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It was Brother Ivo’s own fault for falling asleep with the radio on.
He was woken by the sound of a BBC “comedy quiz”, which has come to mean a group of four left of centre people talking to an uncritical audience which regards the height of wit as being someone asking ” Isn’t Sarah Pallin stupid?”. That always goes down well.
Before he could turn it off, he had been irritated into wakefulness by one of the contributors, Mr Rufus Hound, fulminating against “balance” in the public space and the publicly funded national media.
Mr Hound is not a man of tolerant judgement. He showed himself to be foolishly prejudiced when, in the course of an earlier controversy over how the aspirations of the National Health Service might best be delivered, he declared that the Prime Minister “wants your children to die-unless you’re rich”.
He was later reported to be standing in this year’s European Elections to “defend the NHS”. What exactly the EU can do about this issue remains unclear and unexplained.
Brother Ivo fears that he would take an unworthy pleasure in watching Mr Hound on election night, trailing in, tens of thousands of votes behind UKIP and others he purports to loathe. Tsk Tsk.
The more he has thought about it, however, the more he has realised that as with many other issues, his reaction is more complicated than at first appears.
The problem is partly about Mr Hound and his shallow views but that is not the end of it.
There is the underlying problem with the BBC which, by constantly commissioning such shows is steadily slipping from the previous standards of maintaining balance within its public service broadcasting role. There are many witty people of more diverse views than Mr Hound, only the BBC just can’t seem to find them.
The problem goes beyond the light entertainment and current affairs programing and even touches Breakfast television
Recently, three three major Labour figures were regrettably implicated in excessive liberal attitudes towards the Paedophile Information Exchange. It had laid inadequately explored for years. The facts are largely un-controversial because they have been minuted with occasional notes in the politicians’ own handwriting. Specifically, the current Director of the National Council for Civil Liberties has already offered an unqualified apology for the organisation. Shami Chacrabarti enjoys a high reputation for integrity, not least at the BBC.
When newspaper headlines linked these Labour figures to the promotion of paedophilia, the front pages were studiously omitted from the array of front pages displayed on breakfast television, yet barely a week later, when an adviser to the Conservative government was arrested in connection with the alleged possession of child abuse computer images, there was no such reticence.
Without labouring the matter, we could readily agree a long list of issues on which the BBC has a broadly discernible cultural bias.
EU – pro
Abortion – pro
Israel – anti
Democrat – pro
Republican – anti
Cannabis legalisation – pro.
Anthropomorphic Climate Change scepticism – anti
Yet happily, there does still seem to be a conscious inclination by the BBC to offer contributors from both sides of a debate on prominent issues. It may not always be fair and equal, there may be some bias, but some respect is shown to balance. That was always the intention of Lord Reith who shaped its ethos during the 1930’s when intolerances were also prevalent in politics.
Mr Hound evidently finds this irksome. He would like it to change and lets be clear. This is not comedic exaggeration. Many on the Left think that they are so obviously right, that opposing views are not only wrong but morally repugnant. That is why they call their approach “political correctness”. There is no nuance, no room for reaching across to one’s opponent to seek find common ground.
There are, according to Mr Hound and his uncritical audience, issues where one opinion is so obviously correct that offering a tangential view is unacceptable and serves only to confer unworthy credilibilty upon deceivers and fools.
Brother Ivo wonders how much history Mr Hound knows.
Galileo was vilified when he first dared to suggest that the earth was not the static centre of the universe. “Everybody” knew that was nonsense. “What a dangerous fool!”
Thomas Clarkson and William Wilberforce were similarly regarded as dangerously eccentric for threatening the economic order of the day by campaigning against slavery. Wasn’t slavery part of the Natural Law identified by Plato and Aristotle? It was to be found in almost every country from Africa to Mexico, China to New Zealand, though oddly, since 1102, not in England.
This was thanks to Archbishop Anselm, a fact that is frequently overlooked by progressives. We need a film about that, perhaps with the working title ” 900 years not a slave”
The Big Bang theory proposed by George’s Lemaitre was similarly initially offensive to the scientific consensus of the day because of its worrying echo of Genesis; it overturned the scientific assumption of a solid state universe and re-opened the philosophical question about how everything emerges from nothing. Atheists still haven’t cracked that problem so they rarely talk about it on comedy shows and prefer to vilify Creationists.
All of these ideas offended the received wisdom of the day, and would have fallen foul of Mr Hound’s ostracising of the innovative.
Brother Ivo is all for diversity of opinion and tolerance. He opposes the democratic basket cases like Mr Hound who are uncurious about received wisdom especially when it comes from the Left.
Brother Ivo tries to be fair.
He did explore the idea to see if there was any merit in it, and in one regard he has to concede that Mr Hound might potentially have a point.
Karl Marx never held down a job, could not feed his family and was depended for much of his life upon the fortune of the mill owning family of Friedrich Engles. Whenever his theories have been put into practice they have failed miserably, and more importantly,they have always brought misery to millions.
Brother Ivo has never heard Mr Hound or any in the progressive movement treating Marxism and its followers to the same kind of visceral rejection and scorn that he reserves for David Cameron or Sarah Pallin.
As Venezuela falls into as much unrest as Ukraine, none of our cultural warriors of the Left are contrasting the outcomes there with the salutes and praise heaped upon the Chavez Government by Diane Abbott and George Galloway.
“Hugo Chavez was a democrat, not a dictator, and showed a progressive alternative to neo-liberalism is both possible and popular” Owen Jones.
Venezuela is an oil rich country where Mr Chavez supporters have created riots on the streets and a toilet paper shortage. You need $40,000 to contemplate buying a car. What do you think are the chances of Mr Hound and his fellow BBC panellists of building a comedy routine references these facts and the premise, “Isn’t Owen Jones stupid?”
The problem is that without balance there is no progress of human thought. Mr Hound and the Left prefer a pre-primed default cultural laughter for their propositions. It is incidentally a lazy approach. Thus they will never explore the concept ” Isn’t Marxism dreadful”.
Marxists like Mark Thomas are still feted, whereas Ms Palin – who did actually identify the risks to Ukraine from Russia – continue to be reviled.
Despite being sorely tempted to support the notion that the nations comedians should be hounding Marxism from our airwaves and cultural respectability, Brother Ivo is a passionate believer in open and respectful debate, and subscribes to the view that he must defend the rights of all shades of opinion to be expressed proportionately and lawfully whether he agrees with them or not.
This is not entirely as noble as it sounds.
Once, maybe just once, Rufus Hound, by pure chance, must one day say something sensible -or funny.
Brother Ivo would hate to miss it.