In the debate on Margaret Hodge's self-seeking inflammation of the immigration issue on tonight's edition of Newsnight, British National Party leader Nick Griffin accused the BBC of "Demonising racism". Bewildered presenter Gavin Estler couldn't help blurting out:
"What? There's a good side to racism?"
To which Griffin, aware of his Freudian slip, muttered something incoherent about the word 'racism' being a fiendish Trotskyite plot to do something or other. The BBC being naturally in league with Trotsky. As presumably have been Ghandi, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, a number of U.S. presidents, more than one British prime minister, most of europe since the war, and the Pope. Rabid commies all.
So what did he mean? What is there not to demonise? If anything is fair game for demonisation, surely it is racism - cheating someone out of their rights because of a microscopic genetic variation, and all that has meant in history.
Presumably, Griffin would like to 'reclaim' the word from its devilish left-wing captors. Show the world the racism with a song in its heart, the racism he loves.. to steal from Mel Brooks, who knew a thing a two about racism.
The mask has slipped. This was not territory Griffin had wanted to stray into, and yet it had been so near the surface that the first red light on his monitor screen had thrown it into his mouth. Twitching visibly by the end of the ordeal, he spluttered about the destruction of the 'British Way Of Life' by Polish small businessmen. And that was that.
In the meantime, his adversary, the pathetic Keith Vaz, smiled beatifically in the background, knowing that all he had to do was repeat his challenge to Griffin for evidence of any of Hodge's claims. None was delivered.
When someone does decide to renew Britain's public housing stock and break the stranglehold of the market, creatures like Griffin will crawl back into whatever swamp spawned them. Until then, the British people will be regularly bombarded with this kind of hate campaign, as it has been since the emergence of the mass media and before. Their genuine concerns about the cost of housing should be directed at the people profiting from the shortage, not those who legitimately seek to put Norman tebbit's famous words into actions.