What if Nick Griffin really changed his mind?

Thursday, 5th November 2009 at 18:40 UTC 3 comments

Remember that bit on Question Time (which apparently is on tonight, but there’s no protests, so I can’t be bothered to watch it) where Nick Griffin claimed he had changed his mind on the holocaust but couldn’t explain why for fear of being locked up for discussing it? What if he actually has changed his mind?

I don’t want to turn this into a specifically religious post, though both my own opinions and the fact that British politics carries over a lot of values from Christendom does make it hard to avoid. But either way, there must always be questions of wisdom in handling someone who’s crimes/sins/failings revolve around a position of trust that they appear to have sought for the purpose of pursuing such issues.

Bizarrely, and I say this with full knowledge of the BNP’s love of exposing such people via Red Watch’ sister site, Nonce Watch, I think a parallel can be drawn from Child Sex Abusers. Should one ever forgive such a person? Its an emotive issue, and one made harder by the tendency to recommit the crime, and indeed the incentive to claim self-reform as a way of getting back into situations where abuse can occur. Much as I thought it was an odd parallel, I find it hard not to mention.

In the abstract, the situation is thus: a person goes looking for a situation in society in which and from which they can perpetrate a certain act. If Griffin simply wanted a road to power, the BNP would be a stupid one to pick; the guy is clearly intelligent enough to make an impact in any political party, and to realise this, but he would never get far with his views. If he was just a bit concerned about immigration, would he be seeking out this power in the first place? Isn’t the reason he has got to where he is to pursue these politics?

So if he then claims some degree of reform, how are we to respond? We could discuss whether we believe him till the cows come home. We could discuss whether a man who has previously espoused such views can ever be let off. Some might even ask him to submit to the law courts to be sentenced for his past offences. I would say that all this is superfluous if it isn’t accompanied by one simple act: Griffin has to be prepared to remove himself from any situation where he could continue to commit the abuse.

I’m not saying that any time someone commits some kind of bad act, that they should do such a thing. This is specific to a situation of trust that has occurred and been violated. I don’t want to get into eye-for-eye, if-it-causes-sin-cut-it-off type debates; I don’t think they’re terribly helpful.

But when a position of trust is this closely linked to problem-behaviours, if power has been sought as a route to committing abuse, to truly move on from that abuse, the abuser must remove them self from the situation. Its why past sex abusers should never work with children, and why, in our often confusing society where communities are too big to know everyone’s reputation, we’ve ended up with the lamentable but necessary functions of the sex offenders register.

Should that mean some kind of register for Political power abusers of specific natures? I don’t know. Should we broaden this to cover non-fascists who have achieved power and then used their position to abuse sections of society? I don’t know. But if Griffin ever wants to be believed when his says “I’ve changed my mind”, he must accept that the power has to go as part of the process of moving on. Its difficult, but it has to happen.

(As you may have gathered, its taken quite a while to piece the thoughts in this post together, and I’m not sure I succeeded, but I should probably thank my Mum, with whom I had one of the conversations that helped most).

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Entry filed under: democracy, Ethics, Freedom, Politics, Racism.

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Steve thack  |  Thursday, 5th November 2009 at 19:44 UTC

    Not sure if the parallel you draw is actually helpful. But fact is he hasn’t changed his mind to any signifiant extent. So there seems to be little point in the hypothetical debate. He suggested he’d changed his mind to a limited extent on the holocost, though showed no sign of regretting his previous views, seemed to me if has gone from one form of holocost denial to a slightly milder form or wanted us to believe that, But his views on holocost are just one part of what makes him a dangerous idiot.

    Reply
  • 2. Graham Martin  |  Thursday, 5th November 2009 at 19:53 UTC

    I guess thats what I’m getting at; i.e. no matter what he says, he’s never going to be safe till he’s at least out of positions of power and influence.

    Reply
  • 3. Corey James Soper  |  Thursday, 12th November 2009 at 14:44 UTC

    Even if he has changed, why risk it? Why take the chance? No-one renounces racism truly; have you ever read Louis Theroux’s Tales of the Wierd? There’s a really succinct and meaningful chat with a neonazi, who admits he doesn’t WANT to be a Fascist anymore, but he still ‘sees race’ and can never stop or adjust.

    Reply

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