Saturday, 3 December 2011

I would like the BBC to apologise to me for Marcus Brigstocke

I had been planning to watch Have I Got News For You last night. But I’ve taken to checking the guest list beforehand just in case Jo Brand or Ed Byrne or Chris Addison are due to appear: I’ve witnessed enough sneering at royalty, the rich, toffs, US Republicans, the Tea Party, private schools, Christians, right wingers, Daily Mail readers, climate change sceptics, Europhobes and those in favour of radically cutting public spending  to last me a lifetime.

Several, in fact. 

One of the guests due to appear last night was Marcus Brigstocke. Now, you may have a stronger stomach than me, but I simply can’t bear to watch this privileged private boarding school product railing – completely unchallenged – in his ghastly faux-prole accent, at everything I believe in.

Simple question: why does the BBC feel it necessary to apologise for remarks made by Jeremy Clarkson about public sector strikers, with which I wholly concurred, and which would have had over half the country applauding (the sensible, productive, patriotic half, of course) while apparently feeling no need to apologise for the offensive drivel regularly spewed out by Brigstocke (that appalling, curly-headed creep, Chris Addison, runs him a close second – I’ll never forget his petulant, babyish performance on HIGNFY a few days after Labour lost the 2010 election: can’t remember an apology for that hateful performance either).

Still, asking for common sense or fairness from the Liberal-Left is like expecting a Unison leader to possess a sense of humour. Even allowing for the fact that they were all evidently narked by the fact that their much-vaunted general strike had proved such a flop, the succession of po-faced whingers who came on to denounce the evil Clarkson hit a new low in dreary humourlessness.

As for their basic premise – that public sector workers are all heroic, selfless angels whose only thought from the minute they get up to the minute they go to bed is for the welfare of others - for Christ’s sake! You’d think these bastards didn’t get paid for their work, and that they’d all sacrificed glittering careers in the private sector in order to help the "vulnerable". Many of these people are effectively unemployable in the private sector, due to incompetence and laziness. Many of them don’t have a shred of compassion (just because you work in a “caring” profession doesn’t automatically mean that you are caring, as all the horror stories currently emerging from our hospitals and care homes prove).

Last Wednesday’s strike would appear to have had the exact opposite effect to the one its organisers intended, by focussing attention on the dreadful inequalities that exist between the productive and unproductive sectors of our society. Thanks to Unison’s leaders, I’ve heard more questioning of the exact point of the public sector – and its size and cost and the rewards it offers employees - than I have since the heyday of Thatcherism.


These pompous jerks are always asking for national debates on issues which they believe will result in accruing yet more privilege  - because they know the broadcast media will act as unpaid propagandists for their cause. Well, the BBC did its best for them last week - but it failed. There's a national debate, all right - only it hasn't gone in the direction these geniuses expected it to.

But, of course, this groundswell of general scepticism has completely by-passed the BBC, which is still locked in a Brigstockean paradigm of wicked bankers and cruel Tories and lovely nurses and down-trodden teachers and nasty "Cuts" that aren't really necessary. For example, there was a hilarious interview on some daytime current affairs show on TV yesterday: Stephen Sackur was quizzing James Delingpole about the Clarkson incident. Delingpole was being restrained (by his standards) but, faced with a genuine right-winger,  Sackur had the look of a man dismantling an unexploded device – I half expected the camera to close in on his sweating brow and shaking hands as he dithered over whether to disconnect the blue or red wires emerging from the back of Delingpole's skull.

To the BBC, people who believe what the likes of Delingpole, Clarkson – and yours truly – believe are either evil, deluded or clinically insane. The fact that roughly half the country pretty much thinks the way we do about most things, and that only a quarter or so believe what Brigstocke believes, doesn’t matter, apparently, because their 25% is the enlightened, liberal 25% who see it as their duty - and their right - to lead this country  into the sunlit uplands of social justice and fairness and equality.

Well, if you want genuine equality, here are two immediate actions which would promote it:

1. Let the public sector take it’s fair share of our economic pain by bringing their pensions into line with those on offer to their equivalents in the private sector.

2. Apologise to all those of us who despise Marcus Brigstocke and everything he says  for giving him a platform for his offensive, malignant, minority views.

Can’t say fairer than that!

(And in case you think it unfair of me - Mary Whitehouse stylee - to attack things I haven't watched, my wife, who is of a less splenetic temperament than your correspondent, did catch Brigstocke last night, and tells me his performance was every bit as vile as one would have expected.)


  1. I also saw Brigstocke on HIGNFY. I didn't really understand your cryptic explanation of the meaning of CAUC, but in the middle of the programme the penny dropped.

  2. I share your dislike of Brigstocke. I don't know the original meaning of "Brigstocke" [perhaps Anglo-Saxon for "very thick neck"?], but having read the remarks of the local vicar perhaps it should be "neologized"; for example, "Toby Young is a bit of a Brigstocke" or "I don't want to end up looking like a Brigstocke". Just a thought.

    What hold does this man have on the BBC? As TV is so bad these days I had a close look at the programme schedule for Radio 4 for the coming week. Brigstocke appears on three programmes - "I'm sorry I haven't a clue" + repeat, "Giles Wemmbley Hogg Goes Off" and "The Now Show" + repeat. So with his appearance on HIGNFY + extended repeat he is involved in 3 Hours 35 Minutes worth of BBC programming over a 7-day period. Is this because he accepts a very limp pay-cheque or are there more nefarious reasons at play here?

    Apart from their omnipresence the problem with crashing bores is that they suck enjoyment out of everything around them. For example, Boris Becker cried off from HIGNFY last night probably because of you-know-who and as I had to turn off immediately I was not able to gaze at the lovely Kirsty Young. What are the chances of getting Brigstocke elected on to "Celebrity Coach Trip"? It means you disappear for a long period.

  3. I would like Ian Hislop to apologise for appearing so often with Marcus Brigstocke. Not only on HIGNFY, but also on Radio 4's I've Never Seen Star Warswhat was he thinking of?

  4. Plagiarist Hunter8 December 2011 at 16:11

    David Moss. With regard to Ian Hislop I note in the current edition of Private Eye in the "Music & Musicians column" [pp14] an article about Sunwook Kim & UKBA which looked very familiar. I hope you have been suitably remunerated?

  5. oh dear. I feel a falling-out coming on. I know he's a bit of a lefty but Marcus Brigstocke has to be admired for his unrelenting and frequently funny piss-taking of the appalling David Blaine. In addition, Think the Unthinkable, a radio series about management consultancy is one of the few programmes I always try to catch, though largely because of the supporting cast which includes a wonderfully management speak female whom any one who has ever worked for a large organisation will recognise.

    Having said that, aim off for the fact that I'm the only man in Britain who didn't think that Fawlty Towers was the greatest work of genius since the invention of the prefabricated concrete coal bunker. Maybe that will stop me being blackballed by the blog.

  6. There's no mystery as to why Brigstocke seems to be on all the time - he's practically a clone of most of the producers and editors - their age, their educational background and class, their political views. They can imagine inviting round for dinner - in fact, I bet they do! To them, he's as safe as houses. I can't tell you how conservative broadcasters are - they want the rest of the world to ignore the past and adopt policies that have never been shown to work - but in their own chosen field, they want reliability. Brigstocke annoys right-wingers - but when did that ever matter to broadcaster? What he'll do is turn up on time, sober, deliver his lines in a professional fashion, or "ad lib" some conventional, vaguely satirical comments which will never be so offensive as to cause a Frankie Boyle-style deluge of complaints, the self-selecting audience of urban lefties will dutifully laugh in all the right places, and everyone involved can go home wrapped in a warm cloak of smugness.

    It's as boring as that, I'm afraid!

  7. David, for all his good points, Ian Hislop is a left-winger. Not, admittedly, an extreme one, and able - more than most - to see how silly and pompous and wrong they can be. But still left-of-centre. As I've said before, I'd be surprised if the bits of right-wing satire that appears in the Eye have anything to do with Hislop - I assume they're mainly the work of Christopher Booker. Also, Hislop is now, basically, a TV person - and if you refused to work with pricks in TV, you'd never be on!

  8. Poining out that Brigstocke has done some good things (and he has) is a bit like saying that Harold Shipman was actually quite a decent GP. But you're forgiven - we all have our blind spots. (I'm afraid I'm a conventional Fawlty fanatic, so that tack won't work!)

  9. Plagiarist Hunter, no, Private Eye didn't pay me for that story.

    They don't pay for anything, not even the cartoon idea I sent them and which they used.

    I am hoping that this week they will use the midata stuff I sent them. Probably not, though, these communists tend to approve of "my" data belonging to the state.

    Even if they do, they won't pay for it. Tightwads.