Chris Huhne: Griffin is trying to peddle hatred against Muslims

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The Independent Online

This was not a normal Question Time. When the BBC has someone with views as odious as Nick Griffin's on the panel, it is difficult to have a mainstream debate about what most people would think to be the pressing issues in Britain. The economy was not discussed, because the BNP has no blueprint for helping recovery. Reform of our broken politics was ignored, because the BNP has nothing to say on changing the system that has failed the British public.

The key method of Griffin was on display: pretend to be moderate and reasonable in order to garner support which would be revolted if it knew his real agenda. He was confronted with quotes from YouTube, in which he told David Duke of the Ku Klux Klan that the BNP had to move softly because the British people were not yet ready for talk of racial purity, so you talk about identity, freedom and security.

Underneath the media-trained veneer, the old racial politics was there. It is the same politics we have seen time and again through the decades: find a scapegoat and blame a minority for all our ills. Mosley and the British Union of Fascists blamed the Jews in the Thirties. Enoch Powell blamed the blacks in the Sixties and Seventies, and now Nick Griffin is trying to peddle hatred and fear against the Muslim community.

The programme was dominated by race and immigration with a small look-in for Jan Moir's homophobia in the Daily Mail. That did not do justice to the full and nasty nuttiness of the BNP's policy. Its last manifesto, for example, called for all people leaving the armed forces to keep an assault rifle at home. We would have another 5 million guns on the street and a Detroit-style murder rate.

There is nothing British about the BNP. Griffin's abhorrent opinions were subjected to a thorough examination. It should surprise no-one that they did not stand up to the most cursory of examinations.

It is ironic that when cornered on his denial of the holocaust Griffin was forced to falsely invoke EU law to stop himself from showing his true colours. The critics of allowing Nick Griffin on Question Time have not given the British public enough credit. This country has been built on tolerance, moderation and decency, and Griffin has been well and truly rumbled.