There is a political debating programme called Question Time on the BBC. When the Tories were in power, it was quite good because one could shout and remonstrate with the television. I personally haven't watched in a long time, partly because panelists haven't been exciting enough, and mostly because France is one hour ahead of the UK and the schedulers have slotted the programme in at a time way past my bedtime.
Question Time has been in the news quite a lot lately, since it was announced that Nick Griffin, leader of the far-right BNP (British National Party) would be one of the panelists on the programme. Hundreds, nay, thousands of hands have been wrung at whether or not the BBC should be giving a platform to a man whose party is regarded by many as racist. I'll let you Google Mr Griffin and his party, so you can make your own mind up about their policies and views. I won't be sending off for membership in any case.
Merely hours away now from the live broadcast, hundreds of protesters have laid siege to the BBC's Television Centre studios in London. The hands that were wringing are now waving placards and the voices that were muttering indignantly are now screeching their disagreement. But it all looks like a massive own goal to me. Any of them familiar with the concepts of "democracy", "free speech" or "freedom of association"? Hmmm. Free speech means allowing others a voice, even if you don't want to hear what they have to say (no one is making you listen, are they?). In a democracy, people can vote for the party of their choosing, for the party they feel best represents them and their views and want they want from government. I certainly hope every single person protesting at Wood Lane tonight voted in the recent European elections. Why? Because by not voting, by not making their voice heard, they are leaving it up to someone else to decide. And the people who do go and vote, well, maybe their choices aren't very savoury, not very palatable.
I support the editors of Question Time. I say, let him speak. And let the nation point and laugh at the ridiculous little man. And be suitably outraged at his objectionable ideas. And let the nation be aware, if you don't use your vote to make your voice heard, somebody else will speak for you. And that somebody might be saying things you don't agree with. And let the mainstream politicians take note. If people have asked Nick Griffin to be their voice, it's because you guys have been so busy fighting over the middle ground (not to mention amongst yourselves), so concerned with pandering to the sensitivities of every imaginable minority ethnic interest group, that you're alienating people. Voters.
So be warned.