BBC Radio1’s Newsbeat website, aimed at young people and renowned for being a little dumbed down to say the least, has today run a pathetically uncritical interview with two young BNP members. The party is described as ‘controversial’ – not racist – and Joey and Mark are asked to explain their views on what makes someone British:
Do you think it’s OK for people who aren’t white in this country to call themselves British?
Joey: Civic-ly British they are. You cannot say they are ethnically British. It’s denying our heritage. It’s taking that away from us.
At what point do they become ethnically British? How long do they have to be here?
Joey: Well I think it would be an awfully long time before someone would become ethnically British.
So when you see someone like Ashley Cole play for England, are you happy to watch him?
Joey: If he wants to come to this country and he wants to live by our laws, pay into society, that’s fine.
But if he wanted to call himself British that would be a problem?
Joey: He cannot say that he’s ethnically British.
While the BNP members don’t come across as the most intelligent human beings and the interviewer does get a couple of gentle digs in towards the end, the BBC’s decision to run this interview without at least giving a bit of context about the party’s violent, racist and sexist history and policies on a website designed for young people who are assumed to have little political awareness is hugely irresponsible.
I know people are divided on the ‘no platform’ policy – personally, I think Griffin’s appearance on Question Time won’t necessarily be a bad thing providing he faces suitable scrutiny and condemnation from the other participants and audience members – but providing an uncritical platform for BNP members to spout their racist views (couched in pseudo-logic and reason, as ever) to generally apolitical young people is dangerous and completely unnecessary.
UPDATE: One of the interviewees is Mark Collett, who was exposed in this Channel 4 documentary, in which he proclaimed that 1930s Germany was a better place to live than Britain today. “Hitler will live on forever and maybe I will too”, said Collett. He said that he considered AIDS a “friendly disease because blacks, drug users and gays have it.” He also made this sexist little speech which I blogged last year.