Radio show hosts have to think quick

Any Answers is on BBC Radio 4 directly after Any Questions. On Any Answers, the listenership phones in to answer the questions which have already been chewed over by politicians and other eminents on Any Questions. It’s a slice of public opinion, well kind of – for decades I’ve had the impression of being one of its younger listeners. You can Listen Again to Any Answers until this coming Saturday. This week’s programme was partly to do with the trouble the BBC finds itself in for deciding not to host the Disaster Emergency Committee appeal for Gaza.

Fairly early on one bloke pointed out, with due indignation, that the allegations of Israeli pressure were unfounded and made a number of other good points. Other callers were confused in one direction or the other. There had been an inbox collapse which Jonathan Dimbleby mysteriously referred to as being “for some reason beyond my paygrade and understanding” which meant that there were no emails to read out that day.

At 15 minutes 35 seconds, Josie Hines from Bradford bagged herself some airtime. She doesn’t realise that she was antisemitic. I dare say she considers herself somebody covered in rectitude. I will transcribe.

“Right, well first of all I’d like to say that I’m a great supporter of the BBC and ironically I’ve just been reading John Simpson’s News From No-Man’s Land, which goes into exactly this issue of impartiality of the BBC. I do feel that when it’s such a humanitarian disaster, politics and prejudice should go out of the window.”

Quite ironic given what followed.

“The problem here – my husband thought exactly the same thing – when they used the comment “compromises the BBC’s impartiality”, we think that this does compromise the BBC’s impartiality because we feel that it is possible that perhaps a large part of the hierarchy of the BBC is – and notice I use the word ‘Zionist’ – may well be Zionist Jews who have a great influence on the situation.”

Mr Hines must have been slapping his brow and trying to snatch the phone away. She got it wrong didn’t she, the dope. You’re supposed to use Zionist instead of Jew. That’s how you bat off the accusations of antisemite.

It’s not even that she gave herself away – if I had to guess, somewhere along the way this upright citizen of Bradford had soaked up some of the ambient Carter, Mearsheimer & Walt, Finkelstein &tc plot-lines and digested them (almost inevitably, Engage would argue) into nakedly antisemitic discourse. She continued digging for as long as it took Jonathan Dimbleby to interject. You could hear him rustling and sighing for some seconds beforehand.

“You’re not permitted to say anything against Israel. If you say anything against Israel, as an individual, you are automatically antisemitic.”

Bad kinds of Jew apply the vexatious charge of antisemitism to prevent people saying “anything against Israel”. Dimbleby intervened:

“Look, I can take all sorts of observations, and it’s a free broadcasting world, but I think that to talk about the senior people in the BBC – or indeed of any organisation as being driven by being Zionist Jews actually rather undermines the point you’re seeking to make. Doesn’t it?”

A brief exchange between Hines and Dimbleby followed before he cut her off.

JH: “Well, I don’t understand why that is. Why – why should we – “

JD: “Hang on. Hang on. You have no evidence whatsoever – “

JH: “I haven’t, no.”

Her tone was aggrieved, perplexed and defiant at once.

JD: “It’s not useful to use airtime, I suggest to you,  to make allegations of a rather serious kind without any evidence whatsoever, so forgive me, I’m going to move on.

And there ended what Josie Hines will probably always think of as her valiant attempt to speak truth to power. She and Mr Hines must have been in paroxysms of indignation. All their worst fears had been confirmed.

I harbour what is perhaps an unrealistic hope that next time this happens Dimbleby will explain a little more about what he means by “allegations of a rather serious kind” and that this will include a reference to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

How many other ordinary, thoughtful, non-Starbucks-smashing people like Josie Hines need an education that Zionist Jews aren’t puppeteering our society? More than a few.

The biggest anti-fascist campaign ever

This piece, by Jon Cruddas and Nick Lowles is from Cif.

Over the next few months Searchlight and its HOPE not hate campaign will be gearing up to prevent the BNP from winning seats in the European elections. We anticipate mobilising thousands of activists and delivering over 2 million leaflets and newspapers in what will be the biggest and most intense anti-fascist campaign in history.
And it is needed. The BNP poses a threat in six Euro regions, with as little as 7.5% required in the North West, where the party leader, Nick Griffin, is standing. With Ukip faltering, few local elections and the economy hurtling into recession, we will need everyone who opposes the BNP’s message of hate to play a part. A BNP victory will change the political landscape in
The last few years have seen the British National Party make significant electoral gains across the length and breadth of the political landscape – often off the radar of the political and media class at
Westminster, which has remained preoccupied with a very small part of the electoral map that decides Westminster elections: so-called middle Britain.
Quietly but steadily the BNP has been building its support. While many commentators have focused on its traditional heartlands in the
Lancashire and Yorkshire mill towns, the BNP has been widening its base across the country. In 2007 the BNP stood 742 council candidates, averaging 14.7% of the vote. Last year they averaged 13.9% in 642 wards. The regional average vote is fairly consistent across the country. The critical element to this palpable support for the BNP is that it has occurred against the backdrop of extraordinarily benign macroeconomic conditions. Well over a decade of continuous quarter-on-quarter growth, low interest rates, falling unemployment and general prosperity have obscured the economic and cultural issues the BNP has focused on. It has tapped into a deep sense of alienation among many who have not prospered in the good times, a corresponding fracture of working class identity, and indeed demonisation in popular culture – all refracted through the prism of race.
On 15 September last year, when

Lehman Brothers went for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the US, the world changed. More specifically the world changed in terms of the climate within which the BNP is seeking to gain political traction. Any cursory reading of history suggests that recession and depression breed extremism; everything else being equal, the BNP will expect to benefit from the suffering and the insecurities that will intensify over the coming months and years.

This piece, by Jon Cruddas and Nick Lowles is from Cif.
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