Mark Thompson confused censorship and editorial morality. Griffin is not censored by the BBC – he is more often on current affairs than most Labour MPs. Thompson gave in to the stunt culture of the BBC and provided a platform for anti-semitism and fascism which shames the BBC. If we see a rise in racist and anti-semitic attacks Thompson should resign.
So says Denis MacShane, as quoted by James Macintyre on the New Statesman website.
Aside from the dull predictability of a politician attacking BBC management you really have to ask why politicians like Macshane insist on burying their heads so deeply in the sand.
The link between attacks and Griffin’s awful (for him) appearance on Question Time is impossible to prove. Are we to believe that the horrific homophobic attack at the weekend was down to Griffin being made to look like the odious ideological sewer that most of us he knew him to be already? Were the four teenagers who have been charged with that attack in Liverpool sitting down to watch Question Time on Thursday night?
It is a failure of education and a prevalence of ignorance that leads to attacks like that. And these failings breed the anger and resentment that allows Griffin and his motley collection of racists and thugs to win support.
That’s not Mark Thompson’s fault. It is, however, the fault of a political class which writes off the working class – and, although the term seems horrible, the underclass – and sees almost everything through a middle class prism.
By letting Griffin appear the BBC were forcing mainstream politicians to face up to these truths. The BNP is too full of hate and contradictions to be anything more than transitory. What the BBC might have done is refocused the debate on how we can again make our democracy relevant to everyone. And that is a debate that we sorely need.