Rod Liddle

My diversity targets for the BBC

16 February 2019

9:00 AM

16 February 2019

9:00 AM

Terrible news for gay broadcasters —  the BBC has only one year to meet a diversity target which says that 8 per cent of roles on TV and radio must be occupied by homosexuals. This means a reduction in gay TV weathermen by at least three quarters, and they’ll also have to sack a good half of the gay chat-show hosts.

This seems to me unfair, but that’s diversity targets for you. The 8 per cent figure has been appropriated by the BBC from the gay lobby, although there are activists who will tell you that a still greater proportion of our country is homosexual. This does not match with my inquiries, however. As most people know, there are only a few hundred male homosexuals in the country, and they all work for the BBC already. There are also 22 lesbians in the UK, all living in Hebden Bridge, happily going about their lives and not bothering anybody. I suppose these poor women are now going to be dragooned by the BBC into becoming newsreaders or extras in EastEnders, so that Clare Balding is not forced to fill the entire 4 per cent quota by herself.

The BBC is also insistent that 8 per cent of people on TV must be disabled, this being the figure which is representative of them within the UK population — although once again I remember reading in one of the in-house journals of some dis-ability lobby organisation that one in three people in the country is actually crocked. I do worry that stressed and anxious BBC producers may try to cut corners in fulfilling their targets here by the easier method of appointing able-bodied people to roles and then maiming them, perhaps with a baseball bat or cudgel of some kind. Luckily for the BBC staff, I believe that these days being as thick as pigshit also qualifies as a disability, so that’s the quota on Match of the Day and Newsnight filled immediately.

Meanwhile, I have written to Lord Hall, the director-general of the BBC, to demand that the corporation introduces targets to ensure that Britain’s Islamophobic community is adequately represented on air. I might follow this up with a demand for the BBC to employ just one person, anywhere within the organisation, perhaps as a cleaner or something, who supports Brexit, and maybe a couple of people who quite like the idea of controls upon immigration. But I will concentrate my efforts at first on gaining justice for the UK’s beleaguered Islamo-phobes, such as myself. We face the most appalling discrimination, the latest of which comes from Oxford City Council.

The council has unanimously passed a motion outlawing all forms of Islamophobia. This includes, but is not confined to, anyone who propagates ‘the myth of Muslim identity having a unique propensity for terrorism and claims of a demographic “threat” posed by Muslims or of a “Muslim takeover”’.

Well OK, I might quibble about the word ‘unique’ — I think ‘remarkable’ or ‘vibrant’ might fit better in that sentence. But otherwise, they’ve got me down to a tee. The next one prohibits people from ‘accusing Muslims as a group, or Muslim majority states, of inventing or exaggerating Islamophobia’. I think I’m off the hook on that one as I don’t believe that Islamophobia exists at all: it is instead a rational response to a singularly belligerent ideology. And then comes these two little nuggets:

‘Accusing Muslim citizens of being more loyal to the “Ummah” (transnational Muslim community) or to their countries of origin, or to the alleged priorities of Muslims worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations.’

‘Denying Muslim populations, the right to self-determination e.g., by claiming that the existence of an independent Palestine or Kashmir is a terrorist endeavour.’

So people in Oxford are no longer to say of the radical preacher Anjem Choudary that he is more loyal to the Muslim Ummah than he is to his own country — when that is precisely what Anjem Choudary would tell you, unequivocally, if you asked him (and perhaps thousands of other Muslims in the UK would say the same). In other words, speaking the truth is verboten in Oxford. Nor are people who live in that godawful city allowed to hazard that Hamas might have one or two terrorist tendencies here or there. The Hamas campaign against Israel is patently a terrorist endeavour, whatever way you look at it. There is presumably no prohibition against describing Israel as a ‘terrorist state’ or an ‘apartheid state’, or any of the other epithets thrown at Israel by the infantile liberal left, as a buttress for their anti-Semitism. And the priorities of many Muslims worldwide is their religion first, and the states in which they live a rather distant second.

But in fairness, Oxford City Council is merely following the path taken by other city councils, enjoined to do so by the All Party Parliamentary Group’s definition of what constitutes Islamophobia. A few years ago the Metropolitan Police decided that merely to criticise Islam was to be found guilty of Islamophobia. This conjecture was based upon an earlier definition of Islamophobia from the reliably deranged Runnymede Trust, which insisted that to describe Islam as ‘sexist’ or ‘separate’ was also Islamophobic, as was venturing to suggest that from time to time — just occasionally — the religion has been used to justify acts of terrorism. To suggest that your own Christian faith was superior to Islam is Islamophobic — a bizarre conclusion, because presumably if you elect to follow a faith, you surely believe it to be superior to all the other faiths out there in the great faith marketplace.

Anyway, this is an interesting area for debate and I hope that the new hordes of gay amputees shortly to be employed by the BBC will insist that programmes be made exploring the contradictions inherent in the definition of Islamophobia, given Islam’s committed and vigorous approach to homosexuality.

Got something to add? Join the discussion and comment below.

You might disagree with half of it, but you’ll enjoy reading all of it. Try your first 10 weeks for just $10

Show comments