Thursday, February 04, 2010

Should we keep FPTP to exclude the BNP?

Someone on the Weston Mercury discussion board argues that one advantage of the First Past the Post electoral system is that it closes the door on dangerous minority parties like the BNP.

The answer is that the BNP are a dangerous, anti-peace, anti-democracy party with views and policies that are repugnant and alien to the British tradition.

Many of them are criminals, and the law is forcing them to bring their membership policies into line.

BUT, despite the increase in hate-crimes in some areas where they have been successful, and despite the fact that the German Nazis were initially voted in, it is better on balance for them to be brought into the democratic discussion, where their views can be tested and argued against, rather than using a dysfunctional electoral system to exclude them artificially.

The Greens have been patient during our 30-year exclusion from the political process. The BNP cannot be trusted to be so patient. Exclusion is likely to make them more violent.

Homelessness and joblessness are the twin burners that lift the BNP hot air balloon. Both of these are unnnecessary, and maybe grey politicians will be stimulated to address these problems if the BNP makes progress.


Manx_Matt said...

No, I disagree with designing a system to exclude one or another political view. What does fuel pro-BNP feeling in society is a feeling of alienation and lack of representation from the mainstream parties. If people feel that their local Labour/Tory/Lib Dem MP doesn't represent their views, they will naturally loo towards other parties, such as the BNP, who claim that they represent the 'common man', if such a thing exists? That is the seductive power of their rhetoric, the fact that they claim to represent any view that you put to them, when in fact all they advocate is extremism and hatred.

What we should do is have faith in the power of dialogue, questioning and debate, so we can properly deal with the right-wing threat. If we allow people with these views to engage in the political system, then we can point out the flaws and try to convince them of their incoherence or their failings. If we design a system to keep out the views we're afraid of then we'll alienate people further and cause deeper social divides. It only fuels their claim if we are seen to push them into the margins even more.

You raise the issue of their militancy, but again, we must have faith in the ordinary criminal law. If they use racist language or violence, we have laws which can deal with this.

DocRichard said...

Hi Matt

I think you meant to say "Yes, I disagree with designing a system to exclude one or another political view".