The Plastic Hippo

March 15, 2017

Get in the sea

It has only been three of four days but it seems that the sea swimmers of Clevedon featured on the BBC News ident have finally taken off their bathing caps and thrown in the proverbial beach towel. It would appear that, according to the BBC, these hardy souls who brave English coastal waters in the depth of winter represent both the “diversity” and the “oneness” of the Great British public and are ideal harbingers of our daily news.

Now I might be alone in thinking this, but a group of rather flabby individuals each displaying a skin tone somewhere on the spectrum of recycled lard does not necessarily represent diversity. Alternatively, a group of people picking their way across the rocks and shingle of Clevedon beach trying to avoid the sewage outfall generated by greater Bristol might be an indication of oneness if we consider the claim that we are all in this together. Either way, the innocent sea swimmers of Clevedon seem to have swum their last on television at least.

It really is a shame to witness what has happened to BBC News and current affairs. Once a paragon of integrity, balance, accuracy and investigation; the dear old Beeb has gone down the Fox News route in the hope that the bullies will leave it alone. With charter renewal an ever present threat, the national broadcaster gives government ministers an easy time and rips to shreds any opposition to the line that the ruling party has dictated. If you think this conspiracy theory is laughable, listen to Andrew Neil, Andrew Marr, John Humphries and David Dimbleby.

Rather than deliver actual news, the flagship programming is increasingly serving up features rather than news. The TV bulletins frequently lead with an in-depth BBC exclusive depicting something horrible happening far away and invites us to watch more camera drone footage of starving babies or abused women on Panorama tomorrow at eight. The broadcast might end with Will Gomperts plugging the latest Hollywood blockbuster for five or ten minutes and in other news the government is ruining the nation. Distraction is, after all, a cheaper way to subjugation than rubber bullets.

Although we might still be in generally uncharted if pirate infested waters when it comes to social media and the internet thingy, surely we can at least trust the respectable BBC to report something resembling the impartial truth. Sadly, we can no longer trust anything we hear from Broadcasting House. Consider Philip Hammond`s farcical budget. A timid BBC reported that Hammond`s total cock-up on self-employed National Insurance contributions might “arguably be” a reversal of a Conservative manifesto promise and that the government had been “accused” of a u-turn and had “allegedly” misled the electorate. About 12 hours later, once the right-wing press laid into the useless Hammond, the BBC talked of broken pledges, u-turns and the betrayal of core Conservative support. Murdoch, Dacre and Rothermere now set the news agenda for the BBC.

Consider as well the manner in which the BBC reported the tax affairs of Jeremy Corbyn. On budget day the tabloids stated that Corbyn avoided paying tax on his income. The BBC repeated the story only to discover that the source was a notorious right-wing social media blog with a reputation of falsehood, inaccuracy and political mischief. Clearly any social media blog propagating falsehood, inaccuracy and political mischief would be proud to dupe the mainstream media who have become too lazy to check the basic facts before cutting and pasting some libellous rubbish. It turns out that Corbyn`s tax affairs are completely above board including his donations to charity and it seems that the entire mainstream media did not read Corbyn`s tax return beyond the top of page one. Strangely, nobody in the mainstream media is asking to see the tax return of Philip Hammond which, rather predictably, has not been published.

The BBC and others have heroically ignored the disturbing evidence of fraudulent funding activity during the last General Election campaign by the Conservative Party which might, if investigated, render the General Election result null and void. Similarly, Surrey Council are awarded pots of money in a secret deal to keep Tory voters sweet and everyone else poor and ill. Richard Branson is suing the NHS because he wants more money. Train companies want to kill you and our government want our children to be stupid. The respectable mainstream media, for some unknown reason, tell us that migrants, foreigners and terrorists threaten our way of life and the dissolution of the United Kingdom.

I would suggest that the possibility of a United Ireland, an independent Scotland and, inevitably, an independent Wales is not the best way to preserve the Union. Theresa May bellows the merits of Union within the UK but scowls at the merits of Union within the EU. In terms of the competence of British Prime Ministers, Mrs May is lower than the snake`s belly currently supporting the carcass of David Cameron.

It is a noble British tradition to criticise the BBC and heaven knows the BBC deserves to be criticised. However, like all endangered species, it deserves protection. They are, after all, only obeying orders.

Now that the sea swimmers of Clevedon have ended their three months of fame, we must turn our attention to the aggressive wheelchair basketball players and the Zumba class who display all the inherent natural rhythm of a Methodist Minister at a jazz concert. After all, we all know what happens to community groups when the funding for their Zumba classes ends and we all know what happens when people with disabilities become aggressive.

I am glad the BBC has pulled the sea swimmers ident because it saves me a journey to Clevedon to knock on every door to find the swimmers and tell them to get out of the sea because they are the most annoying thing on television since Hughie Green. Their commitment, whilst impressive, suggested a Groundhog Day approach to a Sisyphean task.

Still, now we have the UKs exit from the European Union which is going terribly well. Swimmers – get out of the sea.

Surf`s up. For Christ`s sake this is getting serious.

1 Comment »

  1. Speaking of the sea and effluent, the quality of the Radio 4 flagship that is The Today programme is also sinking like a stone. Yet, despite Humphries gently drifting into dotage, the introduction of the execrable Nick Robinson and enough padding to fill several duvets, listening figures have apparently increased.

    So, once again, the people have spoken. I truly despair.

    Comment by The Realist — March 15, 2017 @ 10:00 am | Reply

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