Sunday 10 February 2019

What fresh hell is this?

The city of Pandemonium. Hotels available through Guaranteed hot weather.

Is this the time and place to admit that I'm a great admirer of Dante's Inferno and Milton's Paradise Lost? Today's The World This Weekend ended with a bit of literary parallel-drawing with present day politics, including both of those timeless gems of European literature. 

I smiled at the obviously-Remain professor talking to Mark Mardell. All his parallels went one way until he made a late attempt at balance by making a quip about EU regulations. But he then suggested that Terry Pratchett's version of Hell, where people are damned to an eternity of watching other people's holiday snaps, would especially torment Leave supporters if the snaps were of holidays in "Europe". 

A wise academic he may be, but he's caught in the false belief that being anti-EU means hating Europe. I, for one, love Europe. 

Anyhow, Mark led into the feature in his usual manner, talking of "the concordance of tabloid fury reserved for Donald Tusk". 

Ah yes, "tabloid fury" for poor old Tusky! 

"Tabloid fury" is so 'not our kind of thing here at the BBC', is it Mark? 


Meanwhile, Our Mark has got himself into a Rob Burley type of situation this afternoon, engaging with a persistent pro-EU Carole Cadwalladr fan on the often 'hell-is-other-people'-like Twitter - albeit in a noticeably snippier tone than Rob usually uses. Let's eavesdrop on their conversation about the value of vox pops (a subject of interest to us)....

David Colquhoun: Even the lovely Mark Mardell just said "to find out, we now got to Doncaster". All these vox pops tell you is the thought of a handful of people chosen by the producer.  Cheap and lazy journalism. I am SO tired of listening to vox pops. All you get is the opinions of the producer who chose the people. How about some proper journalism?
Mark Mardell: Yes, good idea. Let’s ignore voters and just hear from politicians - or could that refusal to hear inconvenient voices be why we’re here ?
David Colquhoun: Not at all! But some good investigative journalism would be welcome, don't you think?  It costs more of course, but would be far more informative. The problem with vox pops is that they put all the power into the hands of the anonymous person who chooses who to appear. Is that the producer? (PS thanks for responding that's great.) Why, for example, do we never hear from people like Carole Cadwalla - people who have done serious investigative work? The last thing we need is to hear from more politicians - surely that would be to misinterpret what I said? You were quick enough to slap me down for something that I didn't suggest. I'd really appreciate an answer to my question, please...Here's a question that so far has gone unanswered, Who is responsible for choosing the handful of people who are chosen for vox pops?  They have enormous responsibility but are anonymous.
Mark Mardell: Me.
David Colquhoun: 1. Thanks v much. That's very interesting.  How can you ensure balance? It surely isn't possible? 2. Have you ever thought of inviting Carole Ccadwalla? The whole question of possible foreign interference is surely interesting and important.


  1. did occur to me that Mardell was here running a bit of interference for his pal John Sweeney (an equal in girth if not intellect).

    Mardell seems to be running with the "We need to know how the neanderthal working class think however disasteful that is" line, which is pretty much the Sweeney defence, I expect.

  2. DC saying "hey BBC you need more Guardian staff VIEWS on your shows"


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