Although this will be my third post in a week about Griffin and the BNP I promise I’m not developing an unhealthy fixation with the far right – my immediate reaction to last night’s Question Time is that they simply aren’t that important. I must admit I approached yesterday’s programme with a certain amount of dread, fearing that Griffin would turn in an accomplished, well-rehearsed performance, but in the end I needn’t have worried. The BNP leader looked nervous, defensive and shifty, he fluffed many of his lines and didn’t once strike a chord with an audience who made me proud to be British.
We’re perhaps led to believe that the British public is entirely composed of curtain-twitching Daily Mail readers who are convinced we all live in a land of ‘political correctness gone mad’ and ‘elf and safety nazis’ (curse your lazy journalism, Richard Littlejohn) but it was heartening to see the way the Question Time audience, always a meticulous cross-section of the public, refused to allow Griffin to be their spokesman. Time and again he clumsily fired out a soundbite and each time he met with a wall of disdain.
The other panellists all performed well, crucially steering away from hysteria to tackle the BNP with reasoned argument, but the show-stealer for me was Bonnie Greer. She dealt with Griffin with an assured calm, most memorably with her “Got some reading for you Nick, think you need it” comment.
Today’s clumsy rebuttal operation from the BNP, inevitably accusing the BBC of bias and of putting Griffin in front of a lynch mob, just proves how poorly they think their leader performed. It also proves that the BBC were right to let Britain have this important debate.