Sunday, March 07, 2010

Interviewing Nick Griffin

Last year I interviewed Nick Griffin on the European election night programme. If I am honest, I wasn't much looking forward to it. You see, I had never heard an interview with Griffin which had actually produced more light than heat. Interviewers seemed to think that bludgeoning him and interrupting him after every three words would show him up for what he is - whatever that is. I decided to interview him in exactly the same way as I would anyone else. And that's why I wasn't looking forward to it, as I was pretty sure I'd get slagged off for being "too soft" on him. I just take the view that aggressive questioning rarely gets results. As it turned out, I made the right decision and most people seemed to think that my approach enabled people to learn more about Mr Griffin and his attitudes than a hectoring interview would have done.

Anyway, all this is a preamble to the fact that tomorrow afternoon I'll be interviewing Nick Griffin again, this time for TOTAL POLITICS. I won't be changing my approach, and as normal, I'm going to ask my blogreaders to suggest some lines of questioning. I might or might not decide to use them.


Glyn H said...

Please could you just identify and show that he is of the authoritarian left and not of the libertarian right?

Anonymous said...

how about 'when are you going to cease the fatuous lie that the EU legal system has singled you out for unique and unprecedented restrictions that prevent you from explaining the circumstances behind your criminal convictions?'

Unknown said...

Ask him his opinion of the SNP. That should be interesting.

Bernard said...

Why do you think the three major parties are taking a 'softly, softly ' approach to immigration, considering it features quite high on most voters agenda's?

Jeremy Jacobs said...

Why bother?

Benny said...

I'd ask him if he's in favour of PR as he may get a seat with that. Also, what he thinks will happen if Labour/Tories with the next election.

Good on you, Iain. He may hold vile beliefs but he's the democratically elected leader of a British Political Party and should be respected for this. We can always hold the moral highground against him anyway.

Josh said...

My father, living in Belfast, was interested a while back on what the BNP's views were on Northern Ireland.

Apart from that, stay away from the usual questions. I get fed up of him denying that he is a racist etc.

I know they are the obvious questions, but ask the same you would ask a mainstream politician. Ask him about taxes, spending, the Middle East Peace process, the causes of the global financial recession.

Ask difficult policy questions, be well informed about any of his recent votes or decisions before going.

He is an elected representative, and regardless if I or anyone else holds his views, he is in a position of power, and I think that we should know his opinions on more things than race and immigration.

David M. Wagner said...

Last year Farage said "We [UKIP] are the do-what-you-like party; they [BNP] are the hang-'em-&-flog-'em party." You might ask NG to admit or deny that he repudiates the libertarian wing of the Right that vigourously.

James Dowden said...

Yes, I agree you should treat him like any other politician -- bring up some real issues: he needs no help to look like an idiot. Some interesting topics may include:
1) the Icelandic referendum;
2) Geert Wilders' movie;
3) the government's copyright/anti-innovation bill;
4) the Welsh government's draft Welsh Language Measure;
5) the Spanish demolishing holiday homes;
6) religious civil partnership ceremonies;
7) High Speed 2;
8) policing and parades in Northern Ireland;
9) our army's continued presence in Iraq and Afghanistan;
10) changing the electoral system to AV.

There should be enough there for him to tie himself into quite a few knots.

The Grim Reaper said...

Just let him condemn himself with his own words. Don't allow him to claim you're putting words in his mouth or that you're somehow victimising him. Just ask your questions and let him answer them without interruption.

No doubt certain Left-wing bloggers will complain relentlessly when you publish the interview afterwards, but they can get lost.

Plato said...

I'd ask him about Mr Wilders and the need for personal bodyguards.

I'm totally against what Mr Griffin stands for but I really don't like the fact that ANY elected politician requires protection against violent attack as a matter of course.

I'd also ask him about what he's actually done so far as an MEP on behalf of his constituents.

dazmando said...

I would like to know what he things about benefit culture of the British. I would also like to know if he would still let companies like banks and corps bring in their people to work he as they also sent Brits to work aboard. I would also want to know if he believes in god and relate this too all people and Muslims if possible. Oh and does he think the 5.5 million brits aboard should comeback thanks

Unknown said...

"Why bother?"

To warn sanctimonious daydreamers like you that, outside of the bourgeois chaterring classes of north London at least, people are facing serious problems in their lives. To that end, increasing numbers of such individuals are turning to parties like the BNP in search of solutions.

javelin said...

Ask him the same questions that you did to other party leaders. If your magazine is to gain true impartial credibility don't play political games. That is the promise you made to your readers on this blog when the mag started. Sure ask for more details about immmigration as that is his main policy. But ask him for. That reason not because you're trying to portray him as a racist.

Let the readers judge him, not you.

Think This said...

Ask him about spending cuts, that will be very interesting. How would the BNP close the £178 billion gap?

Anonymous said...

Ask him about his views on Quantative Easing and whether we should cut spending or raise taxes to eliminate the deficit.

Unknown said...

As a political journalist you are right to interview him Iain, as he leads a party contesting a lot of seats.

I think you could ask him, in light of your party's recent constitutional change, have any minorities approached you to join, and if so, have they been accepted?

Secondly, if the review of the decision rejects your chsanges as not having gone far enough, will you be willing to comply, or would you rather not fight the election whilst you take it to a higher court?

Martin S said...

You could try these:

Treatment and care for the elderly and those with as severe mental/physical incapacity
Public transport policies
Foreign relations
The war in Afghanistan
Relations with the EU
Should Britian join the Euro
What are his opinions regarding the United Kingdom. In favour of more devolution, or less
Environmental issues. In favour of alternatives or not. Nuclear power, yes or no.
How to deal with the deficit.

That's all I can think of at the moment.

Anonymous said...

Off topic - though it does involve muslims - its hard not to praise the Iraqi electorate high enough as they struggle and fight to maintain their democracy.

Its hard to believe that we British can be so casual with it as to reward Brown for his 13 years of proven failure.

On the topic of Brown there are a whole series of deservedly unflattering photos in this Mail story

(deservedly because of the cheap political nature of the visit).

Indeed in the second photo Brown looks more like the cartoons of him on Guido's site than the cartoons themselves. And I am more confirmed than ever that Brown in fact normally wears a corset under his suit.
We should all watch the Debates carefully.

PS - on the topic of my linked article - various vehicles already exist which could replace the 'Snatch' now. The Army must take some blame but the govt have been pathetic in delaying the replacement - which is still on the drawing board as I understand it.

Anonymous said...

@Think This: "Ask him about spending cuts, that will be very interesting. How would the BNP close the £178 billion gap?". I am not a fan of BNP and Griffin, but I am sure his reply to your question will be more sensible than those given by Bully Brown, Lord Sleaze and Deluded Darling, and the plethora of Labour -loving journalists in BBC,Guardian, Independent, Daily Telegraph and The Times.

aseeryl said...

Given that, whether you like it or not, Griffin and co. have tapped into the, hitherto, unmentionable subject of immigration and brought it into the mainstream - with the conventional parties now putting it on the agenda (whether anything happens is another matter)it might be as well to ask him about other policies. The BNP has policies, at least superficially, on the EU, the climate change scam, power provision (power stations closing in the next few years - what will sensibly replace them?). Forget wind and solar power this far north - fatuous greenie nonsense will have the elderly dying in droves.

Repatriation of immgrants is flogging a dead horse. But the mainstream are avoiding these other subjects like the plague and they do concern many people. If Griffin gets headlines the wet wimps in Cameron's camp will surely follow.

Jimmy said...

You could ask him what he thinks of Kaminski.

David Ottewell said...

In the BNP's general election manifesto for 2005 - hidden away in the "environment" section - was the following:

"We will end immigration to the UK and reduce our land's population burden by creating firm but voluntary incentives for immigrants and their descendants to return home."

I am amazed how few fellow journalists pick up the BNP on this point.

What is "firm"? Where is "home"?

Does this include the likes of Amir Khan, Magdi Yakoub, Dame Kelly Holmes, etc?

strapworld said...

If the BNP were in a position to hold the balance of power in a hung parliament, would his party support Labour or Tories?

What would be the condition(s) of their support.

Norton Folgate said...

Don't do what every other interviewer does to demonstrate how righteous and worthy they are by displaying how much you don't like him or what he stands for.

Do an impartial interview with real questions, do try to avoid any BBC style bollocks.

Large Melot Please said...

I would ask him where he lies on free speech and expression. Throwing out the Times Journalist Domunic Kennedy for simply writing unfavourable articles seems a very thin excuse.

Also why does their website not have dissenting opinion and a real debate?

S.B.S said...

Would us pistol shooters get our pistol shooting back?
And our semi-auto rifle shooting back under the B.N.P.?
When in the Rhodesian army I could take my service rifle home with me, Should not the British serviceman nor be able to do the same in the U.K. as it does happen in Switzerland too?

Bellocman said...

Ask him why David Cameron used such abusive language when he (DC) described him (NG) as a "ghastly piece of filth"

Anonymous said...

What does he think of the Government's refusal to disclose the reasons for the return of John Venables to prison?

Does he support their position that any information disclosed now would prejudice a future trial?

Chris Whiteside said...

Might be worth asking him whether the BNP would have changed their rules to allow non-white people to join if they had not been forced to do so by the courts

Andy said...

Ask him about the rumoured change to BNP rules to allow only 'founder members' i.e. not recent members i.e. non-white to have any say in policy.

In fact you could probably have a field day asking him about internal party democracy in general.

Billy Blofeld said...

What are his views on domestic terrorism?

Wallenstein said...

Can you ask him what measures he would put in place to sort out the overspend on large govt IT systems (such as the NPfIT programme in the NHS).

Twig said...

Would the BNP:

a) Phase out, IHT, Tuition fees and TV Licensing

b) Support a return to the grammar school system

c) Reform the banking system

d) Simplify the tax system

e) Raise the personal tax allowance

................................. said...

Please set out your party's position on homosexuality.

Anonymous said...

Define "racist".

Anne said...

1- Ask him about the BNP's policy towards Ireland and their rather odd policy of unifying the ROI into a "British Federation."
2- Ask him about his parties links to loyalist paramilitary groups
3-Ask him if he thinks all blacks and whites should leave the USA so that the indigenious population can rule.
4-Try and quiz him on his economic policies which are very socialist.