Saturday 22 June 2019

Ash on the BBC's sleeve

Literally a BBC regular

Ash on an old man's sleeve,
Is all the ash the burnt roses leave.
Dust in the air suspended
Marks the place where a story ended,
Dust inbreathed was a house -
The wall, the wainscot and the mouse.
The death of hope and despair,
This is the death of air.”

Rob Burley, the BBC's head of live political programmes, is known for his entirely reasonable-sounding catchphrase, "So, here's the thing, people you don't agree with will sometimes be on TV."

Ah but, Rob, surely sometimes people I don't agree with will be on TV to a degree that perhaps merits questioning?

Take (self-professed 'literally a communist') Ash Sarkar of the tiny extreme-left website Novara Media, who we here at ITBB keep joking about because of her fabulous regularity on the BBC. 

So - and once more to re-channel my inner Samira Ahmed - let's ask the question again: What on earth is the BBC doing normalising and making a star of Ash Sarkar, a far-left figure from an extreme, controversial website with a very small readership?

Now, I'm very pro-free speech and am far from unhappy to see Our Ash yet again on the BBC. I like watching her. But...

...Questions surely remain about why certain extremist people are plucked from semi-obscurity and 'platformed' while others from the supposed other end of the political spectrum (often far less extreme than Ash) aren't given licence-fee-funded licence to be an 'uncontroversial BBC regular'.

There are strong implications of soggy-left BBC double standards here, of course.

Let me be bold and hazard a guess as to why Ash is a BBC favourite: She's a young, good-looking female Corbynista who mostly manages to appear much more moderate when she's appearing on TV than she does when she's on social media. And she's non-hideously BAME ('black, Asian and minority ethnic'). Bingo for the BBC's tick boxes?


  1. The overwhelming impression impression that anyone could have of Ash Sarkar is her monumental dullness. I have yet to hear her say anything remotely interesting, let alone original. At least an old school socialist firebrand might have injected a little animation into the BBC current affairs programming. But I am afraid Ash is just a shallow attempt by the BBC to appeal to the PC left. She might have been dreamed up by a far-left marketing organisation. But that is where the the BBC is in 2019. Not simply biased and self-regarding, but trivial.

  2. She was on Any Questions? last week if I recall correctly. And when she's not on Burley's programmes there's another one they invite called Bastani who, I think, is also from Novara. She ticks the boxes, particularly the youth one and that's what the Burleys of the BBC are currently keen on promoting. They have no objection to communists, extreme left or hard left and don't even describe them as such.


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