Ministers warn of poll boost for BNP after Question Time
时间：2019-11-16 责任编辑：言圹茜 来源：北京pk10计划 点击：165 次
The British National party will receive a pre-general election boost in the opinion polls, ministers fear, after more than 8 million people watched the far-right leader Nick Griffin's appearance on Question Time on Thursday evening.
As the party claimed that a record 3,000 people had registered to join its ranks in the biggest recruitment night in its history, Lord Mandelson warned that Griffin's exposure would produce "a bubble in the opinion polls for the BNP". He reflected fears across the mainstream political spectrum that the had received a once-in-a-generation PR opportunity.
But Mandelson said Griffin, who was pilloried during the programme when he struggled to explain his denials of the Holocaust, would suffer in the end. "When the content and the meaning of what he said sinks in for people, most of them will recoil from what they heard," Mandelson said. "In the short term, he may have done himself a favour. But in the long term he has done himself no good at all."
Mandelson's immediate fears were backed up by a poll carried out after Question Time which showed 22% of voters would consider voting BNP in a local, European or general election – including 4% who said they would "definitely" consider backing the party, 3% who would "probably" consider it, and 15% who said they were "possible" BNP voters.
Around two-thirds of those questioned by YouGov for the Daily Telegraph said they would not vote BNP "under any circumstances", with the rest unsure. When asked how they would vote in an election tomorrow, the proportion backing the BNP stood at 3%, up from 2% a month ago.
The business secretary spoke out in an interview with Sky News as Griffin mounted an attack on the and unleashed a volley of abuse against multi-cultural London. Griffin said he would launch a formal complaint on the grounds that he had been the victim of a "lynch mob" audience drawn from the capital, which he claimed was "no longer British". During the show, one black Briton accused him of being "completely disgusting" and a British Asian man asked: "Where do you want me to go?"
Last night a senior BBC source told the Guardian the decision to invite Griffin on to Question Time now had been motivated by a fear that the BNP would have "a stunning high court victory" against the BBC if the corporation refused to allow the party on the show between now and the general election.
The source added: "If you had a choice about the criticism – was it a bit too hard on him or a bit too easy on him – then we're in about the right place."
The BBC said it had received about 350 complaints from viewers. Around 240 claimed the programme had been biased against Griffin, while more than 100 said he should not have been invited.
Griffin used a press conference in Essex yesterday to claim: "The British public are aghast at the display of bias from the BBC, the venom from the political class, and the sheer unfairness. That was not a genuine Question Time, that was a lynch mob.
"People wanted to see me and hear me talking about things such as the postal strike. One or two questions about what a wicked man I am, fair enough, but the whole programme – it was absurd."
In contrast with his emollient remarks to minority ethnic members of the Question Time audience, the BNP leader stridently condemned the decision to record the show in London.
"That audience was taken from a city that is no longer British," he said. "That was not my country any more.
"Why not come down and do it in Thurrock, do it in Stoke, do it in Burnley? Do it somewhere where there are still significant numbers of English and British people and they haven't been ethnically cleansed from their own country."
The BBC rejected Griffin's criticisms: "The questions on the programme always come from the audience, which reflects a range of views and backgrounds across the political spectrum wherever the programme is filmed across the country."
Bonnie Greer, the African American playwright who turned on Griffin during the programme, said she had to restrain herself from slapping him when he said: "I've shared a platform with David Duke, who once was the leader of a Ku Klux Klan, and always a totally non-violent one...".
Criticism of the BBC intensified last night as doubts were raised about the wisdom of granting Griffin a platform on such a prominent programme. The former home secretary David Blunkett said: "The BBC played into Griffin's hands by managing to create a victim out of a perpetrator. Their totally unwarranted blanket coverage on news broadcasts leading up to and following Question Time was blatant self-promotion for the BBC. It gave Griffin an ego boost."
The BNP claimed on its website that the programme had led to "the single biggest recruitment night in the party's history", with 3,000 people asking to join. However, it cannot accept any members until it complies with a court ruling to amend its constitution, which currently says only white people can join.
Complaining that the BBC had given the BNP "enormous exposure", Peter Hain, the Welsh secretary, said: "They 'hit the big time' in their own words. Their membership has rocketed as a result of the BBC's decision. You cannot treat the BNP – a racist party with fascist roots – like all the others."
• This article was amended on 26 October 2009 to give Nick Griffin's quote about David Duke.