Wednesday, March 29, 2006

BBC 3 - Mindfield, the worst ever?


I was on TV last night. Not that I bothered to watch it. BBC 3's Mindfield programme (presented by June Sarpong), designed to connect the yoof of today with some serious intellectual debate was painful enough the first time round.

You have to understand that in Kilroy-style discussion programmes the format is a little unappealing. There's lot's of shouting and you don't have to be an expert as a result. Just play up to the crowd and you'll be fine.

Strangely, for a show that spent a lot of time and effort recruiting interested young people and feeding them at BBC License payers' expense, there was little input from young people. Instead, the various interested parties were confined to the back benches as old duffers with various degrees of mania ranted about their various prejudices (George Galloway even made a brief appearance but scarpered before the cameras started to roll).

The show asked the question 'Should we have a multi-cultural society in Britain or a single British culture?'

Easy answer, we should have one British culture - right? Well actually. According to the 'top barrister' recruited to defend Britishness, it was impossible to be British if you wore any overt signs of religion. By his definition it would soon become illegal to be anything but a white middle class atheist.

So the dilemma was, choose multi-culturalism or agree with a foaming at the mouth nutter. Unsurprisingly, no-one did and we all happily assented to reduce our opinions to holding up coloured bits of card.

However, the problem is multi-culturalism is a bad thing. I come from a multi-cultural society (two cultures to be exact) and if the riots, killings, hatred and colour-coded kerbstones are anything to go by it doesn't work.

What then? Have a regulated standard society like the BBC nutter suggested?

NO.

Britain is defined by its history, and that history has, through bitter experience, forged a common identity. To be British you no longer need to be CoE, nor do you need to be an anglo-saxon. The history of this country is marked with the assimilation of all sorts of cultures. but it is just that - assimilation. Adapting to other cultures in a common sense tolerant way whilst asking anyone who lives here to abide by that same rule of common sense and to discard bigotries.

Multi-culturalism discards that attitude and places the emphasis on existing seperately with no emphasis on getting along as one nation. In the end it will lead to simmering tensions along the cultural lines of division - race and religion.

BBC Three's well-meaning but daft researchers would do well to remember that.

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