Banning BNP teachers: a case of paradoxical democracy?

The paradoxical democracy that we find ourselves in, classifies the BNP as a legal party allowing it to stand at local, general and European elections; notably resulting in 2 MEPs including Nick Griffin, their leader. However, despite their legality, Gove is now going to make it illegal for a BNP member to become a teacher (they are already banned from being police or prison officers.) Now, I am not purporting acceptance of what the BNP stand for, but prohibiting a member of a legal party to do a profession because of their membership to that party seems a bit bizarre.

Any teacher, regardless of their views, has a value system that they can utilise and ‘promote’ when teaching. It is impossible to be totally objective, regardless of what science claims. Arguably, the BNP and some sections of the population may object to left-wing or free marketer ideologies shaping the teacher’s teaching. The way to fight the BNP isn’t by outing and sacking them, giving them chance to utilise the ‘victim’ discourse publicity, it is by continually exposing them for what they are. Possible checks regarding teaching if the teacher was known to be a member of any political group that could be said to ‘distort’ their teaching could be provided so as to assess any inversely discriminate teaching. However, this ‘distortion’ could apply to a vast amount of value systems besides politics, and would be unbelievably hard to implement.

If the political party was illegal I would understand the ban. This is the same issue I have with no platforming; if you are wanting to beat a legal party you take it head on, you don’t run away and assume people will see through the lies. For various reasons, including poverty and poor social services, people can believe the deception of parties such as the BNP. There are important policies the government could be doing to reduce the prevalence of the BNP, such as improving social housing instead of forcing some housing benefit claimants onto the streets.

This hypocrisy has helped Geert Wilders rise to fame. Relatively few people knew about Wilders film at the House of Lords until Labour outlawed him from coming to the country. Now, his Freedom Party gained 24 seats in 2010, up from 9 seats in 2006, and the EDL are lapping him up as their ‘icon’; whilst there are other factors, especially when it comes to the former, the government’s decision to ban Wilders from entering the country has definitely had an impact on his popularity.

You see, these things tend to inflame the situation. You can’t pretend we live in a ‘pure’ democracy where we can manipulate everyone to have our ‘democratic’ viewpoint, as that wouldn’t be a ‘pure’ democracy for starters. And claiming that one teacher has the capacity to brainwash a class is slightly pretentious. There are issues that I contend will need observation, but this can be said for a vast amount of political (and other) doctrines. The hypocritical democratic decisions such as this do have some serious ramifications; instead, there needs to be some reflexively instilled in when making them.

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4 thoughts on “Banning BNP teachers: a case of paradoxical democracy?

  1. I’m not a parent so I am not sure how I’d feel if my child ended up with a BNP activist as their teacher – but that said, I agree that banning them simply victimises them and paradoxically turns them into victims. No Platform was fine when they were tiny ranters, but now we have to face their arguments square on to expose them as the lies they so often are. Their current problems – nearing bankruptcy, with members leaving in droves and the leadership turning on itself – mean that organisationally they look to be on the verge of collapse. Gove’s actions may simply give them some unwarranted publicity in what could be their dying days.

  2. Adrian,

    thanks for the comment.

    Exactly. The point is, they are a legal organisation and so in a democracy, to then rule them illegal when it comes to certain professions is just absurd. We don’t always like what we have to do to ensure that democratic actions remain, but life is never free from problems. As you say, we need to tackle them head on as they are increasingly become weaker by the day, just giving them stupid media coverage such as this does nothing to undermine them.

  3. The Party for Neighbourly Love, Freedom, and Diversity (Partij voor Naastenliefde, Vrijheid en Diversiteit, PVND) is a now disbanded, perfectly legal Dutch political party, oh one thing, it was formed by self-described pedophiles, who sought to lower the age of sexual consent to 14. How would you feel about these people being teachers?

  4. Sarah,

    If that’s the case, they should be imprisoned. If people are actively caught breaking the law they should be prosecuted, and that goes for anyone regardless of their political persuasion. But banning someone for simply being a member of a legal party doesn’t make logical sense. If they can’t teach when in that party then why are they allowed to be a legal representative of many people, including the children they would teach?!

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