Ooh aren’t we all jolly well looking forward to the big bunfight on tomorrow’s Question Time? Won’t we all get into a good lather?
Nick Cohen links to a set of euphemisms that the BNP commonly uses to disguise its racist policies ("identity" rather than "racial purity" etc), so you could add to your enjoyment of the programme by playing Neo-Nazi Obfuscation Bingo if you wanted.
The more I think about this, the less justification there seems to be for the BBC’s decision to allow Nick Griffin (and now his supporters) onto the programme. If this was a European Parliament special, there might be some semblance of duty to give the BNP airtime, given their MEP seats. But they have no MPs and, for as long as we operate a first-past-the-post electoral system, they almost certainly never will. So there’s no strong democratic imperative to invite them to speak. I mean, it’s not like anyone gives a toss about the European Parliament, is it?
The other line is: give them the oxygen of publicity and they’ll choke; their arguments will be exposed as the nonsense they are. I suspect this is over-optimistic. First, anyone with the sufficient mental capacity to spot an ‘exposed’ argument on an episode of Question Time already knows the BNP are scumbags, so few minds are likely to be changed however the debate goes. Second, Nick Griffin is a slimy, slippery political toad who is not going to blow his big chance by doing Nazi salutes and announcing in the first five minutes that ‘Wogs begin at Calais’. Instead, he’ll go through his Obfuscation Routine, talking calmly about ‘protecting British jobs’, attacking Labour for easy claps and pushing populist buttons on Iraq, MPs expenses and what have you. In fact, the inevitable section of the Question Time audience made up of hysterical right-on students and Mock the Week fans will probably make him appear reasonable by comparison.
Always do what your enemies least want you to do. Griffin most wants to be accepted as the kind of politician who gets invited onto Question Time. His Obfuscation Routine, don’t forget, has taken the BNP from a being a bunch of no-mark skinhead jokes to a small but reasonably professional political force, at least in PR elections. The BBC has just given him another little victory. It won’t amount to much in the greater scheme of things, but still, BNP victories of any scale stick in the throat.
Of course, I may be completely mistaken, he may be roundly trounced by his fellow QT guests and on Friday the BNP may be forced to disband because of this devastating ‘exposure’. In which case you can come back here on Friday morning and we’ll all say how glad we are that I was wrong.