Sunday 3 March 2013

This just in...

As we approach the moment when Justin Welby becomes the new Archbishop of Canterbury, Radio 4's liberal religious current affairs programme Sunday announced that it would be presenting three audio essays over the coming weeks anticipating the moment. 

Did you see what I did there? I wrote "Radio 4's liberal religious current affairs programme", even though I'm well aware that BBC Radio 4 would deny that the programme has any standpoint - liberal or conservative - and that they would also say that the programme conforms to BBC standards of impartiality.

I don't really accept that though (well, not in the way they mean). 

So, time for another test of BBC impartiality. This is to see whether the three people chosen to present the Sunday talks reflect a fair range of Anglican opinion. 

This week's essayist was Sunday regular Canon Rosie Harper, a left-wing feminist from the liberal wing of the Church who used her talk to call for the Church of England to fully embrace her progressive values on social issues. Assuming the Sunday team are committed to the spirit of impartiality, next Sunday's speaker will be a social (and perhaps political) conservative from the other wing of the Church. The third and final speaker would then, presumably, be someone from the centre ground of Anglicanism. That would be the fair way to do it. 

If something like that happens then Sunday will have shown that it values BBC's guidelines on impartiality and we can all breathe a sigh of relief. 

If, however, they neglect to include a conservative Anglican speaker or if they feature a second firmly liberal Anglican who shares Canon Rosie's general outlook, they will have failed to meet the spirit of impartiality. 

If I were writing a parody of Sunday based on my assumptions about their liberal bias, I'd have them follow Canon Rosie Harper with Frank Field and Giles Fraser! Or...with Giles Fraser and Inayat Bunglawala!...or...with George Pitcher and Giles Fraser!...or...with Ruth Gledhill and Giles Fraser! (Giles Fraser and Canon Rosie Harper sing from very much the same hymn-sheet, so there's no way an impartiality-bound Sunday should be sending him an invitation.)

As it's Sunday and time to be charitable, I'll be positive and hope that Sunday doesn't betray a liberal bias and instead gives us three contrasting Anglican points of view over the next three weeks. 

We'll see. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.