I was of the opinion all along that Nick Griffin should be allowed to be shown on the Question Time panel because, much as I like the BBC, I don’t want them deciding what is and what isn’t fit for broadcast on the basis of taste.
As it was, those worried about Griffin’s appearance on the panel need not have worried. The BNP leader looked nervous, ill-at-ease, under-prepared and rather stupid.
What I assume was a rather nervous laugh in reference to quotes that showed him to have some rather unpleasant, decidedly racist view made him look out of his depth, frivolous or insensitive. And when he did hit his stride he came close to some of the nastiness that we know forms the basis of the BNP’s politics.
Jack Straw seemed emotional, David Dimbleby seemed barely able to look at him. But it was Bonnie Greer who punctured Griffin most effectively.
She was courteous, concise, slightly condescending and appeared slightly disappointed in Griffin, who she pointedly called ‘Nick’.
It was clever stuff and Greer scored several direct hits. Griffin didn’t seem to realise he was being set up. But I don’t think anyone really addressed the reasons behind the BNP rise to prominence.
The fact is that UK works through economic migration. If we didn’t have blacks, asians, Jews and now east Europeans coming to the country to sweep our roads, clean our toilets and fix our plumbing the country would be on its knees.
That’s how it works, it’s how it;s worked for decades and there’s very little that can be done about it, as all the political parties would admit if they weren’t busy electioneering.
Griffin got in a dig at the ‘political elites’ he believes oppress the white working classes at the end of the show, in which he lambasted the BBC for being ‘ultra-leftist’.
It showed how absurd a man he is, believing in his own fantasy world of indigenous persecuted whites. He showed himself up for what he was, and no amount of grandstanding could change it. Dimbelby asked if Question Time had been an early Christmas Present for the BNP.
I watched the show in my local cricket club. Question Time would rarely be on the television in the club under different circumstances, yet everyone was rapt.
I think everyone realised the gravity of the situation – a racist political party was threatening to break through into the mainstream. But as the night wore on and Griffin proved inept and vaguely comical, people drifted away.
Dragged into the light, Griffin had wilted. He was not the bogeyman everyone expected, but a small-minded racist man utterly out of his depth and skewered not by the politicians on the panel but by the gentle but pointed mocking of Bonnie Greer.
At the end of the show the audience was noticeably mocking Griffin. He had become a joke. Griffin’s appearance on Question Time had not been a present for the BNP, it had been a poisoned chalice.