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.