Nick Griffin has thanked the BBC and praised the “hysterical” reaction of the political elite for giving his far-right British National Party unprecedented publicity.
In an interview with The Times, he said that the bitter row over the decision to invite him on to this evening’s Question Time had attracted record donations for the party.
Peter Hain, the Welsh Secretary, understood that his invitation was “a very important symbol”, he said. “I thank the political class and their allies for being so stupid. The huge furore that the political class has created around it clearly gives us a whole new level of public recognition.”
Although the BBC was “institutionally biased” against him, he believed that it had shown a degree of principle in allowing him to appear. “Thank you, Auntie,” he said.
Mr Hain’s eleventh-hour attempt to prevent Mr Griffin from appearing on Question Time was rejected by the BBC Trust last night. He said that the corporation was culpable of a huge boost for racist and fascist politics, “which is totally obnoxious”.
Mr Griffin claimed that on Tuesday, after he compared Britain’s most respected military generals to Nazi war criminals, the BNP enjoyed its “best ever single day” with telephone donations. He said that the party’s website attracted 77,000 unique visitors, second only to the day that he was elected to the European Parliament in June. In the past, the BNP has been accused of overstating its level of donations.
The BNP leader hopes to present himself as a credible “mainstream” political figure and put his party on course to win its first Westminster seat in next year’s general election.
He predicted that “a whole crop of new, quite high-quality, serious political people” would sign up to the BNP after tonight’s appearance, although he admitted that his party could not even find a venue to hold an AGM to discuss changes to its whites-only policy, being enforced by the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
He repeatedly insisted that he had banished the racist and neo-Nazi elements from his party. He likened the BNP to dissidents who fought totalitarianism in Eastern Europe and Zimbabwe.
Mr Griffin accused President Obama of being an “Afrocentric racist bigot” whose comments about the legacy of slavery would encourage black youths to attack white children.
As Holocaust survivors prepared to protest outside BBC Television Centre in London, Mr Griffin said that Adolf Hitler was a “very bad thing” but had “no real relevance for Britain today”.
The BNP leader, who regularly receives death threats, said that his biggest concern about this evening’s event was “that I might get shot on the way in”. The BBC refused to comment.
Lancaster Unity adds:
Getting his excuses in first - extracts from yesterday's missive penned by the highest quality and most serious of all BNP members:
However, members and supporters must be aware that this show will be a stage-managed farce organised in a specific way to leave several impressions:
The audience will be hand-picked and overtly hostile - thus giving the impression that the British people at large must be hostile to BNP views.
The panellists will be overtly hostile, even the non-political guests will be hostile. Everyone will be hostile - this will leave the impression to non-informed viewers that BNP views have minority status.
I will, no doubt, be interrupted, shouted down, slandered, put on the spot, and subject to a scrutiny that would be a thousand times more intense than anything directed at other panellists.
It will, in other words, be political blood sport.