It took me a little while to get to watch my recording of the infamous Question Time debate on last week. Naturally, teh Internetz was full of gossip and waxing about how well Capn' Nick had managed to do in the face of the inevitable question barrage, and whether the relentless pummelling will have done the BNP a favour by making him look like a martyr.
Personally, my opinion of the whole 'should he have been allowed on the show' question was that he should. The point at which we abandon the democratic rights that allow elected people to have their say is the point at which said people can rightly turn around and say that it is an unfair and unjust state of affairs. That said; yes, it was turned from a question panel discussion into a meta-Question Time where the hot subject of the debate was the program itself. Griffin has since attempted to play this up as unfair bullying, but in truth he fully expected it and was more than ready to try and capitalise on playing the wounded soldier.
We as joe public were never going to ask him about his opinions on climate change, or the space race, or anything like that. It's likely that if I were to ask what he thought about green energy, say, his opinions would be broadly in line with mine and most other people. Griffin would hope that such common ground could be exploited to remind people that he is, actually, human too. He gets up, has breakfast, watches telly and goes to work, much like the rest of us. Common ground breeds compassion, and it is conceivable that some may have observed him cheerily interacting with the ethnically mixed fellow panellists and audience and conclude that the BNP's manifesto would not be such a bad thing to get behind after all.
I would hope that such people are scarce, and the vast majority, especially those who voted him in get to ponder for a little while over what they saw. Yes, they were able to see a single individual defending his position against a presenter, panel and audience who were 99% against him and for his efforts in the face of such negativity, Griffin deserves some due. But the whole BNP goal is utterly at odds with the UK it resides in. People of vastly varying faiths, cultures and creeds mingle, interact and procreate, something that, should the BNP get into power, they would try to stop with immediate effect. How do you tell two people they cannot have feelings for each other. How do you tell a third generation Muslim that they aren't 'British' enough and they have to find a place to live elsewhere? What would happen when such people in their millions, along with the millions of 'indigenous' Brits who also take offence at the idea, rise up and overthrow such a misguided bunch of small-minded idiots and run them out of town?
Dewey-eyed racists imagine a fictional time when Britain was 100% white, everyone was happy, had jobs and nice houses and no worries in the world, and kid themselves into thinking that by voting for them, one day that situation (which was never around in the first place) will return and all their problems will be solved. Soylent Green-alike bulldozing of human beings off the edge of Margate docks for no other reason than they have darker skin probably enters their heads on a daily basis.
Imagine if a blanket removal of everyone who could not prove their 'britishness' was to occur. How would you qualify? Taking the simple algorithm of 'everyone not white or not born in the UK', the population of the UK would probably plummet at least 10 million. Looking at that in solitude, it sounds like not such a bad thing given housing market problems and the like; it's here that the small-minded racist tends to disengage their brain and take another swig of beer and watch the football for a bit, and forget to consider the other aspects of such a change.
Non-white people form much of the low-paid working sector of the country. Cleaning our public toilets, our offices, our hotels. Leaving aside one moment the issues surrounding their abysmal working conditions and the scant living they scrape in the precious hours not at work, that's a big hole to fill, and you're not gonna fill it with white people, because we won't be able to live on such low pay.
At the other end of the scale, our universities, laboratories, and industry are populated with a healthy number of highly intelligent and skilled people of all races, creeds and colours, using the different standpoints such diversity brings to provide innovations that go to make products with the Made in the UK sticker on. This brings a good deal of wealth into the country.
In the middle are the skilled working class, who put their skills, learned here or abroad to use to service the needs of the country. The Polish influx of skilled craftsmen in recent years is one very good example, it's just a shame that these people are now leaving the UK for greener pastures.
That's what the BNP leaves out of the argument when they attempt to sell their dream: While it is true that, just like white people, those they want to kick out do claim benefits, and some do commit crime, but these drains on the money pot are more than balanced out by the contributions. Look at the country now compared to even 20 years ago (ignoring the credit crunch which was nothing to do with race issues). We are better off, living longer, and have more rights and privileges than ever. If multicultural life is so bad, why have things improved despite its presence? And how many billions of pounds would it cost to untangle that multicultural spaghetti, in the hope that what remains will give us the same quality of life at the same price?
As this country, and others across the globe learn to stop taking short-sighted steps to segregate, and instead concentrate on education, equal rights and the celebration of differences rather than mere tolerance (a 'tolerant society' is at best, a stop-gap), the richer we will be, and I mean that in all senses of the word.