Sunday 17 October 2021

Random Thoughts for a Sunday Evening



Lib Dems, lib Dems and Facebook

It's been a while since I've made myself listen to The World This Weekend but I learned something quite interesting from it today - albeit only after a bit of Googling as they didn't disclose it themselves.

The programme's main focus was on demands to regulate Facebook, particularly in light of the murder of Sir David Amess. 

I avoid Facebook like the plague.

Being politically-minded I now associate Facebook with Sir Nick Clegg, as he's become their Vice President for Global Affairs and Communications at Facebook since 2018.

The World This Weekend's sole defender of Facebook today was one Lord Allan, Facebook's Director of Policy in Europe until 2019. 

Like former Lib Dem leader/Deputy PM Sir Nick, Lord Allan is a former Lib Dem MP. So Facebook seems to like UK Liberal Democrats. 

And it gets spookier.

Lord Allan, it turns out from searching for him on the internet, was the MP for Sheffield Hallam from 1997-2005 before giving way to the one Nick Clegg, who remained MP for Sheffield Hallam from 2005-2017. 

What are the chances of that happening?

My random thought here is that maybe the American liberal Democrats at Facebook chose the UK's Liberal Democrats because of their party name, assuming because they call themselves 'Liberal Democrats' they must think like liberal Democrats in the US...and, if so, they should be careful when hiring from Russia and Japan or they might end up with Vladimir Zhirinovsky and Shinzo Abe, and they might un-ban former US president/possible future US president Donald Trump while Mark Zuckerberg isn't looking. 


The BBC and the word 'terrorist'

The estimable Scottish blogger Effie Deans has a thoughtful piece on her Lily of St. Leonard's blog about the murder of Sir David. It made me re-think a few things. and is well worth a read. 

If Sue's not seen it yet, it begins: 

Whenever there is a terrorist attack in somewhere like Israel, we are told by the BBC that it carried out by militants. It gives the impression that the far left from the 1980s stopped handing out newspapers to blow himself up. Only when a terrorist attack happens here in Britain will the BBC allow itself to describe it as such. IRA militants after all did not try to blow up Margaret Thatcher. If a word is useful then we must use it consistently. If something is terrorism call it terrorism, otherwise you are lying in which case how can you be trusted on anything.

It then moves on.

It's certainly true that the BBC will use the word 'terrorist' more about terrorist attacks in the UK than anywhere else and that it goes out of its way to avoid applying it to the like of Hamas or Islamic Jihad or Hezbollah.

But the BBC has used it in connection to radical Islamic terrorism in the UK through the most gritted of gritted teeth over the last couple of decades. 

They were very reluctant to begin with post 9/11, and particularly post 7/7 in London. 

All of us hereabouts observed that at the time. 

It made the BBC look terrible and absurd. 

I'm guessing they finally realised that they were dangerously adrift from the public mood, so they eventually eased the prohibition. 

And that's where we are now - with a word that should never had been banned being grudgingly allowed in the UK context - albeit still through gritted teeth on certain BBC reporters' parts - but still being banned [except in heavy inverted commas] when it comes to terrorism against, say, Israel.


Sunday, Flipping Sunday

The one Radio 4 programme I've tried to keep up with during my blogging slumbers is Radio 4's Sunday, what with it being the starting point of this very blog. 

It never really changes. 

Todays programme featured:  

[a] Takes on the murder of Sir David Amess which avoided the thorny issue of Islamic terrorism.

[b] An entirely one-sided 'woke' segment on Ethiopian demands for the return of some sacred plaques held by the British Museum where neither context nor the other other side of the argument was given. Presenter Emily Buchanan simply announced that the Ethiopians were demanding them back, said that we [the UK] ''looted'' it, and stated that ''lawyers'' said it was legally right to return them, and then interviewed an Ethiopian Orthodox priest who told listeners how precious these plaques were to the Ethiopians. When it's that one-sided it reeks of abetting a campaign.

[c] A strange piece about how cuddly toy deities might be ''the best way to help children understand faith and culture'', reporting on how a range of cuddly toys of deities like the Hindu god Ganesha is ''expanding to include all major faiths'', including Jesus and Buddha. I googled the company and checked their range of cuddly toys and found that the phrase Sunday kept using - ''all major faiths'' - wasn't quite true. You won't be surprised to hear that Islam was the exception and that the BBC skirted around the point like a cat trying to avoid its fated date with a cage during a trip to the vets. 

[d] A piece on a Jewish comedy Fringe event featuring...and here's the BBC angle...''the only Orthodox Jewish woman on the British comedy circuit''. There's always got to be a bit of identity politics and marking of identity politics milestones. 

[e] The inevitable book-plug for a friend of the programme, here Catholic author Peter Stanford. 

[f] A somewhat campaigning closing segment about aggrieved Muslim women being refused entry to pray within some mosques and how ''conservative'' attitudes in mosques need changing, followed by an interview with Sunday's favourite Muslim, the silky Sheikh Ibrahim Mogra, who positioned himself somewhat vaguely on the matter, as is his way. At least Sunday raised the question of Deobandi influence.

I've been going on about the programme for over a  decade now, but there's now a small legion of people criticising Sunday every single week on Twitter and on blogs hereabouts. It's a growth industry that growing fast. The programme remains the ripest of ripe targets as far as BBC bias is concerned.


Nancy wonders if it's just her

Following today's Sunday was - as ever - Sunday Worship. I was in the mood for hymns and heard it live. 

It provoked a murmur on Twitter when Annunziata Rees-Mogg [sister of Jacob] complained about it being about gender equality today when it should have been a Catholic service in honour of Sir David Amess.

Wouldn’t it have been nice if Sunday Worship on BBC Radio4 had been from a Catholic Church in memory of Sir David Amess? And perhaps a sermon about the value of public service rather than gender equality? Or maybe that’s just me.

Now, I have to say that - much as I can see where she's coming from -  I agreed with those of her critics who pointed out that these things are prepared weeks and months in advance. The BBC publishes the text and running order of the service in full before it's even broadcast. And this was coming live from Ely Cathedral. So this was a juggernaut that's being rolling for weeks ready for this morning, and the BBC couldn't just drop it and swap it with a different service. And, in the event, a pray for Sir David was said at the start before the feminist-influenced, all-women service about women in the Bible began.....though, amusingly, the male dean popped up at the end to read the blessing.

So Annunziata might have been better saying that, yes, the BBC couldn't reasonably have replaced this service at the last minute, but that it's still 'very BBC' that the identity-politics-obsessed BBC Radio 4 prepared yet another service with an 'identity politics' focus today, because Sunday Worship is doing that ever more often as the channel increasingly sinks into a smelly slough of 'woke'.


John Simpson says 'this can't go on'

Fantasies, born of childhood/adulthood reading of brave British men rescuing women in peril, have occasionally led me to dream that we British would somehow spring Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe from jail in Iran, literally leaving behind a Carry-On-style black fingernail card of 'two digits rampant' for old 'Smiler' Khamenei to splutter at as his beard caught on fire humorously.

Five years younger than the Supreme Leader of Iran, the BBC's World Affairs Editor John Simpson is unimpressed

The rejection of @FreeNazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe's appeal in Tehran is predictable but disgraceful. She is being held hostage for the repayment of a £400m debt the UK owes to Iran. Handing money to Iran is a big problem, given its support for terrorism; but this can't go on.

I do believe that the BBC's Mr Impartiality is demanding, ever so impartially, that the British Government cough up to the terroristic, hostage-holding Ayatollah. 


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