Thursday, April 20, 2006

You Have To Admire The Today Programme ...

The President of China is visiting the US - and the Today Programme's first item after the eight o'clock news decides to focus on China's attitude to human rights (RealAudio), which "is not exactly compatible with Western standards".

Would the BBC care to give us an example ?

"One huge cause for concern is China's fondness for the death penalty ..."

So let's ask Ken Livingstone's ex, Kate Allen of Amnesty International, to give a little talk on how China is 'by far the worst offender'.

Now there's a case for a close look at China's USE of the death penalty - it is applied for cases of 'economic sabotage' for example. But Kate Allen's position is that ALL executions are a violation of human rights.

Her views are shared by only a minority of the UK and US populations, though by probably a majority of Today presenters. The death penalty has been compatible with western standards for most of the twentieth century, and is still used in the greatest Western nation. How strange that, of all the criticisms that could be levelled - lack of democracy, no freedom of expression, no freedom of religion, for example - that the BBC should choose this as an example of what's wrong with China.

10 comments:

paul said...

As Amerikkka also has the death penalty, pointing to China's use of it allows the BBC to claim balance through a spurious moral equivalence.

(Btw, the Chinese also execute anyone caught killing giant pandas.)

dearieme said...

Not ANYONE, Paul, surely? Anyone insufficiently well-connected, perhaps?

Anonymous said...

'Still used in the greatest Western nation'? Surely a mistake, Laban. The greatest Western nation abolished it in the 60s (unless you count for treason, where it was abolished in the 90s). Or, alternatively, are you turning into a member of that 'self-hating' crowd you so frequently bemoan, and consider your own nation inferior to its colonial offspring?

Anonymous said...

The death penalty was the BBC's chosen topic because that way, as Laban says, they can criticise America by proxy.

I'd like to have heard some comment on Today about how Western politicians (including a Mr. Livingstone) are sucking up to China, as I know it makes many people sick.

The BBC and the Met Elite as we know are very upset by countries occupying other countries (America/Iraq, Israel/Palestine), yet strangely, China's occupation of Tibet is apparently less of an issue.

Laban said...

I do consider the US to be a greater nation then Britain, which has fallen from its high estate - so low that none can forsee the end ...

Anonymous said...

The US is greater? How? Here are just a few ways I imagine you'd like to change the UK in order to bring it closer to this 'greater' nation:

1. Keep abortion not only legal, but enshrine it as a constitutional right, safe from legislative attack

2. Increase the illegal immigrant population to around two million, and gain cross-party agreement that the solution should be to do pretty much bugger all about it

3. Reduce life expectancy by a year or so

4. More or less triple London's murder rate (and that only by comparing it with the very safest large American city)

I could go on. Of course, I'm being highly selective, but then so are you.

As someone who has many years' experience of living on both sides of the pond, I find it extraordinary that a Brit like yourself (and many like you) takes such a dim view of his own country, especially a wonderful treasure of a country like Britain. America is a place I love dearly, warts and all, but Britain is a jewel. Ragged in parts, sagging at a few seams, but one of the most glorious spots on the planet, and certainly able to hold her own proudly against the brasher charms of Uncle Sam.

I'm reminded of a line from one of Britain's great wits: WS Gilbert. The executioner's little list from the Mikado. One of the categories for the chop is that type of person who 'loves all centuries but this, and every country but his own'. What was true in the 19th century is still true today in many parts of the British right.

Larry Teabag said...

Anon, yes but they've got the Death Penalty. And that's the most important thing.

Stuart said...

Yep, there are hordes US citizens desperate to smuggle themselves into Bliar's police state so that they can enjoy the benefits of a TV Licence, 17.5% VAT obscene fuel prices and the chance to grow old on an NHS waiting list....... Britain is the kind of jewel worn by chavs and purchased in Argos, overpriced tacky and worthless.

Laban said...

Maybe there's some confusion about the word 'great'. I'm talking about temporal power and authority, as well as a sense of being a nation, not whether I love it or not.

Britain is my nation, and I love it with all its faults, just as you would continue to love a daugher even were she a welfare-addicted no-mark.

I love the Baggies and they're MY team - but I can acknowlege that Chelsea are a greater football side.

Anonymous said...

Stuart - your response makes my point for me. There is no greater sin, it seems, for some parts of the British right, than liking Britain. You may think Britain is 'worthless'. I, hopeless lefty though I may be, am rather fond of the old girl. Sorry for committing such a thought crime.

Laban - so by 'great' you mean powerful? Hm.

Your analogy with a father loving his daughter despite the fact that she is a 'welfare addict no-mark' is an interesting one.

To carry on the analogy, your blog is rather like that of a father blogging about his daughter and only ever talking about her faults - and wilfully ignoring anything good she ever does. After a while, one might question the father's affection for his offspring if all he ever talks about is how ugly, hopeless and morally inferior to other people's children she is.