The excellent point being that if the other panellists want to be seen to show Griffin up as a nasty extremist, they need to prepare for his best, blandly friendly style and think of ways of dealing with that lest they look the more aggressive and unpleasant.
Somehow Liam’s posting made me think of the final second round TV debate between Presidential candidates Donald Tusk and Lech Kaczynski in Poland in 2005.
The Left-populist Andrzej Lepper had been eliminated in the first round, and his (mainly poor) voters were likely to incline to Kaczynski. Instead of trying to woo them in his own direction, Tusk made a serious mistake in excitedly accusing Kaczynski of being the sort of extremist who would attract such low-life support.
This allowed Kaczynski to say something to the effect of "Look, millions of Poles have suffered during Communism and the transition from it. We need to bring these deprived people in to the political mainstream, not insult and marginalise them!"
Kaczynski that night came across as much the bigger man. And won the election handily.
Is it a good idea to bring the BNP into a respectable TV debating format like this?
I don’t watch TV (much) so I have no real view. There is no prospect at all of the BNP achieving anything other than marginal nuisance value, so it probably won’t make much difference. UKIP is much more of a threat to all mainstream political parties, yet life goes on.
Former Foreign Secretary Jack Straw is on the panel tonight. I recall a senior FCO official telling a meeting of UK Ambassadors that "of course Jack Straw is sensitive to Muslim concerns – he comes from a Muslim constituency".
By which he meant that Straw represents a Christian ‘White British’ constituency with a sizeable but by no means decisive Muslim community in it, namely Blackburn.
If there is one thing which annoys ordinary folk, it is the idea that ‘their’ reality and values are being defined by the presence in their midst of a lively ethnic minority, especially a community whose loyalties are not always clear.
Maybe something for the patronising British chattering classes to mull over as they work out what the BNP ‘really’ represents?