24 October 2009

Now 8 million people know that Griffin is a lame-ass punk

Well I watched the episode of Question Time on the iPlayer last night (we were just too knackered to watch it Thursday night) and all I can say is: well done Bonnie Greer. The politicians on the panel (I mean, the non-fascist politicians) were all OK, although they all made the mistake of trying to compete with the BNP by sounding tough on immigration. Whereas in fact, while lack of funds for local authorities to provide services for immigrants in certain local areas is a huge concern, the fact is that without the huge influx of cheap highly skilled labour from the EU accession countries from 2003 onwards, the UK economy would have gone down the toilet a whole lot quicker than it actually did.

But Bonnie Greer showed Nick Griffin up to be the incoherent, preposterous blubbermouth that he really is. Griffin: "we want only the indigenous population that were here 17,000 years ago to be allowed to stay". Bonnie: "what about the Romans, Nick? They had people of every colour in their society and their armies... and when the empire collapsed those people were mostly left here".

Griffin couldn't answer any of the substantive arguments. Worse, he tried to laugh off serious criticism. Worse still, when questioned by a "non-indigenous" member of the audience who asked "I love this country, Nick - where am I supposed to go instead?" he said "you'll be allowed to stay". So he didn't even have the guts to tell someone, face to face, that he wanted them out of the country.

Worst of all, Griffin wasn't even able to give a straight answer to whether he was, or had ever been, a holocaust denier. He claimed that European law wouldn't let him. Bullshit!

I'm really pleased Griffin went on Question Time, and I think David Dimbleby (who I normally think is a pompous right-winger) did quite a good job putting him on the spot. 8 million people saw the show, apparently, and I would be extremely surprised if there was any uptick in support for the BNP as a result of this cringeworthy performance. Griffin has been revealed to be the lamest of opportunistic hack politicians and with any luck, this will be seen in retrospect as the point where the party's decline into irrelevance started.

UPDATE: A poll in the Telegraph conducted immediately after the programme shows that 22 percent of voters 'would consider' voting for the BNP. Meanwhile, support has increased from 2% to 3% over the last month. But that's not even a statistically significant increase. Whilst there's no way we should be complacent about the BNP polling even 1%, these kind of numbers suggest that the Question Time appearance is not going to make the BNP an electoral threat anytime soon.


Van Patten said...

I agree with your summation of Griffin's performance. He certainly caqme across as shifty and on dubious ground, although he'd have been better bringing up some hard leftist quotes from Straw (in particular)'s early years in the NUS, when he was being funded by the USSR/East Germany. Ironically the only time he appeared at ease was the question regarding whether New Labour's policies on immigration (reminiscent of the Dutch Dance group, 2 Unlimited's 1992 record - 'there's no limit')had contributed to the rise of the BNP's support. Straw's answer was disingenuous at best and at worst he simply evaded the question.

I cannot agree with the Greer quotation you put here as an example of a 'good' argument. It sounds eerily reminiscent of arguments advanced in my now decade old Teacher Training, wherein, lecturers almost always from ethinc minorities pointed to an unbroken continuity of 'Black Britain' from the Romans to the present day. Whilst you could make the point that there were people of ethnic minorities in miniscule numbers, to draw a comparison with present day Bradford or Leicester is stretching things too far.

I would concur with your summation of the value of allowing these people access to a forum like Question time. I don't think the BNP under it's current Leader poses a significant electoral threat outside the North West and isolated pockets in the West Midlands, and East London. However, whilst the Daily Mail is not your chosen reading, they posed the interesting comparison with France and their Far Right, which regularly hits between 13 and 19% of the vote. If we fail to address the root cause of the BNP support, which is immigration and its perceived effects, a more capable Leader could tap into that groundswell of dissatisfaction (which noone on the Left has made a coherent fist of addresing - you certainly don't here, nor does any Compass/ other neo - Pyongyangite publication I have read) and score a similar result in the UK?

giroscoper said...

I'll take Straw the NUS activist over Straw the apologist for the Iraq war any day.

I think the additional influx of EU workers to the UK from 2003 onwards stopped the economy collapsing a lot earlier than it actually did. We probably got 5 years' extra growth out of that.

I think Bonnie Greer was saying that the idea of an ethnically monolithic Britain for the last 17,000 years was ludicrous. She seemed a damn sight better informed about history than Griffin did.

The point about France is that the FN combines the sort of people who vote for the BNP, UKIP and the right wing of the Conservative party into one party. So it's a broader church than the BNP. I can well believe that 13-19% of UK citizens are out-and-out far right racists. It's certainly possible.