Saturday 16 May 2015

Like a long-legged fly...

If you're feeling in the mood for a proper take down of the BBC, then please try Michael Henderson's hatchet job on the BBC at the Daily Telegraph

Before wielding his axe against the BBC, he too offers some praise for the BBC - specifically for one of those Radio 4 programmes I had in mind during the previous post: Prof. Roy Foster's magnificent, gimmick-free Radio 4 lecture on W.B .Yeats. (Like a long-legged fly upon the stream, Roy Foster's mind moves upon silence.)

[Other fine examples of BBC broadcasting from the same day were What the Songbird Said, Soul Music: The Lord is my Shepherd and Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock on The Thought Chamber.] 

Michael Henderson's piece is something of a smorgasbord, but it contains some striking points - and I think we can all agree about Giles Fraser:
But it isn’t just the liberal bias, which during the recent election campaign saw Fraser Nelson, editor of The Spectator, surrounded on Newsnight by no fewer than four people who opposed his views in a studio discussion about welfare reform. It is, speaking more broadly, a cultural problem.
On Radio 4, for example, The News Quiz, which used to be an amusing show that ended the week with a merry quip or two, is now a platform for unfunny Lefties who bellow anti-Tory propaganda at the audience.
Mariella Frostrup, whose manicured tones can’t quite conceal the pity she feels for anybody unfortunate enough not to live in London, seems to be on the wireless every other day. This is the lady who, simper simper, bowled a few half-volleys at Gordon Brown during a Labour Party conference. Would a Tory-leaning broadcaster get away with a stunt like that?
Other programmes, such as Front Row, Saturday Review and even A Good Read, tack heavily to the Left in their choice of material and guests. When a leisurely world view is required, to put everything “in context”, it is usually to the likes of Lisa Jardine and Helena Kennedy that the BBC turns; or, increasingly, to that frightful windbag, Giles Fraser.
Rev Fraser, the turbulent priest who last week confessed to his shame at being English, gets behind doors where water can’t penetrate. Why? On The Moral Maze, where he is a regular member of the team, he struggles to articulate himself, yet there he is, week after week, presented as the conscience of Christian England.
Charles Moore has written more than once about the BBC’s abject failure to “get” Margaret Thatcher, thereby failing to get what most viewers understand instinctively. Things haven’t changed much. Newsnight, in particular, has become a shadow of the programme it used to be. It is Islington talking to Camden, and that kind of stuff tends not to play well beyond London.
At 8.20 yesterday morning, the Today programme on Radio 4 ran a feature on Grayson Perry, the potter who wears a frock. With so much going on in the world, that was considered to be worth five minutes of our time. And they wonder why their foes stand by the gate, planning to cut a swathe through their privileges! It’s not dark yet, Auntie, but it’s getting there and most of it is of your own doing.

THAT civilisation may not sink,
Its great battle lost,
Quiet the dog, tether the pony
To a distant post;
Our master Caesar is in the tent
Where the maps are spread,
His eyes fixed upon nothing,
A hand under his head.
Like a long-legged fly upon the stream
His mind moves upon silence.
That the topless towers be burnt
And men recall that face,
Move most gently if move you must
In this lonely place.
She thinks, part woman, three parts a child,
That nobody looks; her feet
Practise a tinker shuffle
Picked up on a street.
Like a long-legged fly upon the stream
Her mind moves upon silence.
That girls at puberty may find
The first Adam in their thought,
Shut the door of the Pope's chapel,
Keep those children out.
There on that scaffolding reclines
Michael Angelo.
With no more sound than the mice make
His hand moves to and fro.
Like a long-legged fly upon the stream
His mind moves upon silence.

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