Nick Griffin’s appearance on Thursday’s Question Time has fanned the already vigorous flames of controversy regarding the party’s legitimacy as a political entity. With current challenges under human rights legislation against the BNP’s exclusion of racial minorities from membership, the party’s chairman is in a difficult position. His self styled appointment to ‘clean-up’ the reputation of the party has led him to take considerable steps to re-brand it. Changes have so far seen the policy on forced expulsion of immigrants altered to encouragement through grants, and his own denial of the holocaust undergo a complete u-turn. It is likely that the membership challenge will follow this pattern of changes, with minorities permitted access as long as they conform to the ‘principles of the party.’
Nick Griffin’s success as Chairman has not been in his ‘clean-up’ of the party, but rather in the ‘cover-up’ of its more ignominious values. A brief survey of the various BNP manifestos reveals cleverly phrased rhetoric hinting at the cause of many of this country’s ailments. Although tactically avoiding direct racist outbursts, the substance behind the syntax remains the same.
It is for this reason that the controversy regarding the Question Time broadcast has been so great. With those of the panel, and the rest of the liberal population, congratulating themselves on exposing Griffin’s true character, the programme may well have seemed a success. For Griffin too, styling himself as a reformer dealing with the deep problems within the UK, his treatment by the panel will have exposed to himself and his followers, the extent of the Left-wing conspiracy. Both sides feel so safe in their own righteousness that both will perceive the same 45 minutes as vindication.
The problem of the BNP lies in the legitimacy of its complaints. It has sought to exploit the dystopian anxieties and fears of many within the population regarding our domestic affairs. The collapse of British industry, the rise of GM and intensively farmed foods, a worsening economy, increasing crime and the falling prospects of working class people are all bound together in the party’s manifesto. 
Their concentration on localising production and placing more power into the hands of local people bears much similarity to the manifestos of fringe parties on the other side of the political spectrum, but the BNP’s difference lies in their scapegoat. Whilst the left condemn the rampant powers of globalised capitalism and TNC’s, Griffin’s party finds the fault in globalised relations with the ‘people’ themselves. The fall of the white working class is seen as the result of subsidies for the immigrants and populations of foreign countries round the world.
The argument of course is a nonsense, and often flies in the face of logical common sense. The idea that policies such as bribing immigrants to leave would lead to a beneficial impact for working class people is perhaps laughable. It remains however, that parties on the fringe have seen spectacular results since the financial crisis 12 months ago. Whilst the mainstream parties have been embroiled in expenses scandals, and the government implicated in various cosy agreements with banks and businesses, working people have suffered. Parties on the fringe, free from tangles with interest groups and lobbying forces, are able to exploit the gap in the market for rejection of the orthodox system. The path to defeating the BNP lies in mainstream politics taking seriously the flaws in society. More likely cynically, the economy will eventually recover and the fringes will be exorcised as the status quo returns.