By Robert J Davies
THERE is something miserably depressing and rather frightening about the BBC’s latest foray into the politically-contentious field of identity politics and promotion of apparently disadvantaged minorities.
An in-house report has been drawn up, based on a survey of LGBT staff attitudes, (non-LGBT staff were not invited to take part) which found that many perceived the corporation as having a “heteronormative culture”.
The report (see Daily Telegraph article, October 12th, 2018) calls for an increase in the number of incidental portrayals of LGBT people on TV. In other words, regardless of whether their sexuality has anything to do with a storyline, nonetheless, there should be more of them.
Let’s consider first of all the language used in the report and subsequent BBC commentary on it. Immediately it raises a red flag – no pun intended – over the ideological leanings of supposedly impartial BBC staff, for the terminology and style of writing sound straight out of a Hard Left training manual.
Off-screen and on, LGBT staff will be encouraged to “bring their whole self to work” and be open about their sexuality. Non-binary pronouns (to replace he and she) should be used and a network of “straight allies” set up whose status will be indicated with pin badges or email signatures.
One might reasonably respond that the culture of the BBC is likely to be “heteronormative” since around 90% of the workforce (as per the wider population) are heterosexual. But heteronormative is now apparently, an intrinsically bad thing.
The report’s authors are BBC programme production staff Karen Millington and Matt Weaver, both co-chairs of “BBC Pride”. They are reported as saying: “We hope this makes everyone feel included – whether genderqueer, bisexual, gay, lesbian, transgender, non-binary, pansexual, intersex, asexual, queer, questioning or an ally.”
James Purnell, BBC director of radio and education, cites a recent YouGov survey claiming that only 51% of 18 to 24-year-olds identified as completely heterosexual. He’s quoted as saying: “An organisation that appears to have a heteronormative culture is not one that is going to cut ice with them either as a consumer or an employee. We’re aiming to create the most open, inclusive culture we can.”
The Hard Left will love all this stuff, of course, and they will expect the rest of us to love it too. But in reality this is a punch in the mouth for anyone of a conservative outlook. For this is not how conservative-minded people would think, talk or write. And no, I am not about to suggest that those of us on the Right should gasp at this and say: “gosh, how awful, we would like many fewer gays on our TV screens.”
No, that’s not what we would say at all. But we can certainly say the following: that this sort of inquisitive intrusion into the sexuality of a workforce is deeply unsettling and unnecessary. It does not matter and should not matter what consenting adults do behind a closed bedroom door – provided it’s legal and safe. Once we start ploughing along this particular furrow, where will it end? Note how the sexual preferences list is ever-lengthening: from straight or gay we now have, quoting the BBC staff: genderqueer, bisexual, gay, lesbian, transgender, non-binary, pansexual, intersex, asexual, queer, questioning.
Did you notice what was missing from that long, detailed list of people they hope will feel included? There’s no mention of those who identify as heterosexual. The report’s authors didn’t see fit to “include” them.
A deliberate omission? Possibly not. But isn’t it interesting nonetheless? Doesn’t it indicate exactly the problem here – that in striving ever more to categorise and sub-categorise minorities into various different identities and sub-identities, it is the majority who get marginalised and left out.
And could there possibly be any more divisive strategy created than to make people who work at the BBC (or any workforce) feel that they must be identified and self-identify according to their protected minority characteristics of race, sexual preference, faith or gender (ok, being a woman isn’t a minority but it is treated the same). The problem with socialism of any kind (and this is socialism) is that in attempting to unseat one form of elitism, you replace it with another.
How do programme producers for the BBC, wishing merely to produce cracking, engaging television programmes navigate this minefield of political-correctness? How do they manage still to produce television that is worth watching while at the same time ensuring there are the right numbers of non-binaries, pansexuals, intersexuals and gender-fluid actors, in addition to straightforward gay folk and perhaps, just possibly, a few straight people? That’s without cross-referencing them for the right skin colour and disability criteria as well.
Let’s all stand back from this for a moment and ask ourselves – assuming this new initiative is well-intentioned and not part of a more sinister Left-wing agenda (though it might be): is this really the tune we now want society to dance to in 2018? Is this the modernity and progress we crave, stepping-stones to a bright future in which Britons of all shapes, sizes, sexualities and skin tones will live peacefully and happily together?
Or is it yet another small but significant stride towards creating a deeply-divided, rudderless society, bereft of its own identity, culture and traditions, in which the concept of selection by merit is lost and replaced by a new, narcissistic minorityist elitism in which anyone old-fashioned enough still to be white, male, middle-class and straight will be crushed under the wheels of progress?
The irony is that people of minority sexual preferences have always done brilliantly on TV and on the stage – they seem drawn to it somehow and our cultural life would not have been the same without them. They didn’t need special treatment and other staff wearing specially-coded badges back in the 1950s, let alone today. I would imagine many of them will be deeply embarrassed by all this activity on their behalf and would sooner get on in life simply because they’re good rather than gay (etc, see above).
So why do it? Certainly if this constitutes modern Britain; if these are the sort of priorities we must now live by, then count me out. I see nation states including our own in danger of being swept away by the forces of globalism. I see our sense of history and tradition either forgotten or deliberately brushed aside. Yet this is how we spend our time. I’ve felt the need to spend the last hour writing this, when I could have focused on something more worthwhile and above all, more normal.
Because this is not normal. We are strangers in a very strange land. And all we know is that tomorrow will be stranger than today and 2019 will be stranger than 2018. And all the time we spend agonising over these sort of things which are private and personal and nothing to do with anyone else, we are failing to address what really matters, and the fact that our country is slipping away from us. That may suit the Left just fine, of course.