Saturday 23 November 2013

This evening

I listened to Radio 4's PM this evening before....ahem...watching Doctor Who. It was presented by Paddy O'Connell. As I hadn't had time to catch up with much of the news today, I came at it almost (but not entirely) fresh.

The programme began by discussing the mysterious ongoing slavery story. Two people (of Indian and Tanzanian origin, we now learn) have been arrested for holding three women captive (one Malaysian, one English, one Irish) over several decades.

In an unexpected twist, the police have said something about the victims being originally involved in "a collective", meeting through "a shared political ideology".

That was intriguing and suggestive, but Paddy O'Connell openly told us not to pay much attention to it:
I'm not sure that the word 'collective' is going to shed a lot more light at this stage. Putting that to one side...
I thought it best to do as I was told by Paddy and stop thinking about it then

Oddly, however, Paddy then himself returned to this very angle, only to dismiss it again:
I mean, going back to that word 'collective'. I don't no where police [sic] thinks that begins and ends, but it must be going to make the operation delicate in trying to know where to go.

Next up was the Dominic Grieve story.

Mr Grieve, the Attorney General, has said that corruption in the UK is growing - and part of the blame for this problem lies with ethnic minority communities - principally the Pakistani community. (Well, you could have blown me down with a feather there!)

Paddy and the BBC's Tom Barton discussed the matter.

Paddy's introduction suggested that Mr Grieve had rowed back somewhat from his original Telegraph comments and was now emphasizing that no one community was responsible after all, and Paddy cited the Electoral Fraud Commission saying that there was "no robust evidence" that any one ethnic minority was disproportionately responsible. 

Tom largely dismissed the issue of electoral fraud, though he conceded that there is "potentially" some evidence of ethnic minority fraud, including among the Pakistani and Bangladeshi communities - though "white British" people have been convicted too. 

So that's that then. Nothing much to see here, apparently.

Still, as if taking no chances, PM then invited on a Conservative MEP of Pakistani extraction, Sajjad Karim.

I did click onto the BBC News website earlier today and saw Mr Karim being quoted on the BBC website's main article on the issue, criticising Mr Grieve for being mean to the Pakistani community. Lo and behold, here he was again, being invited onto Radio 4's PM to further his criticism of the Attorney General.

And further his criticism he most certainly did, excusing "Asian communities" from the blame and saying that it wasn't the Pakistani community which carried out the fraud, merely certain "individual political activists". "The community was the victim not the perpetrator," said Mr Karim.

"It's quite nuanced what you're saying", Paddy told him - and, as we all know, nuance is good.

Mr Karim criticised Mr Grieve further:
When Dominic tries to draw a distinction between Pakistan and India based on an indices of corruption, I really don't understand the point that he's making or evidence that he has because my experience would tend to suggest that it is very difficult to discriminate between the two countries on any corruption indices.
Paddy didn't challenge him on that, so let me do so instead: The evidence for that claim (which a politico like Mr Karim should be aware of, and a journalist like Paddy O'Connell should be no less aware of) is Transparency International's influential corruption perception index. Its 2012 figures place Pakistan (and Bangladesh) well below India in terms of probity when it comes to corruption. India is in 94th place while Pakistan is much lower down in 139th place (with Bangladesh in 144th place).  

Paddy let Mr Karim finish his (long) attack - adding a "fair point" along the way - before bringing things to a close:
OK, I'm going to leave it there because I feel you've put your position about his remarks, but thank you very much for joining us today.
He had indeed put his position.

OK, now it was time to hear the other side of the argument...

...oh, er, actually no. it wasn't. It was in fact time to move on, and hear the news headlines again:
Comments by the Attorney General, which we've just been discussing, have sparked angry criticisms from many quarters, including his own party.
Ah, and how's that for a negative spin on the story (negative from Mr Grieve's point of view that is)? Very negative, I'd say.

There was then a brief mention of Iran-U.S. talks, followed by a discussion about old age between Dame Ann Leslie and Baroness Trumpington and, finally - and inevitably - a plug for tonight's Doctor Who. 

And that's your weather.


  1. Dominic Grieve’s comments are unfortunate.
    Law is equal for everyone. if someone has broken the law, punish them, do not punish the whole community.

  2. That last of the old school-Brian Matthew on Radio 2(23/11/13) even had to plug this crap on his show...citing Graham Nortons show as coming from the Retardis.
    Seems that the BBC don`t just do endless plugs for U2. Rod, Elt, Macca, North Face or whoever...they just are passionate about `em...but they drone on to weirdy blokes about something about Daleks...FFS, they run the BBC these days, so why another pile of seedy bloke shite like Dr What?
    Poor Brian had to play the "feem toon", as well as some creepy song from a little girl who wanted to get into the Doctors tardis with him...after Savile, I don`t think so!
    Brian Matthew deserves better...that bagman Phil Swerne needs to do better, or else we`ll find out more about what happened to Roger "The Vocalist" Bowman...who knows what` we``ll find at the BBC anymore if we do that!


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