I begin my contribution to this organ today by admitting that it is fashionable these days to criticise the BBC.
In fact – arguably – it has always been thus, to the point where some veteran Beeb insiders peddle the line that, if on any remotely controversial topic they’re taking “incoming” from both those of a right-wing and left-wing persuasion, they figure they must be getting their much-vaunted neutrality/impartiality imperative roughly ‘on the money’.
Nevertheless, at the risk of revealing myself as a curmudgeonly old white fascist reactionary – which I would deny strongly [though I suppose I would say that, wouldn’t I?] – over the course of the last week I have become increasingly irritated by the “promotional trailer” for a BBC podcast entitled Brixton: Flames On The Frontline, presented by [I am quoting from the literature here] “grime artist Big Narstie” being played out with great frequency during the output of my staple accompaniment to life in the 21st Century – Radio Five Live.
As I understand it, this podcast represents his personal look-back to the “historic” Brixton riots of 1981 on the occasion of their fortieth anniversary, complete with contributions from other black activists and/or participants in the events referred to.
Just based upon the content of the above-mentioned trailer, I would have thought that Big Narstie – together with the “woke”/diversity- obsessed half-wits who currently work high enough up the BBC management pyramid to have a say in commissioning programmes such as this – ought to have a serious “case to answer” that this particular project amounts to little more than a celebration of public insurrection and unlawful behaviour on the streets of Britain – and indeed quite possibly a deliberate incitement to ‘more of the same’.
I would remind Rusters that the Brixton riots of 10th to 12th April 1981 followed a “Black People’s Day of Action” organised by activists including Darcus Howe on 2nd March that year which attracted a crowd varying in estimated size from 5,000 to 25,000 that proceeded for seventeen miles from Deptford to Hyde Park and involved a confrontation with the police at Blackfriars.
According to Wikipedia the number of crimes committed in Lambeth was 30,805, some 10,626 of them in Brixton.
Between 1976 and 1980 Brixton accounted for 35% of all crimes in the borough and 49% of all robbery and violent theft offences.
The main Brixton riot – on Saturday 1st April 1981 – resulted in 299 injuries to police and 65 injuries to members of the public.
Over 100 vehicles were burned, 56 of them police vehicles.
About 150 buildings were damaged, 28 of them burned. There were 82 arrests. In all some reports suggested that 5,000 people were involved.
I invite Rusters to form their own view – see here for a link to the three-minute 42 second trailer I am referring to – BRIXTON: FLAMES ON THE FRONTLINE (BBC PODCAST TRAILER)
[POSTSCRIPT: for the record, when I got up last night between midnight and 1.00am for my habitual overnight stint at the computer, an extract from Big Narstie’s podcast was playing on Radio Five Live.]