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The question of Griffin October 24, 2009

Posted by Tony Randall in Journalism, Politics.
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Nick Griffin has had his moment and I’m afraid he didn’t blow it, whatever the “mainstream” right-wingers say. Worse, the BNP man was perhaps eased off the Question Time hook by the very people who thought  their attack would leave him swinging there.

When his fellow panellists got into their stride, and with the protesters baying outside, the programme had the feel of a self congratulating feeding frenzy. And it didn’t feel good. Bizarrely, it didn’t seem like fair play.

Never mind that whenever those of Griffin’s ilk achieve power fair play is the first casualty, if it didn’t feel quite kosher to me, a black man, how did it play in the living rooms of those with something approaching regard for a man who stands up and voices taboos they partially share?

It also displayed the shallow nature of our politics – the silly ritual of  snarky soundbites and point scoring that in the end seem to trivialise everything .

Bonnie Greer tried to levitate above the spittle yet her thoughtfulness clearly left many half wondering what she was on about (answer: what they all should have been on about, a calm perceptive take, impelled not by the need to win but by a need to shine some light).

I think the heat without light was a missed opportunity. This was a chance, not so much to put Griffin to shame by proving he is a slippery fish with a hidden agenda, but to dismantle his foundations, to reveal the inhumanity his cause would unleash, because that is the truly shameful thing.

Some of his sympathisers might then have been persuaded to recoil from the horror he offers, rather than be tempted to see him as a put upon Englishman being told to get lost by some out-of-touch politicians – aka a scenario they readily identify with.

So to today. The Mail led the way back to familiar territory, spinning the episode into an attack on the BBC and quite slyly – but horribly – attempting to keep BNP supporters on side . Why? The Mail naturally doesn’t want to alienate its legion of readers who devour their stories about bloodsucking asylum seekers and boogeyman muslims with hooks. The kind of stories that a certain Nick Griffin likes to tell.

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