So it's over and the free world is safe. Yes, Nick Griffin's appearance on Question Time has passed without major incident and we've all managed to avoid catching Fascism.
Like a fat John Barrowman after a stroke
It was an interesting set-up; three heavyweight politicians on one side, then Nasty Nick and Bonnie Greer on the other. Personally, I thought the Beeb and DD handled it as well as they could have done. Yes, the vast majority of the programme was about the BNP - but it would have been a nonsense for it not to have been, particularly bearing in mind the publicity of the last week or so.
I was nervous beforehand; I was concerned that Nick Griffin's tub-thumping, martyr-like rhetoric, coupled with a witchhunt from the audience and the panel, would play right into the BNP's hands as the anti-establishment hero of the disaffected and disillusioned.
Instead, I think that Griffin was given the opportunity to voice his views, but that he was given a sound hiding, not just by the panelists, but by the audience too. In fact, I don't think that Griffin did that well at all. He came across as shifty, unpleasant and rather lightweight.
There will be plenty of comment made in today's papers about the debate; Hardcore BNP followers will say he was ambushed, 5 against 1. Most people will say he didn't come across very well at all. He made the odd point, but that was not a performance to 'propel the BNP into the big time'.
However, I thought the most interesting point of all came in the treatment of Griffin from the panelists; the three politicians (Jack Straw, Baroness Warsi & Chris Huhne) were aggressive in their attacks. They were all strongly worded and hard-hitting to greater and lesser effect. But I thought Bonnie Greer had the best approach to Griffin - using humour to make the point of how irrelevant and wrong his party is. And of all the panelists, I felt that he was most uncomfortable with this approach. Fake grins and laughter were all he could manage.
Because that's it, really - Nick Griffin is like a 5-year old child with ADHD - he demands attention, good or bad. To be attacked on all sides by these political heavyweights means that he is being taken seriously by the three major parties - and that falls right into his lap as the anti-politician, voice of the silent majority that he so likes to play; however, to be mocked and ridiculed means that he isn't being taken seriously. Bonnie Greer ran rings round him tonight, and he came across as a naughty schoolboy.
So that's how we should all play it - the more we keep going on about the BNP being a serious threat, the more likely it is going to be. Personally, I agree with Bonnie Greer - no matter what the BNP might think, the British people have far too much common sense. Now, Griffin, get back on the naughty step where you belong.