Friday 6 November 2015

Parallel universes

If you were pleased at BBC Radio 4 for, for once, going beyond its comfort zone last week and broadcasting Roger Scruton's intensely-argued defence of free speech on A Point of View, with its (vanishingly-rare-for-BBC-Radio-4) criticisms of people who hurl accusations of 'Islamophobia' and 'homophobia' at others...

...or if you felt that the one tiny chink of light in the BBC's gushing, overwhelmingly uncritical coverage of the release of Shaker Aamer was the occasional glimpse of someone from the Henry Jackson Society (such as Robin Simcox or Douglas Murray) sounding a note of caution...

...or if you were listening to Radio 2 (which I wasn't) and were pleasantly surprised to hear Vanessa Feltz abandoning the BBC's usual political correctness a challenging the gay man who won a discrimination case against a locksmith who had blown him a 'sarcastic kiss...

...then you probably won't have enjoyed tonight's Feedback with Roger Bolton - and you even might feel that you're living in a parallel universe to Roger's correspondents.

Vanessa was denounced for being rude; Roger Scruton was criticised for not considering the feelings of Muslims and gays; and Radio 4 was slammed by all and sundry for featuring people from the Henry Jackson Society (with one Twitter calling that organisation a "voice" that shouldn't be heard on the BBC).

One possible explanation of this is that Feedback only picked the complainants that helped it push its own biased agenda. 

Another is that Radio 4's audience include large numbers of left-leaning, PC listeners who, as is the way of such people, tend to complain to Radio 4 much more than right-leaning, non-PC listeners (who tend to complain on websites instead).... 

....except that, oddly, Roger Bolton (seemingly taking up his listeners' cudgels) did mention in passing that most people who wrote in said they'd found Roger Scruton's piece "refreshing"....

....yet that wasn't what was he and Feedback focused on. 

Feedback focused almost exclusively on Prof. Scruton's critics instead - those unhappy with his dismissal of 'Islamophobia', etc. [Roger B even quoted one of those 'check your privilege' idiots at Roger S (for being white) along the way.]

That kind of thing does make you wonder.

Roger Scruton says we must feel free to express opinions and to make jokes that others may find offensive; censoring them them only leads to a loss of reasoned argument.  
"The policing of the public sphere with a view to suppressing 'racist' opinions has caused a kind of public psychosis, a sense of having to tip-toe through a minefield, and to avoid all the areas where the bomb of outrage might go off in your face."
It's only a couple of weeks since a few Feedback listeners went mad about such jokes on Radio 4 Extra's re-broadcasts of The News Huddlines. Prof. Scruton's over-sensitive listeners had better brace themselves, hide themselves in a safe place, put cotton wool in their ears, ready the smelling salts and switch off the radio for ten minutes. Or write again to Roger Bolton at Feedback.


  1. I listened in a state of disbelief, as peeps actually said a centre right voice shouldn't be heard.

    Pah charity work!

    1. Disbelief was my initial reaction too.

      In fact, my jaw had already well-and-truly dropped before the first minute was out. Roger Bolton's introduction laid out all the censorious madness to come from the very start.

      Roger Scruton took it all in his stride. He's had around thirty years' experience of this kind of thing. I'm still surprised 'A Point of View' added him to their previously right-of-centre-free cast list.

    2. As an Hegelian I think he looks at things in a rather long timeframe! But that's no excuse for the mad PC crew at the BBC pushing an anti-free speech agenda.

      They are so stupid: they'd be the first to be rounded up to be beheaded or sold off in the slave market.

  2. I listened to Roger Scruton’s piece and I confess that I too found it “refreshing”. I don't believe it was even right-wing in any normal sense of the word. Unless the left has now abandoned the concept of free speech altogether. What struck me so forcefully was how wonderfully articulate and logical his arguments were - so free of platitudes. To use a prosaic term I might even describe it as common sense. I haven’t heard any of the follow up so it’s hard to comment, but are his critics so numerous, or do they just shout louder? Am I indeed so out of touch?

    1. I agree. From what I heard on 'Feedback', I think it's just that his critics shout louder. There's a lot of that about at the moment.

  3. We've seen this sort of thing before. The BBC gives the lion's share of attention to the complaints about Scruton, even if they are the minority of listener views, in order to provide balance for allowing him to express his thoughts in the first place. Impartiality established.


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