Thursday 28 March 2019

This is the BBC news

I am trying to give up the newspapers and so am listening to the BBC World Service. A news item today is:
Facebook has said it will block "praise, support and representation of white nationalism and separatism" on Facebook and Instagram from next week.
The World Service anchor asked a BBC journalist if this change would be popular and was told it would be popular with most people and was welcomed by 'civil rights groups'. I listened wondering what civil rights groups think civil rights mean. 

Facebook is a company and can censor what people publish as much as it likes, but freedom of expression is a civil right and the one on which all the others rest. However freedom, in the sense of freedom from being told what to do or say, is out of fashion. 

As Western societies become more ethnically diverse freedom of speech in particular will be curtailed more and more to prevent people criticising increasing diversity. The reason that will be given is that such criticism encourages people to kill. Freedom in general will be curtailed more and more to curtail hatred and discrimination. The age of liberalism will become very authoritarian and very illiberal, before it comes to an end. 

The BBC's next story is about scientists talking about the grave damage done to the ecosystem of islands by 'invasive species like cats, rats and goats' and calling for a widespread cull to save the endangered species they prey upon.

And Brexit. The Prime Minister will resign if the House votes for her motion but the Speaker will not allow it to be moved again and in any case the Government will not introduce it because it is sure at the moment to fail. The Government has promised not to leave the EU without a deal unless the House approves and only 160 MPs voted for it last night. So a long delayed Brexit looks the most likely outcome to me, which means the referendum result losing its power. A better alternative would be the Norway option, for the time being at least, meaning accepting free movement and a hard border in Northern Ireland, but without signing up as Norway does to EU schemes that cost money.


  1. "I am trying to give up the newspapers and so am listening to the BBC World Service."

    Why Paul?

    Why would you think that the World Service would be any better than the crap that the rest of the BBC churns out?

    I was an avid listener of the World Service. I listened to it evenings on short wave radio while completing course work during the final year of my degree (1980).

    And subsequently when working in Lesotho, Abu Dhabi and Bulgaria (where it was broadcast on FM in Sofia).

    Great programmes, Just a Minute, Saturday afternoon sports broadcasts, Charlie Gillett's World of Music and many more.

    Then after 2007 it all changed.

    I stopped listening, changed to Radio 4 (internet) for several years and for the past five years have only listened to Radio 3 (internet).

    News, well no news is good news :).

    For news, I read your blog and others, listen to YouTube, that's enough news for me.

    Russia Today is probably less biased and more impartial than the BBC!

    PS It always (mildly) amused me to see tins of crap for sale in Romanian supermarkets :).

    1. I remember listening to the World Service on crackly SW in Bratislava in 1990-91. It is now insufferably liberal (not left-wing but liberal) and biassed. Interesting to hear that 2007 was the turning point. The culmination of the Blair era.

      My idea was to leave the net except for audio and video but because of Brexit I decided to postpone "this audacious, purifying, elemental move" (Larkin).

      I find it hard now to concentrate on audio and video - i want to skim and click. I keep meaning to listen to Just a Minute. Any Questions I now just cannot listen to. I did catch a delightful episode of the Clitheroe Kid - which played in the background of Sunday lunches in the 1970s. It turns out to be hilarious.

  2. I am hoping our acting prime minister will fall on her sword very soon. No one likes rats or old goats. Cats are more popular, but even they have only nine lives.

    1. She is terrible but the problems remain after she leaves the stage - but at least someone else with imagination and eloquence would help.