Wednesday 9 September 2015

Our Sea

Tonight on BBC Radio 4 started badly, and then got even worse.

BBC Radio 4 one-and-a-quarter-hour-long The Migration Debate at 8.00 pm had a panel of four, but it was far from being a balanced one.

On one side stood David Goodhart from Demos; on the other (pro-immigration) side stood Heaven Crawley of Coventry University, barrister Hashi Mohamed and Dr Stephanie Collins of Coventry University. 

(Yes, it was that unbalanced. A 3:1 pro-immigration bias).

And to make things worse, Hashi Mohammed and Heaven Crawley kept on interrupting David Goodhart (especially Hashi).

Add to that Tim Harford from More and Less, whose contributions all made the same point: that the numbers coming to Europe aren't anywhere near as significant as many people think. ('Nothing to see here, move along, move along').

Now, yes, that was certainly biased....

....but what followed was almost beyond belief: a drama called Our Sea. The bias went off the scale.
Ronan Bennett drama about the desperate migrant crisis in the Mediterranean. Mahmoud, Yasser, Shaibul, Marwan and Letebrhane share their experiences as they fight for their lives hours after their boat is sank by traffickers. Lindsay Duncan and Stephen Rea star.
The story arc was that the 'narrator' (played by Lindsay Duncan) went angrily off-script in protest at the migrant crisis and at the writer's attempts to sound neutral, forcing the writer to search his soul. 

This was set alongside the 'harrowing' stories of drowning migrants (all but one of whom drowned as the play went on): 

The narrator's points included:
"If these people were white!!...."
"It is an affront".
"The answers are obvious".
"It is wrong to be neutral. It's wrong not to be outraged"
"What our government is doing is heartless and cruel"
"I don't know how the hell they [the British government] sleep at night"....
...and that those who make the kind of points you find on blogs like this are "bigots".

And 'the writer' ended by soulfully making his plea for us to see the migrants as human beings.

The word for this, of course, is "agitprop".

And guess where the first drowning migrant came from? Gaza, of course. And he had a story to tell. 

His tale began, "Gaza!!! "I lost my three fingers in an Israeli missile strike in Gaza one night" a bone in his right arm and his pancreas. He had the right papers and tried to cross into Israel to get to a hospital there for treatment. At the border checkpoint, the Israelis arrested him. He got three years as a suspected terrorist. And then got sent back to rubble-strewn Gaza, still minus his three fingers, bone and pancreas.

Yes, pure agitprop, with a typical, nasty anti-Israeli bite to it.....

Being placed in the Radio 4 schedule tonight where it was - at 9.15 pm, straight after a major special on the migrant crisis - this was truly shocking bias from the BBC.

The BBC have 'surpassed themselves' tonight.


The writer responsible for this travesty, incidentally, was Irish novelist and screenwriter Ronan Bennett

His Irish Republican past is colourful - so colourful that he was banned by the Speaker of the House of Commons from working in parliament after Jeremy Corbyn made him his research assistant in 1987. Another controversy arose in 2000 when he said he wouldn't turn in the perpetrators of the Omagh bombing if he knew their identities


  1. Another one for the collection. No way do they balance this over time with an even marginally right-wing playwright.

  2. Tempted to pop a complaint in, but despite its blatant nature, the subjectivity of the 'coincidence' and creative integrity of editorial would see them swat it away

    However, if any entity the BBC did not approve of tried such a stunt, they'd have 'analysts' queuing round W1A for a week to decry it.

  3. Radio 4's outrageous bias here demands as many complaints from license fee payers as possible. Try and get others to complain so that the BBC complaints department be inundated with complaints !! They need to answer each complaint and people should appeal if it is not satisfactory.

  4. So this is where the village idiots hang out ... ?

    What awful people.


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