This morning's Sunday Morning Live had three 'big questions': "Are we a less compassionate society?", "Do we need more education about transgender issues?" and "Are Sharia councils compatible with UK law?"
The first was prompted by the 'film of the moment' (for the BBC) - Ken Loach's I, Daniel Blake. ("Is it now BBC policy that Ken Loach is on every programme?", asked someone on Twitter).
The second was based on reports of legal disputes involving transgender children and the row over a CBBC programme with a transgender story.
The third was based on a complaint from the Muslim Women's Network UK about the official inquiry into Sharia councils, protesting that they are being used as a "political football"by the government.
All 'very BBC'.
Still, at least Sunday Morning Live usually makes an effort to include a conservative voice (unlike other BBC programmes), if only to act as 'a lamb to the slaughter'. This week's 'lamb' was Kathy Gyngell from The Conservative Woman. She tried the measure, factual approach on the first two issued but faced intensely emotional left-wing opposition. Tom from Spiked was soft-of on her side, and pleasant and reasonable, but seemed to barely get a look-in. Crossbench peer Baroness Cox then took over from Kathy on the Sharia question and also tried the measured, factual approach. She faced two headscarf-wearing Muslim women of the 'less measured' variety, with nice Tom from Spiked adding the odd pleasant and reasonable comment (when the rare chance arose). That's fair enough.
I've got two other points I still want to make though (so please brace yourselves!).
The first is that following the bbcsml hashtag throughout the programme is both eye-opening and dispiriting.
After following it today I then read Isabel Oakeshott's funny, level-headed and stoical piece in the Spectator called A date with hate: Isabel Oakeshott on her Question Time abuse. She's a 'sticks-and-stones' woman but says, if she was so inclined (which she isn't), she could report dozens of people to the police for 'hate crimes' over what they posted on Twitter about her in recent days. All these virtue-signalling leftists and Remainers on Twitter seem to lose all their virtue when signalling about right-wing/Brexit-backing women on TV. The insults pour in, many of them personal and sexist and deeply hypocritical.
Why that reminded me SML is that I saw all the vile stuff being tweeted at Kathy today. It was exactly the kind of stuff Isabel was describing - and it was coming overwhelmingly from 'virtuous' social justice warriors who would normally spontaneously combust with self-righteousness whenever an 'offensive' term was used about people they are 'warriors' for, and yet they pile offensive term after offensive term, personal insults, sexist insults, etc, at any right-wing woman who crosses their radar. (Many are men. Not very chivalrous men, to put it mildly).
"Where to begin?", wrote Isabel Oakeshott. "Perhaps with the suggestion that I devoted my airtime to ‘representin’ evil’ or that I am so reprehensible that I fill people with ‘desperation for the human race’?" That kind of thing was what Kathy Gyngell was getting on Twitter, in droves, today from the virtuous, Tory-hating Left. And much, much worse.
Kathy, like Isabel, won't complain. Their opponents would though, and might even go to the police. And the BBC won't, I very strongly suspect, ever be featuring pieces on the BBC website or PM or Newsnight on the Twitter abuse the likes of Kathy and Isabel keep getting. (Wrong sides of the political tracks).
|'SML' "viewer" Khola Hasan|
And the second point I wanted to make is that Tommy Sandhu's 'interactive' bit on the Sharia law question began with Tommy Saying that "the majority" of viewers were saying that "the only law that should operate in the UK is British Law". He then read out a selection: 2 giving the majority view and 3 saying that Sharia law is compatible with UK law!
The final pro-Sharia 'viewer comment' came from a "Khola" who said, "Sharia councils help Muslim women get religious divorces. Stop demonising us please. We have no desire for parallel legal system". Poor Tommy didn't realise that the "Khola" in question was the very same "Khola" sitting in front of him on the panel (Khola Hasan, a 'scholar' from the Islamic Sharia Council), and Naga, also not realising it was the same Khola sitting in front of her, then said, "Some interesting views there. Tom, your reaction to our viewers?". Khola herself said nothing.