Last night's much over-hyped Question Time was a public disgrace. There was nothing wrong about inviting the BNP leader, Nick Griffin, to participate in a panel discussion format which usually excludes minority views. But the format - and the conduct - of the programme was completely changed in a way designed to turn rational discussion into a form of televised bear-baiting. Instead of a range of contemporary issues - the government's appalling economic record, rising unemployment, the MP's expenses and bankers bonuses scandals just for instance - every single question was related to BNP policies and Griffin's own opinions - past, present, and future.
He might be an unsavoury individual with barmy and indefensible notions - but that's not what Question Time is supposed to be about. And the chairman David Dimbleby made absolutely no effort at all to promote rational debate over a wide range of issues. All we got was a barrage of well-rehearsed personal abuse from panel members and audience alike.
The BNP might be a party which is built around a single (and to most people) unpleasant idea - but the best way of exposing that fact would have been to discuss a range of topics, and let Griffin expose his own intellectual deficiences. As it was, the bloke's ended up with what seems to me a perfectly legitimate grounds for complaint against the BBC for orchestrating a witch hunt. With millions and millions of taxpayers' money pouring into prop them up, they still manage to make a bollox of things, don't they.