A collaborative blog for Current Affairs and Policy Debate

BNP membership rules raises far more interesting questions

In Uncategorized on March 13, 2010 at 8:18 pm

By Stephen Wan

The British National Party are racist. It’s a simple fact, one that everyone knows, and one that the members of the BNP obviously know, even if they can’t say it. Their membership policy of “whites-only” is clearly discriminatory against non-white people, and if we wanted to live in a society that accepts everyone equally regardless of race, then the recent court ruling against the BNP should be considered a good thing.

Nonetheless, as loathe as I am to agree with Nick Griffin about anything, the interference by a government funded body to “the aims and objectives of political parties” is a disturbing precedent. In a Liberal Democracy, it seems only right that political parties be allowed to form to achieve whatever aims they wish, accepting whichever members they want, without being in a sense controlled by an independent body. There is a right for a political party to accept or bar people from their memberships according to any policy they choose to, and it is not up to us to make them choose otherwise, or else we run into the danger of forcing our beliefs on others, becoming no better than they are.

It would be far better to leave their membership policy on its own, as a testament to the racist and discriminatory nature of the party, to be confronted by reasoned debate and rationality (not egg-throwing and violence, as Unite Against Fascism seems to think).

Nor does adding more media attention to the British National Party doing the BNP much harm, particularly as it positions itself as the party for civil liberties, persecuted by the political establishment for providing an alternative point of view.

It would be a much more delightful sight to see Griffin (who is no Hitler, no matter how you look at him) ranting and shouting whilst the rest of us pretend to listen and nod our heads, politely looking at our watches, or walking quickly by.

Of course, the EHRC’s role was to uphold the law, with no political agenda involved whatsoever. For that, it can’t be faulted. However, this shouldn’t be considered a victory against fascism; merely a re-drawing of the lines, and a herald for further battles to come.

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