Griffin vs the Chimera of Society

ngLike many of you, I was sucked in by the #bbcqt activity last night in a manner that 2 Screen would surely be proud of.  However, I couldn’t help but think this.

Tweetminster measured 12.49 #bbcqt tweets per second by the end of the programme, a phenomenal volume hailed by many as a beacon of popular desire to confront a repugnant political contingent. But underneath it all, there were tones of a more sinister element to what was happening.

Both on the programme and via social media, people were using the security of the self-affirming mob to indulge their righteousness.

Comments like “accidentally” calling him “Dick” Griffin reek of a smug “us vs them” attitude and are drawn from the same seedy roots of human weakness that inspire the BNP’s xenophobic tendencies.  For examples, see just about any situation in history where humans are in a large crowd inspired by a passionate agenda.

In the case of the wider political picture, this has become manifest in the BNP’s provocative and simplistic extremism.  Rather than attempt to manage the sophisticated intricacies of a modern society, they tempt the little prehistoric whisper in the human psyche that difference is dangerous.


Meanwhile, if there’s one thing an electorate can agree on, it’s responsibility; those we elect via this democracy must be accountable for their actions.  While traditional political parties point to one another, the BNP offers a new scapegoat better suited to our psychological predispositions.  Apparent impotence in the status quo further adds to the temptation.

By ganging up on Griffin and revelling in a back-slapping round of norm-affirming “spot the racist”, an opportunity was  nearly spoiled to damn him with his own flimsy policy.  Luckily however, he rose to the challenge admirably with denials (sometimes of denials) and nonsense that could overwhelm any element of the human mind.

By Max Tatton-Brown

Max Tatton-Brown is founder and MD of Augur, and has written for publications including the Guardian, Sifted and TechCrunch.

10 replies on “Griffin vs the Chimera of Society”

Absolutely spot on. It’s a very sad state of affairs when we have to take on “angry mob” status, doesn’t benefit anybody.
With “accidental” comments like “dic-, no Nick” and general horrendous jeering (where were the pitchforks!?), I was also concerned that it was a ruined opportunity – like you say, simply ask him the questions and watch him inevitably drown himself.

Agree – the audience didn’t help at all last night, it was all far too emotive from the outset and didn’t really serve to highlight the true awfulness of the BNP.

We liveblogged the programme last night and I did feel it was a missed opportunity to demonstrate how the BNP are not a serious political party. Without Griffin they may have been discussing the postal strike etc but with him there it was just “Please tell us how wrong the BNP are”.

he has been given too much air time, too much… and therefore he has “won” for himself and the party. Just heard his press confernece on radio 5… calling for a rematch, one to one with Jack Straw and so on.

It is not so much what went on during programme (he was weak, and insubstantial and oddly skittish I thought) but the oportunities post that must have the BNP HQ doing a (traditional and entirely indigeonus MORRIS) dance!

This was always about PR and Spin – and he is definately spinning quickest today….

Thanks for all the replies. Agree with the fact that this is primarily an exposure exercise for them but still think it’s important to face a threat like this.

Ignoring it lets it fester underground without being properly addressed. Much better to give them a fair chance and have them dismissed by mass revulsion.

There’s a certain sense of balance to these things- if the BNP did start to gain much more power, you can bet it would motivate more people to vote and snap them out of their disillusionment.

Based on the attention that has accompanied last night’s show, perhaps this could be the kick that the masses need to get involved again?

The sad fact is that the ‘pitchfork’ audience mentality has ruined what would otherwise have been a good opportunity to watch Griffin squirm as his ‘policies’ or lack of were highlighted in front of the nation.

Instead of showing disillusioned and apathetic voters that the BNP does not have the policies to credibly stand as a political party, we were instead treat to a circus, as a stream of minorities lined up to lay the boot in…

For the people in the towns and cities where the BNP is gaining a strong following, last night’s show will just serve to reinforce the apathy that turns uneducated and disillusioned voters into followers of extremist political parties.


I agree wholeheartedly – no issues were discussed that would have highlighted Griffin/BNP for their lack of any policies… the BBC did the right democratic thing by allowing/inviting him, what they failed to do was set the agenda for a “normal ” #bbcqt that would have truly exposed Griffin as an unsuitable human being let alone an elected MP 🙁

However, my other comment/question is, that by us all discussing and debating this, aren’t we continuing the exposure of this vile person and his party?

It played out more like ITV’s “An Audience with…” and was a complete waste of the debate-structured QT format.

Where were the big guns – Ashdown, Clarke, Benn et al? Wasted opportunity.

i have never seen a program with such a one sided audience led by a thouroughly one sided chairman who refused to lead any discussion that did not give the lynch mob another chance to attack nick griffin the last set up like this was when sitting bull massacred custer. the real facists were out side trying to prevent free speech. what a set up

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *