When I went over to 4 Millbank yesterday, there was a demonstration outside by about 15 members of the PCS trade union. They were objecting to the fact that BNP leader Nick Griffin was being interviewed on the Daily Politics. I had a chat with one of the demonstrators - who turned out to be a reader of the blog and a West Ham fan - who explained their reasons for being there. He thought it was wrong of the BBC to give airtime to someone he regards as a fascist.
While I totally understand their reasons I wonder if they are not misguided. If they get their way and the mainstream media no-platforms BNP representatives, doesn't it just play into their hands? They are, after all, a legitimate political party even if we find many of their views abhorrent. If we deny them the same democratic rights as other parties enjoy we run the risk of them justifiably complaining that the establishment is trying to silence them, and then they become martyrs.
Is it not better to take them head on and expose the nastiness of many of their policies live on TV? If mainstream politicians are unwilling to do that, what does that say? Don't get me wrong, I find it difficult to be in the same room as BNP politicians without feeling like having a shower. But what we must not lose sight of is the fact that many of their new supporters are not skinhead racists. They are perfectly law abiding, normal people who feel let down by the mainstream parties. If normal politicians don't address that soon, and destroy the BNP's superficial appeal to these voters, they will live to regret it.