Griffin Bashing and #BBCQT

I did something that I rarely do and watched an episode of Question Time last night. It seemed a “must see” piece of television as earlier in the evening the BBC faced a brunt of protests outside Television Centre with the arrival of Nick Griffin of the British National Party to the studios.

There were about 1,000 people outside the TV centre protesting against the idea that the BBC would give a voice to Nick Griffin on a political platform.

I only took in bits and pieces in last nights programme as I found myself on Twitter watching the cascading flow of tweets on twitterfall whilst people around the country tuned in to watch old goblin face.

The BNP had come under criticism the previous day for using images of Spitfire air craft and Winston Churchill at their party conferences.

The first question posed to the panel, which included Labour MP and justice secretary Jack Straw, Conservative MP Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, Liberal Democrat MP Chris Huhne and Curator of the British Museum Bonnie Greer, was whether it was fair the BNP had “hijacked” Winston Churchill’s image for use in their campaigns.

Jack Straw was first respond. He said that the BNP had no right to use Churchill’s image. He said the BNP has no moral compass and says that WWI and WWII was only won with the help of many black and Asian people. He also said a race-based party has no standing in the UK.

Nick Griffin’s response to defend his party’s use of Churchill’s image was that the party chose Churchill as an image because no other party would, due to some of his political philosophies. IE: that he thought there was a real threat of over-migration and that he was worried about the impact of fundamental Islam. Griffin went on to say “I’m not a Nazi and I never have been.”

Erm…really? Then what’s this?

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He also ended with a personal attack on JS saying “My father was in the RAF in the second World War whilst Mr. Straw’s father was in prison for refusing to fight Adolf Hitler.”

What relevance this had on proceedings was hard to decipher. When host Daivd Dimbleby asked why he made this statement he said “Jack Straw was attacking me and I have been being continually attack for the last week.”

Oh, grow up man! And as for Jack Straw attacking you personally, he did nothing of the sort! I dare ask who was the braver in that time, Griffin’s father for being in the RAF (he didn’t say what role he had – my uncle was in the RAAF, but he was a chef!), or Straw’s for being a conscientious objector?

Still on the issue, Bonnie Greer pointed out that Churchill’s own mother was American and her family had possible Mohican Indian descendants, therefore questioning the BNP’s choice for Churchill’s image being that of a “British white role model” that the BNP was looking for.

Chris Huhne chimed into the discussion with his personal views on what he thought the BNP as a party, represented. He said the BNP is “scape-goating” politics. Peddling hatred and fear. Churchill would be rolling in his grave (at having his image being used by the BNP, or being associated with them). He was never a fascist.

Huhne also quoted Nick Griffin as once saying he thought “Yes, Adolf went a bit too far.” He then asked Griffin what part of “too far” did he think Hitler had gone? Slaughtering millions of Jews? Invading Poland and France? Bombing innocent people in Britain?

Griffin amongst his replies says “I brought the BNP out of being a racist party.”

WHAT THE F**K??

David Dimbleby quotes him as saying (not ver batim) “Let’s start out (the BNP) as being moderate to win votes/support. Then we’ll reveal our true agenda.” When asked about this and his involvement with David Duke he said “David Duke was the head of a non-violent arm of the KKK”. This statement had people in the audience and the other panel members in groans of disbelief.

Nick Griffin would shy away from responses to most quotes read to him of things he’d said. Jack Straw confronted him on this. He said (not ver batim) “When we give a quote of something you said you make a defence of saying ‘Oh, I never said that. That’s not quite right.’ But you are there on YouTube, in videos, actually saying these things. Time and again he (refering to Griffin, addressing the audience) wants to wriggle out of it…This guy is the Dr. Strangelove of British politics!”

A question came from an audience member asking why he believes the holocaust was a myth, Griffin said, “I cannot explain why I used to say those things, I can’t tell you (groans and shouts from the audience) any more than I can tell you why I’ve changed my mind, I can’t tell you the extent that I’ve changed my mind because the European law prevents me.”

This was dismissed as bunkum. He was asked to explain why he’d changed his mind about his denial of the holocaust and he gave some lame excuse about hearing radio intercepts of German recordings or something. Jack Straw said “Why would you need that? Were the images from Auschwitz not enough for you”?

Sayeeda Warsi revealed to the audience that he’d shared a platform with Islamic extremist Abu Hamsa after some time of discussing his views on Islam and what he thought of aspects of the Muslim faith. He said he didn’t agree with much of it. It’s treatment of women, etc.

Bonnie Greer said that Griffin starts his history at around 1700 to bypass Roman rule because it doesn’t fit in with the BNP’s “white agenda”. In Roman times there was an influx of many ethnicities, not just Romans.

Baroness Warsi says we need a cap on immigration. She also said she thought that why many people vote or support the BNP is not because they are racist but it is because they are concerned about immigration.

Jack Straw counters this by saying a party like the BNP has been in the British political system on and off since the 1930’s. That the BNP’s recent success in the European elections was NOT due to people with racist leanings voting for them, but it was purely votes gained from protests over the MP’s expenses saga.

On immigration Griffin said successive British governments were committing calculated genocide on the “indigenous white population” of Britain.

WWWHHHHHAAAAAAATT??

Bonnie Greer quoted Griffin saying the BNP are for the “indigenous Ice Age”. She replied, “But there are no people from ‘the indigenous Ice Age’ in the UK.” The UK was populated around 17,000 years ago from people from the south. They certainly didn’t come from the north. How could they get here? “We all know now that we (the population of the world) are all descended from Africa. You should know this Nick, you have a 2:2 in history. The only people who were here on this continent (Europe) 17,000 years ago, and I use the term ‘people’ lightly, were Neanderthals”. Then, speaking to Griffin personally, “You can come to the British Museum and check. We’ve got a lot of information on it. I wish you’d come.”

Then a man from the audience was offered to ask a question to the panel, he said “Yes, I have a question for Dick, er, sorry I mean Nick Griffin”.

That made all us twitterers have a little giggle. Pretending he was making a mistake with his name. It was childish, but funny.

I’m not sure if the programme itself really got anywhere. It did seem to descend into an hour of Griffin-bashing, but perhaps it was worth it just for that. It was certainly entertaining watching twitterfall for the hour the programme was on.

I’ll leve it to the man himself to finish…

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Crime Against (Supposed) Crime.

Please explain to me WHY so many people seem to be so anti-BBC?

Is it because people believe it to be a monster? Do people deem it too big for its boots? Do people believe there’s a lack of quality programming? Is it the whole Ross/Brand “Sachsgate” scandal? Are BBC bosses and controllers overpaid? Are BBC entertainers overpaid?

The debate arose again last night as I was listening to radio station LBC and Clive Bull. He started to talk about the TV licence. More to the point, trying to see if he was able to talk to one of the reported 200,000+ people that evade paying their TV licence. This figure has increased in the last financial year and he wanted to eke out whether it was purely financial reasons as to why people were no longer willing to pay their TV licence or whether something more underlying was accounting for TV licence dodging.

Clive wanted to know whether there was anyone out there happy to pay their TV licence. If it had not been so late at night and I was not so shy to make the call, I would have called in to say “me”! I WANT to pay my TV licence, because I can see what I’m getting for my money.

One man called in to say that he didn’t pay his TV licence as he no longer watched any live TV. He used his television to watch DVD’s via his DVD player. So cautious was he to evade getting grievance from the TV licensing body, that he severed his coaxial cable from the aerial on his roof. Clive pointed out that this move would be unlikely to be enough as the man’s TV would still have a tuner within it and therefore the ability to receive live television. That what the man would need to have is a computer monitor with no TV tuner within the screen.

So the man says “Right. This is where I am confused. So even though I don’t actually watch live television, because I have a TV with a tuner, I can still be deemed to be breaking the law?” Yes, says Clive. “Oh”, says the man “but that’s unfair and unclear”. In my mind I was thinking “Well, to avoid confusion or potential prosecution, I suggest you buy an LCD monitor with no tuner”, which Clive sort of went on to say himself. The man finished his conversation with Clive by saying “I’m quite anti-BBC really, but I do like their news web site. So if I’m on there and I see a link that says “watch now”, I’m breaking the law if I watch the clip?” Yes, says Clive.

The fact that the man begrudgingly confessed to using some BBC content wasn’t enough for him to think “Well, you know, maybe I should pay my TV licence?” Melon!

Do these people not think of the content that is provided to them for what amounts to 38p a day? That’s the price of a Kit-Kat! So, for the price of a Kit-Kat a day, you get advertisement free TV across eight BBC TV channels, a multitude of radio stations, including the BBC World Service. You have access to the wonderful BBC iPlayer (a chance to catch missed programmes via an online service that allows you to watch and download TV programmes and listen to radio shows for one week after original broadcast). You have online content via bbc.co.uk, including a news web site that is second to none. You also get a wealth of stunning programmes from documentaries, to drama. A lot of my favourite programmes are produced by the BBC including Doctor Who and Torchwood.

How on earth can you argue with getting that amount of content for 38p a day?!

There are so many who argue why they should pay a TV licence when they are on something like Sky. Get some perspective! Sky charges MORE for its basic service at £16.50 a month (and who, quite frankly gets Sky for its basic package? No one!), which is NOT advertisement free for that cost of subscription either, than the TV licence does. And with Sky’s basic package you are getting LESS content. Why anyone would pay to have Sky is beyond me!

Please! For those people who are hell bent on BBC bashing, please stop and think about what we have here in this country. A multimedia service that is revered around the world for providing quality and excellence and costs us all (well, those who pay it) a Kit-Kat a day.

Clive asked last night “So if people aren’t paying their TV licence, what are the consequences? I can see the consequences of people not paying car insurance, premiums go up. Does this mean TV licence dodgers will make the TV licence go up? What *ARE* the consequences?”

Well, surely the consequences would be programming and services will suffer. That perhaps something like Doctor Who would not have been put back on the screen, and certainly not with the love and financial backing it has received to make it more popular than ever.

The BBC news site would just be like some other ramshackle news site where you have to tread through mud to see content that is most relevant to you.

Things like the BBC Action Line would get cut. It’s there for people who may need to seek guidance or advice from seeing story lines in dramas or topics in documentaries that affect people greatly. Discussions on rape or medical conditions, cancer, mental health issues, etc, the BBC Action Line is a point of call for people to turn to if they want to discuss with someone how a certain subject in programming has affected them.

Funding for things like that would just cease to be.

I just urge people to please think about what they get for their 38p a day before they slag it (the BBC and TV licensing) off.

The Chaser, or The Chased?

Australia’s (undoubtedly) premium comedy group, The Chaser’s War on Everything came back to air with a third series on May 27th.

I watched the first show and thought it was great to have them back.

But they are never very far away from controversy. Just two weeks in, with the 2nd episode airing just last Wednesday (June 3rd), they aired this sketch which has landed them in hot water.

It’s a little tactless, yes. I think they are probably trying a little too hard to emulate the stuff that was done on Brass Eye. But bless their little cotton socks for trying to give the Australian public some proper adult satire and humour.

If you don’t like their style of comedy, my answer is DON’T WATCH!

The ABC, in these “sensitive” and OVERTLY PC times have taken the decision to take The Chaser off air for two weeks. Heaven forbid Australia ends up with its own Sachsgate!

The poor Chaser team. I love you guys! Especially you Andrew…I definitely would! lol

Ryanair – Taking The P*ss Out Of Themselves and YOU.

A few weeks back there was news that Ryanair were seriously considering charging passengers for the use of toilet facilities on board their flights. The depth at which Michael O’ Leary (chief executive of Ryanair) trawls to earn his money knows no bounds.

I discussed it with a fellow tweeter and said the headline to the story should be “Michael O’ Leary’s taking the p*ss, and YOU’RE paying for it!”

There was apparently a steady backlash to the idea, with many customers getting in touch with Ryanair to let them know how they felt about it. And as a result, Ryanair have come up with a competition. The best idea submitted for the next “discretionary charge” – as they call it (not flagrant ripping-off of passengers) will win 1000 Euros.

To see the submissions so far, click here. You almost have to admire Ryanairs ability to take the Mickey out of itself if it wasn’t so farcical a notion to have these “discretionary” charges. I like the first one on the list, charging for toilet roll, that has Mr O’ Leary’s face printed on it! Genius! I’d definitely pay to use that. Better still, let’s have the opportunity to actually urinate and defecate directly ON Michael O’ Leary’s face!!!

Ryanair – going that extra mile to make the passengers happy.

False Prophets.

Or profits. However you want to use it.
Advertising campaigners are…

Two points I want to make. Firstly, the advert for the Venus Embrace advert. The one below is the American version of the advert, but it says the same thing as the UK advert almost verbatim. Let me just point out before I continue, it is a FIVE BLADE razor. FIVE BLADES! And what is the selling point being declared about this FIVE BLADE razor? “Get VIRTUALLY every hair”. There’s FIVE FREAKIN’ BLADES! How can you only claim to get VIRTUALLY every hair? What is the point of having FIVE blades if even five of them can’t get every hair? That’s pathetic!!

The other is the now criminal overuse of lash inserts in mascara adverts. How am I to make a proper judgement on the “best” mascara (assuming that obviously the criteria for the perfect lash is to have the longest) if ALL the mascara adverts show models with lash inserts? You might as well have done with it and buy the flippin’ lash inserts!! Not only now do mascaras offer length, they (allegedly) offer volume – so now you too can look like you have the lashes of a camel. I mean, WTF? For starters, I can’t really fathom the obsession for having longer, fully lashes. They are just eyelashes FFS!

Do the cosmetic companies just prey on all the bubble-headed ladies (and/or men, if they are not using their own targeted MAN-scara) that don’t read the “model wears lash inserts” small print on the screen? I can’t believe the cosmetic companies can get away with the whole “lash inserts” thing, just by needing to declare the model is wearing them. To advertise the product, they should have to show the models with no enhancements…ha ha ha!! Like that’ll EVER happen…

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This still is from a Rimmel London advert with Sophie Ellis-Bexter. It not only declares that lash inserts were used but also says “enhanced in post production”, so not even the lash inserts were enough of a con job on their own. Shame on you Rimmel!

Just in case you can’t read it clearly, the small print reads “Filmed with lash inserts and enhanced in post production.”

Eurovision 2nd Semi-Final

More entertaining than Tuesday night with the added bonus that the UK got to vote for its favourite acts (hence Croatia and Latvia getting through).

Here’s a rundown of the good, the bad and the SSOO bad it’s good!

First off, I have to say I exercised my right to vote and voted for Turkey. A good traditional rock sounding song. They sung in Turkish but it sounded good. The music style was a but Manic Street Preachers. Quite good.

Something else not traditionally Eurovision was Bulgaria’s entry. I liked it, but I think it got a little lost in the mix.

Lithuania was BAD BAD BAD!!! The guy looked like a cross between Potsy from Happy Days and Nick Cave! He belted the song out like Meatloaf and a had a mullet that I haven’t seen since 1988!! Awful awful awful. BE WARNED!

The Czech Republic did a song called “Have Some Fun”. Probably the most incorrect song title of the night. I won’t even tortue you with a video.

Georgia got through to the final with a song sung by a blind Shirley Manson lookalike called “Peace Will Come”. It was sung in English which (I know I shouldn’t take the “piss” out of someone’s grasp of English, but…) made the song title sound like “Piss Will Come”, which had me in stitches. Tiny things pleasing tiny minds and all that…

At least the song had a political slant and wasn’t just another boring love song.

Now the “so bad it’s good” category. This belongs to Latvia and Croatia. A haaaarrrrr me maties! Here’s Latvia’s entry! Avast!!! Pieces of eight, pieces of eight!!

Croatian entry. 75 cent, you rock!!!!

Onwards to the final…

It’s Eurovision Time!!

Man, I love this time of year! Two of my most favourite TV events happen each May. The start of Springwatch, but before that, this weekend is the Eurovision Song Contest. 

Guaranteed to be gayer than Elton John in his Marie Antoinette costume at his birthday. Camper than a row of tents, Eurovision highlights the world of cheesy pop like no other festival can!

It all kicks off tomorrow night. In the UK the first semi-final airs tomorrow night (Tuesday) at 8pm on BBC3. The second semi-final is on Thursday night at 8pm on BBC3. And the final is on Saturday on BBC1 at 8pm. 

In Australia coverage is on SBS all weekend. Friday and Saturday nights have the 1st and 2nd semi-finals on at 7.30pm, with the final airing on Sunday at 7.30pm. 

For those of you wanting to see the show but haven’t got any TV channels in your area showing the contests there will be live webcasts at Eurovision.TV

Anyone having a Eurovision party over the weekend? Have a hoot!

I’m really looking forward to Ireland’s entry.