Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Public funding and the BNP

People who support public funding for political parties freak me out in a way I find difficult to describe. Both NuLabour and the Tories have managed to alienate their 'natural constituencies' to the extent that both have been reduced to receiving dodgy loans and flogging gongs and stuff in order to raise cash to fund their horrible election campaigns full of slogans without any goddam verbs in them.

I'm not happy about this. We already have publicly-funded party political broadcasts and I think the least we tax-payers could expect is a few verbs for our money. So when they make rumblings that we should fork out more for this shit - and when you get a bunch of 'liberal' journalists agreeing with this - it's enough to drive a man to drink. An irrelevant observation since I'm there anyway, but it's upsetting. Which brings me to this:
"POLITICIANS and anti-racism campaigners reacted with outrage last night when it emerged that the far-right British National Party was to get its own election broadcast during this year's Holyrood campaign as well as hundreds of thousands of pounds in free election publicity from the taxpayer."
Thing is, unless you're of the disposition that thinks public provision is always better than private, i.e. you're a Stalinist, it's usually customary to provide some sort of justification for spending other people's dosh on projects they didn't choose to spend it on themselves.

The primary one is the concept of the public good. There's things like national defence, or street-lighting, that people acting in their rational self-interest would conceal their preference for, since they assume that they will get it anyway because they can't be excluded from the benefits thereof.

Do party political broadcasts from the BNP qualify as a public good? Don't fucking think so.


Will said...


Well said (with some qualifications).

I.e. the BNP are a criminal oragnisation... ergo -- they shouldn't have the right to organise as a political party or stand in elections at all.

Bill said...

No, they certainly do not! However as it's a legal Party and presumably meets the crieria for a free broadcast then it can't be excluded. That party really is an excellent example of what it means when people say: "I may loathe what you say, but will defend to the death your right to say it." - if some want to make up rules to exclude such people then their protestations are hollow. On a more prosaic level, trying to proscribe their activities will only drive them underground; it certainly wouldn't result in their disappearance, more's the pity.

We already provide more than enough funding for political parties in various ways; I would object violently (possibly quite literally) to some kind of compulsory additional levy; if they cannot get volunteers to funds their often loathesome activities then they shouldn't expect the citizen to fill the gap, they should reduce their spending to what they can afford.

Will said...

No. Fuck the BNP and all that they and their members attempt to make rational.

Will said...

The BNP are gangsters and criminals. That means they should not be part of the political process. Would the mafia be allowed to stand in elections for public bodies? If they were then we should physially confront them. Fuck the BNP -- fuck their members and fuck the fuckers who vote for them.

Bill said...

The BNP are gangsters and criminals. ... Fuck the BNP -- f**k their members and f**k the f**kers who vote for them

Personally I would have no objection to it being made ilegal, for they are all that you claim. I have two quibbles however, of ethics and of practicality. First I am a natural libertarian - although were they to get their hands on power my relative freedom to think/act as one would most likely be severely circumscribed, even if I (as a gay man) was allowed to live at all. However more basically I don't think banning it would make the problem go away; it didn't do much good with Sinn Fein, some of whose Leaders are now actually and amazingly in the putative government of a part of the UK.

Jeffrey Mushens said...

You either oppose state funding, which I do, or you don't. And either way you need to have a legal reason to outlaw a political party like the BNP.

Their public platform may be abhorrent rubbish, but unless they break the law they should be allowed the same freedom of expression as we grant Islamists, the SWP, and the various Stalinists, Castro and 'Iraqi resistance' lovers who infest the Guardian comment columns and CiF threads.

dearieme said...

New Labour are gangsters and criminals, you could reasonably argue, and have killed far more people than the BNP. There is no end to this tosh; free speech is for the BNP too. Public funds should be for none of them.

Anonymous said...

Erm, does any party political broadcast count as a public good?

I think not.

But you still can't/shouldn't pick on the people whose view you don't like. That is a slippery slope we don't want to start down, imho.

Will said...

"New Labour are gangsters and criminals, you could reasonably argue".

No you couldn't. To do so would be highly unreasonable and foolish. It would also be a sure sign of dementia, not to mention ignorance and dogmatism.

I can't be bothered arguing with liberals and reactionaries anymore. goodbye.

Shuggy said...

But you still can't/shouldn't pick on the people whose view you don't like.

I probably should have been clearer. The BNP is an extreme case that illustrates the point. I'd oppose public funding for all political parties.

joe said...

Bede By Election (Nuneaton and Bedworth) Nov 8

Lab 658 (37.6%)
BNP 546 (31.2%)
Con 301 (17.2%)
LD 119 (6.8%)
ED 75 (4.3%)
SNHS 43 (2.5%)
UKIP 8 (0.5%)

This will have caused the 'political elite' to choke on their muesli this morning

Anonymous said...

No way should we have to cough up even more cash. Particularly to get these people elected.

Bad enough we have to put up with them when they do, but to have to pay for it too would add insult to injury.
Phil A

Gavin Ayling said...

Respect and the BNP are equally vile and it is despite that, I hope and believe, that people vote for them as a protest. It is the sort of protest that sends shivers down the spine...

Public funding is an admission of failure by the parties supporting it. Let's have a cap on donations per person and leave it at that. If the Tories and Labour run out of money then they should change their policies to attract more members!

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