Saturday 24 June 2017

Ian Hislop: Who should we let on our screens?

Due to recurrent insomnia I often nod off during a programme I’ve deliberately stayed awake to watch, if you’ll forgive the slight oxymoron.
That may have been the case with Ian Hislop's: “Despite all the racist scaremongering in Victorian times we ‘let the Jews in’, so despite the current racist scaremongering we must ‘let the Muslims’ in now” programme. (BBC 2, 22nd June) 

Just in case I missed the bit where Hislop pointed out the difference between the racist scaremongering apropos the Jews (which didn’t turn out quite as bad after all) and the racist scaremongering over current mass Muslim immigration, (over which the jury's still out but it's not looking good) I turned to the press reviews. 

Oddly enough, the only reviews I could find were in the lefty press, plus the Telegraph, a kind of honorary member.

Strange to tell, there was one thing in particular upon which they were all agreed. What got their goat above all else was Katie Hopkins, whose very presence defiled the programme. If twinkly Hislop insisted on having her there, he could at least have punched her in the face. Poor Rachel Cooke of the New Statesman almost threw up, but she gave Hislop a gold star.

Chitra Ramaswamy of the Guardian was full of praise for the programme, but had a caveat: 
“Hislop (granted, another posh, white, Oxbridge-educated man here to teach us about foreigners) is on razor-sharp, twinkly-eyed form, reminding us that it was not ever thus.”
 Oh yes, and another. She wasn’t keen on Katie either: 
“ it’s time to cease giving this preacher of hate a mainstream platform.”

The Telegraph’s Michael Hogan went straight for the jugular:
“Liberal-baiting battleaxe Katie Hopkins will doubtless steal headlines for her typically toxic appearance on Who Should We Let In? Ian Hislop on the First Great Immigration Row (BBC Two) – causing a stir is, after all, the tiresome professional troll’s job – but it would be a shame if Hopkins overshadowed what a thorough and thoughtful film this was. “

I’m pleased to report that the sufferers of ostrich parasitic syndrome who made the programme and wrote the reviews got a bit of a drubbing below the line.


  1. This is the same flavor of intellectual hypocrisy/dishonesty as Simon Schama et al. screaming about how objections to rapid, mass immigration of third-world Muslims reminds them of the 1930s and Nazi Germany.

    I knew Hislop had become corrupted by taking the BBC shilling for those rich do-gooder documentaries he's so fond of making, but I didn't realize he had been corrupted so badly.

    The Jews in Germany (and Austria, Hungary, etc.) were not killing German civilians all over the place, or throwing grenades at the police, or beheading off-duty German soldiers, or blowing up Berlin cabarets.

    Pretty sick of Hislop to stoop this low.

  2. Bowen an expert on ME history
    Simpson an expert on the state of the nation
    Now Hislop an expert on immigration

    All time servers off the license fee largesse provided by our BBC

    The Govester certainly had a point about my feelings towards BBC experts

  3. Hislop is among the lowest of the low. A master of misdirection. He is the comic equivalent of Mark Easton.

    Oh well, another BBC programme on mass immigration that bangs the drum for yet more mass immigration in order that people like Hislop can be kept snug, rich and smug.

    It almost makes one wish for a "new dawn" of Corbynism. How soon little rodents like Hislop would be squealing, especially once some new BBC Momentum-approved board swept away bourgeois remnants like Hislop (surely on the hitlist for his romantic Poppy sentimentalism about the military glories of our imperial past - anathema to Corbyn and McDonnell).

  4. I've just finished watching this. What a remarkable piece of work. It should be taught in media colleges.
    It was like being hit over the head with a toffee hammer wrapped in a copy of the Guardian.

    As with the Dubs Amendment bill, the conversation never really gets round to the differences, the realities. the results, motivations and demographics between now and then, whenever 'then' was.
    I spent quite a while working out where "welfare state", "family reunification" and the 1951 refugee bill (or its tacit EU Commission extension) could be edited in to complete the factual picture, but it
    never came, and it never will.

    Churchill's 1904 Aliens Bill pamphlet on immigration was prominently featured, but his 1899 speech on the 'dreadful curses of Mohammedanism' was not. Neither was his 1955 bill to control immigration.

    (Guardian link to prove that's true :

    Churchill was in essence neither pro-immigration, nor pro-islam.
    Hislop wants him to sound like Corbyn, but Churchill wasn't Corbyn.

    The whole programme was neatly summed up by the section with 23 year old Mario, the coiffured Syrian. He's had to escape Syria, leaving behind his mother, sister and two cousins. There are no questions from Hislop as to how this is a logical situation.
    The viewer must somehow understand and accept that Mario is in danger in Syria because he would be appropriated by combatants to fight for one side
    or the other, and so had to escape, yet his mother is somehow safe.
    More questions than answers. As usual.


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