I’m a bit behind with this posting as there has been so much written and said since his appearance on Question Time the other night. However I’m going to add my twopence worth.
Let me say a few things at the outset here. I find Griffin a horrible, loathsome character. Having watched him the other night I also have formed the opinion that he’s not very bright. I mean how did he get a law degree from Cambridge?
As I had never paid very much attention to him until this week, I wondered if perhaps he was a latter day Oswald Mosley. Mosley a fascist who enjoyed widespread support in the UK in the 30’s (Daily Mail headline “Hurrah for the Blackshirts!”) and was described by political foe Michael Foot thus:
“No rising star in the political firmament ever shone more brightly than Sir Oswald Mosley. Since by general assent he could have become the leader of either the Labour or the Conservative Party. What Mosley so valiantly stood for could have saved this country from the Hungry Thirties and the Second World War”
Thankfully Nick Griffin is no Oswald Mosley.
I tuned in on Thursday to see what Griffin had to say as part of a democratic forum. What I saw was a smug self satisfied man wrapped up in his own political philosophy. A philosophy that has had to change to reflect society’s shift.
However, enough about Jack Straw.
The audience seemed carefully hand picked. Griffin was howled down, interrupted and scorned by all. Fair enough you may say but unless we hear what someone has to say how can we properly argue against it?
For instance it was pointed out by David Dimbleby that Griffin had called Islam a “cruel and wicked” religion. I wondered how the panel and audience would react. Islam does after all involve a fair share of dogma, discrimination and misogyny.
However, whilst we are at liberty to berate Griffin for his crazy beliefs, doing the same to Islam is quite beyond the pale it seems. The very notion that anyone should challenge a religion or religious belief no matter how at odds it (the religion) may be with modern thinking was anathema to the Question Time collective.
Why is this?
I would contend that Richard Dawkins has it pretty well spot on in the God Delusion. He states that if apartheid South Africa had based their constitution on religion, then much of the global opposition to them would have “tiptoed away”.
If Griffin is smart therefore (of which I saw no evidence on Thursday) he’ll stop criticising Islam but positively use Christianity to help him. Beliefs can be as crazy as you like but so long as there’s a man in the sky with a white beard to back them up then………….
My summary of the programme was that Griffin looked and sounded like a political buffoon supporting one policy, aborrent to any decent person, that he really has no idea how to achieve.
However David Dimbleby, the panel and audience did a very poor job of opposing Griffin. Never have I witnessed such a cozy coiteree of middle class, platitudinal nonsense on a BBC programme.
Griffin was their Wicker Man.
Griffin won’t care. He was talking not to those in the studio but over their heads to the disenfranchised working class at home.
Royle families and their equivalent all over the country will have been impressed no doubt.
I lived in a working class area in London thirty years ago. An old couple who I knew as kind and friendly told me that they would be voting “National Front next time” rather than Labour. They were going to do this because they felt abandoned by mainstream politics.
Unless UK politicians start engaging with their constituents then they will find that the sons, daughters and other descendents of the couple I describe above may find the BNP an attractive alternative at the next election.
Griffin seems to be labouring (sic) the point about politicians and parties being “the political elite”.
On that point at least he is (very far) right.
Footnote: I’ve just realised that I haven’t used the word racist or racism (doh!)