The BNP at the BBC
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.
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
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.