Due to recurrent insomnia I often nod off during a programme I’ve deliberately stayed awake to watch, if you’ll forgive the slight oxymoron.
That may have been the case with Ian Hislop's: “Despite all the racist scaremongering in Victorian times we ‘let the Jews in’, so despite the current racist scaremongering we must ‘let the Muslims’ in now” programme. (BBC 2, 22nd June)
Just in case I missed the bit where Hislop pointed out the difference between the racist scaremongering apropos the Jews (which didn’t turn out quite as bad after all) and the racist scaremongering over current mass Muslim immigration, (over which the jury's still out but it's not looking good) I turned to the press reviews.
Oddly enough, the only reviews I could find were in the lefty press, plus the Telegraph, a kind of honorary member.
Strange to tell, there was one thing in particular upon which they were all agreed. What got their goat above all else was Katie Hopkins, whose very presence defiled the programme. If twinkly Hislop insisted on having her there, he could at least have punched her in the face. Poor Rachel Cooke of the New Statesman almost threw up, but she gave Hislop a gold star.
Chitra Ramaswamy of the Guardian was full of praise for the programme, but had a caveat:
“Hislop (granted, another posh, white, Oxbridge-educated man here to teach us about foreigners) is on razor-sharp, twinkly-eyed form, reminding us that it was not ever thus.”
Oh yes, and another. She wasn’t keen on Katie either:
“ it’s time to cease giving this preacher of hate a mainstream platform.”
The Telegraph’s Michael Hogan went straight for the jugular:
“Liberal-baiting battleaxe Katie Hopkins will doubtless steal headlines for her typically toxic appearance on Who Should We Let In? Ian Hislop on the First Great Immigration Row (BBC Two) – causing a stir is, after all, the tiresome professional troll’s job – but it would be a shame if Hopkins overshadowed what a thorough and thoughtful film this was. “
I’m pleased to report that the sufferers of ostrich parasitic syndrome who made the programme and wrote the reviews got a bit of a drubbing below the line.