Take Me To Your Leader Writer

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...has written more leaders (newspaper editorials) than anyone alive or dead, an honour still to be recognised by the Guiness Book of Records or the Nobel judges. I have produced them for the Daily Mirror, Daily Mail, Sunday Mirror, Today, the Sunday People, the Evening Post (Hemel Hempstead), the Caithness Courier and the Student (Edinburgh). My creed is: Have opinions, Will travel.

Saturday 20 August 2011

Lies, damned lies and phone-in callers

On Five Live last night, an absolute idiot called in to complain that rioters were being jailed for up to four years whereas "the student rioters" weren't dealt with similarly.
Let us not go into whether it is right for those who were involved in the worst civil disturbances in this country of modern times to face such harsh penalties. But there isn't any doubt, surely, that what happened was widespread looting, violence, robbery and arson in more than two dozen areas over several days and nights.
By contrast, the "student riots" were a peaceful demonstration by tens of thousands of young people protesting at the trebling of university fees and the abolition of the educational maintenance allowance. This was, as ever, infiltrated by a small number (even the police said little more than a hundred of them) anarchists who kicked in a few shop windows. Some held a sit-in in Fortnum and Mason.
So absolutely no comparison to be made. Yet the BBC not only allowed someone on to say there was no difference (over and over again) but he wasn't contradicted by the presenter, who was a stand-in and hopeless.
Surely the BBC has a responsibility to make some sense of its phone-in programmes. Who does it think it is - Fox News?
Bring back Brian Hayes, I say. He was the master of challenging callers who spouted rubbish. None of them today, even if they are capable of it, seem to dare challenge big-mouthed lunatics.
The BBC might think it's entertainment. It certainly isn't contributing to an intelligent debate.

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