Monday 2 March 2015

All You Need is Love

The closing words of tonight's Panorama were "Love at the heart of politics can only make for a better democracy". 

They were spoken, perhaps inevitably, by Fergal Keane.

There was sad music and hopeful music. And love. Lots of love. Plus Fergal cooing over a baby (belonging to a struggling single mum, naturally). And then more love.

The programme was the first episode in a four-part series called 'What Britain wants'. And what Britain wants, it seems, is love - a love that can come from family, from community, from social/political activism, from Islam.

The report came from the east end of London and, inevitably, touched on immigration. Immigration has brought "a real energy" to  the area, Fergal told us. But, sadly, there's always been intolerance. There were the blackshirts in the 1930s, and now there's tension between "Islamist hardliners" and "nationalist far-right groups". 

Looking on the bright side though, there's always political activism. Think of the anti-Iraq War protests, said Fergal. Look at 38 Degrees, putting love at the heart of politics.

And love can effect mainstream politics too, he said:
And there's hardly a more profound example of the power of love in a political campaign than this: a campaign that went to the heart of British ideas about love and family [the campaign for gay marriage]. Pria and Paula got married in Hornchurch, east of London. Until recently they were denied a right taken for granted by the rest of us. 
Then, to the strains of Arvo Part's Spiegel Im Spiegel (music much beloved of BBC documentary makers hoping to tug our hearts), Fergal continued:
In family, community, society, we've seen how love in its different dimensions can be a powerful unifying force. This young woman loves her religion and she loves Britain...
[Can you guess what's coming next?]
But there are some who feel alienated by the way she dresses and make assumptions about what she represents.
Cue Rabia, dressed from head to toe in a niqab, with only her eyes showing:
I'm born here, and I feel that I belong here. There's no reason why I wouldn't. But sometimes I do feel there's intolerance towards me and the way that I dress. It honestly is on face value [sic].
What shows Rabia as being different from certain other Muslim girls from her neck of the woods (the kind who might use their half-term holiday to fly off to help others behead non-Muslims) is that she invited a Holocaust survivor to speak at her local college. You shouldn't judge a book by its cover, Fergal was telling us - especially if that cover is a niqab. 

And Rabia returned later to call for tolerance. And Fergal talked again of the need for love - as potentially-lonely old folk danced and laughed with friends, and hearts were warmed.

Altogether now: Love is in the air. Everywhere I look around. Love is in the air. Every sight and every sound...


  1. Thank God I didn't watch that. I might have vomited on the carpet.

    Is this what the BBC has been reduced to? - the insane burblings of a recovered alcoholic. It's nice when people recover from alcoholism, but the fact they went down that road in the first place is hardly a reason for taking their views seriously.

    Why doesn't he stop his love in and look at what is really happening on the ground. Do gays feel comfortable in the new Muslim areas of East London?

    Why should anyone feel comfortable on the tube with someone in huge garment that hides their face. It's not acceptable civilised behaviour. It shows a complete disregard for fellow passengers.

    Meanwhile, on Newsnight, Evan Davies revealingly told us that HE believes Islamic State is a "grotesque" distortion of real Islam. Of course, he was unable or unwilling to give a single example of how exactly IS behaviour deviates one iota from the template laid down by the religion's founder.

  2. It was terrible to watch. So naive, so simplistic and full of irony. How can one love a shapeless, black mass with only eyes showing? One of the most awful programmes I've watched for a long time. Shockingly bad!


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