Let's be clear, Nick Griffin did not come over well on Question Time. He was nervous, trembling, acting with exaggerated gestures, grinning at inappropriate moments and at times incoherent. But. And there is a but. The fact that with one exception every single question was about the BNP or related subjects played into his hands. He was got at. He was ganged up on, and many people watching will have felt a little sorry for him at times. Five against one is never very edifying.
I stick to my view, expressed earlier this evening, that the programme should have concentrated on the news of the week, rather than concentrate on the BNP. Immigration could easily have been brought into the programme with a question on the topical issue of population growth. We should have heard about the postal strike. We should have heard about the bullying manner of Ed Balls. And much more besides. The viewers were short changed by a production decision which I believe was misguided. It elevated Nick Griffin to a status he did not deserve.
I thought Bonnie Greer and Sayeeda Warsi performed well. Jack Straw got better as the programme went on, but came across as evasive and slippery at times. I am afraid Chris Huhne was the wrong choice for the LibDems. He was too party political and tied himself up in knots over the issue of EU enlargement and the resultant number of immigrants from eastern Europe. Jo Swinson or even Lembit Opik would have been better choices.
I am glad the BBC invited Nick Griffin onto Question Time. But it was just as well he showed himself to be way out of his depth. My fear is what might have happened if the BNP had a truly intelligent and charismatic leader.
Perhaps only then would the political elites wake up to the danger which the BNP has the potential to present.
UPDATE: As someone has written in the comments, frankly it doesn't matter what I or any other middle class person thought of Griffin's performance. It matters what the people of Dagenham, Blackburn and Burnley thought. Were they attracted by Griffin or repulsed by him?