I got a letter from the BBC complaints department which I thought I would re-produce here for shits and giggles. I was quite excited to get a personal email back after my complaint about their 'Enoch Powell might have been right, everybody better go out and buy the Daily Mail so they can beat a black person to death with it' - 'documentary'.
Ok , so I don't think it was called that, but the whole thing basically tried to suggest that old Enoch was right, a patriot and that his concerns were legitimate. It had a definate pro Powell bias, it's horrible and can be veiwed here ( for the next 6 days) should you wish.
Naturally the idea of someone complaining to the BBC conjours up the image of some grey haired old fusspot, with too much time on their hands, whinging because someone said fuck before the watershed. All this has changed with the internet and if you are annoyed you can complain very easily.
Now this isn't a very well written complaint because it was late, and its rushed - but here it is anyway :-
"I am writing to make a complaint about the so-called examination of enoch powell's speech which was both racist and inflamatory. I found the documentary to be very oversimplifying, it completely failed to look into racist immigration legislation, the consequences of imperial history or infact the way the media was itself racist in the 60s and 70s. The programme continually asked if enoch was right, which is completely objectionable. It harked back to some kind of working class nostalgia by portraying working class white people as somehow the voice of the british.
>It made multiculturalism and immigration seem like the problem, without ever asking if it might be something to do with the fact that racism is, and always has been inherent within British society.
>Dockers were not portrayed as racist, but the students were labelled 'radical' for taking a stand against racism. Enoch's speech was called a 'prophecy', you said without any proof that communities are divided, there was large amounts of racist footage without any qualifiers, and the programme ended in a way that suggested that Powell was right
>The whole thing was objectionable and highly offensive, racist veiwing. I thought the BBC was better than that."
If you want a much more academic veiw from an actual historian, Joe Street* wrote a much better letter of complaint here:-
It has a lot of proper facts and makes the point much better than I did.
Anyway the BBC responded - however I have just noticed that the email they sent me is apparently 'confidential' and may not be republished anywhere without their permission. I am very tempted to ignore this - but instead I will paraphrase their response. If you want to see the real thing then ask me and you can read it.The BBC did not say the following...
" I can see that you thought our documentary was a racist piece of crap because that's what you said in your lettter'
" Powell was super dooper, he was a very smart man who had a lot of ideas on different policy areas (economic/identitiy which are still pretty important now" ( ideas like send home the 'pecanninnies'? Hitler was a very smart guy but you don't see documentaries waxing lyrical about his intelligence and foresight - I am not saying he was Hitler but my point remains)
" There were more anti powell than pro powell commentators" I don't think this is actually the case, but still you don't see many pro hitler comment on documentaries about him. There is a reason for that.
" We used footage of people in the 50s 60s and 70s with veiws that make us feel squirmish' exactly yes you did, without every condemning them as racist, you made that all seem ok and normal.
"Look we did try and challenge Powell's use of language and criticised his racism" ahem no, you didn't, I watched the documentary and work for an anti racist organisation. I can tell a challenge to racism when I see one, that was not it.
"Immigration is important and a real concern for loads of people, and even big important people think so, like MPs and opinion formers and even the arch bishop of cantebury, so stop moaning"
Who the fuck is an 'opinion former'- what kind of creepy thing is that? Am I an opinion former cos I write this blog, do you mean Richard Littlejohn and his satanic ilk? Is it some kind of computer telling us all what normal people think? Who are these opinion formers and what do they do? Also I never said immigration was not a worthy debate, it is one that should be examined in a non simplifyingway which considers the issue from many sides, not just the racist side of one Tory MP. Also the arch-bishop of Cantebury? Whoopdie shit, who cares!
* is it me or is that the coolest name for a historian ever?