What have we learned from Nick Griffin's appearance on Question Time?

In a shameless bid to jump on the traffic bandwagon, I’m getting this post out quickly. Also, to ride the stirring of political feeling that briefly flashed through Britain and its various social networking sites.

You see, for the first time in yonks, Question Time (BBC One) managed to get people feeling political.

Whilst many have bemoaned the fact that the BBC were allowing a racist on the panel, most have come away from the viewing (well, most people I’ve noticed with my jaundiced eye) feeling thrilled at Griffin’s ineptitude and the fervour in which everyone (they knew) disagreed with what he said.

Sadly, one thing that gnaws away in my brain somewhere is the fact that our real talent is aroused when a no-hope, unelectable party with dangerous views gets involved on a national show, rather than the ones that are most likely to get into the seat of power.

As fun as the show was, and as thrilling as seeing Nick Griffin getting a bit of a mauling, I came away from the show feeling like we’d not really learned a great deal. Sure, it was a good thing that a national show which has an incredible amount of publicity (which, thanks to protests outside Television Centre and other BBC buildings) could let Griffin speak and, effectively, offend anyone who doesn’t like racism or homophobia… but I still feel like there’s a hell of a lot of people who may share his views who don’t tune in to That Sort Of Show.

Essentially, it was a little bit like preaching to the converted.

However, regardless of that, I’m also left with a glowing feeling that there’s a lot of people in Britain who cannot bear to hear what he’s got to say. It’s also great to see that freedom-of-speech is valued by the BBC and that they should be applauded for being brave enough to stick their collective necks out and allow this debate, warts and all, loose in the public forum.

From a TV perspective, Dimbleby showed himself to be the master ring leader, doing an admirable job in what could’ve been a dumb, public stoning. It’s pretty obvious that everyone involved on-screen will walk away from the transmission thinking ‘that went reasonably well’, including Griffin (it could’ve been far worse… he could’ve been punched in the gob).

The key thing to remember is that, whilst this became a huge televisual spectacle, Griffin actually believes in what he says. This wasn’t an exercise in seeing someone get a new arse-hole torn open, but rather, an invaluable insight into a worrying trend in a small section of Britain.

I can only hope that this TV show manages to stir people for long enough to actually turn out at the polls in the next election. Question Time may not have given any answers, but it has fired a warning shot.

Oh… and everyone clearly now fancies Bonnie Greer.

About the author

I'm Mof Gimmers.

I've been writing about TV for a long time. I love it and loathe it in equal measures. I'm pretty sure the TV feels the same away about me too.
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  • @t_pk

    Yeah I agree, I think that if it were a slightly more intelegent debate it would have griffin more rope to hang himself

  • @t_pk


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