Thursday, 22 October 2009

UK politics heats up

Thai politics is a subject I've written about partly because, as a politics graduate living in Thailand, it is of natural interest and, secondly, it's quite a unique and interesting system.

For once though, I find UK politics to be a little more interesting (probably because I'm currently in London) - of particular interest is the coming appearance of the far-right British National (BNP) leader Nick Griffin on leading political show Question Time

Griffin's appearance on the show tomorrow (Thursday) evening has certainly ignited a few arguments with many calling for him to be barred from the show. Griffin himself, no stranger to absurd lines (for example Churchill would have been a BNP member), has claimed the publicity as a major boost, even saying thank you to the BBC for the opportunity.

The appearance certainly raises an interesting issue.

In the UK, more than Thailand (which sits 130th on the World Free Press index), there is universal freedom of speech .

However should this extent to the leader of a racist, fascist party whose appearance on a respected program may make his party all the more credible?

Many have argued that BNP views are such that the party is likely to be shown for exactly what it is on live TV, suggesting Griffin's self-proclaimed boost in the spotlight will ultimately be his downfall.

I agree with this line of thought although there is no doubting that, for the BNP's cause, "any news is good news".

The BNP may get a membership spike but it is likely to lose what little mainstream credibility it has and the new members, with such extreme views, would have joined regardless of Griffin's spot on Question Time, which will hasten their arrival rather than cause it.

The show is likely to receive higher than usual viewing figures and I'll be one watching as British politics will rival the craziness of Thailand - just for a night and no longer, we hope.

Photo credit BBC