23 October, 2009

Voices From The Front Line

Far too much ink has already been spilled over Griffin's day in the sun, so briefly and bulleted as I can;
  • Thanks, BBC. Anytime you get a chance to give record exposure and star billing to the nation's leading exponent of race hate, you've got to do it. Props for using your news network to give this one that extra publicity, to really make it a must-watch.
  • Much though we should give the british population a little credit, the notion that fascists will automatically discredit themselves given a chance requires a distinctly culturally biased reading of politics. We have many airbrushed politicians. The BNP's entire target audience are not, in fact, turned off by unprofessional presentation - how often do we hear that "at least [Griffin] says what he thinks?" In many quarters his "non-PC," slip-strewn delivery is held to be a virtue.
  • Indeed, the very basis of "No Platform" is that fascist arguments are not rational, and are not targeted at rational actors. The success of reasoned debate, therefore, is limited. There are no shortage of people who disapprove of the BNP - but any number of individuals won over by Griffin can have destructive impacts - on communities and individual lives.
  • The Greens polled 2.4% higher in the European elections, and yet are able to break wind without attracting national attention. Probably rightly, but it is the middle class's (by way of the beeb) morbid obsession with the BNP that made them the pre-eminent force in UK politics on the 22nd of October. Everyone needs a bogeyman - a convenient villain to rally against, a particularly despicable opposition to measure oneself by.
  • Many have noted that fascism can be viewed as a simple socio-political index, an indicator of the effectiveness of the democratic process, like the murder rate, or unemployment. I certainly feel the extreme right will always raise its head periodically, as mainstream parties get tired, corrupt, ideologically moribund. Additionally, the economy will always have its stops and starts.
  • There are two parts to combating fascism. i) The Outrage is straightforward, and we've got that down pat. ii) Democracy is difficult. A democratic population requires non-superficial choices between understandable policies and ideologies, translated into observable actions by public servants they trust. It goes without saying that the rampantly anti-parliamentarian, anti-democratic, private-tie-in approach favoured by the government of the past 12 years has not helped in this regard.
  • Case study: French presidential elections 2002, 2007. Admittedly, there was a backlash against Le Pen's Front National after his huge success in the first round of voting in 2002 - outrage works! However, 5 years later the extremists were relegated to 4th place, although France was not a wholly different place. A hard-fought contest between genuinely Right - Left mainstream parties dominated the election, and Le Pen was made a footnote.
  • Functional democracy must also be continually rejuvenated at a grass-roots level - politics does not occur at the polls, a population earns its government day by day. It is hard work and this fact has been completely hidden by the "YES/NO ON RACISM" furore of the past month.
  • Freedom of speech involves prime-time audiences on QT? Give me a fucking break.
And many more gripes besides. I hope I'm not right about all of this - because David Cameron does not seem a wholly-representative, policy-centric, ideologically-fervent pro-democracy/anti-nazi panacea.

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