Thursday, 22 October 2009


I thought that it was right for the BBC to have Nick Griffin on Question Time, but I admit I was worried he'd make political capital from it. I felt uncomfortable when the programme came on but relaxed slightly when I saw how twitchy he looked. And then Jack Straw just went straight for the jugular. I'd never seen Nick Griffin in action before but I'd heard he was a slippery customer. That wasn't the case tonight - he was a bit hopeless wasn't he? He was either trying to laugh off outrageous comments he'd made in the past or actually making outrageous comments.


  1. He certainly looked uncomfortable and sounded pretty stupid. But I thought some of the other panelists were pretty hopeless: Jack Straw, for example. And above all, I wanted someone to take the piss out of him (Bonnie Greer got closest) since ridicule really does seem to be the best weapon against these people; 'loathsome' or not, the key thing is their policies and 'ideas' just don't stand up to logical scrutiny - they're absurd. Eddie Izzard would have been brilliant.

  2. Morning Davy,

    I thought Jack Straw was pretty good - his opening certainly set the tone for the show. Chris Huhne is nearly always good: fluent and handy with the facts. Yet another loss to the split in the left.

    Bonnie Greer was okay. She just about got away with the level of condescension/civility but was a bit mild really. I had heard that Frankie Boyle was a potential panel member and that I would have liked to have seen.

    But ultimately rather than humour I think the best way to deal with Griffin and co is just to continually grind away with the facts, and if you can do so with the odd quip at their expense then fine. I think the whole show was a publicity disaster for the BNP, which came as a relief. I was surprised at how close Griffin came to losing it on a number of occasions. He'll never hack it in the mainstream political arena.

  3. I thought that Jack Straw and Warsi were a bit crap and kept missing the open goal that Griffin presented them (Straw was at his best when he slipped onto that script about the people from his constituency buried in Flanders with the people with Asian names, but Dimbleby soon pulled him off that. His justice minister spiel was quite funny too). Greer was good because Griffin was clearly afraid of her and initially thought she was somehow on his side before she turned on him, but even then she didn't land any real punches. I think the BBC would probably be more worried about having Frankie Boyle on than they would Griffin, but he would have been brilliant, as would Izzard, as you say.

    The main thing is to let the racist fucker hang himself with his own stupid beliefs, and I think he did himself more harm than anyone else did. That's exactly why they must be allowed on this kind of thing. What fucking good would banning them do? I'm with Billy Bragg on this one, don't ban them, but get out to the places where people vote for them and really engage with the issues that are driving that vote.

  4. i think straw is labour. arn't they almost gone now? The conservative guys will win the battle, don't you think?

  5. Jukka - there's got to be a general election by early May 2010 and yes, the Conservatives will probably win. It's weird - they say a week's a long time in politics but 6 months doesn't look like it's going to be long enough for Labour to turn it around. They seem to be asleep.

    ST - Like some people were saying, it wasn't the right format to really nail Griffin down. Hard questions were put to him but the nature of the show meant that a moment of stalling saved him from having to properly explain, for instance, the full story of his Holocaust denial. I still think it was a good thing - we all knew we weren't going to witness him experience an epiphany on any of the issues. I thought he was going to walk at some points (which would have been fantastic) but I'm happy with the reasonable mauling that he got.