So, that one-eyed racist bastard Nick Griffin is appearing on Question Time
tonight next week. So many people seem to be worrying about what his appearance might mean; they're worried that he'll come across well, that he'll sparkle in the debate and outshine the other panelists.
I don't worry so much. Sure, he's highly educated, intelligent and very good at debating - that's how he became leader of the odious BNP, and why his mission is to veil his party's inherent racism and hatred with sophistry and weasel words.
But this is Question Time for heaven's sake. Who watches that shit any more? It's one of the many reasons why people don't like politics at all - all those stuffed suits blethering on and on with so little clarity and ability to relate to ordinary people; with the audience perpetually (regardless of the Government) honking like seals to whatever the opposition politicians say, because it's easier to make promises when you're not at the controls, and it's easier to get angry when it's not your lot who are in charge.
I mean, I like politics. I'm interested in news and current affairs. But I think Question Time is a miserably outdated format, the 'town hall meeting' where candidates have come to bring their cleverness to the proles. This is the kind of thing that happened before television, which really ought to have dreamed up some better way of reflecting politics and debate than to wheel on the usual suspects from the parties which are widely rejected by the people - plus a token joker from somewhere or other, Will Young or some other atrocity like that - and tell us that that's as good as it's going to get.
Griffin won't change that. He won't reach out to the working class in a way others can't - he's a private schoolboy who went to Cambridge for one thing. And those extra viewers who turn up to watch him because he's on will have pretty much binary views of him anyway - some like me will think he's a disgusting face of evil; others will think he's standing up for ordinary people. Not a great deal of that is going to change when we find out his opinions on the budget deficit, though I assume it might get some idiots on the right sparking up with their "Aha, he's left-wing really" bullshit again.
And it's not the Nick Griffin Show. It's a fairly bland format which doesn't make any one person the star - and it certainly shouldn't if that one person is Griffin. By all means let him have his say - there's been plenty of debate this week about 'freedom of speech' and that applies to appalling scumbags like him as much as anyone else - but let's not think we need to have someone up there arguing specifically against him, because we don't. Anyone with half a brain thinks the BNP are racist, unpleasant, dangerous and damaging; Griffin will be in the minority, unless he's up there with John Denham.
Yes. John Denham, who - and remember for a minute if you will that this is a man representing a Labour Government - decided to target white people and tell them that immigration, not his Government, was responsible for them not getting a job. Sound like anyone we know, who might be on the Question Time panel soon? Well see if you can spot the dog whistles in this:
"Work has changed, migration may have changed the communities, people feel that there a lot of competition for social housing and other resources in the community."
(It's those dirty foreigners coming over here, and do you know they go straight to the front of the housing queue? Mm, yes!)
And though the rest isn't in direct quotes from Denham, you can see what the message from the Government is by the way in which the BBC and the Daily Star have covered it. BBC:
Many of the areas to be targeted are predominantly white and working class where traditional jobs have gone amid dramatic social changes.
Some have seen a rise in far-right political activity or long-term anti-social behaviour problems.
Others have seen a collapse in trust in local authorities and services and resentment over the arrival of Eastern European workers.
Families believe they are being treated unfairly compared to the migrants who have flocked to Britain from the EU and further afield.
Labour is trying to outflank the BNP by trying to listen to racists and understand their pain. I don't want to understand racists or turn them around, nor do I want to win their hearts and minds by not telling them it's bullshit that foreigners go to the front of the housing queue, or by not telling them that the reason they can't get a job is because the economy's fucked and it isn't anything to do with the fact that a few Poles have turned up. There's a whole load of dishonesty going on, and it's not just the likes of Griffin who are perpetuating the myths - the Government, a bloody Labour Government, has decided to give racists a nice pat on the head and tell them their fears are justified.
So who should the left really be complaining about? Griffin on Question Time, or Dog-Whistle Denham?