An article in today's The Daily Mail exposes the complete stitch-up of Nick Griffin on BBC QT, the self-acclaimed flagship current affairs programme of the inglorious BBC.
There are some who will say that Griffin deserved it, that his racism and homophobia should be exposed and ridiculed.
But is that the purpose of QT?
During the days before Thursday's QT, and in particular on the day, the BBC was promoting QT as the flagship current affairs programme that allows the general public to ask a panel of politicians, celebrities, writers and academics some questions on their views of current affairs.
I would say that without doubt today's current affairs are the postal strike, MPs expenses, bankers bonuses and Afghanistan.
Not one question was asked on these. If questions had been asked on these then I would guess that Griffin would have won substantial support over three of these (MPs expenses, Afghanistan and bankers bonuses) and am not sure of the BNPs stance on the postal strike.
You may remember seeing the young Jewish man asking his question about the holocaust. He applied to appear on QT a year ago, and was not invited then, but curiously received his invitation to appear just one day before Thursday's QT. And he was just one of a handful of the audience to ask his question! How lucky can you get?
There are serious questions to be asked of QT. How impartial is it? Who selects the audience? How are the audience selected? How are the questions from the audience selected?
It's QT for QT.
That Thursday's QT was a plan to get Griffin is beyond doubt. The question is, why?
Are the BBC, i.e. MI5, playing the race card to divert anger against the banks into race attacks? Or are they getting a little scared of the now obvious consequences of what their financial masters in The City have done with their shafting of the British taxpaying public and they can't control it?
The BNP backlash - MPs accuse BBC of playing into Nick Griffin's hands by stage-managing Question Time onslaught
By James Chapman
Last updated at 10:12 AM on 24th October 2009
* Comments (363)
* Add to My Stories
The BBC has been accused of letting BNP bigot Nick Griffin 'play the martyr' amid bitter recriminations over his appearance on Question Time.
Senior MPs accused the corporation of whipping up controversy to maximise viewing figures - then crudely stage-managing the programme so he was under attack throughout from the audience and fellow panellists.
They said the attempt to expose his racist views risked backfiring because some voters would feel he had been unfairly treated.
Nick Griffin talks with a market trader in Grays town centre
Milking the moment: Nick Griffin with an Essex market trader yesterday. Senior MPs have accused the BBC of playing into the BNP's hands by stage-managing Question Time and making Griffin 'a martyr'
Last night it emerged that:
* Complaints that the show was biased against Mr Griffin outnumbered by more than two to one those about him being allowed to appear;
* Some of the audience appear to have been rushed through the vetting process in a bid to emphasise the multi-cultural nature of London;
* Audience members were briefed to ask 'provocative' questions and host David Dimbleby told them it was acceptable to boo;
* More than eight million people tuned in - four times the usual audience and more than watched Strictly Come Dancing last week;
* The BNP boasted that since Mr Griffin's appearance, 3,000 people had registered to sign up as members;
* Joel Weiner, 17, who dramatically confronted Mr Griffin about Holocaust denial, said he applied to attend a Question Time programme more than a year ago, but was approached just 24 hours before filming.
Mr Griffin himself said he planned to make a formal complaint to the BBC, over 'twisting' the programme format. He said the episode 'was not a genuine Question Time, it was a lynch mob'.
'People wanted to see me and hear me talking about things like the postal strike. Let's do it again and do it properly this time,' he added.
Nick Griffin conducting an interview in Essex yesterday
Grilling: Mr Griffin (centre left) conducted interviews in Essex yesterday when he claimed London had been 'ethnically cleansed'
Business Secretary Lord Mandelson admitted the exposure would lead to a short-term bounce for the far-Right party, but predicted that in the long term it will have done them 'no good at all'.
But other senior Labour and Conservative figures said the BBC risked long-term damage by allowing Question Time to be transformed into the 'Nick Griffin Show'.
One in five would vote BNP
More than a fifth of voters would consider backing the British National Party in a future election, according to an opinion poll taken in the hours after leader Nick Griffin's appearance on BBC1's Question Time.
Some 22% of those questioned said they would "seriously consider" voting BNP in a local, European or general election - including 4% who said they would "definitely" consider backing the party.
3% said they would "probably" consider it, and 15% who said they were "possible" BNP voters
While Question Time normally ranges across issues of the day, which this week included the postal strike and the economy, all but one of the questions selected focused on the BNP and its policies.
Mr Griffin, one of two BNP candidates elected to the European Parliament earlier this year, faced fierce attacks on race, immigration and the Holocaust.
Viewers heard him brand Islam 'wicked' and smear homosexuals as 'creepy'.
He went on to make inflammatory remarks about the composition of the audience, suggesting London was 'ethnically cleansed' and 'no longer British'.
Labour former Home Secretary David Blunkett said last night: 'The BBC played into Griffin's hands by managing to create a victim out of a perpetrator. Their totally unwarranted blanket coverage on news broadcasts before and after Question Time was blatant self-promotion.
'They made the format so obviously skewed that they have allowed him to play the martyr. It was all about him and the BNP, not about the issues of the day.
'They have achieved his victimhood and that may make people much more open to hearing what he has to say in the future.'
Question Time panel
The panel (l to r): Lib Dem home affairs spokesman Chris Huhne, Conservative shadow cabinet member Sayeeda Warsi, Justice Secretary Jack Straw, Dimbleby, Griffin and Bonnie Greer
Former shadow home secretary David Davis said: 'The point of democratic discussion is to dissect the weaknesses and stupidities of extremists, not to make them the gift of martyrdom.
'David Dimbleby is old enough and wise enough to have been able to present a properly impartial exposé of Mr Griffin's many inadequacies without having to resort to such crude stage management.'
Labour MP Diane Abbott said Mr Griffin's appearance had given the BNP unnecessary credibility and exposure by 'putting him in the mainstream'.
She warned that many people across the country would have thought he was picked on by the other panellists.
Was Nick Griffin's appearance on Question Time a PR victory or disaster for the BNP?
All polls Click to view yesterday's poll results
But Labour minister Margaret Hodge, in whose Barking and Dagenham constituency the BNP won 11 council seats in 2006, insisted: 'The BBC gave Nick Griffin the opportunity to show himself up for what he is - flaky, dishonest and bigoted.
'I have been in Barking all day asking people about it, and one or two did say they felt he had been bullied. But overwhelmingly people thought it had exposed him as a bigot.'
Activists on far-Right websites condemned the BNP leader for being 'overawed' and 'flustered'.
One said: 'The public despise indecisiveness as they see it as weakness, and all these quotes from Nick's past make the party look bad.'
The BBC defended the programme, saying viewers would make up their own minds.
A spokesman said: 'It is normal for the programme to reflect topics that are in the news - people would accept that the BNP and Question Time have been prominent topics.'
Anatomy of an ambush: How the BBC hand picked its audience
Question Time is supposed to be a random cross-section of the British public who put the questions of the day to leading politicians.
But extraordinary details emerged yesterday of the lengths to which the BBC went to make sure Nick Griffin got his 'comeuppance' on Thursday night's incendiary edition of the programme, which drew a record 8.1million audience.
Observers claimed that the make-up of the audience appeared to have been deliberately slanted towards the young, multi-cultural and metropolitan.
Enlarge Question Time audience
A fair cross section of the community? Members of Thursday night's audience were predominantly young and multi-cultural
The BBC flatly denies cherry-picking activists or potential troublemakers. It says that those selected were plucked from a database only containing those who had applied to go on the show before Mr Griffin's appearance had been confirmed.
However a British Asian who clashed with the BNP leader revealed last night that he had been approached to take part only a couple of days before the show.
Khush Klare, 38, asked Mr Griffin what country a British-born Asian was supposed to return to. He then suggested that Mr Griffin himself should go to the South Pole, provoking a wave of laughter.
Mr Klare, a Hindu director of a financial services company, said he had been approached to go on the show by a friend from university. 'When he told me that Nick Griffin would be there on behalf of the BNP, I said, "Absolutely".'
Up to ten BNP supporters are thought to have been in the 200-strong audience. The BBC points out that it always attempts to ensure that the audience is representative of the show's town or city - which on Thursday was London.
Enlarge BBC Question Time
Be provocative: The instructions handed to audience members along with profiles of the panel, starting with Nick Griffin
However, members of the audience have told the Mail they were handed a detailed crib-sheet which encouraged them to ask questions which were 'short, sharp and provocative'.
The word 'provocative' was underlined in the document handed to them before they went into the studio.
In addition, this sheet contained profiles of the five guests - Mr Griffin, LibDem Chris Huhne, Justice Secretary Jack Straw, Tory peer Baroness Warsi and writer Bonnie Greer. In every single profile, the panellist's views on race was highlighted.
During the warm-up for Thursday's recording of the show, audience members were told they should feel free to jeer when they considered it appropriate.
Joel Weiner, 17, who confronted Mr Griffin about Holocaust denial, said he applied to appear on the programme more than a year ago but was approached 'out of the blue' on Wednesday - just 24 hours before filming.
The schoolboy's grandfather escaped from Germany to Palestine the day before war broke out but many of his family were lost - some, he believes, in Auschwitz.
Confrontation: Joel Weiner grilled Mr Griffin about Holocaust denial
Joel said he felt it was important to ask Mr Griffin about his views on the Holocaust. 'I wanted to show him for what he was. I think he struggled to answer the question. The atmosphere in the studio was very tense but there was a real sense of camaraderie. Everyone was together against Nick Griffin apart from a small group of supporters.'
Those who apply to any Question Time programme have to go through a vetting process via its website. They are asked for their name, age, occupation and contact details, but also if they are members of any political parties or campaign groups. They also answer questions about their views on the situation in Iraq, whether they are pro-Europe or sceptical and what issues they would like to discuss on the show.
Audience member Ellen Mellington, a 29-year-old project manager from South London, said members of the production team told her they wanted provocative questions.
'It seemed like they were trying to whip up a bit of a frenzy in the studio. What surprised me most was when David Dimbleby came in before the taping and started to speak to the audience. He told us it was OK to boo, which I didn't quite agree with. I don't think you should boo at people.'
Beth Pritchard, from Elephant and Castle, South London, was seen attacking Mr Griffin's views after he claimed teaching homosexuality to school children was 'perverse'.
Miss Pritchard told the Mail she was so shocked by his remarks she wanted to make her views heard. 'I was just particularly shocked at the venom coming from Mr Griffin and his supporters in the audience. It was just anger that spurred me on to say something.
'I've never actually experienced anyone making homophobic comments before and I found it quite bizarre.'
The 28-year-old bank clerk, who wed her girlfriend two years ago in a civil partnership, said her comment to Mr Griffin had not been one of the two questions she prepared before the taping began.
'Nick Griffin's remarks just riled me,' she said. 'I just put my hand up and they came to me for my comment. There's no way they could have been aware of my sexuality or known who I was. It was all completely random.'
Miss Pritchard said audience members were not allocated particular seats and claimed that the 'handful' of BNP members who attended deliberately spread themselves out.
'I think they wanted to make it look like Mr Griffin had a huge range of support across the whole audience.'
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1222586/The-BNP-backlash--MPs-accuse-BBC-playing-Nick-Griffins-hands-stage-managing-Question-Time-onslaught.html##ixzz0UrOkBwKs