Perpetually repugnant, odious turd, Nick Griffin is in the spotlight, again, this time for a highly offensive tweet. For those fortunate enough to have avoided seeing it retweeted into their timeline, I'll present it here.
Like Griffin himself, it's pretty disgusting. There are calls to have him arrested for posting it. I understand, absolutely, the sentiment behind that desire, however, I do not share it. I believe in freedom of speech, and unfortunately, sometimes that entails hearing, or, in this case, reading, things we'd prefer not to. That is one of the downsides to true, uncensored free speech. Unless specifically inciting violence or criminality, speech should ALWAYS remain protected. There will those who agree with Griffin. One could, theoretically, argue that he is inciting people to be racists, however I firmly believe that any sane person reading his drivel is hardly likely to be converted into a bigot, and in the unlikely event that they are, we absolutely ccannot start arresting people for "thought crimes". Racists, bigots and homophobes exist. That is sad fact of society, one which we have to deal with.
We will not deal with it by arresting people. We counter it by educating people, and, where appropriate, by mocking the archaic views of a clown like Griffin. Thankfully, he is in a minority. Look at the number of "likes" and "retweets" he has had. I've seen photos of people's dinner with more interaction!
We have paid a high price for free speech in this country, and cannot allow it to be eroded by bigoted old farts like Nick Griffin. People have fought in wars and paid the ultimate price, to defend our rights. Certainly, had Griffin continued his tirade with an incitement to violence, I would be among the first to call for his arrest. He hasn't. He's posted something vile, morally defective and bordering on insane. It isn't, however something which should be clogging up the judicial system. It sets a very dangerous precedent which has wider implications for all of us. Shout "bomb" in an airport, or incite violent or criminal behaviour, and that, and only that, is where the line between free speech and illegality is crossed.
Let's be absolutely clear. I am not defending Griffin. I am defending free speech. Nothing more. The same free speech which allows me to call Griffin exactly what he is; an obsequious, pusillanimous puddle of stale pig vomit. I don't support his views. But unless he crosses that fine line into incitement to criminality, I do, with some considerable regret, support his right to hold and share an opinion. No matter how ugly or vile it may be.
Some time ago (back in 2009), I wrote a piece for The Socialist newspaper after the BBC invited Griffin to appear on BBC Question Time. There was a huge brouhaha about it, with many attempting to shut him down. In my article, I defended the BBC's decision to invite him to appear. Below,my out can read my original piece. It is followed by a post-appearance analysis. Whilst he isn't likely to be appearing on the BBC again. I believe the points raised are as relevant now as they were then.
From "The Socialist". Presented in it's original, unedited form.
Issue 595 of The Socialist presents an interesting argument condemning the BBC’s decision to allow the repulsive BNP leader Nick Griffin a voice. How many times have we slammed the door in the faces of those we don’t wish to hear? Probably quite a few! However, I believe that sometimes we must open the door and listen in order to truly understand that which we despise.
Pointing to the decision by the BBC to deny Bob Crow a voice on Question Time, does not justify banning Griffin. Of course we are right to feel and this is a perfect opportunity to show the hypocrisy that BBC has displayed. However, rather than calling for the censoring of Griffin, and risking the inevitable claims that we are vindictive and retaliatory, we should be using this opportunity to engage the BBC into proving it is as unbiased and non-partisan as it claims to be!
Slamming the door on the BNP will, in this case, deny the public an opportunity to truly listen to them. Furthermore, it would offer the BNP more publicity as they take to the roof-tops and scream “censorship” giving them a rare opportunity to be morally right! Fighting the censorship of Mr Crow with more censorship is counterproductive in exposing the BNP along with any bias within the BBC. It is also against our inalienable right to Freedom of Speech. We should be arguing for OUR voices to be heard, NOT for the BNP to be silenced.
We must remember that, unfortunately, the BNP were democratically elected, and is a legitimate political party, which some see as a viable alternative to mainstream parties, due to their stance on immigration and the EU. Many others know what the BNP are truly about; seeing beyond the rhetoric into a vile, repulsive cancer on society. They see an inherently racist, homophobic far-right organisation that has no interest in real political change, only in their vile agenda.
As an Atheist, I seldom look to the bible for any anything, but on this it actually offers some sage advice, in just seven words. “By their words, you shall know them”…
In allowing them to appear on QT, they will be under scrutiny from EVERYONE, regardless of political affiliation, and while the questioners may be “cherry-picked”, the public will be watching. Regular viewers will have seen the reaction to the MP expenses scandal and watched as those MP’s were mocked and embarrassed in their pathetic attempts to redeem themselves.
In the same way, LET the public see Griffin, question him and make the judgement as he shows the true face of their “party. While this will inevitably embolden a few already ardent BNP supporters, it will lose them MUCH more than it will ever gain. It will expose them for what they really are. Do we really want to call on the BBC to silence that opportunity?
I believe the vast majority of the British public are intelligent enough to make their own decisions regarding the BNP, but they cannot do so without being exposed to them in all their “glory”. One can only comment on the pain of a snake bite, when bitten...
Let Griffin bite; his venom will soon become apparent as it flows through, and is flushed out of, the hearts and minds of ordinary, decent people, who will, as with the snake, come to regard him, and his repugnant party, with considerable caution, aware of the very real danger they pose.
Give Griffin a verbal spade, courtesy of the BBC, and he WILL dig his own deep, dark hole and with any luck, fall down it! We will be there to see him plummet…
Post Question Time analysis, again, presented in it's original form.
SO… BNP leader and societal parasite Nick Griffin got his platform on Question Time, and is most definitely NOT happy. He is launching an official complaint with the BBC for facing a “lynch mob” (an activity I’m surprised he isn’t volunteering for!).
If Griffin thought he was going to get an easy ride, he was a tad mistaken, and the fear people had that he would be allowed to use QT as a platform for political promotion has been allayed.
I’m not sure what he hopes to achieve with his complaint. It wasn’t an unfair or biased audience; it wasn’t a lynch mob; it was representative of what the vast majority of sensible British people believe, and those that were on the fence will almost certainly have leapt off in the other direction.
Already looking decidedly uncomfortable on a panel consisting of Baroness Warsi, (Conservative Minister, and influential Muslim), and Bonnie Greer, the Black playwright and Director of the British Museum; two very erudite panellists who seemed more than capable of dealing with the Griff-meister and his rhetoric, at times he was visibly shaking, looking more like an addict in need of a fix than a political force to be reckoned with.
He did manage to garner applause on two occasions. One, which appeared to be from ONE person, who was then given equal short shrift by the rest of audience. Half a dozen people did applaud his criticism of Islam, as he singled out the fundamentalist aspects of the religion, quoting some of the more unpleasant passages from the Qur'an, whilst ignoring the equally vile passages from other religious texts, including the Bible. At no point did he reference the 99% of moderate Muslims, who are every bit as repulsed, by terrorism, fundamentalism and the dangerous aspects of Qu’ranic interpretation, as the rest of society.
To say Griffin had a rough ride is a little like his charming quote that “Perhaps Adolf went ‘a bit too far’ during WWII”. His sudden u-turn on the Holocaust (in, according to him, “light of new evidence”!), and his denial of that terrible period of human history was as transparent as a glass of water. Denying quote after quote, only to be faced with evidence to the contrary, he sweated, shook and was clearly unprepared for the onslaught he faced.
Had it not been for the fact he is a vile, homophobic, racist idiot, with all the charm and personality of Jabba the Hutt, it would have been the stuff of high comedy! There are already rumours of BNP members calling for him to step down. He showed his true colours, as resplendent as a peacocks tail, but without any of the inherent beauty. The cheap veneer fell away piece by piece, with every exercising of his larynx, and it was a joy to watch, safe in the knowledge that practically every word that spewed from his mouth was another vote “down the drain”.
There are going to be hard-line BNP supporters who will agree with Griffin, backing his complaint and waxing lyrical about the “ultra-left” BBC, who gave him such a hard time. I believe, as my parents used to say, the old adage… “Awww, diddums!” will apply, as his complaint holds as much water as a sieve.
Nicky Boy.. you got exactly what you wanted, and exactly what you deserved; crying to Auntie about it because you proved yourself to be a nasty, bigoted fool, with no political knowledge whatsoever only makes you look even more foolish, if indeed that is possible.