On Friday the 13th of January I listened to BBC Radio 4’s Any Questions, The first question was “Can we trust President Bush over Iran…?”
Now I am no fan of President George Walker Bush (on his watch there has been the biggest increase of government spending since President Johnson and the biggest increase in domestic government spending since President Nixon), but it was an odd to hear someone clearly regard President Bush as worse than the President of Iran (a man who has denied the Holocaust, pledged to wipe Israel off the map, and has supported suicide bombers, in various parts of the Middle East, for many years).
The audience cheered and clapped the various anti Bush comments of Clare Short M.P., and the (rather milder) anti-Bush and pro-UN comments of the Liberal Democrat MP Simon Hughes present.
The Conservative party person on the panel (Mr Ian Duncan-Smith) did not really try to defend President Bush (although he did say we should not exclude the United States from world affairs). So that left the last member of the panel.
This man (whose name I can not remember) is the new editor of the ‘Financial Times’. Now this newspaper has (perhaps surprisingly, given its name and target readership) normally been on the left of British politics (it tends to favour government spending and regulations, and it favours the statist European Union) so I did not hold out much hope for balance.
And indeed, later on, the editor turned out to have some very standard statist opinions – for example he supported a total ban on smoking in bars and restaurants (almost needless to say, the audience was wildly in favour of a ban “by 98%” – most likely they would have supported any bit of statism that was put in front of them). However, I was surprised as the editor started a pro Bush story of how he had met the President some time ago and…
Then the BBC suddenly went off the air. The broadcast of the show started again when the story was over. At the end of the programme the BBC blamed “technical difficulties” for the break in transmission.
So I listened to the repeat of the show (today Saturday the 14th of January) in order to hear the editor’s story of his meeting with President Bush. It was cut out of the programme – even the start of the story that had been broadcast on Friday night. It seems that the BBC will not tolerate any pro-Bush comment.
Of course it is not a simple of hatred of President Bush as a man (indeed if the B.B.C. people bothered to find out about his policies they would be surprised to find that they support some of them – the bad ones, “No Child Left Behind”, the medicare extension, and so on). They hate President Bush as a symbol of certain American characteristics that they, as members of the ‘liberal’ (i.e. illiberal) left hate – opposition to higher taxes, opposition to ‘gun control’, a belief that crime is caused by evil human choices (not poverty), belief in the family, and in tradition (including traditional religion), national pride and resistance to would-be world government institutions (such as the U.N., the various international ‘rights’ treaties, and the ‘World Court’).
President Bush may not be up to much, but as long as he serves as a symbol of all the BBC hates about the United States (i.e. all the good things in the United States) I find it hard to totally dislike him.