Last week Britain was convulsed in a media frenzy. Unlike the one in the United States the week before, this controversy did not center around an event which, even if it had been true in every particular, still would have legitimately been a major news story only for broadcasters in Colorado.
The UK fracas was over the invitation to the leader of the British National Party, Nick Griffin, to appear on the BBC's prime-time television debate program, "Question Time", and over his treatment on Thursday's broadcast. Griffin and his party are just to the right of Pat Buchanan, just to the left of Americans who kill census takers and scrawl "FED" on their corpses.
The other participants on the program (from the three mainstream parties), and the moderator, questioned Griffin relentlessly on issues of race and immigration, the matters on which the BNP has built its small inroad into the political system, two British seats in the European parliament. On race, he's marvelously foolish, referring to white English people as "the aborigines of this country."
Immigration, though, is the issue on which Griffin can be more explicit, less cagey. You can't go into a Starbucks or a fashion shop in London and be waited on by a Brit these days. In almost every instance, the smiling face handing you your caffeine or your frock is a young woman from Poland. The Labor government underestimated the amount of immigration from Eastern Europe once it entered the EU by a factor of ten. Youths from African and Caribbean countries are blamed for the introduction of "knife culture", and it doesn't mean a performance of "Aida" where the tenor carries a blade. Griffin wants an end to all this, a notion which, if followed to its logical conclusion, would require the expulsion of the royal family, German to its last pfennig.