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Saturday, October 24, 2009

Lynch mob?

In my years in politics I have occasionally had a bad media experience where either I have completely messed up or as happened on at least one occasion, the interviewer ambushed me with a set of questions on a different subject to that which I had been summoned to talk about. Obviously, such experiences are disconcerting but you move on. It is all part of the job and there is no point making a fuss.

I have absolutely no sympathy therefore for Nick Griiffin who has now decided that his appearance on Question Time on Thursday was unfair. He is telling anybody who will listen that it is his intention to lodge a formal complaint saying he had faced a "lynch mob". He claimed that the normal format of Thursday's programme was changed and it should not have been held in London:

In a press conference on Friday, the BNP leader said he would be making an official complaint to the BBC about the programme, saying its normal format had been "twisted" so that it focused solely on his views.

"That was not a genuine Question Time, that was a lynch mob," he said.

He challenged the BBC to ask him on the show again and to allow a wider range of subjects to be discussed.

He also claimed the audience was not representative of the UK as a whole as levels of immigration in London meant it was "no longer a British city".

Mr Griffin's fellow guests on the show said his performance had exposed his real views and the true attitudes of the BNP.

Lib Dem home affairs spokesman Chris Huhne said Mr Griffin had been "taken aback" by the hostility of the audience which showed most people in the UK wanted "nothing" to do with his views.

Justice Secretary Jack Straw, also on the panel, said Mr Griffin had been subjected to proper scrutiny and his performance had been "catastrophic".

Griffin is playing with the big boys now and he has to take the rough with the smooth. He has been subjected to real scrutiny and he was found wanting. This fuss is just so much displacement activity to try and divert attention from his disastrous performance. With a bit of luck he may never recover from the humiliation.
i think however the show went griffin would have done this. It has ensured that he remains a top story even after the show and perpetuates his 'victim' narrative. The way the bbc did the show played into his hands but this was always on the cards.
The show was some kind of show trial. Everybody involved should have been ashamed of themselves. I don't support Griffin but the programme wasn't fair and a lot of people agree with me on this one. Isn't it incredible that the political class can't see this but then again, it's mostly made up of idiots so why am I surprised.
I was amazed how dismal his performance was, truly dismal.

That he would complain afterwards was inevitable, the BNP trade is whinging and blaming others (like certain other Nats we could think of!).

I don't think that the audience resembled a lynch mob - but perhaps Mr Griffin's associated might know more about them than me.
For myself the major disaster of the evening was Jack Straw. What a shambles of a performance! Those long boring tortuous sentences with Dimbleby saying he didn't know what Straw was trying to say. Jack Straw's usual role in life seems to be to sit beside the PM in the Commons and nod in support. He had no idea of what was required and seemed to think he could preach and lecture and be treated with respect. What did he think he was doing?
And his "permission" as Justice Minister to Griffin to speak with impunity made me cringe. All right, Jack, we know you are a frightfully important man but this but of silly theatre was just so immature.
"That he would complain afterwards was inevitable, the BNP trade is whinging and blaming others (like certain other Nats we could think of!)."

Yes....the other Brit Nat parties are pretty good at whingeing too.
I can't help feeling that Griffin came out of this circus the victor.

After 9/11 there was a Question Time where the American Ambassador was on the panel, the "audience" had a huge bias towards, Blacks and Muslims; the poor guy was in tears at one stage such was the hostility toward him and the Anti-American feeling expressed during the program. I can remember feeling pretty discussed that the BBC chose to make this Ambassador the whipping boy of the program, he was set up as the patsy!

The Anti-Griffin format of the program only succeeded in giving sympathy towards Griffin and his party.

I heard on Radio Four this morning that up to One in Five people would now consider voting for the BNP.

The lessons which have been learnt by so many generations of the danger of Fascism in 1930s & 1940s Germany have now slipped peoples memories; Hitler came to power on the back of anti-semitism, xenophobia and a huge economic problem in the form of recession, rising unemployment and a bankrupt country.

Congratulations Gordon Brown!
Most liberals are saying "Isn't it great, Griffin got a real kicking?".

But it seems a lot of people who aren't politicos, people who are not in anyway BNP supporters, but people who aren't part of the liberal smug set, were left feeling this was a terribly unfair thing - Griffin was supposedly invited onto a discussion programme where five people give their views on the political issues of the day, and instead it turned into some sort of show trial in which the other four and the chair as well were set up mainly to spend their time attacking him. This ended up building sympathy for him he didn't deserve.

As a typical example, there was apparently (I didn't watch the programme, I never watch TV, but I read about it) some remark "You should go to the South Pole - it's all white there". Most liberals seemed to think that was terribly clever and a high point of the programme. Yet it was a remark which said nothing at all about why Griffin's policies were wrong, nor showed up something Griffin was saying as stupid or a lie. So it was a remark which was just personal abuse, and thus detracted rather than added to a proper debate on these issues.

So, while liberal smugs thought the programme went well, ordinary people were left feeling maybe there is something in the BNP's claim to be on the side of the people in the political battle of the people v. the politicians.

My feeling is that those who just want to ban and shout abuse at the BNP are just adding to its selling point - that it is "us" in "us v them" and it is saying all the things people think but won't say because the boss class (which is what most people think politicians are) doesn't like them. Had Griffin just been allowed to go on a normalish sort of Question Time and exposed as a clueless idiot just by his contributions to a nornmal debate, it would have done a better job at exposing the BNP.
Matthew Huntbach may well have got the assessment of the programme spot on. I often meet with, or work with, those who are far from the "intelligentsia" or the "chattering" classes and the people I met thought Griffin had a raw deal. They do not read books and they certainly do not read the Guardian, Times or Independent. Bonny Greer may be may much admired by those who know what she does. The view of my contacts was that she was "sucking up to Griffin and flirting with him."
What they saw was a man being hammered by everyone else because he was "telling what they don't want to hear." They neither listened to what he said nor analysed it.
They want to give the main parties "a good kicking" and that, not what Griffin says, is the attraction.
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