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David Keighley’s BBC Watch: New Labour stooge takes the sword to Western civilisation


Former New Labour minister James Purnell, who was recently appointed on a £300,000 salary the BBC’s Director of radio and education – without a smidgeon of programme-making experience – has announced a revolution in the Corporation’s style of broadcasting.

Hold on to your hats!

Out goes what Tony-crony Purnell says is the cultural elitism of past landmarks of BBC broadcasting, such as the 1969 Kenneth Clark series Civilisation. In comes his version of the programme series based on the same word, but this time, of course, in the plural.

This gem of the new Charter era will be presented by a venerable trio of the BBC’s finest: Mary Beard, who believes (p12 on the link indicates the depths her post-Brexit despair) that the EU is the best thing that ever existed; Simon Schama (a fanatical Remainer), and finally – bingo again! – David Olusoga a black historian who rails in The Guardian about how racist Britain still is and saw after the Brexit vote a vicious return to 1980s racism.

Purnell declares in his management-gobbledygook-speak blog post announcing his new intentions: ‘[We have] Civilisations – inspired by Kenneth Clark’s seminal documentary series, but in many ways the opposite of the original. Rather than a single view of civilisation, we will have three presenters. Rather than looking at Western civilisation, we will look at many, and question the very concept of civilisation.’

Pardon? What precisely that means remains to be seen. But perhaps we already have clues to this exciting new BBC-Purnellian world of non-elitist output. Basically – as Olusoga outlined  in his vitriolic Guardian analysis – it must first always be remembered that the Brits are – at core – slave-running colonialists, want him to ‘go back to Africa’ and still haven’t given up their bad old ways, as, in his race-dominated world, the alleged outpouring of race hate after the Brexit vote showed.

And what of the approach of the BBC’s education department, over which Purnell now presides? Here what really counts in the civilisation stakes is of course Islam. Forget Kenneth Clark’s admiration and analysis of the West.

This new policy is already starkly evident in the current BBC1 series The Art of France, presented by Andrew Graham Dixon. Preposterously, in the first episode he declared that the development of the Gothic style of architecture at the cathedral of St Denis in Paris in the twelfth century was the result of – wait for it – ‘Ottoman’ influences, and that (as his justification for this claim) France has always been ‘a mongrel nation’.

Of course, in the BBC’s new reality, immigration has always been the driving force of civilisation – with Roman Britain paving the way. Proof? Three (should be four) skeletons found in London and recently subjected to DNA analysis, came from far-flung places.

The approved BBC reality is now that Islam was the font of all that is good in our world today. While we were shivering in crude wooden huts, those marvellous denizens of El-Andalus in Southern Spain lived in a multicultural paradise, and were making the scientific advances that shaped the modern world. Rev Jules Gomes expertly debunks this pernicious nonsense on TCW here.

Of course, we have not seen this new series yet, and these predictions might miss the mark. But every word of Purnell’s blog post suggests otherwise. It is new evidence that he and the rest of the BBC are now engaged in a major re-writing of British history and culture to make it accord with its prevailing liberal-Left approval of multiculturalism, immigration, and moral relativity.

Anyone who disagrees is cast as a reactionary bigot. In turn, this means that those at the Corporation no longer have the capacity or even wish to understand or tolerate adversarial attitudes. And now a full-scale assault against them is underway.

Purnell’s blog should be seen as the underlying justification for this new war: on Trump, on Farage, on anyone who disagrees. In this new order, they now belong only to the realm of ‘Fake News’. Output reflects that.

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David Keighley
David Keighley
Former BBC news producer, BBC PR executive and head of corporate relations for TV-am. Director of News-watch.

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