So what would have happened on Question Time last week [iplayer link]. Here are the questions that were posed. I’d be interested in other views.
1. Should MPs resign if they refuse to pay their excess expenses?
A gift of a question, although opportunity exists to attack BNP for hypocrisy. The BNP could attempt to stand apart from the “tainted politicians” of the main parties and put forward some arguments about their action:
Although the national press are fully aware of the British National Party involvement in the exposure of the Parliamentary expenses swindle, they refuse to give it publicity out of a fear of increasing support for the party.
This was said by BNP sleaze buster Mick Barnbrook at the latest packed Bexley branch meeting last week. He explained to the audience how the Parliamentary expenses fiasco was brought into the public domain by his reporting Tory MP Derek Conway for paying his two sons a salary whilst they were both in full-time education at university.
“It was only after the Conway affair that the courts finally allowed the freedom of information requests into MPs expenses that had first been made in 2005 by the Taxpayers’ Alliance,” Mr Barnbrook said.
Likelihood of Boos: Low, if handled well.
2. If the BNP holds onto its beliefs, is anything achieved by it changing its membership requirements?
Opportunity for other panelists to attack. Likely to be prepared for this though and unlikely to re-appear in this form.
Likelihood of Boos (or strong applause for other panelists): Probable.
3. Are postal workers shooting themselves in the foot with further strike action?
The BNP would bring a populist analysis of the dispute on the side of the workers (although not the unions), tinged with concern about privatisation of the National service by the Dutch and Germans. Here’s the flavour of their argument:
Royal Mail is facing one of its biggest crises yet as profit-driven management seek to slash costs at the expense of service levels and ordinary frontline staff, a BNP News investigation has revealed.
The media and Royal Mail management consistently refuse to address the real cause of the dispute, which is the fact that Royal Mail’s budget gets cut by about 10 percent every year, which forces each office to make cuts or savings of that figure each year as well.
The reason for the cuts has been the so-called privatisation drive first mooted by the Conservative Party and endorsed by the Labour Party. The Government expressed its desire as late as last year to privatise the post office and only backed down because of threats from the trade unions which fund that party.
Likelihood of boos: low.
4. Is it really necessary to imprison someone for letting a three year old smoke, when our prisons are already close to capacity?
High likelihood of providing a fairly sensible answer in line with those given by other parties. The BNP are not libertarians.
Likelihood of boos: Low.
5. Why is it, after eight years, we are still playing catch-up with troops in Afghanistan?
It’s sad to say that Joan Bakewell’s answer last week could have been a model for Nick Griffin. Glib and ignorant of the facts on the ground in Afghanistan, she argued for withdrawal from an unwinnable war – on the basis that Afghans [co-terminus with the Taliban for her] want us out of the country (No, they don’t Joan). Stock responses like this on the Afghan war tend to obtain support on Question Time. Griffin likely to go for views similar to this, and this is in line with BNP policy:
Reach an accord with the Muslim world whereby they will agree to take back their excess population which is currently colonising this country, in exchange for an ironclad guarantee that Britain will never again interfere in the political affairs of the Middle East or try to dictate to any Arab or Muslim country as to what their internal government form should be; and
– Maintain an independent foreign policy of our own, and not a spineless subservience to the USA, the ‘international community’, or any other country.
The above contains enough to get a knee-jerk round of applause – apart from the excess population colonising this country part. However, will all of the panel be revising the BNP policies enough to be able to catch Griffin on this type of issue?
Likihood of boos: low – risk of applause for BNP if handled well by Griffin (big up brave troops, equipment problems, and call for withdrawal).
There are also numerous news items on the BNP website which provide gifts for those on the panel to have a dig and expose the BNP. Like this:
The troop build-up and the increased intensity of the war make Mr Obama’s receipt of the Peace Prize even more baffling — unless, as is more likely the case, he was given it just because he is the first mixed-race American president.
However, what might disturb the panel members is how on many issues Griffin may to echo their own views and provide little opportunity to expose him. One hopes they are preparing well, but Griffin may be well prepared and able to control his public persona.