Sunday 24 May 2015

Another Paper Review

There was much to enjoy on this morning's Broadcasting House...

...Douglas Carswell v Steve Richards on the value of referendums, guest presenter Jonny Dymond correcting Mark Mardell's pronunciation of 'doyenne' (something I'm not sure MM entirely appreciated), Lionel Blair ruling himself out of the Labour leadership contest, an engaging piece on people with a penchant for pylons, a very interesting section on how people feel when they return to the place where their loved-one died, and Basil Brush on his romantic dalliance with Joanna Lumley...

...but, my goodness, that paper review panel could certainly have been one heck of a lot better balanced!

We had former Met chief Ian Blair (now Baron Blair), comedienne and Guardian and New Statesman columnist Shazia Mirza and veteran left-winger activist Denis Goldberg.

Let's just dip into their conversation at various points:
Shazia Mirza (on jihadi brides):...young, impressionable, vulnerable children...because I think these young girls are just excited by what they see on TV and they have no understanding at all, and I don't think this has anything to do with Islam.
Ian Blair (on jihadi brides): One has to accept that young people have always done this. I mean The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie was right up there with the girl at the end going off to the Civil War and joining the wrong side. So there's always been a level of excitement...
Denis Goldberg (on the Tories and UKIP): What puzzles me truly in Great the fact that the leading political party, the governing party, instead of opposing UKIP's intolerance, kind of adopted it as a policy...I find this intolerable, quite honestly. And I'm quite a tolerant person, except of intolerance. And we have a leading party kind of promoting intolerance...
Shazia Mirza (on police discrimination against black and Asian people: We have the same argument trotted out over and over again about the police and black people and the police and Asian people, why we don't trust the police. Well, when we have a history of people not being held accountable, of course we're not going to have faith in the police. 
Ian Blair (on diversity, the police and the Tory government): The Metropolitan Police resisted dealing with Lawrence properly and then spent years trying to make handling diversity the top of its agenda. I think that under the recent government that has faded slightly...
Denis Goldberg (on the SNP's complaints about HS2 and the Tories): It seems like a petty revenge of English nationalism...and the sole Tory represented in Scotland is going to be the Scottish Secretary in the cabinet. I mean this is representative government gone crazy for its unrepresentativeness.
Denis Goldberg (on the British constitution): It's a crazy constitution, but Britain seems to make it work after a fashion...after a fashion that favours the rich in general, it favours intolerance.
Denis Goldberg (on labeling Muslims): I want to come back to intolerance. I have no support for ISIS but I have a problem of the profiling of people who are Muslims and saying that because they're Muslims therefore they are therefore impossible people and this is a kind of libeling of people...
Shazia Mirza (on labeling Muslims): Well, that's what they said about why Jihadi John turned the way he did was because of profiling and pressure from the police and things like that. I think within the Muslim community there has to be a talk between the extremists and the normal, peace-loving people...
I've listened to many a Broadcasting House over the years and this is far from being the only time they'd has this kind of (very) left-liberal-biased panel. I have never heard a BH press panel that's entirely biased in the other political direction though. 

Hopefully, next week's show will feature Damian Thompson from the Spectator, Canadian writer Mark Steyn and lyricist Sir Tim Rice. For the sake of balance. 


  1. Ian Blair , now there is a blast from the past ! What could he possibly mean by the "wrong side " ? Bit of a giveaway really.

  2. Apologies for being off topic, but your post about Cruickshank's documentary on Ludwig II's castles has been pushed off the page. I just saw it, and it was well done. I guess the subject matter leaves one with a rather limited set of adjectives, and he repeated himself occasionally. Either he should get a thesaurus or maybe talk less. I'd have preferred a bit less presenter jabbering and a bit more of the visuals speaking for themselves. That was meant to be the point of the whole thing after all. Still, I liked the way Cruickshank brought the real world into the foundations of the fantasy world. Made me think a bit about the whole rise of German nationalism.

    If you're in the mood, I can heartily recommend this recording of cello and piano transcriptions of various Wagner themes.

    Julius Berger on period cello, and Norman Shelter on the piano from the Hohenschwangau castle, on which Wagner actually played for Ludwig (not the one featured in the painting shown in the documentary). Recorded in situ.

    1. Never worry about being off topic, David.

      (Unless Earls Court/Bunny la Roche starts commenting here, people can be as off topic as they like!)

      The visuals were stunning. I said "wow!" out loud at a few points. Ludwig's aesthetic tastes, architecturally and musically, seem just fine to me.

      Dan Cruickshank documentaries always feature a bit too much of Dan, however interesting many of the things he says might be. That's the BBC's fault, I think. Nicholas Crane from 'Coast' was given a series walking around Wales about ten years back. I got a bit obsessed in trying to find a single frame in any of the episodes of the series where Nick Crane didn't appear - either full-on, in the distance or merely as an arm or a leg. I reckon about ten seconds of the programme, including long stretches of stunning Welsh scenery, went by without the programme's producer feeling the need to put some part of his anatomy into camera shot. It was ridiculous and distracting.

      The programme was full of Wagner's impact (and music). I don't know about you though but DC's commentary dwelt much less on Wagner than I expected. From my previous reading about Wagner I'd gathered that Ludwig's bankrolling of Wagner played no small part in the king's bankrupting of Bavaria's coffers. DC placed that firmly on Ludwig's personal architectural spending.

      I do enjoy a good Wagner transcription.

  3. The comments by Mirza about Jihadi John were unbelievable. To think that the BBC has become an amplifier of ridiculous apologist viewpoints that espouse knife wielding extremists. Worse still, funded by the tax - I mean license fee payer. It's a genuine disgrace.

    For the record, I was driving at the time this was on the radio and managed to have a self contained road rage episode. How the car stayed on the road, I will never know. I'm glad the program didn't slip by this site.


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