In this post, I argued that the BBC would not provide a soap box to a fascist party, without making it clear that it was widely regarded as extreme.
I spoke too soon.
The BBC’s obituary of dead fascist, John Tyndall is here.
Apart from mentioning that Tyndall was about to stand trial for “race hate charges”, a third of the short report is given over to an encomium to this dead fascist:
A spokesman for the BNP said Mr Tyndall had been expelled from the BNP twice but added he was an “excellent chap with a keen analytical mind”.
“John was a great fellow who knew exactly what our movement was about but it is fair to say that he was not able to carry that forward to electoral success,” the spokesman said.
They make no other mention of the BNP’s extreme racism, or indeed the fact that Tyndall was himself convicted of incitement to racial hatred in 1986 and was jailed three times.
I find that, to say the least, surprising. Perhaps the BBC obituary writer did not google their subject.
Now, perhaps a distinction can be drawn between the BNP and Hizb’ut Tahrir. I do not think that their leadership has yet been convicted of any criminal offence. Perhaps the BBC researcher who offered to publish Hizb’ut Tahrir’s party political broadcast did not know the true nature of this organisation. Nevertheless the BBC has not, to my knowledge, invited racist groups to write opinion pieces for their website, at least without being challenged, or their racist views – which is, after all, the defining characteristic of a racist – commented on.
There is still no indication on the BBC Viewpoint site that Hizb’ut Tahrir is an organisation which, in the BBC’s own words “promotes racism and anti-Semitic hatred, calls suicide bombers martyrs, and urges Muslims to kill Jewish people”
Who knows. Perhaps the “excellent fellow”-ing and “good chap”-ing of John Tyndall is indicative of a new direction at the BBC.