Monday 3 March 2014

Footie, the Oscars and Jihad

Kick it out.

Wasn’t the Today programme bizarre this morning? It was.The embarrassing Bono incident “have I brought shame on the Today programme?”  and the spoonerism-prone James “I did that once and I don’t think I got away with it”  Naughtie, who couldn’t quite say ‘ice sheet’ this morning, coupled with several other strange topics and statements of the bleeding obvious. In his excitement the poor Oscar besotted reporter even got James Naughtie mixed up with John Humphrys, and called the Today programme “Breakfast”. 
Fortunately Evan did the Sol Campbell ‘Ten years a non-captain’ item rather than Naughtie who might have spluttered out “Col Sambo”, which he would never have lived down. I do know it’s not an exact spoonerism by the way you pedants.

The Oscars.

Having not had the pleasure of going to the cinema for many years, last November I suddenly decided to go and see “Gravity” in interminable 3D. It was exhausting. I know how poor Sandra Bullock must have felt, especially when she landed in the middle of nowhere in just her underwear.

Twelve years a slave. Only twelve? Some of us have been married  much longer.

They’ve meddled with the Today programme website so you can’t get to hear every individual item with just one click as you could once do, which is probably the BBC’s deliberate attempt to foil people like us who are desperate to link to the best bits on their scurrilous Beeb-bashing websites. Also, they take hours to upload ‘selected’ clips onto Listen Again, so we have to hang about till it’s old hat and nobody will care, if they ever did.

Let’s go and have a look. ‘Still not available'. Just the provisional running order plus promise.

So. A professional ex-Jihadist has been called in as a consultant, to share his expertise. 
How not to alienate home-grown potential jihadists  (A speculation while we're waiting) 

  • The government must approach the vexatious problem by not invading Muslim lands! 
  • Don’t kill the Muslims!
  • Adopt a Muslim-friendly foreign policy! 

I hope he’s being fairly remunerated for his specialised insights, whatever they are.

Lo and behold, that item is one of the specially selected items that they’ve chosen to feature. And so is Bonio! Hooray! Now I don’t have to listen to the whole three hours.

Our reporter Sima Kotecha speaks to a former member of Al Qaeda
“One of the ironies is that we never fear death, but we fear imprisonment because imprisonment confines you physically, while martyrdom is something that will free your spirit.” 
says the al Qaeda defector who doesn’t want to be named.

Hmm. A rather good argument for reinstating the death penalty, namely satisfaction all round. But I’m against it in principle. Oh dear, might have to reconsider.
“An Al Qaeda defector has told the BBC that the government needs to improve the way it engages with radical Islamists or risk more young men returning from fighting in Syria to try to carry out attacks here” 
says the newsreader. 
“The man, who was born in Saudi Arabia said ministers had to change their rhetoric to convince extremists that the West wasn’t responsible for conflicts in the Issslamic world. The mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said that Muslim children who were at risk of being radicalised by their parents should be taken into care because they’re victims of child abuse. Writing in the Daily Telegraph, he said ‘some children should be removed from their families to stop them becoming potential killers or suicide bombers’ “
(From the news bulletin on the Today programme just after 6am)

My God. Did Boris really say that?  Oh yes, so he did. Just imagine the outcry if social services  ever wrenched Muslim children away from their families, and in any case it’s not quite certain that being brought up in care provides cast-iron insurance against growing up as a potential killer or the other thing.
Anyway, isn’t it high time the government wrenched children away from radical Islamists per se? If there’s any truth in those almost parodic Trojan Horse revelations? I did read the article in the Times as well. 
Note to self. Must stop running to Harry’s Place every five minutes.

Crucial advice to the government from the defector from al Qaeda who doesn’t want to give his name.

  • Tales of the glorious martyrdom are an inspiration for other young Jihadis! 
  • The internet is a recruitment tool and a facilitating tool! 
  • Improved counter-narrative! 
  • The UK government must say that although they admire the motives of those that want to go there (Syria) to help others, they might come back changed people with sinister motives!

Sima asks: “Should we listen to what you say?”

Malcolm Rifkind dispenses the approved govt. line. 

  • Perverted version of what the Koran teaches! 
  • Working closely with the communities from which these people come!
  • You can make a difference!

Token trivial item at the end of this post.

Last week I saw a nude self portrait by the great artistic duo Gilbert and George. (at Cheltenham Art Gallery if you must know) They are the spitting image of another great artistic duo Morecambe and Wise. Remember how Morecambe and Wise were often filmed in bed together, at the end of a long tiring day full of escapades; Eric with his pipe and Ernie with a book? They’d never get away with that these days.



  1. That Bono thing is the funniest thing I've ever heard on the 'Today' programme. No parody could even begin to top it. It's hilarious.

    The BBC reporter screaming 'Bono! Bono!' had me laughing even before he got Jim mixed up with John and 'Today' with 'BBC Breakfast'.

    And Bono made me laugh too. In he came (deadly earnest) like a 'Harry and Paul' parody of himself, beginning "I've got something I want to share with...(dramatic pause)...humanity. I've been thinkin'". (Who needs satire!)

    1. Yes, Bono is always good for a laugh.

  2. Oh dear, though.

    The 'Today' website has sadly truncated Jim's 'climate change' interview. You've got to go to 02:50:53 on the full programme to get the full effect:

    "One of his interests is on the effects in changes on ice seats..on sheets..on ice sheets on sea levels. Try saying that at ten to nine in the morning!"

  3. Boris's call for children of Muslim whackjobs to be taken into care is an astonishing thing for a c/Conservative to call for. Really dangerous thinking.

    It's the schools, mosques and community centres that need getting to grip with, without Rifkindesque pussy-footing around.

    The ex-Al Qaeda guy's prescription, which you so pithily summarise, is just the soft of thing soppingly liberal BBC types find it so easy to agree with, because it chimes with much of their own worldview.

    1. “There are no problem children. Only problem parents.” as A.S. Neill said in his somewhat provocative manner.
      Can you imagine how an already grievance-laden community would react to their children being taken away? It’s the parents the government should rein in, by hook or by crook, and they should never have been encouraged to come here in the first place.


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