No doubting what's going to be the star of Question Time this week - Nick Griffin's weaselly voice.
I have to admit I hadn't really heard it very much until earlier today, when he popped up on the radio to whine about how the BNP are 'non-PC' (that's 'non-PC' in the sense of 'actually being racist', I think) and why it was well within their rights to use images of Winston Churchill and a (Polish!*) Spitfire in their election communications.
I've said before how I don't think there's anything to fear from Griffin being invited onto Question Time - and, as I wrote earlier, the BNP love to be victims. The Griffinfuehrer would love to walk into the QT studios covered in freshly-chucked eggs and claim that 'the Left' was trying to silence debate. He loves playing the victim as much as all racists do and will make the most of anyone trying to physically stop him from attending the broadcast. That in turn will bring even more attention to the debate - which, let's remember, is Question Time; not Griffin Time - whereas it would be better for it to slip by, as every other episode of the programme generally does, rather than it being a big deal.**
And when I heard him on the radio earlier, I thought: hang on a minute. He sounds rubbish. Not just the content of what he says - that's objectionable enough, of course, but I had expected that - but there was something inherently ridiculous about the way he sounded. It's like those days when Gerry Adams was on telly and the pointless broadcasting rules (let's not forget the right can 'silence debate' just as stupidly as the left) make him look like someone out of a 1970s dubbed martial arts film, albeit beardy and Irish. When you finally heard his real voice you thought to yourself: Oh, how dull.
And it's similar with Griffin. The BNP thrives on a bit of mystique, if you can call it that. They love not just being victims but also the idea that they're a bit naughty. Do you know what I mean? It's the 'No-one likes us, we don't care' attitude. But once their leader turns out to be a whiney twerp who sounds like a very tiny moped over-revving at traffic lights to try and overtake a milk float - the only other public figure I can think of with such a laughably terrible voice is Mike Tyson, but his job was never to present political statements - some of that toughness and mystique will fade away.
Griffin's nothing special. Sure, he's private-school educated, went to Cambridge and had a clever idea to try and mask the BNP's inherent racism and cruel streak for minorities with a load of specious waffle about disenfranchised working classes - but I can't help wondering if keeping him out of the limelight has done the BNP a bit of a favour. All the enormous potholes in his logic notwithstanding, his presentation is pretty pisspoor. His weaselly voice makes everything he says sound like a rather irate mosquito bubbling with rage, not an insightful politician trying to speak for anyone other than himself.
Will this all backfire, and Griffin produce a sparkling display of rhetoric that will delight the QT audience, and the wider TV audience? I doubt it. Probably what will happen is that there'll be a bit of disruption before, maybe even during, and possibly after. Griffin wants that. He wants to get the headlines for being the stoical defender of free speech, attacked by all sides - because the truth is that he's a whiney bastard, a racist and a fool, who looks like an idiot and sounds like an idiot. It's great to protest about him, but let's not give him what he wants. The public can see him for who he is - and what he is.
* The Griffinmeister later claimed this was a deliberate move to celebrate the role of Polish pilots in the Second World War. Which is of course absolute toss.
** "Aha!" you might well say. "Then why are you writing this? Won't your impenetrably dull blog contribute to a sense of anticipation about the tubby bigot's appearance on Thursday night?" - to which I say, I can see where you're coming from on this one, but no. So much noise is already being created about this matter, and I think a lot of it is needlessly panicky; that awful turd turning up on the QT panel isn't going to be the end of the world, and we mustn't get ourselves into a tizzy about it. Chill out. Think of some nice images. Kittens. Puppies. Racists dying in horrific accidents. See? You're feeling better already.