Labour's guilty secret: BNP is a result of drift on immigration
The brouhaha over the coming appearance of the egregious Nick Griffin, leader of the British National Party, on the BBC's Question Time on Thursday night is interesting.
Many of Mr Griffin's ideas are contemptible. Others are absurd, such as his doubting of that greatest 20th century horror, the Holocaust.
So the Jews, understandably, are outraged. So, generally, is the Left. They are kicking up a row about the BBC decision. They promise to kick up a big row during the broadcast, though this is normally pre-recorded.
But the position of the BBC on this one is copper-bottomed. Griffin's party won two seats in the European elections in June. It now has 50 seats on local councils. Like it or not, it is entitled to a public voice.
I cannot help casting my mind back to 1988, when a government move to muzzle the IRA, the UDA and other assorted terrorist organisations put the boot firmly on the other foot.
On that occasion, the same interest, which now wants the BNP to be kept off the air, attacked Mrs Thatcher and her Northern Ireland Secretary, Douglas Hurd, for not allowing the IRA, the UDA etc to come on.
In fact, of course, they were still 'on', because the ban only applied to 'direct' broadcasts, voiced by themselves. The crowning absurdity was the device, soon introduced, of having their words spoken by actors.
The aim of the ban was clear. Victims of bombing and shootings, and very many citizens, were outraged because those who refused to condemn these attacks were being given the freedom of the air to justify them.
But the ban was still vehemently opposed by the Labour Party, then in opposition, and, in Northern Ireland, by the SDLP - and generally by the media; and there was a legal challenge, pre-empted in the end by the first IRA ceasefire, which led to the lifting of the ban.
Cynics must now conclude that, for the Left, terrorism is okay on the box when it comes from the IRA and the UDA, but fascism from the Right is not. Of course the fact is that neither is acceptable, but seeking to muzzle their spokesmen and women in an age when electronic signals girdle the globe in seconds is not the solution.
In the case of the BNP, both Government and Opposition need to be compelled to confront the issue they have for so long burked; for it is the mishandling of this which has allowed the BNP to raise its ugly head.
With the exception of the catastrophic debt, immigration to the UK is the biggest mess Blair and Brown will leave behind them if they lose next year's general election. Properly regulated, it could be a national asset; grossly mishandled, as it has been, it is socially dangerous.
Attempts at proper regulation are crippled because the Home Office has lost control of the inflow and no longer has any accurate idea of how many illegals are in the country.
Intelligent Labour MPs like Frank Field warned Blair of the dangers after he went to Number 10 in 1997. Field's reward was to be sacked; and the latest response of the Government has been to further increase the unique incentives to immigrate to Britain by extending free healthcare in the UK - incredibly - to illegals.
No wonder the lawless encampments at Calais are the despair of its citizens. In a situation like this, where the two major parties look fixedly the other way, many former Labour voters in desperation have turned to the BNP.
As in everything else, the economic squeeze facing the nation next year has only heightened the tension.
To mention what to our rulers is unmentionable, the average immigrant tends to have a bigger family than the natives. So, not only is the uncontrolled inflow a burden on scarce resources, but the effect is cumulative.
The population of the UK is growing fast.
There will be a need for nearly 100,000 extra school places in England and Wales within four years. Two out of every three of those places will be for the children of an immigrant parent.
Sectors of the national economy, during the fat years, came to rely on immigrant labour.
But the fat years are gone. The public cupboard is bare. Jobs are scarce. The social danger is obvious. Officialdom must get its act together and apply meaningful controls.
Viktor Dembovskis, a Latvian national, was aged 47 at the time of the offence for which he received three life sentences at the Old Bailey in 2005. He sexually assaulted and stabbed through the heart 17-year-old schoolgirl Jeshma Raithatha.
Earlier this year her young sister, unable to come to terms with the tragedy, jumped from the roof of a multi-storey carpark in north London.
Dembovkis was a serial sex-offender. He had been convicted of rape twice in Latvia. Yet he was admitted to the UK. I say no more.