Sunday, October 25, 2009

Nick Griffin's 'PR coup'

A record 8m people tuned into this week's edition of Question Tme which featured the debut appearance of recently-elected MEP Nick Griffin, leader of the British National Party.

Radio 4's Sue MacGregor has since accused the Beeb of setting the 'attack dogs' against Griffin, a tactic which could only have led, she suggests, to many viewers feeling increased sympthy for the BNP.

On the night senior politicians from the 'mainstream' parties did appear to be congratulating themselves on how they had run circles around this rather obviously stupid, yet nonetheless cunning and shifty derechista.

Bonny Greer even told us that we should regard the BNP's take on the 'indigenous' history of the British Isles as a work of comedy. (Though her characterisation of the Roman Empire as multicultural and tolerant and the Celts as recent African emigrés seemed almost equally potted....and she wasn't laughing when he desribed the Ku Klux Klan as 'non-violent'.)

Griffin's taunters on the panel collectively concluded that the British people had far too much nouse to take this nasty man and his nasty politics seriously. In fact, after the show a poll indicated that 22% of viewers would 'seriously' consider voting for the BNP. (Griffin currently represents roughly 1/60th of the UK electorate.)

This is the age-old problem of voters being unduly impressed by politicians who say in public the sort of things these voters only think in private....thereby disregarding the obvious truth that such politicians must also think things in private that they are reluctant to come out with in public.

Only the Conservatives appeared to have come with the intention of scoring some points against the government, and embarrassing the suddenly comparably shify Jack Straw on the issue of border controls. Indeed, the Tories' all too transparent ploy here was to place 'ethnic' party members on the panel and in the audience so as to snipe at Labour's record on immigration, without seeming to side with that odious creep sitting next to Ms Greer.

Earlier Straw had his own comedy moment when he said that, as Justice Minister, he could of course personally guarantee that Griffin would be able to speak in confidence on the BBC about his Holcaust doubts without fear of any long-range EU lawsuits.

It was a bizarre spectacle overall: the normally nerdy and clubbish arena of British politics suddenly beset by a name-calling, American-style culture war, where bug-eyed ideology overwhelms the traditional anglo-saxon virtues of common sense and a more sober, empirical 'fervour' for the facts.

Talking of Anglo-Saxons, nobody took the opportunity to point out to Griffin that they had perpetrated their own uncontrolled immigration a very long time after the end of the last Ice Age.

The most positive spin one could put on the whole thing is that by drawing Griffin and his party out of the shadows and into the discredited mainstream of British politics, they too will end up discredited by association!

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