Some people are still posting edited versions of Nick Griffin’s appearance on YouTube; Conservatives, forgetful of their own role as ever, are blaming Labour for the rise of the BNP and, it seems, beginning to turn their attention to UKIP who might “save Brown”. I am expecting a huge surge in UKIP popularity as a result of that attention. But, by and large, the story is finished. Time to do a quick round-up and leave it alone, as the Boss has already done on EURef.
My immediate feeling is one of pity or compassion for the international socialists. Consider: they think they have won the propaganda war, waged since the early thirties. They have managed to convince most people that national socialists are not only uniquely evil but are also creatures of the right while the international socialists are seen as possibly misguided but well-meaning groups and individuals on the left, their viciousness and support for totalitarian regimes conveniently forgotten.
They should be in the studio, on Question Time, discussing elevated matters with other politicians who would not behave to them as they do towards the national socialists. Alas, despite the support of the political class that includes most of the media, the international socialists were rioting outside TV Centre, periodically trying to storm the building and being dragged out by security and police while Nick Griffin was inside, basking in the publicity. All this happened for one reason only: notwithstanding the basically obnoxious qualities of both kinds of socialists and socialism, the national variety manages to appeal to more people than the international kind, despite the latter’s supposed intellectual sophistication.
I did not watch the programme, not having a TV set (catch me contributing to the BBC’s coffers!) and having better things to do. However, I have read some of the reactions. The first ones I saw was a long list on Facebook where people seemed to be reacting as the programme proceeded and immediately afterwards.
It soon became obvious that everyone saw and heard what they wanted to see and hear. As I read other reactions on the following day, it became equally obvious that not all that was seen and heard was accurate or, at least, there were several interpretations.
Thus, the praise poured on Baroness Warsi, who had been promoted to the House of Lords and a ministerial position on the basis of very slender achievements, may have been a little misguided as she seems to have made a few incredibly silly statements, such as the one about there being no bogus asylum seekers. That must have gone down well with the audience outside the BBC. She also, apparently, ignored comments by Mr Griffin about the treatment of women in Islamic groups and societies, an unwise thing to do.
In the Metro on Friday, Baroness Warsi is quoted as saying:
Many people who vote for the BNP are not racist and therefore what we have to do is go out and say to these people as mainstream political parties we are prepared to listen to them.So very kind. They are prepared to listen to the people of this country who put them in Parliament and in government (well, not Baroness Warsi, who was promoted beyond her abilities by the Boy-King of the Conservative Party). What more could one ask for?
The comment sounds extremely sensible but for one point, apart from the somewhat condescending tone, which makes one grind one's teeth: the Conservative Party has been allegedly listening for years. Is Baroness Warsi saying that all that listening is only about to start? What about talking? With the election about six months away, we should all like to hear what the main stream parties have to say about various subjects.
The other participant to elicit high praise was Bonnie Greer, a writer and broadcaster, though I must admit to ignorance about both aspects of her career. I have heard the name before, though.
Friday’s Evening Standard, which headlined one of the several articles on the subject: “BNP chief’s TV grilling seen by 8m”, decided that Ms Greer clearly needed a bit of publicity. One assumes that the headline was accurate and what should have been a discussion of many subjects turned into an all-out attack on one participant. In fact, the whole programme was about the BNP and its leader. Is this quite what those opponents, urged by international socialist advocates, wanted?
What of Ms Greer’s free publicity? It consisted of a two-page article-cum-interview by David Cohen, entitled “When Bonnie met Nick”, with Bonnie in considerably larger font than the rest of the heading.
Most of the article is about Ms Greer’s rather prissy shudderings an self-analysis about what she thought and felt about meeting the dreaded Mr Griffin and, perhaps, sitting next to him. Oh the horror. Smelling salts, please.
My guess is that the sub-editors were a little fed up with all that preciousness as well. The article is accompanied by a large picture of Mr Griffin, looking presentable for a change, smiling thoughtfully into the distance with Ms Greer slightly behind him, in profile, staring at him with contempt. The pull-out quote says:
He leaned towards me like I was his new best friend. ‘Bonnie do you find it scary?’ I looked at him straight in they eye. ‘No, but you might’.Hmmm. If I were Bonnie Greer, I’d sack my publicity manager. That is not likely to go down terribly well with readers, even assuming they have not become bored with the subject of her nobility by the time they reach pages 20 and 21 of the Evening Standard.
I shall ignore any further analyses of what Griffin said and what Straw said and what anybody else said. Experience tells one that audiences rarely recall such details but go by overall impressions. Let’s see what those might be.
In the first place, it is reasonable to suppose that Nick Griffin may well have appeared out of his depth but what most people would have seen is one man being attacked by four co-panellists, the chairman and the entire baying, howling audience.
Secondly, people will remember the (smallish but unpleasant) riots outside TV Centre and those unpleasant looking louts who tried to get inside being dragged out by police and security.
Thirdly, they will probably recall one or two howlers, most of them not by Mr Griffin but his highly sophisticated opponents. They will also consider that certain issues, such as immigration, have been discussed on BBC prime time for the first time entirely because of the BNP’s progress in politics.
Fourthly, the entire programme will be known as the BNP Question Time, giving that small and unimportant party yet more standing.
I understand Nick Griffin smiled throughout most of the programme. I am not surprised. Things have turned out very well for him. The international socialists have lost again despite the help they received from the media and numerous misguided Conservatives.