WOLVERHAMPTON THE MOST IMPORTANT CITY IN BRITAIN. RAISED BY ITS OWN BOOT
STRAPS FROM THE PERCEIVED RACIST CAPITAL OF RACISM IN THE YEARS OF ENOCH
POWELL (1966 TO 1974) TO THE CULTURAL, EDUCATIONAL, SPORTING AND BUSINESS
CENTRE OF BRITAIN IN 2009.
THE IMPORTANCE OF RUSSELL BRAND AND THE DIRECTOR GENERAL OF THE BBC.
It is beginning to dawn on some people that there is more than meets
the eye in Russell Brand. That he is a political animal as well as
entertainer; that he can afford to do the principled thing and resign after
a prank that went wrong. That he joins a principled series of people who
resigned from the BBC starting with Greg Dyke, whose classic remark at his
first board of governor’s meeting and seeing a sea of white faces in front
of him was, ‘We seem to have a problem here’. Dyke knew that there was both
racism and a structure that needed a total overhaul at the BBC and Russell
Brand knows it too and, from a younger generation knows that what started as
a ‘prank’ went wrong. He can afford to resign because he is big in America
and having already called Bush, ‘that retard and cowboy fella’, he welcomes
the chance to display both his talent and his anti-racism on a larger field.
Brand has apologised to Andrew Sachs who has accepted the apology,
apologised to the lady in question, Georgina Ballie, and resigned. In other
words he has, ‘done his porridge’ and that should be the end of the matter.
Except that there are right-wing elements who want to destroy him totally,
which they are most unlikely to achieve, but are also among those who want
to destroy the BBC and return all our public services to private hands
Today it is the turn of Peter Thompson to be under the cosh. I am no
fan of this man. I have been involved with him for several years. He failed
to respond to my demand that he discipline his newsreaders Jeremy Paxman,
Andrew Marr, Kirsty Wark and Martha Kearney for failing to raise the
question of the war in Iraq when interviewing them with the result that our
democratic rights had been withdrawn and we were little better than the
worst dictatorships which we said we abhorred.
Jenni Russell in her column in the Guardian today raises other aspects
of BBC procedures however of which she says she has personal experience. She
congratulates Leslie Douglas Radio 2’s controller for resigning over the
Ross-Brand affair. She has shown a rare dignity in resigning and breaks with
the disgraceful BBC tradition of passing the buck as far down the line as it
can. Apparently the responsibility for any programme that goes out rests
with the producer and she related how early in her career she was allotted a
‘great man’ to improve his programme, but he resisted every suggestion that
Jenni raised. She says she can well understand the impotence of the producer
of the Ross-Brand show. Everyone wants to know why the offensive items were
not edited out. The 25 year old producer was castigated for not editing out
the offensive items and was threatened with the sack. This is where Lesley
Douglas stepped in and made it known that if he resigned she would also. The
problem goes deeper than that. Editorial teams are expected to make day to
day decisions knowing that their superiors will not back them up and the man
at the bottom will take the rap in a ratings driven situation while those
really responsible are let off the hook. And the man where the rap ought to
stop is Peter Thompson.
My personal experience with the BBC is a variant of this buck passing.
I first of all complained on behalf of a friend who said that when Any
Questions came to Wolverhampton a few months ago the procedures must have
been rigged since neither the question master, nor the panel nor anyone who
was called to speak made any basic criticism of the Labour government, and
certainly no one raised the question of the war in Iraq. I emailed David
Dimbleby, the host, and suggested that it must have been rigged. On a
subsequent occasion when the programme again came to Wolverhampton I again
complained to Dimbleby, but also the producer of the show, who showed some
signs of replying to me, but upped and went to work with Google and I
haven’t been able to contact him, but will continue to try.
My present concern is to contact the participants of the programme that
follows, The Week where I am asking if Michael Portillo and Andrew Neil will
support their colleague, in outing Gordon Brown and supporting:
DIANE ABBOTT FOR PRIME