European Diary

A Chat With a Cabdriver

Britain was tense last October when the BBC announced that Nick Griffin, head of the British National Party, would be interviewed on one of its programs.  They’s fightin’ again at the BBC, said a London cabdriver.  It was front-page news for two weeks before the interview, and what began on the morning after could only be described as an orgy of recrimination.  Needless to say, neither the poor hacks writing the news articles, nor any of the right­eous grandees on the op-ed pages, deigned to take up any of the issues Griffin said he wants to debate.  Almost the entire stream of verbiage was directed at one issue—namely, why should an extremist be allowed to make his point on the box?

As nobody wants to talk substance with Le Pen in France, nobody wants to talk substance with Griffin in Britain.  It’s nothing personal, of course, because nobody wants to talk substance with the UK Independence Party, either.  UKIP shares some positions with the BNP—notably on Europe and on immigration—yet its reticence on the subject of white supremacy does not save it from sharing the extremist status of the BNP, and it remains a fellow pariah.  Voters simply have no time for any but the three major parties in Parliament, and the journalists are only too happy to follow the voters.

After the program was aired, however, an opinion poll found that 22 percent of Britons would “seriously...

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