Ex-Minister Peter Hain leaving the scene of yet another little misunderstanding in 1969.
HAIN CLAIMS VINDICATION – BUT HE NEEDS TO LOOK HARDER AT THE NUMBERS
Peter Hain today believes he was right all along to try and stop the BNP’s appearance on Question Time. He has seized (as you’d expect) on the 22% of Yougov respondents who said they’d ’seriously’ consider voting BNP following the appearance of BNP leader Nick Griffin on the show. But in his triumphalist declaration, Peter Hain displays three facets of his personality with chilling clarity.
First, his assumption that ordinary voters are far too dim and malleable to withstand the sinister appeal of the Griffin Tendency. Second, his unwillingness as ever to accept any Establishment responsibility in terms of mistaken policy. Finally, like all the political class in 2009, there is an almost wilful inability to understand what the YouGov research is saying.
But first of all we should examine the BBC audience feedback. Of the calls the corporation got after the show, fully 60% thought the ambushing and bullying of Griffin was unacceptable. So then, congratulations Establishment: you managed to generate public support for an extremist.
Further, the same feedback indicated that those against the BNP being allowed on the show were outnumbered three to one. So well done again, Mr Hain: finger on the public pulse as ever.
As for the ‘22% more’ BNP ’support’, the Telegraph’s study doesn’t say this at all. It says 4% think they’d ‘definitely’ vote BNP, and 3% more would ‘probably’ do so. As memories of the Question Time edition fade, the 3% will drop dramatically. As for the 15% who said they would ‘possibly’ vote for Griffin’s Party, any pollster will tell you such a mild intention can be virtually discounted.
Now let’s look at where the sympathy for BNP ideas comes from. The biggest single group (just over 50%) said the BNP points out that ’successive governments have done far too little to protect” indigenous British rights. In short, Establishment failure again; even amongst these, however, 55% said they had ‘no sympathy with’ or ‘disagreed totally with’ the overall stance of the Party. The vast majority of those polled said they would never vote BNP, whatever the circumstances.
Finally, the Yougov research showed that support for the BNP has risen overall by just 1%. Not only this, but it has risen by 1% over the last month. During that time, BBC pr’s, opportunistic media – and an equally oppportunistic Peter Hain among many other MPs – gave the event media time out of all proportion to the programme’s importance. They and they alone were responsible for a unique level of interest being whipped up: and to live by the sword is also to die by it.
Peter Hain is the archetypal left-leaning politician in search of support for his theories – up to but not including the empirical data available that rubbishes them. He would have been better employed keeping quiet during October…and who knows, perhaps even appearing on the show to defeat Griffin’s entirely deluded view of life personally – by the use of rational argument rather rabid insults.
John Ward 2009