Last night the leader of the British National Party, Nick Griffin, was welcomed by the popular political program, Question Time. His appearance on the show has been that of great controversy, and the fuel behind a series of protests leading up to the show.
The first issue, addressed to opposers of the BNP, is as follows: is it right to let a representative of the BNP onto the program to join the debate and have questions posed to him like any other political party? Yes it is. It is so clearly is it right to do so that I must admit I find it hard to understand why some people disagree with letting him on the show. Opposers of the BNP believe in diversity, tolerance, and acceptance of other people, no matter what their background, race, or views are, so long as they’re not physically threatening. So why be intolerant of another man’s views because they differ at such a fundamental level? It’s hypocritical. In this country we have the freedom of speech to voice any opinion, and, given that the BNP has received enough votes to bring two of its members into the European Parliament, it is right that the BBC respects and represents the views of this proportion of voters by allowing the BNP to represent themselves on Question Time. Furthermore, suppressing a faction’s viewpoint is not the way to defeat this viewpoint. The way to do so is to have the debate, as they did last night, allowing the party to express their views, and of course, to challenge them. It should then be down to the public to decide their stance towards the party. If the nation watched the program last night, and the majority were won over by Griffin’s views, so much so that he wins the next general election – so be it. Let speech be free and open, and the public will decide. This is democracy, as opposed to surpression.
The show was executed well, the audience allowed Griffin’s views to be heard, and posed decent, intellectual questions to him, demonstrating strong political arguments. The whole purpose of the show was fulfilled, to allow the BNP to represent themselves, discuss their political viewpoints, and to answer questions posed by the public. But was the show biased? Well, it’s perhaps hard to find other panelists that come towards the side of the political spectrum Griffin was representing, so the show appeared to be a four vs. one fight for the majority. But that’s how the political battle is. No other political figures have the same views as Griffin. But it wasn’t always Griffin on his own. Labour’s immigration policy was brought into question, where it appeared Jack Straw (who opened by superbly contrasting Winston Churchill’s views to that of the BNP) was on his own.
What the show managed to achieve was that it displayed Nick Griffin for who he really was. He demonstrated a deluded view of society, a many-faced approach to comments made over past years, a lack of an ability to back his points up with appropriate evidence, and a way of handling issues that resembled that of a young child, clapping and smirking away in a most unprofessional manner. The BNP failed last night to demonstrate their viewpoint appropriately, and why this viewpoint is the correct way for the British society.
But now the show’s finished, and low and behold Griffin’s just appeared on the news claiming the show’s format had been changed and that the show was subject to bias. “That was not a genuine question time, that was a lynch mob,” Griffin claims. No it wasn’t. That was the majority of the British public’s views, arguing to a man who could clearly be seen to be struggling to make any effective counter arguments without further angering the audience. People exceedingly disagree with you, Griffin! The format of the show was not changed. How on earth was it? The audience took turns in making points and questions to the panel, and the issues that they felt were most important to discuss was the BNP. MPs on previous Question Times did not complain when the entire program was focused on their expenses. It’s what the public wants to discuss. It’s the current issues of the day. The diversely selected audience may bring up any issue they wish, and the issues on the minds of the audience was the BNP. What a chance to discuss these issues, and of course this chance was taken, and the BNP was shown up and brought down. Roll over Nick Griffin.