| || ||Columnists Gary Younge (pictured left, The Guardian) and Steve Richards (pictured right, The Independent) comment on the political trajectory that has led to us to the point where the leader of the racist BNP, Nick Griffin, is able to appear on BBC1's Question Time programme. |
'Three years ago this month Jack Straw argued his case for urging Muslim women who attend his MP's surgery to remove their niqab. He said that he wanted to start a debate. In this, at least, he was successful.
'Tomorrow night the conversation that Straw started will follow its logical, lamentable path as he takes his seat alongside the British National party leader, Nick Griffin, on the panel of Question Time.'
‘There is little doubt that once the BNP is on Question Time, Jack Straw – or indeed anyone in the New Labour hierarchy – is in no position to take the fight to it. The same is true for most of the rest of the British political establishment that will be represented on the panel – they have either actively colluded or passively acquiesced in the political trajectory of the past decade.'The BNP's victories are a product of our politics. Its defeat, when it comes, will necessarily be a product of a change in our politics. But since New Labour's politics enabled the BNP, it is in no position to disable it. The BNP is a bottom feeder. But the system is rotting from the head down.’
‘…the expenses' saga is a gift wrapped crisis for the BNP. At a time when voters feel insecure their disillusionment with elected politicians is seemingly vindicated. Parts of the media play their role too in the decline of mainstream parties, implying that virtually all politicians are crooks and liars. Their treatment of the last three Prime Ministers should have been a perfect recruiting agent for the BNP.
'Those who watch [Question Time] uneasily tonight should remember that in the end the only potential beneficiary of the relentless attacks on democratic politics as a vocation is a party that loathes democracy. Perhaps it is time for the MPs' expenses saga to be put in some sort of context. …The BNP is useless, but it does not deserve a helping hand.’
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