A storm of anger greeted the news that the BBC is planning to invite British National Party (BNP) leader Nick Griffin to appear on its flagship Question Time debate programme.
The BBC claims it has to treat the BNP like any other political party now that it has seats in the European parliament.
But the BNP is not like any other party – it is a fascist organisation that stands in the tradition of Adolf Hitler and aims to create an “all white” Britain.
Nick Griffin is a convicted Holocaust denier who has cultivated a series of violent fascist allies across Europe.
Debating with the BNP is pointless – its members try to hide their real aims in order to gain a foothold in political society. Where they make gains, racist violence follows.
Inviting Griffin to appear on Question Time is playing into the fascists’ hands and offering them the respectability they crave.
Anti-fascists are planning to hold a series of protests if the BBC plans go ahead.
Unite Against Fascism (UAF) has also launched a statement for people to sign to show their opposition to giving Griffin a platform on prime-time television.
Weyman Bennett, joint secretary of UAF, said, “The BNP is not a democratic political party. It is a fascist organisation that should be shunned.
“No other party burns golliwogs at its ‘family festivals’ as BNP supporters were filmed doing last month.
“No other party has a leadership stuffed with people boasting criminal convictions for racism and decades of involvement in Nazi politics.
“As a publicly funded body, the BBC in particular has a duty to oppose racism. Black, Asian and Jewish people pay the licence fee too.
“As anti-racists we call on the BBC to stop giving succour to the BNP by inviting its bigots on to our airwaves. It’s time the BBC stopped rolling out the red carpet for racists.”
Many workers inside the BBC have been disgusted by the corporation’s announcement. One BBC worker based in London told Socialist Worker, “There is a lot of anger among BBC workers over this issue.
“Giving the BNP airtime doesn’t expose them – it just gives them a platform and a veneer of respectability.
“I think BBC workers should refuse to work on the programme if Nick Griffin is invited on. And unions such as Bectu and the NUJ should back any workers who take a stand.”