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23/10/2009

BNP Enjoys 'Oxygen Of Publicity'

A right-wing minority political party is celebrating this week after a controversial TV appearance by its leader has sparked massive nationwide publicity.
The British National Party leader Nick Griffin, said yesterday that he is confident his appearance on last night's BBC Question Time will have won his party the support of millions in the UK.
On the programme, Mr Griffin claimed his party's immigration policy was supported by the majority of the public - but insisted he was "not a Nazi".
Many millions of people across the UK have now been exposed to the BNP's growing political presence.
What former PM Margaret Thatcher called "the oxygen of publicity" - speaking about her imposition of a media ban on IRA supporters, Sinn Féin - has now been liberally supplied to the extreme right wing party.
Last night, the BNP boss faced - as expected - a hostile audience, as he criticised Islam and defended a former head of the Ku Klux Klan.
The MEP for North West England showed no shame as he defended the white-supremacist US hate group Ku Klux Klan.
He branded it "almost totally non-violent" while sat next to American-born black playwright and panellist Bonnie Greer.
At one point moderator David Dimbleby snapped at the BNP leader for smiling as he struggled to answer a question about his past denial of the Holocaust.
He was booed as he attacked Jack Straw's father for being in jail for not fighting in the war while his own father was serving in the RAF.
The show opened with a question asking the panel whether it was right that Winston Churchill had been adopted by the BNP.
Mr Griffin said that his party would have been the only one to accept Churchill's views, particularly those on Islam.
One black member of the audience said the MEP was a "disgrace" who was trying to poison the minds of the electorate.
"The vast majority of the audience think what you stand for, your views, are disgusting," he said.
On foot of the appearance, the BBC defended the invitation, and said it was "appropriate" given the support the BNP received in the last European election when it gained its first MEPs.
BBC Deputy Director General Mark Byford said it had been "appropriate" to invite Mr Griffin to appear given the support the BNP received in the last European elections.
Yesterday, outside the BBC, police and anti-BNP protesters clashed while in Northern Ireland, the PSNI also moved in to separate pro and anti-BNP protesters at the BBC studios in Belfast and in Londonderry.
During the live programme, Mr Griffin said that he was being painted as a "monster" by the press who were peddling "terrible lies about him".
One broadcaster, Sky, said: "It was a propaganda victory, certainly.
"But more likely a propaganda victory for the organisation that staged this TV debate rather than for the BNP leader, Nick Griffin.
Sky's Chief Political Correspondent Jon Craig said: "Griffin was exposed on Question Time as a nasty piece of work, with unpleasant views on race, immigration, Islam, homosexuality and Winston Churchill."
See: BECTU Says No To BNP On Question Time
(BMcC/GK)
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