BNP leader Nick Griffin @ BBC Question Time

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木曜日、BBCの討論番組「Question Time(クエスチョン・タイム)」に、極右政党のBritish National PartyBNP、英国国民党)のNick Griffin(ニック・グリフィン)党首が出演、ここ数日、メディアはこの話題でもちきりだ。Question Timeは、パネラーとして出演する政治家や有名人と会場にいる聴衆が質疑応答する、真面目な時事番組。内容が内容だけに人気番組とは言えないのだが、グリフィン党首が出演した日は、テレビを観ている人の約半数、8百万人ものイギリス人がQuestion Timeを見たそうだ。私は基本的に討論番組が嫌いなので、Mが討論番組を見ようとする度に(Mは大の討論番組好き)、リモコンを無理矢理奪ってチャンネルを変えていたのだが、今回はあんまりメディアが騒いでいるので、興味半分で見てみた。

BNPは、現在、国会に議席はないものの、最近支持を拡大しており、いくつかの地方議会議席の他、6月に行われた欧州議会でも2議席獲得している。グリフィン党首の出演が決まった際は、人種差別を助長するとしてBBCを批判する意見が目立ったが、BBC側は、BNPは合法な政党であり、ある程度の国民の支持を得ているので、いつまでも排除するわけにはいかないからと、党首の出演に踏み切ったとしている。

BNPの移民排除やホロコーストの否定等の思想・主義は批判に値するけれど、イギリスメディアのBNPへの反応はちょっと過剰だ。BBCの外で行われたデモはまるで狂信者の集団だったし、Question Timeは、司会者、パネラー、会場の聴衆の反応は、集団リンチか魔女裁判のよう。質疑応答を旨とするQuestion Timeの趣旨に反し、グリフィン党首が話そうとすると誰かしらの横やりが入り、答えにならない。彼の言ったことに対して論理的に反論するならまだしも、話もさせないなら、呼んだ意味がないではないか。民主主義を強く信じるイギリス人が、自分たちの気に入らないことには「言論の自由」の制限を正当化する。それじゃあ、彼らの理論で「社会の安定のため」に言論の自由を制限をする中国やイラン等と一緒じゃないの?

その後のメディアの反応も、グリフィン党首やBNPを鬼畜扱い。メディアが、どんなに彼やBNPが悪党かを声高に語ろうとする度、なんだか押し付けがましく感じる。メディアに教えていただかなくても、BNPの言い分を聞いて何が正しいか正しいか判断する脳みそを私も持っている。メディアの意図が人々のBNPの支持を弱めようとするのであれば、残念ながらあまり効果が上がっていない気がする。人は「弱いものいじめ」に拒否感を感じるものだ。あんまり叩かれすぎると、逆に同情心を煽ることもある。テレグラフ紙によると、Question Timeの後の調査で、3分の2はBNPには絶対投票しないと答えているものの、5人に1人はBNPに投票する可能性があると答えた。メディアは、BBCが出演を許したことが理由だと言っているが、BBCが責められるとすれば、グリフィン党首の出演を許したことではなく、ヒステリックな対応を控え、グリフィン党首の発言に対して冷静に反論するよう、議論をコントロールすべきだったことだと思う。またメディアも、グリフィン党首を大々的に取り上げ過ぎだ。メディアがわーわーと騒ぐから、今まで関心のなかった人まで、BNPに注目するようになったんだと思う。

私も「移民」だから、自分の首を絞めるようなBNPの政策には同意できないが、BNP支持者の気持ちもわからなくない。ジャーナリストは、移民に自分の仕事を脅かされるわけじゃないし、公共住宅や治安の悪いエリアに住んでいるわけでもないから、所詮人ごと。ご大層に理想の社会を語れるが、結局しわ寄せが来るのが、移民と競合する労働者層や貧困層なのだ。彼らは人種主義者というより、多数の移民の流入による、社会の急速な変化に不安を感じている。また自分たちの払った税金や政府の予算の多くが、移民たちのための公共住宅や医療等の福祉に使われているのに不満を抱き、これらの「英語も喋れず、イギリス社会に溶け込む努力もせず権利だけを主張」する移民たちによって、伝統的なイギリス文化が破壊されつつあると感じている。割安で人の嫌がらない仕事をする移民は、イギリス経済に貢献しているのだろうけれど、一般市民にとっては結局、社会全体の利益より自分たちの生活の方が大事なのだ。そして、これらの一部の閉鎖的な移民たちのせいで、イギリス社会やその価値観に敬意を持ち、社会に溶け込もうとしている移民たちの評判も悪くなってしまう。

何より、不況下とは言え、政府や野党を含む既存の政党が、不況の影響を深刻に受けている貧困層の不安を汲み取って、政策に反映しないことが一番の問題なのだ。BNPの支持が伸びているのは、他の政党が彼らの不満に対して何もできないから。Question Timeでも労働党保守党自由民主党(Liberal Democrats)のイギリス3大政党の政治家も出演、偉そうなこと言っていたが、結局彼らが人々が納得する解決策を示せないから、BNPに票が流れるんじゃないのかな。

Nick Griffin, a leader of far-right British National Party (BNP), made his first appearance in BBC’s Question Time on last Thursday, and this has caused a huge media sensation in UK. Question Time is a topical debate television program, and the show typically features politicians as well as other public figures who answer questions put to them by the audience. Question Time is not the most popular program in UK, due to the serious nature of the show, but the day’s show with Mr. Griffin attracted almost 8 million viewers, about a half of people who were watching TV at the time of the day. I hate to watch a debate, and I snatch a remote every time M starts to watch a debate program (M loves debate) and change the channel. But because of the media constantly talking about the program, I watched Question Time for the first time from a curiosity.

Though BNP is not represented in Parliament, but recently has gained popularity and holds two European Parliament seats won in June 2009, as well as several local council seats. There is a big criticism against BBC’s decision to feature Griffin that it may increase racial attacks, but BBC explains that BNP is a legal political party and has a certain level of support among people, therefore, “they should have the right to be heard, be challenged, and for the public who take part in Question Time and the viewers to make up their own minds about the views of the BNP. It’s not for the BBC to censor and say they can’t be on.”

Though BNP’s remarks in elimination of immigrants and denial of holocaust must be criticized, the media and some people’s response before and after the show has gone a bit overboard. Demonstration outside BBC studio acted like a fanatic religious cult group. Panels, host, and audience  in the show were acting like a lynch mob and Question Time became like a witch-hunt. Opposed to the purpose of the show, every time Griffin started to talk, anyone interrupted and he couldn’t finish whatever he tried to say. If they didn’t let him talk, what’s the point of inviting him to the show?? People should have logically refuted what Griffin said, instead of acting all hysterical. British should keep up their values in freedom of speech, and I totally agree with BBC’s decision – if you limit freedom of speech because they don’t agree with BNP, then what is the difference with oppressive countries like China or Iran that British love to criticize?? These countries use the same logic to limit freedom of speech in order to “maintain social stability.”

The media response after airing the show were pretty obnoxious too. The louder the media screaming how evil BNP and Griffin are, the more they sound condescending – I can think what is right or wrong based on what BNP say with my own brain, and they don’t have to ‘teach’ me what I should believe. Unfortunately media intention to weaken the support for BNP by attacking harshly doesn’t seem to work out well, I am afraid. People don’t like ‘bullying’ and may feel sympathetic to Griffin, the victim of the attack, no matter how his ideology is. According to the article of the Telegraph, one in five ‘would consider voting BNP’ after Nick Griffin Question Time appearance, though two-thirds said they would not consider voting for the party “under any circumstances”. Media thinks it is a fault of BBC that allowed him in the show, but if BBC has to be blamed, it would be the way they made the show look like public bullying and failed to control the debate to be more civilized. Also it is media’s fault to give Griffin too much attention – people who previously didn’t care about BNP started to pay attention, as a result, this media coverage is helping BNP to have more public support (there are always someone want to go against the mainstream).

I am an ‘immigrant’ myself and I don’t agree BNP’s ideology, but I understand why some people sympathize with BNP. Journalists can talk ideal, because their jobs are not under threat by immigrants and they don’t live in public housing or in the deprived area. The immigration issues don’t affect the journalists but the working class or people under poverty, who have to compete with immigrants in many ways. I don’t think they support BNP because they are all racists but they are just overwhelmed by the rapid change in their society, due to the massive immigration in recent years. They think immigrants unfairly receive cheap public housing and social welfare including health care, paid by British payers. They are also fearful that the British culture and values are being destroyed by the immigrants who can’t speak basic English and don’t bother themselves to integrate with British society but just scream about their ‘rights.’ It makes me upset that these ‘close-minded’ immigrants give a bad name to other hard-working immigrants who give a respect to the land where you are granted to live and make every effort to blend in with the British society. It is true that immigrants who are willing to do dirty jobs with cheaper pay contribute the British economy (for me the idea itself is discriminatory to see immigrants convenient cheap labors), but for most common people, your own life is more important than the public interest, from which they don’t feel like getting benefit.

The real offender of the rise of far-right BNP is the government and politicians of major political parties who cannot understand people’s dissatisfaction and fear and cannot make a policy to ease their worries, especially about immigration. There were politicians from the three major political parties (Labour, the Conservatives, and the Liberal Democrats)) in the Question Time but they failed to give us any reasonable solution, but just accusing how racist Griffin was. For some people, BNP is the only party to understand them and try to do something about it. Just bashing BNP and telling us how bad racism is don’t solve anything.

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One response to “BNP leader Nick Griffin @ BBC Question Time

  1. Pingback: Race: Science’s Last Taboo @ Channel 4 series « everydaylife.style

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