So, Nick Griffin finally appeared on Question Time. Question Time is a formulaic programme. There are four guests; one is a Tory, one Labour, one black or Asian, one gay, one Liberal Democrat and one woman. Yes, I know that's more than four - sometimes the Tory is a woman, or the Labour spokesman is black. And always, always, that profoundly irritating, eminently slappable, boring, earnest, utterly useless waste of space, Shami Chakrabarti. I hardly ever watch Question Time, its radio equivalent Any Questions being far superior. I only watched it this time because Nick Griffin was on it, and I thought there might be fireworks.
Fireworks? Damp squib is more the size of it. Griffin wriggled and squirmed and denied his denial - of the Holocaust, that is:
“I am well aware that the orthodox opinion is that six million Jews were gassed and cremated or turned into lampshades. Orthodox opinion also once held that the Earth is flat . . . I have reached the conclusion that the ‘extermination’ tale is a mixture of Allied wartime propaganda, extremely profitable lie, and latter day witch-hysteria”
Far from being a champion of the little man against the BBC/Guardian axis, he shares its contempt for the intelligence of the general public, who can watch his speeches on YouTube, and can see him sharing a platform with David Duke, or read about his meetings with Colonel Gadaffi.
So why has this utterly unoriginal man, and his nasty little party gained such support? Frank Field, one of the few Labour politicians with a brain, and Nicholas "Fatty" Soames, Conservative, come close to getting the right answer. From The Telegraph:
Nick Griffin does not owe his opportunity to peddle evil views on tonight's Question Time to some faulty judgment of the BBC. His vote in the European elections earned it for him. And that opportunity only arose because of the political cowardice and irresponsibility of the two main parties – but particularly of the Labour Party. Poll after poll shows BNP support coming from ex-Labour voters who believe their party has deserted them on immigration, and failed to represent their interests as underdogs in what until recently was a country characterised by unparalleled prosperity.
Social strains caused by immigration were all too obvious even during a period of record public spending increases. Immigration now accounts for 40 per cent of new households formed, just as the waiting list for social housing in England tops 1.8 million – an incredible 80 per cent increase in the past six years. We are now into a period of unparalleled austerity. The social tensions that are already present could be massively exacerbated, especially as yesterday's figures suggest the population will increase by a further two million over the next Parliament – and a further two million in the Parliament after that.
It was the dereliction of duty by Parliament to discuss a key voter priority that led us to establish last year the Cross Party Group on Balanced Migration. All of our members readily testify to the advantages that immigration can bring to any country. But it is the scale of immigration, and its impact on our population, that have concerned us.
A key demand of our group has been for the Government to cut the link between people coming here to work and automatically gaining citizenship. Once a person has been in this country for four or five years they practically always gain citizenship. The present Home Secretary, to his credit, is consulting on our proposals of a two-stage entry to citizenship. Stage one would determine how many people are allowed into the country each year to work. A second and new set of procedures would then come into play, whereby people applying for citizenship would have to prove their worth. That status would no longer be automatically granted. Far from it.
If we are to reduce immigration sufficiently to prevent Britain crashing through the 70 million population barrier then the criteria for entry as well as for citizenship will have to be very tough.
Close, but no cigar. Yes, immigration in general is a problem, but Muslim immigration in particular is a catastrophe. Other immigrants of whatever race - racism is a red herring - have assimilated. Muslims, including white Muslims, have not - nor can they.
Nick Griffin has jumped on the anti-Muslim bandwagon to further his racist agenda. What he says about Islam is true, however, so why aren't the mainstream political parties saying it? Why should the devil - and the Holocaust denier - have the best tunes?
Update: British readers can watch the programme on BBC iPlayer here. It will doubtless be on YouTube before long.