03/10/2009 - BECTU are wrong - Stand up for Free Speech

PATRICK Harrington of Solidarity Trade Union has called upon all trade union leaders to stand up for Free Speech.  His comments came after one union issued a saber-rattling statement declaring BECTU says no to BNP on Question Time.

BECTU - the Broadcasting Entertainment Cinematograph and Theatre Union – is the UK's media and entertainment trade union. It represents those who work in broadcasting, film, theatre, entertainment, leisure, interactive media or allied areas


Mr. Harrington, the General Secretary of Solidarity, said “I’m calling on ordinary Union members and workers to stand up for Free Speech.  It doesn’t matter what your personal opinion is of the British National Party.  It doesn't matter what your Union bosses (closely allied to NuLab) say. That is irrelevant.  This is simply a matter of making a principled stand for Free Speech.”


BECTU General Secretary, Gerry Morrissey, has announced his support for his members who don’t wish to work on a forthcoming edition of the BBCs Question Time.   Scheduled to be broadcast on Thursday, 22 October, 2009 it will feature BNP Chairman, Nick Griffin. Ironically the show is now so controversial that it is likely to draw the biggest audience of any yet broadcast. Workers in the industry have contacted us to say that they are happy to work on the show because they believe in democracy.


Mr. Morrissey also stated that BECTU “will also be lending its support to anti-fascist organisations who will be campaigning against Question Time’s plans to give the BNP airtime”.


Solidarity is completely opposed to the cherry-picking of democracy and free speech.  Either we all have rights – or none of has rights.   “BECTU seem to be following the TUCs totalitarian agenda.  Again the spirit of US Senator Joe McCarthy lives on in the guise of Gerry Morrisey and BECTU!”


Solidarity is also concerned about BECTUs support for ‘anti fascist organizations.’  Given the track record of some of these groups this could lead to violence and disorder.


Mr. Harrington continued:

“If people are so opposed to Nick Griffin of  the British National Party why don’t they just debate against him?  What’s wrong with a reasoned and rational debate? 

I dislike any form of political censorship.  If this was to happen abroad – say a political activist was being silenced in China - the unions would be up in arms about it.  Yet it’s happening on their own door step and they are supporting censorship!


Once again this is simply a matter of principle.  There should be civil and religious liberties for all.  Free Speech is an absolute right.  And this right belongs to everyone – Labour, the Tories, the Socialist Workers Party and the British National Party!"