Friday, October 23, 2009

Sunlight Is The Best Disinfectant?

It was a controversial decision by the BBC to invite Nick Griffin onto Question Time. But the truth is that his party has attracted over a million votes nationally and they had no choice but to give him his 60 minutes of fame.

Many wanted him banned from national TV and feared his appearance would boost support for his extremist party. I felt that, apart from undermining the concept of free speech, this argument seriously under estimated the intelligence of the average voter. On this point, 24 hours later, I'm wondering if I was wrong.

Watching television this morning I heard a presenter read out messages from viewers about his appearance. The majority were angered by Griffin's treatment on the show and many said they would now consider voting BNP. This may have been a concerted campaign by BNP supporters to influence the coverage, but a poll out today has some worrying results.

55% think the BNP 'have a point' on the 'defence of "indigenous people"' point Griffin repeatedly made. 22% would consider voting BNP. I'm sure most of that 22% wouldn't actually vote for them on election day, but it is worrying so many feel comfortable enough about the party that they would at least consider it.

I hope this is all due the immediate hype after the event. Perhaps those 22% didn't watch the programme and are the type that are so suggestible that merely seeing the BNP party logo on the news all day is enough to influence their opinion. If that's the case, I imagine they are the same people that got stuck in their chairs after watching Derren Brown a few week ago.

But anyone watching the programme must have seen how weak his responses were, how sly he was, how fallacious his arguments were. After the show, I thought he had made a fool of himself. He was so easily torn apart by normal members of the public, there was no need to set professional debaters on him, he was floored time and again by the audience. But I thought of all the panalists, Bonnie Greer had some great moments. See this for one...

I had hoped "Sunlight" would be "the best disinfectant" and exposing the BNP to questioning would demonstrate what a nasty little party it is. But I guess we'll have to wait and see what the longer term effect on its support will be. I hope the "ban Nick Griffin" brigade were wrong, at the moment, I'm not totally sure they were.

See Cassetteboy's take on the appearance, made me chuckle...

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