I have been reading with interest about the furore surrounding the resignation (and apparent "over-promotion" before her resignation) of Baroness Warsi. This is because - for me at least - it taps into one aspect of society which I simply cannot either understand or stand for.
Recently we have had endless debates about how certain sections of society are under-represented in the media and in Government - along with how we should rectify the situation to everybody's satisfaction.
Solutions have included parachuting female "comedians" into TV programmes such as "Mock The Week" and "Have I Got News For You" (I will explain the quotation marks in a minute), or (if one Lenford Henry Esquire has his way) creating a section of the BBC run by and employing people soley from the Black and Ethnic Minorities. I am sorry but has Mr Henry not watched "EastEnders" recently???
The female "comedians" being parachuted into quiz show panels like "Mock The Week" have actually spoiled the programme for me for two reasons. The first is they have obviously been parachuted in (one female per programme is hardly likely to raise the standard for women). and secondly - this may surprise you because I am female - I find most of the female "comedians" on TV seriously unfunny (I actually find some of the female "comedians" way more offensive than I find the male ones).
Baroness Warsi is a Muslim. She was the first Muslim to be a member of the Cabinet in any British Government. Baroness Warsi also happens to be female. Apparently she is also the only Member or the current Parliament (House of Lords and House of Commons combined) to stand by her principles and her religious beliefs - as her resignation has proved. So much for Mr Cameron's idea of putting her in the Cabinet as a token Muslim and a token lady from the Ethnic Minorities.
Seriously - I don't care who presents my news or acts in a programme I watch or holds a position in Government. I just want to know they are the best person for the job.
Why don't I care about what they look like or how old they are, etc??? Mainly because I understand that the Media and "Public Life" bear little or no ressemblance to my life and they never will.
Much as I would love it if there was a character in a soap with a visual disability which was properly explored in a storyline, or a documentary which told people the true story about the real issues the disabled, unemployed, etc, face without "sexing it up" to win some mythical ratings war, I know it is never going to happen. Controversy and ratings get exposure and exposure means money.
I will admit that people like Mary Beard, etc, do have a slight point when they say that the more mature female should be on the TV more. However, I would go back to the point about being there on merit instead of being parachuted in to fulfil some mystical criteria which has been dreamed up by someone with too much time on their hands.
Whilst I am on the subject of parachuting people in to situations where they do not belong - can someone please explain to me why the nearest point of conflict is nearly always reported on by a British reporter??? Surely - in this day and age - there is at least one native reporter with a reasonable enough grasp of English to be able to report on the situation in their country???
As for the BBC's (they are the biggest culprits for this) nasty habit of deciding that the person who is reporting on a situation - and has made the mistake of stumbling anywhere near the studio when the "On Air" light was glowing - is not only an expert on whatever they have been reporting on but has somehow managed to miraculously morph into an expert on matters which have even the most tenuous link to the subect??? Do their contact books not have details on where to find proper experts???
Discrimination should be made illegal in all its forms - both negative and positive. We need to foster a culture where people are judged on their talents alone.
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