Sunday 15 March 2015

Unashamedly praising 'Broadcasting House'

Blogging was always meant to be personal. The word 'blog', after all, comes from 'web log'; meaning, an online diary of someone's thoughts.

Causes, however, can easily sweep a blogger up, radicalise them, and then wash away much of that personal element.

I hope Sue and myself have managed to ward that particular danger off as best we can. (Sue certainly has).

However, the momentum towards impersonal militancy (in the non-BBC sense of 'militancy') seems surprisingly difficult to resist - especially when blogging about this particular subject. And just as others before us have 'gone off to Syria' (metaphorically-speaking), having previously been grade A schoolgirls (when it comes to trying to be fair-minded and non-aggressive about BBC bias), so I feel that I've rather slipped away, as time passes, from my initial intention (at ITBB) to be the 'good cop' to B-BBC's 'bad cop' when it come to (duffing up) obtaining a confession from the biased BBC. 

This personal statement is, you may (or may not) be relieve to hear, merely the prelude to one of those posts which I know some of you really don't like - the sort of post where I sing the BBC's praises (in counterbalance to all the BBC-bashing I do elsewhere - see above and below).

That I feel the need to post such a preface probably tells you a lot.

Such posts are my safety-valve. Unlike some bloggers about BBC bias, I actually rather like the BBC and would hate to see it go - however radically I'd like to see it transformed and however harshly I'd like to see it purged of bias. Mine is a love-hate relationship with the BBC (in contrast to the hate-hate relationship that others seem to have with it.)

I got into trouble recently for confessing to a change of heart on the subject of Paddy O'Connell and Broadcasting House. In my confessional post about it I put that down to Paddy and BH seriously getting their act together in the past couple of years.

Others, however, seem to have put it down to me going soft on the programme (or to whatever the BBC-bias-blogger's equivalent of Stockholm Syndrome is. Or to me 'learning to love Big Brother').

Well, all I can say is what I feel, and I feel that BH has become a first-rate BBC programme recently (after several patchy years) and that the previously-biased Paddy (a real bĂȘte noire of mine for quite some time) has worked hard - and, generally, successfully so - at improving himself as a presenter, to such an extent that I now find him a real pleasure to listen to...

...[and even if you don't think he has (and still want him dispatched to the depths of Hades), please imagine the possibility that he could, theoretically-speaking, have got his act together and is trying to be as impartial as it's possible to be while still presenting a BBC programme...(It isn't hard to imagine, is it, really?)]

This week's Broadcasting House was a treat. I laughed at several things, and pretty much everything interested me - arctic terns, musical stealings and coincidences, anger, fracases. The mix of serious subjects and cheerfully trivial stuff suits me. I concentrated. I frowned. I relaxed. I laughed.

It's main 'serious bit' this week concerned Hillsborough. Living in the North West and having North West Tonight as my local BBC programme, it's become something a running joke (beyond Liverpool) about how much the BBC has obsessed about Hillborough - the 'joke' being that North West Tonight has barely gone a week for the last 26 years without mentioning Hillsborough (even though many people outside Liverpool have become deeply bored/irritated by it).

This week, however, saw the denouement of the saga, and BH broadcast the diary of one of the victims' mother.

In the past I'd have raised my eyebrows, but but it was surprisingly moving, and she was - I truly realised for the first time - absolutely, 100% right to have 'gone on about it' for so very long. The police chief in charge at the time finally admitted this week to lying about what happened - lying to avoid admitting that he made a fatal error at Hillsborough - which is astonishing. I will confess that I've been rather cynical about the Hillsborough campaign over the years. I was wrong to be.

Last week's Broadcasting House was even better. Very funny in parts.

However...and sticking to the serious stuff...if you still doubt this paean to BH then please listen (from around the 6.30 point) to last week's BH interview with the mother of one of the Oxford grooming victims and the father of one of the victims of the Furness Hospital maternity ward scandal.

Paddy was superb. Both parents were superb. It was a privilege to hear them, and very illuminating.

Both parent were absolutely damning of the public services  - especially the social workers, council workers, NHS staff, and NHS officials. It was truly eye-opening, jaw-dropping stuff.

Strikingly, however, one public service which had failed both parents shone out from that mass of dangerously unhelpful, unapologetic, self-serving, public sector failures - the police. The police were the only public servants to properly apologise to both parents for failing their children. And both parents took great comfort from the police's apology and wished the social services, the council managers, the NHS managers, had displayed the same kind of humanity.

Two weeks, two sorry stories involving the police. Anti-police bias from BH? Well, they were big new stories, so they had to be reported.

And I took away from both stories the fact that the police are now trying to do the right thing.

I want the police to put things right. I don't want a police force that blames the victims, that attempts to smear critics, that doesn't dare investigate paedophile gangs for fear of appearing racist, that compiles lists of people buying copies of Charlie Hebdo, that arrests people for quoting Churchill in public spaces, that investigates people for 'inappropriate' (non-threatening) comments on Twitter, etc, etc.

You see? It made me think.

I like to be made to think. And to re-think.

1 comment:

  1. Bouquets and brickbats. Carrots and sticks.

    Are these not the very foundations of improving services?

    I certainly think so.

    The problems kick in when the element of choice is removed.

    But I fear I don't see the odd diamond as vital in compulsion in the same way as, say, BBC's vast PR machine tries to make out.


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