Saturday, July 30, 2005

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown apologises for Rod Liddle smear

In her Evening Standard column of 25 July anti-racist campaigner Yasmin Alibhai-Brown claimed that Rod Liddle “ on Radio 4’s Start the Week, complained bitterly that too many middle-class Asian women have infiltrated the media (we are everywhere apparently).”

She now realises, having listened again to the Radio 4 programme that this was an appalling misrepresentation of what Mr Liddle had to say. The text of the conversation of Liddle with Andrew Marr follows.

Rod Liddle: What the corporation seems to me to have done and you don’t blame them for this because the intent is good – is you set up units in order to impose diversity on the great massive behemoth of an organisation - and what happens in the end is that instead you get less diversity in a way and what comes through, particularly at the BBC, you have perhaps an overrepresentation of middle class Asian women because they do their jobs very well etcetera but you have a shortage of African Caribbean men. You particularly have a shortage of working class African Caribbean men and so you have this sort of edifice imposed upon the BBC, which the BBC imposes upon itself which actually militates against diversity…

Andrew Marr: and also by the way an extraordinary lack of Chinese people almost everywhere in public life …

Rod Liddlea total lack of Chinese people

Ms Alibhai-Brown linked Rod Liddle with Jeremy Clarkson in the story insultingly entitled “A pair of charmers who prefer people like them” and Liddle’s picture appeared with the subheading Liddle: media infiltration.

There is no direct evidence, or indeed any evidence at all, that Ms Alibhai-Brown has actually apologised, but what the hell, let's join Yasmin in the touchy feely New Journalism.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Still no jobs for the boys at Equal Opportunities Commission?

The Equal Opportunities Commission's [EOC] 2004-2005 annual report released to the House of Commons on 21 July excludes information about the sex or race of its staff.

Male representation at the EOC last year had fallen to a new low of 16.4% of its total staff of 152 as revealed in its 2003=2004 annual report.

The EOC was unable to provide any up to date figures today but believed that these figures were in the public domain. It is not known at present whether failure to publish these figures in its annual report puts the EOC in breach of the Race Relations Act or the Sex Discrimination Act.

The EOC describes itself as “the leading agency set up to tackle sex discrimination” and that “it is committed to challenging discrimination in all its forms and at all levels of society”.

Civil rights group Liberty and Law director Gerald Hartup contests this view. He claims the £9.5million quango [£8.1million 2003-2004] has refused to commit itself to a target to overcome the institutional sexism that has characterised it since its inception.

Mr Hartup said: “How can business and human resources professionals take seriously a body whose own arrangements put it at the bottom of the equal opportunities league? The EOC unfortunately illustrates perfectly the problem it purports to solve.”


Note to editors

EOC Annual Report 2003-2004 pp 20,21 This appears to be the best link available

EOC Annual Report 2004-2005

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Circulating circulation disinformation

Daily Telegraph readers who took their Maths ‘O’ level some time ago will gain confidence from the paper’s front page report [19 July] on its battle with The Times for circulation supremacy. A bar chart shows their paper represented by a 2.7cm column compared to a derisory 1.1cm for The Times. This is achieved by the classic statistical trick of not starting sales from zero but from 500,000.

The text does point out that circulation of The Times is 683,495 compared to the Telegraph’s 910,743. The Times circulation is therefore 75% of that of the Daily Telegraph while the Telegraph chart manages to make it look like just 41%.

As they say: “A picture is worth a thousand words.”

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

How the BBC responds to fucking criticism

According to the Daily Star the BBC was forced to apologise for the use of the word ‘fucking’ by Madonna and other Live 8 stars at the London venue before the 9pm watershed after which swearing is allowed. The ‘apology’ is a minor classic of its kind. Here it is with a translation of what it really means.

“We do apologise if anyone was offended. What a drag these people are, but let’s go through the motions anyway. All the artists were told before they went on stage that it was live and to be mindful of their language. We covered ourselves, what more do these idiots expect us to do? Obviously the excitement and occasion got to people, but how can you tell Madonna off? For Christ’s sake these people are big, big names. We’re not going to mess with them. We received just over 350 complaints about swearing. Considering the billions watching that is not much. Just the regular oddballs, see. No one else gave a toss. To put it in context if EastEnders [a British soap] starts five minutes late we get over 500 complaints. Now do you understand how unrepresentative these jokers are. People have the right to complain but this is a live event and there is not much we can do. I suppose we have to say this but let’s make it absolutely clear that we are not going to do anything as a result of their whingeing.

The BBC enjoys a monopoly and anyone who watches television is compelled to pay a non income related poll tax to fund its operation.