The Appalling Strangeness highlights Peter Hain’s refusal to appear on Question Time with the BNP and comments:
No doubt Hain sees his boycott as a chance for him to champion himself as a progressive politician refusing to give the cowardly and ignorant BNP a real platform in this country. Unfortunately, he comes across as the coward. He comes across as a man who won’t debate the BNP because he is afraid of making his case. Regardless of his intentions, ducking a debate with the BNP isn’t the noble thing to do. The BNP are a political reality in this country. Failing to engage them on their idiotic policies will only work to help them. The more they are unchallenged, the more influential they will become.
This is no doubt partly true. But given what the ASI lists as some of the BNP’s policies, I suspect Hain doesn’t think them idiotic at all:
- The protection of British companies from unfair foreign imports
- The renationalisation of monopoly utilities and services
- Bring hospital cleaning back in-house and make high cleanliness a top priority
- More emphasis must be placed on healthy living with greater understanding of sickness prevention through physical exercise, a healthier environment and improved diets
- Develop renewable energy sources such as off-shore wind farms, wave, tidal and solar energy
- The introduction of a system of workfare for those in unemployment benefit for more than six months with compulsory work and training in return for decent payment
- Take all privatised social housing stock back under local democratically controlled council ownership
Perhaps Hain sees, as do the rest of us who are not blinded by polemic, that the only thing that separates the BNP from its more traditional rivals is its racism. And if the BNP refuse to be engaged on their racism, and want to talk about their platform of social justice instead, Hain and everybody else are going to find themselves in the unenviable position of agreeing with the BNP but not wishing to admit it. And so the BNP will come across as being quite firm in their ideas, whilst the three main parties flail about trying to show that their sort of social justice is somehow demonstrably different from the BNP’s.