By popular demand...
The Radio 4 drama Recent Events at Collington House (Part 1 here; Part 2 here) prompted a metaphysical dialogue between the heart and the soul, here at ITBB.
Here, channeling that marvellous Metaphysical poet Andrew Marvell, is a taste of that inner debate:
Heart: I dutifully listened to the final episode of that Radio 4 drama, which was like a collection of all the recent 'issues' pasted together, but with an unusual outcome - the Muslims defeated the secular headmistress. A message of hopelessness I suppose.
Soul: I was surprised at how emotionally involved I got with it. I went red in the face at times. Plus, it went to places that the BBC rarely goes to. It showed how a Trojan Horse-style plot (of the kind which occurred in the West Midlands) might actually work, beginning with personal demands from a single governor that his child should not be taught music because "Music is haram" and progressing through an ever-increasing number of further sharia-inducing demands to a smear campaign against the sitting headmistress (and non-Muslim members of staff), to dogged grievance-mongering, a relentless infiltration of the board of governors and finally a takeover - a takeover which all the nice, well-meaning, PC, multicultural, equality-loving, (BBC-like) members of staff/governors are nigh on powerless to prevent. It certainly was a message of hopelessness - which, at the moment, seems something of a realistic position.
Heart: The only thing I'd point out is that to me it seemed, in terms of drama, it was pretty crass. The good thing was that it ended up on a kind of note of hopelessness and resignation, but it was as if the writer had gathered together a hatfull of headlines and strung them together with little additional creative or literary input:
- The headmistress hounded out by Muslim parents and governors. Tick.
- The friendless outsider non-Muslim boy with a worried single mum, radicalised by another pupil. Tick.
- The radicalised clever Muslim pupil. Tick.
- The frail chairman, supportive but about to stand down. Tick.
- The gratuitous divorce in the background, sapping the headmistress's strength. Tick.
- The graffiti on the wall. The debate about freedom of speech. The Charlie Hebdo/picture of the prophet. Tock.
That's just for a start. At least we were spared a happy outcome, which was indeed a surprise. It clunked.
Soul: Yes, it did clunk. The bit where Mr Nurani did his "I love the Prophet Mohammed more than my mum, dad and kids" speech was nicked straight out of the papers, as was pretty much all of the rest of the plot. Still, it got me hot under the collar about Mr Shah & Co. (the Islamist plotters inside the Trojan horse) and made lots of points that aren't usually made on the BBC, which is something.
Heart: I thought the whole thing was nicked out of the papers, and that's why it couldn't really be described as 'good'. Only in its vaguely realistic ending was it in a way good.