Nick Griffin on BBC

Nick Griffin's BBC appearance has created a row, for good reason. Many people saw the similarities with Jean Le Pen, whose fortunes were created after appearance in the French equivalent of Question Time, so much so that he turned from a rather lunatic fringe right winger to the challenger to Jacques Chirac in a Presidential run-off in a decade's time.

Nick Griffin is a slightly churlish, utterly boring politician, who does not seem to stand for anything. Except the emptiness of the current political debate, one would hasten to add. If there were any questions about why Nick Griffin was even invited to the show, the show proved it: What was indeed the point in having the show with a vacuous Jack Straw, pointless Sayeeda Warsi and self-defeating Chris Huhne? If television shows are about TRP rating, bring it on!

But then the BBC is not about TRP. Isn't that what one pays for, through the license fee 'tax'! That should have kept it free of the obsession with TRP ratings, and allowed it to focus on free democratic agenda. Of course, one may contrarily argue that the obsession with TRP would have been better - as Nick Griffin proved less capable of thinking than some of the Big Brother house inmates who we were forced to watch - than the pointless 'democratic' programme planning. Unless the BBC wanted to come clear and say that it is paying for some of the BNP supporters' money, all this discussion is indeed pointless.

For example, what do you say about David Dimbleby asking about Holocaust and Nick Griffin laughing [for which, the host reprimanded him like a school teacher: 'Why do you laugh? Is this a particularly laughing matter?']. Or this discussion about which parts of Adolf Hitler Mr. Griffin approves of. Or that KKK was led by a non-violent activist. And, the fact whether BNP as a party should be taken seriously.

The last point is of course settled. Some polls suggested that at least one-fifth of the respondents polled will consider BNP as a choice. Though two-thirds said that they would not ever consider BNP, the others were not sure. And, yes, the very fact that Mr. Griffin is an MEP - though he stands against the European Imperialism and thought Churchill was one of his own because the old man fought for British independence from Europe [never mind the French!] - tells us that he needs to be taken seriously. And, yes, recent history has taught us that it almost never pays to tolerate buffoonery!

Mr. Griffin's key point is of course Islam, which he sees as a hateful religion and he wants Muslims evicted from British soil. Yes, indeed, including the British Muslims, who form a rather significant portions of the population in the Northern English towns he finds a following in. Which is a fairly doable thing in my view, if Mr. Griffin agreed not to use the oil that comes from the Middle East and stop using the numerical system which has an Arab heritage: small things like this. His faith in British race is absolute, though he may struggle to get the Scots, Irish and the Celts agree on some sort of common definition. However, he isn't an intellectual and would never write a Mein Kampf, except if Daily Mail ghostwrites it for him.

Immigration seems to be the other issue, but on this, Mr. Griffin is only the dumber version of his other illustrious peers on the Question Time. Take, for example, Chris Huhne, who needed to be reminded that what he was criticising was actually his own party's policy. The British government never seems to understand that getting investments invariably means an open labour market, and an ability to attract skills from all over the world. Without the free market for labour, there isn't going to be a free market for capital. So, here, Mr. Griffin failed to shine, because everyone else is as clueless as him on what needs to be said.

And, then, there is Adolf Hitler. He seems to cast a long shadow on European politics, because it never quite escaped from his clutch. I think what Nick Griffin said or did not say about Adolf Hitler does not matter. The fact he thinks that both Adolf Hitler and Winston Churchill, if they were alive and were in Britain, would have been given honorary membership of his party, speaks clearly of the ideological clarity, vision and political depth of the debate that we watched yesterday.

But, then, the pointlessness of it is actually the point.


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