Question Time homework.


Not long to go now until the much-anticipated special neo-Nazi-featuring episode of Question Time.

Unless the BBC changes it mind at the last minute and withdraws Nick Griffin’s invitation to appear on the flagship current affairs programme, Jack Straw, Baroness Warsi, Chris Huhne, and Bonnie Greer will all be sharing a platform with the BNP leader.

This is a rare opportunity for Griffin to present himself as a respectable politician who has a harmless obsession with the Union Jack flag and represents the large number of British voters who want lower levels of immigration into this country. The other panelists must not let him get away with this.

The format of Question Time means that the whole programme can’t be spent answering a question about the BNP’s racism or suchlike. There will inevitably be discussion on less controversial issues where Griffin will be trying his bestest to sound reasonable and not-at-all extreme. Anyone with half a brain who doesn’t have to worry about parliamentary whips or a well-established party line generally uses their appearance on Question Time to be shamelessly populist.

I don’t expect Griffin to be different. He’s not going to deny the Holocaust on Question Time. He’s not going to start reciting the argument he set out in his pamphlet ‘Who Are the Mindbenders?’ which essentially states that the media is controlled by a Jewish conspiracy. He’s not going to express his contempt for democracy and repeat his assertion that “rights for whites will be defended by well-directed boots and fists”.

Therefore the other panelists (and indeed presenter David Dimbleby) have a duty to memorise Griffin’s long history of political extremism and to confront him with it. Unfortunately, quite a few mainstream figures have proved themselves to be quite useless when giving airtime to BNP representatives.

It’s not enough to insist that they are “despicable” because they are racist and hope that viewers agree with you: point out the BNP’s hypocrisy in claiming to be patriotic when their leading members frequently reveal themselves to be Hitler-admirers. Dig out some of Griffin’s most mental, batshit crazy quotes from the days when he would never have expected the Jew-controlled media to let him loose on the telly. Read out the list of senior BNP members with serious criminal convictions.

I expect that Griffin will retort to every accusation of extremism with comments about all the major parties being proved corrupt by the MPs’ expenses scandal. I am also willing to bet he will try to dismiss his ‘radical past’ with references to government ministers being Communists in their youth. The panelists need to be ready for this.

Normally I feel quite partisan when watching Question Time, but on Thursday’s broadcast I will be rooting for anyone who lands a rhetorical blow on Griffin. I hope all the other panelists are doing their homework on Griffin’s biography, rehearsing their arguments, and preparing themselves for an important moment in the BNP’s attempted breakthrough into the political mainstream.


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