Friday, 6 February 2009

BBC - Bastion of British Censorship

You've got to love the BBC.

Actually, if you are a regular reader of MitB, you'll know that you don't really have to love the BBC. But you've got to love the pickle they've gotten themselves into now.

Those fine purveyors of impartiality, those upstanders of British traditions, those "we cannot possibly be seen to be acting unfairly or offending anyone" fine, fine people.

First there was the Russell Brand/ Jonathan Ross hoopla with thousands of complaints. Result: huge apologies all round, resignation of Brand, BBC radio controller and suspension of Ross.

Then the BBC decides not to show the DEC's Gaza appeal film on the grounds of impartiality (and, no doubt, that it will offend some people).

Then Carol Thatcher, after making remarks - off-air - that the BBC deemed offensive, has been sacked from working on The One Show (which is totally rubbish anyway).

So what are they going to do with Jeremy Clarkson, a man not known for his subtlty, who has seemingly offended time after time after time - and remains in his job?

Don't get me wrong, I'm not calling for the BBC to suspend, sack or even discipline Clarkson in anyway. The guy (in the most recent instance anyway) was just reeling off facts (and I guess, his opinion of them) in calling Gordon Brown "a one-eyed Scottish idiot."

Yes, it might be offensive to some, but I reckon the PM has heard people call him much worse. And really, is that any worse than the banter I get? - balding Scottish b****** springs to mind. Outside questioning my parentage (which is patently ridiculous given the lack of hair follicles myself and my father have in common) I'm not offended by it. Because its usually meant in jest. Pretty sure he meant it as a joke. And, obviously, to get some publicity.

So now the BBC has to decide whether it is actually going to go PC-mad and sack Clarkson, or if it is going to lighten up a wee bit. I don't really know what my money is on in this instance.

UPDATE: It seems Clarkson has apologised for "a remark about the PM's appearance" and so the BBC have been spared taking any action against him. What I find, well, bizarre is that so many politicians (from a range of parties) have largely ignored his slight on the PM's partial sighted-ness but are mad at his describing him as "Scottish" - feeling it to be meant in a derogatory manner. Honestly, if you are offended by a description of someone's nationality, you really need to get out of that business...


Neil,  6 February 2009 at 14:58  

I think the problem with Clarkson's comment is that it he qualified his (correct) opinion of Brown with his nationality and a disability. If it had been a Scotsman calling David Cameron "an English idiot" there would have been a stooshy also - quite rightly too. No place for xenophobia (not racism i add with emphasis!). Nor can he defend qualifying his opinion using Brown's disability - highly inappropriate.

I don't know why he couldn't have just said Gordon Brown is an incompetant idiot, that is qualification enough and true, all the better! I can see where people are coming from but I think the BBC in particular have to be above the cheap, insensitive and totally inappropriate comments.

Malc 6 February 2009 at 16:16  

But its not xenophobia or racism. If he'd said "idiot Fifer" would he be accused of being anti-Fife? Honestly, politicians are seeing an opportunity and jumping on it.

He's apologised for mocking the PM's disability, which is only right. But, at the end of the day, that's the only thing he really should apologise for. The rest of it is just "fact": Brown IS Scottish...

Sam 6 February 2009 at 21:23  

This is a good take on it. (Though if you read the other stories on the site you'll understand I can't vouch for its authenticity or usefulness).

But the point is true: its only a non-issue because its such a pathetically unimaginative insult. Which coincidentally is exactly what Jeremy Clarkson is. Pathetic & unimaginative that is. Why does he get attention for being rude?

sarge,  7 February 2009 at 22:45  

very interesting post. i am a big fan of top gear. i am originally from ireland and watch it now on bbc america in the US. Clarkson tends to not give a sh#t about what he says. a lot of his comments are priceless, so i think he should be forgiven for this one. my favourite is when he described an alfa romeo saying, "driving it for its performance is like watching a porn movie for its plot". Also, i like the related content widget you have recently put on your site. it helps me navigate around your site for related stuff pretty effortlessly (i am lazy of course).....all the best, sarge

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