The liberal idealists of the BBC have fallen into the trap that almost every day dreaming liberal falls into. They have assumed that everyone in the world is open minded and delights in being persuaded of alternative perspectives so that they might change their point of view.
This might be fine slugging a bottle of Pinot over a nice dinner with learned friends. This is not what happens when confronted by people who have entrenched dogmatic mind-sets.
The principle of the BBC's current affairs programme Qustion Time is founded on an expectation that views are expressed and debated in an informed and intelligent way. This cannot be expected from the BNP. Typically they characterise problems in simplistic ways and offer simplistic solutions. Which is exactly the diet of the intellectually lazy. The less effort you put into understanding complex social and political problems and the less effort you need to put into inventing solutions is precisely the reason an appearance on Question Time is a waste of time. Nothing will be achieved.
Aha! I hear you say, but we'll let them hoist by their own petard. Sadly no. They are so utterly convinced of their own rectitude that they will be impossible to shift. Liberal democracies are built on sophisticated understanding of issues and informed debate. The BNP will simply rant and derive a perverse kudos by 'appearing' to have the same merit as the others who will be appearing.
Aha! again I hear you say, but giving them air time will show them in their true colours, any 'logical' person will see the flaws in their arguments once they are confronted by sophisticated responses. The problem here of course is two-fold. Firstly Question Time viewers are probably not your typical BNP voter so they don't need to have the BNP message revealed for what it really is. Secondly any BNP orientated viewers will simply listen to the points that support their world view and reject the rest out of hand, so nothing will be gained.
Believing that getting the BNP on Question Time and that suddenly the scales will fall of their eyes and the eyes of proto-BNPers in a massive 'on air epiphany' is almost bordering on compulsive optimism. Some might call it gullibility!
Interested in more?
Appealling to alienated communities
BBC explain their decision