Tuesday, 9 January, 2007
Wednesday, 20 December, 2006
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Simone Clarke’s recent ‘outing’ as a member of the far right political party the BNP (British National Party) is nothing short of a public relation disaster for her employers, the English National Ballet, Arts Council England and the company’s sponsors.
The inevitable calls for Ms Clark to be sacked were predictable and perhaps understandable considering the low level thinking employed by the BNP and its ludicrous political agenda.
Whatever we may think of Ms Clarke’s political affiliations however she must, under no circumstances, be sacked for expressing them.
At this moment in time the BNP is not an illegal organisation and therefore the ENB dancer is not doing anything to break the law. However we as individuals may view her actions to affiliate herself with such an orgnisation the very laws that protect everybody in this country from the nonsense that the BNP espouses also protects Ms Clarke’s right to freedom of expression, politically, artistically or otherwise.
A very dire precedent would be set if a professional dancer was dismissed simply for being a member of a legal political party operating within a free democracy.
I have a feeling that ACE and the company’s sponsors (SKY Television) may well take different view and the thorny issue of complying with the Race Relation Act is going to be at the forefront of any decision that ENB may take. Classical ballet is a fragile world unused to such public controversy and the ‘suits’ may well get their way and have the dancer dismissed from the company.
There is no suggestion that Simone Clarke is a racist however or that she has taken part in any activity to suggest otherwise. Her decision to join the BNP shows, perhaps, a misguided attempt to express her political views on immigration but we must counter that decision with discussion and debate not with arbitrary sackings and name calling.