BBC BLOGS - Nick Robinson's Newslog
« Previous | Main | Next »

Nick Griffin on Question Time

Nick Robinson | 06:50 UK time, Friday, 23 October 2009

It was the exposure he'd long dreamed of. It was the opportunity to move from the fringes to the mainstream. It was a moment when Nick Griffin - the self-styled "most loathed man in Britain" - could have tried to persuade the British people that he thought what they thought about immigration and that voting for him could shake the cosy political establishment out of its complacency.

Nick GriffinThat's what the leader of the BNP hoped for. It's what those who despaired about his invitation to appear on Question Time feared. That is not how it turned out.

Exposure can work both ways. For much of the programme, Nick Griffin did not speak to the British people. He talked instead about himself and struggled to explain his past views and actions.

He was not a Holocaust denier, he insisted - but could not say why he had compared those who believed that Hitler killed millions of Jews with those who believed that the Earth was flat.

On the other hand, he could and did say that the "indigenous people of Britain" - by which he insisted he did not mean whites - were themselves victims of genocide. Surprisingly few of them appear to have noticed.

The Ku Klux Klan was not all bad, he went on, but Islam mostly was. And so on and so on.

That is not to say that Nick Griffin did not take the opportunity to make a direct appeal to voters. He presented himself as the moderniser of the far right - the creator of "New BNP". The old BNP had, he conceded, been racist. He had talked of wanting to create an all-white Britain. But now he and his party merely wanted to shut the door to newcomers and were happy to let everyone else stay.

Will that convince many? Probably not, but it may give cover to those who are fed up that their views and concerns have been ignored. There may well be people who feel that Nick Griffins views are too eccentric or too dangerous to make him a candidate for high office but who, nevertheless, feel that voting for him is a means to give the rest of the political class a mighty big kick.

That, in the end, will be the key to whether the BNP continues to rise or begins to fall. Will voters now feel they know what the BNP really stands for and cannot stand for it? Or will they say that's largely irrelevant if your aim is to tell other politicians: "It's time you woke up to our concerns"?


Page 1 of 5

  • Comment number 1.

    I thought he did very well considering the hostility of the panel and the audience which was not representative of the indigenous white population of this country , indeed the BBC's left wing bias shone through like a beacon. Well done Mr Griffin you did yourself proud.

  • Comment number 2.

    I think that last night's appearance will attract some voters to the BNP. However, I think vastly more who've already voted for them previously will not now, so I'm expecting their overall support will fall. I think a lot of people just voted for them to make a point, a point that thankfully now seems to have been heard by the parties who are actually in a position to do something about it.

    Baroness Warsi probably came out the best from last night in my eyes. She came across as knowledgeable and passionate and at least was willing to recognise the root cause of the rising BNP support and that the issues needed to be addressed.

    Griffin just came across as evasive and a bit twitchy. The only way he could have looked personable and sensible was if they'd sat him inbetween Gordon Brown and Harriet Harman.

  • Comment number 3.

    The more you misrepresent and bully, the more you will play into Griffin's hands.

  • Comment number 4.

    If Nick Griffin convinced anyone of anything other than the fact that his views are abhorent and incoherent I would be surprised. To be honest I found the programme boring. Let's move on please.

  • Comment number 5.

    I thought it was a fantastic programme...Bonnie Greer in particular was graceful, intelligent, well spoken, kind and thoughtful - and did an amazing job in showing Nick Griffin for who he really is. For the most part, I thought he looked extremely uncomfortable - fidgeting, nervous, anxious...quite honestly, he was totally routed by the panel, and a good job too. Thank goodness this was a bad move for the BNP - I dont doubt their right to be represented on the panel, that is good and proper, as democracy was clearly at work here...for the good of the people, for the good of the nation, and for the good of individuals. Nick Griffin should have left the studio feeling really rather ashamed, and with his tail between his legs!

  • Comment number 6.

    Chris Huhne (Lib Dems), Jack Straw (Labour) and Sayeeda Warsi (Conservatives) were all excellent panellists on last night's episode of Question Time. I found Mr Griffin's views on the Holocaust, Islam and homosexuals, to be highly objectionable.

  • Comment number 7.

    Highlights more than anything the need for a serious review of our immigration policies now.

    I think that the party that addresses this issue seriously will win the next election.

  • Comment number 8.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 9.

    Question Time did Nick Griffin a load of favours, emphasising the things he critises, the lack of free speach about problems in our society. It was indeed a Nick Griffin bashing exercise with everything heavily weighted in all regards against him, the chairman panelists and an unprepresentative audience, and he handled himself very well indeed in the circumstances.

  • Comment number 10.

    Unfortunately, I have to agree with #1.

    Griffin did very well in front of a hostile audience and panel.

    If the BBC had put up a panel of substance, and sought an audience which represented the country, he would have done badly.

    The whole episode has done BNP recruitment a real service. But this is not the problem; the problem is the increasing of racial intolerance and prjudice in our country as a direct result of the actions of an inept, grasping, uncaring and criminal government.

  • Comment number 11.

    Whatever happened to freedom of speech and debate? Nick Griffin is being personally attacked instead of listening to the policies, that will protect British interests. Our society is being eroded, because we are losing our identity and traditions, and it is about time someone stood up and enough is enough, we are British, and we do deserve to live in our own country and have our own traditions and beliefs without threats or intimidation, which is currently happening. You know that is what all our armed forces over the last century fought for.

  • Comment number 12.

    Much as I despise the BNP I find the media vitriol truly disturbing. Over a million people voted legitimately for this party and in a democratic state that purports to pride itself on freedom of speech they deserve equality of access to the media as all other democratically elected parties.

    There is a reason why those people felt sufficiently disenfranchised enough from the main parties to vote BNP and I believe it helps all of us to better understand what that reason is through dialogue rather than simply ignoring them and refusing to engage.

    In my opinion the decision of Question Time to grant Nick Griffin public exposure was a smart move on three fronts:

    1. It upheld the principles of our democratic system

    2. It exposed Nick Griffins views to blunt analysis that revealed them to be comfortably within a range of utter ludicrousness to frankly disturbing, which can only help to provide further distance between the BNP and the general public.

    3. It actually forced the other parties to confront and engage in the key issue that has provided oxygen to the BNP, namely immigration. Jack Straw honestly came out as evasive and uncomfortable as Nick Griffin in this one specific area, with Baroness Waresi admrably prepared to acknowledge the issue and offer some options for discussion.

    In short, yes the BNP are odious, but they represent the views of a significant minority, winning power legitimately. It is better to understand their views and address them rather than simply shout them down.

  • Comment number 13.

    Seriously, so that's what now passes as robust political debate?! And did my ears deceive me ... did the regular 3 stooges really keep making the accusation against Nick Griffin that he was not to be trusted, that he was merely trying to put on a positive spin on an unpopular message, that he would say one thing but do another? And they did all that with a straight face?

    The program may not have done much to increase to increase the BNP's credibility but it did reveal just how inadequate the others are at tackling the issues. The only interesting point came when there was ALMOST a debate about immigrtation.

  • Comment number 14.

    You know what Nick, for once, I agree with your analysis, all the way.

    More along these lines please, this is more like it.

    (s'alright, you can pick yourself off the floor now... :-) )

  • Comment number 15.

    Having watched last nights Question Time it was interesting to say the least . Here we had the much derided leader of the BNP in which both the panel and the audience gave a 'hostile' reception . He did not come across at all well , some of his answers / comments were to some offensive to others ridiculous . However here are some points to ponder - What if the programme had been held in the North West eg Burnley , Manchester etc. , would the audience have been as hostile ?
    Some of his answers / comments have certainly caused debate , but will he look at improving how he puts himself across on television in future ?
    Overall he put in a very poor performance , he was nervous and did not come over at all confident .
    The audience was not an overall representation of the UK and the panel was rather weak .
    One thing is clear though the political mainstream parties are going to have to tackle the BNP head on and confront the issues which got them a million votes . One final note , and it is of great concern that the politicians confront and deride not only the BNP but all extremist groups religious or otherwise and do so on programmes like Question Time .

  • Comment number 16.

    Too much of the questioning gave Nick Griffen the opportunity to spout the BNP policies. He should have been questioned on things like Climate Change, transport and all the other routine big political issues that you never hear related to the BNP; I think this would have exposed him as a very lightweight amateur with a limited and extreme agenda, but one that voters could see has no developed policies on the big issues. He got too much time on his own question/answers and some of the other panellists were quite poor. I'm no supporter of the BNP but I heard NG come out with points that I'm convinced will strike true with many disaffected voters.

  • Comment number 17.

    I'm not sure I agree with Nick, as I despaired when I watched QT last night. Time and again there were the glimpses, as Nick points out, of what the BNP is, but to my mind, without fail either panellists or the audience interrupted and let Griffin and the BNP off the hook. I can see why the left wanted him silenced and banned, they just can't keep their mouths shut and let the man hang himself. So now he will reiterate his claim that he is persecuted by the Political Elite and Establishment. Still, if nothing else it should have shown the floating voters, the ones that matter, that he is not a man capable of leading the country. But talk about snatching defeat (well maybe a stalemate) from the jaws of victory, it seems that this is a common trait of our Establishment, not just Gordon Brown. I think Nick summed it up, the level of aggression towards him will mean that many will be feel justified in voting for him to upset the establishment in general and the Left in particular. Silence would truly have been Golden in this instance.

    Still, it reminded my of why I gave up watching QT, it is a waste of time, maybe I'm a bit miffed at myself for being conned (again) into thinking it would be worth watching and I would get some Political insight from it. In fact, I'm now even annoyed that I wasted my time on reading all of Nick's previous Blog on the subject. Maybe in a week or two I'll feel like looking in on these BLogs, but in the meantime I'm off to look for a job.

  • Comment number 18.

    The BBC, terrified of being accused of providing a platform for Griffin, and browbeaten by the hysterical over-reaction of people like Peter Hain (is there a leadership contest in the offing?), deliberately skewed the make-up of the audience so that it would be universally hostile to the BNP.

    So we never had a proper debate, and it just resorted into a silly shouting match.

    Despite Griffin's poor presentational skills and obvious difficulties when dealing with some of the darker elements of his beliefs, a lot of people in this country, who certainly weren't represented in the audience, support the core policies of the BNP in relation to immigration and the EU.

    Like it or not, I suspect the BNP's level of support may increase after this episode, because Griffin will be seen as a victim of a mugging by the political elite, a "normal" bloke trying to espouse the views of many while being howled down by the usual PC rent-a-mob.

  • Comment number 19.

    I was very saddened to see Nick Griffin, slandered, falsely accused, jeered at, called names, and simply hated by practically all the people on this show. The problem is that this audience was not representative of everyday British society and instantly appeared to have been 'cherry picked'. I always thought that ethnic minorities in the UK represented about 9% of the population, but nearly half the audience was of ethnic appearance, and this IS relevant especially as one of the guests had made nationalistic comments in the past about immigration and Islam. The panel had obviously rehearsed material to feed the audience on their views of the BNP. Whilst open-minded about the BNP I would like to have heard more from their leader, but was otherwise thwarted by the continuous deliberate over talk that rendered any answers to audience questions futile. If David Dimbleby had taken a more impartial stance and held back the antagonists we'd have heard more. But, Griffin was the winner tonight. He was bullied and not allowed to finish the majority of his sentences, even so he made some excellent points, especially about immigration which made government propagandist Jack Staw squirm.

  • Comment number 20.

    Was Nick Robinson watching the same programme? The worse thing about the programme was the audience. Mr Griffin was hugely outnumbered in that room which was, as someone else has pointed out, not typical of UK society.
    Looks like the BBC's efforts to discredit him have failed (not that I'll be voting BNP).

  • Comment number 21.

    Although Nick Griffin did not come across as a very competent moderniser of fascism it is still unwise to dismiss him. It is important that to be tough on the BNP and tough on the causes of the BNP should be the strap line of mainstream political parties. Letting them get away with their deliberately confusing talk on ethnicity and britishness as the recent Newsbeat interviews did only helps their cause. Politicians need to be much better briefed on what these political bandits are up to. But there needs to be a better response to the reasons for their popularity with large section of the disaffected working class particularly in areas where there is wide ethnic diversity and serious deprivation.

  • Comment number 22.

    The justification for allowing Griffin on Question Time was to expose the true, nasty nature of himself and his party. Here he was in a deep hole with some deeply unpleasant stuff hidden in the corners of the hole that he desperately wished to leave in the shadows and with only a shovel for company. The other four panelists were equipped with powerful torches and the opportunity to shine a bright light in the hidden corners.

    So what did the do? They bullied, harrassed and diverted atention every time one of the corners was approached - assisted by an audience whose behaviour verged on mob-like and a chairman who was more like a ringleader. The representatives of the main parties, particularly Shaw as a member of the government which has been in power for 12 years, did more with their torches to expose their own and each other's inadequacies - not least on the topic of immigration, vital in the context of BNP activites.

    It was pathetic. I can't imagine that many people who have voted BNP, or are contemplating to do so, would have learned anything they didn't already know about Griffin or the BNP or been persuaded to change their voting intentions. Fortunately, Griffin came across as a shifty, charisma free zone prone to inapproriate grinning - so very little harm done as a result of his being painted as ganged up on, cornered and bullied and hardly given a chance to finish a single sentence.

    Instead of taking the opportunity to show people inclined to vote BNP why they shouldn't, they did more help the rest of us understand why it happened - less by the seductive messages from the BNP than sucked in by a vacuum created by failures of this and past governments.


  • Comment number 23.

    Oh dear. As suspected, the BBC loaded the audience with ethnic minorities and Lefties and have now succeeded in harrassing and bullying Griffen to the point he can now claim that the Left just want him silenced for telling things the way they are (in the BNP's eyes). What was needed was a very balanced audience, a very balanced panel and questions on the subjects of the day. It turned into an hysterical rant against the BNP, music to their ears... The BBC have really messed this up. This will force more people into the BNP's fold. Griffen spoke on immigration etc in a manner which to you or me seemed racist but to many in poor areas that have suffered as a result of immigrants rather than benefitted from them it would have seemed that the mainstream parties do not acknowledge any issues and do not want to discuss them.
    Sorry. This was a win for the BNP and a big mistake by the BBC, firstly for allowing it and secondly for rigging the audience and panel. The biggest losers will be Labour as it is they who will lose support to the BNP.

  • Comment number 24.

    I am sorry to have to say this but our elected government came out very badly on this one , it just proves they are floundering on immigration because they have let go of the rope. If this program had been filmed in say Manchester or other Northern town the outcome might have been different . I do not like or would ever vote for the BNP but i do believe that immigration and the erosion of the British identity will come to a head , the BNP are saying what a lot of British people think , rent a mob at the doors of the bbc are just that a mob, in their way they are pushing their agenda onto the public, it is time this country and government got its act together instead of being pushed along by events , why cannot they see just how angry the people are ! all they think about is how hard done by they are on expenses ...12 years and no proper border control or immigration regulation , it is truly worrying .

  • Comment number 25.

    Griffin made a lot of abhorrent statements but just by reading 'Have Your Say' I can see already people ignoring those and supporting the under dogs: the BBC did the BNP a lot of favours not just by having him on the show but by stacking the cards so heavily against him.
    I would hope most of the people voting for the BNP would not actually want to see them get in but they just don't have anyone else they would vote for.
    (I always vote Green btw)

  • Comment number 26.

    So Nick Griffin came across as a blithering idiot with no real policies or answers, no surprise there, Jack Straw and Baroness Warsi did the same.
    Chris Huhne did reasonably well I thought and Bonnie Green exceptional.

    The only thing that has come of this whole BNP/QT saga is that previously the imigration debate has been stifled for fear of accusations of racism, issues that have been allowed to fester will now be brought out into the open (hopefully) and a full and frank debate should ensue.

    And when the issues of racism and immigration have been aired, debated and decided, can we turn our attention to the next issue that politicians of all shades fear to tackle, that of drugs, hard/soft, clampdown/decrim/legalise, punishment/treatment etc. None of these issues are being debated.

  • Comment number 27.

    Although the BBC invited Nick Griffin onto Question Time, from that point on the whole set-up was designed to be hostile towards him and pander to the vocal left. As others have said the audience was not representative of the UK population.

    The rate of immigration has changed the face of Britain dramatically in the last 50 years and people do feel threatened by this. Unless the main political parties can get a grip of immigration there will be trouble in the future.

  • Comment number 28.

    Mr Griffin clearly needs to be better advised as to how to present himself on TV. The chairmanship of Mr Dimbleby was a disgrace and the audience appeared to have been carefully selected and I cannot believe it was a representative cross-section of the population of Britain. In the face of that Mr Griffin should have immediately stopped speaking when interrupted, thereby showing a degree of dignity that was lacking elsewhere, leaving the external audience to judge how the beliefs and actions of panel and studio audience obstructed free speech, surely a key British value.

  • Comment number 29.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 30.

    When will the liberals realise that the BNP is thought by many white working people to be their only voice? These are not the people who ask for tickets to Question Time. They watch other channels at the time. They resent unrestricted immigration as jobs going to 'bloody foreigners'. They resent the special treatment multiculturalism gives to minorities. I am not such a person but I reckon I understand such views more than our liberal intelligensia does.

  • Comment number 31.

    I thought it was absolutely astonishing that David Dimbleby allowed this programme to degenerate into the 'Nick Griffin Show'. Of course, there was always going to be great hostility towards this vile indvidual but Dimbleby, in my view, did not chair the programme in his usually normal fair way.

    He has control over questions the audience ask and whilst I appreciate there were always going to be a lot of folk who wanted to vent their anger at Griffin many main issues of the day were never discussed.

    The majority of us already know what Griffin and the BNP stand for and last night's programme will not endear many sane people to change their minds. Thank God they are and will remain in the minority!!

  • Comment number 32.

    As I hoped Nick Griffin came out of last night's programme looking pretty pathetic.
    However the way it was acheived, with an oh so obviously rigged audience, a panel who had no intention of debating the issues, but merely to attack Griffin personally.
    A bit like throwing a cat into Battersea Dogs Home and saying that the cat didn't come out of it very well.
    If you really want to shut the BNP down it has to be done in a normal field of combat. Not an arena where the sympathy factor can come into play.
    I fear, like others have already said, that the BNP might just get a boost from this.

  • Comment number 33.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 34.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 35.

    I have to say last nights question time was appaling as a stage for political debate, in the end it turned out to be the 'Heckle Nick Griffin' show rather than being on current political issues.

    I almost burst out laughing when Nick Griffin was trying to defend the 'indigenous' culture of the UK, he seems to have forgotten that the white majority are at best bastardised race, with mixtures of Celtic, Saxon, Roman, and Galic blood been added over the last 2000 years.

    As for whether the BBC should or should not have had Mr griffin on the show is irrelevant, and I give credit to the BBC for inviting him on and showing him up to be an odious and bigoted indivdiual that he is, hopefully the next time he is on there will be a deeper probing of his policies.

    To all those tht say he shouldnt have been on the show, where do you draw the line? After the BNP is refused, do you 'ban' members of the British Communist Party, the Muslim Council of Britain, or other small parties because you dont like thier policies.

    Until the BNP is banned as a political party, they have as much right to appear as any other political party.

  • Comment number 36.

    BBC proved a point of the BNP and shot itself in the foot. The audience, panel, host and questioners were not representative of the poor white working class dissafected who are not represented by the mainstream parties and media and are disenfrachised. In fact as always with the BBC there appeared to be a strong bias towards the establishment, left wing, pro immigration, pro EU, London centric and those buying into a multicultural society. These peope are bound to hate the BNP because they have so much to lose by them gaining popularity and so many of them including the BBC have their noses in the trough. They are also the very people who hate the uneducated white working class, who are persecuted by the mainstream. BBC News 24 also had a strong bias of commentators of such an ilk which I could not believe. In fact the BBC by their ineptitude has once again proved a point to those who remain attracted to the BNP and will no doubt increase their popularity.

  • Comment number 37.

    Nick Robinson cannot make such assertions from an appearance which did not allow openminded people to hear what Mr Girffin had to say about the party, its manifesto and its aims... Instead there were actual verbal attacks from people who thought they knew what the BNP were about, and seemed to just come on to "have a go" based on their pre-concieved idea. From this kind of arena nothing about the BNP has been learnt, but has showed many of the uk public to be ignorant.

  • Comment number 38.

    It was unfortunate that almost all the questioning centred around the BNP. It was not a normal QT.

    I doubt that very many of the 'white working class' will have watched QT - after all it's generally pretty boring for folk not into politics - but those that did will probably have felt some sympathy for Nick Griffin, given the way he was harassed.

  • Comment number 39.

    There is only one reason for the rise of far-right groups like the BNP - or even far-left groups or any other political group with extreme or radical views - the abject failure of mainstream political parties.

    I am disappointed that last night's QT turned into a BNP bear-baiting session, when it could have been so much more. I don't think Mr. Griffin in himself came over wonderfully well, but the manifest hostility of the audience, and the blatant delight of the other political panellists at being given the chance to take the moral high ground and make political capital out of the event was unpleasant.

    I will never vote BNP come what may, but as long as the government and opposition parties continue to fail the British people (all of them!) the BNP will continue to flourish and will continue to have legitimate arguements that disenfranchised people will want to listen to.

  • Comment number 40.

    Do I agree with the BNP? No, I don't.
    Do I think they have a right to be heard? Yes I do.
    The BBC, the idiots on the panel and those in the very loaded audience turned Nick Griffin into a victim. Well done, u gave the Slightly Right of Tory BNP a big lift.

  • Comment number 41.

    The vitriolic approach taken by the panellists was absolutely appalling. It does none of them any credit. I do not recall Griffin being allowed to finish one sentence before being effectively spat at. Jack Straw threw away any of his principles - I much liked the point at which Warsi told him he'd not told the truth. I had no opinion on Chris Huhne previously but now I have no respect for him at all. Actually there was no need for Griffin to be there - the other children could have quite easily had a their tantrum and spitting match on their own.

    Let's face it Griffin does not come across as particularly sharp or practiced as a debater. He was at a tremendous and deliberately organised disadvantage last night but it backfired on his and the BNP detractors. I found myself beginning to understand that there is a sizeable proportion of traditional British voters who will support them for good reason - driven by the failings of Straw and Huhne et al more than because of the BNP offer. It was made very clear last night that although Straw and Huhne and the career politicians should be listening to this they "just don't get it". That is their problem and it will increasingly be a big one.

    Overall. Griffin and BNP 2, the Politician Gang 0

  • Comment number 42.

    It was an unusual question time in format.

    It did look like it was anti Nick Griffen.

    I think the holocaust question was the best one along with his comment on the pacifist wing of the KKK.
    He was made to look what he i,s which is a pretty superficial pedaler of hate. However most of the panel were very nervous to start with and so really found it difficult to make good points. - as did most of the audience.

    I don't think any of them get why there is a 'rise' of the extreme right and this led to trying to justify recent immigration.

    The reality is that shifts in the shape and skill mix needed in our economy (with the collapse of the manufacturing sector) has led to wide swathes of working class unemployment. The main parties have all accepted this as being inevitable as we move to a service based economy, and because we do not believe in state intervention. We tell them to get different skills, we tell them to move somewhere else and they think why. We want to blame them for there inability to adapt. They want someone to blame and it is easy to blame it on communities who to them seem to have adapted well to the changes in the economy.

    There is no political paradigm in any of the main parties which understands how to ameliorate the effects of the changing dynamics of our economy - moving to high skills economy. So long as we ignore the needs of this section of our community - as long as we see it as reasonable to export low skills from our country we will continue give an opportunity to the BNP.

    So although many people will be laughing at the way Griffin was made to look stupid last night it will have little effect on the rise of his odious party.

    Sad but true.

  • Comment number 43.

    BobRocket wrote:
    "So Nick Griffin came across as a blithering idiot with no real policies or answers, no surprise there, Jack Straw and Baroness Warsi did the same.
    Chris Huhne did reasonably well I thought and Bonnie Green exceptional."

    I disagree - the final question both elicited the same pious response from them - that they believed free speech was a fundamental basic of our democratic society. They both, Huhne in particular, had spent the previous 50 minutes completely denying Nick Griffin from speaking freely by bombarding him with popularist(!)accusations and interrupting his answers.
    The show was stacked heavily in favour of the establishments views and did not allow a full discussion to emerge. Nick Griffin, on the few occasions when he was not being interrupted by an increasingly irritating Huhne, failed to convince that the views held by him and his party are with much credit. However the problems with immigration and with the appallingly politically correct approach to our "yuman rights" were briefly touched upon and did reveal some hypocrisy within the government and opposition parties.
    Instead of using the BNP as an excuse to dismiss discussions of these topics as being on the fascist right wing agenda and increasing distorted reaction each time they are raised - allow us some sensible and serious debate as to the potential damage some of these issues do. Our society is now becoming dangerously 'victorian' in that people are not saying what they would like to say as its not considered 'correct' and you don't know who will make a complaint against you. This is not free speech - this is controlled speech and is dangerous.

  • Comment number 44.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 45.

    I think the BBC was right in allowing Nick Griffin on to the question time programme. Nick Griffins views are totally alien to the british peoples general opinion regarding raceism in our society, the unfortunate aspect of the issue is that some people subcribe to his veiws as is evident as his party now has two seats in the Eu parliment.
    I think personally the the B N P will fail in its efforts to persuade other than extremeists into its ranks. The BMP will as other extremeist parties be consighned to the annals of time, lost and forgotten.I saw last nights programme and I watch all the programmes broadcasted unfortunately we still see our polititions avoiding the question and sitting on the fence or using deflection tactics, will it alter? I think not

  • Comment number 46.

    I heard Peter Hain on the radio this morning banging on about the BBC giving the BNP a platform. He's wrong (Surprise!) The government have given the BNP a platform. All The mainstream political parties have given the BNP a platform. People like Peter Hain have given the BNP a platform. They don't see that, of course.
    I didn't watch Question Time. I try not to listen to what politicians have to say anymore. They are so depressingly two-dimensional.

  • Comment number 47.

    Griffin has moved the BNP away from some of it's more extreme positions such as Holocaust denial, forced repatriation and criminalising homosexuality, however as last night's QT showed he carries too much baggage from those days to ever be taken seriously.

    The danger as I see it is not from Griffin but from who could come after him. I think it's possible that a future BNP leader could move the party further into the mainstream by dumping the racial ideology and by campaigning on a law and order based platform of bringing back hanging and flogging, capping immigration and ending multi-cultural programs. Such a party would appeal to a lot of disaffected white working class voters and could hurt Labour in a lot of seats.

  • Comment number 48.

    That was a complete stitch up! It seemed to be a let's-all-kick-Nick-Griffin-fest. All the panelists had been given cribs sheets of "facts" to castigate NG with. Even David Dimbleby dropped any pretense of being a neutral ringmaster chairing the debate and started reading accusations off a script.

    Why weren't any BNP supporters allowed in the audience? I applied and was turned down. Normally the audience is "scientifically selected" to represent the full range of views; not last night!

  • Comment number 49.

    I was shocked and saddened by the recent Panorama report on the racist abuse directed at Tamanna Rahman and Amil Khan in Bristol. Good people of any race or religion are welcome on my road. I hope, though, that the people who oppose BNP racism also oppose religious-based racism such as that which allows people to be sentenced to death for changing their religion in Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan.

  • Comment number 50.

    Here in Belgium the right-wing party Vlaams Belang has always had the opportunity to participate in media coverage of all sorts. Their points of view are definitely much more moderate than the BNP's, but their main statement is also that Islam is a threat to our western civilisation.

    Is it such a taboo to think about this ? Isn't it true that Islam has big problems with issues such as equality of men and women, homosexuality, separation of religion and government ?

    After centuries, Western Europe has managed to get rid of the domination of the Catholic Church. Are we prepared to return to this domination by another religion ?

  • Comment number 51.

    Some of the respondents on this page claim that the audience was not representative of the British public but there was, in fact, a small number of Griffen's supporters in the audience; statistically, a handful of BNP supporters would be expected since they polled 1 million out of a total population of 65 million. Simple arithmetic. Presumably what those complaining mean by a representative audience is a typical audience of the 1950s but we have moved on since then in many ways for the better.

    Of course there are issues that need to be addressed, not least the resentment felt by a substantial number of the unskilled and uneducated in our society. Too many young people leave school with nothing to help them earn a good living in the modern world.

  • Comment number 52.

    One of the most bizarre moments you'll ever see on a political broadcast...

    Nick Griffin, a British white supremacist, attempting to lecture Bonnie Greer, an African American playwright and cultural commentator, on the Klu Klux Klan.
    Now I have seen everything.

    ps Nice to see some BNP supporters coming out of the woodwork here... why don't you contribute more often?
    The reaction from all quarters on last night's show goes to prove that one will believe what one wants to believe.

  • Comment number 53.

    I thought Warsi came across well last night but Jack 'man of straw' Straw looked pretty daft. Nick Griffin was all shaking and sweaty. He was relentlessly attacked by an un-representative BBC audience; ultimately time will tell whether this has helped the BNP's standing across the country.

    Frankly this is just a massive distraction and allows the mainstream politicians to collectively hand-wring and win easy points from the electorate.

  • Comment number 54.

    No surprises in the much hyped appearance of Nick Griffin on question time ,it went as many expected..
    On balance the BNP could not have wished for a better outcome.In fact the rent-a-crowd outside the BBC was the icing on the cake.
    As expected a hostile invited audience and an equally hostile panel harangued Griffin with the same tired old accusations,the result of which will only increase support for the BNP.
    Undoubtedly he will be seen by many people, who usually don't bother to vote, as a victim of "bulling", and may decide to support him at the next election.
    A crowd of young-white-and not too bright,leftists setting off flares ,blocking streets ,and attacking the police ,doesn't go down well in middle England.
    A black American leftist lecturing about the English (who apparently don't exist ,and are really African)wont go down well either.
    In fact peoples minds on ether side of the argument wont be changed.It will be the large numbers of the population not concerned with politics, but watched because of all the publicity ,that will benefit the BNP.
    If the BNP can keep the controversy rolling they can only benefit from the attention.

  • Comment number 55.

    If the intention last night was for free and fair political debate about actual issues the:

    1. Why was the audience packed with Guardian readers?

    2. Why did David Dimbleby have no embarrasing (or abhorrent) quotes from other panellists?

    3. Why, in a pre recorded programme, which was then edited, did someone manage to purposefully miss pronounce Nick, much to the amusement of the audience?

    4. Why did the line of questioning look to demonise the BNP from the off?

    I live on a large, predominantly white, working class estate in Cheshire. You only have to go there, see the place and speak to people, to realise why a large number of them vote for parties like the BNP. These are the forgotten estates, predominantly ex labouor, and now represented by no one. The nearest to a best fit is the BNP, and yes it does have a racist element, but it also speaks a few home truths as well, and for many people it makes a change.

    I think Griffin has some awful views. His views on the holocaust being right at the top, and sinking migrant boats too. However, his shut the door policy on immigration makes sense, we need to control our borders, we do NOT have endless resources to look after the world. His view on homosexuality, i am not saying it should be outlawed, but you know what, i do feel uncomfortable seeing grown men kiss one another, its a fact, and i think many people feel the same, even though they do not hate gay people. I don't think we should teach homosexuality in schools, we should provide support to children who are sexually confused, but it should be on their terms, and not imposed through teaching. And should gay people adopt? No they shouldn't, not that they are not good parents, but what about a childs right to mother and father? Can you imagine the bullying beyond the school gates? And political correctness regarding Islam. You and I know that it is a predominantly peaceful religion, however, look at its own hard core factions which want to make Britain a Muslim state, opress women and impose their ways of life on us when we don't want them to. We need to address this properly, but no one will instigate the debate through a fear of what will happen!

    And you know, we need to debate these issues, because they matter. Look at our society right now? We have a country on its knees, ruled by Brussels, with thousands of people clamouring for tax payers hard earned money when they get here, so that they can live out their dream. Well i'm sorry but we can't look after everyone.

    And as for Jack Straw saying the BNP do not fit in with the ideals of Britain. Neither do a lot of immigrants who live in their own isolated communities. And over a million people voted for them, and dismissing their views and concerns on national television like that will only make feel further excluded from their own country, and make them more determined to vote for the BNP, as they are not being listened too.

    So Nick Griffin, i applaud you, you have the guts to instigate debate on important issues which matter to the people who were massively under represented in last nights audience, because the left wing BBC did nothing to ensure proper debate and fair representation. It is just a pity that I would never vote for you because of the underlying hate you foster, however, i appreciate many of your moral standpoints.

    Thank you.

  • Comment number 56.

    Makes one wish that Germany had had Question Time in c.1932

  • Comment number 57.

    I have no idea why I was moderated.

    The BBC have totally got the result they did not want.

    The audience was cherry picked and biased. Nick Griffin despite being attacked on all sides, came out as the hero, the only person prepared to speak out for the British public.

    The public are disenchanted with mainstream politicians and if those same politicians are orchestrated in their attack on the BNP then the public will take the opposite view.

    Reverse psychology is what happened and the BBC sawed off the branch they were sitting on. Yay!

  • Comment number 58.

    It's hilarious to see all the right wing extremists flooding the boards this morning, accusing the QT audience of being "full of Guardian readers" and the BBC of orchestrating this.

    It's the only way the poor dears have of saving face.

    They can't possibly accept that their hero showed himself up badly last night and revealed his true colours. The guy didn't need editing or selective questioning - he dug his own grave with his ludicrous nonsense.

    He's been exposed and his fans are embarrassed and frustrated.

    (And I say that as someone who has absolutely no time for the 3 main parties, but at least recognizes there is a scale of unpleasantness to be judged here)

  • Comment number 59.

    Death in the Afternoon,

    The bull always loses in a bullfight.

    Hemmingway described the primordal spectacle and ballet that preceded the inevitable coup de grace. This was what an audience pays for - the bull displays it's strength and danger, the matadors their cunning and skill.

    Poleaxing bull in the opening minutes of the fight, and dragging the lifeless body around the ring turns a noble bullring into an abattoir.

  • Comment number 60.

    In the 70s Left wing 'Trotskyists', very vocal, highly dedicated, tried to take over publicity, forums, etc., starting with university magazines. Funnily enough, the BNP, although right wing, give me the same feeling.
    Luckily Griffin, as we saw, is a lightweight, no intelligent person would mistake him for Prime-minister material.

  • Comment number 61.

    So what did you expect from a debate of this nature?
    A few home truths were aired and if given the chance Mr griffin could have said a lot more of what the general public wished him to say on their behalf, As a lot was left unfinished due to hostile interference
    One of the main issues was immigration of which is a sore point for many of the white British public they see their every day liberties being eroded by a lax British government in tackling this delicate subject
    in case of inflaming ethnic groups.
    Never the less some good points were aired and brought into the open and will perhaps be aired in the near future?

  • Comment number 62.

    I was actually quite surprised when I saw some of the reviews of last night's program. The BBC are clearly focussing on some of the more extremist things that he said in their reviews to colour some people's opinions. Whilst he did appear twitchy and uncomfortable throughout some of the questioning I was surprised to hear some relatively reasoned answers coming from Nick Griffin. I'm by no means a supporter, he's clearly a vile little man, but it's clear that the failure of the mainstream parties on certain issues (Particularly immigration) allows extremists to gain support.

    I do however, agree that Question Time was the wrong platform for the BBC to use. Britons tend to support an underdog and with 5 people (Including DD) against him as well as a carefully selected audience, he was just that. As was touched upon in This Week after Question Time a more appropriate platform to expose Mr Griffin would have been an interview with Andrew Neal or even Paxman. I'd like to see him try and squirm his way out of some of their questions.

  • Comment number 63.

    What continues to baffle is the arrogance of the leading parties , they say they listen or will change but they never deliver. Everybody can see whats wrong with this country and where we need to improve. Why do people travel 1000s of mile passing through countless countries to get to our shows … because we are an easy touch

    I love this country and vote regularly but feel for real change you need to be radical , Voting for the tories and labour gives me nothing new. My vote will go and continue to go to a party from now on who will better my family firstly and look after this country second. Why do we fight in far off countries , if it is the right thing to do then why doesn’t the rest of the world think so ,because the rest of the world do not think it’s the right thing to do. We need to get our own house in order first before we knock on somebody’s else’s demanding “do as I say not as I do !”

    So with that and eventually my point, at least Mr Nick Griffin was honest which is more than can be said for the other so called bastions of the political society , that’s why they are gaining support and the sooner the likes of Brown and alike cotton on the better. Do not sit on the fence , do not belittle us ,do not talk in riddles … drop the arrogance and try talking to us as human beings. I think you will be pleasantly surprised with the outcome. And DO do something for the people of the UK first and not the world ,we deserve it and now demand it.

    As labour will soon find out , their inability to acknowledge what the people wanted will cost them dearly. If you only realized a few years back what was important to the people you will still be in power next June.

  • Comment number 64.

    Well done to the BBC for inviting him on. People like that should be exposed and, unlike David Irving, Nick Griffin is easily exposed. Well done to the panel for appearing with such a character instead of supporting censorship.

  • Comment number 65.

    While I find Griffin's views loathesome and pandering to the lowest number, his rising has come from the pathetic politics we endure in this country. The rest of the panellists may be able to take the moral hgih ground but I'd rather they just came out with some policy ideas to fix the issues rather than attack a minor political entity who has flourished because of their lack of political ability. The panellists were all shades of each other (literally and racially!) and for the Lib Dem guy to come out and talk about Griffin as if he is just power hungry is totally hypocritical.

  • Comment number 66.

    55. Spot on. Your remarks should be in the Press.

    My big agonising question now is whether I will vote BNP or Tory in the General Election. I am leaning towards the BNP as they are brave enough to speak out for the majority of the British Public and they don't have the expenses scandal hanging over them either.

  • Comment number 67.

    In an ideal world the BNP would not exist, and it would not be necessary to invite them onto popular political programmes.

    Given that the BBC did invite Nick Griffin, and I think they were right to do so, the program went as well as expected.

    Griffin came over as stupid and odious (and devious as well). The panellists and audience confronted Griffin with reasoned argument rather than emotion (I had feared the program would descend into chaos). Hopefully we won't be seeing Griffin and his ilk on our screens for a long long time.

    Griffin's pathetic performance supports my view that the self-styled anti-fascist mob oustide the BBC, and the anti-free-speech wing of the Labour Party (Hain etc) were just plain wrong.

    Well done BBC.

  • Comment number 68.

    This was a farce, it probably did a great favour to the BNP.Setting the show up with a hostile audience, a panel of lightweights and not allowing Griffin to speak or finish his answers to questions made one wonder who were the facists.It was an exercise in the bullying tactics attributed to the BNP. Staw and Hulme were blustering and out of their depth and Warsi sounded as though she was talking to the school debating society.The strange Afro American lady appeared to have one agenda, demonstrating her dubious superior intellect. Why if this issue is so important did none of our political heavyweights put themselves in the firing line ? Did Griffin frighten them or were they afraid to appear because they have no answers to what Griffin realises people worry about.

  • Comment number 69.

    The Chairman of YouGov made an interesting point yesterday when he said that their own research showed that half of people who vote BNP do so for purely racist reasons. The other half are more complicated.

    But it seems that despite the media love of saying that main stream parties are pushing people into the arms of the BNP, the real reason people vote BNP is that they like their extremist policies on one level or another or are in areas where BNP lies are especially effective. This is NOT weakness in policy from the other parties, it is good local spin by the racists. But the media is so busy kicking main stream politics that it cant see the screaming obvious.

    It is madness pussy footing around the issue:

    A large number of people in this country are racist or biggotted.

    White supremacist web sites, anti Islam sites and anti Jewish sites have vast followings, not just in America but in our country too.

    But, thanks to modern political correctness, much of this vile sentiment has been buried - until now.

    The BNP has given people the confidence to be more open about it again and far right website allow people to easily find others with similar twisted ideas - this is all very, very dangerous.

    Griffin may have come across as a fool last night, and the politicians on the panel may be patting each other on the back, but the reality is that he is leading a racist marketing machine that is working; QT last night will be a positive, not a negative for him in marketing terms.

  • Comment number 70.

    Comment #1 is spot on,I think the so called 'handpicked' audience did not give a true reflection of the majority of voters in this Country,the programme did not deal with more important issues facing the UK at this time.

  • Comment number 71.

    I think the bias towards ethnic minorities in the crowd didn't really help mr Griffin, why does the BBC insist on filling the audience of question time with an unrepresentative cross section of the British people?
    However Mr Griffin did well to counter the attacks coming at him from all angles, I don't agree with everything he stands for, but compared to Jack Straw his answers were at least honest.
    Baroness Warsi was the most impressive member of the panel, and showed how the Conservative party will be looking to gain votes from dissafected Labour voters who would otherwise vote BNP with some more right wing policies and a tough stance on immigration.

  • Comment number 72.

    Only saw a bit (as it was dull and BNP guy was being "predictable" - trying to hide his despicable views).

    The surprise for me (in what I saw) was how bad Straw was. After Straws performance you can see how BNP gains enough popularity to get a couple of people elected. He was evasive, incoherent, went off on tangents, missed the point. Then when BNP guy said he could not explain something because of some law, Straw claimed that as Justice Minister he had the right to waive that law for the BNP for the program. There was probably no such law and BNP just being evasive, but Straw did not seem to know that and then thought he had the right to waive that law there and then. Does Straw think he has that much power and is he has is it right that he can use it that way ?

  • Comment number 73.

    Well done to the BBC for having the BNP on QT, free speech is a vital part of our democracy. No surprise that Nick Griffin was evasive and unable to hold his own in a debate, and I don't think it will successfully recruit him any more members. I was worried that the show would be a stitch-up but actually I thought the audience well-balanced considering where it was filmed, and there was vocal support for Griffin so his supporters had been allowed in in proportionately representative numbers.

    I thought Chris Huhne did okay, once he settled into the debate, but couldn't Labour have found someone more articulate and tougher in debate than Jack Straw? He seemed as evasive as Griffin at times. If only it had been Alan Johnson! Baroness Warsi did well on immigration but fell down on homosexuality.

    If only we coudl vote for Bonnie Greer! Somehow I think politics isn't for her, she has too much integrity.

  • Comment number 74.

    I thought Nick Griffin's views were not directly challenged by facts: especially his Muslim view which was just dismissed as incorrect,he was no worse than Jack Straw who refused to answer the Question of whether or not the Government's lack of understanding resulted in the increased BNP vote. I understand he may have a hidden agenda but it was not made clear by the panelists and they missed a great opportunity to destroy his party and beliefs if it is true.
    I think and hope his discreditation of the BBC was an appalling lack of judgement.
    Thanks for this forum

  • Comment number 75.

    I hope that we, the indigenous British people, are treated better than the indigenous Africans, Asians, Americans and Australasians were treated by our Christian ancestors.

  • Comment number 76.


    I dont normally find myself agreeing with you, but I think you've called it right. Well said.

  • Comment number 77.

    Nick Griffin spent his time defending himself because the show appeared a set-up designed to facilitate personal attacks on Nick Griffin, rather than discredit the BNP through the power of rational argument. From the outset, Mr Griffin was personally attacked in a way I have never seen on Question Time, by both panellists and Mr Dimbelby. I find Mr Griffin's views abhorrent, but the arguments descended into farce - Bonnie Greer's (and Mr Griffin's) questionable grasp of the glacial history of the British Isles and the place of Neanderthals in European social history being a particular low point. Mr Dimbleby's chairing of the event was unbalanced and unfair, and I agree with the other comments that Mr Griffin did a fair job of defending himself and making the other panellists look like howling wolves attacking a sheep. It would have been far more destructive to the BNP to have a balanced argument over the issues that the BNP has sought to exploit in its favour - unemployment, the social exclusion of the white underclass in Britain's cities, immigration - and to show the BNP in this context as reactionary and illogical. That both myself and other comments feel a degree of sympathy for Mr Griffin (but not for his views) suggests the show neither achieved its aims, or did the political process any favours whatsoever.

  • Comment number 78.

    I watched the show and attempted to have no pre-conceptions about Griffin, I thought he did not do well with the pre loaded questions, except perhaps when Jack Straw made his speech about the brave Tommies of WW2 and how much we owe them, Griffin's retort to this was 'yes my Father served in the RAF during WW2 and Mr Straws was imprisoned for being a conscientious objector' I had to laugh at the look on the pompous Straw's face, best moment of the night for me. On the whole Griffin seemed to be generally bullied by the specially selected panel, the specially selected audience and very surprisingly Mr Dimbleby the panel chairperson who I think did himself great harm last night. I suspect that the argument to Ignore the BNP is perhaps the best one, trying to gang up on them in clumsy fashion only makes them into victims. Very badly played last night folks.

  • Comment number 79.

    Oh, if you really want to see how racist this country can be, just read your own Have Your Say section of this website.

    Everytime immigration is mentioned, the far right wing swamp the board with thinly disguised racist comments (goodness knows who lets some of those comments through). And they always manage to get the top ten recommended spots.

    Admittedly the system allows this - without an UN recommend button, once the debate is swaying one direction it is very difficult to regain balance, but that just shows how determined the right wing are to get in there and sway public opinion. Very organised.

    If this country does go down the tubes, it wont be because of multiculturalism, it will because politicians and the media are blind to the amount of casual racism that really exists.

  • Comment number 80.

    I switched off this sanctimonious rubbish half way through. I wanted an intellectual debate not an example of bear baiting. This will have done no harm to Mr Griffin.

  • Comment number 81.

    The party leader looked shifty.

    The party leader denied.

    The party leader lied.

    The party leader tried to cover up his past.

    Will we vote for this party?

    Yes, I think Labour will still get a decent percentage of the vote in the next General Election.

    Question Time over and we still have an immigration problem.

  • Comment number 82.

    Like most people commenting here, I despise racism, and would never, ever consider voting for the BNP. Indeed, the drift of the BNP's core philosophy is frightening. But am I alone in thinking that the left-wing 'rent-a-mob' demonstrating outside the BBC are at least equally frightening?

    This issue exposes the weakening in our democracy over the last two decades. We are governed - irrespective of party - by an increasingly elitist and conformist clique which is becoming despised by a large and growing proportion of the electorate.

    We need debate if we are to have a healthy democracy. What we do NOT need is 'we-know-what-is-best-for-you' establishment elitists like Peter Hain trying to censor that debate. The glare of publicity is the best antidote to extremists like the BNP.

  • Comment number 83.

    The only positive thing that could come out of this is that it may awaken the sleeping silent majority, who by their inaction and or indifference have allowed these people to gain a foothold in British Politics. Those who don’t vote can NOT complain when they do not like their elected representative.

    If you don’t like them vote against them.

  • Comment number 84.

    Oh look, the sky hasn't fallen in as a result of Nick Griffin's appearance on QT. The scenes of rabid protestors against free speech will do more to boost the BNP's core support than Griffin's own performance.

    Nick Griffin came across as a political lightweight who when questioned on issues he must have been very prepared on struggled to articulate a response - although given the bear pit atmposphere, this is probably not surprsing.

    I must disagree with those who thought Baroness Warsi performed well ('there's no such thing as a bogus asylum seeker') - to me she just reinforced the view that her title has more to do with her background than her personal qualities. Both the Baroness and Jack Straw struggled to get across much more than soundbites aimed at getting an easy round of applause.

  • Comment number 85.

    53 - Northern Punk - thank you for saying what I didnt say in my earlier post.

  • Comment number 86.

    Audience did not look like a representive sample of the UK population.

    It all seemed one sided all against NG which will help his them against the rest attitude. Which will be very unfortunate indeed.

    Best question came form a colour guy in a suit that Jack Straw refused to answer. Until somebody realises the mistakes of the last 12 years then he will unfortunatley gain support.

    the issues in burnley/nelson have been known about for 6 years+.

    All 3 main parties are well behind the curve which has allowed the BNP to rise.

    The was no discussion about the inforement of the minimum wage on imigrants. They are treated like bounded labour in many place. With accommodation deduced at source.

    Where as a british gesser will have to pay tax/ni and council tax mortages transports and all the other stuff the immigrants will not have to pay. As many on farms live in caravan or barns etc or divide it by 12 or more as that what they pack into a house.

    which means that localls need to earn far more to just be in the same place.

    So that 2 things high tax's for low earners and the minimum wage that have brought about this problem both labour polices

  • Comment number 87.

    At the very least, last night's programme allowed Nick Griffin to provide proof that he is, in fact, a serious British politician. In repsonse to questions he was brazenly able to deny what was propositioned, and to provide the answer that he wanted to provide, and not the one that was solicited by the question. Just like politicians from the main parties, of all shades of political opinion. This at least left him looking normal.

    So, is he right? Who knows. Do I agree with all the policies of the party? No. Might I ever vote for them? Personally, no, but I know others who would.

    It's really time for a grown up, serious, adult debate, but that's been true for the past 40 years, and we haven't had one yet.

    Let's have the elction, and see what happens.

  • Comment number 88.

    Unfortunately Nick Griffin was not allowed to speak long enough for me to get much of an opinion of him. Everyone, including David Dimbleby, used this programme as a BNP/Nick Griffin bashing party. I must agree with Nick Griffin on one of the things he said.... I too don't like to see grown men kissing in the street.

  • Comment number 89.

    I was unimpressed with him.

    The fact that he was on the show is not the BBC's fault, it is the fault of the main political parties for showing such contempt and arrogance to mainstream society. They live in their 'political ivory tower' far away from the rest of us, making decisions that affect our lives and the quality of life for future generations. At 61m, this country is far too overcrowded, but we are now seeing our population surge towards 71m over the next 25 years, and to 86m by the middle of the century.

    Does anyone want this? Can you imagine the strain on resources in this small island for living space, food supply, water, power, education and health, and what will happen to the ecosystem. These are the concerns of many of us, i consider myself Liberal minded and could never vote BNP, but it is dismaying that the main parties ignore this issue.

    The only way to stop the rise of the BNP is to address these issues, and have a more balanced immigration system and foster a stable population, better coped to deal with the challenges of the 21st Century. Until the major parties review our immigration policy, the BNP will remain in the headlines.

  • Comment number 90.

    @66 Flame Patricia

    ... no surprise there then.

  • Comment number 91.

    If there is such a rise of "racism" in this country (Yougov would say that wouldn't they), then it is thanks to this government allowing our country to become invaded by foreigners, some of whom are useful members of our society, many more who are not.

  • Comment number 92.

    In the end I think it has been a good thing for British democracy to have allowed the BNP on QT.
    It has allowed the British public see for themselves who and what the BNP stands for. What their abhorant values really are and how they treat those they percieve as different.
    Many voters who were undecided as to whether the BNP were worth the vote surely must be decided now. They must see the BNP as a disgusting regime that encourages rasism, hatred, intolerance and facism.
    I think Bonnie Greer's final comment(i think) summed it all up
    'The British public has too much common sense'
    we cannot allow this party or man to recieve power. Ever.

  • Comment number 93.

    For me I did not understand why the panel and the audience did not just set about Griffin hitting him on the head with sticks, it might have been more comfortable to watch. I cannot say how it played to anyone who has sympathy towards Griffins views, but to me, I came away disliking the whole lot of them, the panel and the audience. Straw particularly the hypocrisy of this man and his continual lechures just astounds me. Griffin was nervous, I would be nervous too faced with a threatening mob, both inside and outside the studio. I do not see any difference, essentially, in someone like Griffin forcing their views on us than those self righteous people on the panel and in the audience doing the same thing. It just reinforced for me that democracy is dead and we are led by the nose by minority groups who continually get their own way.

    I wanted to see a fair and balanced programme where Griffins views where exposed for what they are, instead all I saw is everything I have come to dislike in our society. Bully tactics to win over the population and an opponent who was not up to the fight. In the end one starts to wonder exactly what it is that the established parties are so afraid of. Maybe it is that they have spectacularly failed in every area with regard to Britain, that they are now even running scared of a small party like the BNP. I do not think this was an attempt to open the debate on immigration, race or BNP politicies, I think it was an effort by the 3 main parties, particularly Labour to close it, and for me it back-fired. People who voted for the BNP and those living in areas of high levels of immigration, will now be reassured that there is an attempt to silence them and as such the BNP vote will increase.

    It now seems in our society it does not matter what you vote because it is those who shout loudest who get heard and as such get their own way.

  • Comment number 94.

    I don't believe Nick Griffin performed well on QT last night - he really showed his true colours in terms of holocaust denial, islamophobia, and rubbing shoulders with the KKK. His abhorrent views were laid out for all to see and I can only hope that those who have voted for the BNP in the past can now see what they have voted for. A bigoted party with no place in modern British society.

    However, at the same time I thought Jack Straw put up a far from convincing performance - at times he seemed to be spouting pre-prepared speeches and appeared nervous and twitchy. Chris Huhne might as well not even have been there. Both Straw and Huhne interrupted frequently, which allowed Griffin to take a back seat and not have to justify his viewpoint. Baroness Waresi clearly stood out on the panel responding articulately and confidently to Griffin's racist rhetoric.

    The BBC were right to allow Griffin his democratic right to speak, however undemocratic his party's policies. It was uncomfortable viewing at times, but I believe the final outcome can only damage to the BNP moving forward.

  • Comment number 95.

    A waste of an opportunity - it was so one-sided as to make it useless. Even Dimbleby set himself up to be judge and jury; I thought the idea was that the viewing public would be this?


  • Comment number 96.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 97.

    #84 Baroness Warsi is right, there is no such thing as a 'bogus asylum seekers'. 'Asylum seeker' is a legal term given to people who are claiming asylum because they will be harmed or persucuted in their home country. Having asylum seeker status means that you get certain legal restrictions; an asylum seeker cannot work, for example. Once the asylum seeker's case is heard, they will either be allowed to stay, in which case they are given refugee status, or they will be deported, in which case they will be deemed to be here as an illegal immigrant. At no time are they 'bogus' asylum seekers.

  • Comment number 98.

    #55 - At 09:16am on 23 Oct 2009, NorthernPunk wrote:
    If the intention last night was for free and fair political debate about actual issues the:

    1. Why was the audience packed with Guardian readers?

    2. Why did David Dimbleby have no embarrasing (or abhorrent) quotes from other panellists?

    3. Why, in a pre recorded programme, which was then edited, did someone manage to purposefully miss pronounce Nick, much to the amusement of the audience?

    4. Why did the line of questioning look to demonise the BNP from the off?

    = = = = = = =
    And I'd like to add a 5th question

    Why did the prequel interviews on the show before it had even been aired include NO one who was pro- the BNP (say, a BNP voter), neutral, or even an ordinary citizen not negatively affected by the presumed aims of the BNP? No, we had a Jew, an Asian, Chris Huhne and the Shadow Community Cohesion minister Baroness Sayeeda Warsi who all wittered on endlessly against.

    No one even spotted that if you NEED a "Community Cohesion" minister you've got problems that mediation probably won't sort out.

    They are BOUND to produce balanced arguments, aren't they? Oh, sure.

    Not one other panel member or critic offered any solution to the looming population crisis, to the fragile peace in quarters of some cities, to the increasing threat of riot; just the usual, decision-averting drizzly political verbiage.

    No. I was a mix of sad and angry at the BBC, certainly angry at that "put up" show. The BBC staged it under the flag of "impartial" - but it was far from impartial.

    Very disappointing - but it has earned my support for Nick Griffin as an honest, sincere person, who acquitted himself remarkably well given those skewed impartial circumstances.

    And it's goodbye to the Lib dems for me. I had no intention of voting either Tory or Lab next year - no way - the Lib dems were a possibility - though they really lost it after sacking Charles Kennedy. Nick Clegg inspires nothing but there was some hope while Vince Cable and Chris Huhne ran the show. Now even that's gone. So who I can vote for remains to be decided.

  • Comment number 99.

    I see the BNP are now complaining they were not given the opportunity to discuss current political events and it was all about the BNP.

    The BBC is paid for by the public. That public money is not there to provide a platform for the BNP. The program was about viewers/audience questions (viewers/audience being those who were in effect paying for everything). Thus, the questions those people had was about the BNPs attitudes. So nothing wrong with people using their air time to ask what was of interest to them. If the BNP don't like it they should setup their own TV station with their own money and invite other politicians in for the discussions they want. But when it is being done with our money and they accept the invite for our questions then they can jolly well answer then and like it and not gripe about it when they come across badly.

    They should remember that they were not the only ones to come across badly - just look back at Straw's performance.

  • Comment number 100.

    The QT audience was simply very poor - given a golden opportunity to really challenge Griffin and ask difficult questions two-thirds simply opted to call Griffin racist/homophobic etc. And the panel were not much better.
    Also the debate was far too centred on Griffin, and not enough challenging the other speakers (dismissing BNP's electoral success as expenses saga protest vote is too simplistic and easy) - by far best question of the night was 'rise of BNP due to failure of Labour's immigration policies?' and Straw's 'answer' was hopeless.
    The panellist and many commentators have stated that Griffin came across badly/evasive etc. Unfortunately its not about whether Griffin came across badly to the 95% of people who are rational and would never dream of voting BNP; its about how he came across to the 5% who might and being painfully honest was Griffin any more evasive than Straw or any other politician?
    There needs to be far more intelligent/articulate reponses to the threat of a vile organisation like the BNP


Page 1 of 5

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.