£143,000 bill to protect BNP Nick Griffin’s appearance on ‘Question Time’

The protests against the BNP's Nick Griffin appearing on BBC's Question Time cost the taxpayer £143,000 - who should pay?

Whether or not you agree with the decision to put Nick Griffin on the BBC’s Question Time it has been revealed today that the bill for ensuring the integrity of BBC TV Centre was £143,000.

The cost, according to the Evening Standard today, is for the drafting in of ‘thousands of extra officers at a cost of £109,000 and another £13,000 in overtime, and spent £21,000 on road closures, erecting barriers¬ and using a helicopter.’

The problem is that surely this is the cost of democracy? If people, however wrongly, vote for a party, they have the democratic right to be given coverage in the media.

The question is whether the implicit cost to the taxpayer, of £143,000, is acceptable. Perhaps Mr Griffin will realise that the cost of his appearances will, over time, drive up the cost of the TV licence fee if he keeps appearing on events like Question Time, so for the good of his country he should consider abstaining from such expensive coverage.

The local Labour MP is calling for the BBC to foot the bill and it is difficult to feel this is inappropriate as BBC bosses presumably factored in the anticipated dissent there would be if, and when, the BNP leader were to appear.

This week, dancing the military goosestep, it’s Nick and Eva!

Modern would look a lot different if Mr Griffin ever came to power!

Modern Britain would look a lot different if Mr Griffin ever came to power!

Well full of a combination of virtue, anger, shame and pride I ended my Question Time experience last night. Although I have advocated Mr Griffin’s appearance, and consequent interrogation, on Question Time I still found it a deeply unnerving and dirty process.

In the same moment I felt shame that anyone British holds these views and pride that the panel, David Dimbleby and the audience expressed their anger, and distaste, at this man’s political views.  All in all anyone who can utter such perverse views about non-violent members of the Ku Klux Klan KKK and not renouncing his denial of the holocaust has no place in democratic politics.

But, then I had a shiver that this might just be the first in a number of media appearances as Mr Griffin enters the world of celebrity.

Popular culture would have to change a great deal if Mr Griffin were to get his way, perhaps he might appear on reality TV!

Strictly Come Dancing, for example, would be very different. Of the six winners of the programme, so far, Natasha Kaplinsky, Mark Ramprakash and Alesha Dixon would not be contestants because Mr Griffin would have returned them to their homelands. The only judge would be Len Goodman, with Bruno, Craig and Alesha also being sent back to their respective countries.

This is what Mr Griffin does not grasp; Britain has changed for the better, and is culturally, socially and economically enriched by people who have joined his ‘ethnically pure indigenous peoples’!

If Mr Griffin ever did come to power I presume he understands that it would not just be people who he wanted to leave who would.

‘First rule of politics – never believe anything until it has been officially denied’ – Rt. Hon. Jim Hacker MP

'Never believe anything until it has been officially denied!'

'Never believe anything until it has been officially denied!' - Rt. Hon. Jim Hacker MP

Nick Griffin’s announcement that the leaked list of BNP members, which appeared on the web yesterday, is a forgery should tell us it’s actually the real list.

I can understand why individual members might be angry that their personal details have been put into the public domain, but, why would Mr Griffin be so concerned?

If membership of the BNP means that you are proud to be British and are standing up for British democracy then surely there can be no problem.  If one is a councillor, or other elected representative, surely it will allow one’s constituents to get in contact to discuss any issues in one’s ward.

So, if one accepts that membership of the BNP is a normal and acceptable pastime, Mr Griffin should welcome this transparency. 

But, as a democrat and someone who believes in privacy, and protection from abuse and threats, I clearly don’t believe this. But, Mr Griffin does not believe in these principles. He may be elected, but he is not a democrat and he believes in verbal outrage, as a means of political communication and, in my opinion, does not respect the beliefs and privacy of other people.

Personally I think it’s a great shame that the membership list has been made public. Even fascists deserve their privacy, even if they would not afford the rest of us this luxury, but forgive me for actually pointing out the real reason for Mr Griffin’s outrage.

There aren’t many members are there?

Unfortunately for him, now the producers of Question Time will be able to see who the BNP have tried to place in the audience to act as sleepers for Mr Griffin and his party, as well as those who have been formally invited as his supporters.

(Nothing in this story should indicate support of any cast member of Yes Minister or Yes Prime Minister for the BNP.)

Sorry! I was late because SKY+ had me in a timewarp…

Sky+ box sent me into a timewarp!

Sky+ box sent me into a timewarp! I left home at 8.50 am and arrived at 9.30am ten minutes later. It felt very odd, I don't recommend time travel.

Modern technology is a marvellous thing.  In my case Sky+ allowed me to pause Question Time last night because a friend of mine, who is less enthusiastic about politics, called me.

As such, having my pause button, I stopped it about ten minutes from the end, knowing I wanted to watch This Week, and chatted for 30 minutes or so.

When the call was over I continued watching Question Time and then This Week, following which I went to bed.

I woke up to the strains of James Naughtie on the Today Programme and gradually sleep walked my way through my early morning routine.

I sat down and turned on Breakfast on BBC 1 and thought, ‘Oh, good, it’s only 7.55am. I can watch the Scottish news and a bit of the programme before going to work.’

I left promptly at 8.50am as I have quite a short walk to work and I arrived to the chimes of Dunfermline Abbey striking 9.30! It would seem, after 10 minutes of feeling like I had entered a time warp, sitting at my desk, that I had left the Sky+ running all night and had been on a time lag of 30 minutes all morning.

It felt very odd. I don’t recommend time travel!