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The BBC has a misguided woke agenda

Noel Yaxley
February 3, 2021

The BBC's new initiatives to increase diversity and inclusivity in its programming and hiring is at the expense of common sense and the British taxpayer. What is the reasoning behind this, and can't they see they're deluded in their goals, asks Noel Yaxley.

Britain has always had strong economic ties with the US. We have imported some of its finest quality products. Unfortunately, we have also imported some truly awful ideas and beliefs. One example is the supposed racial bias towards African-Americans by law enforcement.

During 2020 you would've been told we are living in an era of institutional racism. Following Black Lives Matter protests that dominated the British summer, institutions appeared to fall over themselves to make sure they were hiring employees inclusively. Diversity and unconscious-bias training has permeated every institution, regardless of size, from Parliament to businesses.

Within this context, you would expect the venerated BBC  to do all it can to improve race relations, wouldn't you?

Well, if you believe racial segregation to be the panacea to fix Britain's apparent problem of pervasive systemic racism then you should welcome the latest news from our publicly funded broadcaster.

Initially set to air on the BBC's Radio 4 station, a new comedy show is set to "parody traditional game shows." Hosted by Desiree Burch, 'Bameshow'  has been described as "the only BBC Radio 4 panel show featuring exclusively people of colour." Apparently, until now, comics of colour have often been overlooked on mainstream television. To remedy this, the show will only allow comedians from the BAME community to appear. To put it clearly: if you are white you can throw that CV away.

I am perplexed as to how the corporation can sincerely believe that excluding a racial demographic – (85% of the population) – can be good for race relations? This is exceptionally offensive, not only to white people, but to the BAME community. There are many great, funny BAME comedians that feature regularly on BBC comedy shows. Yet to be given special treatment because comedians from a minority background feel they cannot compete with white comedians is yet another example of the corporation's complete and utter acquiescence to identity politics.

There is something that feels akin to racial hiring here – which is illegal. The Equality Act, badges hiring for racial reasons as technically unlawful. Where most would say hiring using racial quotas is at best unethical and at worse illegal – by calling it a target – companies circumvent this most divisive of racial-based practices.

Seeing as disability falls under the 'protected characteristic' category then I want to see the BBC provide more shows featuring exclusively disabled people. They make up 20% of the population. Or a show only featuring vegans – 1.16 per cent of the population. Think I'm joking? The Law Commission have recently met with people from alternative subcultures who wish to be included in new hate crime laws. This is the world we appear to live in now.

When it comes to the latest far-left, progressive ideological stance, rest assured the BBC will not be far behind. In 2016 the corporation set a new target to better reflect the demographic make-up of the population. This was set at 15%. In other words, 15% of BBC staff had to have a BAME background. Now, in a post-George Floyd world, this figure has increased. To appear more inclusive, they must now fill 20% of roles. Although, according to the Creative Diversity Network's recent study, the BAME population is better represented on screen than in the country – 23% on screen time compared to 15% of the population.

The illiberalism, hypocrisy and double standards of the BBC are bare. When Tim Davie took over from Lord Hall as Director General, many saw his appointment as a wake-up call to the more progressive, leftist agenda that has become ingrained within the institution. How wrong they were. The clarion call to defund the BBC has now become deafening.

Hiring policies based on immutable characteristics such as skin colour is authoritarian, wrong and dangerous for race relations. According to the BBC, 'Bameshow' will challenge "plain old racism." They are right in one way! By excluding 85% of the population, It will stoke further resentment to the dwindling tranche of people who reluctantly fork out £157.50 for their annual licence fee. The corporation's inclusivity drive has come at the expense of you: the taxpayer. The BBC recently announced a £100 million commitment to produce 'diverse, inclusive content'. This is the very thing the BBC should be countering. If they really wish to address representation, they should tackle the class divide. BBC staff are twice as likely to be privately educated as the national average: 14% compared to 7% respectively. If the BBC wished to address something serious they should perhaps consider diversity hiring on different themes: thought and class.

In a post-Brexit world we are optimistic about securing a free-trade deal with the US. The basis of which should roll back many barriers to free trade (tariffs, quotas). The irony isn't lost on me. Quotas have no place in trade and should never have a place in employment and hiring.

Comedy, like everything else, should be merit-based. I don't care what the person on stage looks like, or says. What I do care about is something far more important. Are they funny?

Noel Yaxley is a freelance writer and political commentator and his work can be seen in a number of different publications
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