:44 am  

    As Lee Barnes says in #92 its not WHAT you say but HOW you say it that matters. Hitler would have been very proud of you.

    Hitler was easily one of the best speakers of the last century. He won the Germans over to his new exciting puritanical ideology simply through his power of speech. An undersexed individual he made sex with the audience! They loved his electrifying speeches, they touched the common man and they couldn’t get enough of him. Nick Griffin is not in the same league but he’s a clever man. Since taking over as the leader of the BNP he has transformed the image of the party from a group of thugs to something more respectable. I doubt very much the BNP would have been invited to talk at Oxford if it wasn’t for him.

    Once our people were thrown into pyres by kings, churches and popes because they dared to say something some jumped up little bigot didnt like – and now those days are back. This time though the bigots like to wear moral masks so that their crimes appear in the name of the public good.

    So you want to go back to medieval days? I don’t think that is practical. The BNP share similar views. That’s why think putting a racist organisation that spreads misinformation on a respectable platform does give legitimacy to their views. It will be difficult to backtrack.

  103. Guessedworker — on 30th November, 2007 at 7:49 am  

    Douglas Clarke,

    Let’s hear principled, reasoned rebuttal from you, if you can make it. If, however, all you can do, like Refresh and many other little captives of the liberal zeitgeist, is to make angry grunting sounds, know that these are indicative of a man LOSING the argument.

    But let’s return to what the Griffin argument is really about. Beyond the issue of the Union Forum (at which I wish I had been present) and even the issue of free speech … beyond everything, in fact, is the great question:-

    DO THE NATIVE PEOPLES OF EUROPE POSSESS THE RIGHT TO PURSUE LIFE CONDITIONS NECESSARY FOR THEIR COLLECTIVE SURVIVAL?

    You do not address this question, but demography and advanced liberalism do … in the negative, of course. It’s the second greatest question of our European age (behind that of the survival of the biosphere), and it requires a certain intellectual courage to confront.

    Now, raise your game and start thinking critically about what is happening to us, why and for who’s benefit.

    For your information I am in latish middle-age, a father and husband, a businessman now semi-retired, and a political blog-owner. My area of interest is not really national politics, like Griffin and Lee Barnes, but the political philosophy of European survival. I also have a layman’s interest in genetics and psychology.

  104. Guessedworker — on 30th November, 2007 at 9:41 am  

    Cover Drive,

    How do you suggest we English represent our own ethnic rights and interests in a polity that is utterly hostile to them and to us?

  105. douglas clark — on 30th November, 2007 at 10:34 am  

    Guessedworker,

    Please stop pretending you are some sort of Geronimo. Now, that was a good example of an indigenous people being stomped on by incomers. Try reading, comparing and contrasting.

    You, sir, are playing a victim card where there is no game in town for that card to be played.

    I am actually sick and tired of self serving little panic merchants who think the answer to every political issue is to scream and shout until they make themselves sick. And we’re supposed to be impressed? Viz:

    DO THE NATIVE PEOPLES OF EUROPE POSSESS THE RIGHT TO PURSUE LIFE CONDITIONS NECESSARY FOR THEIR COLLECTIVE SURVIVAL?

    What utter rubbish. You might as well ask whether we should be concerned about being ruled by shape-shifting lizards. And, yes, I do seriously think that that is the level of debate your lot should be engaged at.

    So, you spell out your points of view and we’ll take it from there.

    Hint: Try reading about demographic transition models. Or inter racial marriage. Or just read the comments here. And chill.

  106. Guessedworker — on 30th November, 2007 at 11:00 am  

    Douglas,

    You fact-free reply and childishly complacent conclusion only show what a vacuum exists where concern for the future of your people should be – again, I am assuiming that you are of English descent. If you aren’t, the invitation for me to “chill” is simply racist.

    We cannot survive the present trends. There is no argument now about this. The figures are in the public domain, though I was privately informed three years ago by one of the few senior demographers in the UK who is not connected to Migrationwatch, and who, accordingly, has been contracted on Home Office surveys, exactly how dire the situation really is.

    Therefore my question: do we possess the right to pursue conditions conducive to our survival?

    Answer it. And if your answer is that we have no such right, why?

  107. Jai — on 30th November, 2007 at 11:41 am  

    Guessedworker,

    All peoples discriminate not because they are “racist” or “evil”, but because Nature pressages them to prefer their own kind in ways to innumerable to detail here.

    Generalisations, assumptions, and conjecture.

    Also, nurture and intellect frequently override “nature”.

    Population inflows necessarily aggress on living space and compete for resources. Had you really not noticed this? A healthy people not infected with the pathologies of advanced liberalism (such as hyper-individualism and official ethno-masochism) will defend itself from aggression from without.

    Not really applicable to, for example, the huge numbers of Asian doctors who came here in the 60s and 70s because the severe shortage of medical professionals in the NHS resulted in the British government and the NHS at the time having to actively recruit doctors from Commonwealth countries such as India.

    If Griffin is a racist, what are you? Your rejection of kind in favour of abstract idealism is a clear form of discrimination, since you uniquely deny your own people (assuming you are of English descent)

    Wrong. I’m of Indian descent. British-born, incidentally.

    the right of self-defence,

    Inappropriate terminology. The phrase “self-defence” is only suitable in scenarios involving deliberate aggression from other parties who have a clear hostile intent to cause harm to the victim.

    the right to genetic continuity,

    “Genetic continuity” obviously being an attempt to use a pseudo-respectable term for “racial purity”. Interesting that you unashamedly support the notion.

    It would also be interesting to see exactly what level of granularity you wish this “purity” to extend to, in the sense of your awareness of the actual “racial” composition of the majority of the UK, their historical ancestry, and how “pure” this ethnicity actually is as a distinct, strictly delineated group compared to the rest of the world, particularly in relation to regions immediately neighbouring Europe and groups with historical-linguistic connections with many of its inhabitants.

    the right to possession of the homeland.

    Which, again, depends on the extent of your awareness of your own ancestry, and indeed whether you subscribe to the concept of the inhabitants from any particular “homeland” being from a single strictly delineated ethnic group. (Historically the latter has certainly not been the case in many parts of the world, including this island we currently reside in).

    These things you would, as a good liberal, be quick to allow any indigenous people in the Third World. But you are politically blinded when it comes to our people.

    Yet more conjecture. You have no idea what I would “allow” in such matters, or even if I actually fall within the stereotypical definition of a liberal (“good” or otherwise).

    All living organisms – and a people is a living organism – want to live. This is the ultimate interest in life, ranking above secondary interests such as prosperity or peace by an order of magnitude. It is unimpeachable from a moral perspective.

    Again, only applicable if the people concerned are facing deliberate hostile aggression where their own physical extinction is threatened. And when I say “physical extinction”, I mean literally death, not changes in culture, ethnicity, group identity or socio-political dynamics.

    Since you seem to like using concepts extracted from the various fields of biomedical science in an attempt to support your stance, here are some more for you:

    1. Individuals and groups that are unable to successfully adapt to accomodate changing environments and circumstances risk failure in competition with other individuals and groups, and possibly even outright extinction.

    2. Diversity increases the capacity of an individual or a group to successfully deal with a wider range of circumstances and events, and increases overall viability and vigour (physical and genetic). This concept can be successfully extrapolated to social, cultural and business scenarios.

    Both of these concepts directly contradict you.

  108. Jai — on 30th November, 2007 at 11:43 am  

    Actually, the point of any form of tolerance, which include freedom of speech and freedom of association, is to bind a people together.

    The point is also to allow the people concerned to co-exist and co-operate peacefully and constructively with other groups they interact with (on both an individual and a macro level), thereby minimising unnecessary friction between the various groups involved and, if possible, also facilitating the positive exchanges of ideas and information between them.

    It’s meant to garland the lives of one people in one land.

    Wrong again. Along with facilitating positive interaction with other nations, it’s to faciliate positive interactions amongst different peoples within one land.

    More to the point, promoting the concept that different groups within one nation have a single overarching identity which supercedes any granular differences between them further facilitates internal national, social, and cultural integrity & unity.

    And in case you haven’t noticed, we’re all human beings first and foremost. That’s our primary identity, and that’s what we all have in common with each other beyond all other notions of cultural, historical, national and “ethnic” identity. Of course, this depends on your personal capacity to understand this notion, apply it to the outside world, and relate to (and identify with) other people on this fundamental level regardless of what differences you perceive to be between their backgrounds and yours.

    DO THE NATIVE PEOPLES OF EUROPE POSSESS THE RIGHT TO PURSUE LIFE CONDITIONS NECESSARY FOR THEIR COLLECTIVE SURVIVAL?

    Define “the native peoples of Europe”. I’m referring to exact ethnic & linguistic groups, the precise eastern, northern & southern borders of Europe as you perceive them, and the precise timescales involved for you to regard any given group as being a “native people” of this part of the world (ie. how far back in history regarding the migration of groups into and within Europe does your knowledge extend, and how long does a group have to reside in Europe for you to regard it as being a “native people”).

    I also have a layman’s interest in genetics and psychology.

    In which case you are not necessarily in any position to patronise anyone else here and certainly not to promote yourself as any kind of authority in these subjects, particularly if you are attempting to extrapolate concepts & findings in these rigorously scientific disciplines to areas such as “race” and socio-cultural dynamics.

    Raise your own game if you have the courage of your convictions, or at least have the humility and intellectual self-awareness to acknowledge that your own deductive reasoning, knowledge and overall conclusions may be wrong when it comes to the various viewpoints you are attempting to promote here.

  109. Rumbold — on 30th November, 2007 at 12:23 pm  

    Lee Barnes:

    “We are always told that immigrants can assimilate into British culture – but why is it that the immigrants who are supposedly naturalised citizens of the UK always support an open door policy on immigration and always seek to deny and undermine our ancient right of free speech that was secured with the blood of thousands of our ancestors who fought against kings, tyrants and the nazis to secure our rights to say what we think in our own country.”

    What a ridiculous generalisation. Some immigrants are in favour of more immigration, some want less, and some think it is about the right level. Ditto for those born here. Yes, some people do try and restrict free speech- but these people are a cross-section of society once gain. Immigrants are not involved in some mass conspiracy to ‘swamp’ this country and crush the aboriginal Brits.

    “The politics of almost all immigrants is based solely on their ethnicity.”

    Again, you are wrong. You only have to read this site a few times to know that your statement is not true at all. Some immigrants do let their ethnicity inform their politics, but there are plenty of individuals who vote on issues such as crime, or taxes, or schools. May I ask where you get these strange conceptions of immigrant life in Britain?

    “If they had become assimilated then they would abandon their politics based on their ethnicity and support free speech and an end to immigration as all Britons do ( who arent members of the Labour party who want cheap votes, members of the tory party who want cheap labour and members of the Liberal party who hate both themselves and Britain ).”

    So you can only be British if you hate immigrants? Where did that definition come from? I am British, as British as you, and I do not hate immigrants. What am I then?

    ” THE MEDIA LIE AS THE PRIMARY ROLE OF THE MEDIA IS TO PIMP OUT AND GET ELECTED THE POLITICAL PARTIES THEY OWN.

    THEREFORE THE IDEA THAT MEDIA TELL THE TRUTH ABOUT THE BNP IS SOMETHING ONLY MORONS BELIEVE.”

    The media tell us that the BNP are a bunch of nasty immigrant-haters who spew forth wild generalisations that have no basis in reality. You seemed to have confirmed that. What specific things did the media lie about in the case of the BNP then?

  110. Edsa — on 30th November, 2007 at 12:52 pm  

    Guestworker posed the following ‘great question’:
    DO THE NATIVE PEOPLES OF EUROPE POSSESS THE RIGHT TO PURSUE LIFE CONDITIONS NECESSARY FOR THEIR COLLECTIVE SURVIVAL?

    Jai rightly asked for “the native peoples of Europe” to be defined. I would go further and ask:
    What are the boundaries of Europe?

    J-B Duroselle’s book “Europe: a history of its peoples” (London, Viking 1990)was proudly sponsored by the European Commission (EC) and promoted as essential reading for all Europeans.
    The book says: “The original inhabitants of western Europe were white-skinned, barely touched by the Mongol invasions – or by Asian and African immigrants until after World War II.”

    It says much more but no where are the boundaries of Europe mentioned. So let’s clarify that the EU includes territories outside the mainland:

    France claims four possessions (overseas departments): Reunion (in the Indian Ocean), Guyana (South America), Martinique and Guadaloupe (in the Caribbean). These are considered as much part of France as Brittany. Payments are made in euros and the inhabitants are ‘citizens of the EU’ with voting rights in the Euro Parliamentary elections, right to travel freely in EU.
    In addition, there are three French colonies that come under the EU’s legal framework for Overseas Countries & Territories (OCTs). These citizens are EU citizens with ‘European’ passports who can vote for the Euro Parliament.

    SPAIN claims Ceuta & Melilla in Morocco (and a little island, Perejil, just 200 meters from Morocco) as an integral part of the EU.
    So what of the non-white natives of these outposts?

    And what of the vast indigenous lands grabbed by Europeans in the Americas, South Africa (until recently) and Australasia? Are these European settlers different from the natives of the EU? Shouldn’t they return to Europe and leave the indigenous peoples to pursue their own lives and strategies of survival, unhindered by aliens?

  111. sonia — on 30th November, 2007 at 1:01 pm  

    So the BNP doesn’t want an open pluralistic society, so don’t vote for them then. can’t see what that has to do with them going to a debating society! why should we echo their behaviour and let them influence us? that’s where we disagree ( not me not getting something, as you like to think when people disagree with you. ) Frankly Refresh i think the Quran is full of encouragement towards hateful activities and discourages an open pluralistic society, and we have proof in history of the sort of thing that has been regulated thanks to our wonderful religion – like sex slavery – however you dont see me telling YOU refresh to not read your Quran or be a good little Muslim boy,. or saying that Mosques should be banned and not allowed to exist and no Muslim organisations should be on TV. SO i would suggest you think very carefully about the ramifications of what you are suggesting, because hate and lack of tolerance could very much apply to your religion.

  112. sonia — on 30th November, 2007 at 1:04 pm  

    And really, coming up with the line, they’re torturers, they will torture you! therefore we should do the same to them, to show WE are morally superior, is a load of tosh to me. If we’re going to do that sort of thing, frankly let’s not pretend we’re not all equally fascistic.

  113. Refresh — on 30th November, 2007 at 1:56 pm  

    Sonia, I do think you are going overboard.

    You are not addressing the questions and confusing it all with ‘this and that’.

  114. John Standing — on 30th November, 2007 at 2:47 pm  

    Jai tries to flog “diversity” (meaning him living in England) as a prodcer of hybrid vigour. But he doesn’t understand the basic science …

    Let there be a gene that exists in two versions, A and a; each individual has two copies of this gene. Therefore, an individual could be AA, aa or Aa. Let the beneficial genotype be Aa. If one crosses AA with aa, all first generation hybrids will be Aa. If the first generation hybrids breed among themselves at random, the ratio AA:Aa:aa = 1:2:1, i.e., the desired genotype is present among only half the second generation hybrids. It is for this reason that corn farmers would maintain the original parental stocks and cross them to obtain hybrid vigor, but not allow the hybrids to reproduce among themselves. Obviously, among humans this is not applicable. The example considered here is a single-gene case, but if hybrid vigor is applicable to interracial breeding among humans with respect to multiple genes, then it should be clear that it will be drastically reduced among second and subsequent generation hybrids.

  115. John Standing — on 30th November, 2007 at 2:51 pm  

    Of course, that doesn’t take acoount of the fact, in Jai’s case, that NO hybrid vigour derives from destroying the European genotype. The whole notion is dishonest, and an apology for a policy of genocide.

  116. Jai — on 30th November, 2007 at 3:32 pm  

    John Standing,

    Amongst other academic qualifications I actually have a degree in biomedical science from a redbrick university affiliated with one of the UK’s top medical research institutions, and am therefore fully aware of the science involved. I was using the “hybrid vigour” example as an analogy for the benefits of cultural and social diversity, not “breeding”.

    However, I’m sure many other people here will appreciate the genetics primer, so thank you for your input.

  117. Cover Drive — on 30th November, 2007 at 3:34 pm  

    To me the fact that the naturalised immigrants are almost always the most vocal enemies of free speech and the advocates for an open door policy on immigration is itself the most powerful rebuttal of the idea that they have become ‘assimilated’.

    This is not the case. Many of them want tighter immigration controls. In 2005 when Michael Howard made immigration the main theme of the Tory party election campaign a poll carried out by BBC’s Asian Network radio station showed that 60% of them felt there were too many immigrants in Britain:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/vote_2005/frontpage/4514245.stm

    Clearly there are people who vote BNP because they feel the other parties are failing them. White working class boys do worse in than any other racial group. The UK is one of the worst countries for social mobility in the developed world: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/06/26/nsocial126.xml

    I think the government needs to address the bread and butter issues affecting the white working class like housing, education and social mobility. I’m glad some of the media (BBC in particular) has been giving coverage to this.

    THE MEDIA LIE AS THE PRIMARY ROLE OF THE MEDIA IS TO PIMP OUT AND GET ELECTED THE POLITICAL PARTIES THEY OWN.

    Rubbish. Different papers have different political affiliations but ultimately the people decide on who gets elected.

    Oxford University has indeed invited some colourful controversial and comical characters in the past and I’m sure the tradition will continue.

  118. Jai — on 30th November, 2007 at 3:39 pm  

    Incidentally, the various human groups are not actually separate species, so the concept of “hybrid vigour” in the literal sense does not apply to us.

    However, a greater degree of diversity within a group (and humans ARE a single group in the macro sense of being members of the same species, although you can also apply this in the national, regional and/or “tribal” sense) does increase the ability of the group to successfully deal with a wider variety of situations due to the different strengths, experiences and viewpoints that each subgroup brings on-board, and also reduces the risks associated with excessively uniform linear thinking and homogeneous negative traits & beliefs.

  119. Jai — on 30th November, 2007 at 3:50 pm  

    ^ Business Strategy 101. Also common sense ;)

  120. Morgoth — on 30th November, 2007 at 5:35 pm  

    Therefore my question: do we possess the right to pursue conditions conducive to our survival?

    Survival? Kelly Holmes (to take one example) is 100, no, a million times the Briton than Nick Griffen could ever hope to be. And the future of this country is assured with shining eggs like her about.

    Lets have, as Rumbold (I think) said upthread, lots more inter-”racial” marriages – the sooner a shitty little inconsequntial accident of nature (skin colour) is made irrelevant beyond the point of total irrelevance the better.

    The BNP are nasty little collectivist thugs, just like their brothers-in-arms the SWP et al, no matter how much of a veneer you try to put on it, Lee Barnes.

  121. douglas clark — on 30th November, 2007 at 5:50 pm  

    Good God!

    A post of Morgoths’ that I agree 100% with. Well said that man!

  122. Don — on 30th November, 2007 at 6:41 pm  

    ‘It appears that one set of generalisations is ok ( about the BNP ) BUT generalisations about immigrants arent. Is that correct?’

    Well, yeah. Seeing as one is a self-identified organisation with a set agenda and the other isn’t. Fairly obvious, isn’t it?

    And, indeed, well said Morgoth.

  123. Jai — on 30th November, 2007 at 7:32 pm  

    It’s interesting that, despite all the verbal sophistry they have been using, none of our BNP-supporting drive-by commenters have stated clearly and unequivocally exactly why they want to “keep Britain white” or indeed why they are so adamantly against the notion of what our American cousins call miscegenation. Why the obsession with “racial purity” ?

    *****************************

    A post of Morgoths’ that I agree 100% with. Well said that man!

    And, indeed, well said Morgoth.

    Agreed completely, on this particular occasion. Morgoth gets a free orange juice from me, or as I like to call it, a “Virgin Screwdriver”.

  124. Rumbold — on 30th November, 2007 at 8:07 pm  

    Morgoth:

    “Lets have, as Rumbold (I think) said upthread, lots more inter-”racial” marriages – the sooner a shitty little inconsequntial accident of nature (skin colour) is made irrelevant beyond the point of total irrelevance the better.

    I did not say that, but I completly agree with the idea.

  125. douglas clark — on 30th November, 2007 at 8:34 pm  

    It’s a Friday night, what we all need, really, really need is a singalong. Altogether now:

    “What we need is a great big melting pot”..

    C’mon, you two at the back, yeah you, stop standing around looking like wet arsed drips, join in…

    “Big enough, big enough to take the world and all it’s got”…

    Oh well, we really do need a weekend open thread…

  126. douglas clark — on 30th November, 2007 at 9:31 pm  
  127. Cover Drive — on 30th November, 2007 at 10:38 pm  

    Morgoth #123: I agree completely.

  128. douglas clark — on 1st December, 2007 at 12:26 am  
  129. douglas clark — on 1st December, 2007 at 12:41 am  

    My favourite record of all time:

    http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=wjEIP6otc4Y&feature=related

    Nothing to do with the subject, but, it is a lot better than talking to BNP shite, is it not?

  130. sonia — on 3rd December, 2007 at 2:55 pm  

    yes good question jai about racial purity. ive always wondered why so many people are bothered about that. all these people who make a fuss when individuals marry into ‘some other group’ and so many people taking that as an insult to them, as if people marry other people based on what colour they are. ha, what a funny idea.

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