Thursday 10 October 2019

Creative Diversity and the back-of-beyond

"The liberal echo chamber in which these people exist, which has been revealed by countless reports as well as in the baleful comments from departing staffers such as John Humphrys, Michael Buerk, John Sergeant, Robin Aitken and so on, is at last being challenged! "
Says Rod Liddle humorously (in the sarcastic rather than comical sense) because he was talking about the need for more diversity in the BBC and in particular the appointment of June Sarpong to the bespoke role “Director of Creative Diversity”. 

Well, I know what diversity means, and I know what creative means, but I’m not at all sure what they mean stuck together. (Perhaps ‘creative’ in that they’ve created a whole extraneous, tailor-made directorship solely for a person of colour) (Starting to sound a bit racist to me) but the upside is at least that disqualifies Rachel Johnson. 

The joke is that there’s already a disproportionate number of front-of-house BAMEs at the Beeb, considering current societal demographics. But, as Douglas Murray says, a certain amount of correction, or over-correction, has to be implemented to counteract the sins of the past, in this case the  actual racism of previous decades, and we have to suck it up for now in the knowledge that it will eventually  settle, adjust, recalibrate, and find its natural level. 

But what if it’s too late? I think the tipping point is due next Tuesday. They’ve stolen my adulthood! How dare they! Hand me the superglue Alice, I need to glue myself to something.


Oh, God! The BBC was in Penzance yesterday being patronising and misrepresenting the place in the way that only the BBC can. Having continually trailed Penzance as a coastal town with a ‘lower than average wage’….  if that is indeed the case, one might expect Simon McCoy and his team to make some effort to find out why. Then tell us. I admit I didn’t watch it all afternoon, but if they did, I missed it.

I know plenty of professional people in the area who charge average or above rates for their services. Do national companies like M & S pay less than the going rate down here? I don’t know, but if they do, I’d actually like to know why.  I do know one thing though. The seasonal influx of fruit, flower and veg pickers attracted by wages that look like a bonanza back home in Bulgaria or Portugal has changed the industry beyond recognition. I don’t think the Portuguese bother any more, but an array of Soviet-sounding languages resound in Lidl’s as they shout’n’ shop around harvest time.

There used to be a local army of skilled, daffy pickers (A specialised job, picking, uniformly bunching at speed with any exposed areas of your inside arm being burned by sap) but these days locals find welfare the best option. It’s not worth ‘signing off’ and ‘signing onagain’; far too much trouble and strife. Anyway, farmers and growers would go bust if they had to pay the living wage. I suppose that’s what comes of ease of movement plus inequality of economies. Once those conditions ‘correct’ who knows what will happen?

I digress. You could find a hard-up family on any council estate anywhere in the UK, and I don’t think the hard-up family the BBC chose to feature was representative of anything particularly ‘Penzancey’. There is probably an average number of normals down in Benzano (as someone once graffitied the signpost.)

Here is something nice for a change, and vaguely related to the above. I listened to radio four this morning - firstly I liked hearing Caroline Wyatt (instead of Kate Adie) introducing a benign (non-toxic) FOOC, and next, even better, I enjoyed Tales from the Stave.  Violinist Clemency Burton-Hill 
“explores one of the library's most valuable manuscripts, the Violin Concerto No. 1 in G minor, Op. 26 by Max Bruch. With her is the internationally acclaimed Violinist Joshua Bell and the music scholar Michael Beckerman of New York University, along with the Morgan's head of Music Manuscripts Fran Barulich.”

And something Penzancey. Several years ago, visiting the back-of-beyond for one of the International Musicians Seminar courses (based at Prussia Cove) world-class violinist Joshua Bell dragged himself out of his sick-bed, and with a temperature and a sore throat, performed an early evening recital in a threadbare church in a grotty part of a downtrodden town (Camborne) so as not to disappoint people. The venue happened to be just around the corner from where I worked at the time so I just strolled along to listen to one of the most renowned violinists in the world.   I’m not even sure if I paid an entrance fee. Maybe I got in free as a Friend of IMS. 

Pity Simon McCoy didn’t spend a bit longer in the place.) Am I never happy?) I suppose he was glad to get out of the wind, but I can’t see much point in these flying visits. What’s the point?


  1. I gave my view on creative diversity on an open thread a while back.

    I think I would be being creatively diverse if I declared myself to be a Mongolian goatherd with penchant for nasal flute playing and began lobbying the BBC on that basis.

    I presume that sort of thing will be June Sarpong's role - to seek out creatively such diverse types like Mongolian goatherds with a penchant for nasal flute playing who will then be encouraged to complain that they are underrepresented on the BBC.

    We will then see in Lewis a Mongolian goatherd fetching up in an Oxfordshire village; he will appear at first to be prime suspect (owing to the presence of a nasal flute at the murder scene, it being the weapon used) before the poor goatherd is cruelly despatched and it is revealed they were in fact a thoroughly good egg who would never hurt a fly and it was the posh white Christian middle aged male what dunnit.

  2. I feel obliged to inform you that there aren't enough of a certain sort of person in the BBC newsroom, according to a Matthew Syed on Start the Week last week. No one questioned his statement and although I was rather startled by it and wanted to know what he meant, no further enlightenment was offered as to how far short they were or how many would be enough. He has a book out, though. It's something to do with the D word, I think and he seems to think he has hit on something original to say about it, although I notice he resorts to familiar tired formulations such as white middle- class males to signify some want or lack in people he disapproves of. It is interesting to note that he refers to himself not as a half-w m-c m but as half Pakistani, half Welsh. If they are reduced to w why isn't he colour coded too? What's good enough for those he lambasts isn't good enough for him.

    1. I'd take tips from Syed on ping-pong but precious little else.

      He had the whacky idea you could just transfer the idea of the air industry's "no blame" culture on incidents leading to risk of fatality or injury from flights to medicine. It's one of those superficially plausible ideas until you realise that the two spheres of activity are so different.

      Although an aircraft cockpit looks pretty complex, it's like messing around with wooden blocks as a kid compared with the near infinite complexity of human bodies and our interactions with them through medicine and doctoring. Though a pilot's actions may kill hundreds of passengers, there is hardly any personal interaction between a pilot and his passengers. We don't look the pilot in the eye before we get on a flight but we do the surgeon if it's a serious op. Also the effect of a pilot's actions are pretty black and white: either they get us safely to our destination or they don't. But with a doctor there can be all sorts of (often disputed) outcomes. "You cured the cancer in my left testicle doctor...but you also unnecessarily removed the right testicle which was perfectly healthy."

      Because of these differences, the insurance environment is totally different between the two and there are international treaties limiting liability in the air sector.

      Medicine is mostly a personal one-to-one interaction between doctor and patient. The outcomes of treatment can be ambiguous. The interaction of mind and body are pretty unfathomable (no one really understands how the placebo effect works). If a doctor gets it wrong, the patient dies. If a pilot gets it wrong, the passengers die - but the pilot is almost certain to die as well.

      Syed should have stuck to whiff-whaff.

    2. Re: the latter point - that's the problem I have with the word 'white' - it lumps so many different groups of people into one big 'evil' melanin-deficient whole, without making note of where their ancestry is actually from.

    3. I've just seen an article on Spiked about Woke Segregationism or the branding of students with the W.

  3. Re Penzance. The Today programme gave the example of a man who had worked as a security guard for the last 20 years. He is still on minimum wage. No complaint from me so far. But the piece then went on to interview his wife, a fully trained chef. We weren’t told what she earned. But the couple live in Penzance with their large family. Eventually we were informed there were 4 sons. No wonder the wife didn’t work I thought. Well I did until the voice then said there were 12 grandchildren. Now my image of 4 small boys had disappeared but without any information it was now not unreasonable to assume these 4 sons were not living at home and therefore irrelevant to their parents income. Ah but suddenly we were told there was a 19 year old daughter living with her parents. And, we were told, fearing she could not afford a place of her own without moving inland. Not many 19 year olds can afford a place of their own especially without subsidy from the public purse (ie our money). The piece could have pointed out that not many 19 year olds can afford a place of their own either.

  4. Sorry last sentence should have said not many 19 year olds IN LONDON could afford their own place either.

    1. Quite! I think the housing crisis in London is far more serious than the MSM is telling people.

      Tidy little cul de sac estates built for home ownership during the Thatcher era are now near slums - no one cares for the front gardens and landlords have little incentive to ensure good maintenance. The houses that once would have been occupied by aspiring young couples or couples with infants are now multi-occupied or occupied by large families.

      Flats that once were occupied only be single people or couples are now occupied by families with children who have no access to gardens.

      And of course housing costs eat up in many cases nearly half the income of these householders (when you add things like insurance costs as well).

      We need to actively structure our benefits system to encourage 2 child families for those who rely on the state. I think we will be surprised how easily low income families will fall in line. If you said with two children you will get what we currently pay in child benefit for three children plus 30% but if you have three children we will only pay what we currently pay for three children and if you have four children then you will have to allow the state special privileges to interfere in how you raise the child, I think you would soon find family sizes falling rapidly.

      One of those ideological points that the BBC asserts and will not allow to be contradicted is that "Parents always want the best for their children." This is not true. Many parents are selfish, immature, in love with the drug to which they are addicted or so traumatised by their own upbringing that they don't really care in any meaningful sense about what's best for their children.

      We should be putting children first as a society.


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.