So, Nick Griffin on Question Time then. Bit disappointing? Mostly a touch comical, wasn’t it? Aside from one particularly nasty little bit of Kilroy-Silkish Islamophobia (which we’re used to on blogs but still carried a frisson of shock on TV) he came across as a bumbling buffoon. Much less smooth than I expected. That might have been due to the sheer variety of attacks he faced, and because the panellists had the good sense to bring along his Neo-Nazi Obfuscation Bingo list and thus undermine his ability to use it.
Still, I think they should have kicked him a bit more in the fundamentals. I’d have loved to have seen a really ruthless debater on there, like Nick Cohen or, even better, me. I’d have pointed out that the number of ‘indigenous’ people in Britain, is, according to Griffin's definition, precisely zero, by which count a BNP candidate represents the interests of even fewer people than does Esther Rantzen, who at least represents the interests of herself.
Also nobody mentioned the critical fact, pointed out here a few times (and by Gaw) that BNP support is not gaining in popularity in the real sense. Fewer voted for them at the most recent Euro election than at the previous one – their seats materialising only through Proportional Representation because of a crash in support for the major parties in the midst of the expenses scandal. Admittedly this fact takes a great deal of the fun out of the fight for both fascists and anti-fascists, but it puts the thing in perspective.
And perspective, of course, is everything. Outside the cauldron of Question Time, where batting down Griffin seems so terribly important, you only have to mooch about any city for a bit to see the full scale of this fantasist’s delusions. This is a mongrel country of extraordinarily successful multicultural integration, the reversal of which is not conceivable. The comic highlight of the programme came at the end when Griffin showed he still had some hate left for a few more minorities and had a go at the ‘ickiness’ of gay men kissing. Dear me, remember the civil partnership 'debate'? Talk about dead as a dodo; Griffin’s protests felt about as relevant in 2009 as a tirade against the repeal of the Corn Laws.
There really is no obligation to take this clown and his nasty little party seriously at a national level. At the local level – ie. certain towns in the north of England – it’s a different matter, because if you happen to be a British Asian in an area where the BNP has had electoral success, you’ll have to go about your business feeling that your neighbours want to get rid of you. The BNP, therefore, is primarily a problem to be solved by local representatives of the major parties. And then of course they will need the national representatives to help them out by not screwing things up all the time.