The Royal College of Nursing is to issue guidance to its members on dealing with ‘contentious political parties’, such as the BNP.
The college will not bar members from joining extremist political parties, nor will it criticise any political party, but the RCN’s director of communications Amanda Callaghan said guidance would remind members of the College’s commitment to equality and diversity.
Ms Callaghan said the RCN’s charitable status prevented it from either supporting or ‘not supporting’ political parties, and as a trade union it could not align itself politically. ‘But if we don’t engage with the debate, there could be a perception that we don’t care, or even that there is tacit agreement’, she said.
Ms Callaghan said the increased number of political representatives from parties like the BNP on local authorities, and even the fact that BNP chairman Nick Griffin now sits on the public health committee of the European Parliament, meant nurses were more likely to encounter extremist political parties in their day-to-day work.
Debate? The BNP would welcome one. The RCN’s actions here are designed to forestall the need ever to debate the BNP’s ideas.