Saturday, November 24, 2007

The Oxford Union invite will only help legitimise the BNP

The Oxford Union has voted to go ahead with the invite to the British National Party (BNP) leader Nick Griffin and Holocaust denier David Irving to speak at a free speech event at the Union on Monday November 26th. Despite opposition, the Oxford Union Debating Society members voted by a margin of 2 to 1 to continue to extend the invite made some weeks ago.

As I stated earlier in the week, debating with the likes of Griffin and Irving may well prove intellectually stimulating for some members of the Oxford Union but the realpolitik is that the BNP is very keen to be seen as moving into the mainstream of British politics, an invite from the Oxford Union may well help the BNP in achieving this ambition.

The racist, bigoted politics of hatred expounded by the BNP will, as a result of the Oxford Union's invite, help the likes of Griffin secure some short term political credibility. In the minds of some the invitation will signify that the views of the far right are gaining in respectability.


Welshcakes Limoncello said...

I agree. The Oxford Union are playing into their hands.

Lord James-River said...

I see the other argument that they're going to take these "guests" down but that has a habit of backfiring. They will have their arguments at the ready.

It's not going to help, methinks, to have invited them.

ThunderDragon said...

It does, however, also expose them to criticisms of their ideas. How does it make sense to hold a debate on free speech and then to back down on inviting those with controversial views? It would be most ironic.

I really don't think that it gives them any more credibility or mainstream appeal.

Also, people aren't so stupid as to change their opinion of people/groups because they have been invited to speak in a student debate.

fake consultant said...

might i suggest, in a sound byte and youtube world, that any percieved improvement in the bnp's standing among the public will depend on an absence of useable quotes that can be thrown against them.

more and more we are seeing disassociated third parties "taking matters into their own hands" by posting the foolishness of the opposition online; and the union's inability to capitalize on any gaffes may be less important than it looks today.

Tony said...

Pretending the BNP are not there or trying to deny them a platform plays into their hands. I still believe the way to keep the BNP on the margins is to tackle their arguments head on and defeat them.

This story is like deja vu because it is similar to the one in May this year at the University of Bath. My thoughts then have not changed.

We can see what happens when mainstream politicians and institutions ignore the BNP threat and leave them to have a free ride.

Harry Haddock said...

Yes, Ion, free speech is a crap idea. You and your mates should decide what we are all allowed to speak about, and we should all be bloomin' thankful for your wisdom.

Some of us believe in free speech ~ I'm not surprised you want to shut down the BNP, they are almost against it as your lot. If it wasn't for their racism, you'd have a lot in common.

mutleythedog said...

My old friend Dr Julian Lewis was on Today this morning talking about this. I just thought I would mention it...

Richard Brennan said...

If these arguments aren't confronted by the Union, they won't go away. They'll be said, not by Nick Griffin, but by smooth-talking young men and women on the doorsteps of target areas-areas with high unemployment and higher crime, which always helps when you want to scapegoat someone

If Griffin and Irving are defeated, the press will reflect this ridicule and shatter their vote.

Phil A said...

Re “In the minds of some the invitation will signify that the views of the far right are gaining in respectability.”

Hopefully only within the logically challenged community. Though come to think of it - possibly they actually are within Labour hierarchy ‘British Jobs for British workers’, etc.

Those against them should have sent their very best to attend the debate, ready and rehearsed to tear Griffin and Irving’s ideas apart.

All disrupting the debate does is to make Griffin and Irving look semi reasonable by comparison, swamp out the fact that their ideas don’t stand up in a debate to examination in the clear light of day and betray the authoritarian credentials of the protestors.

From what I understand Irving in particular made a pretty pathetic showing but no one seems to have noticed in all the bluster.