The normally off peak viewing figures for BBC 1’s flagship discussion programme “Question Time” of around 2 million quadrupled due to the much hyped presence of Nick Griffin, MEP, the leader of the BNP. The brouhaha and the demos had of course contributed to this rise much more than the gentleman himself.
What the viewers saw was a spectacle, a circus – in the original Roman sense of that word – Mr Griffin was throughout the programme the exclusive object of excoriation from his fellow panel members, and the audience – selected of course by the BBC. The chairman himself was inquisitorial in his manner so far as Griffin was concerned – a manner not carried over to the other panel members.
Mr. Griffin was destined to be the whipping boy that evening. Of course, he did not help himself for he carried around the baggage of his past, namely his connections with the National Front and his previous utterances upon such issues as the holocaust. These came back to haunt him – as they were always going to do. His problem was however compounded by the way he sought to handle them by seeking to side step the issue. In that environment he must have known that was a hopeless course. There was of course never going to be for him a way escaping unscathed. His was a “no-win” scenario. In those circumstances Mr Griffen’s tactic should have been open and honest candour. Admit that he had once held such views but had some time ago understood how wrong he had been and was now of a different belief, that he is older and wiser than the youth of the 1970s. Of course, this would be on the assumption that his change of belief was genuine and not a charade.