Sunday 13 January 2019

Ways to Change the World

This is about ITV and Channel Four. Turn away now if you’re exclusively interested in bias on the actual BBC.

Did anyone see Rachel Riley and Krishnan Guru-Murthy: the Podcast  “Ways to Change the World” ?

She’s clever and pretty and she’s not afraid to swear at George Galloway on Twitter. What’s not to like?

 The first thing that struck me here was that she was extraordinarily late in the day in becoming - may I use the word ‘woke’? (i.e., alert to injustice in society, especially racism.) I mean, how disappointing was it to discover that she has existed (I assume) within the Metropolitan bubble for at least ten years, yet until the Jewish community got its act together and took some concerted, high profile action, she knew zilch about the media’s relentless bias against Israel or the antisemitism in the Labour party?
But there you go.  Her personality + brains + beauty are invaluable assets for publicly raising awareness; and who knew the glamorous mathematician from Countdown possesses a fully functioning Jewdar? 

What we did hear, loud and clear, was Krishnan G-M’s appalling ignorance. Of course, one expects him to take a pro-Palestinian / anti-Israel stance in accord with Channel Four’s remit, but publicly displaying (and hence perpetuating) his core ignorance of the topic under discussion is (should be) a huge embarrassment to himself.

He tries to expound on the ‘difference’ between anti-Zionism and antisemitism and pretends to be playing Devil’s advocate. But Rachel Riley, as a beginner  - a newcomer to the subject - is ill-equipped to make the strong rebuttal that this particularly foolish “Devil” deserves. 

“I’m having to have so much knowledge that I didn’t have before, to combat it” she declares.

She insists that Israel is necessary as ‘somewhere for Jews to go’ should the need arise, to which Guru-Murthy counters that the Palestinians shouldn’t have had to be “displaced” for this to happen.

“As you know, people on the there side will say it is not racist to say Israel shouldn’t exist because all I’m saying is …. they (are saying)…it was wrong to displace the Palestinians; we should go back to a pre 1948 situation and that means the modern state of Israel doesn’t exist, that doesn’t make me….I’m not hating a people, I’m not hating Jews, I’m just saying that state, you know, is an unjust state … let’s go back to before it existed.”
In the eyes of this particular devil’s advocate, Israel’s Jews are simply interlopers in “Palestinian Land” - and violent and aggressive with it.  Perhaps the Naz Shah remedy would satisfy Mr G-M. Of course, nowadays even the United States is beginning to look a lot less like the safe haven for Jews it might once have been. Antisemitism is rife on campus, and now in congress too.  

It’s pretty shocking that Krishnan Guru-Murphy invites a guest to discuss a frought topic on film and doesn’t even bother to gen up beforehand.

Sarah Baxter has written about this in the Sunday Times. (£)

Riley was inspired to speak out on Twitter after the Jewish community protested against Labour anti-semitism outside parliament last spring. “Jews complaining about anti-semitism in 2018?” she wondered. “This is a bit odd.” 
As she explained on a Channel 4 podcast last week: “There were moments when my mouth was on the floor about Holocaust denial.” With a Jewish mother — and, she laughed, a “Manchester United father” — she was horrified by the level of abuse she received from Corbyn supporters.
“This is what Jeremy Corbyn is inspiring,” she said. “You can’t say anything against [him] without getting shot down.” The hard-left fan site Skwawkbox falsely repeated smears accusing Riley of “meeting” Jacob Rees-Mogg for talks about her “potential political future”, a piece of nonsense designed to discredit her.

By her enemies you shall know her. Riley also attracted the wrath of George Galloway, leader of the so-called Respect Party, after he was kicked out of Labour. He was incensed by her attack on the intellectual guru of the far left, Noam Chomsky, who had previously defended a French Holocaust denier. “Dumbfounding,” Galloway tweeted. “She calls Chomsky . . . an anti-semite and slanders half the Labour Party as the same.”
To which Riley replied with a simple four-letter expletive: “F*** off George Galloway.” If only Corbyn would do the same.”

Ms Baxter also mentioned Fiona Bruce’s debut Q.T. 
Personally, I thought Fi was pretty ineffectual as a chairperson. Rather than facilitating free and fair debate, I thought she took a bit of a liberty in exploiting her position. Rather than letting the panellists get on with it, she kind of ‘joined in’ and took on the argument with each panellist herself. Some would call her approach ‘interventionist’. 

I don’t know if that’s what’s required of a chairperson. I’d prefer the chair to be a non-interventionist with the ability to allocate time between members of the panel fairly, sensitively and intelligently. 

Several commenters online remarked that Melanie Phillips wasn’t given much space. However, she made good use of the window she was given, slapping down the obnoxious comedian, Nish Kumar. No-one knows why he was there. Since this was meant to be a ‘fresh look’ at the programme, how about abandoning the role of rogue, comedy guest altogether.?


  1. Well that's the end of any career openings for Rachel at the BBC... (yes, she knows it's career suicide!).

    Sadly Rachel Riley, while whacking the ball around the ground, is on a losing wicket. You can't really fight Corbyn's anti-semitism (which I think is genuine) without fighting PC ideology, multiculturalism, mass immigration, the attempt to deny us Brexit, attacks on Free Speech, attacks on Equality Before the Law and media bias.

    She mentions none of those, of course. And that's why I don't rate her compared with people like Pat Condell, Katy Hopkins, Gerard Batten and Tommy Robinson - for all their individual faults.

    She's picking and choosing. She wants to stop Corbyn's brand of anti-semitism but she doesn't want to connect the dots.

    Yes please - no more brain-dead comedians, thick "poets", arrogant sportsmen or hate-baiters on QT. Faint hope.

    What motivated the evident glee with which Kumar launched his vile attack on Melanie during Question Time? It wasn't genuine outrage. It was clearly artifice not emotion. This was clearly a preconceived sneak attack although he tried to cover it by initially using Cleverly as a joint target. But it was clear as the exchange went on, that it was Melanie who was the real and sole target of his animus. He's not funny (he might crack jokes - but then so did the guards at Auschwitz) and I don't trust him.

  2. £5.1 billion in our money, 21 thousand employees plus god knows how many contractors and you’d be hard pressed to find one who could make you laugh. Says it all really.

    1. There will be no jokes in the new dispensation. But you will be required to laugh.

    2. Remember this from last year. It means no more comedy aimed at the majority, but plenty if you are in the minority.

      Shane Allen, former head of comedy at the BBC, claims shows like Monty Python wouldn’t be commissioned today as viewers crave sitcoms with a “sense of place”.

      He said: “If we’re going to assemble a team now it’s not going to be six Oxbridge white blokes, it’s going to be a diverse range of people who reflect the modern world and have got something to say that’s different and we haven’t seen before.”

      The ex-chief flagged up recent BBC Three sketch show Famalam, which has an all-black cast as an example of the corporation changing.

    3. The BBC - voted Race-Baiting Broadcaster of the Year at the RTS Awards ceremony.

  3. OK here it is spelt out in a few words, what I was saying about Rachel being a PC shill...

    She describes Donalad Trump, President of the USA, as "a stupid or worthless person" (putz).

    So who does she lurv?

    Bernie Sanders who according to her is "a mensch" i.e. " a person of integrity and honour". Sanders supports the return of Palestinian Arabs (ie the descendants of those who for whatever reason formerly resided there) to Israel. In other words the destruction of Israel!

    That's Rachel for you. Pretty contemptible I would say for someone who claims to support Israel's right to exist.

    1. Interesting comment. To be honest I hadn’t looked into that, (Haven’t had much interest in RR until this affair blew up.) Forgive me, but I think you’re being far too harsh on her.

      I’d say that given her relative youth, and let’s call it her social circumstances, her naive political inclinations are par for the course. In other words, I didn’t know about them, but I’m not a bit surprised to hear it.

      After all, she’s aware that she’s got a lot to learn. Perhaps she’ll join the dots at a later stage in her ongoing pursuit of knowledge. ;-)

      Despite her lefty, vague, contradictory attitude towards I / P, she still manages to attract antisemitic abuse merely by “discovering” antisemitism, which highlights the refusal (largely by the left) to acknowledge the conflation between antisemitism (racist) and anti-Zionism (allegedly not racist)

    2. The comments were on her twitter feed by the way - I didn't mention that...

      Yes, I can see how she ends up being pro-Sanders and anti-Trump but it isn't logical or particularly excusable. She's an intelligent woman. It took me about one minute on google to find out Sanders' views on Palestinian so called "return" right. A so called right of return would be another word for invasion.

      She could have done the same one minute search. But in order to preserve your position in the media world you have to be seen (not just assumed to be) anti-Trump and anti-Brexit (you'll notice she implies she isn't happy about Brexit).

      She's taking a big risk standing up to anti-semitism, in particular left wing anti-semitism but of course she would never dare mention the active AS that comes from another ideology.

    3. Despite her apparent lateness to the game, her views could be a little more nuanced than simply, if she supports Bernie Sanders she must support the right of return. It is quite possible that she respects Sanders in a general sense, but does not necessarily agree with his views on Israel/Palestine. It’s quite possible she hasn’t really thought about it. In the current climate I think it is admirable for anyone on the left to speak up for the Israel.

      I agree that much of the criticism of Trump is hysterical, but I am no Trump supporter. On a personal level, although I don’t agree with his politics, Sanders probably is more of a “mensch” than Trump, who I still think is a very strange and unattractive individual. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that I have fully signed up to the whole PC, Cultural Marxist, anti-Western agenda. Obviously I haven’t. But even if I had, the Israel/Palestinian is an extremely complex and multi-faceted issue and it would still be possible to believe in the right of the State to exist. The left have cultivated the idea that in order to be of the left, it is necessary to be anti-Zionist. If, from a position outside the far-left, you go along with this notion, you are playing into the hands of anti-Zionists. It’s a very dangerous position.

      About QT in general and the hypocrisy of the BBC: For years BBC journalists have railed about “Punch and Judy politics”, yet the entire format of QT is the worst possible example of Punch and Judy politics. They facilitate it.

    4. The last paragraph was a bit of a non sequitur, as the original post was about a Channel 4 programme, but the comment still stands!

    5. Terry -

      Sue mentioned Question Time - I was commenting on her comment.

      She was essentially saying she would have preferred Bernie Sanders to Trump as President. That would have meant great peril for Israel, perhaps terminal peril.

      Perhaps it is simply a case of "mathematicians don't make good politicians".


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