Sorry, I'm going to talk about Dateline London again. Were I on Just a Minute, Paul Merton would be forever buzzing me for 'repetition'. [The 'hesitation' I'll leave to President Obama and the 'deviation' I'll leave to any number of much-loved celebs and semi-retired politicians].
Today's edition had three topics: (a) the latest warnings from the U.S. government about potential Islamist terror attacks, (b) the week's event in the Israel-Palestinian conflict and (c) the burqa ban in France. [Spot a running theme there ?]
The guests were a left-leaning, Muslim Guardian columnist, a left-leaning Independent columnist, a German Die Welt journalist (with impeccably BBC-like opinions) and an American ABC journalist (who expressed impeccably liberal opinions on everything).
They all agreed with each other - and kept saying that they agreed with each other too.
Gavin Esler made only the most token attempts to go swim against the consensus.
I have never heard such an undiluted outpouring of undiluted left-liberal opinion on a single BBC programme since...well, since last week's Dateline London.
I was going to transcribe acres of the programme but I just cannot be bothered. It's too hot. You should be able to guess what they said though given that...
...on (a)...they agreed that the U.S. government's warnings don't amount to much and that risk reinforcing "Islamophobia".
...on (b)...they agreed that it's a shame about Israel and the Palestinians and that the Israeli public are even meaner than their government.
...and on (c)...they agreed that the burqa ban is wrong, saying it would only increase "Islamophobia" and the feelings of alienation among Muslims, and blaming right-wing politicians and the media for stoking "Islamophobia" and Muslim resentment.
Such a wrong-headed consensus is not fun to watch and their repeated statements about how much they agreed with each other made me think, "Well, I don't agree"...and that's what this edition of Dateline lacked: Someone who didn't agree.
They should have featured, say, a pro-Israeli guest, a right-wing guest or a critic of Islam - well, frankly someone...anyone...who could step outside of Dateline's stifling groupthink.
To end, here's a flavour of Gavin Esler's contribution today:
The Biblical law of 'an eye for an eye' leaves everyone blind and yet the apparently endless struggle between Israelis and Palestinians took a particularly horrific character this week with the murder of teenage boys, plus rocket attacks from Palestinians, bombing raids and repression from the Israelis. Is there really no end to this cycle of attacks, reprisals, resistance and repression?
What do you make of the Palestinian argument which goes, "This is the longest occupation in modern times. This is going to keep happening when settlements continue to be built in these areas"? That's the core of the problem, isn't it?
But Donald made the point: This is it. This is the central conflict around which so much rests in the Middle East.
You touched on the Islamophobia thing...We all did actually, a little bit earlier...but in terms of this ban and upholding the ban how do you view that, how do you see that?
That's a very interesting point, Nesrine, because, in fact, there are a lot of parallels between anti-Semitism historically and Islamophobia now. There's absolutely no question of that. And that's the, quote, "perceived threat" of a particular minority.