THE BBC’s Question Time has been a tedious affair for a while. You can pretty much guarantee that nine times out of ten the panellists will be the same sort of Leftist, no matter which party they claim to represent, and will utter similar platitudes on the topic at hand. If it’s climate change, you will hear words such as ‘catastrophe’ and ‘crisis’; if it’s the NHS, you’ll hear constant thanks and how they always need more money, and if it’s on the social landscape of this country, you’ll hear the words ‘diversity, racism’ and ‘far Right’. It is very rare that a panellist veers from the script but, thankfully, we got one last week.
While the politicians on the panel were creating a soundboard on the climate question for the audience to reflect – ‘2050 isn’t good enough’ – up popped Laurence Fox, the actor best known for playing DC Hathaway in Lewis. When asked what he thinks about the ‘climate catastrophe’, he responded that ‘our [actors’] carbon footprint is huge but we make up for it by preaching to everyone how they should change their lives.’ To the dismay of the other panellists, this got a huge round of applause.
It didn’t stop there.
On the question of the Royal Family, an audience member raised the subject of race in the media, something which Fox was quick to jump on. The woman in the audience said, ‘Let’s call this what it is. Racism.’ Many in the audience groaned and Fox returned with, ‘We are a lovely tolerant country and this isn’t racism . . . you can’t call everything you don’t like racism’. The audience member replied with, ‘Says the white, privileged man’, to more groans. Fox, after saying that her comment was ‘boring’ replied, ‘I can’t help what I am. I was born like this, it’s an immutable characteristic. To call me a white, privileged male is to be racist. You’re being racist.’ He was roundly applauded again while the woman continued her ‘white privilege’ diatribe before realising she’d lost the argument.
How often have we heard, on shows like this, the labels of white privilege go unchallenged? I hear the words white and man used in a derogatory term on a regular basis on the MSM and usually, there is no one there to challenge how they are used so it was refreshing to have someone on that panel to mark them out as deeply unsettling.
Shami Chakrabarti, in her position as Labour’s virtue-signaller for the evening, tried to pull the topic back to race to show this audience member, and the screeching Corbynistas, that identity is the best way to score points on a BBC programme, when Fox interrupted her again.
‘I think it’s one of the dangerous things about throwing racism around in this country’ – you could see Chakrabarti squinting over his shoulder at this point, with a sort of pitying look – ‘which we’re doing a lot at the moment, is people become so conscious of it that things like the Manchester grooming scandal get ignored so we need to be careful, we need to call out racism when it’s seen, when it’s obvious and when it’s there and we should stand together to condemn it but for fear of sounding racist, there’s been horrific things that have happened, in Manchester and in towns all around the North of England, and we should be careful and use racism when it’s there and it’s obvious and not to call someone racist just because they don’t agree with you.’ Another big round of applause and you could see Chakrabarti seething.
Fox, I might add, was barely referred to in this programme, as one might expect, but when he spoke, he got his points across well and said the sort of things you’d only ever hear on the BBC 20 years ago. We had time, thankfully, to hear his views on the Labour leadership race.
Asked by Fiona Bruce who would make the best leader, he thought for a second. ‘Who would be best to replace Magic Grandpa?’ Met, of course, with ‘that’s original’ from the simpering Chakrabarti. He answered that Keir Starmer would be the best replacement because ‘he just looks like he could take Boris on’ to which Chakrabarti predictably jumped in with ‘you don’t think any of the four women would . . .’ but we didn’t get to hear the rest.
‘Oh, it’s not about women, jeepers creepers.’ Hands on head, exasperated, you could see Fox was yet again on the verge of pulling his hair out along with the rest of us. ‘Sorry, let me rewind,’ he said, throwing a look of disgust at Chakrabarti, seated next to him. ‘Any of the women.’ To laughter and applause. ‘Is that better? Any of the women.’ Chakrabarti was looking from Fox to the audience and back again, unsure of what to say or do. Even Bruce looked perplexed. ‘Because it’s really all about what gender you are or sex you are rather than what policies you have and how you approach politics, come on.’
With this final flourish, he was done. I imagine, at this point, he couldn’t wait to get out of his seat and go for a well-earned pint. He had done his bit.
I find Fox a breath of fresh air. I don’t have a lot of time for celebrities. In the main they will say the same thing, act the same way, and push whatever trend is flying around with the same gusto. How refreshing to see an actor who doesn’t fit the mould. Who won’t virtue signal on climate change, who hates identity politics and who will risk his career by saying what he thinks.
Take a bow, Mr Fox. You put the cat amongst the pigeons and we loved every minute of it.