James Bethell directs NothingBritish.com.
Free speech principles and democratic values were shaken but ultimately enhanced. Nick Griffin retired wounded but on his feet, fit to fight another day. The BBC can claim a victory today, but are left with questions about their handling of the event. The panelists have a story for their grandchildren. That's a summary of today's QT coverage.
But as people who will be fighting the BNP when the fuss dies down, where does that leave the Nothing British campaign? Three points:-
It was frustrating that Dimbleby stuck to the revolting but titillating bits. What we call the Bigot's Banquet. Anti-Semitism. Holocaust-denial. Homophobia. Misogyny. Nazi-obsession. White supremacy.
It is critical we hold Griffin to account for these revolting views. But this ground is very well covered and Griffin's stock answers, whilst inadequate, are well-rehearsed and get him by.
Many perfectly reasonable voters who abhor these values still support the BNP despite the sociopathic xenophobia of its leadership. The party speaks to them about issues they care about and claims to fight their corner. Dimbleby should have pressed Griffin on these points, as he would any other politician.
Take the BNP’s economic policies. Nationalisation of British industry. Socialisation of the housing stock. Cancellation of trade agreements. Termination of immigration. These would have a devastating effect on British jobs. It might not make such good telly, but it is time commentators Griffin as a grown-up and held him accountable for the country-wrecking policies he advocates.