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The BNP at the BBC

Updated on October 21, 2013


The BNP is a UK political party. Well in theory it is but many people would disagree. BNP stands for the British National Party and this group of people have been gradually gaining voters in recent years.

When I was young the National Front was a bully boy sort of would be political party that expressed fascist views. Full of thugs and skinheads, understandably the National Front was abhorred by most right minded people.

Then in 1982 the BNP was formed. Initially this was the smaller of the two political groups but over the years the BNP has gained a following. The founder of the BNP John Tyndall was a leading post war Nazi in the UK.

Combat 18 was a breakaway faction of the BNP but as an extremist party eventually even the BNP disowned them.

Nick Griffin became the leader of the BNP in 1999 and a new era begun. The party politics were no different but a respectable image was the plan. Although the hard line, fascist bully boys are still there they are more in the background.

The image of the BNP for the world is a suited ordinary looking sort of guy. A wolf in sheep's clothing.

Nick Griffin
Nick Griffin

Question Time Thursday 22nd October 2009.

I have kept the BNP history brief in order to give them the minimum publicity possible. Unfortunately this week has given them far more publicity than they deserve, or is really wise.

Question Time is a reasonably light current affairs programme which is aired on the BBC most Thursday evenings. Currently the host is David Dimbleby and each week the panel is made up of various politicians, sometimes with a sprinkling of celebrities. The invited audience is made up of members of the public. With questions from the audience to the panellists this programme can be entertaining as well as interesting.

The difference with Question Time on 22nd October 2009 was the inclusion of the leader of the BNP, Nick Griffin and the furore it has caused.

The panel included:-

  • Jack Straw
  • Baroness Warsi
  • Chris Huhne
  • Nick Griffin
  • Bonnie Greer

Earlier in the evening this programme had been filmed in the BBC studios and protesters had gathered outside. Three policeman were injured and a half a dozen protesters had been arrested. The BNP had no presence. I guess they hoped that in one way the protesters would show themselves up and so the BNP would seem more normal.

So a couple of hours later the results of the filming were aired on British television.

My feelings then.

The panellists were multi-racial, not just UK residents and from different political parties. Tonight's questions kicked of with debateabout how the BNP have started to use images of Winston Churchill, England's leader during the Second World War.

Instantly Griffin went on the defensive by attacking, Labour party member, Jack Straw's family. I have decided to only give limited reports of what was said and by whom as I would hate to give the BNP publicity. As Dimbleby said his answer had nothing to do with the question.

On the whole Nick Griffin tried to portray the face of moderation. For me it did not work. My worry though is that more impressionable viewers may not be able to see through the BNP hype.

Griffin was adamant that many of the claims in the press about the BNP's politics was exaggerated or downright lies.

When cornered Griffin laughed. The audience has plenty of valid questions andI must admit did seem to on the whole be against the BNP. I guess only people who have strong feelings either way pushed to attend.

I could see how to some viewers Griffin may have seemed plausible and the face of reason. With a general election next year the BNP will be hoping to grab the undecided voters. With the political row over expenses this year, our troops fighting abroad and the credit crunch biting many voters have lost faith in the established political parties. It is up to those who have political clout to get their act in order.

Griffin is no Hitler but there are some worrying similarities.

The only reason the BNP were invited onto Question Time is because they now have two seats which they won in the European elections this year. In order to offer fair representation the BBC decided to include the BNP tonight.

Half of me agrees with those that said shame on you BBC and thought Griffin should never have been included. The other half agrees with those that say it is the price we pay for being a free country.

Although I do not like the BNP or Griffin I can see how some people may fall for the chat. He may not be the speaker that Hitler was but he can certainly play a role. This is what may enable the BNP to get a hold next year.

I urge people to really consider the whole picture. Some voters simply vote against the mainstream political parties as a protest vote. Do not throw your vote away. Unless you were a fan of the Nazi party, Hitler and the Holocaust the BNP has nothing to offer. Sure there will be the odd, peculiar person who admired the Nazis but common, right minded, law abiding citizens will not.


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    • ethel smith profile image

      Eileen Kersey 8 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Thanks to you all. I see we now have Griffin, as you say, playing the persecution card. He feels he was set up with a hand picked audience and that he would have faired better in somewhere such as one of his two consituencies. You only have to look at the heavies who surround him to know what his real agenda is.

      Unfortunately all of this has given the BNP free publicity. I read with horror today that a new poll now claims that 22% of those asked would consider voting BNP next year. Frightening.

    • profile image

      LynFerrand 8 years ago

      Thank you for this!

    • Danielle Farrow profile image

      Danielle Farrow 8 years ago from Scotland, UK

      Thank you for this balanced and well-written hub, as hello,hello says - and for considering how the furore is upping the BNP's profile.

      You have been sensitive to this in what you mention, and I do hope that you are an example of responses. Fingers crossed!

    • Amanda Severn profile image

      Amanda Severn 8 years ago from UK

      That would have been a fantastic line-up Sufi, but I gather he got quite an ear-bashing from the audience and the panel in any case.

    • Sufidreamer profile image

      Sufidreamer 8 years ago from Sparti, Greece

      I can only get the highlights (if you can call them that) over here, so thanks for the Hub giving a better picture. Personally, I believe that the BBC was right to let Griffin speak - he has that right and, hopefully, his barely disguised racism turned many people away from his BS.

      Mind you, I wish that they had put a couple of heavy hitters on the panel - politicians like Tony Benn, Charles Kennedy and Ken Clarke would have eaten him alive, although I note that he is already playing the persecution card.

      The Greek news has carried stories and did not portray him in a flattering light. I am waiting for an appearance on Newsnight, with Paxman ;)

    • Amanda Severn profile image

      Amanda Severn 8 years ago from UK

      Hi Ethel, I missed the debate last night, but I hope to catch it on ITV Player at some point. Personally I think that the BBC was obligated to give the BNP an airing under the terms of it's licence. It is duty bound to give fair hearing to any political party with a workable following, and as you say, two seats in the European Elections suggests that quite a number of voters find their policies appealing, even if that doesn't include you and me.

      I'm sad that British politics has come to this, but I can see how it has happened. Immigration isn't the issue really, not for most people that I talk to. The issue is numbers. There's been a huge amount of immigration in the last few years and many people find it overwhelming. The BNP have capitalised on that unease, and they will no doubt continue to do so until after next years election. Hopefully things will settle down again once there's a change of government. We'll just have to wait and see.

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 8 years ago from London, UK

      I most sincerely thank you for your well written hub. Peopledo not and I mean do not realize and know what they doing are in for. They think they can counteract to the immigration. I know it is frightening and can understand their thinking but BNP is not the answere. It is and will a dictatorship and as whith any dictatorship it turns against anybody who object and as in dictorship it will go powermad. I most sincerely hope they will stop voting BNP. It is not the answer to immigration.

    • RNMSN profile image

      Barbara Bethard 8 years ago from Tucson, Az

      I do hope Britain/UK does not make our mistake...wolf in sheep clothing indeed!! All of the world needs to really wake up!!You know that old song "Lets have a revival...let it start with you and me?" thats a great song/taken out of context yes but the world, especially the Free world, we need a revival of what it means to BE Free!! Absolutely do not throw your vote away! Way to go Ethel! Fantastic hub!! Hope everyone reads between lines!love to you