Is it just my imagination or was there a widely publicised report a few weeks ago by a professor called Alexis Jay describing in clinical detail how at least 1400 mostly underage girls were groomed, drugged and raped over a period of years in the northern town of Rotherham by gangs of men from predominately Kashmiri-Pakistani Muslim backgrounds?
The reason I ask is that earlier this week, I was publicly called a liar, an Islamophobe and a racist for mentioning this fact on a BBC TV debate programme called – laughably – Free Speech. “Boo! Hiss!” went the studio audience. “Not true” went the silly girl panelist sitting to my left. “List one contemporary problem facing Britain that’s NOT the fault of Muslims? Are there any in your mind?” said someone on Twitter with evidently strong and somewhat unnerving radical Islamist sympathies.
It’s normally at this point in the proceedings that the moderator comes to your rescue. I know Jonathan or David Dimbleby would have done. Grumble though I do on occasion about the leftist bias of their respective programmes Any Questions and Question Time, the fact remains that the Dimblebys are bright, scrupulous, supremely well-informed professionals. No way would they allow it to go unchallenged if one of their panelists said something that was perfectly true only to have the rest of the panel and (almost) the entire audience to shout him down as a racist, Islamophobic liar.
But the same, unfortunately, could not be said for the moderators on this particular programme, which was evidently designed as a kind of looser, more youthful version of Question Time, aimed at the 16 to 34-year old demographic. They pointed the mics willy nilly at panelists and members of the audience with little regard to the sense – or nonsense – of what was being said.
Certainly, there was no evidence of any presiding intelligence shaping the show or the direction and balance of the debate. For all the difference the Blue-Peter-level moderation made, we could have been talking about Miley Cyrus’s twerking moves or Kim Kardashian’s bum, rather than about highly contentious, very serious and potentially dangerous issues like so-called “rape culture” and the radicalisation of young British Muslims.
Afterwards various viewers who had been appalled as I was by this car crash of debate asked why I’d volunteered for it. “Why go on James? It’s like stepping into the cretins’ den,” said one. Other comments from sympathisers included: “I had to turn it off,”; “You must have the patience of a saint after last night’s “Free Speech”,” It’s not a debate, more a left-wing hate-session against anyone daring not to conform”; “Have watched you on the BBC last night. I have to say that even growing up in communist Poland I have rarely seen such a shameless set up and left wing propaganda show. I admire your courage really.”
And the answer is: definitely not for the money. (£150 in case you wondered). No, the reason you do these things is partly in the naive hope that this time it will be different – that for once you’ll find a BBC debate programme where your function isn’t to play the token right-wing nutcase for the torture-porn delight of an audience of rabid lefties. And also because someone has to put the alternative viewpoint across, otherwise all you’re going to get is a bunch of people spouting the usually right-on, progressive cant and just agreeing with one another. If no one does this, then the enemy will have won.
So that’s why I did it but, God, I almost wish I hadn’t….
Read the rest at Breitbart London