So how did Nick Griffin’s first outing on Question Time go? A mixed bag in my opinion.
Most of the programme was dedicated to attacks on the BNP or Nick Griffin, most of which was lapped up by a baying audience that was disproportionately full of black and asian people. Nick Griffin looked uncomfortable and nervous the whole way through.
Jack Straw was by far the weakest panelist on the programme, spinning so fast they could have hooked him up to the national grid. Chris Huhne was the least confrontational of the LibLabCon panelists (who’d have thought it from a Lib Dim?). Baroness Waarsi was the best of the politicos on the panel by far. She attacked Griffin – sometimes weakly – but she also treated Jack Straw as fair game, especially when he denied that Liebour’s open door policy was to blame for the rise in the BNP’s popularity.
Interesting, whilst everything Nick Griffin said was met with jeers from the crowd, when he said there were too many people coming into the country and that it should be stopped there were no jeers from the predominantly black and asian audience.
Griffin was strongest on Islam – when he was asked to explain why he believed that Islam was a cruel and wicked faith he did so quite openly, citing the stoning of female rape victims for “adultary” and the Koran’s instructions to murder non-believers as evidence of its cruelty. There were a few disagreements from the audience and from Baroness Waarsi who insisted that that wasn’t what Islam is about (despite it being in the Koran).
The funniest part of the programme was when Jack Straw was pontificating about Winston Churchill and the contribution of black and asians to the war effort during the Second World War and Nick Griffin pointed out that his grandfather was an RAF pilot during the war whilst Jack Straw’s grandfather spent the war in prison for refusing to fight. To be fair to Jack Straw, he barely flinched but it was a priceless moment.
On balance, Nick Griffin came across badly. He was unconvincing during most of the programme but he was certainly not the weakest panelist – I would put him above Straw and Huhne. If the programme encourages people to join the BNP it will be because of the attacks on Nick Griffin – the negative politics throughout – rather than what Griffin said. After all, are naturally attracted to the underdog.
And the best panelist? Not Griffin, not Straw, not Huhne and not Waarsi. The best panelist was some black woman from a museum who calmly and intelligently wiped the floor with Nick Griffin. She did more to put down the BNP than the LibLabCon panelists put together and she did it without insulting him, without raising her voice and without feigning anger. It is people like her that will keep the BNP down, not failed politicians whose refusal to tackle immigration gives oxygen to the BNP.