The BBC’s contempt for English names

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The BBC’s contempt for English names

Andre Walker examines the BBC’s double standard of by-passing the English name for certain countries and cities to instead adopt the local name and pronunciation.

Last weekend we witnessed the beginning of the end of yet another English name for a city: Kiev. Like so many before the BBC has deemed the name to be unacceptable because the locals call it Kyiv.

Presenters like Scott Mills and Graham Norton proudly explained to viewers that they would be using the word Kyiv from now on. They just oozed smugness as they told us this, clearly under the impression people who use the name Kyiv are just a little bit better than the rest of us.

So, the name Kiev will join the likes of Ivory Coast, Bombay and Peking all deemed somehow offensive because they are English translations. The BBC now uses Côte d’Ivoire, Mumbai and Beijing and in doing so seems to have convinced itself they have struck a blow for fairness and equality.

The reality though is that the corporation has merely demonstrated a laughable ignorance of the fact different languages have different words. The BBC has also showed a pretty inexplicable double standard, because it does not insist on renaming every single city, country and region.

There are no plans to call Moscow by the Moskva local pronunciation. Also, Germany is in no danger of being replaced by Deutschland, nor Spain with España.

It does seem like those given the honour of these local names are the crap countries most people don’t give a toss about? In which case getting ‘awarded’ this ‘great honour’ is really a negative status symbol for the countries concerned.

This all reminds me of those hippies who come back from a trip to India having decided to discard knives and forks. They endlessly bleat that in India people eat with their hands, and seem proud to have taken this step backwards in cultural evolution in a bid to level the playing field.

What they fail to notice is that Indians do not just use knives and forks because they cannot afford them. They’re not superior to us, they are just very poor and following their lead when you aren’t poor is pathetic.

But lefties at places like the BBC are convinced anything outside of the Western world is superior to it. They dream of a day when we can learn good governance from some of the corrupt regimes that continue to dominate the African continent, or economics from Amazonian tribes whose wealth hasn’t increased in the last thousand years, or tolerance from Middle Eastern countries that string you up for drinking half a pint of cider.

It is time we admitted the harsh truth, most of the world is not hard done by: they have not been pillaged by the West. The reason people live in poverty is not because of the British Empire. No, most of the world’s dire economic and social problems occur because countries have failed to recognise Western democratic capitalism is better than the more primitive forms of social interaction they invented.

So, are the BBC really doing Ukraine a favour by telling them their language is more important than English? Of course not. Get a life.

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  • Andre Walker
    Andre Walker
    Andre Walker is lobby correspondent and columnist for the New York Observer. He covers the work of the British Parliament and Prime Minister. Before joining The New York Observer he was part of the team that established Breitbart London.
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