|Toppled statue of Laurie Taylor
I was thinking aloud a while back about Radio 4 staple Thinking Allowed and the strange way it manages to by-pass the attention of bloggers about BBC bias, even though it has some of the most obvious left-wing biases of any BBC programme.
I put that down to the fact that most right-leaning bloggers (like me) just don't listen to Thinking Allowed very often, knowing that it's not for us.
It's a sociology programme after all, and sociology has a strong in-built left-wing bias. We know that. We accept it. We shrug our shoulders. We move on.
Yet there is sits in the Radio 4 schedule, year in and year out. And there's no counter-balancing -ology-based programme from the Right to balance it.
This week's edition was an absolute classic - a debate about capitalism, hosted by genial ex-(ex?)-Trotskyist Laurie Taylor, entitled The End of Capitalism; Reforming Capitalism.
It featured David Harvey, Stupendously Distinguished Professor of Anthropology and Geography at York University, a Marxist geographer, arguing the Marxist case for abolishing capitalism, and - pitted against him - Colin Crouch, Professor Immemorial in Sociology at the University of Warwick, arguing for the reform of capitalism. Instead of abolishing it, Prof Crouch wants to radically re-shape capitalism and turn us into a full-blown social democracy. [To which, like Bartleby, the scrivener, in Herman Melville's wondrously strange story story, I'd say: "I would prefer not to".]
It was a debate then between the far-Left and the fairly-hard-Left, hosted by someone clearly comfortable positioning himself somewhere between them on the fairly-far-Left.
Classic Thinking Allowed.
Genial Uncle Laurie is Genial Uncle Laurie, of course, and we don't even expect him to make the effort to pose questions from a position outside of this narrow left-wing way of thinking, do we? Laurie will be Laurie, after all, and sociologists will be sociologists, and Radio 4's Thinking Allowed will be Radio 4's Thinking Allowed.
So when Genial Uncle Laurie fails to make an effort to pose questions from a position outside of their/his narrow way of thinking, we think (do we not?) 'Oh well, that's just Laurie Taylor being Laurie Taylor!', shrug, and move on.
That right-wing, pro-capitalist thinking is entirely absent - not allowed - is just one of those things, isn't it?