One of the biggest ironies in free speech principles allowing the BNP to have a seat on the BBC Question Time panel tonight is the simple fact that extreme right wing parties of the ilk of the BNP are the very parties who would, if they could, deny people those rights. So for those of us who believe in free speech, it is very much through gritted teeth that we support the BBC's principled stance in allowing the BNP to appear on the show.
Sadly though, there are those who have used the BNPs appearance on Question Time as a means of pursuing their own vested interests.
Looking at the the usual suspect waving socialist worker placards whilst attempting to attack and break in to the BBC, you realise that there is only a very subtle difference between the methods of the far left and the far right. The differences are that whilst the far right claim to speak for the "ordinary working person", the far left seek to claim the title of speaking for the rest of us, which of course they don't.
The truth is that the actions of the far left outside the BBC today will only give solice to the BNP and will add to the view of many of those people, ignorant enough to vote BNP, that the whole world is against them and that people don't want to hear the BNPs version of the truth.
The majority of people, those who are liberal both with a small and large "l" who vote for mainstream parties, abhor the views of the BNP and hope that people see them for what they are. But the is a clear division between those who choose to oppose violent thugs in suits by legitimate democratic means and those who seek to wave placards and deny those they do not like from exercising rights that the vast majority of this country hold dear.
The truth is, of course, that the far left oppose the BNP from exercising freedom of speech because just like the far right, the far left are not to be trusted with guarding our freedoms.
Whilst they may not be racists, they want a class war, they also show prejudice and would be as quick to remove the rights we all hold dear as quickly as the BNP, if they had the chance. Meanwhile they shame the rest of us who oppose the BNP and who are now cast by them as being part of the BNP opposition alongside them.