Friday 23 October 2009

Let the man hang himself

Countless millions will, no doubt, have watched Nick Griffin on Question Time last night. I was one of those millions. Was the BBC right to give Griffin, leader of the BNP, a platform? Well, how could they deny him it when his party, incredibly, polled more than a million votes nationwide in the last Euro and local elections. So they had to have him on there, eventually. Fortunately for us all then, he was pulled apart, by the crowd, the rest of the panel (carefully chosen, it would appear) and the always-excellent David Dimbleby.

Unbelievably, whilst Griffin confirmed that he is no longer a Holocaust denier, he could not say why he had changed his mind, or what he now believed. Equally unbelievably, he literally laughed off some of the criticism that came his way in the form of his own quotes from the past, coming back to haunt him. He declared that "skin colour is not an issue" when answering a question on his party's policy of repatriation - this from the leader of a party which, until the Equalities Commission forced it to change last week, had a "whites only" membership policy! And that's not all: he lambasted the Islamic faith (relying on a skewed interpretation of the Qu'ran to do so), admitted sharing a platform with the Klu Klux Klan, and more besides - he really did live up to the old aphorism that if you give a man enough rope...

Naturally my hope is that the Great British public will have watched Griffin last night and realised how appalling he and his party are, how the political posturings of the BNP are nothing but an attempt to pull a cloak of respectability over an organisation with vile, racist motives. My fear though is that the sort of people that watch Question Time know this already, whilst those that are tempted to vote for the BNP probably don't watch Question Time. So what can we do? Well, a very vocal group demonstrated outside the BBC yesterday, shouting, screaming and bemoaning Griffin and his ilk. But you don't beat hate with hate, and name-calling just brings you down to the lowest common denominator. If the BNP are going to try to use politics to acquire power, and implement their awful policies, then the way to defeat them is through politics too. It's important to remember that the number of votes the BNP polled at the last Euro and local elections didn't rise significantly, but their proportion of the vote rose because overall voter turn-out was very low. So we - you, me and everyone we know - needs to get involved. It doesn't matter whether your political views are red, blue, yellow, green, purple or Monster Raving Loony, you need to get engaged with the political process, and you need to vote.

That just leaves time, then, to offer kudos to Bonnie Greer for keeping her back turned on Griffin for virtually the entire show, and to close with a short message from your old Uncle Bill...

Tuesday 20 October 2009

Live by the sword, die by the sword

Remember the Daily Mail stoking up the fire of complaints and controversy surrounding the whole Russell Brand/Jonathan Ross/Andrew Sachs affair? Well, the "Wail" doesn't like it quite so much when the shoe is on the other foot, does it?

I was going to add my vitriol to the torrent that is currently swamping the Mail, and its columnist, Jan Moir, but I won't. This is mainly because I don't feel I have much to add to the comments of the always excellent Charlie Brooker and Dave Gorman, both of which are worth a few moments of your time.

I do seem to recall making the point, during the Brand/Ross/Sachs epsiode, that people were complaining about something they hadn't actually experienced, and I wonder if that's happening again. So to make sure you know what has triggered all this, read the original article... albeit with a sanitised, less offensive headline. Then bemoan the crass, offensive, stupid and insensitive drivel that Moir has spouted...

Wednesday 7 October 2009