We really must make up our minds about the BNP. Then take a decision and abide by it.
Is it a recognized political party or not?
Here in Britain, the BNP is a registered party for election purposes. It is not banned. It is not illegal. It is permitted to put up candidates for election. If they are successful at the ballot, then they become legal councillors, MEPs and, probably quite soon, MPs. Once elected these people are entitled to sit in the chamber to which they have been elected; entitled to draw any pay or expenses and enjoy any resources which go with the job; entitled to their proportional share of committee places; and entitled to the services and everyday courtesy of the officials in that council or assembly.
That is what any other political candidate, duly elected, would be entitled to. As things stand now, a successful BNP candidate should be in no different circumstances.
Yet today we learn that the two new BNP MEPs are finding that nobody is prepared to sit next to them in the European Parliament, and that they believe they are being denied information and consultation afforded to other MEPs. Indeed the European officials have confirmed that they will not be consulting them on some matters.
If we believe that BNP members and candidates are such pariahs that nobody will be prepared to work with them at a Council, in Europe or in Westminster, then the position is quite clear. The law should be changed to ban the BNP from being a recognized political party.
This would, of course, interfere with an individual’s human rights to believe what he/she wishes, to stand as a candidate professing those beliefs, and to vote for candidates who support those beliefs. It would also open the door to future dictatorship where quite moderate parties could be banned.
But we can’t have it both ways. Either we allow the BNP to exist as it does now and afford them all the rights and courtesies afforded to other elected candidates, or we ban the BNP.