I was driving in the car this afternoon. I haven’t changed the CD in the player for weeks now, and I’m getting a little tired of it. Of course, I didn’t consider this before I set out on my journey, and I wasn’t about to monkey about with it whilst I was driving, that’s a really stupid and not inconsiderably dangerous thing to do, so I turned on the radio.
Immediately my back stiffened, I’d been listening to the football coverage on Sunday on radio 5 when I last had the radio on, so it defaulted to that station when I jumped from disc to radio. That was a mistake. It is hard to describe how monumentally irritating I find Richard Bacon. He is a man for whom the word ‘cock’ was invented. His interviewing style is especially irksome when it comes to covering anything with the merest controversy, his idea of ‘balance’ is to shout over all his interviewees putting a polar opposite view in his whiny voice. If he agrees with the interviewee he’ll do it the once, because the BBC demands ‘balance’, if he doesn’t agree with the interviewee (and it is obvious when he doesn’t) he’ll do it for the whole time the interviewee is on the air.
When listening to Richard Bacon I get this irresistible urge to tie him to a grating and to employ a cricket bat, baseball bat, snooker cue, tennis racquet, croquet mallet, etc, to see which makes the most satisfying sound as I smash it against his skull.
Worse still are his ‘sleb interviews, he is so sickeningly supine, obsequious and generally sycophantic that it makes one want to retch. This is especially true when the interviewee is a fellow BBC type. Today the interviewee was Hugh Dennis, a man who as far as I can make out has the BBC to thank for 80% of his income, what with Mock the Week, Outnumbered, The Now Show and sundry other stuff.
As an aside, when my annoy-o-meter hit 11 I switched stations to Radio 2, whereupon I heard the arse end of a record, and then the DJ trailing an interview with this bloke who has a new book out; Hugh Dennis. So we have a BBC employee schlepping round the BBC radio studios hawking his new book. I wouldn’t be surprised if he popped up/has already appeared on the BBC breakfast sofa, The Graham Norton chat show and one of the Radio 4 review shows. The BBC has form for this, but I understand that recently they investigated themselves over the practice and found that it was all fine.
That’s OK then. Jimmy Savile, anyone?
Anyhow, back to the interview, after the initial line of questioning which went something along the lines of ‘You have a new book out, how fantastic is it?’ and ‘You do lots of stuff for the BBC, how fantastic are you?’ and ‘You’re one of the country’s best loved comics, would you mind if I just slipped your penis into my mouth whilst you tell us all about your magnificence?’, we turned to the premise of the book. I forget the title of the book, it is a play on words on the title of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and it seems to suggest (bearing in mind I’ve not read the book) that being British is pretty cool; but only if you’re a part of the ever so clever metropolitan ‘liberal’ elite.
The starting point for the premise appears to be the opening ceremony of last summer’s Olympics. It was, as we all know, a triumph. I’m happy to accept that, I was sceptical about the Olympics and I was absolutely delighted to be proven incredibly wrong, the whole affair from curtain up to curtain down was a wonderful thing. Anyhow, Dennis was saying about how the opening ceremony got him to ponder the age old question of what it is to be British. Here things started to get a little lazy, Bacon was breathlessly talking about how we obviously all love the NHS and what a great thing it is, yada yada yada.
The conversation took a very odd turn here, with a line drawn between the bounce in the feeling that it was good to British (as long as you’re a part of the ever so clever metropolitan ‘liberal’ elite) and the increase in ‘anti-European’ sentiment, which is obviously an opinion held by those who are not a part of the ever so clever metropolitan ‘liberal’ elite.
No! I was screaming at the radio, it isn’t anti-European sentiment at all. Let me place this on the record once again; I adore Europe, it is the most magical place, there is nowhere on Earth with the diversity of our continent. Visitors from North America and the Antipodes are dumbstruck that you can drive your car onto a train in Folkestone, speaking English and doing something one way, arrive just over half an hour later in France, speaking French and doing something another way, and then driving east for twenty minutes, turning up in Belgium, speaking Flemish and doing that thing in another different way. It is amazing, beautiful, exciting, and the people in charge of the EU will not stop until every bit of joy and difference is squeezed out of it, they will not stop until everything is grey, uniform, dull and predictable, and they will not stop to ask us if it is what we want. It isn’t anti-Europe, it is anti-EU, they are two very, very different things.
It is all part of this bias which pervades the BBC. They really do believe that anyone who is opposed to the EU is a small minded bigot, they are incapable of considering any other point of view. They think that we are dangerous and unhinged.
It continued with accusations of opinion becoming insular. No! Not insular at all. The EU is a bloc, a cell. It locks us up, it prevents us from looking outside, it prevents us from expanding, from interacting. Opposition to the EU is precisely because we do not want to be insular, we want to be out there in the wilds, doing exciting stuff, getting dirty. The EU may be a bloody big place, but it is still a prison cell, with the way Europe’s economy is going it is akin to being locked inside a stately home as it falls into disrepair around you.
Then came the charge of isolationism. God, I hate that, it is so, so lazy. It is the EU which is isolationist, it is seeking to build a wall between its citizens, its member states and the rest of the world. They don’t want us to talk outside the club, they’ll look after that for us. We are a member of a bigger club, a better club, with more to offer, a club which exists to facilitate communication, business, ideas, real proper progress, it is the Commonwealth. You run a referendum on EU membership alongside a referendum on Commonwealth membership and see what the result is, you’d have to be certifiable to suggest leaving the Commonwealth, membership of it is nothing but virtuous. It doesn’t seek to dictate, it doesn’t seek to exclude or to control. It is the perfect model of what a multi-national organisation should be, it is neighbourly, friendly, egalitarian. There’s no ulterior motive, there’s no big political agenda, it is a group of countries working together to help each other out, nobody has to do anything they don’t want to, nobody is strong armed into doing anything, and we’re right at the heart of it.
Isolationism? Give me strength, we’re looking at expanding our horizons across the globe, not pulling down the shutters and pretending the world stops at Dover.
I get so angry with this lazy, prejudiced and wrong headed attitude, and the BBC promotes it unthinkingly. It isn’t about Little England, it is about Global Britain.
Needless to say I changed the CD as soon as I got home.