The invincible BBC

A television producer at the British state broadcaster once outlined for Dalrymple’s benefit the phases of liberal denial.

The producer’s colleagues regarded him as a maverick, a tilter at windmills, almost a madman. And what was his madness? He wanted the BBC to make unvarnished documentaries about life in the lower third of society: about the mass (and increasing)

  • illiteracy
  • illegitimacy and single parenthood
  • hooliganism
  • violence
  • lawlessness
  • drug-taking
  • welfare dependency
  • hopelessness

so that the rest of the population might begin to take stock of what was happening on their doorstep. He wanted to concentrate on the devastating effects of the fragmentation—no, the atomisation—of the family that liberal legislation, social engineering, and cultural attitudes since the late 1950s have so powerfully promoted.

The producer’s BBC superiors greeted his proposals, Dalrymple explains, with condescension.

  • First, they denied the facts. When he produced irrefutable evidence of their existence, they accused him of moral panic.
  • When he proved that the phenomena to which the facts pointed were both serious and spreading rapidly up the social scale, they said that there was nothing that could be done about them, because they were an inevitable part of modern existence.
  • When he said that they were the result of deliberate policy, they asked him whether he wanted to return to the bad old days when spouses who hated each other were forced to live together.
  • When he said that what had been done could be undone, at least in part, they produced their ace of trumps: the subject was not interesting, so there was no point in making programmes about it.

Thus the British public, says Dalrymple,

would be left to sleepwalk its way undisturbed through the social disaster from which a fragile economic prosperity will certainly not protect it.

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