Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The National Front Disco

In the event of Morrissey being invited to address the Oxford Union, the scenes outside the building would be most intriguing. Would it be merely a collection of avid fans fussing about the place, or would it be more akin to the protests that greeted fascist BNP leader Nick Griffin and supposed historian David Irving when they were invited earlier this week? His most recent comments to the NME would make the latter a possibility.

For some reason, opinion on the merits or otherwise of offering a platform to fascists at the Oxford Union appear to have been restricted to only two distinct viewpoints: (a) that it's disgraceful to 'legitimise' their views, and the protests are justified, or (b) that it's all part of free speech in a functional democracy and the protests aren't justified. There hasn't been enough mention of the fact that both views are correct. It would be a disgrace if, for instance, Nick Griffin walked away from the debate with more legitimacy than when he walked in, but that would say more about the debating skills of Oxford Union members than the premise of inviting him in itself. Depriving him the platform would only be counterproductive - the best way to deal with fascists is to allow them into the open for their fear and hate-ridden, irrational views to publicly unravel themselves. But equally, the loud protests outside were also essential. Letting them speak, but at the same time rallying against them in a visible way, is positive all round. It's all about registering opposition but not feeding their cause. It's better than forcing them into a neo-Nazi undercurrent where the hate and lies the BNP's appeal is based upon will go uncorrected.

In reality, the scenes earlier in the week were vaguely reminiscent of an operational democracy, which is quite a rare concept in this day and age. Regardless, apart from some satisfaction for Nick Griffin himself, the benefits of addressing the Oxford Union for the BNP are limited, mainly because not a lot of people pay attention to what happens there. I'll be more alarmed when I wake up, switch on the telly and find him sprawled on the red GMTV settee, sipping from a cup of coffee while being lightly carressed by Fiona Phillips ("I do understand Nick, really I do... You're so brave"). Actually, sticking to ITV's morning schedule, I'd like to see Nick Griffin on Jeremy Kyle. Kyle would destroy him, if only through fear of being out-fascisised (not a word) by someone.

As for Morrissey, I find it peculiar that many of his most avid fans are desperate to unconditionally leap to his defence when he comes out with comments like he has. I'm quite wary of claiming to be avid about anything - it takes a lot of effort - but if I'm avid about any number of things then Morrissey and his music would be one of them. The crucial difference, though, is that I'm not blinkered enough to cry foul when a magazine suggests he might be, you know, slightly xenephobic for saying there aren't enough English people in England anymore. Any talk of 'identity' along nationalistic lines baffles me, to be honest. Although the NME is a shitpiece publication these days and I don't doubt for a minute that their intentions are anything other than sinister in the way they've used the interview, Morrissey's words speak for themselves. Silly boy.

N.B. The National Front Disco is a brilliant song.


Blogger D.B. said...

The voice of reason speaks. Spot on, Paddy.

Actually I'm in the middle of hammering out a rant about Morrissey's comments right now. Guess what I was going to call it?

That's right ... National Front Disco. I think a thousand bloggers are probably doing the same at this very moment...

November 29, 2007 10:03 pm  
Blogger Paddy said...

And here's me thinking I was being original.

Your blog on the matter is most excellent by the way. Go and read it people.

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