Anti-BNP Protest Grows

All-day picket planned outside Television Centre

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An anti-fascist group which is spearheading a protest against the appearance of the BNP leader on Question Time next Thursday (October 22), now say they plan to hold an all-day picket outside Television Centre in Wood Lane.

United Against Fascism (UAF), who were leafleting outside Shepherd's Bush Market Tube station on Saturday (October 17) have announced: “On Thursday 22 October UAF supporters will be mounting an all-day picket outside the BBC Centre on Wood Lane, west London, leafleting BBC workers to explain our case for why the BNP should not be welcome on our airwaves. That evening we will be holding a mass demonstration outside the BBC studios where Question Time will be recorded. Our sister campaign Love Music Hate Racism is hosting a post-demo social and gig at a nearby venue.”

Ken Livingstone, chair of Unite Against Fascism and former mayor of London, said the BBC should withdraw its invitation to Nick Griffin to appear on Question Time. “A court ruled this week that the fascist BNP's membership rules illegally discriminate on grounds of race. This is only part of the picture. When the BNP is given a major media platform for its message of bigotry, race and religious hatred, hate attacks by thugs on the streets increase.

"The public do not pay license fees to have them abused by the BBC to help people spread hatred and intolerance. If the BBC continues with this policy it will share responsibility for the crimes against minorities which will follow."

Hammersmith and Fulham council have complained that the BBC should hold the event elsewhere or pay for any extra security measures. But the BBC told the Guardian they would not foot part of the bill for any extra policing, saying it would be the Metropolitan police and not the council who would be providing the service.

The local Conservative parliamentary candidate, Shaun Bailey, commented: “This Thursday will see Nick Griffin MEP, take his place on the BBC‘s Question Time show, in spite of protests from various sections of the media.

“Although a party of a despicable nature and inherently racist, the BNP have made regrettable political gains in the past few years. As far as I’m concerned, the only way to deal with this type of extremist is to challenge them head on. Only when these people are challenged through dialogue and their ideas placed under the scrutiny of discussion, can we expose them for the bigoted, racists that they are.”

BNP leader Nick Griffin is due to appear on Question Time with the African-American writer and broadcaster Bonnie Greer, Justice Secretary Jack Straw, the Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman Chris Huhne, and Baroness Warsi, the Conservative spokeswoman for community cohesion, who is of Pakistani origin.

The BNP have slammed the “hysterical media” coverage of the event, saying: “Mr Griffin will be on a panel with four hostile members, a hostile host and a hand-picked audience, all of whom will be baying for blood.

“It is, in fact, a form of bear baiting. Mr Griffin will be there to represent an opinion which is usually never aired on the controlled BBC, and it is possible that he will not even be given the chance to complete a single sentence.”

A YouGov survey for the Sunday Times found the public backed Griffin's invitation to appear on Question Time by 63% to 23%.

October 19, 2009