The Spectator

Feedback | 17 May 2003

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Comment on Your Problems Solved by Mary Killen


I see that a couple of unidentified actors have asked Mary Killen if she can tell them -

1) Is it a Brazilian custom to go to the loo for half an hour at a time? and

2) How they can tactfully tell their Brazilian help that they would
appreciate his doing his business in his own home before coming to them?

Mary Killen has, as usual, offered an ingenious solution to the supposed problem, but I cannot understand why the enquirers would expect Brazilians to spend less time in the loo than do English people, nor can I understand how the enquirers can imagine that a Brazilian, unlike the English, is capable of effectively using the loo at whatever time his employer, and not his own constitution, deems appropriate.
As an alternative however, perhaps the two actors should consider the remedy that I have seen in pubs in Australia. They could simply remove the loo door.
Herbert Thornton

Comment on Why is the BBC so scared of the truth?

by Rod Liddle (10/05/2003)

Rod Liddle is intelligent and perceptive and he writes with great clarity, wit and style. He correctly identifies the institutional dishonesty which pervades the British 'opinion forming' media, in particular the BBC.

Has this been a sudden Damascene conversion, or did he rage impotently as his own Today Programme regularly cultivated the very boils he now so elegantly lances with his pen?
Jonathan Wilton

One mustn't forget the BBC's Paul Wood, Rageh Omaar and Andrew Gilligan on 5 April in Baghdad claiming on the World Service that there was no sign of American troops anywhere -- while CNN was broadcasting video of the US Third Infantry's tanks rolling through the city, with crowds waving from the pavement. Or Gilligan's report from the previous day that he was at the Baghdad airport and could see "no sign" of American troops--even though he was contradicted by another BBC correspondent. Or BBC Correspondent Peter Biles, on 5 April, explaining that he was "confused" because even though there was live footage of US soldiers at Baghdad's airport, the crazy Iraqi information minister was claiming that the airport had been retaken by Iraqi troops and that the Americans were being "hammered" in some mysterious suburban redoubt. The BBC was so invested in protecting a well-defined point-of-view that it couldn't see the facts in front of them. Having missed key events in the big story in Baghdad--the fall of the city--the BBC no doubt next will tell us we'd better be quick to find weapons of mass destruction hidden out there someplace in the Iraqi dunes.

Denis Boyles

I agree with what Rod Liddle wrote for the Spectator. Newsroom agendas often seem to be set and scripts written before journalists get to their locations. Perhaps they should be called 'Confirmers' rather than 'Reporters'.

Rod pointed out that the truth is uncomfortable. The BBC is paid for by the whole population so should report opinions from every quarter however unpalatable some of them may appear to be to news editors and journalists.
Reporters should not assume what any group of people think unless backed by statistical proof.
Tony Cox

I am overjoyed that some one has had the bottle to start questioning the Holy Calf image that the BBC tries to create for itself.

The Beeb has all the marks of a "self perpetuating oligarchy". It is the home for a whole gang of Sneering Guardianista intellectuals who see it as their mission to act as the Labour, new, old, or regurgitated, party's propaganda machine. The best thing that could happen to the Beeb is that it be deprived of the income from the licence fee. It is able to "do its own thing" with that money and it certainly does not spend it on high class programmes right now. The Dimblebore person you refer too is one of their bete noirs in my view. He is arrogant to the extreme on his "Question Time" and I have grave suspicions that this prog is "fixed" in the questions which are permitted to be asked. How much licence fee money was squandered on running the show in Abu Dhabi boggles the mind.
I suspect that before long Tony's Cronies in the Beeb will be firing up the propaganda machine to persuade us to vote yes in the expected referendum which Tone and his mate will be springing on us next year.
W D Toulman

Whilst I'm not from Planet Zarg, I am from a place not far from there called New Zealand. The Zargians however appear to be more fortunate than us, in that they are out of range of the BBC. Our State broadcaster, which also has political correctness down to a fine art, feeds us the BBC through the early morning hours.

The information the BBC fed us during the Iraq war, and after for that matter, was in my view extraordinary to say the least. Too many of the BBC people acted irresponsibly in deliberately putting a spin on most story, instead of acting in a disciplined way in just providing us with the facts.
There is nothing more irritating than being lectured (hectored) by some jumped up little twit, who is as I understand it, paid to report. Only report.
Wars of liberation and the processes of peace and democratisation that (hopefully) follow are hardly "walks in the park" and their success or otherwise, needs to be realistically measured (viewers job), based on factual information (reporters job). By all reasonable measures, the Coalition has done, and for that matter, is still doing, a magnificent job.
Thanks heavens, or Planet Zarg, for The Spectator and the internet!
Hugh J Pavletich
New Zealand

As much as I enjoyed Rob Liddle's article ( and indeed anything that attempts to puncture the BBC's bubble of smug Blairism ), I think that he is being too simplistic in his view of the BNP's success. If anti-immigrant/ethnic hatred was the sole cause, why hasn't the NF survived as a force, instead of dying in the 1980s?

Mrs Thatcher cut the ground from under the extremists, by appealing to those scared of being 'swamped' by alien cultures. Surely however, because racism is ever-present, there would have been a constant representation of rightists in these benighted boroughs, even a MP or two?
No, it is a combination of factors : asylum-seekers-craze, perceived Muslim militantism, the assimilation of Asian youths into British culture so that they become yobs like their white working-class peers, white children learning Gujurati in school and leaving illiterate, the indifference of police to street-crime, the rights of burglars not to get beaten up by irate householders etc etc. Above all it is a lack of an alternative. Where is the working class vote to go ? If Labour abandons its traditional constituency in search of "Middle England" it leaves behind angry, disaffected and disenfranchised Sun readers.
Deprived of their right to exercise according to class-consciousness or class-envy, they employ the next base instinct - racial hatred.
At least they are bothering to vote !
John Barrett,

Excuse me! If the man from Zarg ever got to see Rod Liddle's article the one thing he'd never guess is that Liddle himself was once an influential BBC.News producer, and his programmes habitually displayed all the anti Conservative bias he is now picking the Spectator's pockets to writing about!! Quite incredible!

Meanwhile all other British earthlings have known since before the ice age that the BBC isn't so much a news organisation, as the main pillar of the liberal left establishment in the UK. Its purpose is not to inform the masses so much as to lead them by the nose to the Left's own view of the world, and thus translate this into votes for the Liberal and Labour parties at the ballot box. How else would Labour, with all its sleaze, half witted MP's, and broken promises end up sitting on the bigges t parliamentary majority in national history? A majority it initially secured at a time of record national wealth and employment delivered by a Conservative government. The BBC's aim was and remains to wrest control of Britain from the centre right, hand government over the the Left, then throw the key away - as in Sweden. This agenda has nothing to do with 'news' what-so-ever.
As such, of course they down-play the Conservative electoral result. The BBC hacks want to keep the Cons in the wilderness, so habitually tell viewers the party's deader than a Norwegian parrot.
And of course they dismiss the BNP, least the masses get it into their head that Britain's anything other than the happy multi racial paradise that the BBC throughout all these years of mounting immigration has been telling them it will be. Remember, Whites in a UK minority by 2060. "Rejoice" said the BBC. God forbid that some aren't. That's not in the Left's script. Hell it even smacks of what Enoch Powell warned about? So for BBC Lefties, there's only one option, - deny the story, even bury it.
Ditto, British Muslim suicide bombers. Liddle is right, the BBC is suffering from institutional political correctness, choosing biased guests, a biased agenda, with biased questions.
But his Radio 4, Today programme was, and remains among the worst offenders. The BBC has turned Britain into one-party, dysfunctional democracy, and Liddle has played a part in that. As such his article now is quite galling, clearly he's been attending the Jacques Chirac school of, hypocrisy without blushing.
Simon Richardson

An excellent article. In the US we have National Public Radio (aka Radio Sandanista or National Palestinian Radio over the last decade or two) - sort of a Beeb clone. At least in America we have an inconvenient (to the left) multiplicity of views. Wasn't always like this, but certainly over the last 10-15 years there are far more conservative news organizations (FOX etc) and very popular conservative radio programs (Rush Limbaugh). No one in the UK does anything to rectify their situation - they just complain.

Kenneth Allen

Comment on What a shower! by Nell Butler


Totally agree: this may be the reason why so many Brits are 'pasty-faced'.

The reason for the inability to upgrade is: British plumbers DO NOT KNOW HOW TO INSTALL PROPER PLUMBING. I know this from personal experience, we had to invest several thousand pounds to try and get decent water pressure. The problem with the power showers is - they are so loud they wake up everyone in the house. In the end, I gave up and moved back to the States...
George Eros

There is a reason why British showers are so puny (Neil Butler, 'What a Shower!', 10th May) - it's called a bath. We are the last nation on God's earth to truly appreciate a good long soak in a hot tub, and all the attendant luxuries - Radio 4, a good book, glass of wine, lover ...

Showers are alright after a game of rugby or workout down at the gym, but at home, British men and women like to bathe. Showers are for people who rush round a lot very early in the morning, drinks lots of coffee, consider arriving at work at 6.30am 'cutting it a bit fine', and suffer from guilt about lying around in hot soapy water.
Nicholas Walmsley

Comment on That‘s enough grovelling, PM

by Malcolm Rifkind (10/05/2003)

Sir Rifkind's perspective regarding Tony Blair's 'poodleness' is enthusiastically welcome and shared by several of us in America. Mr. Blair's continued enabling of an American administration that is notably incapable of discerning belief from truth is puzzling. While Jack Straw is warning of "isolating the U.S." the U.K.'s policy has unwittingly played into the hands and agenda of the historically conservative-isolationist faction. The current UK foreign policy belies a paucity of values and direction. It seems to 'hope' that the power it is aligning with is going in the 'proper' direction. Whether Mr. Blair is now preoccupied with his place in history is unknown to me. However, his derelection of leading the necessary public debate and objectivity that Great Britain has traditionally done with respect to world affairs, is damning. What he does to restore his reputation and more importantly, that of Great Britain, is yet to be seen.

Arthur Kuebel

Comment on Germany falling by Andrew Gimson


The panoplic and descriptive article by Mr. Gimson on Germany, esp. Berlin's social climate, was very perceptive & interesting.

Then he startling states that Deutschland is going bankrupt. Well, so is France, as they can't maintain social democracy, read socialism, there much longer, either.
Have you looked at the USA? I mean the Current Accounts deficit is officially $500 billions, but that doesn't include drugs and the black market, so add a $100 billion or so. Or so. The annual Federal deficit is estimated at $300 billions, with a $250 billions deficit so far, and the states' deficits are about $100 billions, with California not likely to be able to pay its bills this summer.
Can ANY nation survive the costs of Socialism? Can the USA survive a trillion dollar annual deficit? Has the dollar dropped in value from 86 cents to the Euro 8 months ago to $1.15 this morning?
Stay tuned.... Bankruptcies in progress....
Steven Wiggins

No, sir, Germany is NOT going bankrupt. Germany IS bankrupt, but no one dares to admit. But what do you expect? Absorbing 17 million of people that had been weaned from self-esteem, let alone self-responsibility by a communist regime PLUS shoving billions and billions of marks and euros into an economical maelstrom to no avail whatsoever would have ruined better-off economies, albeit after a couple of months rather than after a couple of years. I myself would give up ANY claim for state-benefit - did I say STATE-benefit? - provided I could have my money back, to quote a certain prime mi(ni)stress, who succeeded in abolishing the cruellest symptoms of the industrial revolution int he UK (i.e. trade unions and the manufacturing industries): If I could have the money back which I have paid during the last quarter of a century into so called national insurances (against old age and unemployment) - and I am NOT talking about any interests that money could have earned to-date - I! should make myself redundant this very day. What annoys people is that enormous waste of money they are being forced to flog at useless schemes.

No, sir, Germany is NOT GOING to be bankrupt. Germany IS bankrupt.
Klaus D. Baetz MA

Comment on Feedback (10/05/2003)

Rod Liddle (Green Is the New Blue, 3/5/03) should be afraid. Very afraid. It wasn't Norman Mailer who claimed that 'after a certain age, litigation replaces sex', but Gore Vidal. Feeling frisky, Rod?

Virginia Tressider

Comment on Diary by Zac Goldsmith (10/05/2003)

The editor of the Ecologist‘ seems to think that the director of the Institute of Nanotechnology ought to be ashamed that big business is behind the technology, presumably because big business‘ and multinational‘ are boo-words in the Green lexicon. How do we know that nanotechnology will make grey goo out of the ecosystem? Might it not be used to boost the grey goo of the brain? If so, Mr Goldsmith may yet raise himself to the top of his farmyard pecking order and outsmart the bull that chases him around.

Greg Wicksteed