As regular readers might know (or guess) I am a big fan of Harry’s Place. I only lurk, because I made it a rule not to acquire an online presence by commenting here, there and everywhere. I might do that when I give up this blog. Also, I’m too much of a wimp to create a load of sock-puppets and creative IDs and pretend they’re not me.
What I particularly like about H.P. is the palpable sense of ‘family’ below the line, which I think is pretty unique in the blogosphere. I’m not saying I approve of the the vitriol, which can spring up all of a sudden for no obvious reason. It’s colourful I suppose, but that's the internet for you.
Lurkers like myself would probably have the impression that the general consensus on Harry’s Place is that the BBC is a bit of a lost cause.
"Come on! Harry’s Place is a lefty blog," I hear you say. Well, it kind of isn’t these days, especially now, what with the rise of Corbynism. And, of course it’s a Zionist blog, and the commentariat are not just any old commentariat, they’re the M & S variety.
So why am I saying all this? I nearly forgot. It’s about the BBC. However well informed, highly qualified, educated, literate and eloquent the btl H.P. family may be, they’re not all geeky about the BBC like we are. We seem to know all the presenters by name and can remember things they said years ago. (By the way, I see Jon Donnison is back reporting on hurricane Irma, as is Alan “I’m telling your story” Johnston.)
So when Sarah AB wrote about Radio 5’s breakfast show, which tackled the BBC’s flavour of the month news item, namely the news concerning some members of the British Army belonging to the banned neo-Nazi organisation National Action, the discussion inevitably turned to Nicky Campbell.
I know Nicky Campbell is, or used to be one of the pet hates of contributors to the Biased BBC blog. If you search the site for ‘Nicky Campbell’ about 200 posts pop up, mostly concerning The Big Questions or Radio 5 Breakfast.
"So nothing changes," I hear you say. "You’ve wasted about eight years of your life blogging about BBC bias, and had precisely zero effect." Well, that’s as may be, but in fact things do change. Have changed. For one thing The Big Questions has improved. I quite miss it when it’s off air. Is it that I myself have become more tolerant, or is it that the BBC has tried a little harder to get better quality guests? I don’t know, but when Douglas Murray agrees to appear on the show, it can’t be that bad.
And Nicky Campbell is a good presenter. He handles the volatility much more competently than many a hardened BBC professional. As to how much serious understanding of Islam-proper he has, who knows? He’s no scholar, nor does he claim to be, but let’s say he’s matured. Nowadays he seems less credulous when it comes to being taken in by the likes of Mo Ansar.
Here is another confession. I don’t listen to radio 5. I don’t even know how to tune in, should I suddenly decide I want to. I did follow the link on H.P. though, and I have to say the very tone of it wasn’t to my taste. I don’t want to be rude. Actually I do. It sounded dull, childish and irritating and I don’t think I’ll be visiting again.
Many people on ‘right wing” blogs (you do realise that anyone right of Jeremy Corbyn is now considered right-wing) have mentioned the BBC’s disproportionate interest in the news about four or five members of the British armed services being investigated for belonging to a “proscribed anti-Semitic and homophobic group”. That’s it. That’s how the group is being described, as if the BBC believes that hearing about that particular duo of hatreds is all we need to know to ensure we are horrified at the very idea. Well, we are. But when identical dual prejudices are associated with Islam, as they famously are, it’s somehow deemed insignificant. I don’t get it.
Incidentally, while we’re on the subject of BBC presenters, someone brought up Emma Barnett. She seems to be a BBC favourite at the moment, (you know how the BBC over-exposes its pet presenters till we’re sick of the sight of them) Grilling is Emma’s forte. One minute she’s demolishing Jeremy Corbyn’s credibility, next she’s humiliating the gymnast Louis Smith for mucking about in a manner offensive to the Muslims.
It’s indiscriminate grilling that grates. Yet we call for impartiality, and you can’t get more impartial than indiscriminately dishing out your grillings. Or can you? It may be technically impartial, but it seems unintelligent. Choose your victims wisely, is all I can say.
Here’s Pat Condell. (H/T Daphne Anson)
I don’t think that would be popular on Harry’s Place, but it’s a damn sight more sincere than the feigned 'game' - ‘find the extremist’.