BNP on the BBC: stupidity or deception?

The BBC is being called on to investigate how two senior members of the British National Party were allowed to appear semi-anonymously on the youth-targeted Radio 1 Newsbeat programme. Mark Collett, BNP publicity director, and Joseph Barber who runs the BNP’s record label Great White Records, were presented as simply “Mark and Joey”. Barber came out with this, regarding the football player Ashley Cole, who was born in London:

Unprompted by either of the activists, she [reporter Debbie Randle] invited them to give their views on Chelsea football star Cole. Born in Stepney, East London, he has now gained his 72nd England cap in the World Cup qualifier against Ukraine, which England lost 1-0. ‘So when you see someone like Ashley Cole play for England, are you happy to watch him?’ she asked. ‘Joey’ replied: ‘If he wants to come to this country and he wants to live by our laws, pay into society, that’s fine.’ ‘But,’ Ms Randle asked, ‘if he wanted to call himself British that would be a problem?’ Joey replied: ‘He cannot say that he’s ethnically British.’ Asked whether it was ‘OK for people who are not white to call themselves British’, he said: ‘You cannot say they are ethnically British. It’s denying our heritage. It’s taking that away from us.’

On the subject of ‘races mixing’, i.e. mixed-race marriages, Collett came out with the usual nonsense of comparing such relationships to the mixing of species, such that there would end up being no giant pandas etc.

These two goons were allowed to present themselves as ‘ordinary Joes’ (literally in Barber’s case) when they are, in fact, men with important roles in the party. This is a known tactic, as the BNP encourages its members to contact phone-ins, which is why Newsbeat received a number of responses sympathetic to the party. However, the BBC, if it is to invite BNP activists to participate in its programmes, it should present them as who they are and question them as robustly as they would anyone else. If they are too dumbstruck by the views they spout or intimidated by their well-earned thuggish image, they should get a backbone or else not invite them at all.

More, from the paper’s website today, by Roy Greenslade and Peter Hain.

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