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BNP more divisive than ever

Hopes that inviting a racist party member to prime-time television questioning would detract from his appeal were dashed last week. Ratings for the far-right British Nationalist Party increased following leader Nick Griffin’s appearance on the influential BBC program Question Time. The show on Thursday had a record eight million viewers, and Griffin gleefully assured the ...

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British National Party leader Nick Griffin arrives at a back entrance to BBC television studios on October 22, 2009 in London. British National Party leader Nick Griffin is set to appear on the political current affairs programme 'Question Time' tonight amid protests over his attendance.

Hopes that inviting a racist party member to prime-time television questioning would detract from his appeal were dashed last week. Ratings for the far-right British Nationalist Party increased following leader Nick Griffin’s appearance on the influential BBC program Question Time.

The show on Thursday had a record eight million viewers, and Griffin gleefully assured the public that his party fielded 3,000 membership inquiries after his appearance. Twenty-two percent of voters said they would seriously consider voting for the BNP in a national election. This is especially interesting in light of the fact that the country is currently gearing up for general election.

The BBC argued that impartiality dictated that the BNP receive airtime, given that the party won two seats on the European Parliament this summer. But, apparently nobody was pleased: the BBC was inundated with protests while taping the show, and now Griffin himself is filing a complaint that he faced an orchestrated lynch mob. The show should have been taped somewhere less multi-cultural than London, he said.

Do it somewhere where there are still significant numbers of English and British people [living], and they haven’t been ethnically cleansed from their own country.”

He added: “There is not much support for me there [in London], because the place is dominated by ethnic minorities. There is an ethnic minority that supports me: the English. But there’s not many of them left.”

Hopefully the hype is painting too bleak a picture. The party — which is “wholly opposed to any form of racial integration between British and non-European peoples” — has been roundly condemned as racist and extremist by all of the mainstream politicians and pundits. Two thirds of Britains voters still say they would never vote for the BNP, under any circumstances. Pop-star Lily Allen’s (slightly NSFW) “homage” to the party seems to best express their view: “we’re so uninspired, so sick and tired, of all the hatred you harbor.”

Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

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