Here’s the BBC’s former political editor airing his personal views and dressing them up as political fact. Of course, Brexiteers will continue to claim ‘BBC left-wing bias’ but this reads more like a UKIP manifesto. pic.twitter.com/88VXBletsQ— DAVID PICKWORTH (@david_pickworth) April 21, 2019
Now I’ve been following Andrew Marr over many many years that I wouldn’t care count and learned to respect his integrity as a reporter/presenter one that has covered many areas of policy, with straight talk/unbiased approach towards covering key policy issues/decisions and interviewing politicians. Then I came across this clip recently where Andrew Marr seemed to have thrown all this history out the window and focused purely on his own political narrative on the issue of BREXIT. So what I decided to do is hold judgement for the moment on this “rant” of his and how it affects my opinion about him as a professional journalist/reporter until we know more about it and instead focus on my observations/questions related to issues raised in the clip – so here goes;
- It would indeed be interesting to know whether the view presented in this clip is indeed the view of the BBC which is as we all know is a public broadcasting service and what are the guidelines if any for journalists to publicly air their own opinions particularly when there no one to challenge these views on the other side of the debate.
- It is clear by the subject matter chosen for this – and let’s be generous by categorising it as a “view” rather than a “rant” – that Immigration is indeed the foundation of BREXIT at least for the majority of the Leave proponents in this country; fair enough? It’s actually the primary motivation behind the Leave vote during the referendum for 48% of the voters.
- The clip in many ways represents the method we should NOT be using to discuss BREXIT or how we got here. Why? Well all I heard/saw was an animated presentation similar to someone pounding a table with his fist and gleefully making the point that the Liberal “few” have some how lost the plot in terms of their stance on immigration and now it’s payback time. Really? Aren’t we supposed to be talking about policy failures by subsequent governments on things like Immigration/Integration (and even Foreign policy) instead of focusing solely on putting the blame squarely under the feet of the “Liberal elite” and of course the immigrants by-and-large who eventually take the flak; the kind of argument one might hear sitting in a right-wing activist gathering of sorts. Then where are the facts/figures behind immigration? Here is a previous post I wrote on the subject; BREXIT Syndrome: The BREXIT Party, Wow, What a “Party”. Bottom line is that the country needs less in the way of political rants, and more in the way of thoughtful debates based on facts; I actually thought that this is the role of the BBC as a public broadcasting service particularly on such issues of critical importance to this nation and especially against the backdrop of the divided country we live in today – I guess I was wrong.
- Then we talk of a society that is changing colour. Now I am not entirely sure what colour variation we should expect in a multicultural society such as the one we “already” have in Britain; are we now leaning towards shades of white or can we expand that to cover a larger colour gamut that would be acceptable as part of the citizenship requirement. Initially it sounds amusing/funny discussing the point, this until it dawns on us all; hey, hang on a minute, this is racist talk pure/simple and it’s part of the xenophobic narrative that has/continues to drive the BREXIT Leave campaign – at least one if it’s pillars. People may look/sound sophisticated but indications are that the underlying motivations is on the “dark” side of things. So the follow on question then becomes; does this view accurately represent the culmination of our evolution/national experiences and values that we have developed and people have sacrificed their lives for throughout our recent history? If we’ve been inadvertently side-tracked that’s OK because we can fix this relatively quickly; if on the other hand we are dismantling foundational principles of this nation then we’re in a bigger mess than I thought irrespective of the outcome of BREXIT.
- If Andrew Marr had restricted his comments around language proficiency, lack of integration I would whole heartedly support it because though I am an immigrant myself I don’t want this country to loose it’s western identity/values – not even in terms of optics for that matter as in turning sections of our cities/town to ones identical to ones you find in the Middle East; this is something I feel strongly/written plenty about even before the Referendum. This however is a problem that begins/ends with pragmatic policies at so many levels including education, immigration/integration, foreign policy among others, and will require incremental changes with a timespan of 10 year increments – at least that would be my initial guess. As a matter of fact our continued partnership with the EU as a key member could be a catalyst for a European wide change that guarantees that solutions are pragmatic, viable and long term. As for people looking at this problem from a purely racist perspective, I wouldn’t want to engage on a discussion because it would be pointless except to say that the mere fact that people with these views exist is a vindication of these policy failures mentioned above; we’ve been more focused as citizens on material/consumption and our governments have been preoccupied with business investments and other sophisticated/irrelevant issues while ignoring the evolution of our local communities/societies and picking up the red lights that have flickered for decades signalling warning signs from within these structures.
Anyway, my own message to Andrew Marr is that I would welcome participating in a discussion on the subject because this is a big topic and we need to understand the different components involved if we are to address it effectively – and to be frank we now have no choice but to address head on & urgently so as to avoid complicating the situation even further and come up with viable solutions. Remember this is a matter of critical national interest.