Dumbest interview question ever on BBC Radio Leeds

On January 28th, prior to his meeting with the Lib Dem Chief Whip, the MP for Bradford East David Ward was interviewed on BBC Radio Leeds on the subject of his remarks about “the Jews” not having learned the lessons of the Holocaust. For reasons best known to himself,  he has since seen fit to upload that interview to Youtube. 

When asked by the interviewer Liz Green if he regretted the timing of his remarks, given their proximity to Holocaust Memorial Day, Ward replies:

“Well, one better. Which particular day of the year would the State of Israel prefer that I criticise them? There will never be a good day for them.”

Once again, it seems that Mr Ward is unable to distinguish between Jews (and non-Jews who have criticised his remarks) and Israel. 

At 2:13 the interviewer poses what must be one of the most pointless questions ever asked on radio:

“OK. Are you antisemitic?”

But of course that just gives Ward the opportunity to distort his original statement even further. 

One of the most remarkable – and worrying – aspects of the BBC’s coverage of this affair has been its superficiality. An almost pantomime quality of “Oh yes he did. Oh no he didn’t” has dominated its reports, which have consistently tried to play down Ward’s statements rather than explaining to audiences precisely why those criticising them find them so problematic. 

One increasingly plausible explanation for that could be that the BBC itself does not properly understand the gravity of the issue and therefore is unable to provide those clarifications to its audiences. For an organisation committed to diversity, that is obviously a problem. 

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14 comments on “Dumbest interview question ever on BBC Radio Leeds

  1. I cannot imagine that it will make a significant difference to his opinions but I have written to Mr Ward today suggesting that he listen to the latest podcast from Pat Condell – Patronising the Palestinians. This together with several other podcasts he has made offers another slant on the issues not normally admitted by the ‘chattering classes’

    (The podcast can be found on iTunes)

  2. I don’t know how the Holocaust is taught in schools today so my theory is open to challenge, but I wonder – if I took random samples of folk from across a broad spectrum and asked “What does antisemitism look like?” what type of responses I’d get? Has education – via films and books on what was Hitlers Final Solution – focused on antisemtism in its extreme and final stage without too much exploration of its early stages, leaving the impression that anitsemitism is only antisemtism when it has reached a tragic conclusion? We know it seems to behave like a virus, mutating over time and – as Jonathan Sacks said – needing to be justified by the highest authority of the age (i.e. the Church, followed by Science, followed now by Human Rights), but how well is this understood and taught?

    I also wonder if I asked the same random sample “Could it happen in the UK?” whether I’d get many ‘yes’ responses. If educators have not included the underlying human psychology that can change our behaviour, and enable cruelty, then the temptation to believe such behaviour is a “German thing” is dangerous.

    Which is all a long way round wondering how widespread is the ignorance we see coming from David Ward?

  3. I would add, Hadar, that it is not in Ward’s conflating Jews with Israel that he’s wrong, but in suggesting that Israel is, in any remote way, behaving like Nazi Germany. It’s disgusting. Everything the man said is ignorant. It really does make me wonder how low is the bar set in the LibDem PPC selection process.

    • pennylan, it is in both, surely. However, he has to look to his electorate and please them, doesn’t he?

      • Yes – you are absolutely right. Not a typo on my part, per se, but born of having already said it on several other blogs – and with it dawning on me that the aspersions cast on Israel were not being addressed as vigorously as they might.

  4. I listen to Radio Leeds when it has been snowing and I need to know the local road conditions, otherwise it’s amateur hour, makes Alan Partridge look sophisticated .Could have even been his inspiration.

  5. Thanks for swimming through the excrement by monitoring this, Hadar. Duvidl honestly cannot face watching seven minutes and forty nine seconds of David Ward’s Jew-hate video above.

    He does, however, recognise some of the rogues’ gallery of 23 MPs in the title frame; all the usual suspects, including Jeremy Corbyn, Sir Gerald Kaufman, Jack Straw, who lost his job as foreign secretary in Tony Blair’s Labour government for being such an Isra-hater and that Brit with a South African accent on the other end of the flag, whose name Duvidl cannot remember as he descends into well-deserved obscurity.

    Out of 650 MPs, 23 is hardly a quorum and this figure, of course, omits a few more who left or were deselected at the last election because of improper conduct during the expenses scandal. Sir Gerald, the shadow home secretary when Tony Blair was in opposition, was not given the real job when Labour came to power and remains, like a boil on the bum of Parliament, a backbench failed politician. It was he, of course, who claimed £5,000 on expenses for a rug, which he has refused to apologise for.

  6. After a recount, there appear to be only 21 MPs in the frame. Duvidl had mistaken a tree behind David Ward’s head for a human being and also a statue behind the South African accented forgettable MP.

    • Peter Hain.

      Not only does he want to sell the Israelis down the river, he was the nasty little squirt who was Foreign Secretary who had the job of trying to sell the Gibraltarians down the river too.

  7. “One increasingly plausible explanation for that could be that the BBC itself does not properly understand the gravity of the issue and therefore is unable to provide those clarifications to its audiences”

    Hadar, this shows, surely that antisemitism such as this is becoming part of normal discourse, to the extent that people who perpetrate it are bemused and/or angry when their antisemitism is pointed up.

    No prizes for guessing why it has become part of normal discourse, and I don’t mean that Israel/Jews have caused it. One has to ask oneself who is driving it.

  8. Pingback: BBC does yet another makeover on Ward remarks | BBC Watch

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