Bearing in mind my post from yesterday, I’m still a little unsure about how the appearance of Nick Griffin on Question Time last night will pan out in the long run. There was too much passion from the panellists, too much shouting down for my tastes. It all seemed too much of a witch-hunt. It doesn’t help that Nick Griffin, ever the opportunist, has plonked himself back at the top of today’s news agenda by claiming that the BBC organised a lynch mob and is demanding that he get one on one debates with Jack Straw, David Cameron and others as reparation.
Whilst Griffin’s repulsive views were made apparent in amongst the barrage of anger let loose by the audience and panellists, and whilst I am sure that his horrible vacillations will turn some people off, I am also certain that the sight of him slick with sweat and laughing nervously, at times like a small boy in the playground surrounded by bullies, will make him seem sympathetic, even credible, in some quarters. I am also certain that the oxygen of publicity will make Griffin seem all the more credible in the eyes of the dispossessed voters who helped him gain a European seat. All in all, I think last night’s Question Time was a no win situation for all.
Except for Bonnie Greer.
Politicians of all stripes could learn a thing or two from Bonnie Greer’s peerless decimation of Griffin. She treated him seriously enough to draw him in, dealt with him as if he was not a lunatic and used the comfort zone she created between them – she was sat right next to him, which helped – to carefully, dryly and, with a measure of irony that was glorious to behold, offer him a good, solid rope with which he promptly hung himself. She only came close to losing her temper once, when Griffin suggested that David Duke was all right because he was an “almost non-violent” member of the Ku Klux Klan. Even this she passed off with not much more than seriously raised eyebrows and some careful argument.
Without Bonnie Greer and, to a lesser extent Lady Warsi, this would have been a very different programme; one which could have created a great deal more sympathy for Griffin. Politicians take note!