Saturday, May 13, 2006

The real gravity of nazism comes across loud and clear in this recently discovered BBC broadcast from Belsen in 1945, while today's BBC meanwhile are tracing castles in the air, pursuing mirages, and ignoring reality.

Three dimensions missing from the one dimensioned BBC.

When the BBC report 'Far right ties in Belgian murders' they are misleading readers. Rather than any direct political link what they have to report is only 'family ties'- in other words that the murder's family includes members of the (banned) so-called right-wing party Vlaams Bloc and its legal successor Vlams Belang.

The BBC go on to report how the 18 yr old murderer's father took part in the formation of 'anti-immigration party Vlaams Blok'. What they don't point out is that the fundamental principle of this party is Flemish separatism, and that this party was declared illegal in Belgium (information here). They do manage to report that its successor-party, Vlaams Belang, was successful in elections in 2004 but kept from power by a coalition opposed to it.

Three dimensions are to my mind inappropriate:

1)The focus on family connections. It's unusual in murder cases to drag the family in (certainly pre-trial). It's surely unproven that his family's beliefs bear a direct relation to the occasion of the murders. It's surely offensive that the search for causes precedes the establishment of the legal facts, and more to the point it becomes politically and legally prejudicial.

2)The failure, in the context, to highlight that the murderer's uncle was co-founder of a party (Vlaam's Blok) declared illegal by Belgian courts. The murderer's connections were outlawed before he turned outlaw in his behaviour, it would seem. If we want to go into root causes it might be interesting to examine the consequences of having one's relatives declared criminal by court ruling. The BBC describe instead the 'now defunct' Vlaams Blok party.

3)The tying together of these murders with another recent incident:

'The killings follow an attack last Saturday in the city of Bruges, in which a black Frenchman was left in a coma after being beaten up by a group of skinheads.'

There is almost certainly no organisational link. There may be no ideological link. The murderer with so-called far right ties wasn't very careful in his choice of targets, including a white baby among his victims. Really, who knows if his motive was really racial, despite what he says. Normally we wait for psychological reports. In this case the BBC (and Belgian pols) waste no time in setting this within the grand narrative of the scourge of far right racism.

The absence of faithfulness to detail and interest in specifics makes this BBC report prisoner and prison-warder to a political agenda; the kind of soft-left take on things which dominates the media. I am clear in my own mind that there is no great right wing conspiracy to persecute non-white races, yet the BBC acts as though there were. This is a great disservice to truth, and to the people who pay for their services.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Mel says it all.

I've been meaning to get around to reading the report to the BBC Governors on the BBC's coverage of the Arab-Israeli situation, but Melanie Phillips has read it and comments

'Beneath all the strenuous striving to appear to be seated on the Mt Parnassus of dispassionate judgment, the panel cannot help revealing evidence of the very same partial mindset displayed by the BBC.'

Sounds about right.

Monday, May 08, 2006

(I'm back)


You can tell a lot from parallels. Often we miss them, and only vaguely later we realise there is some shocking symmetry in social trends.

Take the life sentence imposed on Zacharias Moussawi, which Peter Glover comments on powerfully- as does Mark Steyn. It's just over a year since the death of Terri Schiavo.

Or, on a smaller scale, take the case of the man manhandled by numerous armed police (arrested in front of his grandchildren and held for five hours) for pinging the back leg of a dog threatening his sheep. That was the sensitivity of Bedfordshire police in action.

And its exponents are police officers from a force who will have read their instructions about dealing sensitively with the muslim community by taking off their shoes and not interrupting prayers when entering muslim homes.

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