Anyone watching Q.T. retrospectively would have known that at some point during the programme David Dimbleby was to read out BBC editorial guidelines stating that the prophet Mohammed must not be represented in any shape or form.
The tenor of the conversation that preceded this shamefaced admission gave extra tension to the lead-up to what was a much anticipated announcement. How long could Dimbles hold out, one wondered, before he was forced, nay, could do nothing but - own up?
“Everyone should stand shoulder to shoulder with the French” the panel said, with varying degrees of sincerity, “and simultaneously flood the media and the internet with images of the prophet.”
“If only the newspapers had not bottled it” said Julia Hartley-Brewer. Unfortunately the cameras weren’t pointing at Dimbles whilst she was delivering her eloquent speech.
On to Vince Cable, clearly demonstrating why the Lib Dems are unworthy of one’s (anyone’s) vote. A young lady in the audience asked, with a menacing stare: “How can we say that Britain is defending democracy and freedom of speech when somebody like Theresa May is proposing to stunt freedom of movement by confiscating suspected Jihadis’ passports?”
Good question for Vince.
“I don’t think you can link those two things at all actually, but on the broader issue of response to this crisis I’ll quote Voltaire - ‘the thing that we should be most intolerant of is intolerance’ - but I think we should be careful that we don’t have intolerance directed at the Muslim community, and we tend to overlook that the day before these atrocities there were people marching in the streets of Germany - in cities where there were no Muslims at all - condemning ‘Islamicisation’ of Europe. The worst individual terrorist atrocity was that man Anders Breveik, and other neoNazi......”
Dimbles started looking increasingly shifty and said: “But was the attack directed at Charlie Hebdo for the cartoon, or for merely representing images of Mohammed? Or were they really ‘looking for a target’?”
Sailing close to the wind there one would think, with retrospective knowledge that he was about, sooner or later, to ‘fess up to the BBC’s official craven capitulation to the sensibilities of Islam - the “Islamicisation” of the BBC. But when?
What was he up to? Dipping a toe in so to speak? Tentatively exploring whether everyone would gang up against the BBC’s policy over “Political, Religious and Topical sensitivities”?
Over to David Davies.
“The French authorities will resist it, like the Norwegian authorities. They said we’re not going to put up with...’
Even Liz Kendall, whose entire outrage smacked of political posturing, skated dangerously close with the ‘freedom of speech’ riff, the Salman Rushdie riff, the our freedoms are hard-fought riff. That seemed to be the straw that broke the camel’s back; the thing that finally forced Dimbles to bring out the bit of paper he’d been nursing.
“I wouldn’t be doing my duty if I didn’t read this out.” Almost like the abdication speech. “I have not forgotten my duty to you.....”
People are wondering whether BBC Watch’s exposure of this embarrassing clause in the BBC’s editorial guidelines had anything to do with Dimbleby’s apparent crisis of conscience.
Even we, in the relative backwater of the blogosphere sometimes hope that some of our sentiment trickles down to them indoors. We sincerely hope so.