The Griffin disaster continues

I’m now about 25 minutes into the excruciating Question Time program with Nick Griffin. It continues to be what it was in the first YouTube segment: the host allows everyone to dump on Griffin, including insults and namecalling, and most of the time the host gives Griffin no chance to reply, but goes on immediately to the next hostile questioner. I’ve never seen anything like it—a systematic trampling of the normal rules of discussion, a political TV program in the form of a lynch mob. But, as bad as that is, it’s not the worst of it. The worst of it is that under this attack Griffin continues acting like (as Terry Morris put it earlier today) a buffoon, smiling inappropriately, trying to come across like a nice guy while people are trashing him, failing to address tough questions, getting distracted by secondary points, and, overall, showing a total lack of gravitas. He fails to display even mild indignation at the outrageous treatment to which he is being subjected. He never demands the right to answer. He seems to have no awareness of the fact that he is in the lion’s den, that this is serious business, that he is a political leader whose urgent task it is to explain and defend his unpopular positions. It is, simply, the worst performance by a political figure I’ve ever seen.

I say this as someone who has followed with interest Griffin’s intellectually impressive re-making of the once very nasty BNP into a non-anti-Semitic party. In print, Griffin is adept at handling difficult issues. I can’t get over my surprise that a man so smart and experienced, a man who has always given serious attention to the requirements of effective party leadership, is, in the biggest moment of his political career, conducting himself like a clown.

And, as usual, Peter Hitchens has it all wrong. Griffin comes across not as slimy, but as silly.

- end of initial entry -

Dan G.writes:

I can’t bring myself to watch the BBC lynching of Nick Griffin, but I was glad to see that Griffin, in his video address on the BNP’s homepage, shows awareness of what went on and provides a sharp denunciation of the proceedings combined with a kind of acceptance (“it was never going to be any different”), and diplomatically extends an offer to do it again but properly.

Maybe his strategy was to play the nice guy and win points from people not necessarily sympathetic to his cause but outraged at his unfair treatment.

Stephen T. writes:

Just once, I wish we had someone expressing our points who isn’t fat-faced and flabby, with a rounded, muscle-less physique and a pasty complexion that looks like it hasn’t seen the sun or gotten off the couch in years. This soft, no-chin “Pillsbury Doughboy” look—which seems to be the public face of the right, at least these days (I remember fit, rugged Barry Goldwater rappelling on ropes down the cliffs of the Grand Canyon)—subliminally associates with corruption both physical and philosophical and invites cat-calling disrespect. It does not inspire, nor intimidate, and just like the pudgy kid in the schoolyard, such conservatives draw a lot of bullies looking for someone to push around. They look over-fed and enervated themselves, and, accordingly, their ideas come across as flaccid and non-robust.

Wish we could have some lean masculine physical vigor for a change, instead of these roly-poly, easy-living types.

D. from Seattle writes:

I hope that Griffin and BNP can recover from this setback. I only watched the first posted five-minutesection of the BBC appearance, one where Griffin tells Jack Straw that while Griffin’s father was in the RAF, Straw’s father was in prison for refusing to fight the Nazis, and if the rest of it is as painful as you and others say, I’ll skip it.

If there’s one thing that conservatives/traditionalists should learn from this, it would be the following:

If invited to appear on a leftist talk show, ask the host how much time you would get to reply to each question or statement by the host or the audience (30 sec, 60 sec, whatever). Get in in writing and signed by the network exec. Carry it in your pocket. If you get attacked and are not given a chance to reply, tell the host that you were officially promised time to reply to each question. Pull out the letter and read it if needed. If the heckling continues, tell the host that it’s pointless for you to continue under such circumstances, get up and walk out of the studio, period.

Some of other commenters mentioned that Griffin should have been prepared for hostile comments and questions; of course he should have. This is standard PR practice for any serious company, big or small—you come up with a list of all possible unpleasant questions from the media and you have concise replies ready for each and every one of them. This is so basic it’s hard to believe BNP didn’t think of it, but then who knows …

LA replies:

He gave the impression that he thought the show was going to be a friendly chat show rather than a no-holds-barred political discussion in which he would be the target. He seemed to have no concept of where he was.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at October 26, 2009 12:24 AM | Send

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