For anyone who has read the post by Gary Younge on Comment is Free entitled, ‘When you watch the BNP on TV, just remember: Jack Straw started all this’, many I’m sure will conclude that he makes some good points. Not least when he notes that:
…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.
But it is no accident that this happened on New Labour’s watch and no small irony that Jack Straw should set himself up as Griffin’s opponent.
In fact I couldn’t agree more. Why put up against the BNP’s Nick Griffin the very man that started the whole niqab furore a few years ago?
As a result, I’m convinced that Griffin will systematically pick that carcass to death as a means of making Jack Straw repeatedly back-track and contradict himself. At the same time, Straw himself will offer the pointless and banal mainstream political party mantra of ‘the BNP are bad’ in the hope that the growing number of people listening to the BNP will suddenly see the metaphorical light. In sum, it will deteriorate into farce.
But it is none of this that struck me most when I read Gary Younge’s post. Instead it was the comment posted by ‘hermionegold’ that had the greatest impact. In a time when we increasingly see – or at least believe – that everything is black or white, right or wrong, ‘hermionegold’ asked the question:
I detest niqab and the BNP. What does that make me?
Is it possible in this day and age to be able to say this in public without provoking a vitriolic backlash?
Is it possible for people to say that they detest a part of a particular religion or at least an interpretation – cultural or otherwise, I’ll leave that for everyone else to debate – of that religion?
And is it possible to be able to say that and not immediately be tarred with the assumption that you are little more than another neo-Nazi in waiting?
And if I or indeed anyone else detest both the niqab AND the BNP, what exactly does that make me?