Nick Griffin has provided us all a villain to unite against. On Question Time his racism was exposed, but this will find resonance in parts of the country, aided by weak opposition from other political parties.
Griffin compared ‘indigenous Brits’ to Aborigines. A people under threat from ‘genocide’ caused by the immigration policies of successive governments. London, he says, is no longer a British city. Seems to be doing all right all the same.
You would think then in mentioning the Native Australians and Native Americans that he would have sympathy with their cause. It was truly bizarre to watch Griffin talk seriously about true British people being the ones who were here when the “ice melted” – from the ice age, not last winter. But let’s follow Griffin’s logic all the way through on the face of what he actually said yesterday. The Native Americans should then be able to send all the Europeans back. We would also welcome 'back' millions of Australians.
This country would be jam-packed. If there is an overcrowding issue now, it would be exacerbated as a much smaller number of people would be forced to Africa, Asia or just to be driven into the sea (or London if Griffin chooses to write it off). But this is more than a matter of immigration as Griffin would now have us believe. In the footage of that meeting in the US with David Duke, he is addressing a loony white supremecist audience, not a Native American one.
It is surreal to be even talking like this about the ice age but this is what the BBC have brought us to. The other panellists were a mixed bunch. Jack Straw squirmed a lot especially at the question of whether Labour’s policies have contributed to the rise of the BNP (Gary Younge is compulsory reading on this). Sayeeda Warsi and Chris Huhne played very comfortably on right-wing territory on the issue of immigration.
When all you do is talk about tighter borders and points based systems, you make it sound like people who are different are a bad thing. None of them defend and extol the positive impact immigration has had in this country. None of them countered the nonsense Griffin spouted about Islam either. Bonnie Greer came off very well, but the panel could have done with someone who showed them all up, not just the BNP leader.
While Griffin seems to have played very badly amongst liberals, speaking to non-political types after the programme I detect sympathy for him. It was him against the rest of the hall (the few people who applauded his Islam points aside). He claims it was a lynch mob, but Question Time operates from the questions people put in. I’ve no doubt that the majority of the questions were about the BNP this time.
If he's on again, it may be different. The reason that this week’s Question Time is as dangerous a development as it is, is not because of the ludicrous talk of ice ages. The danger is that this becomes normal in future.