Monday 30 June 2014

A bang or a whimper

No sooner was The Big Questions getting into its stride under the masterful chairpersonship of Nicky Campbell than the series ended. I’m not even joking now. 
Don’t let’s forget that not so long ago that programme was such a shambles that watching it turned you into a voyeur, like when you stumble upon Jeremy Vine (update: I think I meant Kyle) and are momentarily transfixed.

However, it’s gone and now there’s Sunday Morning Live. 
I don’t know why we lost Samira Ahmed, who was rather good, and got instead Sian Williams who sports the roundest face ever to be televised.

Like TBQs SML has three topics and a panel, but even so the format is weak and wibbly wobbly. The discussion is less interesting and more superficial than TBQs, and were it not for the audience’s vote, which always goes resoundingly and gratifyingly against the panel’s moral guidance, the outcome would be completely inconclusive. 

The roundness of Sian’s countenance gave “Are British Muslims complacent about extremism?” a distinctly comical air. Also comical were the passers-by who scampered incongruously back and forth outside, visible through a window behind Sian. They had an air of  “thank God we’re not stuck indoors with you and Yasmin Alibhai Brown.”

Since her infamous spat with Rod Liddle, to whom and of whom she proclaimed her loathing, thrice, on air, Yasmin Alibhai Brown seems to have been granted yet more airtime. It looks like she’s been bestowed ‘freedom of the BBC’  for gallant services to the ratings. Grazing rights, maybe and a big symbolic key?

She explained with deep frown, jabbing hands and much sorrow, that she had failed to secure funding for her ‘idea’, which was to examine the brains of extremist Muslims in prison. Muslim parents are confused, she added.

Sian was also confused, and turned to Daniel Johnson, addressing him as Leo and asking if he agreed that we fail to understand Muslim youth and that is why they’re turning to radicalism? He thinks the Muslim community has to take responsibility, specifically in ‘our’ mosques. Has everyone except me got a Mosque now?

Leo McKinstry was more forthright.  
Here’s where I get disrespectful. Look away now if you’re easily offended, but I’m sure the sofa was silently pumping air into the two panellists sitting at Sian’s right. The pressure is probably calibrated so that at the end of the programme they are fully inflated, whereupon depending on the vote they either tragically burst, or deflate, noisily phutting around the ceiling. We don’t get to see this because the Sunday Politics comes on.

I normally support Camilla Batmanghelidjh. I like the way she endeavours to understand antisocial and destructive behaviour rather than dishing out Sharia-like punishments willy-nilly, but today something seemed to have gone awry. Every time the camera went to her she and her outfit had expanded; her head-to-toe Carmen Miranda costume covered everything including most of both her hands. Only her glasses had nothing to do with fruit. Specsavers, have you no imagination?

I was surprised to hear that Camilla only saw the good side of Islam, the side that gives structure to the lives of disenfranchised Muslim youth, when ‘normative’ Islam is the antithesis of everything she espouses (understanding, creativity, self expression, humanity etc etc.) 
It must be those blinkers that the BBC hands out before participants go on air. Does she genuinely think Islam is the one and only religion that is getting kids off drugs? WTF? (as they say on the interweb.)

Who wants to know what Jimmy Osmond thinks about anything, let alone Mormon-ophobia, an imaginary phenomenon known only to him.

As Sian calls time on the vote (although you will still be charged) you just know the public will ignore the panel and vote overwhelmingly YES, the Muslims ARE complacent, which they duly did.


  1. Oh sue!
    I trust you most times, but when you mentioned Alibhai Brown and the right to send your cows over Blackfriars Bridge etc...I visualised her and fellow polly wolly doodlers chewing the cud there at the BBC and we herders paying handsomely to be led round the ring by the nose!
    But I digress-you`ve got Batmangheghli all wrong-an absolute charlatan and apologist for ANY teeane psychopath...she really does not like children at all, just the idea of defending evil.
    I well remember a bizarre Today show in 2006 where she thought all crime was due to kids emotional thermostats being broken..and Humphrys clucked along despite this farrago of neuroscience nonsense....I knew then that the BBC knew about as much re science as ...well Stephen Hawking actually!
    For the same programme had HIM on speaking of aliens creating our planet as I recall-I decided not to teach my science classes that day, if the likes of Hawking and Humphries represent the scientific "brains" of our nation.
    Camilla will surely be rumbled in our utter creep. privately educated guilt wallah.

    1. Come on Chrish,
      You don’t believe in ‘evil’ do you? Is that a Christian concept? I’d have thought not.
      I did think Camilla B was pretty amazing when she started Kids Company and her ideas were admirable. I suspect Kids Co might have turned into a bit of a circus, as these things do when they turn ‘establishment’.
      No, leave cruel, brutal and harsh punishments to Sharia and the medievalists, and let the enlightened ones continue with their neuroscience.
      What’s a privately educated guilt wallah by the way? Is it something to do with inverted snobbery?

  2. Course I believe in evil Sue-I am a Christian after all, and Jesus has rather a lot to say about it.
    Of course I exaggerate re defending evil-she means well, but seeks therapeutic and social cures for deep seated problems...and like Gitta Sereny, does rather well out of the results of not confronting evil(forgive the word if you don`t like it...but it is a biblical construct, I`m certain).
    Re the private school stuff-not at all, Orwell was a privately educated hero to me-I just find the notion of Camilla getting her dates and figs flown into Sherborne just a little galling, when others were facing the venom of the Ayatollah as she agonised about right and wrong from her ample duvet.
    We live with the guilt-tripping now...she likes children enough not to have any of her own...don`t trust that myself.
    Happen to think she`s one of the angels of light that Paul warns us of in the New Testament...but I`m one wayfarer under Gods judgement much as she is, so wouldn`t go to the stake in defending my knockabout stuff.


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