Sunday 31 December 2017

What Jeremy Vine Learnt, plus Samira Ahmed's Nigelophobia

Someone Samira Ahmed wants to hear less from

This morning's Broadcasting House featured an opinion piece from Jeremy Vine (brother of comedian Tim Vine) based a book he's going to publish next year called What I Learnt: What My Listeners Say - and Why We Should Take Notice

Jeremy's argument was that the views of you and I are more valuable than those of experts. Experts have disgraced themselves over everything from diesel in cars, to fat 'making us fat', to the financial crash of 2008; indeed, they've done serious harm. He'd rather hear first-hand accounts from the man and woman in the street than listen to experts, as the people have a wisdom derived from lived experience. He'd rather hear from the astronaut than the astronomer. "An expert in parenting is a mother of five. An expert in Lyme Disease is someone who's had it for five years. An expert in ladders if someone who's fallen off  one." This is the future, he said.

Well, well! Jeremy Vine the Populist!

What followed was a lively discussion between expertophile Samira Ahmed of the BBC's Newswatch (who disagreed strongly with Jeremy) and expertosceptic Toby Baxendale of the Legatum Institute (who thought there was some truth in his argument). It's well worth a listen.

Incidentally, in the course of this discussion, Samira mounted one of her favourite hobby-horses again. Citing "viewers", she said, "They'll challenge, 'Why does Nigel Farage get on so often?'".

Now, as regular readers will know (see here and here and here and here and here), that's also Samira's own view, expressed umpteen times on Twitter over the past year or more. She doesn't believe it's "responsible" of the BBC to give him such airtime.

The discussion ended:
Samira Ahmed: What really worries me as a person listening to the audience is how often it's the same privileged people who are pushing their personal point of view. That's not expertise, and that's not experience either. Nigel Farage is not the experience of the nation. 
Paddy O'Connell: No. I think that is one is going to write to disagree with you there. Thank you very much indeed, both of you. 
Does anyone fancy proving Paddy wrong and writing to suggest that the man who led a often lonely-seeming campaign to get us a referendum on the UK's EU membership and whose apparently unpopular cause eventually received the support of 52% of the UK population (17.4 million people) might just reflect more of 'the experience of the nation' than, shall we say, Samira Ahmed? 


  1. It seems to me that there are far too many unelected Asian ladies on the BBC telling us how to run this country.

    Didn't a family have to live in a village for 80 years before it even started to be considered 'local'?

    1. The W1A Ahmeds are a dynasty to reckon with.

  2. Has no-one at the BBC heard of the statistical phenomenon known as the Wisdom of Crowds?

  3. Ahmed hates free speech, and has a High Court Judge complex, thinking she is arbiter of what can and cannot be said. Did she not get on a law course at uni? Did that cause ructions at home?

    Anyway, take a look at this article:

    Seems to me the Telegraph was perfectly within its rights to deal with the student's comments in the way they did, if they wish to, since the student is clearly racially motivated.

    1. Incidentally the New Humanist is published by the Rationalist Association. And who is their president? Why - Laurie Taylor! lol :) Nice to have friends in high places.

      How does Ahmed picking arguments over matters of public controversy stand with the BBC duty of impartiality?

    2. ...or with her being the BBC's nominated presenter of its 'accountability' programme - 'the voice' of BBC viewers?

  4. Direct link to 21m36s
    Samira had a chip on her shoulder from the start.
    She refused to answer the initial question
    ..saying "real expertise is not the same as privileged, often men telling us what to do"
    ...'Titanic problem was the H&S routine and the profit regime of the owners cutting corners'
    ... "So having feelings is one thing, but actually expertise is not the same as people in power who might have views and might control things"
    Agree with Samira, but that was not the question she's redefining EXPERIENCE to be only the experience of white male power people'
    .."The economists were just theories, the people who run economics are not real experts"

    Toby raised the issue of Treasure Brexit doom forecasts ..she countered "well they are not real experts, like Vaccine/moon scientists are"

    In her screeching fast voice full of EMOTION she says "emotion is replacing fact"

    "In the country TV media inc ITV are much better at being impartial, whereas newspapers are partisan"
    (see she doesn't know that outside bubbleworld everyone knows the BBC is partisan and will always report a pet topic in a predictable way)

    She ends on her Nigel Farage comment which like Jess Phillips comment on R4Today actually sounded as if scripted.

    The sexism of her supporters
    "That was a shocking display of ignorance by the men on #r4bh, thank goodness for Samira!"

    1. My typo "The economists were just theorists"

  5. "Experts built the Titanic
    forgetting there would be idiots
    who would power it at full speed
    through an area with a load of icebergs! "
    That shows to me CONTEXT is important
    It's deceptive if you just shout "experts say" , without giving proper definitions and contexts.


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