Question Time with Griffin – a wasted opportunity


After all the hype, last night’s Question Time proved to be rather underwhelming.

The panel of Jack Straw (Labour Justice Secretary), Baroness Warsi (Tory shadow communities minister), Chris Huhne (Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman), Bonnie Greer (playwright and critic) and Nick Griffin (BNP leader and MEP) immediately split into the factions of Griffin versus the rest and went rapidly downhill from then on.

It soon resembled nothing more than ‘An Audience with Nick Griffin’ and concentrated almost exclusively on the BNP policies regarding race and immigration.

Straw seemed to doze off at times and he reminded me of the incontinent old gimmer who sits in the corner at parties and wakes up every so often to moan about the music being too loud before shitting himself and nodding off again.

Huhne was blandness personified – nothing he said really registered with me.

Baroness Warsi performed reasonably well and gave Griffin a few tough moments but never really got going and when she did, Dimbleby reined her in and moved on to the next question rather abruptly.

Bonnie Greer came out with some amusing stuff but seemed more concerned with making herself look clever than with making Griffin look a fool. Even then her historical banter with Griffin showed that neither of them had much grasp of history.

In short, the panel lacked intellect and gravitas.

The debate never widened and we never got a chance to hear how Griffin’s party would sort out the economy, improve policing and the justice system or tackle Afghanistan.

So, how would I have handled this edition of QT?

The panel would have been stronger: Redwood or Hague for the Tories, Cruddas or Field for Labour, Ming Campbell for the LibDems and Shami Chakrabarti as the non-politico (although that’s open to debate!)

The questions would have been far more wide-ranging so that the emotionally-charged  matters of race and immigration were far less dominant and the audience should have been less partisan.

That way, there would have been more of a level playing field but Griffin would have had to prove himself as an ‘all rounder’, which so far he seems not to be.

As it was, Griffin emerged as a one issue politician who was fortunate to have only been asked questions on his ‘specialist subject’. I doubt whether his performance boosted his popularity to any significant extent and he had one or two sticky moments when he looked like a blustering idiot, but he could have emerged from the programme far worse than he did.

In short, a wasted opportunity and the only winners were really the BBC, who managed to attract 8.2 million viewers.

3 Responses

  1. A fair treatise of QT last night Frank. Now Griffers is crying foul all over the media today, talk about milking it.

    Having read the other bloggers take on the show I’ve noticed that nobody mentioned how Dimbleby got a rebuke from a coloured lass in the audience who pulled him up for using the phrase “Afro Caribbean” instead of African Caribbean.” Seems like you can be a racist without really knowing it.

  2. I suspect the reason we never heard how Griffin plans to fix the economy, justice system, etc is because he has no such plans. It’s just a bunch of racist thugs, led by a leader who tries to legitimise himself with the veneer of a Cambridge degree. Every elected BNP member since Beackon has shown a complete lack of interest or ability in governing. They’ve been thrown off councils for violent conduct, plain failed to turn up at all or, in one notable case, resigned because they didn’t understand the meetings 😀

  3. Careful Steve – if ITV sees this blog, they may run with “An Audience with Nick Griffin”, coming soon to a Saturday night near you 😉

    Straw really was useless I thought, especially given it was such an open goal for the rest of the panel. On another note, I liked how HIGNFY dealt with the issue last night. Made me laugh anyway.

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