“Dull-witted and lazily obvious political artist” is a perfect description of the wag who provided the inspiration for My Address To The Nation. (H/T Ed West) see below.
Please don’t feel obliged read it all in one go. I know I wouldn’t.
I wanted to Speak to The Nation with a scintillating address about the BBC in which my actual message would come across subliminally, (below the threshold of conscious perception) but cloaked in enough satyrical wit and humour to seduce the audience into thinking I was brilliant. But I didn’t know how to start.
Imagine my delight when I came across the very template I was looking for, via BBC Watch!
All I had to do now was tweak one or two specifics. Easy peasy. This way, my personalised Address to the Nation retains all the wit and charm of the original, which can never be under-estimated.
(note. Only the underlined passages are my own. Everything else is faithfully reproduced in the original words of the artist Jeremy Hardy.)
For example, Jeremy Hardy’s ‘template’ - part one:
“People who don’t have the right to national self-determination are likely to want it. Tamils, Tibetans, Basques, Kurds, Palestinians.”
Very amusing. I just changed it to:
“Broadcasting organs that don’t have the right to national compulsory-public funding are likely to want it. Channel 4, ITV, Sky, (you know you want it)
It might need some canned laughter.
“And to take one of the more talked-about territorial disputes of our age, the State of Israel came about because some Jewish people wanted somewhere that a widely persecuted, dispersed, ethno-religious group could have a national home.”
"Some?" Ooh! Factually accurate? Possibly - but Jeremy Hardy’s palette of insulting witticisms cunningly diminishes Zionist Jews while alluding to ‘good‘ (anti-Zionist) Jews.
“And to take one of the more talked-about editorial disputes of our age, the BBC came about because John Reith wanted a platform; somewhere that a largely insular, ethno-religious group could be educated, informed and entertained.
“Sadly one of the things that shapes our identities is other people being bastards to us.
“Sadly one of the things that shapes Jeremy Hardy is that he is a bastard.
“Zionism was a mixture of secular nationalism, religious separatism and desperation. The main problem with the plan was that the place chosen already had people living there. Palestine was ruled by Turkey until the First World War, after which it fell under British colonial administration.”
(Oh dear. An allusion to “a land without a people for a people without a land!” Subtle or what. Plus “British colonial project” to boot!)
Instead, I put:
“The BBC was set up as an impartial and public service. The main problem with the plan was that many of the people running it were neither educated, informed nor entertaining. The BBC was run in accordance with the Royal Charter, after which it fell under the sovereignty of champagne socialists and ex commies.”
“Yes – I’m afraid it’s another one of ours: we who have been responsible for so many partitions and nearly got our comeuppance last week.”
What self-deprecating wit! I think I’ll call myself Laurel from now on.
“Yes – I’m afraid it’s another one of ours; we who have been responsible for so many petitions and an impartiality review, which nearly got the BBC its comeuppance last year until it was suppressed to the tune of a six-figure legal injunction.”
The first British governor of Jerusalem, Sir Ronald Storrs, described the idea of the new Jewish homeland as ‘a little loyal Jewish Ulster in a sea of potentially hostile Arabism’. A prescient warning you might think, but this was a man speaking in favour of the idea. And the British encouraged significant Jewish migration on taking charge.”
(The emphases are BBC Watch’s. See here for more details.
“The first British governor of the BBC, Sir John Reith, described the idea of the new British Broadcasting Corporation as: "to bring the best of everything to the greatest number of homes". A noble aspiration you might think, but this was a man speaking without the luxury of hindsight, or for that matter, insight. 'Being a son of the manse I was made a good deal of, but I had no friends of my own'
(more canned laughter)
“There is the narrative that Palestine had been an empty wasteland – which is a lie. Yes, the new arrivals were industrious: you’re not gonna get that many people turning up from Poland without seeing a lot more construction than the British would get. But there were already Palestinian towns, villages and farms, mosques and churches that had been there for centuries.”
He forgot to mention the century-old donkeys and olive trees? (The Laurel and Hardy joke is wearing thin now. )
“There is the narrative that the British public had been an empty vessel – which is a lie. Yes, the BBC was industrious: you’re not gonna get that many people turning up from the Guardian without seeing a lot more antisemitism than average. But there were already Pakistani majority towns, mosques and schools in Britain that had been there ever since the Labour party left the back door open.”
“Nevertheless, even some of Israel’s most passionate critics today are people who supported its founding in 1948. They argue that although Israeli governments are increasingly racist and colonial, the founding principles were noble.”
“Nevertheless, even some of the BBC’s most passionate critics today are people who supported its founding in the 1920s. They argue that although the BBC is increasingly racist and colonial, the founding principles were noble.
“Other critics would see even that view as rosy-spectacled but whatever you think about that period, the State of Israel exists and one of the frequent demands of its government is that others recognize its right to exist. I’m not sure any state has rights. Whether a person has rights is a moral question – they’re not like kidneys – but at least ethical judgments apply more sensibly to human beings. We’d all say a person has a right to a house. We wouldn’t say the house has rights. No-one thinks a house has a right to exist: certainly not an Israeli driving a bulldozer.”
( Dull-witted, cheap and politically lazy. Hardy has abandoned any pretense of delivering a comic monologue. It’s now clearly a pro-Palestinian diatribe espousing a particularly childish version of anti-Zionist propaganda)
“Other critics would see even that view as rosy-spectacled but whatever you think about that period, the BBC exists and one of the frequent demands of its governance is that others recognize its right to exist. I’m not sure any public service broadcasting has rights. Whether the BBC has rights is a moral question – it’s not like the UN – but at least ethical judgments apply more sensibly to human beings. We’d all say a person has a right to a television. We wouldn’t say the television has rights. No-one thinks Jeremy Hardy has a right to broadcast: certainly not an Israeli listening to the radio.”
“Let’s imagine that all Israel’s critics recognize its right to exist as a de-facto state. That wouldn’t guarantee its continued existence in its present form or any other. Even now we don’t even know where its borders are supposed to be, so what are we ratifying? That’s what happens when you’re greedy: you keep getting bigger and bigger and bigger – people have trouble recognizing you.”
(Oh, those greedy Jews!)
“Let’s imagine that all the BBC’s critics recognize its right to exist as a de-facto reality. That wouldn’t guarantee its continued existence in its present form or any other. Even now we don’t even know what its obligations are supposed to be, so what are we paying for? That’s what happens when you’re greedy: you keep getting bigger and bigger and bigger – you have trouble justifying yourself.”
(Oh, that expansionist BBC!) (You hardly need to change anything with this template, do you?)
[I’ve missed out a really boring chunk here about a one/two state solution. One, two, miss a few, ninety nine a hundred:]
My version of some of the boring bit:
“And there might be a publicly-funded or subscription-only solution. Over time comedians and broadcasting organs come and go. [...] The BBC Trust further complicates matters by insisting it’s not only recognized as an authority, but as the arbiter of all broadcasting matters. But most journalists don’t work there; thankfully because they need us. “
“One of the most popular voices on Radio 4 is that of Michael Rosen – the non-Zionist Jewish poet and children’s author. It would have been our loss if his parents had decided to raise him in Israel rather than north London and what a horrible book ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’ might have been.”
(read: ‘some of my friends are (good) Jews’.)
“One of the BBC’s most popular voices is that of Abdel Bari Atwan – the pro Palestinian activist and top guest on Dateline. It would have been no loss if his parents had decided to raise him in Israel rather than the Gaza Strip and what an interesting book ‘the secret history of al Qaida’ might have been. “
I picked ‘Bari’ at random; but I guess I could have *chosen few* others. Geddit.
H: “How many bears might have died on the pretext of the one he was looking for? Moreover, many Israelis have only little Jewish ancestry or none. Even without the occupied territories, a fifth of the population is Palestinian and demographics change and ideas about who we are change. […]
“How many martyrs might have died on the pretext of the 72 virgins they were looking for? Moreover, many Arabs have only little Palestinian ancestry or none. […]
Actually, bored now. A fuller transcript of Jeremy Hardy’s side-splitting monologue is available on BBC Watch; that’s where I nicked it from, obviously. I didn’t listen to the original.
Suffice it to say falafels and curry feature later on, but no more laughs.
Thanks, Jeremy. I don’t think I’ll be Speaking To The Nation again. Shall we make a pact?