Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Feminism vs fascism: vote out the stupid!

There are going to be European elections soon, and the fascist British National Party are hoping to get an MEP elected. On top of the far-from-insignificantly fucking scary racism, xenophobia and homophobia that riddles their policy platform, the BNP are pushing a specifically and deliberately sexist agenda. Stopping these stupid bigots from gaining any more of a toehold in our nation is a feminist issue, too. Here’s why:

The BNP hate what they call, without a shred of irony, 'feminazis'. By this they seem to mean not just self-identified feminists but any woman who, in the words of a recent BNP candidate, is 'unnatural and vile... it is a strange kind of woman who would want to invest [her] energies into her job rather than into a man.' The BNP are specifically and explicitly AGAINST equal rights between men and women. Party leader Nick Griffin has described the very idea of gender equality as 'feminist poison'.

One of the first things they plan to do if they attain power is repeal the anonymity currently granted to rape victims, on the basis that "innocent men who are falsely accused of rape have their lives ruined while their lying accusers cannot even be named" (P7, BNP manifesto). And it doesn't stop there. Go on, read it for yourself in the BNP's white paper on family law, but have a little bag to hand to be sick in. You're going to need it.

This, lest we forget, is the same party which forwarded a senior London Assembly candidate who went on record saying that "rape is a myth...rape is simply sex, and women enjoy sex. To sugest that rape is a serious crime is like suggesting that force-feeding a woman chocolate cake is a heinous offence".

Have you ever been f0rce-fed chocolate cake, Mr Eriksen? Finallyfeminism101 has a perfect (but potentially triggering) debunking of this ugly reasoning.

Footage of a BNP spokesman and pimply racist wassock youth leader demonstrates the party's belief that the right of average workingmen in Leeds to "look at women wearing low-cut tops in the street", the right of men to objectify and consume the female body, is "part of our history - and more important than human rights". Never mind the rights of the women in question to wear what they want or, for that matter, to walk down that Leeds street without fear of harrassment. No, this is about our right to look at boobies, and damned if 'they' - whether 'they' are 'Islamists', 'foreigners' or 'feminazis' - are going to "take it away from us".

The BNP also want to reform family and tax law, bringing back tax credit schemes that would re-establish women as dependents of their husbands; introduce strictly fault-based divorce law "aimed at protecting the injured party instead of the current gender bias against women"; allow only married couples to benefit from artificial insemination; ban all homosexual partnership arrangements and, yes, deport all furriners.

*deep breath*

And in a shock move, the BNP is violently anti-choice.

Everyone's experience of suffering the effects of racism, sexism, homophobia, ablism or any form of prejudice is different. However, the idiot, schoolboy logic of fascists like the BNP throws up some interesting similarities in the reasoning between casual and not-so-casual racism, sexism and homophobia. It's the whipping-girl syndrome. It's the process whereby a gang of disenfranchised, angry and often fairly personally inadequate people cast about for any convenient, preferably marginalised group to blame for the fact that they, the (mostly) white, (mostly) middle-or-working class, (mostly) miserable (mostly) men, are in so much bloody pain. The BNP are angry, heartsick, dissatisfied, and terrified by how individually powerless they are. Easier by far to blame immigrants, Muslims or 'feminazis' than to turn and look at one's own culture and how it shapes you and works you over.

Watching the videos of speeches available on BNP live tv, what I felt to start with was amused. Then nervous. Then angry at the reams and reams of stupid lies coming out of these people like so much oily drool. But beyond that, I found myself...moved. Yes, genuinely moved. I felt the stuttering rage of these men like a punch to the solar plexus. I felt their bewilderment. I felt their utter incomprehension at what was happening to a world they were once sure of growing up to inherit. And I felt full of thick anger at the sheer stupidity of misdirecting those emotions towards a pointless bullying of other people who, guess what, haven't inherited it either. In 'Stiffed: The Betrayal of Modern Man', feminist journalist Susan Faludi points out that

By the century's end, [there began] a search for someone to blame for the premature death of masculine promise. What began in the 1950s as an intemperate pursuit of Communists in the government, the schools, Hollywood...would eventually become a hunt for a shape-shifting enemy who could take the form of women at the office, or gays in the military, or young black men on the street, or illegal aliens on the border...but none of it would satisfy, because the world and the fight had changed. The real fight was between men on the same side...

Writing about feminism and equality movements often feels like one long game of 'we are not your problem'. The further we get from living memory of what life was really like for men and women of all races and classes before the civil rights movement in the US, before the women's movement, the more mythologised that time becomes. Certainly, old ways of life have been stripped away. Certainly, men in particular are suffering the loss of certain automatic loci of security and social status, and feeling their own disenfranchisement harder as a consequence. But if you or I asked even the most frothing BNP man if he genuinely thinks that he will be a happy, free, powerful, confident individual as soon as all the furriners and wimminz are sent back to their respective homes, I wonder what answer we'd get? Have they even bothered to think that far?

Louise Livesey, who broke this story at TheFWord.org and who is also a Hope Not Hate activist, reminds us that we have a chance to stop these bastards in their tracks by using our vote against the BNP:

So what’s the message - Ensure you are registered to vote and then go out and vote in the European and Local Elections on June 4th!

The European election voting system means that the BNP can only win if turnout is low. The fewer people that vote, the better the BNPs chances are of getting representatives elected because they can and will turn out their hardcore supporters, sensing a miasma of politically opportune apathy at the moment. So go and cast your vote - don’t let the BNP win through a willingness to not oppose them.

The BNP need only 9% of the vote to win a seat in the European Parliament. Please. Don't sit at home and let it happen. Vote them OUT. Not just because they're sexists, racists, homophobes, xenophobes and crashing red-faced bigots who are a disgrace to the actually quite good country we live in. Vote them out because they're stupid. They're stupid. They're idiots, idiots, crashing toe-sucking thickoes who shouldn't be running a website, much less a department in Brussels. Please, if you're a Brit, do your bit for your country and vote out the stupid.

88 comments:

  1. apart from the fact that it's so refreshingly illogical when nationalists go for the european elections:
    it's really amazing, that in britan, politics seem to be more extreme in every direction (cough, total surveillance, cough) than in germany. even your nazis are "better nazis" than ours. (ours pretend to be more on the socialism part and emulate left-wing extremists, hoping that some stupid hooligans won't be able to tell them apart and be with the nazis instead. how that helps them gaining anything in elections is beyond me.)

    even on the really simple issues common to right wing extremists, kicking all them foreigners out, the german neo-nazis aren't as extreme. their current demand is to prefer germans when it comes to handing out the jobs.
    sadly, that also makes it less easy to fight them. the BNP seems so obsessively extreme, that one has to be politically illiterate beyond any hope to vote for them.
    so in that sense, kudos on your nazis. have fun with them.

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  2. I Held It In My Hand19 May 2009 at 23:05

    I don't need a crystal ball, I-Ching sticks or Tarot cards to know the BNP aren't going to get anywhere. What worries me is the Labour Party caught in gravities inexorable grip circling the drain under Gordon Brown's "leadership". I could not have imagined how inept and disconnected Brown's premiership was destined to be.

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  3. Typo: "We're not your problem".

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  4. CJ - shoite, thanks! *corrects*

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  5. On the rape question - why not have anonymity to all parties pre-trial and then, if found guilty, make public the name of the offender (not the victim)? Mightn't this measure also make it more likely that more people would be brought to trial?

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  6. nb. Brought to trial and possibly convicted too (I meant to add).

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  7. But the law doesn't grant anonymity to defendants in criminal cases except where the defendant is under 18. The idea being, if you're found not guilty then your name is cleared. Why should defendants in rape cases get special privilege to anonymity?
    Anybody can be accused of a crime they didn't commit, that's why we *have* a legal system. As long as we're not punishing people for rapes they absolutely didn't commit, I don't give a fuck for anything else. The law isn't there to protect people's good names, actually. The law is there to serve justice.

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  8. I agree that the thought of a BNP MEP is horrifying, not least because of the financial resources this would provide the party with.

    But there is a fundamental flaw in the tactics of Searchlight's Hope Not Hate campaign. You can't 'vote out the stupid' without voting for someone else, but many traditional Labour voters just can't stomach voting for Labour after everything that has happened over the last six months, culminating in the expenses scandal. The punishment for Gordon Brown is just as likely to be mass abstention as a mass transfer of votes to other parties.

    Which leaves calculating the swing to the other smaller parties. A low turnout benefits them more significantly, we know, but urging an tactical anti-fascist vote for a small party has a particular impact when mainstream parties are out of favour.

    The only realistic anti-BNP vote is therefore for the Green Party. I'm not a huge fan, I think Jenny Jones' performance in the aftermath of the death of Ian Tomlinson has been shockingly bad, but I'll be voting Green in June as a 'vote against the stupid'. It'll be the first time I've voted since 1997.

    It's just a shame that Hope Not Hate could never bring itself to argue this position, even if it wanted to, because of the fear of losing the support and money of trade union leaders whose absolute loyalty to Labour is like that of a junkie to heroin.

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  9. Great post.

    My absolute worry is that the public's disgust with government after the expenses scandal is going to seriously affect the turnout in this election. The racists will always vote BNP but there will be so many people who just won't bother to vote because they don't feel they can trust any of the parties anymore. Griffin must be rubbing his hands in glee. It worries me.

    Thankfully up here in Scotland we do have a proper left alternative to Labour in the SSP, but if I lived elsewhere my vote would probably go to the Greens too. On the upside, the anti-fascist protest vote might well be very beneficial for them.

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  10. When you read about the rise of the Nazis in Germany and you see people saying 'We didn't take them seriously', you tend to raise an eyebrow. But if they spelt as badly as the BNP ('in conjunction with legal experts, the core of this policy document has already been approved at the regional level of the BNP') AND THEIR LAWYERS, apparently, it's scary how difficult it is to take them seriously...

    Awfully worried about the appeal to separated fathers in this business too. Yes, it's an attack on women, absolutely, but there are a lot of fathers who do worry about their rights, and this kind of propanganda is a terrifying kind of answer to their call.

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  11. My vote is going to the No2EU - Yes to Democracy campaign, because of all the parties/candidates I've contacted, the reply from their lead candidate for my region impressed me most on the issues that matter to me.

    I also think that their analysis of that anti-democratic and anti-worker nature of the EU and the Lisbon Treaty is right on the money.

    The No2EU campaign looks to me like it's also a defiantly socialist option, if they get a good slice of the vote it will hopefully send a message to the Labour Party that it's time to move to the Left again.

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  12. You scumbuckets aren't patriots!

    It is undeniable that this country would be a much better place without the Blacks, Poles, Bulgars, Armenians, Romanians - the veritable scum of the earth! - coming over here to steal our houses, jobs, sponge off our health, educational and welfare systems and screw our women creating a menagerie of inferior non-Aryan mulatto by-blows.

    Expell them from our shores forcibly and stop them stinking up the place with their curries and shit.

    BNP to win!

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  13. I hate immigrants- coming over here and taking all our houses, eating shite food, not bothering to assimilate or learn the language and generally being cunts.

    Send them all back to England.

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  14. Martin Bormann20 May 2009 at 09:09

    Just because you're a Nazi doesn't mean you're a bad person! You people are just prejudiced.

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  15. I linked to this post in a new one of mine, I hope that's okay.

    Rebecca/Clumsy Kisses

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  16. The idea being, if you're found not guilty then your name is cleared.No it's not. 'Not guilty' doesn't mean exactly the same thing as 'innocent' once you take it out of the courtroom, and your name, your reputation, is exactly the thing that is not entirely cleared when you're found 'not guilty'. "Shit sticks", as the saying goes.

    Why should defendants in rape cases get special privilege to anonymity?Possibly because we live in a country where idiots paint PAEDO on a paediatrician's home thinking that she's a paedophile. By the time somebody has been found not guilty of rape, they're probably already a target for the dislike if not hatred of anybody in their community who does not know them well.

    I don't particularly think it should be a special case for one offence or type of offence though... it would seem to me that anonymity until found guilty should be the norm for all criminal charges. That might cut down on press interference with criminal process too. Or is there a good reason for 'exposing' suspected criminals before the matter is proved? That's a genuine question; does the current situation reflect a deliberate policy of exposure, or a lack of a privacy policy?

    The law isn't there to protect people's good names, actually. The law is there to serve justice.Which exists to protect people (and their property), as far as I'm aware.

    Innocent people will suffer if their names are wrongly linked to vile crimes, regardless of the eventual verdict. What is the societal benefit which outweighs that individual suffering, such that the current situation should continue unchanged?

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  17. Not sure what happened with the formatting there, it was fine in the preview.

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  18. Somewhat dubious about the ability of NO2EU to safeguard democracy. Some of their components weren't too supportive of democracy for the people of the former Eastern bloc.

    I agree that in many areas the anti-BNP vote is a vote for the Greens - in the absence of a vote for Labour that's so big it makes the BNP's % irrelevant which, as a Labour Party member, is obvioulsy what I'm advocating.

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  19. well... there was less crime before mass immigration started.

    I say give them Anglesea, see what they can make of it.

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  20. "Vote them out because they're stupid. They're stupid. They're idiots, idiots, crashing toe-sucking thickoes who shouldn't be running a website, much less a department in Brussels. Please, if you're a Brit, do your bit for your country and vote out the stupid."

    Couldn't agree more. The are knuckle dragging morons of the very highest order who would be funny, it their political views weren't so abhorrent.

    TNL

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  21. Interesting Point Raiser20 May 2009 at 13:01

    I agree with you, Penny, that the BNP's policies are all absolutely awful - racist, demeaning to women, and badly thought out, all in one huge, stupid package.

    There is something to be addressed though: What about the small minority of rape court cases which -are- false accusations made out of spite and other reasons (or cases in which consensual sex is retroactively said by the woman to have been rape)?

    That certainly does happen - though it is obviously a minority of cases (and denying that such things happen is equally stupid as the BNP's insistence that no rape is rape). How do you protect men from these accusations if one alters the legal system to favour the accuser over the accused, as you seem to advocate in this and previous posts/comments?

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  22. I'm torn about the anonymity for men accused of rape. On the one hand, I have no problem with their names only being revealed if they are found guilty. On the other, that might prevent other victims of the same accused man coming forward.

    I want to be able to say, "Well, all victims should come forward as soon as possible after it happens". On the other hand, with such a low conviction rate, it seems understandable why some women would not see any point in reporting rape at all.

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  23. Did you see what the BNP had to say about the Gurkhas?


    And, the BNP are up to their usual tricks I see.

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  24. Hi Penny

    I'm surprised that a free spirit like you has a 'thing' about BNP.

    If the entire media are agin them you've got to ask yourself why ? Even Stinker Murdoch gets his knickers in a twist about them.

    The truth is that they are the only growing political movement which actively opposes globalisation and world capitalism.
    Do you want to earn $100 a month (that's if you work of course)?
    Because that's what it will be if the likes of Fraudie Broon Murdoch Cameron and the other toerags get their way.

    Protectionism is the only way to help ordinary workers in today's world.
    Don't sell out to the capitalists
    Vote BNP !

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  25. Don't sell out to the capitalists/racists/homophobes/mysogynists.
    Don't vote BNP !

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  26. Joy, we have some idiot propaganda in here now.

    Racism and sexism isn't a route to help ordinary workers. If you truly want a 'growing political movement which actively opposes globalisation and world capitalism', try the Green Party... of course, the media hates them in a different way by giving them zero coverage (or giving coverage to the lunatic fringe of 'return to the trees' types).

    The entire media opposes the BNP, on the other hand, because they're a conglomeration of racist, sexist, Nazi fucktards whom even the fools of global capitalism realise are a bad, bad idea.

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  27. Serenissima

    I think Penny is far too sensible and intelligent to be swayed by the likes of the Murdoch press (unless she is of course a Sun subscriber)

    I thank her for the opportunity to give another point of view.
    After years of slavery and oppression she understands that censorship is not only wrong but counterproductive.

    Thank you for your tolerance and understanding.

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  28. I`m voting UKIP -
    the greens are dangerous lunatics.

    IMHO DYOR

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  29. (the latest) Anonymous -

    No, I'm not going to censor you - it's far more productive to let you demonstrate your nasty views where we can all see them. Racism is not and never was a substitute for genuine organisation for working people (by which I assume you mean, like BNP leaders mean, working men). Serenissima is spot on, I'm afraid.

    Mark: YMMV.

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  30. Hi Penny

    How do you know my views are nasty ?

    You haven't even met me.

    You're being judgementaL and I would have thought that was against your core beliefs.

    PS.

    BNP are getting 10,000 enquiries a day according to their website.

    But I don't think you should check it out. It's probably just a load of fascist lies.

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  31. Not sure when I ever suggested censorship. I expressed my opinion that something was propaganda for idiots, which isn't exactly the same as saying that it shouldn't be allowed to be said.

    For the record, I believe in absolute freedom of speech - anyone should be allowed to say absolutely anything they happen to want to say. This would reveal people's true opinions somewhat better, and so Nazis like the BNP would be recognised as such by more of the population and never have any chance whatsoever of getting any seats.

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  32. Yea, verily and unto.

    A husband cannot rape his wife. It is part of a wife's duty to allow her husband to use her for sex under God's covenant between man and woman. Whenever a man wants sexual intercourse his wife should allow him to utilise her body for his pleasure and relief whether she welcomes it or not. This is God's law. Were a man to overpower and take his wife roughly against her will, she would be the guilty party for refusing her husband carnal knowledge of her body and she should be punished accordingly.

    Amen.

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  33. Women should be obscene and not heard.

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  34. When are you going to move over to wordpress Penny so we can enjoy some intelligent discussion without the constant invasion of pricks?

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  35. @ Anonymous

    "... constant invasion of pricks"

    Are you being sexually harassed? Or what?

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  36. Dr. Freud was a dick.

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  37. Nothing wrong with toe sucking, is there? Plenty wrong with being the BNP, mind you.

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  38. @ Anonymous

    You seem obsessed with the male organ of generation. I would surmise you were either a woman or an impotent man suffering from penis envy.

    I am sorry for your indisposition.

    @ Planet Me

    Do not worry. Foot fetishism is a very common and largely harmless perversion. As @ Anonymous

    You seem obsessed with the male organ of generation. I would surmise you were either a woman or an impotent man suffering from penis envy.

    I am sorry for your indisposition.

    @ Planet Me

    Do not worry. Foot fetishism is a very common and largely harmless perversion. As a potent heterosexual I normally find other areas of the human body more exiting but each to his own. As a potent heterosexual I normally find other areas of the human body more exiting but each to his own.

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  39. Dr Freud is about twelve years old and remains addled.

    Lardy Penny, I wish you would keep this tripe out, it's just gonna end up a ghost town whilst the tweenies run amok pissing in every corner and imagining that they sound kewl - or something.

    Anna Freud.

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  40. that BNP person sounded jolly.

    but so did the hitler youth movement.

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  41. I second the most recent anonymous, Penny. I really wish you'd turn the pre-approved comments on. The number of trolls on here, either blatently abusive or going over the same tired canards again and again and again, is making the make virtually unusable as a forum for any sort of meaningful discussion. Just as importantly, I'd assume that many of the people who read your blog don't do to be subjected to endless mysogeny on the discussion page; I really wish you'd take a think about the kind of environment you're allowing to develop here.

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  42. I'm actually nearly fifteen.

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  43. FfFintonStack:
    Yes, a lot of us just don't bother to post here anymore for that reason, every thread gets derailed by rubbish.

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  44. For a while now, I've been keeping the threads open on the understanding that if anything gets truly ugly, I'll delete it, and people will be able to ignore the idiots.

    I'm not going to turn on moderated commenting again, because that really does stifle debate, but I think it's high time that I got myself a proper comments policy - i.e a strict policy about what will and will not be deleted, including homophobic, racist, misogynistic, xenophobic comments.

    What do you lot think?

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  45. Yes, a comments policy would be good, however, if you don't mind me suggesting, that you should be a little more pro-active in deleting some of the comments as sometimes really offensive (and at times completely nonsensical) comments are simply left up, and for days... whilst they are still there it puts others off. Look at some previous posts - sometimes 20 or so of the comments towards the end are just utter rubbish not even connected to the original post - because those comments are left, the posts are effectively killed off and don't welcome people who find them later to come into the discussion still.

    Turning on moderated comments isn't required if you pro-actively manage the space - trolls and derailers will soon get bored with their 'get your tits out' style comments after a while and go elsewhere.

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  46. Hi, Penny, my first time in your blog and I've found it both enjoyable and informative. I'm not a Brit, but am at the moment really worried about the rise of neo-fascism in several European countries, including my own. I've even wondered if they have some sort of co-operation. Same kind of arguments do seem to emerge simultaneously in different countries. What's new at this British branch is the anti-feminism. Hardly surprising from a fascist, though.
    Also, a French reporter clandestinely recorded a conversation between French and Italian neo-fascist in a convention and one of their major strategies was to infiltrate the local institutions, but also to use the European Parliament. That may be relevant to their British campaing to elect a candidate(BNP).

    Regarding comment policy : it might be a good idea to moderate. So far you have been lucky. Look how the idiots have totally taken over Guardian's feminist threads, for example. You may be less vulnerable due to less visibility, but people who genuinely have something to say can say it nicely. So I don't necessarily think it stifles debate.

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  47. Free speach means having to put up with others saying something you may not agree with. Censoring opinions you do not agree with does not sound like a good way of encouraging a balanced debate of... anything.

    Ignoring the trolls and derailers and continuing despite them is not hard - just scroll past their comments and reply to the last non-troll post with something constructive.

    They seek one thing: acknowledgement, and by deleting their posts you would be acknowledging them, i.e. giving them exactly what they want, and encouraging them.

    Feeding the trolls is a bad idea. Please do not.

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  48. But it's not about free speech or censoring opinions though, if anything it's about trying to keep the discussions going - which it simply doesn't if each post descends into silly commenting and names like we've had before on here - they just fall on their arse, which is a shame for the blog.

    I don't think anyone is advocating censoring well thought out posts and criticism that do not agree with the opening posts, but that's not what I think the problem that this blog suffers from is...

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  49. Re. comments policy, I think it might be a good idea. A few threads back I saw "die of colon cancer...you stroppy little shrew" and thought 'damn, she puts up with a lot more than I would'.

    @anonymous001, yes free speech means putting up with unpleasant opinions, but that's putting up with them *in society*, not in your own personal spaces. It's not censorship to chuck David Cameron out of my house for talking shit.

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  50. British jobs for British workers!

    BNP to win!

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  51. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  52. congrats Mick, you win first deleted comment of new policy...

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  53. @Anonymous at 13:32, Yes, it is indeed a shame, but censoring is a slippery slope to take, especially, as would be in this case, where no one but the censor knows what has been censored. What constitutes a well thought out post would be up to one person.

    E.g. is Mick's comment above me appropriate? On one hand it is a brainless recital of a racist BNP slogan. On the other hand that is demonstrates the ability of BNP supporters to copy and paste sentence fragments from the BNP website, which stretches their ability to think as it is. I am not sure any pro-BNP response could be interpreted as anything other than hate speech, so if one censors hate speech any negative response to the original post of this thread automatically falls short of being accepted.

    @directionlessbones, yes, you have a valid point. Ultimately whether to censor and what to censor is Penny's decision. She has asked the readership if they would accept the censoring of this blog to improve the signal:noise ratio, and apart from me the response seems to be pro-censorship. If the change makes people happier with this blog, it is obviously the right decision, even if I personally do not agree with it.

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  54. No, no, no!

    Trolls add the flavour.

    Let them vent!

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  55. Thanks, Penny.

    Congratulations are always welcome no matter what the source! :)

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  56. I don't think there ought to be censorship, really. Or if there is, is there any way to record what has been deleted somewhere seperately? That way - if it is truly necessary to censor, in your opinion - there would be a way to access what had been said for those who were interested.

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  57. @ Penny Red

    Can't you implement a system like that on LabourList? Here comments are filtered and readers can choose to include "trash comments" among legitimate approved comments by clicking on a HTML checkbox. This would be the ideal solution for you Ms. Penny. All you'd need to do is to delete really extreme comments and flag the comedic, silly and troll-like as "trash"; these latter comments would be invisible to readers unless they deliberately chose to see them.

    Minimum censorship: maximum content.

    Win:win.

    Personally I'd miss your Trolls if you drove them into extinction.

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  58. A committment to a or belief in free speech implies no obligation on any party to provide any other with a platform from which to air his or her views. With a few exceptional caveats (basically criminal incitement and conspiracy), I believe in the right of everyone to say what they, but Penny has no moral obligation to make public anything *at all*, especially that which is stifling discussion and making the discussion section of her blog an unpleasant place to be. On a purely personal level (and, for what its worth, as a white heterosexual male), I do not use spaces where I am likely to be personally abused in any way and I can only assume others feel likewise. Through the deletion of the posts of a few of the more obvious trolls and psychopaths (I'm not at all advocating the deletion of posts by, say, Mark or Mr. Divine, despite the fact I disagree with virtually everything they say), this forum stands to lose very little and gain a great deal through providing a place where people of all opinions can discuss them freely, reasonably and without harrassment, threats or intimidation.

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  59. how about a simple content policy - "don't be a nincompoop"

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  60. @ FrFintonStack

    If you delete comments that you feel are disagreeable or antagonistic to your viewpoint a blog ceases to be a forum for debate and becomes a static advertisement in respect to one limited viewpoint. Just as one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter, one man's troll is often another man's genius, comedian or polemicist. Sometimes it seems to me the commentators that complain most bitterly about trolls are too dense to comprehend the bona fide points they make as well as subtle references to film, literature, history, poetry, science and art the often utilise in their postings albeit obscurely. Trolls are often very, very clever while the people they tease, sadly, are not; such sober little people simply cannot hear the music or see any of the colours; everything goes over their heads.

    There is a word that describes a world sans rogues and mendicants... now what is it... Oh! Yes!... BORING!

    Argh!

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  61. I thought this post was supposed to be about the BNP not censorship! You people really love the sound of your own voices don't you?

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  62. What do you mean? "You people"?

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  63. @Finn

    "If you delete comments that you feel are disagreeable or antagonistic to your viewpoint a blog ceases to be a forum for debate and becomes a static advertisement in respect to one limited viewpoint."

    Er, very good. Except I made explicitily clear that that wasn't what I was advocating; rather, that the most egregious examples of abuse, misogeny, homophobia be excluded. To that I would add stuff that derails the discussion into completely irrelevant territory.

    "Just as one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter, one man's troll is often another man's genius, comedian or polemicist. Sometimes it seems to me the commentators that complain most bitterly about trolls are too dense to comprehend the bona fide points they make as well as subtle references to film, literature, history, poetry, science and art the often utilise in their postings albeit obscurely."

    Um, yeah, right. People who object to threats, homophobic abuse, name-calling and blantant misogyny are just too thick to understand the subtle, intelligent and beautiful points the posters are making? (And about that name calling thing: accusing people who don't agree with you of being thick is one of the laziest lines of argument, as well as one of the most basic logical falicies).

    And "they make"? As in *all* of the trolls? Or just a proportion? Would that be a high proportion or a low propotion? A sufficiently high proportion that we would be losing out by excluding the subtle wit of those who merely do such a good job of *pretending* to be vile and abusive it doesn't make a damn bit of difference that they're actually not on some meta- meta- meta- level along with those are simply out to hurt and offend others, making this an unpleasant place to be for many others in the process? Please; this place (and much of the rest of the internet) is full of malicious wackos abusing others from behind the cloak of invisibility the internet offers. And here's the really radical thing: it's Penny's blog, and by editing the comments she's exercising her judgement on who crosses the line and who doesn't; who's making subtle references to film, literature, history, poetry, science and art and who's just being a dick; who's the terrorist or freedom fighter troll or genius, comedian or polemicist. If you or I or anyone else feels she's made the wrong call, we can object, or better still, go and exercise our right to be any or all of those things elsewhere. Free-for-alls are never productive, and the ability to make critical judgements is one of the most fundamental human faculties.

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  64. @Belle: I don't know about you, but the sound of my voice isn't really relevant when posting comments to the Internet, as I do not have to mentally read out every letter to myself in order to type, and therefore do not hear my own voice.

    Of course, whatever works for everyone, I suppose. You're free to continue speaking your comments as you type them if you like.

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  65. Only the government can censor, the last time I checked Penny Red is a blog FFS.

    Anna Freud.

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  66. @Anna Freud, selective quoting from Wikipedia, "Censorship is the suppression of speech or deletion of communicative material [... etc.etc. ...] as determined by a censor.". Using that definition Penny is a valid censor, makind deletion of posts from this blog a form of censorship.

    @Planet Me: That's the trouble, as much as I respect Penny I do not feel comfortable about letting her decide what public responses to her writing I can read. The definition of "nincompoop" is likely to vary widely from person to person. Of course, this being her blog, it is entirely her choice, and by even asking our opinions she is already doing way more than she could have been.

    It would appear I am not the only reader who does not like censorship after all. Some solution similar to the one proposed by Duck House or Serenissima would seem optimal, but I am not sure if either Blogger or Wordpress provide such functionality out of the box.

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  67. I don't know very much about the BNP, but I do find it interesting how apparently obvious they are in their support of radical stances. I couldn't imagine a political party in the United States (at least a party that had the slightest shot at winning an election on the national level) espousing ideas like these in a public fashion. Covertly, sure - but trotting out statements such as "rape is a myth" in a public setting?

    Perhaps it's better to know what you are dealing with well in advance. At least the BNP has (in a bizarre way, honorable, despite the ugliness of their opinions) a measure of transparency about their predjudices. In the US too often centrist politics are standard operating procedure during election time and provides cover for all manner of crazy agendas. I mean, at least you can't vote for the BNP and then be surprised when they vote against the right to choose. They make themselves pretty damn clear, if the predjudice is as obvious as you present it.
    A little terrifying that there would be a legitimate appetite for such representation, however.

    I enjoy your posts, Penny. Thanks.

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  68. Shhhh! Be vewy, vewy quiet; I'm hunting twolls. Huhuhuhuhuh! Come on out of there, twoll, or I'll pump ya fuw of wead! I'll get you, even if it's the wast stwaw! Huhuhuhuhuhuh!

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  69. @ Anna Freud

    I knew I shouldn't have psychoanalysed you daughter.

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  70. Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

    I don't like censorship.

    'nuff said.

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  71. Pampliset

    Very true.

    It's the honesty that people can't stand about BNP.

    In our creepy little sanctimonius hell hole 'honesty' doesn't cut the mustard.
    Or at least it didn't.
    Changing economic circumstances and scarce resources are making many confront painful choices.
    Hence the increasing appeal of BNP.
    Expect politics to change your side of the pond as well.

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  72. @ FrFintonStack

    Well, to me, speaking as one white heterosexual male to another, you're as good as a Troll, cock. You invade a blog and write long uninteresting opinionated verbiage and sundry other shit, trying to foist editorial policy onto the blog's owner in such a highhanded manner as to be unintentionally amusing. But then I kind of enjoy reading rants from members of the Troll people.

    Get over yourself! You sound like a pre-menstrual Edwina Currie from the eighties when the old dragon was still fertile prior to the menopause when her ovaries turned to putty.

    Now, it's going to be a nice day weather-wise with some sun and so I'd advise you to get indoors as quickly as possible before you turn to stone!

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  73. Sorry Penny, I'm just not checking this blog anymore and taking you off my blogroll... it's clear that you'd rather every post just descend into this kind of farce and the discussion fall flat on its face, than actually manage it a little and then people feel able to discuss... can't remember the last time I even saw a feminist/women's opinion on here.

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  74. Feminism died with the credit crunch

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  75. Penny Red
    Please don't listen to those who want censorship and "management'. Your blog is the best because of its brilliant no holes barred anarchy at times. Others are so boring. The Moderators become big bossy boots bumpkin bum nuts... don't be one.

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  76. There are few finer pleasures than to make point, and have your opponent's response immediately prove you right, Finn.

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  77. Whether you're a Troll or a Trollope you're welcome here.

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  78. @Anonymous who is leaving:

    I'd have thought that Penny's nice, big posts that we're all commenting on count as both a feminist opinion and a woman's opinion, myself.

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  79. @ FrFintonStack

    Man, you really have to learn to take a joke.

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  80. "At least the BNP has (in a bizarre way, honorable, despite the ugliness of their opinions) a measure of transparency about their predjudices."Sadly untrue; it's just that little Nicky wasn't made for PR (let alone politics).

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  81. I think you need to work on your delivery, Finn.

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  82. @ FrFintonStack

    Delivery, yes.

    Timing, maybe.

    Taste, always.

    But you must admit I have a certain facility when it come to dealing with hecklers!

    Live long and prosper.

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  83. I still can't get my head around how stupid ignorant wankers like that BNP spokesman get to speak in public, or even speak at all... I mean, I can't understand what sort of system allows them to make it there ...

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  84. If by "facility when it come[s] to dealing with hecklers", Finn, you mean the ability to trot out an endless series of well-worn cliches and to respond to argument with a succession of ad hominem attacks, yep, you certainly got it. Why not take a look at this informative diagram and work you where you sit: http://x56.xanga.com/d5585271566a8183708200/b140731364.jpg

    But congratulations, I've had enough of this shit. Enjoy.

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  85. @ frfintonstack

    "... I've had enough of this shit."

    All vegetables like a lot of shit young man and so I'm forced to conclude that, despite strong evidence to the contrary, you can't be a cabbage in real life. For purposes of self-preservation I would however advise you not to visit the State of California in America... out there they can legally harvest healthy organs from the brain dead without seeking explicit permission from their nearest and dearest!

    Man, you really are such a glum and dour little person aren't you? The kind of fellow who claims in adult life that they were abused as children because they were playfully tickled by their parents and siblings or innocently thrown up into the air and caught.

    I am not arguing with you, or criticising you, or contradicting you, or seeking to undermine you but playing with you with my claws retracted in a harmless good-natured fashion.

    Thanks for the diagram. One of my friends was a sociologist and scientologist; you would have loved her; besides being very pretty and mad as a hatter she also liked communicating using diagrams.

    Chill out, brother! Enjoy the world! Life is vertically challenged!

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  86. Penny, if you just allow all comments then a blog becomes a chestbeating gladiatorial arena and the intelligent debate gets lost. I'm sure there are good things said on Comment Is Free, but lots of us don't check because it's awash in abuse.

    On my blog I leave anything that moves the debate on and makes a point worth discussing, and delete anything that is abusive. And it's my arbitrary decision but it's a blog not the national press that I'm controlling, if you don't like it you can make your own in less time than it takes to read mine.

    Your blog should be a space where people engage with the ideas you put forward. that means allowing dissent, but it doesn't necessarily mean allowing it to turn into survival of the most aggressive.

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  87. I'm sorry, I rather thought it was my job to decide what kind of space my blog should be? :D

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  88. post script--the BNP got approximately a million votes in the euro elections gaining two seats,from what i can see monitoring many many forums daily they are well placed and well thought of enough by growing numbers of british people to increase that number of votes at the next general election.i would like to thank all of you not just here but on many other forums whose contributions to the BNP debate has been only to utter crude remarks against them,i believe that you do not have the intelligence to realise just what good recruiting sergeants you are for the BNP,in fact you are probably almost as good as that three headed snake the liblabcon,the bookies odds on the BNP winning a seat at the next election are starting to draw close to evens,and you call us stupid??.a happy christmas to all our BNP FRIENDS,even those to stupid to understand thats what they are.

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Comments are open on this blog, but I reserve the right to delete any abusive or off-topic threads.