Published On: Sun, May 6th, 2012

Give them enough rope and they’ll hang themselves.

Following last week’s decision to cancel the mayoral debate at the university on the back of LGoS’s complaint, I’ve been questioning whether it was the correct thing to do.

Initially I was shocked at what seemed to be a capricious gesture, based on a dislike of certain aspects of politics, admittedly the dirtier and least legitimate facet. If I was to be completely clichéd in my view, it seemed like an attack on free speech. The fact that the BNP, NF, and The English Democrats are the least legitimate face of British politics (if politics even describes their output) left me confused that they would be feared in this way. Not only are the politics at play laughably poor, but the candidates themselves severely lack any form of credibility:

 Peter (Quiggins) Tierney - The National Front candidate is a convicted criminal and was on the distribution network of Anders Brievik (of mass murdering notoriety). While it can’t be confirmed that he read/responded to emails sent to him, when asked about the link he has refused to answer. His story is made all the more bizarre or even sad by the fact he was once the owner of what was a left wing and counter-cultural institution in the city.

Mike Whitby - The British National Party’s hope for an all white Liverpool, has also had his fair share of confrontations with the law. Having been jailed for contempt of court and assault in the past. Whitby, who is no longer a resident of Liverpool, has been renting a ‘storage facility’ in the guise of a pigeon shed within the city limits in order to qualify for the candidacy, whilst also running for various positions in Wrexham.

Paul Rimmer – The English Democrats’ candidate is the most respectable of three on paper; well educated, but his “big issue of the moment” when asked in a radio interview, is the need to force a decision over the stadium worries of our city’s football teams. Seemingly a little bit redundant in comparison to more pressing issues such as the city’s unemployment.

On top of these personal issues which at best questions their viability as leaders, they’ve also completely bought into their respective parties’ misinformed brain rot. Parties that purposefully ignore facts for ingrained fiction such as those in question, tend to have (alongside their abhorrent views) the most bizarre key issues:

- The need for St George’s day to be respected and celebrated under duress (oblivious to most English people’s disinterest for the day, and most holidays at that).
- The need to withdraw troops from European bases, and Middle Eastern war-zones while continuing to increase defense spending above inflation. (For what?)
- The need for more sporting and cultural events between ‘white’ nations to unify our supposed similarities.

Having skimmed through all three parties’ national manifestos, it leads me to think we should let them have their five minute debates, taking their spiel so seriously it reads like Poe’s law or a Guardian journalist’s idea of a joke. In denying them their platform to speak, you in turn create a feeling of curiosity towards the fringes and even a sense of sympathy from those already disaffected with mainstream politics. It also gives them more media attention, for the side at fault (in my opinion LGoS) has to release a statement which is picked up by the media, then the politicians release their own counter statement, and it becomes a whole thing with people like me commenting on it.

I understand to some extent why LGoS refused to allow the debates to take place in its own building; after all the guild consists of all creeds and nationalities, there is no need to create unnecessary distress to those who could be affected. This could have been done behind closed doors though, to avoid unnecessary attention being gained by the parties they do not agree with. Yet they did not, and went one further by attempting to organise a demonstration during the debate. While there is nothing outwardly wrong with demonstration, especially as a counter-point to the opinions being wielded within the debates, it jars with me that the main concern for LGoS at the beginning of it all was the possibility of harm to students. Surely a demonstration would only serve to antagonise a group of people known to fly off the handle at opposition? In turn, this put those most susceptible to attack – those protesting – deeper in harm’s way.

The second scheduled debate, which took place on Wednesday 27th fell equally foul of limiting the spectrum of candidates on offer at the elections. This time the problem children doubled in number, with only 6 candidates invited to take part. This has been put down to feasibility and manageability, but certainly impinges on impartiality, and out of politeness the invite should have been extended to all running. The fact that the English Democrats, BNP and NF were again shunned continues the link between the public disassociated with mainstream politics and the parties themselves disassociated with mainstream politics. They’ll fester and become hermits till all comes out in some columbine-esque atrocity, but conceivably on a national level all because they have been ignored. Give them floor (and the rope), and they’ll hang themselves soon enough.

About the Author

- Spencer is Features & Comment Co-Editor here at LSMedia. A 3rd year philosophy student who has lived most of his life in Liverpool.