Turning on the BBC Radio 4 fightfest The Moral Maze, not only is there the usual RCP/LM double act of Claire “Her Masters Voice” Fox and Kenan “See no RCP, hear no RCP” Malik, but the first ‘witness’ they “cross-examine” is none other than Ann Furedi, consort of the Dear Leader himself, Uncle Frank Furedi. It’s a matter of continual amazement that Radio 4 allows the sect to get away with this blatant packing of one of its flagship programmes. Has Michael Buerk been turned, one wonders? Or maybe the producer, Phil Pegum, loves the sect’s contrarianism? After all, it does make for knockabout car crash radio. It would be interesting to query the programme makers directly but since the BBC cuts all messageboards have been closed down, so there’s no line of communication to them.
Yep, not content with getting Fox and Malik on Radio 4’s Moral Maze as regular questioners (and frequent RCP/LM members/followers on as ‘witnesses’, including the Dear Leader himself), the sect has now got a third interrogator on the programme. Step forward James Panton, most (in)famous for his robust defence of animal experimentation and the eminence grise (“co-founder”, even) behind the reactive group Pro-Test – see the earlier post “RCP/LM at Oxford University“. He’ll be appearing on tonight’s Moral Maze on “net-based protest” with Kenan Malik, though without Claire “Her Master’s Voice” Fox for a change, and it’ll be interesting to see if Malik and Panton acknowledge each other as comrades/colleagues. Almost certainly not going by previous experience, as Malik and Fox have never, to RCP Watch’s knowledge, acknowledged each other as close comrades going back over two decades, so it’s doubtful that Malik will nod to his arriviste colleague Panton.
All we need now is for Fox to reappear with Malik and Panton and we’ll have 3 of a kind on the programme, leaving just one place for a full takeover of the Moral Maze. Will the RCP/LM try to slip another member in, or would that be too brazen even for them? Time will tell.
Quite what the MM producers are thinking is a mystery. Everyone and their uncle in the metropolitan meedja world knows of the RCP/LM and their members and tactics, not least because they’re guaranteed contrarians – if you want a wind-up merchant on your programme to generate controversy, the RCP/LM is an immediate goto, and they always produce the goods. Yet the MM producers have now allowed 3 RCPers to appear as interrogators, which begs the question: do they know what they’re doing, and if so do they give a monkey’s? The charitable answers would be no and yes, but chances are it’s vice versa.
Does it matter if a secretive authoritarian entryist sect takes over a crappy Radio 4 programme hardly noted for its intellectual rigour (any programme that has that reactionary thicket Melanie Phillips on has no claim to be highbrow)? Well, it is a primetime programme broadcasting to the very chattering ABC1 classes, aka ‘commentariat’, that the RCP/LM sees as its prime audience and recruiting ground, so it matters in that sense. And if you consider dishonesty and duplicity to be moral problems, it matters in that sense as well. If you’re a world-weary cynic then you’ll likely think ‘what the f*ck’ and ignore it, which might be the best move – who knows?
James Panton staff page at St Johns College, Oxford University (with mugshot – tough lookin’ cuss, ain’t he?)
Yep, for your listening pleasure, the Moral Maze on BBC Radio 4 now features not one but two, yes two, RCP/LM members. Joining Claire “Her Master’s Voice” Fox on the panel we now have Kenan Malik, a long-time RCP then LM stalwart. Indeed, he predates Her Master’s Voice as in the 1987 UK General Election, he stood as a candidate of the Revolutionary Communist Party in Nottingham East. There are now two ‘panellists’ on the Moral Maze singing from the same hymn sheet, thus narrowing the range of opinions down even further.
Does it matter that the RCP/LM has colonised the programme? In one sense probably not – MM is little more than a bear-baiting session for panellists to ride hobbyhorses to death, and Fox in particular is absolutely assiduous in pushing the RCP/LM line at every opportunity. The intellectual quality of the ‘debate’ is uniformly low, as befits panellists, such as the rabidly reactionary “social commentator” Melanie Phillips, who have no understanding of moral philosophy or ethics. In another sense maybe it does matter, because for all its intellectual vacuity, MM does go out on primetime on the middle class’s house radio channel, so will have some influence on the chattering classes.
What really burns, though, isn’t that the programme producers allow them both on the show knowing full well, as just about anyone in the meedja knows, that they’re RCP to the core. They give good radio, with Fox acting the rabid pitbull and Malik the considered intellectual, a sort of RCP/LM good cop/bad cop act, and the producers only really care about ratings. It’s the sheer dishonesty of neither of them even acknowledging that they’ve been mates and comrades for over two decades that really rankles. The two act as complete strangers. This dishonesty gives the impression that they’re two independent voices, and thus they lend spurious legitimacy to each other’s views.
There are a couple of blog posts on the same theme:
Indeed, if you do a search for “Kenan Malik RCP LM” you’ll get more than enough material to keep you going for days. Do the MM producers not know how to use Google, or has the RCP/LM assimilated them also? Curious minds want to know…
A new series of the Moral Maze starts this Wednesday, 3rd June, at 8pm on R4. If you can bear the gutter-low and intellectually puerile ‘moral debate’ then it’s worth listening to the RCP’s double act, at least in the opening and closing stages, to get an idea of the current party line on the programme topic.
- Bruno Waterfield
- Scientific Alliance
- The RCP/LM runs a school
- Ellie Lee
- RCP/LM and Occupy
- Moral Maze triple act
- Modern Movement: an insider view
- “Unconditional support” for genocidists
- The RCP/LM reaches the East Midlands
- Another Moral Maze double act
- Swine Flu and the “Culture of Fear” [TM]