Wogan – the end of an era

It seems to me that Terry Wogan achieved the almost impossible in his BBC career.

He – along with his morning show – actually got better as he got older and how many broadcasters can you say that about?

He surely went out with a bang this morning and getting references to ‘golden showers’ into the last Janet and John story was a stroke of subversive genius.

In fact, that sums up the guy very well – subversive.

When Wossy and Russell get turfed off the airwaves for allowing the word ‘fuck‘ to be said on air – in a pre-recorded show – Wogan stayed broadcasting because he was far cleverer than that. He allowed the listener to fill in the ‘fucks’ for themselves. So, this morning – live and without any interference from the BBC Trust – he left the right gaps so that I and other listeners could ‘say’ ‘fuckers‘ for him.

Furthermore, Wogan wasn’t afraid to upset his bosses at the BBC by speaking out on various matters such as the Urinevision Song Contest and kushy jobs at the Corporation.

Then, there was the unfortunate trousers incident

I’ll come clean now and say that I wasn’t one of Wogan’s most regular listeners, but if he was on and I was up early enough, I’d tune in and listen avidly. I usually did this whilst driving and I’m sure I wasn’t the only motorist who nearly went off the road when fictional correspondents like ‘General Mafeking-Headhurts’ were quoted.

As Ken Bruce said straight after the last minute of Wogan’s final morning show, we will never see his like again.

Thank you, Terry, for some genuinely funny moments and top quality entertainment.

Question Time with Griffin – a wasted opportunity

montypythonhg0450

After all the hype, last night’s Question Time proved to be rather underwhelming.

The panel of Jack Straw (Labour Justice Secretary), Baroness Warsi (Tory shadow communities minister), Chris Huhne (Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman), Bonnie Greer (playwright and critic) and Nick Griffin (BNP leader and MEP) immediately split into the factions of Griffin versus the rest and went rapidly downhill from then on.

It soon resembled nothing more than ‘An Audience with Nick Griffin’ and concentrated almost exclusively on the BNP policies regarding race and immigration.

Straw seemed to doze off at times and he reminded me of the incontinent old gimmer who sits in the corner at parties and wakes up every so often to moan about the music being too loud before shitting himself and nodding off again.

Huhne was blandness personified – nothing he said really registered with me.

Baroness Warsi performed reasonably well and gave Griffin a few tough moments but never really got going and when she did, Dimbleby reined her in and moved on to the next question rather abruptly.

Bonnie Greer came out with some amusing stuff but seemed more concerned with making herself look clever than with making Griffin look a fool. Even then her historical banter with Griffin showed that neither of them had much grasp of history.

In short, the panel lacked intellect and gravitas.

The debate never widened and we never got a chance to hear how Griffin’s party would sort out the economy, improve policing and the justice system or tackle Afghanistan.

So, how would I have handled this edition of QT?

The panel would have been stronger: Redwood or Hague for the Tories, Cruddas or Field for Labour, Ming Campbell for the LibDems and Shami Chakrabarti as the non-politico (although that’s open to debate!)

The questions would have been far more wide-ranging so that the emotionally-charged  matters of race and immigration were far less dominant and the audience should have been less partisan.

That way, there would have been more of a level playing field but Griffin would have had to prove himself as an ‘all rounder’, which so far he seems not to be.

As it was, Griffin emerged as a one issue politician who was fortunate to have only been asked questions on his ‘specialist subject’. I doubt whether his performance boosted his popularity to any significant extent and he had one or two sticky moments when he looked like a blustering idiot, but he could have emerged from the programme far worse than he did.

In short, a wasted opportunity and the only winners were really the BBC, who managed to attract 8.2 million viewers.

Nick Griffin on the Jeremy Kyle Show!

train-wreck1

Well, it’s a big fucking day here on Planet Hype.

People all over the world are peeling back the shrinkwrap from their eagerly-awaited copies of Windows 7 and those who queued up last night to get their hands on their copy at mdnight are probably jacking off to porn as we speak and marveling at how fast the pages are loading or something equally mindless.

Microsoft are encouraging people to have ‘Windows 7 Launch Parties‘ FFS.

The only logical outcome of celebrating such an underwhelming event must eventually be ‘Congratulations on a successful morning dump’ telegrams from the Queen. (I’d get one every fucking day!)

It’s another Microsoft operating system – not some sort of Second Coming – and merely makes Vista less of a fucking pain in the arse than it was.

So, just get the fuck over it.

However, if Twitter is anything to go by, the Windows 7 launch pales into insignificance compared to BNP leader Nick Griffin’s appearance on tonight’s ‘Question Time’ on BBC1.

As I write this, UAF supporters massing outside BBC Television Centre have breached security, been ejected and now Griffin is in the building ready for an early recording of the program.

My own view is that Griffin should be allowed to speak so that he isn’t denied his rights and, hopefully, so that he will be revealed on national TV for the obnoxious turd smoker that he is. The UAF – those self-appointed guardians of free speech for everyone but fascists – would seek to deny the British public that possibility. Go figure…

What interests me more, however, is how much of the hype that’s been built up over Griffin’s TV appearance is all about ‘trainwreck television‘.

Whatever happens tonight – Griffin makes a total arse of himself, someone else makes a total arse out of him, the audience get stroppy, fistfights break out between covert BNP and UAF members, someone has a ‘grassy knoll’ moment, etc, etc – I’m sure that it isn’t going to make boring viewing, but, then again, neither would a nun being torn apart by rabid stoats.

And isn’t that what it’s developing into?

Another chance for the great British Public to see something shitty happen to someone else from the comfort of their living room sofa?

People are planning – again, if Twitter is to be believed – Question Time parties and there’s even a Nick Griffin drinking game that I’m sure is going to be de rigeur in certain circles tonight.

I’m not against fun – and, let’s face it, Nu Labour have taken a lot of that particular commodity out of our lives because it’s very, very bad for us – but are we really so hard up for entertainment that what could be a worthwhile debate is transformed into the Jeremy Kyle Show for the tweeting iPhone owner?

Hashtag abuse?

Arse Elektronika 2009

Never has it been so easy to complain or express your displeasure about anything as it is today.

Twitter, e-mail and web forms now mean that you don’t have to stir from your screen to pop a letter in the post box or even pick up the phone and talk to anyone.

At last, the public is empowered.

But is it?

Some facts and figures:

Jan Moir writes an article in the Daily Mail (circulation figures are about 2.2 million daily) which people find offensive, a Twitter hashtagging frenzy ensues and 22 000 people complain to the Press Complaints Commission.

Frankie Boyle makes a joke about the Queen on ‘Mock the Week’, 75 people complain (the viewing figures are about 5 000 000 a week) and then the BBC Trust clears the joke as it didn’t go ‘beyond audience expectations’ for the show.

In Jan Moir’s case, the outcome of the complaints has yet to be revealed, but if only Daily Mail readers complained I make that 1% of its readership who set the process in motion. Of course, that doesn’t include people who were offended by the online version of the story. So, the number of potential readers of the story could be considerably higher and thus the percentage of complainants even lower. Added to the PCC complaints, we even have formal allegations of a hate crime being committed although I can’t find any figures for such complaints to the Police. (Moreover, how many people would have been blissfully unaware of Moir’s article, had her name not been hashtagged to fuck?)

Frankie’s outrage percentage is even lower – just 0.0015% of viewers complained. In fact, the 75 people who complained did so about a repeat of MTW. The first time it was aired the number of complaints was 6 or 0.00012% of viewers.

Anyway, that’s ‘people power’, but I’d argue that ultimately it’s disempowering us.

Look how a few people managed – with the not inconsiderable help of the Daily Mail – to get Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand removed temporarily or permanently from the airwaves. The bandwagon jumpers then managed to hike the number of complaints to 38 000, many of whom freely admitted to not actually hearing Ross say ‘fuck’ on Brand’s late night radio show.

Then there’s the recent ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ ‘Paki’ row. 400 complaints so far – and interesting to note that use of what’s now known as the ‘P word’ garnered far fewer complaints than someone saying ‘fuck’ – although no viewer ever heard the word ‘Paki’ on ‘Strictly’ as it was said off-air.

A few years ago, most people, if offended by such things, would have pissed and moaned a bit and very few would have bothered to take it any further, but now they can.

A recent Daily Telegraph article on the Moir case has some interesting points about the whole subject of empowerment through the internet.

I spoke just now to a well-respected gay journalist whose own anti-Moir tweets have been RT’d all over the place. He did make one interesting point: “You wonder whether the question of free speech has crossed these people’s minds. Is this really a matter for the Press Complaints Commission?”

There’s a difference, I think, between social media users who employ every rhetorical weapon at their disposal to hit back at Moir, and those who want to stop views like hers being expressed in future.

I’m all in favour of criticising Moir for her spite, and especially the twisted leap of imagination that took her from Stephen Gately’s dead body to an argument about the nature of civil partnerships. Not only is that criticism fair, but it has worked: Moir’s reputation is in tatters this evening. But, my God, the social media world harbours some pretty smug and self-righteous individuals. The words “I’m sorry, but you’re not allowed to say that!” are never far from their lips – or, to put it another way, only liberals are allowed to be offensive.

Wise words, I feel, and ones of warning too.

Do we really want freedom of speech jeopardising more than it already is and the power to pass judgment  on what people say appropriated by a few self-righteous types with a Twitter account?

And we’ve all seen how few people it needs to sway a frightened MSM.

Is this really empowering people?

Or is it just one more way in which we actually lose the power to choose for ourselves what we read, see and hear in the media?

It’s ‘cos they is black, innit?

Phone beats gun? Yes, but only if you have the ‘iBust a cap in yo ass’ app…

I had a rough night last night.

A combination of coughing up the odd lung or two in the aftermath of the ‘cold from hell’, and our two Maine Coons wanting to play with their feathery sticks at 4am conspired to keep snatching me from the arms of Morpheus.

Consequently, I was aware of this news item quite early this morning as we always have the unfailingly soporific Radio 5 Live on during the night.

Young women are being warned not to hide guns for their boyfriends, brothers or male friends in a new campaign by the Metropolitan police.

It is aimed at the growing number of teenage girls in London who, the Met says, are being persuaded to store weapons for male gang members.

Police are primarily targeting black girls aged between 15 and 19.

In fact, I heard it in the news bulletins about half a dozen times in all and it gradually changed in a very interesting manner.

It started off in a very similar way to the extract I’ve quoted above from the BBC News web page.

However, very gradually, the description of its targeting – black teenage girls – moved down the item until I actually heard one bulletin where ‘black’ wasn’t mentioned at all.

There’s absolutely no question of anyone else being targeted – the Met’s page on the initiative by Trident here makes it totally clear:

Under the strap line “Hide his gun and you help commit the crime” the campaign features radio, cinema and billboard advertisements aimed at 15 to 19 year old young women of African and African Caribbean heritage.

So why the increasing coyness of the BBC?

Surely if you’re reporting a story that has to do with a specific group – be it black teenage girls, Jewish greengrocers or lesbian climate change activists – then you mention that early on in your story so that the pertinent facts get out to your audience as immediately as they can.

You’d also be helping alert the people you were targeting as soon as possible so that it grabbed their attention and then they knew it concerned them.

All I can think is that there has been some severely misguided attempt to avoid singling out a particular group by a public broadcaster paid for by the public.

I can’t think why they would do this, as the ‘thought police’ in charge of human rights and minorities equality must have been through Operation Trident’s publicity materials and press releases with a thoroughness that would border on OCD.

I’m guessing that it was to avoid offending a particular group.

It’s ‘cos they is black, innit?

Shortsighted doesn’t even begin to describe this latest example of BBC righteousness.

Another BBC fail.

And yet one more reason why the whole matter of a licence fee needs reviewing as a matter of the utmost urgency.

Iain Dale – is he a homeless person?

He seems to be in permanent residence in the BBC’s Radio 5 Live studios.
I have a room to rent that you can share with a lodger who says he’s Derek Draper.
Interested, Iain?

The BBC – Publicly-funded Socialist television

A hat tip to Mish Masher for producing this.

It’s what many of us suspected and what Harman and Dimbleby make very clear at about the 50 second mark…

Watch it and be afraid…be very afraid…

ASH, the BBC and more smoker-bashing

Excellent stuff.

Fuck ’em all.

Three whores

I see that Esther Rantzen has confirmed that she will be standing as an independent candidate on an anti-MPs’ expenses fiddling ticket.

All well and good, especially as it may be against the corrupt and disgraced MP for Luton South – Margaret ‘Piggy’ Moran:

However, it seems that no sooner has Rantzen started to float her ‘big idea’ than she has become an apologist for our disgraced MPs.

I’ve just heard Rantzen on Radio 5 Live defending Shaun Woodward.

This may appear to be a strange way to start a campaign to clean out the Augean Stables that Westminster has become, but not so strange when you consider that Rantzen and Woodward worked on ‘That’s Life’ together and are friends.

My suggestion is that as many people as possible send all three of these characters a root vegetable amusingly shaped as a penis so that they can be rammed up the appropriate orifices.

Incidentally, I apologise to anyone who may have regurgitated their duodenum at the sight of Piggy Moran’s hat – but please note that I spared you the sight of Rantzen’s teeth….

I have a new hero…

…well, heroine actually…

Carrie Gracie.

Here she is in action * and it’s why I now worship her:

And worth every penny of her annual salary of £92K for putting that cunt Lord Foulkes in his place.

What a woman.

*It’s the video at the top of the story, obviously – I tried to embed the code, but WordPress doesn’t seem to have caught up with how to do this yet…