At a time when various leftists are throwing tantrums over the decision of the Hampstead and Highgate Express (the "Ham and High") to publish a BNP advertisement, a potentially rather more important bit of news relating to the party has gone largely unnoticed. BNP for Cleveland relates the story of Barry Towers, who has been dismissed from his job as a steward at Middlesbrough Football Club, allegedly because he stood for the BNP in a recent council by-election in the city.
Now, I have no personal knowledge of the circumstances surrounding Barry Towers' dismissal. In the absence of any MSM coverage, or any comment from the football club on the case, all my remarks must be based solely on Mr Towers' version of events, as relayed via the BNP for Cleveland blog. And certainly, it would be desirable to be apprised of a few more facts about the dismissal; notably, what reason the club gave Mr Towers for dismissing him - did they say that it was on account of his involvement with the BNP, or are they claiming that there was another, more justifiable, reason?
In the absence of such information, it is impossible to be certain what the true situation is. However, the temporal proximity between Mr Towers' candidature (the election only took place a month ago), and his dismissal, is interesting, to say the least. And he would not be the first BNP member to have been sacked for his involvement with the party.
To allow election candidates, whatever their party, to be dismissed from their jobs on account of their political activity is to undermine the very basis of the democratic process. Such behaviour cannot be construed as anything other than an attempt to stifle debate, by intimidating people into not expressing certain views, and preventing certain policies or ideologies from being put before the electorate. If this is indeed what has happened here, then that is deplorable. Equally deplorable is the fact that the decision of a local newspaper to promote free speech and debate has been met with greater outrage, than the apparent attempt of an employer to suppress it.