Standing up to the BNP

It is no surprise to me that UNITE, one of the Unions bankrolling the Labour Party, is afraid of democracy.

They stopped a political debate going ahead in Eastbourne the other day because the BNP were due to take part.

This is ridiculous, reminiscent of those who didn't want the BNP on Question Time a few months ago.

Just because we don't like what they stand for doesn't mean they don't have a right to say it. All that does is give the BNP a notoriety that they thrive upon.

The Herald itself said this was not an easy decision. I disagree. I think it was.

The debate should have gone ahead.

Whether you like or loathe them, the BNP are a legal political party, and if we really do live in a tolerant country that believes in free speech it is an outrage that we try to keep views we may not like quiet.

The UNITE union seem to think that the BNP will go away if we ignore them.

I've got news for them. They won't.

Even Labour is in on this. I don't know what they are frightened of?

The Hastings Labour MP Michael Foster, a very decent man, has also said he won't share a platform with the BNP. Again a bad decision.

We are only a few weeks away from a general election campaign. I am sad that we have to put up with a BNP candidate in Eastbourne – but make no mistake they have an absolute right to stand. And if we don't challenge them for their views, exposing the issues upon which we disagree, we can be pretty sure they will have a higher vote than they deserve, and we will have to put up with them at every election.

If we challenge them and expose that their policies don't stack up to scrutiny, they won't survive for long.

In Eastbourne we normally have a few public hustings meetings in Churches and the Town Hall. I hope that happens again this year and that organisers don't bottle out because they don't like the 'far right' BNP (who are actually a far left organisation).

Now just for the record, I believe the BNP to be small minded and fundamentally misguided, and they wouldn't get my vote in a million years. But I would absolutely defend their right to say what they believe. How else can democracy thrive?

David Beckham

I am gutted for David Beckham, who now seems certain to miss the world cup with a torn Achilles tendon. Becks turns 35 in May, and whilst this isn't a career threatening injury, he will have to wave goodbye to his England career – very sad, I always thought his experience should have been part of the mix in South Africa, and I think our chances of lifting the cup are slightly diminished this morning.

Have a great week friends!