BNP are not fascists

<em>Letter of the week</em>

I thoroughly enjoyed Nick Cohen's hilarious article "Why do the media love fascists?" (6 August). If there were as many inaccuracies in the rest of the piece as there were in the bits based on my 40-second conversation with him, then he may have set a new record for bad journalism.

For the record, we don't use the word "fascist" to describe the British National Party because, whatever they are, they are not a fascist organisation. Cohen's little Pocket Collins definition of fascism makes that pretty clear. Nor did I rant at him (I even rang back to help further with his piece, but he wasn't interested - presumably a 40-second conversation is sufficient for 1,400 words of his banal pap). I simply disagreed with him.

Nor is "neo-Nazi" banned or even discouraged at Today, as I carefully explained to him. I think there's a reasonably good case for describing the BNP as neo-Nazis.

But you don't have to resort to infantile name-calling to demonstrate a political party's viciousness - which brings me to the last point.

We've never claimed it was "radical" to invite Nick Griffin on the programme. It was simply, at the time, good journalism to expose his creed and background for what it was.

Rod Liddle
Editor, Today
BBC
London W1

This article first appeared in the 13 August 2001 issue of the New Statesman, The diva of Downing Street