Sunday 25 October 2015

An unusual 'Point of View' for the BBC

I've read many a comment today at Biased BBC (the blog, not the biased BBC itself) praising Roger Scruton's A Point of View in defence of free speech on Radio 4, and I want to praise it too. 

It is a superb piece - as you'd expect from Prof. Scruton. (You can also read it on the BBC website here.)

It begins with John Stuart Mill and ends with these words:
Of course, we have moved on a bit from the Middle Ages. It is not the man who is assassinated now, but only his character. But the effect is the same. Free discussion is being everywhere shut down, so that we will never know who is right - the heretics, or those who try to silence them.
Moving from the historical and the immediate to the lastingly profound, it's one of the finest things I've heard on Radio 4 for quite a while, so please give it a listen. 

Roger Scruton's take on the 'Islamophobia' ruse might well be particularly worth dwelling on by Radio 4 listeners unaccustomed to hearing such a point of view - though there are lessons for all of us in what he had to say. 

Here's just one paragraph:
That is what has happened in the case of Islamophobia. Muslims in our society are often victims of prejudice, abuse and assault, and this is a distressing situation that the law strives to remedy. But when people invent a phobia to explain all criticism of Islam it is not that kind of abuse that they have in mind. They wish to hide the truth, to shout "lies!" in the face of criticism and to silence any attempt at discussion. In my view, however, it is time to bring the truth into the open, including the truth about the Holy Book itself.

Prof. Scruton's appearance on A Point of View also gives me the opportunity to update my list of presenters of that programme. 

Roger remains pretty much the only right-leaning contributor to the series - a series absolutely dominated by left-leaning contributors.

The notable new exception to that rule is A Point of View's addition of a right-leaning U.S. contributor, the ever-delightful PJ O'Rourke, to the rota. (I've got a surprising number of PJ's books on my bookshelf). He's had two one-offs over the past year. (Woo-hoo!) 

His left-leaning semi-compatriot, Adam Gopnik, has had many, many more though. (Mr Gopnik, however, is a wonderful writer and I usually love his A Point of View pieces). 

And left-wing Will Self, who is granted lonnnggg, lonnnggg runs, remains the preferred 'point of view' for Radio 4's A Point of View.

Anyhow, here's the updated list of APOV contributors. Enjoy!:

Roger Scruton (23 Oct 2015-   )  
Will Self (18 Sep-16 Oct 2015)
PJ O'Rourke (11 Sep 2015)
John Gray (14 Aug-4 Sep 2015)
Adam Gopnik (31 Jul-7 Aug 2015) 
Peter Aspden (24 Jul 2015)
Adam Gopnik (19 Jun-17 Jul 2015)
AL Kennedy (22 May-12 Jun 2015)
David Cannadine (15 May 2015)
PJ O'Rourke (8 May 2015)
David Cannadine (24 Apr-1 May 2015)
Howard Jacobson (3 Apr-17 Apr 2015)
Tom Shakespeare (13 Mar-27 Mar 2015)
Will Self (30 Jan-6 Mar 2015)
AL Kennedy (16 Jan-23 Jan 2015)
Adam Gopnik (9 Jan 2015)
AL Kennedy (2 Jan 2015)
David Cannadine (25 Dec 2014)
Roger Scruton (5 Dec-19 Dec 2014)
John Gray (7 Nov-28 Nov 2014) 
Adam Gopnik (3 Oct-31 Oct 2014)
Lisa Jardine (5 Sep-26 Sep 2014)
Will Self (25 Jul-29 Aug 2014)
John Gray (11 Jul-18 Jul 2014)
AL Kennedy (13 Jun-4 Jul 2014)
Tom Shakespeare (23 May-6 Jun 2014)
Mary Beard (25 Apr-16 May 2014)
William Dalrymple (4 Apr-18 Apr 2014)
Sarah Dunant (14 Mar-28 Mar 2014)
Roger Scruton (21 Feb-7 Mar 2014)
Adam Gopnik (17 Jan-14 Feb 2014)
John Gray (27 Dec 2013-10-Jan 2014)
William Dalrymple (20 Dec 2013)
John Gray (13 Dec 2013)
Will Self (1 Nov-6 Dec 2013)
Lisa Jardine (4 Oct-25 Oct 2013)
AL Kennedy (6 Sep-27 Sep 2013)
Roger Scruton (9 Aug-30 Aug 2013)
Sarah Dunant (5 Jul-2 Aug 2013)
Tom Shakespeare (7 Jun-28 June 2013)
John Gray (26 Apr-31 May 2013)
Adam Gopnik (22 Mar-19 Apr 2013)
Lisa Jardine (22 Feb-15 Mar 2013)
David Cannadine (25 Jan-15 Feb 2013)
Will Self (14 Dec 2012-18 Jan 2013)
Onora O'Neill (7 Dec 2012)
Mary Beard (11 Nov-30 Nov 2012)
Martin Jacques (12 Oct-4 Nov 2012)
Sarah Dunant   (7 Sep-5 Oct 2012)
John Gray (13 Jul-31 Aug 2012)
Adam Gopnik (1 Jun-6 Jul 2012)
Will Self (20 Apr-25 May 2012)
David Cannadine (10 Feb-13 Apr 2012)
Lisa Jardine (30 Dec 2011-3 Feb 2012)
Simon Schama (29 Dec 2011)
Will Self (28 Dec 2011)
Sarah Dunant (27 Dec 2011)
John Gray  (26 Dec 2011)
Lisa Jardine (2 Dec-25 Dec 2011)
Mary Beard (4 Nov-25 Nov 2011)
Will Self  (30 Sep-28 Oct 2011)
John Gray  (19 Aug-23 Sep 2011
Alain de Botton  (8 Jul-12 Aug 2011)

(The programme took a break for over four months for David Attenborough's Life Stories)

Alain de Botton (5 Jan-11 Feb 2011)
Joan Bakewell  (19 Nov-31 Dec 2010)
Sarah Dunant  (8 Oct-12 Nov 2010)
Lisa Jardine  (30 Jul-1 Oct 2010)
David Cannadine  (21 May-23 Jul 2010)
Simon Schama  (12 Mar-14 May 2010)
Lisa Jardine  (1 Jan-5 Mar 2010)


  1. Nice work. So obviously loaded well to the Left until this year.

    Brave of Scruton to call 'Islmaophobia' for what it is. The only question is, was he treated coldly and met with death stares at the BBC afterwards, or was there some silent cheering as he left the room?

  2. It was superb and strange to hear such common sense views about free speech uttered on the BBC. I caught the last few minutes - although I have heard him lecture, I didn't recognise the voice. Sad that Scruton seems to be the only pro-free speech voice from the right allowed on.

    Really this is what the BBC needs - many more voices that are pro-free speech, pro-cultural integration and pro-migration control. It's not that I want the left or extreme left (or indeed Islamic) voices excluded. I want to hear the full spread of opinion.

  3. Scruton is just about our one and only philosopher who has not been bought, pawned and then owned by the chattering classes of Oxbridge and their goons at the BBC.
    Were he French-he`d be a one man antidote to all the cultural crap that we live with here...but being a British polymath of reason, power and faith...well the cretins choose a Jonathan Miller or a Tariq Ramadan instead.
    A privilege to have Mr Scruton here in the UK-and was surprised that the BBC let him on to say all this.
    It`s usually a prolix oaf like Will Self or AS Byatt isn`t it?

  4. There's something else about that list that strikes me - the sheer hypocrisy of it.

    The left-liberal intelligentsia love to lecture the public about the merits of multi-culturalism, the benefits of mass immigration and, specifically, the wondrous contributions of Islam to the world of wisdom, science and the arts.

    And yet in some five years they haven't been able to find a single Muslim contributor, it would appear! It's obvious that the metropolitan literary elite of London don't really lead by example do they? It's a cosy coterie of the like-minded who don't want to have their established ways challenged!


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