The cloud inside the silver lining
A list of BNP members and their contact details has found its way onto the internet. Like many others I am some what lacking in sympathy for those listed. This party has persistently sought to victimise minorities and seek to focus the justifiable anger of many in deprived areas at completely the wrong target just for the sake of promoting their own agenda. They are a vile bunch of utter arseholes and anyone that has supported them will get short shrift from me should they suddenly find themselves rather unpopular. In fact it rather says something about the party in general that they would want to keep their membership secret at all.
Obsolete and the Enemies of Reason both give similar views on this however the whole thing does leave me rather uncomfortable.
In this country we have freedom of speech. I may not like what some people have to say however I think that the situations in which anyone should be censored or in anyway prevented from saying what they believe are few and far between and should in pretty extreme situations. Hence the BNP is a perfectly legal organisation, and in my opinion quite rightly. I believe that the way to deal with nasty bits of work like Nick Griffin is through open and reasoned debate and not through censorship.
Similarly while their are certain jobs that I think are incompatible with membership of the BNP such as the police and military (would you want a BNP member trying to reach the hearts and minds of Afghans?) I think that anyone losing their job over because they are a member is not justifiable and neither are threatening phone calls etc. Yet these things are happening. I may struggle to come up with sympathy but there are also very practical reasons, over and above the head over ruling my hearts desire to point and laugh, for these members not to be victimised.
If we end up with a situation where BNP members are now outed, sacked, attacked etc we could end up with a massive wave of sympathy being directed towards them. Can you imagine if say an elderly man or woman is suddenly beaten up by a lynch mob? A single mum loses her job? Can you imagine if these incidents mount up? It will cause a wave of sympathy. You must remember that the BNP has gained in popularity less because of racist views of those that are members or vote for them but more because the popularity has become increasingly alienated from main stream politics. People are leaning towards them to hurt the major parties as they all look increasingly the same. And if BNP supporters end up being victimised because of something that is, or more importantly is perceived as, the result of the actions of the main stream it is going to entrench extreme views and lean more people towards them.
So while I will have no great sympathy for those being outed on an individual basis I do worry that this sliver line is hiding a very dark cloud.