Golliwog-gate - an insult to race relations and media regulation
The BBC should be ashamed of itself. What Carol Thatcher said was indefensible, out of touch and certainly should never have been broadcast - but it wasn't. What the BBC has done is to broadcast her comment indirectly. It is the BBC that has caused - through press lobbying and leaking - for these offensive comments to make national news headlines. So who is more to blame, Thatcher or the BBC.
The BBC. Thatcher offended a handful of people in one of the BBC's 'Green Rooms' but the decision to 'out' and make public her remarks through pushing them out to the press have made them more offensive than need be. It is making an issue out of this that is as offensive as the comment itself. Since when have Adrian Chiles and Jo Brand been the public arbiters of politically correct comment? Pretending to be 'right on' and race aware when as a society the country may not be is in fact more offensive.
The golliwogs that originally appeared on the Robertson's jam jars were less offensive than the issue being created around them now. The original version was created in a different age and used as a brand identity. Why people are getting exercised about this now is because they are not comfortable about being honest about the interaction of different races, colours and creeds. A 'golliwog' as initially conceived many years ago does not of itself need to be racist. What is disturbing is the fact that in 2009 the UK as a society is that uncomfortable about how it blends its identities and cultures into a truly modern Britain.
Those who make most fuss about uncomfortable - and indeed indefensible - stereotypes are more often than not also least attuned to our current societal make-up. In this sense the BBC's overblown posturing about outrage says as much about its 'chip' on its shoulder as it does about Carol Thatcher. What she said was outrageous and indefensible but was (arguably) not said to cause offence, while the BBC's outing and making an issue out of the 'affair' is more troubling and offensive.
So does Golliwog-gate merit 3 days of news headlines - no. Find some real news and sort out the more worrying racial tensions surrounding strikes and claims that foreign (we are part of the EU folks!) workers are heinously stealing our jobs.
Using the race card to make an issue to position the BBC favourably is actually more offensive than Carol Thatcher's comment. She was out of order but, sadly, probably not the only out of touch person in the country to fail to see and acknowledge her indefensible approach and views. What the BBC has done is to exploit the situation and 'race card' to try to make itself as a corporation seem good. Well it's not. That is a patronising and naive approach. Offence is not borne out of a single statement but moulded by an overall attitude and the levels of disrespect shown by the likes of Ross and Brand's 'Manuelgate' are arguably much more disturbing.
Out of touch, daughter of the much mailigned Iron Lady (Thatcher), come on BBC - the need is to increase editorial rigour across non news broadcasr and improve compliance - trying to 'position' or score points after an event is transparent and disappointing.