Monday 10 February 2020

It's not just me saying it

Craig is a gem. (You know that) He often receives unsolicited suggestions for topics to blog, as if he hasn’t more than enough topics of his own to get stuck into; I admit that I too have been known to lumber him with extra homework. But you know the saying 'if you want something done ask a busy person'.

It always annoys me - probably disproportionally - when people get things slightly wrong, especially people whose hearts are in the right place. For instance when they get their Begums mixed up with their Abases and their Shamimas confused with their Amiras. Know what I mean?

So I like to check that I haven’t made too many mistakes, used wrong names or spellings etc., that’s where the lack of editorial scrutiny in blogging is most sorely missed. So I relied on Craig’s indefatigability to help me identify that familiar face we saw on The Big Questions. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. Anyway, Craig found it pretty damn quick;  It’s him (again)

This brings me to a question I’ve been thinking about but I don’t know who to ask. Whoever you are, might I just ask ‘what does de-radicalisation actually mean?”

It can’t be anything that involves criticism of Islam, (that would be racist) therefore it must be something to do with putting thoughts of violence and aggression to one side. Does it mean separating extreme beliefs from extreme actions to such an extent that violence in the name of holy jihad is off the table? Does the concept of putting religious or ideological beliefs into practice (physically) have to be taken completely out of the equation? Like, for example, de-clawing the cat or muzzling the dog. You can think what you like, but don’t let me catch you ‘doing’ stuff. (In principle, this is not unlike chopping off hands and feet)  It doesn’t sound doable to me. 

Or is it, like, hypnotism? Look into my eyes…….. fluffy clouds, peace, love and happiness, paradise, 72 virgins……….. aaaannnd back in the room.

So, whom should I ask?


It’s not just me saying it  (to borrow John McDonnell’s favourite insurance against being jeered at)  - others are saying the same thing - which is that the BBC has abandoned all pretence of impartiality and now they’re just letting it all hang out. (Maybe we should take some of the blame according to the well-known psychological reasoning: “if you treat me like one I might as well behave like one”)

At a time when the BBC faces more criticism than ever from all sides, the notion that this proves they must be getting things ‘right’ has shifted to a point where criticism from both sides actually means they must be getting everything wrong.

You’ll guess that I’m talking about Question Time. Last week’s episode was so awful that I really had to use the ‘off button’ literally rather than metaphorically. The guest list itself was bad enough, but I expect it’s ‘D-list’ quality was due to the tacit BBC / BDS strategy that the A-listers seem to have collectively adopted. 

This boycott malarky is getting embarrassingly obvious throughout the entire spectrum of political programming. Even Sophy Ridge managed to snag a few comparative whoppers while poor old Andrew Marr and the other Andrew only seem to be able to attract minnows.

Any Questions was just as lacklustre and boring. The discussion about the BBC’s future was dull enough, but when the topic came up on Any Answers, both callers were so passionate about the BBC they must have just awakened (by a gentle kiss from a prince or a frog) from a deep fifty-year sleep-in.

The other example of letting things hang out was, of course, Ed Stourton’s absurd haranguing of evangelist preacher Franklin son of Billy “come on down” Graham. 
Apparently once upon a time, Franklin was said to have called Islam ‘evil’. Ed went berserk. Like a bad-tempered Lady Bracknell, he wouldn’t let it lie. On and on he went, indignantly protecting his precious Islam from sacrilege and historic and retrospective blasphemy. It was doubly odd, therefore that the next line of attack concerned an unsympathetic remark about LGBT marriage or some such. The antithesis within these two positions didn’t seem to bother Ed Stourton.  I for one could hardly believe mine ears.


  1. Yep, it's a relief to know "it's not just me". I was trying - and failing - to write a comment on a recent post here echoing the feeling that the bbc have decided to say, "To hell with it", since the election. I wonder if it's because they feel that they're going to come a cropper with regard to the licence fee anyway - at a minimum, decriminalisation for the offence of not having a licence - so they've nothing to lose. It doesn't make for very pleasant viewing or listening.

    With regard to the Ed Stourton thing, cognitive dissonance seems to be a permanent state of mind at the bbc!

    1. Not sure about ‘to hell with it’.

      I have the feeling that they have just ‘doubled down’ on their metro-liberal groupthink.

      Because of Trump and Brexit and Boris they are even more convinced that they are on the right side of history. The entire organisation is in overdrive to educate us and demonstrate that their peculiar brand of illiberal liberalism is needed more than ever.

    2. Trump Derangement Syndrome and Brexit-Boris Derangement Syndrome definitely exist. Virtually all BBC employees suffer from it.

      There's no cure but I believe I've found the cause. Our media elite have a religious-like belief in progressivism. This is the idea that there is a strong current in history pushing us forward towards a brighter, better future. This powerfully influential idea exists not just on the Left, or within liberal circles, but also in Conservative and Christian Democrat parties around the world.

      Not everyone is expected to move forward at the same rate: some (especially on the left) will swim vigorously along with the current, others (conservatives mainly) are just expected to drift along.

      The current is supposed to be taking us forward to Lennon-Imagine territory: no countries, no borders, no religion (or at least no Christianity), a single world culture, equality of outcome for all races, the end of patriarchy and the end of property held for private purposes.

      The great offence of Brexit voters and Trump is to seemingly set their faces against this progressivism, to decide we like our countries, we don't want no borders, we don't think all religions and all cultures are equal, we don't believe equality of outcome is a feasible objective, we are doubtful that extreme feminism will bring happiness to people's lives and we think property is an important way of expressing individuality.

      Had Trump continued to espouse more conventional New York Democrat ideas, as he did for many years, there would be none of the hysterical reaction to his rudeness, his jokes, his tweets, his hair, his wife, his children, his business deals, and his manner of conducting foreign policy.

  2. I too struggle with the concept of de-radicalisation. Is it even possible? Or is is it simply a buzzword for politicians and journalists who want to avoid confronting a much more complex and perhaps insurmountable problem. Violent Jihadis may be exactly the same serious danger to the public, even after they completed their full sentence, irrespective of de-radicalisation programs. Agonising over early release seems like a red herring to me. The idea of indefinite sentences goes against any idea of natural justice, although this is applied in the case of some dangerous psychotic patients. Is being possessed with a murderous ideology an equivalent? Quite honestly I don’t know and fortunately I don’t have to decide. But these are hard questions that need to be out in the open. De-radicalisation sounds too glib to me.

  3. Franklin Graham is probably someone I would disagree with on almost every subject, but I would defend his right etc., etc…. But it’s the double standard and cowardice that gets me. Stourton would never dare harangue a Muslim cleric in that way.

    1. Absolutely, Terry. Moreover, whereas 20 years ago, the BBC did interview extremist Muslim clerics, so we actually got to hear what they believe, and how they justified those beliefs by reference to the Koran, Hadiths and Sharia, the BBC along with the rest of the media no longer conducts such interviews. We are living in a huge Potemkin village where the only people, Muslim or non-Muslim, allowed to describe Islam are those prepared to make it sound compatible with PC ideology.

      Must be very odd for the average Mosque goer hearing what the BBC says Islam is and then going along to hear the local Imam tell you what it is.

  4. There's an interesting article and discussion in the comments in Spiked about whether deradicalisation is possible.

    1. Yes indeed, and another article on Spiked, by Brendan O'Neill discusses our response to Shamima Begum being stripped of British citzenship.

  5. allah is not God.


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