Andrew Laurence and the "impartial" BBC

"I'm not a political comic"
"There is a deeply ingrained militant liberal politics at every level of the BBC, despite the fact that it's tax-payer funded and supposed to be neutral. It's a biased organisation and the only sorts of political comedians that are welcome within its corridors are those that reflect it's values.

Essentially when we're watching these 'political' comedians cracking their piss-poor UKIP gags on the BBC, I think we need to be aware they are neither engaged nor passionate about their subject- but money-grubbing charlatans, toadying up to the militant liberals that pay their wages, mirroring their own beliefs back at them in an act of false flattery so that they'll feel smug and validated and keep them on the BBC tax-payer funded gravy-train."

I agree with every word of the above quote, taken from comedian Andrew Lawrence's now infamous Facebook update.

I've seen his act live. He's a comedian with a peculiar look, nasal voice and almost otherworldly presence on stage. His delivery and timing are perfect. He does surreal, apolitical material. He's won awards and had rave reviews. Now though, with the BBC being the largest single employer in the comedy industry, I suspect his career is over.

The main part of his rant which I happen to disagree with is the bit about immigration. He blames that for problems with public transport, hospitals, schools, housing and the benefits system. The country is full and the advantages are, he argues, cancelled out by the difficulties it causes. Despite not being a UKIP supporter himself he "can see why other people are, and I don't disrespect them for it". Unlike the "moronic, liberal back-slapping on panel shows like Mock The Week where aging, balding, fat men, ethnic comedians and women-posing-as-comedians, sit congratulating themselves on how enlightened they are about the fact that UKIP are ridiculous and pathetic."
Don't forget to pay your licence fee

To argue immigration is an either/or question is absurd. The benefits and difficulties are dependent upon who you are letting in and why. No nation can survive without any border controls but equally you're shooting yourself in the foot if you don't allow anyone in either. There is a common sense line in the sand which should be drawn but the issue is complicated by our post Imperial legacy. Lots of people around the world feel a link with Britain because our Empire told them to. It's an issue which is separate to our membership of the EU.

That's why, if getting out of the EU is their plan, it's a mistake for UKIP to go on and on about immigration. It'll backfire as a strategy once we're finally given a referendum because there are many like me who want out of the EU but don't oppose a reasonable level of it. UKIP are going the way of the failed Scottish National Party by confusing the issue with unrelated "left wing", or in this instance "right wing", politics. A recent poll has suggested support for membership of the EU is at an all time high.

I can only assume this is because so many people have been turned off by their anti-immigration vibe. I know I am. I want out of the EU but it annoys me people assume I therefore totally oppose immigration, or support UKIP for that matter.

His description of "overpaid TV comics with their cosy lives in their west-London ivory towers taking a supercilious, moralising tone, pandering to the ever-creeping militant political correctness of the BBC with their frankly surreal diversity targets" is familliar to me. It's precisely what the BBC has been for the last twenty years.

However, there's a trap some fall into here which is worth being aware of. On the one hand there are those who think the above descriptions of the BBC are reassuring because they identify themselves as "left wing". The BBC is on the side of the goodies, goes their logic, so all is well. Then, conscious of the fact things change, there are those who think the problem could be fixed, if only the institution replaced those smug liberals with a few "common sense right wingers".

Both are wrong. The real disgrace of the BBC is that everyone has to pay for it, regardless. Those who can't afford its £145 a year poll tax are thrown in jail. This money funds an institution which won't employ people who aren't "politically correct", a subjective term which will also change over time. Make no mistake, the BBC closely monitors its employee's social media feeds for possible signs of thought crime. Any online slip ups may cost you your livelihood. All the while it pushes the absurd idea of its own political "impartiality". This is obviously a lie, no one is impartial, all of us have a perspective. Institutions all have biases. The BBC is no exception.

Why should we all be forced to pay for it to broadcast it's perspective?

Nick Margerrison


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