At first I wasn’t too bothered by the idea that Nick Griffin was going on Question Time. I definitely subscribe to the view that shining a light on the BNP is a better way of showing them to be the plonkers they are, than forcing them into dark corners where it’s easier for them to mislead and shit stir. That they are inveterate liars and myth-makers as a ‘political force’ is without question – even this week the Dick Barnbrook their London Assembly member was discredited in court for lying through his teeth.
But as the furore has unfolded, I’ve realised I made my usual error of drastically over-estimating the forces of reason ranged against the twats. Jack Straw is the big gun rolled out by Labour to face Griffin on QT and this instantly flashed warning lights: Straw is a hesitant, thoughtful speaker (to put it kindly) and – more importantly – he is massively hamstrung by his senior position at the heart of the Labour Party establishment. There will be so much he simply can’t argue with, from that standpoint, while maintaining the balancing act of being their ‘corporate voice’. Anybody who’s watched Question Time recently will know, regardless of how individually gifted or honest the Labour panellist might be, saddled with being that struggling party’s spokesperson, they’re about 85% fucked before opening their mouths. It’s only on the rare issue where the party line isn’t clear or important, that they get a chance to shine a bit and briefly occupy their own ideological space.
So the last thing we need is a Big Gun in that sense: we need a proper hard hitter, one of the brilliant mavericks who can destroy the Griffin but previously wouldn’t’ve gone near him. Of course I’d love to be proved wrong and watch Straw flatten the holocaust-denying Hitler mini-me scumbag. But it’s going to be a rum do. My friend Steve just pointed out we need Galloway, or Dennis Skinner when he wasn’t so frail – though the razor is still sharp, or maybe Jeremy Corbyn, if they’d ever let him remotely near anything media-shaped.
Livingstone would be another choice, possibly the closest remaining to the Labour establishment who could make a real dent. Though I spose Prescott could just twat him. That might win Labour the election in a single punch.
The worst thing – that now feels oddly inevitable to me – will be if the Tories pile in with a useful fighter to show utter derision for Griffin (even smug old Hague could do that) and then they come out as the party that properly challenged the far-right. It would be another swift nail in the coffin and I started to think this afternoon: maybe it’s a put-up job and the Tories jumped onboard with the BBC first, leaving Labour playing catch-up once the gig was booked.
Another warning bell: why didn’t the BBC put the nazis on Any Questions first? Why have they been able to leap straight up to the high-profile TV version, rather than having to prove their mettle on the slightly more highbrow (and less consumed) radio version first? If the BBC was playing straight their newfound ‘involving’ strategy for the BNP, surely they should have had a BNP panellist on Any Questions long before the much higher-risk idea of sticking one of the cunts on the telly?
Anyway, it’s going to be fascinating and possibly horrific. I think still, deep down, I prefer that we give him the rope to hang himself, rather than silencing him to the extent that he can play martyr. But it’s risky.