Saturday 23 July 2016

Can you tell me how to get/How to get to Brexit Street?

Talking of Brexit...

There was another Brexit Street report from Emma Jane Kirby on last night's PM.

Put briefly (for those who haven't heard any of it yet), Brexit Street is a new, long-term Radio 4 feature intended to monitor - over weeks and months (and possibly years) - the effects of the Brexit vote on a single street in a town near Middlesbrough...

...a town the programme explicitly intends us to see as representative, even though 75-80% of every one of the streets residents featured so far on PM isn't in paid employment (and, thus, are far from representative of either this particular town, or any UK town, or Leave voters as a whole).

Emma Jane's first two reports crescendoed towards talk of (and complaints about) racism in the wake of the Leave vote, and last night's (third) report focused on the targets of some of that racism (including racist attacks apparently coming from the white residents of Brexit Street)

We heard from the many asylum seekers grouped (often in large numbers) in at least three houses on Brexit Street. 

(Again the question arises: How representative a street is this?)  

Some were very hard to listen to (being upsetting).

We also heard of the "complete culture shock" suffered by some of them, 

Iranian asylum seeker, carpenter 'Jabad', "with a bewildered glance at his friend Mustapha",  told Emma Jane: "Everywhere you go in this place you can smell dope...In the afternoon everyone seems to have a bottle with them. Whether it's wine or beer everyone's always got something to make them high". 

Jalad also complained that few on the street work and that they exploit benefits - something listeners to the previous Brexit Street reports (on mainly Leave voters) might suspect is true. 

Unlike people like him, who are "looking to the future," the 'natives' are "living for today", said 'Jabad'.

Mustapha is unhappy at not having his wife and children.


However well-meaning her reports, Emma Jane Kirby's Brexit Street series is (so far) turning out to be a complete travesty of 'BBC impartiality'. 

In no way is this street representative of the Leave-voting parts of the UK. It's an extreme example (in more ways than one).

And it's implying that some Leave voters on the street are attacking distressed asylum seekers living next door to them. 

And it's also pushing the 'the EU has poured funds into this region, don't you realise that?' meme too (for good measure).

And it's allowing 'Newsnight audience types' to feel good about themselves and sneer at low IQ Leave-voting racists (on Twitter).

I don't doubt (as it's a balmy Saturday evening and I'm "high" on wine [sorry 'Jabad'] and probably feeling overly charitable) that Emma Jane believes that she's reporting back from a representative Leave-voting street...

...which, alas, only goes to show how madly, wildly, out-of-touch and BBC-minded she is.


  1. It's all right BBC, we knew from about 7.35am on 24th June (as agreed by all your reporters) that all Leave voters were uneducated, unemployable, drug addicted, perverted racists.

    1. The asylum seekers were giving their opinions and talking about what had happened to them while living on Brexit street.
      Why complain about the report being upsetting? they are just reporting on their experience which has forced them out of their own country and led them to have to rely on the kindness of strangers. Does hearing of their dreadful experiences make you feel uncomfortable?

      I notice all the asylum seekers interviewed talked about wanting to learn and earn a living in this country.
      You seem to want to sneer at them, highlighting perfectly reasonable things the interviewees said as though they were outrageous;
      it must be a culture shock coming here- so- what is your point? why are you quoting that sentence, as though you are pointing out a fault?
      What is wrong with saying you miss your family and wish they were with you?
      I feel that you are trying so hard to find fault that you can't admit that there were reasonable points in the report.

    2. Who's complaining about the report being "upsetting"? We're complaining about it being being biased, primarily by feeding into a completely inaccurate caricature of Leave voters as uneducated, benefit-dependent racists. The fact that people granted asylum in this country take the opporunity to talk down their hosts, is in comparison just a minor irritant. We know they are mostly not grateful.

    3. @Anon at 12:03. I was neither complaining about the report being upsetting nor sneering at the asylum seekers. (As I wrote, I found some of their accounts moving). I was simply outlining the content of the report (including quotes) and describing why I think the whole series so far has been deeply biased.

  2. Emma Jane Kirby isn't reporting, she is campaigning, just as she was with her 'refugee' series.


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