Not to protest. Not to see Question Time. I was there to see Harry Hill. And he was excellent. Between takes his Nick Griffin jokes were much more scathing than anything that went on in the other studio, or outside. I highly recommend watching TV Burp on Saturday.
This is covered elsewhere, so I'm going to just briefly (as I can) say what annoyed me.
The Anti-BBC Brigade - The protesters outside the BBC, led by the UAF, spewed out anti-BBC and anti-fascist rhetoric (more on that later). There was too much focus on the BBC, who were only following rules, and allowing a prominent figure to feature in a debate that hardly anyone usually watches anyway. You can't stop a fascist by denying his right to freedom of speech - that only allows him to play the "one rule for you, one for everyone else" card. Let him make a fool of himself as publicly as possible.
The Studio "Bullying" -
That was enough. They didn't have to keep going on that point, but they did. They focused on one issue (racism) that a minority already thought was okay, and the vast majority of people already found abhorrent. No one is going to change their mind on that point. But a few more people will have felt sorry for Griffin,
Why did no one attack his unrealistic policies on social housing, for example? They think they can unilaterally take all privately-owned former council houses back under local government control. They can't even get the URL right - their housing policy is found at bnp.org.uk/policies/pensioners. They should have got the racism point out of the way and then worked through discrediting him based on policy as well.
The Immigration Big Dick Contest - The moment someone asked a question about immigration, rather than challenging his belief in what he reads in the papers, Jack Straw looked sheepish and uncomfortable. In stepped Warsi and Huhne, and all the mainstream politicians indulged in a quick Who's-Got-The-Toughest-Policies-On-Immigration Competition. Isn't it obvious that pandering to misconceptions about immigration legitimises some of the BNP's arguments?
The Tabloids' Great Escape - All though Jan Moir was very briefly brought up, the press got off scot-free. Why was the ineffectiveness of the PCC not brought up at any time? The tabloids are the main culprits in inflaming racial tension by their misleading "facts" on immigration and Islam. They will slam the BNP in one paragraph, and then happily give more fuel to their supporters in the next.
This is the part of the editorial in the Evening Standard (owned, remember, by a Russian) yesterday:
"... Question Time does not have the power to dominate political debate, to confer respectability on a despised party or to change the hearts and minds of the kind of people likely to vote for the BNP or subscribe to its obnoxious views. The outrage about Mr Griffin's appearance, however well-intentioned, has been disproportionate to the importance of the event.It's like the editorial equivalent of saying "I'm not racist, but..." He then goes on, of course, to trot out the "statistics" you've no doubt heard recently, especially the 70 million figure that is apparently traditionally wheeled out and dusted down this time of year.
"What will, however, do a great deal to give succour to the BNP and foment antagonism between ethnic communities is unchecked immigration."
[Edit to add:] Griffin is not the real threat here. It's the lies upon which he's capitalising that we've got to worry about. Those are what need to be challenged.
Another quick couple of interesting links...
Jon Snow's Opinion
A postman's viewpoint of the strike
Jan Moir keeps on digging...