My jaw dropped when I saw it.
Not at the rant from a BBC Question Time audience member spouting a cocktail of hate, rage and untruths, demanding the UK “close the borders” and lashing out at freeloading immigrants dismantling our NHS and the school system.
More that the BBC saw fit to put her unchallenged comments out as a video on Twitter, without rebuttal, then sit back and watch it go viral.
In that moment I thought of the words of Kanye West in 2005 deriding ex-US president George Bush’s appalling reaction to the Louisiana floods.
During an impassioned plea for donations, West said: “George Bush doesn’t care about black people.”
And if the BBC – our public service broadcaster – really cares about migrants it will stop sacrificing its responsibilities at the altar of social media notoriety. First Laurence ‘I’m bored with racism’ Fox, now this.
It’s as if Question Time goes hunting for the kind of incendiary panelists and audience members which will divide Britain further.
As I write, last week’s video is heading for nearly seven million views online.
Amplifying the kind of dangerous rhetoric that has seen hate crime go through the roof is a disgrace. My parents didn’t freeload off the state when they came here from the Caribbean in the 1960s.
They and many others worked, often doing jobs others didn’t want to do, in order to give their kids a future.
It took occasional Mirror guest columnist Ash Sarkar to remind shouty Question Time woman that migrants do indeed pay more into the state than they get back.
Funnily enough, that bit wasn’t contained in the clip the BBC put out.
Question Time lost its gravitas as a heavyweight political debate show long ago.
Now it resembles an ageing sportsman or rock star, desperate to keep up with the younger, fitter, more relevant rivals running rings around it each week.
Instead its aim each week is to trend on Twitter, playing to the “entertain” element of the BBC’s charter instead
of its other mission values, “to inform and educate.” It needs to get back to basics.
Deleting the video of the woman from last week would be the perfect place to start.
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