It’s now quite some time since the BNP’s leader, Nick Griffin appeared on Question Time and I think it would be fair to say that the jury is still out on whether it did more harm than good. In fact in all honesty, I doubt if there will ever be a consensus.
For me more than anything else it highlighted our limited ability to address the root causes of issues and as such although the intentions may have been noble, I believe it was a wasted opportunity. At the beginning of the programme I was pleased to see that politicians were actually uniting and agreeing on points being raised. However, I shortly after I made this observation while watching I became aware that it seemed that the other panelists were more united in showing Griffin up than anything else. It seemed that due to the controversy proceeding the programme they needed to justify the presence on the panel the Question Time panel that night by showing him up. Furthermore, by the time the conversation moved on the subject of immigration, the sense of unity that I had previously observed dissolved.
This is not, however, the key reason why I believe that the programme was a wasted opportunity. More pertinently, I believe the programme location and therefore studio audience was flawed as West London is not an area with much BNP support as reflected by the questions/comments from members of the audience.
Rather than the attempt to show Griffin up, I would have preferred an opportunity to gain a greater insight into why there are a significant number of people in the UK that support the BNP, so that their concerns can be addressed. As it stands, even though Griffin may have been shown up, there were subliminal messages behind some of the things that he said that the less liberal minded amongst others would have agreed with.
For instance people may have sniggered at Griffin’s comment about public kissing in response to the question about homosexuality. However when he went further to speak about the teaching of Sex Education in Primary schools , without defining terms, he was touching on a concern that (like it or not,) a number of parents hold. However, the only response to this that I heard was from a politician tweeting who exclaimed “Why is he bringing primary school kids into this?”
As such while there will be many that disagree with some of the fundamentals that he stands for, they will at the same time believe that he (and his party) are the only ones that understand and address the issues that concern them. Yes Alan Johnson is now talking about the need for a debate on immigration. I would, however, venture to say that at this stage (after over 12 years of labour in office) we shouldn’t be debating but acting. The sad thing is whether or not you agree with their policies, Labour have started to do something. There is a question as to whether people are aware of what they are doing. For instance, how many people are aware that Britain now has a points system for immigration, fashioned after the Australian system? For those that have heard mention of it, how many kow how it works together with the impact that is likely to have over time?
The lack of explanation/response may explain why when I recently came across a list of BNP members and allowed my curiosity to get the better of me; I reviewed the list and came across the name of someone that I believe I know. Assuming the person on the list is the person I think it is, I very much doubt if she joined the BNP because she hates people of colour and sees no place for them in this country. This is a person I have conversed with at length, had lunch with, who has discussed the possibilities of working jointly on projects. You may say think I’m naive and that there is no explanation for her BNP membership other than hatred or race. I, however, do not believe it’s that simply and hope to unveil at least some of the real issues in my next book, “Consequences”
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