My evening on Question Time with the BNP

Andy Shovel, 22, from Fulham, runs his own graduate recruitment company, Recruitment Squared. He graduated from the University of Nottingham in 2008 with a degree in business and geography. He is a member of St John’s Wood Synagogue. He attended the show with his girlfriend Felicity and two friends.


By Jessica Elgot, October 23, 2009
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Andy Shovel was in the audience for Question Time with BNP leader Nick Griffin

Andy Shovel was in the audience for Question Time with BNP leader Nick Griffin

It was such good luck getting the tickets. I’m an avid Question Time watcher, and I applied for tickets over a year ago now. But the tickets I was allocated fell on Yom Kippur, and I couldn’t go. So the woman who organised it said I could come again another time. It really was amazing good luck. I took my girlfriend and a couple of friends.

We didn’t have such a problem getting into the studio, but it was a long wait for it to start. We got in at about 5 o’clock and they don’t start filming until 8. It was very fairly edited by the BBC, they didn’t take anything out at all.

The audience has been praised a lot but I don’t think people there were people who would ordinarily watch Question Time. They’re there for a very specific reason. They jeered from the minute Griffin opened his mouth.

What really surprised me actually was the support Nick Griffin had in the audience. There were a few people who were really cheering him on, about five or six, clearly BNP supporters.

Being in the audience was really good fun actually: obviously people were taking it quite seriously. It was moving watching people who were clearly incredibly passionate. And who were understandably quite upset.

But I don’t take Griffin seriously at all. I don’t want to engage with him. I just felt like being rude to him really. So I put my hand up at every single question or point.

I wanted to make the point that Griffin hadn’t thought seriously about immigration. So I said: “He’s going to wrap his arms round any slimy bandwagon going”.

I saw Jack Straw nodding along with my point. I didn’t get a huge cheer or applause but definitely got a positive response from the audience.

If I had a criticism, I don’t think they chose the panel properly. Jack Straw just wasn’t articulate enough. Bonnie Greer was too lightweight. She admitted herself she doesn’t have any political knowledge. They could have chosen people who would have been much sharper. I definitely thought Chris Huhne was the best, but he’s such a politician.

But to be honest, the atmosphere was so anti-Griffin, it really was all about the audience, not the panel. I really think he was exposed, they exposed his nasty past and they exposed his ignorance.

His support for Israel is nothing more than hot air. At the moment he happens to hate Muslims more than Jews. But I’m sure he’s antisemitic, how can he not be antisemitic? He hates anyone who is not “indigenous” as he calls it. If you watch any of the undercover documentaries about the BNP, it is quite clearly an antisemitic party.

    Last updated: 12:06pm, October 23 2009