Ross Clark

Why Geoff Norcott won’t last on the BBC’s ‘diversity’ panel

Why Geoff Norcott won't last on the BBC's 'diversity' panel
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I’ll give it 48 hours. No, on second thoughts make that 24. I’ll happily wager that by this time tomorrow Geoff Norcott – the self-styled only openly conservative comedian on the circuit – who has just been appointed to the BBC's new five-strong ‘diversity and inclusion panel’ will be an ex-member. And, that the BBC will be profusely apologising for its ‘misjudgement’ in appointing him in the first place.

It is not that he will have said or done anything in his post between now and then, of course. But you simply cannot have a straight white man – still less one who backs Brexit – on a ‘diversity’ panel. That misunderstands the concept of diversity altogether – which is that it exists only for the promotion of professional victims. Norcott might be working class – which is why, it seems, he has been appointed – but that is not enough nowadays to earn you enough victim points in order to qualify for membership of so important a public role.

You can tell as much from the Guardian’s coverage of Norcott’s appointment, which hissed in a headline: 'white Tory-voting comedian gets place on BBC diversity group'. It is a red rag to Guardian readers who will already be rifling through Norcott’s Twitter feed in order to pick out a few morcels which can be deemed to be offensive. By teatime the first trickle of complaints will be coming in. By the time of the Today programme tomorrow morning, there will be an interview with whoever appointed Norcott, trying to justify their decision, while fending off comments from rabid critics that 'there is no place in modern Britain' for certain Norcott jokes. And why is there no transgender representation on a body which is supposed to reflect vibrant modern Britain? By mid-morning it will all be over, and a black transgender eskimo will have been installed in Norcott’s place – and the BBC will be apologising and saying that procedures will have to be tightened up in order to prevent the same thing from happening again.

How dare the BBC try to make out that ‘diversity’ means including everyone – even those who back Brexit. As one former BBC employee might have out it: all people are diverse but some are more diverse than others.