Tomorrow night, the leader of the British National Party, nasty Nick Griffin, will appear on the BBC’s “Question Time”, a political TV show in which panelists field questions from a studio audience.
The country has worked itself into an absurd state of mass hysteria about this televisual showdown. Upper lips are wobbling throughout the Isles. There have been long and exhausting debates about whether the Beeb should let such a notorious creep espouse his unpleasant party’s policies on the air; nervous spokesman are warning of riots in the cities.
The three leading political parties, each of whom will have their own representatives on the show with Griffin, can sense an opportunity to score valuable PC points by fulminating against the BNP on prime-time. Expect lots of hammy expressions of outrage and pious odes about the blessings of multiculturalism. (The Conservative Party, eager to flash its progressive bona fides, has picked Baroness Warsi, a woman of Pakistani descent, to speak on their behalf.) Reports suggest that plans are afoot to plant holocaust survivors in the studio audience.
In short, the right-minded and silly people of the UK are getting very excited — salivating, even — at the prospect of being offended and disgusted by an even sillier man on TV. As a result, of course, tomorrow’s episode of QT is all but guaranteed to get the highest ratings of any political show in British broadcasting history. As Rod Liddle puts it,
This liberal chattering class terror … has succeeded in building up Nick Griffin’s appearance next week into one of the television events of the year – when it should be no such thing. The paroxysms over the initial BBC decision, the Labour Party’s desperate wrestling with its conscience over whether it should appear at all, the inordinate care taken in choosing over who should go up against Griffin within each party – hell, the man is being built up into a political colossus, an amalgam of De Toqueville and the Anti-Christ, when actually he is simply an affable but not terribly bright chap who is very easily thrown by the manifest illogicality of his party’s policy on race (and indeed on several other issues).
My prediction: the show will quickly degenerate into farce, as the non-extremists, frantically vying to outperform each other in the moral purity stakes, tie themselves into all sorts of hilariously self-defeating verbal knots.
PS Surely the best approach to handling nasty Nick would be to adapt Bertie Wooster’s wonderful rebuke to the fascist Spode, leader of the Saviours of Britain (his character supposedly modeled on Oswald Mosley) in P G Wodehouse’s The Code of the Woosters and apply it to Griffin:
The trouble with you, Spode, is that just because you have succeeded in inducing a handful of half-wits to disfigure the London scene by going about in black shorts, you think you’re someone. You hear them shouting “Heil, Spode!” and you imagine it is the Voice of the People. That is where you make your bloomer. What the Voice of the People is saying is: “Look at that frightful ass Spode swanking about in footer bags! Did you ever in your puff see such a perfect perisher?