Having sat through Peter Hain's disgraceful attempts to justify his government's lies over the Iraq War, I didn't find this exchange particularly surprising.
Question Time Audience member: You mention the devolving of policing and justice, but shouldn't we first bring up the question of the West Lothian Question - that's still unanswered and unsolved.
Peter Hain: Well, no I don't think it has been unsolved or unanswered.
Why would anyone vote for that abomination of a man?
I supported the right of the BNP to be on the BBC's Question Time. Not because I hoped that they might do badly, or well, but because it is their right to be heard and to speak for the people that voted for them. And if you accept that the BNP have a right to be on Question Time then you must also accept that their politicians have a right to answer questions on news and current affairs. Unfortunately we were treated to a prolonged personal attack on Nick Griffin, which may well be warranted in other circumstances but is not the purpose of Question Time (or a supposedly objective public service broadcaster for that matter).
Each of the professional politicians on the panel, along with the very partial chair, came armed with a dossier on Nick Griffin, and at times it looked as though they were competing with one other, each condemning the BNP more vociferously than the last, shuffling their scripts ready to recite Griffin's past horrors and misdemeanors to his face. We did not learn anything new about Griffin or the BNP because he was constantly on the backfoot defending his past.
I had hoped that some good might come of the programme. The British population has been consistently opposed to mass immigration but despite our views it has continued apace, and its for that reason that many people who are not BNP supporters, and who may even be repulsed by their fascist and racist views, were pleased that Griffin was being given a platform. The hope was that he would force mainstream politicians to talk about the things that they would prefer to avoid, and have avoided; namely mass immigration and the corrosive and divisive effects of engineered multiculturalism. It is the job of small political parties like the BNP to force the larger political parties out of their comfort zone, they fill a vital role in our democracy by doing that. Not a big enough role some would say because they are so often denied any sort of platform. Not last night though, but it was actually a member of the audience and not Nick Griffin who undid Jack Straw.
From the audience Straw was asked whether the recent success of the BNP could be explained by the misguided immigration policy of the Government.
No, lied Straw, I don't think it can.
You cannot explain away the success of the BNP by attributing it to the 'anti-politics' mood. You can't even just attribute it to racism, fascism, stupidity, alienation, hopelessness, etc. People are voting for the BNP for pragmatic reasons: The Labour Party have failed the people that made them, the white working class, they have failed to tackle inequality and increasing relative poverty, and - most importantly in regard to the BNP's success - they have failed to manage immigration (although thanks to Labour's accidental destruction of the economy we might not now reach the catastrophic 70M mark).
The huge increases in migrants over the last decade were partly due to a politically motivated attempt by ministers to radically change the country and "rub the Right's nose in diversity", according to Andrew Neather, a former adviser to Tony Blair, Jack Straw and David Blunkett.
He said Labour's relaxation of controls was a deliberate plan to "open up the UK to mass migration" but that ministers were nervous and reluctant to discuss such a move publicly for fear it would alienate its "core working class vote".
Make no mistake, this revelation is potential political dynamite. The "third demographic transition" really is Blair's legacy, and Jack Straw's too. The Labour Government will have to move quickly to have Andrew Neather smeared, discredited and discovered in woodlands having slit his own wrists.
Mass immigration combined with the Race Relations Act and the doctrine of Multiculturalism has been a disaster. Government has encouraged people into the country and then encouraged them to define themselves along ethnic/religious/racial lines, and to petition for rights and resources on those grounds. The concept of the Freeborne Englishman is dead. Whereas once we respected diversity on individual grounds (individualism, freedom of thought, expression and worship) we now actively encourage diversity by giving grants to Bangladeshi Community Centres and such like.
Into that communalist arena steps the BNP, to encourage the dispossessed and disenfranchised to claim their rights as 'whites' or the 'indigenous Britons' or 'ethnic English'. We have a demoralised and alienated white working class to whom the BNP offer some hope by giving them back their pride and their communities. The BNP tell them that they will stop funding immigrants and multicultural projects and invest the money instead in youth centres, parks, CCTV, neighbourhood police, church groups and day centres for the elderly. And you know what? Communities that have been ignored for years, and who want to stick two fingers up at the Establishment (and Labour Party) that has abandoned them, find that quite seductive.
While mainstream politicians stick their heads in the sands like ostriches, expect to see the BNP flourishing, and expect too a rise in groups like 'The English Lobby' and 'Steadfast' who encourage the ethnic English to claim their rights and privileges as an ethnic group, just as the minority ethnic groups have been encouraged to do. It's the inevitable kickback, unedifying and deeply un-English though it may be.
For years we have been living in the shadow of Enoch Powell, governed by politicians who fear for their career if they voice the concerns of their own constituents on the issues of immigration, race relations and multiculturalism. Witness the fate of Nigel Hastilow when he confided that many people on Birmingham doorsteps told him that 'Enoch was right'. Perhaps now we are at a time when mainstream politicians are forced to tackle these issues, for fear that if they don't someone else will. What a damning indictment on our democracy that is.