Simon Darby – whose precise function within the BNP appears open to question these days – has appeared on the BBC's “Daily Politics” show to talk about the current state of his Party.
Presenter Andrew Neil (not exactly anyone's idea of a leftie. Unless you sit him down next to Simon Darby, that is) began by asking a fairly reasonable question about Nick Griffin's recent pronouncement that one thing that would help the BNP vote would be for an “Islamic dirty bomb” to go off. Darby's response to this was that it was “a typical example of the BBC taking something and blowing it out of proportion using simple and emotive rhetoric”.
So, in a world where rolling news channels can get a good few hours coverage out of David Miliband making an aside to Harriet Harman at the Labour Conference, or discuss the mysterious darkening of Cameron's hair colour at length, the fact that a Party Leader says the silver lining to a hypothetical situation in which many people die is that he could pick up a few votes is “blowing it out of proportion”?
Asked about BNP comments that the EDL are “Zionist-backed”, Darby squirmed and didn't answer. He didn't like that one at all although, on the plus side, it had at least got him off the hook about a question on the dismal state of the Party finances.
Overall, and possibly limited by time constraints, Darby got off lightly. He was even allowed to go unchallenged on a couple of outright lies (about Derek Adams being ejected from an Oldham hustings and the reasons behind their being taken to court by the EHRC).
To read the comments on various BNP boards, however, you'd imagine a very different outcome. In their alternative universe, Simon Darby is the intellectual powerhouse of Nationalism, crushing all before him through sheer will and the forensic logic of his gigantic mind.
These are, of course, the same people who would praise any party spokesman appearing on tv as a cross between Proust, Bertrand Russell and Richard Dimbleby in his prime. Just so long as they remembered to form sentences while looking at the camera, didn't drool and managed to keep their trousers on.
And, once again, this adds up to another reason why the BNP can't be considered a “real” political party:
“Real” parties face hostile interviewers and difficult questions every day. It's what we expect. Remember the general sense of outrage when Tony Blair would choose to be “interviewed” by anyone who could guarantee him an easy ride and a couple of questions about the X Factor when most of us wanted to see him held down and beaten with blackjacks until he started telling the truth about the Dodgy Dossier?
Would anyone think political discourse had been well served if David Cameron were allowed to get away with not answering questions about Andy Coulson? Or if Nick Clegg went unchallenged about the promises he's prepared to break for a sniff of power?
Currently, the BNP are banging on about the “unfairness” not being invited back onto Question Time. They say they want to appear on a “normal” edition, where a range of policies are discussed. Given that no-one ever joined or voted for them for any reason other than immigration and race, I personally wouldn't mind seeing Griffin flounder, sweat, twitch, giggle and generally be completely outclassed by even a sub-par panel if asked about anything else.
There are voices saying “Andrew Brons – he's the one to put on QT!”
Ah yes: Andrew Brons – self-styled elder statesman of the BNP...
Even if Griffin were to allow someone other than himself to take centre-stage on primetime telly (which, in itself, is about as likely as his allowing a real accountant to look at the books), it's always fun to see Brons' discomfort whenever the inconvenient matters of membership of Colin Jordan's National Socialists, Holocaust denial and his criminal conviction come up.
They want the platform and the coverage alright, but only so long as they can go unchallenged. Once again (as they like to do every so often, just so we don't forget), the BNP have shown why they can never be considered a “real” political party.