It’s 7.49pm. I’ve bought the Christmas food, made two dozen mince pies, cleaned the flat, been to the library and bought more food, but I’m still angry. Furious even. It must be a middle class, middle age rite of passage that one spends way too much time being annoyed at Radio 4 and this morning’s Today programme wound me up even more than usual.
First it was “Thought for the Day”. Let’s leave aside the whole issue of why there’s a slot in a news programme for smug men and women to tell us how to live our lives, and why that slot is reserved solely for smug men and women who believe in the existence of imaginary beings. That annoyance is simply every day’s baseline of Today fury.
This morning it was the Bishop of Liverpool making a case for why the Church of England should remain part of the state. Again, we’ll leave aside whether he’s right or utterly wrong about this and merely ask… why the hell is this on the Today programme? It’s bad enough we’re subjected to a few minutes of sanctimonious religion every morning, never mind donating the slot to someone to air their baseless political views about keeping our supposed democracy nominally beholden to a sodding church. Come on! I don’t want to get all green ink and “what’s my license fee doing paying for this” but I’m getting dangerously close.
And calm… this was just the warm-up after all.
The 8am headlines brought the news that the Pope has said, to quote BBC News, “saving humanity from homosexual or transsexual behaviour is just as important as saving the rainforest from destruction.” Sometimes I think we’re going back in time. The headline news took this at face value and didn’t offer an opposing soundbite but I bade my time and at 8.20 am my patience was rewarded when [a presenter who is nameless on the website] introduced a segment on the topic.
Did I say I was rewarded? I meant poked in the eye. No, both eyes. She introduced two guests, the first was Joanna Bogle from the Catholic Times. Fair enough. Who, I wondered, would be countering the argument… Cristina Odone, ex-editor of the Catholic Herald. Oh, strange. You can listen to it here.
For crying out loud, I’m listening to it again and Bogle’s plain backward righteousness is driving me nuts. I hoped Odone, who was last on Today less than a fortnight ago, would counter this with some, you know, blinding common sense. But no, she goes on about how talking about sex isn’t very “media savvy” for the Pope. Bogle hogs the slot, managing to sound utterly certain about what she’s saying without actually saying explicitly what we all assume she’s saying about homosexuals.
What on Earth is going on at Today? Could they find no one to call this out for the shit it is? Have all the researchers gone on holiday already? It’s a disgrace, a disgrace that someone as influential as the Pope can peddle this crap and have no one oppose him. What are you people doing every morning? Are you scared of offending Catholics who, one hopes, should be as ashamed of their leader as I am? If we have to endure John Humphrys giving every poor interviewee the third degree over far more mundane stuff than this are you not going to expose this claptrap for the hateful, divisive nonsense it is? I know you want to maintain some “balance” but a smidgen of courage and enquiry wouldn’t go amiss. Do your job.
I’ve never complained to the BBC before and I hoped I’d never have to, but today I did. Maybe I’m middle aged or something, but I’m still furious.