Friday, 23 October 2009

Nick Griffin's Appearance on Question Time - a Huge Success...

I found last night's televised footage from the BBC quite disturbing and in fact, quite insulting to the concept of democracy Britain tries hard to maintain. No, I'm not talking about the amusing escapades of last night's Question Time, but the anti-BBC protests happening outside of Television Centre.

A large selection students could be seen widely condemning the BBC for allowing Nick Griffin, leader of the British National Party, onto Question Time, arguing that we should not offer a man that peddles such hatred a platform on national television. Whilst I abhor the BNP and its racist, hate-filled views, denying this man a chance to appear on television would have seen us move onto very dangerous ground indeed.

Democracy is built upon the notion that all people have equal rights and that people are also granted freedom of speech. Whilst the BNP and Mr Griffin clearly don't subscribe to these ideals, had we banned him from appearing on the programme, we would in fact have been denying him his freedom of speech. Although that speech was clearly filled with vitriolic hate and racism, he had the right to say it. It is down to us, as a democracy, to argue through reason and debate against such views, exposing the man and his party for what they truly are.

I defy anyone who actually watched the programme to argue that Mr Griffin shouldn't have been allowed on. The week's preceding news focused on why we shouldn't give the BNP the 'credibility' of appearing on Question Time, but his performance was about as credible as the claim MPs have never fiddled expenses.

Mr Griffin is today arguing that the programme was biased and set out to victimise him, but in truth, this sorry man was in fact exposed for the racist, hate-filled bigot that he is. Those worried he would come across credibly saw him attack Islam, homosexuals and ethnic minorities with gay (excuse the pun) abandon. He admitted denying the holocaust but claimed to have 'changed his mind', stated that the Ku Klux Klan member he shared a stage with was part of a 'non-violent' chapter and also claimed that Churchill would be a member of the BNP today. Wow.

I think it's safe to say that Nick Griffin's appearance on Question Time was a huge success. The man crumbled under pressure and was revealed to be an ignorant, racist bigot with no idea how to answer a justifiably angered public. Those that argued he shouldn't have been on the show need to take another look at the programme and ask themselves why that farce wasn't in fact a huge victory for democracy and common decency.

In addition to this, 8.2 million people tuned in to watch Question Time – three times the usual amount. Whilst many will undeniably have watched to see Griffin baited, this issue has forced people to engage with British politics, have an opinion and examine their own beliefs – all in all, Nick Griffin's appearance on Question Time was a very good thing indeed.