Solving the World's problems with common sense and a flamethrower.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Privacy For All, Not Just The Good

So you may have heard that the BNP have had a spot of bother, with their entire membership list being leaked on the Web.

My first response was "Good, name and shame the fascists in our midst" - but on sober reflection, now I'm not so sure.

First off - I have no love for the BNP. My grandmother's Goan, my mother born in Calcutta, and I have a black sister. The BNP are an odious political entity - evolved (in the loosest possible sense) from the primordial ooze of Mosley's Blackshirts, thence the National Front/Combat 18 and others who value their 'white heritage'. All the BNP do is hide their repugnant, racist philosophy behind the mealy weasel-words of the spin doctor.

It's also worth noting that the term 'BNP Member' is absolutely synonymous with the term 'Moron'. These are people (again, I use this term in the loosest possible sense) who believe in a white Britain - as if a fifth-generation descendant of an immigrant is somehow responsible for the fact they're too stupid to hold down a job. They must be wracked with shame at the thought that if you trace human lineage back far enough, we're all from Africa.

So what we have is repellent inDUHviduals paying others to propound their abhorrent 'policies', and 'Activists' wandering around, dropping leaflets off when they can keep their knuckles from scraping on the ground and desperately hoping for a fight with someone who challenges them (I know, this happened to me in Sussex). So why not name and shame them?

Because as disgusting, discredited and sordid as they are, we should still have principles.

I believe in privacy - and that means that whatever my feelings on your politics, it's not my right to know. You may be a far-right cretin with a nasty, scabby little secret that you daren't even tell your co-workers - that, when push comes to shove, is a matter between you and the polling booth.

If I am to believe in the rights I wish to claim for myself, I have to cede those same rights to those whose politics I find despicable. The BNP would not give those they hate that same right. So by doing this - by not linking to any one of the sites publishing the names of the scumbags in our midst - we prove, yet again, that we are BETTER than them.

I may hate their party, detest their politics and loathe them - but I will defend their right to the privacy of their deluded belief. What are the odds they'd extend me that same courtesy?


annie mole said...

I think you are wrong on this one. I personally wouldn't have published the list and I didn't tweet the URL for the list when I first saw it on Twitter but quite frankly if you belong to a political party you should stand by your politics and not be ashamed of them.

The BNP are wankers and I'm surprised that their political party is actually legal. But if you are going to support it with money why shouldn't people know who you are?

I used a have a member of the BNP commenting on my site. I blocked him on numerous occasions. He changed his IP address. I blocked IP ranges as a result, he came back at 2am or 3am to make comments that he knew I would delete when I woke up.

I initially tried to treat him with some modicum of respect and told him to take his argument offline with me. It did not take me more than about two emails to realise that he was completely irrational and I could not argue with him. So I blocked his email address and refused to debate with him.

I imagine he will raise his ugly head again in the future.

Personally I don't care if I sound intolerant as a result. My intolerance would only be based on a woolly liberal misunderstanding that people who's whole reason to be is to promote hate deserve the same rights as everyone else. They don't.

Dungeekin said...


Thanks so much for your comments.

While I don't agree with your standpoint, I can understand it - and it's good to know that this post has provoked discussion - especially when that discussion is with people who can actually debate rather than just hold moronic and reprehensible views.

Thanks for reading


Anonymous said...

It's a tricky one - yes, you should have the power of your convictions but you should also have the right to keep your political beliefs to yourself.

For me though I'm loving the irony of statements from the BNP - on the one hand stating how they fear violent reprisals against members. On the other saying "“If we find out the name of the person who published this list, it will turn out to be one of the most foolish things they have done in their life. I wouldn’t want to have done that — I wouldn’t be sleeping very well tonight" which has no implicit threat of violence in it at all.

Brennig said...

I've just seen Annie Mole's details and got very distracted because my 11.00 meeting is in Broadway (SW1).

Anyway, the matter in hand.

I'm full of conflict which, somehow, seems to be a state that accompanies the initials BNP (in a political not French banking sense).

If the BNP is a political party shouldn't we afford them the same degree of sway that is afforded all other political parties? Why should membership of the BNP be *treated* differently to membership of Plaid Cymru? Or the SNP?

Why is it not permitted for certain professionals to be members of the BNP but they are permitted to join the Conservative party (oh dear, did I just draw an imaginary line connecting the two in my head?)?

If the organisation is a political party, with seats at local and national decision-making bodies, why are things different for them?

Of course, I feel almost honour-bound to satirise the BNP in the same way that I extract the Michael from the Thatcher government. Or that utter waste of good breathing oxygen T. Blair. But the point is if they're a political party, let's not have one set of laws (or behaviours) for them and another for the other political parties. Treat them all with equal disdain or contempt by all means, but treat them equally - that's my point. Equality.

Mind you, they seem to be treating themselves with equality - the way they're not being good data custodians, it almost puts them in line for the next Government outsourcing of IT contract...

whalemonster said...

Intolerance of bigotry is borne of enlightenment, high ideals and the desire for human equality. It is not morally equivalent to intolerance borne of hatred, ignorance and the desire to suppress difference.

Principles of privacy are not absolute; neither are those of free speech. They are rather firm guidelines that we should try to uphold as best we can, applying them equally across the board, until such time as we encounter someone who does not abide by those same principles or who would seek to misuse them.

So what if a few bigots have been outed? Perhaps one or two might be forced to do some soul-searching. A job lost here or a friend lost there and they might actually embark upon some much-needed introspection.

It has often been the liberal mistake to treat fascists with kid gloves - afford them the same respect that we believe should be afforded to everyone, in an ideal world. The fascist sees this for what it is - liberal weakness - and will take advantage, continuing to spread their hatred whilst we sit back and wring our hands.

The correct response to fascism must be one of liberal outrage backed by decisive moral courage, and the certainty that equality is not only intrinsically right, but is a fundamental principle which will define the future progress and happiness of our species.

Soarer said...

Much as I abhor the BNP and all it stands for (and I am white, and therefore they would probably argue that they seek to speak for me. Never in a million years do they) nevertheless I agree with your sentiment.

If they are a legal political entity, they should be treated the same as other such.

To anyone with even a single brain cell, their own pronouncements are the finest proof of their tawdry stupidity. Let them be condemned out of their own mouths.

Anonymous said...

I've read about the BNP and their views through various web sites. Now while they have some totally disgusting views and I can only associate them with the KKK here in the U.S. (only with more political clout). The views they hold and the bile they spew are reprehensible indeed.

The problem with this whole situation is people being to scared to stand and say that the release of this data, some of it very personal and involving minors, is wrong. The fear is from being seen to support the BNP because far to many people can't or wont distinguish between standing up for individual rights/speaking out against the trampling of them and supporting the ignorance the BNP stands for.

This is indeed the perfect application of the Voltaire quote "I detest what you write, but I would give my life to make it possible for you to continue to write." Reasonable, intelligent, and level headed people need to begin to make this distinction absolutely clear. If for no other reason than to provide more proof to people like those of the BNP that their views and ideas are fundamentally wrong.

As has been said before

"When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.

When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.

When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.

When they came for the Jews,
I remained silent;
I was not a Jew.

When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out"

We are all circling the Sun together people. While I and many others find the ideas and attitudes displayed by the BNP disgusting and reprehensible. We still have a duty as human beings to protect certain basic human rights, one of those rights is the right to privacy which has been subverted in an extreme way. Yes part of my cheers when people of the ilk of the BNP are put so publicly on the spot and their moronic views exposed to the world. The reasoned part of me knows that there are better ways of going about this than potentially putting peoples lives in danger.

Anonymous said...

I fully agree - we have to give them the right to speak their opinions and have their privacy, else we're guilty of the worst hypocrisy.
Fortunately, almost everyone who hears them will immediately place them in the box marked 'idiot'