So you’re the leader of the Netherlands’ youngest, and now second-most-popular political party — and the reason you’re doing so well so soon is that your policies strike a chord with many Dutch.
So you’re the leader of the Netherlands’ youngest, and now second-most-popular political party — and the reason you’re doing so well so soon is that your policies strike a chord with many Dutch. You believe in smaller government and lower taxes; you believe nuclear power is a safer bet than nuclear energy; and you believe that creeping Islamisation poses a serious threat to your country’s national identity.
And now someone wants to make a guerilla documentary about you. The production company is a left-leaning, activist outfit called Red Rebel Films; its aim is to insinuate that you are ‘Far Right’, guilty of ‘hate-speech’, mentally unbalanced, a control freak, a conspiracy theorist, a Zionist extremist, an Israeli spy, a fascist and a Nazi. How unreasonable would you have to be to refuse?
Not very unreasonable at all, I’d say, yet the BBC appears to differ. On Sunday night (BBC2) it repeated a documentary in which ‘liberal’ filmmaker Joost van der Valk was shown Michael Moore-style heroically trying and failing to secure an interview with the man billed in the title as ‘Geert Wilders: Europe’s Most Dangerous Man?’ Oh, the courage and tenacity this must have demanded!
Never mind that Wilders has been the subject of numerous death threats, lives in constant fear of his life and has to sleep in a different location every night with round-the-clock security protection. Never mind that he was recently the victim of a most outrageous, politically motivated ‘incitement to hatred’ trial which strove to deny him the right to free speech. In the eyes of the BBC, this impossibly brave, principled, popular, democratically elected politician poses a greater threat to European civilisation than: Albanian drug gangs; paedophile rings; Islamist suicide bombers; Irish republican and Basque terrorists; serial killers; mad axe murderers; animal-rights extremists; Italian and Corsican mafiosi; the whole bleeding lot.
How on earth do they get away with inflicting on their audience Islamist propaganda so shamefully biased it might just as well have been made by Hamas? Because they’re the BBC and they can, that’s why. They can lie and distort and propagandise with impunity, because no one is going to call them on it save a few blogs like Gates Of Vienna and Biased BBC, and maybe the odd, right-wing loon in The Spectator, and, hey, what do such heretical witterings matter any more in our glorious new era of post-Blair left-liberal consensus when even the leader of the Conservative party finds conservative ideas shabby and shameful?
Consider, for example, some of the ordinary decent Muslim spokesmen the documentary wheeled on in support of its contention that Wilders is a dangerous extremist. Shaykh Khalid Yasin was described as ‘an American Muslim teacher, extremely popular among young European Muslims. He has embarked on a mission to deradicalise them. He is also very critical of Geert Wilders.’
Yeah, and here’s one of Yasin’s speeches that has made him so ‘popular’: ‘There’s no such thing as a Muslim having a non-Muslim friend, so a non-Muslim could be your associate but they can’t be a friend. They’re not your friend because they don’t understand your religious principles.’ Do these sound like the words of a man capable of ‘deradicalising’ young European Muslims?
Of course I understand that according to the BBC’s Weltanschauung Wilders’s views on the incompatibility of Islam and Western liberal democracy place him beyond the pale. But we all pay our licence fee so that the BBC’s Guardian-recruited Leninist apparatchiks and north London liberals rise above their personal prejudices and strive, as best they are capable, to reach some kind of objective truth. If you believe, from the bottom of the heart, that there is nothing in the Koran or the Sura which in any way supports Wilders’s arguments, then it is the job of an honest BBC documentary-maker to prove it. Simply shooting the messenger using cheap smears, dishonest juxtapositions, crude assertions and dodgy innuendo serves its audience — nor the BBC’s impartiality guidelines — not one jot.
Problem is, it just can’t help it, it really can’t. Not even a series about Neolithic Britain is allowed to survive free of fatuous bien-pensant editorialising. The presenter of A History of Ancient Britain (BBC2) — Neil Oliver — is very good at making very little (e.g., one arrowhead, about which he can wax lyrical for virtually an entire episode) go a charmingly long way. And his hair is nice and long and black, his Belstaff jacket very chic and the expensive location photography (featuring not one but two helicopters) quite stunning.
But then he will insist on spoiling it with Greenpeace-style guff, like his utterly rubbish conclusion at the end of the episode in which ancient man has just discovered farming. He imagines farmers in 3800 AD meditating with a sense of loss on the way they have cut themselves off from the more instinctive, bonding-with-nature wild world that only true hunters can know. Er, no, Neil. What they thought — if they analysed such things at all — was, ‘Thank God, we don’t have to go on risking being gored to death by wild bloody mammoths any more.’ That’s what civilisation is: making life easier, more pleasant. It’s who we are; it’s what we do.