BBC needs more political, not ethnic, diversity

How marvellously illustrative that the BBC should be focusing on the politically correct non-problem of an alleged lack of ethnic diversity, while ignoring the real diversity problem of its blatant liberal-Left bias

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Imprisoned by ideology
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the commentator
On 21 June 2014 08:18

Trust the BBC to launch a major new drive to solve the politically correct non-problem of an alleged lack of ethnic diversity within its ranks while continuing to ignore, and thus tacitly condoning, the shameful (and possibly unlawful) violation of its own charter in the form of the broadcaster's almost total subservience to liberal-Left ideology.

If we assume that around half of the British population (add up the percentages recorded in opinion polls for Conservative and UKIP voters for a rough and ready guide) are on the political right, the kind of diversity agenda the BBC applies to ethnic minorities would, if applied to political outlook, mean that half the presenters, producers and senior reporters came from a right-leaning political background.

If the real figure is 20 percent, we'd be astounded. And even if it's as high as that, the critical mass of ideological Leftists means that those of a right-leaning disposition are keeping very quiet about it.

As dissident insiders will tell you, to put it mildly you're not going to do your promotion prospects any good if you start privately professing admiration for, say, Margaret Thatcher or George W. Bush, or question the prevailing orthodoxies on climate change, the State of Israel, or Islamic extremism. And that's just the kind of conversation you might want to beware of having in the BBC canteen. Heaven help you if speak from a perspective that challenges liberal-Left thinking while on air.

Now that's a diversity problem. The BBC Charter (See Incorporation and Purposes, The Independence of the BBC, subsection 1) says:

"The BBC shall be independent in all matters concerning the content of its output, the times and manner in which this is supplied, and in the management of its affairs."

But it just isn't, and we believe that constitutes a misuse of public funds.

With this in mind, the latest plan for greater diversity in the BBC's ethnic make up is yet another slap in the face. The real diversity problem is being buried underneath a fake one. Because there isn't a lack of ethnic diversity at the BBC.

According to the Guardian -- a tellingly reliable source where BBC matters are concerned -- BBC Director General Tony Hall has,

"...set a number of new targets including increasing the number of senior-level BBC staff coming from BAME [Black, Asian and minority ethnic] backgrounds from 8.3% to 10% by 2017, and then 15% by 2020. The BBC wants to "see on-air BAME portrayal increase from 10.4% to 15%" over the next three years."

But if the proportion of senior staff from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds is already over 8 percent then, taking into account demographic and sociological factors associated with communities which include a greater proportion of first generation immigrants than among the wider population, the figures are not much out of sync with what one would hope for in a meritocratic environment.

According to most estimates, the proportion of people from BAME backgrounds in the population as a whole is around 14 percent. Taken at face value, that would suggest that, though hardly a desperate state of affairs, there's still some way to go.

But you need to dig into the figures. For example, within that 14 percent, a far greater proportion than in the wider population is under 18. Obviously, they're not going to be eligible for senior jobs at the BBC. Also, while it is true that the BAME community is not synonymous with the immigrant community, there will be significantly more first generation immigrants in their number than in the population as a whole.

First generation immigrants have to grapple with linguistic issues, for example, that will make a difference in an industry whose core business is communication. Nor would one expect immigrants to have the kind of social networks available to them that help people get prestigious jobs.

Matters such as these will skew the figures. Intuitively -- just switch on the BBC -- we believe there could well be a case for watching out for exclusionary practises that harm the prospects of members of the black community. But does anyone seriously believe there are significant barriers to entry at the BBC for Asians?

There was a time when major institutions such as the BBC did pose problems for people from a BAME background. But, thankfully, those days are largely gone.

How marvellously illustrative that the BBC hierarchy should now be embarking on a strategy drawn straight from the bible of liberal-Left prejudices, while conspicuously ignoring the real diversity problem that, all across the Western world, increasingly defines its character.

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