BBC’s BNP Question Time panel is a travesty


8:54 pm - October 14th 2009

by Sunny Hundal    


      Share on Tumblr

Here is now the final panel: Sayeeda Warsi, Jack Straw, Chris Huhne, Bonnie Greer and Nick Griffin.

The panel is not only shockingly weak, but is very likely to fail to persuade anyone wavering towards the BNP to come back. I’ve tried explaining why before, but let me try again. Nick Griffin may have middle-class origins but he speaks to a very working class constituency who feel deeply disenfranchised from politics, or feel that the middle-class establishment are screwing them over in different economic and social ways.

To undercut that you need people who speak the language of the people Griffin is trying to reach out to, and point out that his is a politics of hatred that will not and cannot deliver any solutions. After all, BNP councillors have shown themselves to be even more incompetent, corrupt and lazy than those of other parties.

Unfortunately, other than Sayeeda Warsi and perhaps Jack Straw – none of the others will be very effective at undercutting that message. Chris Huhne and Bonnie Greer might even reinforce it.

Griffin’s opponents have to be able to be populist and use emotional narratives, while being able to offer a positive response to his negativity. Huhne and Greer populist? Yeah right.

The idea that the BNP can be defeated through rational debate and logic is a farce. His constituency and supporters are not interested in that: they’re interested in someone articulating their concerns. Some of those are racist, some not. But when arguing against Griffin your most effective weapon are populist narratives that address people’s concerns but are positive, life-affirming and inclusive: so as to expose him as a hate-monger. It has to be emotional and it has to be populist. Looking at that list I’m not sure if any of them are up to that task.

The BBC’s mainstreaming of the BNP continues…

    Share on Tumblr   submit to reddit  


About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
· Other posts by


Story Filed Under: Blog ,Media ,Race relations

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.


Reader comments


I’d have had him!

I think Straw will do well.

I think it wants a grounded and cool expose – you don’t beat a rant with a rant. And you can’t get a knockout blow in one programme. But you can expose where he is wrong, where he has no answers.

I am not as keen as Sayeeda Warsi on some of these issues as you are – I think the critique of “state-sponsored multiculturalism”, while I am on that side of the argument, is too simplistic.

But I have some faith in her doing well on casting Griffin’s views as essentially anti-British.

Sunny
A couple of observations;
It is not the BBC’s job to undercut or challenge the BNP’s (or anyone else’s) message, or at least not on “Question time”. Paxman or Humphries, perhaps, but not a panel programme. The fact that mainstream British politics have left millions of working class people feeling (or actually) disenfranchised, is more to do with how British politics, especially the Left, have wandered away from working class issues instead focussing in on ‘Monedo man’ and his petty prejudices.
If you want to take on the BNP, you do it earlier, before the rise of fascism. You do not ignore people for decades then decide once we see Griffin et al elected that we need to counter him. Once Griffin is on the panel of ‘Any Questions’, it is too late. We have ignored people and we have paid the price by seeing cunts elected. The biggest failure of ‘the New Labour project’ has been the rise of the BNP.

If none of the panel can reduce Griffin, then that is the fault of the Parties who recruit from the anaemic portions of society, not the BBC.

The working class do not have a party anymore, again this week at the job center I had to go through the normal insults. The adviser said to me that most disabled people are work shy, refuse to get up on time to work, spend ages in pubs drinking and fighting in the streets.

I’m in a wheelchair in part after an accident, but doctors had told me a few years before that I was wearing out my hips and my knees from working on a job which was classed as being manual hard and dangerous. But it was my job the thing I did, then I had the accident and was left in hospital for nearly two years.

The real problem Politicians believe this as well my own MP sat down to tell me I was not really trying to find work.

I look around and I have to say the nearest party to me is the BNP yet I cannot or will not vote for them, but it’s a close thing.

Sorry what’s this “we have ignored people”? Who’s we Jim? Are you talking about liberals? The Labour party? The media?

The Left hasn’t wandered away from working class issues- mainstream politics has wandered away from the Left.

In addition to what nina said…

If you want to take on the BNP, you do it earlier, before the rise of fascism. You do not ignore people for decades then decide once we see Griffin et al elected that we need to counter him

Fascism in the form of the National Front was much more prominent in the 60s and 70s. There is a rump of voters out there who are racist, regardless. to say that the BNP’s rise is a new sea-change in race relations is to be very short-termist really. The threat was bigger decades ago.

6. the a&e charge nurse

In some ways I’m more interested in how the audience react – I suspect they will give Griffin a very rough ride

I anticipate the sort of heightened mood that followed in the wake of the expenses scandal – still, a BNP leader on QT, who saw that one coming, eh?

Nina @ 4

The ‘we’ are all of us, be that ‘the Left’, Labour Party and of course, the public in general.

I would have prefered a more heavyweight and credible, panel:

Frank Field – Labour
David Davies – Conservative
Charles Kennedy – Liberal
Darcus Howe (though he might be a bit short tempered)

I think the panel are too leightweight and unfortunately Griffen could appear well against them.

Sunny
I don’t think I said there had been a sea change in race relations. Although the BNP are without doubt a racist, fascist Party, they seem to be winning votes by linking race/immigration onto to traditional working class staples, i.e. housing, employment opportunities, access to resources such as education, health services. These are policy areas where New Labour has seemingly neglected in recent years and we have allowed the BNP to exploit shortcomings in these areas. I do concede however, that a major factor in their apparent surge in popularity has been the reasonably successful campaign to stigmatise and demonise the Muslim community by the more Right Wing press.
There will always be racist scum in this Country, at least in the near future, but that does not exonerate the shameful way Labour have been driving people into the arms of the BNP sheer through arrogance and utter neglect.

Norman Tebbit called the BNP, “Scargill with racism”. I think he put it rather well, in a way that only someone with roots could do. You’re right, we miss people with strong roots into these communities at senior levels of politics these days.

“Norman Tebbit called the BNP, ‘Scargill with racism’.”

Curiously, Barnsley is Scargill’s home town:

“Despite our best efforts, Barnsley has found itself labelled the fascist capital of Britain, with the BNP achieving its highest percentage of the vote here.”
http://www.redpepper.org.uk/Beating-back-the-BNP-in-Barnsley

As I’ve noted over at PP, while I would have preferred to see Jon Cruddas batting for Labour, Jack Straw is a decent choice (plus he’s up for it), especially as his Blackburn constituency has both a sizable Muslim community and its share of BNP wankers as well.

He knows the ground and should put up a good performance.

Sayeeda Warsi just hasn’t impressed on previous appearances and seems prone to blustering, so I’m a little worried that she may not prove as effective as she might be. I’d have quite like to have seen Michael Howard, not least because of Griffin’s history of Holocaust Denial.

Huhne for the LD’s leaves me feeling meh! Chatshow would have been a better choice for his media savvy but personally I’d have wheeled out Paddy Ashdown, who knows a thing or two about ethnic and religious tensions from his stint in Bosnia.

As for Bonnie Greer, again she seems a bit bland on past form. Darcus would have been a much more combative choice, if he’d take the seat, although the chances of it turning into the Jerry Springer Show would be much higher, while Ben Zephaniah would have been my ideal choice, not that I think he’d appear with Griffin in a million years.

Actually, for an independent panelist, I might have been inclined to come at this from left-field and gone for a comedian or satirist. Hislop’s already made an appearance this run, which is a shame, but otherwise Stephen Fry or even Omid Djalilli or Shappi Kapoor would have all been ideally placed to get pick off Griffin.

Of course, if the Beeb really wanted to push it, then a first appearance for Frankie Boyle would have been the option to go for, in fact I’d happily pay to watch Boyle face off with Griffin, even if it would keep OFCOM in complaints for several months.

@1 “I think Straw will do well.”

@12 “Jack Straw is a decent choice”

Is it just me on here who thinks of Jack Straw as a war criminal who, if there was any justice in this world, would be sent to The Hague for trial?

@12

I too was hoping for someone from the entertaining camp – Eddie Izzard or possibly Charlie Brooker. There’s no better way to make someone look a fool than with humour.

@13
glib: no, just you and the nutters.

non-glib: acquiescing in Tony Blair’s agreement to do what GWB had agreed to do anyway, what the majority of people in the UK agreed was the right thing to do at the time, and what the country’s top lawyer had rated as lawful, is well below any kind of sane threshold for ‘war criminal’. ‘Daft idea’, yes.

Sheesh, Iraq war sanctimony pisses me off. The anti-lot have become almost as annoying as the Decent-ists were in 2003…

#13: “Is it just me on here who thinks of Jack Straw as a war criminal . . ?”

In voting for the invasion of Iraq in March 2003, wasn’t Straw, like his colleagues in the Parliamentary Labour Party, just obeying orders?

Surely, the next step is to get Sir Thomas Legg to turn his attention to surcharging all those MPs who voted for the war once he resolves the outstanding issues relating to MPs’ expenses.

“According to the Ministry of Defence, the total cost of UK military operations in Iraq from 2003 to 2009 was £8.4bn”
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/c3e50026-8e99-11de-87d0-00144feabdc0.html?nclick_check=1

@16, nice to have confirmed that it cost us absolutely sod-all (0.5% of 1 year’s GDP). It’s utterly hilarious that out of all of the kosher attacking-Labour-from-the-left things that were done, “sending token reinforcements to the Yanks’ pointless war on a murdering bastard” was the only one that galvanised people. Had a million people marched against benefits cuts, *that* would have been interesting.

#17: “nice to have confirmed that [the Iraq war] cost us absolutely sod-all (0.5% of 1 year’s GDP).”

In which case why are these cuts being made in the NHS budget?

“Hospitals can earn up to around £2 million a year from charging for parking spaces and some commentators warned that scrapping the fees will hit the NHS at a time when budgets are being cut and £15 billion to £20 billion of savings are being demanded.”
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/6247325/Hospital-car-parking-charges-to-be-scrapped.html

When:

“Almost half of hospitals fail to meet fully the core standards of care despite a decade of Government investment in the NHS, according to the health regulator’s annual report.”
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/health/article6875344.ece

and:

“Just over 85,000 Iraqis were killed in Iraq between 2004 and 2008, according to the first estimate from the Iraqi government since the war began.”
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/8307666.stm

JohnB. How many human beings do you think have been killed in Iraq since 2003? I think non-glib is a more appropriate tone than glib on this issue.

“acquiescing in Tony Blair’s agreement to do what GWB had agreed to do anyway, what the majority of people in the UK agreed was the right thing to do at the time, and what the country’s top lawyer had rated as lawful, is well below any kind of sane threshold for ‘war criminal’”

You’re not a top lawyer yourself, I’ll hazard a guess, on that statement. But why not let the Hague tribunal have a go at the question and confirm your opinion or otherwise?

There was I thinking that the Attorney General (“the country’s top lawyer”) had actually advised very shortly before that the legal grounds plainly weren’t there without another UN resolution – which Britain moved diplomatic heaven & earth to try to get but failed. The Foreign Secretary and the Foreign Office’s top lawyer resigned on those very grounds. Straw accepted the job of replacement Foreign Secretary to push through the policy of collaboration in the illegal attack. He is unquestionably therefore the second most responsible within the cabinet for the paramount war crime that was committed.

Correction. Straw was already Foreign Secretary and had been since 2001. Cook had been Foreign Secretary but resigned from the post of Leader of the House. My point still stands – in fact it is strengthened.

21. Shatterface

‘Nick Griffin may have middle-class origins but he speaks to a very working class constituency who feel deeply disenfranchised from politics, or feel that the middle-class establishment are screwing them over in different economic and social ways.

To undercut that you need people who speak the language of the people Griffin is trying to reach out to, and point out that his is a politics of hatred that will not and cannot deliver any solutions.’

No, what we need is a genuine alternative to a middle-class establishment which is screwing them over, not a handful of working class stooges translating the same old middle-class establishment bollocks into cockney rhyming slang on behalf of their masters.

You know, something substantive rather than presentational?

But since you believe that ‘the idea that the BNP can be defeated through rational debate and logic is a farce’ that would be asking a bit much from you, wouldn’t it?

Debate and logic are all well and good for the middle-classes but apparently they’re beyond the working-class in your world. Sod reason, drop a few aitches and the plebs will lap it up.

Sunder – I didn’t say Jack Straw was awful, but I would have preferred Jon Cruddas or perhaps even Denham.

Jim: It is not the BBC’s job to undercut or challenge the BNP’s (or anyone else’s) message, or at least not on “Question time”.

Well I think it’s in their editorial remit to make sure people with extremist views are adequately challenged…. by journos or other guests. I no longer expect the first, but I can hope for the latter. Probably agree with the rest of what you said though at #9.

Debate and logic are all well and good for the middle-classes but apparently they’re beyond the working-class in your world. Sod reason, drop a few aitches and the plebs will lap it up.

Again – this is just more mindless trolling. I’ve never said all white working class people are plebs who don’t listen to reason. I’m specifically referring to the ones voting for the BNP. They don’t vote for economic or rational reasons – they vote for emotional reasons. I thought such a point was a bit fucking obvious…

Disgusted – exactly. Though I want to see how the Tories grapple with that dilemma.

23. DisgustedOfTunbridgeWells

The biggest failure of ‘the New Labour project’ has been the rise of the BNP.

Not really, NL rolled out the carpet for the bnp, quite intentionally, they deliberately legitimised narrative and ‘honest concerns’ over fact and reason because it suited their ‘outflank the tories and we won’t have to come up with any actual ideas’ agenda.

Had NL come out in the early part of the decade and said “you can have globalisation or you can send Thierry Henry and the rest of them back to wherever, cancel your 99p ryanair flight to ayia napa and forget about any more plastic trainers from Indonesia” this whole thing could have largely could have been avoided.

#24: “SCARGILL WITH RACISM is good!”

All considering the numbers of ethnics in Barnsley, Scargill’s home town and where the BNP gained its largest share of the vote in the elections this year.

According to the 2001 Census, the percentage of whites in Barnsley’s population had fallen to 99.1%. Only 98.3% of the local population were born in Britain.

http://www.statistics.gov.uk/census2001/profiles/00CC-A.asp

That means lets see 0.8% are not born in the UK, my god we are being over run with lets see people born here.

26. Tom Katsumi

Baroness Warsi went on record saying “People who back the BNP, criticised for its racist and homophobic agenda, may even have a point. They have some very legitimate views.”

I do not think that goes only for the BNP, that goes for anyone who is to the left, we do not have a say or a party again now. The BNP may seem like a peoples party sadly it’s not.

What we need is to open up politics to the people and get rid of this bunch of money grabbing greedy gits.

28. the a&e charge nurse

[31] The Baroness has been accused of homophobia but blamed her ‘team’ for circulating unpleasant election leaflets containing anti-gay rhetoric.

On the subject, Warsi said “I look back at lots of my election leaflets and think, ‘God – why did I phrase it like that? What was I on?” adding “There was a whole team that was involved in my election leaflets. Looking back on it, maybe I could have used much better language than that”.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sayeeda_Warsi,_Baroness_Warsi

I sincerely hope that the best chance of taking Griffin down doesn’t lie with a tainted Tory shadow minister?

Frank Field and David Davies would be good. For comedians Mark Thomas would be interesting . The Labour Party needs to attract articulate craft trained foremen as MPs not middle class arts graduates. Many people who vote for the BNP cannot emotionally relate to most Labour MPs.

23. Sunny H. The economic advantages of immigration to British people working in the construction and agriculture sectors are not obvious . Could you you explain them ?

21 – “Debate and logic are all well and good for the middle-classes but apparently they’re beyond the working-class in your world. Sod reason, drop a few aitches and the plebs will lap it up.”

Strangely enough, that was exactly my reaction on reading the above.
I cannot quite believe the arrogance in stating:

“The idea that the BNP can be defeated through rational debate and logic is a farce. [Griffin’s] constituency and supporters are not interested in that…

It has to be emotional and it has to be populist…

I’ve never said all white working class people are plebs who don’t listen to reason. I’m specifically referring to the ones voting for the BNP. They don’t vote for economic or rational reasons – they vote for emotional reasons.”

The “logical” conclusion is that anyone associated with the BNP in any fashion (“constituency”), or likely to be tempted to vote for them, is incapable of rational debate – that, in order to somehow dissuade such individuals from voting BNP, an “emotional” approach is required.

(Does it then follow that the dramatic increase in support for the BNP is as a result of ‘reason’ and “logic” somehow evaporating from Barnsley (etc.) and the surrounding area?)

In other words: two-tier politics. ‘Enlightened, informed debate’ for the liberal conspirators (presumably) and raucous football chanting, masquerading as politics, for the masses. Seriously – WTF?

I think it entirely “logical” that those who have been excluded from ‘mainstream’ politics for the best part of 30 years now refuse to engage with the establishment. (Why would they? Why would anyone?)

I don’t think BNP supporters are incapable of reason. To make a sweeping generalisation (which I’m sure you will forgive), I think they might, perhaps, be less able to follow your particular line of reasoning… Hardly surprising, however, considering the context. And I repeat: it is sheer arrogance to blithely imply that your “reason” is superior to anyone else’s.

31. the a&e charge nurse

Good points, Jay [35] – I agree there is a real danger if we try to depict 99% of BNP supporters as Orcs …….. of course, some commentators already regard 100% BNP voters as Orcs
http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_7Ed8BD20L1g/SYnSBgVrGpI/AAAAAAAAABw/Agcqr_1oiv8/s320/orc.jpg

I suspect the majority of their supporters have turned to the BNP simply because they feel so alienated by the main stream parties – in other words, the significance of voting BNP is a measure of PROTEST rather than an indication that a new wave of fascism is on the rise.

I do worry that the liberal intelligentsia are falling into exactly the same trap as our political leaders in not recognising this rather self evident fact?
Attaching so much significance to the panel of a TV show already well past its ‘sell by date’ captures this sort of magical thinking.

I’d like to back up those who think that some panelists with humour would be a good idea. Whilst we play ‘fantasy line up’ of all male panels of people tough enough to take on the BNP we’re basically playing them at their own game, the political equivalent of football hooliganism.

We shouldn’t be trying to out thug or out populist the BNP. I’d rather like us to take the BNP on on ground that they are not used to fighting on, focusing on their weaknesses not their strengths. That means funny, rational human beings rather than people who come across as party hacks or turning it into the battle of the demagogs – that’s where the BNP will thrive.

I understand why Sunny said that “To undercut that you need people who speak the language of the people Griffin is trying to reach out to, and point out that his is a politics of hatred that will not and cannot deliver any solutions.” but I think this approach is the one that leads people like Warsi to accommodate the BNP’s policies in the hope of undermining their organisation. I think that strategy has only succeeded in legitimising them even as they are being held up as the party that the mainstream hates (which reinforces their vote rather than undermines it in many quarters).

Darcus Howe would be terrible. We don’t need a bombastic shouter who will only serve to turn the debate into ‘whose toughest’ we need (at least one) softly spoken reasonable person that comes across with humour and grace. Matthew Parris would be good for the Tories for example. Anyway, I’m glad there are women on the panel and at least one person from overseas.

Shatterface

No, what we need is a genuine alternative to a middle-class establishment which is screwing them over, not a handful of working class stooges translating the same old middle-class establishment bollocks into cockney rhyming slang on behalf of their masters.

Spot on.

Sunny

I’ve never said all white working class people are plebs who don’t listen to reason. I’m specifically referring to the ones voting for the BNP. They don’t vote for economic or rational reasons – they vote for emotional reasons. I thought such a point was a bit fucking obvious…

No Sunny, it’s really not. Their rationale may be entirely different from yours or mine, but don’t make the mistake of assuming they’re all just a bunch of thick plebs who need everything spelt out for them in words of one syllable. As Jay has said, that’s an incredibly arrogant atitude to take, and I’d add, it’s also the worse kind of intellectual and class snobbery. You’ll not be winning round any BNP voters if you’re going to stick to that stance.

I think you need to differentiate between BNP voters and BNP members. Those who have signed up to the organisation and are now thus active on its behalf, by all means recognise them for the knuckle-drgging scum they undoubtedly are. But those who voted for the BNP or who are thinking of voting for them? A lot of them have arrived at that decision precisely because of their economic situation, and because of the lies they’ve been fed by the MSM about immigrants stealing their jobs, their houses and being given gold-plated Rolls Royces courtesy of the state. It’s perfectly rational reasoning in that context, and the answer isn’t to alienate them or look down your nose at them, but to engage with them as equals and present them with a viable alternative.

But again, I still maintain the BBC is wrong to have invited Griffin, and that any potential panellists should have refused to appear alongside him.

UAF is encouraging its supporters to apply for QT tickets whilst also organising protests outside the studio.

Obviously I hope the majority of the QT audience is anti-fascist, but I also hope that UAF is not going to try to organise some sort of stunt aimed at interrupting the show.

I think they just about got away with egging Griffin that time, but I fear their dependence upon no-platforming and vocal protests can be counter-productive.

Instead of encouraging supporters to stand outside shouting at the BBC (it’s not the Beeb’s fault that hundreds of thousands of people voted BNP and they’re therefore obliged to invite a representative onto the show) UAF should be organising leaflet-distribution and door-knocking in BNP voting areas. A much better use of time and resources.

#30: “That means lets see 0.8% are not born in the UK, my god we are being over run with lets see people born here.”

Watch this BBC2 Newsnight clip about why London is Different:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7368326.stm

According to the narrative, 40% of London residents were born abroad compared with an average of 7% outside London.

“In 2001 minority ethnic groups were more likely to live in England than in the other countries of the UK. In England, they made up 9 per cent of the total population compared with only 2 per cent in both Scotland and Wales and less than 1 per cent in Northern Ireland. The minority ethnic populations were concentrated in the large urban centres. Nearly half (45 per cent) of the total minority ethnic population lived in the London region, where they comprised 29 per cent of all residents.”
http://www.statistics.gov.uk/cci/nugget.asp?id=263

Btw it happens I was born in London a very long time ago:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3oimHJCURbo

“The ‘we’ are all of us, be that ‘the Left’, Labour Party and of course, the public in general.”

You might be complicit Jim but I’m not and it’s not my problem that the majority of voters lean towards conservatism. I can’t do anything about it, I’ve known that since my teens and I won’t be tarred with a brush that ignores working class issues either. I mean get it right Jim, if you don’t want anti-working class parties to be elected than don’t support democracy.

On second thoughts I would add Peter Hitchens to my panel (comment 7) as he would make short shrift of Nick Griffin.

The last thing you would want to do is pack the panel with well intentioned liberals who only know how to speak to themselves.

@44

But you still think it’s just a job for big men. It’s not a boxing match and out thugging the thugs isn’t going to work.

Chris Huhne is impressive , Jack Straw a  gnarled old operator and Sayeed Warsi  will have much to add . Who did you want , someone  who would sit shouting ‘Racist’ at anyone from a Conservative through to  Gestapo fetishists  as if they were   somehow the same thing ?That smear to which you return  incessantly  , come to mean  anyone who disapproves of the  floods of immigrants  which is  the majority. .
If you think work shy traders in  lefty  pavement sanctimony  impress the working classes you have   lead a sheltered life  
Once they  sold papers  at the station, now they write blogs , such people  are precisely what Nick Griffin would love to see  because it would make him the only man there standing up for the English , the ordinary , the majority . The shame is that there is no Norman Tebbit  ,Frank Field or  even Peter Hitchens  to show that the BNP are not the only vote for the communitarian  English  working class voter  aside form the wretched Labour Party  who have indeed betrayed their core voters  who they despise

Jim Jay re comment 45:

Since when are my suggested panel of Charles Kennedy, Darcus Howe, Peter Hitches, David Davis and Frank Field thugs?

And for that matter, since when are they big men? None of them are – not even Jack Straw, he’s just a waffler we have been listening to, from many different departments for the past 12 years.

Frank Field retains his credibility, has been warning us about this for goodness knows how long and isn’t tainted by the MP’s expenses scandal.

Do I feel Nick Griffin will trample over Baroness Warsi? Well, if her previous outings on Question Time are to go by, perhaps he will.

Do I feel Chris Hulne might fair better, perhaps he will – but he can be dismissed with a ‘You’re an ex-MEP from the European SuperState’ type quip that could endear Nick Griffen even futher.

I suggested Darcus Howe because for what I have seen + read about him he has a grasp of how communities in the UK co-exist at the lower end of the spectum – not in blogsphere.

It’s not about men, boxing and thugging – it’s about having a panel who can respond clearly to anything Nick Griffin might prefer to go unchallenged and who know how to appeal to the very people who nowadays consider voting UKIP or BNP.

Crap, crap panel, I agree. They needed a working class Tory, who has a few decent put downs (Hague or Davies). Straw will be fine. Huhne I think will be okay too. Bonnie Greer shouldn’t be there. Criticism from the ‘left’ (Huhne, Straw, Greer) can only go so far. You need someone from the right, like Hitchens or even Littlejohn. People who are opposed to the BNP, but on the same wavelength as the BNP potential support.

If they all keep playing the ball and not the man, it will be fine. Make the BNP look stupid and don’t just sit there going “Racist! Boo! Fascist! Get ‘orf!”

I am surprised this breathtaking rewriting of history by john b above went unchallenged:

“what the majority of people in the UK agreed was the right thing to do at the time, and what the country’s top lawyer had rated as lawful”

In reality, multiple polls before the Iraq invasion showed that the majority of the British population was opposed to it. See http://www.eriposte.com/war_peace/iraq/iraq_war_worldwide_support.htm

As for the legal advice, you are either shockingly naive about the reality of the “independence” of the country’s top lawyer, or… well, let’s just not go there.

I am surprised this breathtaking rewriting of history by john b above went unchallenged

Perhaps because this thread is not concerned with arguing over Iraq?

You need someone from the right, like Hitchens or even Littlejohn. People who are opposed to the BNP, but on the same wavelength as the BNP potential support.

Perhaps, but I’d be worried that Hitchens or Littlejohn – determined to engage in polite debate with Griffin even whilst obviously making clear they oppose his racist views – could end up agreeing with him on some issues and thereby reinforcing the BNP’s credibility and acceptability.

I hope panellists are practising their arguments. Jack Straw, for example, should be prepared for when someone brings up Griffin’s years spent in the National Front and as a Holocaust Denier and Griffin retorts with MI5 classifying Straw as a “communist sympathiser” in his youth.

38 – “A lot of [BNP voters] have arrived at that decision precisely because of their economic situation, and because of the lies they’ve been fed by the MSM about immigrants stealing their jobs, their houses and being given gold-plated Rolls Royces courtesy of the state. It’s perfectly rational reasoning in that context…”

Yes, indeed. (Good post, by the way.) I also think that the middle-class establishment has spectacularly failed to present an alternative narrative – not because it would be incomprehensible unless rendered in chimp-like monosyllables (a la PMQs; fucking grow up, wankers), but because the middle-class establishment has actually and materially shafted the BNP “constituency” on a regular basis for the last 30 years.

Realistically: what can toady Nu-Labourites or Tories (young and old) say, particularly in the wake of the expenses scandal?

36 – Re: the ‘protest vote’ – again, I agree. I think the number of people not voting at all is also set to dramatically increase; not, in my view, healthy for democracy, but then democracy in this country appears to be in terminal decline…

Sunny , you really dont have much faith in the ability of the British people to think this one through for themselves , do you?

The BNP have no credible polices to increase highly skilled, well paid and more secure employment in manufacturing /industry. People are voting for the BNP because the middle class white collar Labour politician /activist has ignored the impact of globalisation and the paucity of skills which have combined to reduce employment in unskilled, semi-skilled and even some skilled jobs through the decline of industry.

If Labour can develop a credible plan to increase manufacturing so it rises from 15-20% of the economy, such that employment occurs in the industrial parts of the UK, then the support for the BNP will decline. Labour need ensure creating a world class skill pool of skilled personnel is more important th promoting identity politics, which has become the obsession of the post 1968 white collar left wing middle class. If Labour can support the creation of a 1000 Dysons, then we can rebalence the economy and greatly reduce the threat of the BNP. The BNP is another symptom of country dominated by the white collar non-technical middle classes of SE England.

Charlie @ 34.

I suppose if you were to ask the construction and agriculture industries what benefits their workforce might have had then you might get a response along the lines of the paper below from the association of labour providers:

http://www.labourproviders.org.uk/files/P+R%20papers/the_role_of_migration.pdf

In summary they’d argue that their sector would cease to exist in a british context on anything like the same scale because of its dependancy on seasonal unskilled labour. So without a pool of seasonal labours – such as migrant workers – prepared to do the work, then there would be fewer farms able to compete with cheap imports – particularly given the competative nature of british farming. They’d also argue that as a result of migrant workers, the british agricultural sector is in better shape now than it has been for the last 20 years. So therefore without the migrant worker workforce, there would be fewer farms employing fewer british workers.

The construction industry, on the other hand, might try to argue the same thing – but this would be less convincing because you can’t exactly assemble a building overseas and import it so there isn’t the competition from abroad. Furthermore the construction industry isn’t exactly enjoying a boom time at the moment – perhaps they should persuade the government to spend money building a load of houses that can then be given to the destitute migrant workers who are currently homeless (http://www.homeless.org.uk/policyandinfo/issues/EU10s/).

Out of interest, perhaps you could explain to the unemployed british textile worker how he benefits from the fact that the clothes you are wearing are almost certainly made in sweatshops abroad by workers earning 20p an hour (ish), then you can explain to the unemployed british IT worker how he benefits from the fact the electronics of your PC are made in silicon valley (actually someone will probably point out they are not – but you get the point I’m making).

Off-topic, Sunny, but I just wondered if you can shed light on why it is that a party with an illegal constitution can have been allowed to run in elections as if it were a legitimate party? Why hasn’t its constitution been challenged before? And what are the implications for the legitimacy of votes it received in the European elections?

55. Planeshift. I mentioned the actual workers, not the employers. Immigrant labour has managed to reduce the increase in Labour costs in the construction compared to the boom in the 80s. The inability to produce high quality craft training ( a failure of all the parties, the ducation system, the employers and the unions ) has led to a shortage of craftsmen which has been filled by immigrants workers.

Yeah I know what you said charlie, and I was pointing out that the industry effectively claims actual workers wouldn’t have jobs without migrant labour as their industry would be much smaller without them. I confess I didn’t search trade union websites for their views – as if I had the bloggertarians would have called me economically illiterate for thinking trade unions represent workers. On the other hand I don’t see the national farmers union lining up to blame immigrants…

I agree with you on the need for better education and training, and I would suggest that the lack of it is far more responsible for low wages than immigrants are.

“She is unbusy right now !”

Please note:

“Over the 16 years she worked at Four New Square, she said she earned £7million less than white barristers who joined at the same time.”

“Over the 16 years she worked at Four New Square, she said she earned £7million less than white barristers who joined at the same time.”

On which grounds, she is apparently pursuing a £33 million claim… Are these figures just mysteriously plucked from the air, or what?

As far as panelists go-
Jon Cruddas would have been ideal

Micheal Gove possibly

Douglas Murray , director of the Social cohesion think tank was actually apporached- he would have been a good choice

Shami Chakrabarti perhaps?

or for a comedian Lenny Henry

whats wrong with free speech, or is that only if you agree with what is said . Let Nick Griffin explain and try to convince just as any other party does. it is up to the public , a million voted for the BNP after all said and done

BNP finally on Question Time? Delighted. At last, the one democratic party truly dedicated to upholding the rights & preserving the heritage of all of us hard-working British citizens, are going to be heard. The BNP are our last & only hope of halting the never-ending stream of illegal & non-contributing immigrants blighting the British isles, & the current Islamification of same leaving (Great?) Britain on it’s knees. Finally, the British majority will be heard! GB an Islamic state by 2025? No thank-you! VOTE BNP before it’s too late, scoff now at your leisure but when the worst happens, just remember you were warned!

I believe Voltaire said: “I may not like what you say but I defend to my death your right to say it.”

Of course the BNP should be given a platform – it is childish to try and deny them it and frankly ridiculous that the mainstream parties have taken a policy of not sharing a platform with them. Their racist arguments are not difficult to defeat but it would be halpful if the like of the Labour Party would keep a straight argument. We are told immigration is good for the nation but when it comes to Ghurkas, apparently it is bad! (Phil Woolas)

Massive Immigration and the resultant rise of the BNP are a pair of big f****** elephants in the room that the main parties need to address.

The BNP has risen in popularity for three main reasons:

1) The mainstream parties have not addressed the problems of the working class or the poor e.g. The government penalised the poorest by removing the 10p tax in order to grab a headline.

2) People are seeing immigration everywhere. e.g. I went for a 12-week scan with my partner and in the waiting room 11 out of 20 couples did not speak English as their mother tongue. (I am not saying we should get rid of immigrant, merely pointing out what I have seen with my own eyes so don’t flame me.)

3) People have lost confidence in mainstream politicans and parties and don’t feel represented by them. MPs seem more interested in protecting their own terms and conditions (expenses) than dealing with the problems of the country. The result is low voter turn out and the distorted results seen in the Euro elections because a swathe of the nation that would vote Lib/Lab/Con didn’t bother to turn outAND the proportional representation system throws up these kind of results.

Mainstream politicians need to raise their game if they want to deal with the threat of the BNP. They [BNP] may have a lot of sick ideas (and some ones that I agree with too, like getting out of the EU) but denying them a debate is not going to counter them.

Peter Hain is an intellectual pygmy.

Pedro “I believe Voltaire said: “I may not like what you say but I defend to my death your right to say it.”” Actually he didn’t. That’s (roughly) a quote from a book written in the early twentieth century about Voltaire that got misattributed to him.

He wrote something very similar to a friend of his “I detest what you write, but I would give my life to make it possible for you to continue to write.” ie he was making a specific point to his friend about *him* being able to continue to write – he wasn’t making the generalise statement of principle that sometimes people believe him to have made.

If you want to argue that we should on principle support the idea that people should be allowed to say whatever they like please do – but you’ll have to leave Voltaire out of it I’m afraid. I look forward to your campaign against having any libel and slander laws, fraud laws, incitement to race hate laws and all the others.

I would have liked to see WW2 veterans on the panel, along with Holocaust survivers and finally i would have liked to see my father on the panel who came over in 62 and dealt with this before, he is a man who worked as a postman and brought up 5 hard workign kids and put them through university and never claimed any benefits or kids never got into trouble with the police and served this country by brigning 5 very highly educated and now very productive members of society in to this country. why is it he thinks my father should not be proud of this country and to be treated as a second class citizen, when many brits dont bring anythign to society except burden.

60. Highlandcharge

General Sir Mike Jackson would have been pefect for the panel

Griffin may be a slimeball, but his voters are not necessarily either stupid or racist. A bright working class friend of mine with a black wife voted for the BNP because, in the east end of London, people feel that new arrivals to this country should benefit demonstrably less from social provision than those whose families have been part of the community there for decades.

Until this demand is met – as it is just about everywhere else in Europe – the BNP will attract support.

Just ask the mayor of Calais what she thinks about the effects of how British welfare provision obligations are conceptualized.

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x90kqv_migrants-a-calais-natacha-bouchart_news

It’s the elephant in the room that lefties who still feel that need should be the main criterion for allocation of benefits can’t acknowledge, even when it starts stinking the place up.

V.E. Bott,

The problem is, that new arrivals aren’t favoured for social provision. They DO get equal treatment, but that’s because our society is built on equality. I wonder how your working class friend would have felt if he was less likely to receive a council house because his wife was more ‘recent’ than others.

To believe that the BNP are somehow going to sort out the mess in social provisions (there simply isn’t enough to go round), then that is stupidity. To believe that newer immigrants should have less rights may not be racism, but it is definitely xenophobia (which aint much better).


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. James Bethell

    http://bit.ly/2UjrcZ via @liberalconspiracy. LP got a point about BNP QT next week. Tebbit called the BNP, "Scargill with racism". Ouch!

  2. MIKE GAMBLE

    LIVE UK TV EXPATS Liberal Conspiracy » BBC's BNP Question Time panel is a travesty: It is .. http://bit.ly/yQoCx

  3. James Bethell

    http://bit.ly/2UjrcZ via @liberalconspiracy. LP got a point about BNP QT next week. Tebbit called the BNP, "Scargill with racism". Ouch!

  4. Nicholas Stewart

    #LiberalConspiracy BBC’s BNP Question Time panel is a travesty http://tinyurl.com/yj7spbd

  5. MIKE GAMBLE

    LIVE UK TV EXPATS Liberal Conspiracy » BBC's BNP Question Time panel is a travesty: It is .. http://bit.ly/yQoCx

  6. Tweets that mention Liberal Conspiracy » BBC’s BNP Question Time panel is a travesty -- Topsy.com

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Nicholas Stewart, James Bethell. James Bethell said: http://bit.ly/2UjrcZ via @liberalconspiracy. LP got a point about BNP QT next week. Tebbit called the BNP, "Scargill with racism". Ouch! […]

  7. Peter Hain’s Bad Idea « Bad Conscience

    […] thing to do is offer as strenuous and powerful a condemnation of his views on air possible (though given the QT panel, that’s probably not going to happen). Apart from that, the most sensible thing to do is give […]





Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.