Sunday 8 May 2016

Two women sitting smoking on a bench outside a supermarket...

Mark Mardell went to Thurrock for The World This Weekend to investigate how UKIP is eating into the Labour vote there, before discussing the matter (and Jeremy Corbyn and the EU) with Labour's Remain leader Alan Johnson. 

Mr. Johnson appeared to complain that UKIP receives too much coverage and had various sly digs at the party (and the Leave side). 

Fair enough, of course (though Mark could have challenged him more).

What troubled me however was the dog-whistle 'tone' of Mark Mardell's report, especially when it came to describing those UKIP voters. See what you make of the following:
Summer in Thurrock. Tattoos are exposed for the first time this years. Shorts and sleeveless vests are on parade. Necks redden in the southern sun. Many of these people don't see Labour as their natural party any longer.
This wharf is deserted except for two older blokes grumbling about the possibility of Syrian refugees heading this way on EU passports.
Does that sound as 'Emily Thornberry-like' to you as it does to me?

Fortunately for Mark, he then struck gold, was able to cry 'Bingo!', came up on the lottery and won millions of an accumulator at Newmarket (all at the same time) because he managed to record and broadcast the following, straight after broadcasting the views of a nice Sikh chap who approved of Sadiq Khan's election:
Mark Mardell: Two women sitting smoking on a bench outside a supermarket couldn't disagree more.
Woman 1: London! I mean, please! London mayor! I mean, please! Bit gutted about it really.
Mark Mardell: Why's that?
Woman 1: Well, cos I ain't being funny but he's going to look after his own, in he? The Pakistanis, and all the rest of it?
Woman 2: We should have just got an English bloke in, you know. This is Britain.
Woman 1: Come on. Sorry. I'm racist. Nick me. I couldn't care less.
Mark Mardell: Are you?
Woman 1: I'm not racist.
Woman 2: I'm not racist.
Woman 1: I'm not racist. No.
Woman 2: No, I'm not. Definitely not racist.
Woman 1: But I do think he'll look after his own. 
I bet Mark couldn't wait to get that on air! (He may even have borrowed some of Jane Garvey's champagne to celebrate).

The programme then moved on the warnings from a couple of ex-UK intelligence chiefs about what they claim are the security risks of leaving the EU. Lord (Michael) Howard was on to give the other side and, in fairness to Mark Mardell, he was given the time and space to answer. As noted in an earlier comment though, Mark didn't include Michael Howard's response in his closing words:
Our closing headline: Two former heads of British intelligence agencies have said the UK's ability to protect itself could be undermined by leaving the EU. Our studio director was Nathan Chamberlain......I'm Mark Mardell and that's The World This Weekend.7
(Plus there was also some Trump-bashing courtesy of a former Mitt Romney advisor. No BBC programme seems to be complete without a bit of Trump-bashing these days).

1 comment:

  1. "Necks redden"? Biased epithet. Mardell spent too much time in the US, and thinks he's being clever.

    Two women sitting smoking on a bench outside a supermarket couldn't disagree more

    Did anyone else think of one of those Monty Python 'pepper pot' sketches? In any case, I eagerly await a future segment where Mardell asks a similar question of an other pair of obliging vox pops in expectation of a similar response about Jews.


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