Tuesday 24 September 2019


Susie Cooper mask

There follows a great post by our esteemed commenter Arthur T...

From Craig’s recent excellent posts about John Humphrys: …

‘The BBC finds it "hard to resist" the temptation to engage in social engineering. It sometimes tries "to create society in its own image”.’ …

As Craig is to Morecambe, then so Arthur T is to Stoke-on-Trent. There have been a series of videos on the BBC News website Home pages produced under the headings ‘We are Stoke-onTrent’. The first on 3rd September 2019 called for contributions.

A series of responses have been received:

  • Why we came to Stoke-on-Trent’, 22nd September 
  • ‘Please look beyond our city’s poor headlines’, 23rd September 
  • ‘The mums and artists reclaiming a cit’s streets’, 23rd September 
  • ‘Miners fight to save colliery ‘time capsule’, 23rd September 

The BBC website isn’t allowing me to copy and paste the links to these videos, but here is a flavour of the content:

‘Why we came to Stoke-on-Trent’, 22nd September:

  • “I came from Bosnia and Herzegovina” 
  • “I came here from Trinidad via Hackney” 
  •  “I came from Botswana, via Birmingham, and now I live in Stoke-on-Trent” 
  • … ’Aida, Gabriella and Opelo told the BBC about their experiences moving to the city of six towns.’ … 

“I came here from Trinidad via Hackney” is a loaded comment. It suggests a kudos or even a form of stardom is achieved by having lived in Hackney. Why not say to people of the city: “I came here from Trinidad via London”?

By this message, the BBC groupthink directs us to the mistaken idea that London is the UK and the UK is London. The subtleties of the London political map roll off the BBC tongue in such a way that we are expected to know of all that ‘Hackney’ might suggest. Social problems in Hackney are a world away from experiences in Stoke-on-Trent.

‘Please look beyond our city’s poor headlines’, 23rd September 

… ‘The BBC has been asking young people from Stoke-on-Trent about the city's portrayal in the media.’ …

…. ‘Ady Sargeant, Emily Kate, Najee Fox and Chris Abramovs think there are some unfair and negative labels, and share their thoughts on the term "Brexit capital" and a population supposedly succumbing to the drug, monkey dust.’ … ‘

The mums and artists reclaiming a cit’s streets’, 23rd September 

… ‘Women are joining forces in the Portland Street area of Hanley to make it a better place to live.’ …

‘Miners fight to save colliery ‘time capsule’, 23rd September 

… ‘A campaign has begun to revive the derelict Chatterley Whitfield mine.’ …

A high quality of production is clear in these video clips, which suggests that the BBC have made some elaborate voces pop in order to promote their own specific point of view. I would guess that the interviews were scripted.

Throughout these videos, we hear the BBC mantra - diversity, inclusivity, emphasis on the young, giving voice to women ahead of men, distancing themselves from the pro-Brexit UKIP voting locals, from the former miners looking to hold onto their identity as hard-working blue-collar Socialists, from the industrial heartland of the locals, from skills learned over generations, and therefore, from most of the traditional values held dear by the vast majority of the residents of Stoke-on-Trent.

In the spirit of another BBC Beauty ‘The Great Pottery Throw Down’, where quality of design and manufacture come a distant second to the suitability of contestants for such a programme, time is given to a female amateur artist who forms a crudely manufactured model from solid clay ‘The Lion lies down with the lamb’ [sic]. Unmentioned are the skillsets needed to create and decorate hollow fine china pieces.

That you might be a talented designer matters not a jot to the BBC - their only interest is in the equality of outcome. What irony there is in the fact that so many of the great pottery designers from Stoke-on-Trent were women - Clarice Cliff, Susie Cooper, Charlotte Rhead, Jessie Tait, at the Midwinter pottery, and Susan Williams-Ellis at Portmeirion. The link here is through the Burslem School of Art under the guidance of Gordon Forsyth who nurtured most of these talents. Pottery decoration was carried out predominately by women who were paid poor wages earned by piecework.

There might have been a time not so long ago when the Stoke-on-Trent miner would have been celebrated by the BBC as a part of the 1984 strike, using any opportunity as they do to disparage Margaret Thatcher.

But lately, his status as a white ageing male (no longer photographed with a blackened face as he emerged from his shift down the pit) has become a symbol of something else entirely: a far-right Brexit-voting racist. Politically, the Stoke-on-Trent ex-miner will hold strong socialist opinions - again ironic when the well-to-do MPs Mark Fisher and Tristram Hunt have been their Labour MPs, and members of the Cabinet in recent times. ‘He’ because below ground was an exclusively male domain, as was mostly the case above ground too.

Tristram Hunt left politics to become Director of the V&A (where many of the Potteries’ finest pieces of work are displayed) and also works as a Guardian Columnist. The present day Labour Party hold few of the values that the miner might share.

Besides the potteries themselves, Stoke-on-Trent was home to other heavy smokestack industries - steelmaking, service engineering, water treatment, tyre making and others. The BBC fad for finding blue-overalled men and photographing them amongst showers of sparks seems to have petered out. Traditional Labour Leave voters are portrayed as old, exclusively white, and now recently, only at leisure - ideally obese, and smoking whilst riding along on a mobility scooter.

I won’t go on, but the average Stoke-on-Trent local resident is no longer encouraged to express pride in their past, but instead is being engineered to accept a future of diversity and multiculturalism that is alien to him or her.


  1. The BBC has its targets:

    - Stoke on Trent

    - Rugby Union

    - Sunderland

    - The East Coast

    - Birmingham

    - The ignorant and racist South West

    - Tiddly Winks (not yet welcoming to non-binary players).

    1. English cricket - but the BBC love Asian cricket especially Indian.


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