From various sources (but mostly The Telegraph):

Channel 4's commissioning of Peter Tatchell to make a documentary about the Pope, which will air around the time of the pontiff's UK visit, is drawing criticism.

Mr Tatchell is one of the founders of a group called Protest the Pope that criticises the Pope's record on homosexuality, contraception and child abuse and says that he "is an unsuitable guest of the UK government."

British broadcaster Channel 4 said the 60-minute program will examine the impact that the Pope's pronouncements have had on both the developing and Western world, and that it will give voice to a range of views on the Pope. Mr Tatchell has said it would be "robustly factual".

"There is nothing surprising in the continued frantic jumping up and down by the Guardian/Channel 4/BBC axis in opposition to the Pope. Their venom is now so repetitive that it has lost any potency it once had. Frankly, people are getting bored with them," said James MacMillan, a composer, who is a devout Catholic.

Ann Widdecombe, a Tory politician, said: "I think this will confirm the view that there probably already is in the Vatican that this is a profoundly anti-Catholic country. I wouldn't call this the right thing for any serious broadcaster to do, but they're doing it for the publicity, they're doing it to stir up controversy. Mr Tatchell certainly won't be sympathetic to his subject, so what's the point of doing it? It won't be skeptical, it will be hostile."

COMMENT: Well, Mr MacMillan is right. There is nothing surprising about the Guardian, BBC and Channel 4 opposing Benny's visit. Of all the predominantly excellent British media they are the most courageous in speaking out against institutional bigotry and wrongdoing, even when they know it's not going to be popular with the government and, even, the people who pay their wages. Personally, if I had the BBC on my case I'd just apologise profusely and go away and hide.


ANTI-SPIN — 11 Comments

  1. If by “this is a profoundly anti-Catholic country”, Ms Widdicombe thinks that it is news that we as a nation do not submit to the rule of the Pope, then perhaps she ought to start reading her history, or perhaps watch an episode or two of “The Tudors”. It is clear that she and others like her think that the Pope, simply by nature of his ecclesiastical office, should be exempt from all criticism over his policies that affect people woldwide. Sorry, but it doesn’t work like that. Any person who demands certain codes of conduct as the criteria for their allegiance to them has to be able to stand in the spotlight of scrutiny. And not only scrutiny but also criticism. If it was a political leader comign to visit, whose national policies included homophobic legislation and child molestation by hundreds of emmbers of his government, Ms Widdicombe would be up there shouting along with the rest of us. Just because it’s the Pope doesn’t mean that we can’t voice our concerns over his policies.

    And I don’t know in which part of the country Ms Widdicombe resides, but I do not recognise my homeland as “a profoundly anti-Catholic country”. But then maybe I’m too isolated here in the wilds of rural Suffolk.

  2. “Anti-Catholic” means criticising anything about the Roman Catholic church down to the colour of the cups used for coffee at St. Wotsit’s. It has a lot in common with “Anti-semitic.”

  3. theme … maybe the lack of signatures just means that whilst we might despise the guy’s policies, we believe enough in the freedom of speech for him to say them. Of course, that has to work the other way round as well, and Papa seems profoundly deaf when it comes to listening.

  4. Doesn’t Widdecombe like to run around telling everyone that she’s a virgin?

  5. “And I don’t know in which part of the country Ms Widdicombe resides,”

    Maidstone, Kent.
    Sadly, she was my MP until we moved to the sunny West Country.
    I did not feel represented.

  6. I don’t know if that last post went through. If it did, delete this one!

    Me for the last time:
    Her brother is priest at a hugely evangelical church in Bristol.
    I always thought that fundagelicals and catholics have a lot in common – wanting to be told what to believe.