Tuesday, October 20, 2009

BNP plays race card with attack on Question Time rivals.

I wonder if the BBC will live to regret their decision to invite Nick Griffin of the BNP on to Question Time, their most prestigious political programme.

Already the BNP's website is causing offence by openly insulting the other guests due to appear alongside him. It insults Baroness Warsi, the shadow communities minister, and the black playwright Bonnie Greer who are due to appear on the same show as Griffin.

Its attack on Lady Warsi, the last panellist to be announced for the programme, was posted on the party's website. "True to her Yorkshire roots [sic], she likes to call a spade a spade or a shovel even," the profile states, adding that, "the Baroness is 'bursting with ideas on how to bring together communities,' but curiously she doesn't tell us what those ideas are. My guess is she's planning coffee and (halal) cake mornings at the Markasi mosque in Savile Town" [in her home town of Dewsbury].

The party had earlier published a similar profile of Ms Greer, accusing her of being a "black history fabricator" after she made a radio programme called In Search of the Black Madonna. "What does Bonnie Greer have to do to get on to Question Time?" the BNP website asked. "Answer: Fabricate black history and be paid for it ... The reality is that none of the 'black Madonnas' of medieval Europe even remotely resemble, in facial features, black people." It also described Jack Straw, the Justice Secretary who will be appearing for the Government, as "slimy".

My only hope that this appearance by Griffin will, rather than elevate him to the mainstream, reveal just how racist and how of touch his party really is. Certainly the comments on the party website are way outside of how one would expect any normal contributor to Question Time to behave.

This is a bit of an own goal for the BNP as I am sure Griffin would have wanted to continue his game of playing as if he is simply concerned about too much immigration just like lots of other working class guys concerned that jobs are being lost to immigrants.

But when their own website starts insulting fellow guests on racial terms, they certainly insure that the question of race and the BNP will be high on the agenda by the time Griffin takes his seat.

I am not convinced that this is how Griffin would choose to have this play out.

The anti-fascist group Searchlight said that the BBC should reconsider its position. "The BNP uses racial language, describing Bonnie Greer as a black history fabricator and smearing Sayeeda Warsi," said a spokesman. "Regardless of the rights and wrongs of the decision to invite the BNP on to Question Time in the first place, it is another thing to start abusing fellow guests in racial terms. Surely the BBC cannot ignore this."

The BBC are not, at this point, going to back down. But there is a great opportunity here for Griffin's fellow guests to show him and his party as they truly are.

Ann Cryer:
He will say one thing to supporters on the doorstep and something else to the media. I find him completely distasteful. But I have no problem with someone going on the programme if they think they can benefit the cause of democracy by demonstrating to the public just what it is he is about.
It won't be easy, but someone needs to nail him and point out just what it is that he and his party believe in. The comments on his website regarding fellow guests might be a very good place to start.

Click here for full article.

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