Thursday, 4 March 2010

BBC offers Griffin a sequel to Question Time appearance

It has emerged that Nick Griffin's appearance on Question Time last October was no one-off. The British National Party leader, and North West MEP, is set to return to the BBC, appearing as part of the broadcaster's coverage of the general election this spring.

It was barely noticed, but on Tuesday the BBC announced plans for a 'minor parties debate'. This will follow the debate between mainstream party leaders (Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Nick Clegg). Giving a platform to voices outside the political Establishment seems promising, but it is clear this will include the fascist leader Griffin.

In a statement published on the BBC website, chief political advisor Ric Bailey said: "There will be arrangements in the programming around the BBC debate, a week before polling day, to ensure other parties
which have demonstrated they have some electoral support - UKIP, the Green Party and the BNP - will have their say."

It isn't yet known if ITV and Sky will include BNP representation in any of their live debates. But, worryingly, Griffin's deputy Simon Darby has also revealed the BBC's plan to feature the BNP in an edition of Panorama in the next few months. The BBC seems intent on giving legitimacy to a party that anti-racist and anti-fascist organisations believe should be stripped of false respectability and denied a platform for presenting its race hate propaganda.

Last autumn's appearance by Griffin on Question Time was greeted with large and lively protests at the programme's recording, with local protests at BBC regional centres elsewhere. Similar protests will be needed again, playing a vital role in rolling back the threat posed by the BNP in the forthcoming election campaign. More immediately, the corporation should be made aware of the disgust many will feel at its plans, with the aim of pressuring it to drop the proposal. Anti-fascists will also need to ensure the BBC's decision is not taken as a cue for others to offer a platform to Griffin and his fellow neo-Nazis.

More urgently: there's this protest against the English Defence League tomorrow.

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