I'm curious as to the UK atheists and freethinkers opinions on Nick Griffins appearance on TV recently. It seems opposition to/support of his invitation is based around the fundamentals of free speech in the UK. Was the decision right or wrong?
Is it important that free speech is respected no matter how abhorrent the views espoused? Should religious hate-mongers be allowed to spew their venom in public discourse as well?

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I dont think it has made a difference. I live in one of the run down areas of Burnley, speaking to people after the show the bnp supporters deffended him and the anti bnp people said it went there way.
Once they had made the mistake of inviting him they had to follow through so as to appear independent of political pressure. An opportunity was missed because the panel attacked Griffin's ideas more than the policies of his party. Griffin gained some sympathy from a personal attack whereas the dire implications of the BNP's aims where not fully investigated.

If we start to ban people who's opinions we abhor who would be next? I fear that atheists would be high on the list of some people presently in power in the UK.
I'll add this much. Nick Griffin was at times scarcely allowed to finish a sentence, let alone a paragraph, before being interrupted by someone speaking more loudly over him.
But there was one occasion when David Dimbleby read out a Griffin quote which said that Nick Griffin had called Islam an intolerant and a violent religion, and was that correct?
The reply got as far as Griffin saying that the Koran preaches violence against non-believers, ensures that women are forever inferior citizens, and stipulates the stoning to death of women for 'crimes' that are not delivered upon men .......

The audience that had a lot of muslims in it did not like hearing such truths.
I found what was perhaps the quote to which David Dimbleby referred:

Nick Griffin, January 2006 in The Guardian:
"[Islam is a] vicious faith that has expanded from a handful of cranky lunatics about 1,300 years ago... now sweeping country after country before it, all over the world.'"

I found that quote on a Daily Mail web site, where [for comparison] it was followed by these next two quotes made by paid writers of the Daily Mail:

Melanie Phillips: "It is hard not to reach the dismal conclusion that a society faced with violence in pursuit of the goal of overturning Christian values and conquering Britain for Islam turns tail and runs away."

Richard Littlejohn on an ICM poll that even he described as "loaded" (see previous posts on this): "ICM regards the sample group of 500 [Muslims] as 'moderate'. If this is what passes for moderate, heaven help us. Even a leading Muslim Labour MP says the results of the poll are 'alarming'. [...] Are we to see Saudi-style 'Chop Chop Square' executions every Friday in the centre of Bradford?"
Richard Littlejohn is a moron. He'll jump on any bandwagon to further his own publicity. I despise the idiot and the racist, homophobic right wing rag he scrawls for.
Whatever the general feeling...it is probably better that folks can see the man that espouses such nonsense ...and let them make up there own minds as to his veracity!
Democracy must work for all...not just the few...no matter how 'just' those few consider their own views!

Sad point being that Nick Griffin has the advantage of being able to point out the certain issues that do irritate and upset quite a few folks on the streets.
Those issues that the major parties cannot go anywhere near because they are politically sensitive.
I believe polls conducted after the prog suggested that he recieved a 22% increase in proposed support...not saying it will stay there...but the anger on the streets does suggest that it is an issue which the major parties cannot really ignore...or at least do so at their own risk!

I think the man is abhorrent and his party borderline NAZI with a twist of diminished responsibility.
But if folk do vote for BNP in numbers sufficient to elect...then I would say the problem is more on the street then in the actual choice of party .


His party has democratically elected members...there is no choice!

However the part played by the BBC in this debacle should be examined. methinks it was not the exercising of democracy they were championing...but the projected viewing figures!
"I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."

The problem with free speech is that sometimes we will hear things we don't want to. I find everything Griffin says repugnant, however his appearance on QT is as justifiable as any other and more so than most. For me he came across as inept, weaselly and unconvincing. For those reasons alone I am glad he had such a platform. He has shown himself to be incapable of facing a challenge without resorting to petulance.
Personally, I found the BBC's reasons for his appearance on QT as suspect and more to do with ratings than open debate.

That said, I dont find Griffins views re Islam any more offensive than the lies spouted by religious leaders of all stripes, yet that shower of liars are given every courtesy, every semblance of civilised discourse to get their distorted worldview across.

Griffin is addressing what is for thousands of people a perceived problem in their midst, namely that of Islamic fundamentalism and the perception of working class communities across the UK of having been abandoned by the political classes and effectivly sacrificed on the alter of multi-culturalism.

That this is a real problem and demands a real solution should not be doubted yet nobody in power is addressing the issue with anything like the required level of seriousness demanded.

Griffin and his ilk will no doubt take political capitol in the foolish PC attitude of the established political parties. They may even gain a seat in parliament. That he, Griffin and the BNP are prepared to raise this issue is laudable, as for the ultimate aims behind the BNP, I cannot say I know what they are since the man himself, and his Party, are simply treated like lepers every time they are mentioned in the press.
I think they were right to put him on, but they should have asked him about his parties fiscal policies and plans for the NHS. I think if this had been done the boggle eyed bigot would have been completely out of his depth. I used to have to mix with these bnp types, don't think their little thug henchmen don't still go around poking dog shite through peoples letter boxes because they are, in there ignorant minds, too brown. Personally I wouldn't urinate on griffins teeth if they were on fire.

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