The Conservative Party must follow the Church of England in confronting the BBC
It is reported that the Prime Minister is to ‘reconnect with the people’ through an episode of Songs of Praise to be broadcast next month. Cranmer does not recommend that David Cameron follow Gordon Brown down this path, for participation on Songs of Praise is manifest evidence of a disconnect with the people. The Prime Minister will be given a pulpit from which he can do penance and preach to the nation ‘about courage and the people who have inspired him’. Chosen hymns will include Be Still My Soul, Fight the Good Fight and The Lord is My Shepherd.
This is likely to do more harm than good.
People are not stupid, and viewers of Songs of Praise will discern the hypocrisy. Gordon Brown is not so much concerned with his ‘moral compass’ as he is with courting the Christian vote. This appearance has nothing to do with his ‘Presbyterian conscience’, his father’s legacy or his Church of Scotland roots: it is a brazen attempt to win back the three million viewers who tune in every Sunday; to persuade them that he is a courageous, devout and honest politician.
Cranmer hopes they will remember that New Labour has been the most rabidly anti-Christian government in living memory, and the most religiously regressive in centuries.
The time is right for the Conservative Party to follow the Church of England in confronting the BBC about the quality (indeed, almost total absence) of its Conservative broadcasting: it is not impartial and neither is it professional. The BBC’s coverage of the EU’s new Conservative and Reformist group was as non-existent as its reflections on Good Friday.
With Muslim Aaqil Ahmed now heading the corporation’s Religion and Ethics output, the Church of England finds this a ‘worrying’ development. But it can be no more worrying than the plethora of Socialists who provide the corporation's political output. When a Sikh began to produce Songs of Praise, it seemed bizarre. Until one realises (if one has not already done so) that the BBC has a Leftist multi-faith agenda, centred on the global-warming cult of Gaia. Anglican orthodoxy was ditched for ecumenism decades ago. The Church of England accuses the corporation of treating religion like ‘a freak show’ (as it does the politics of the Right) and of marginalising Christian broadcasting even during the major Christian festivals.
Indeed, according to former employee Don Maclean, the BBC is ‘keen on Islam (and) keen on programmes that attack the Christian church’. He astutely observes:
'I know there are things that need to be brought forward, but you don't see any programmes on Anglicanism that don't talk about homosexual clergy and you don't see anything on Roman Catholicism that don't talk about paedophiles. They seem to take the negative angle every time. They don't do that if they're doing programmes on Islam. Programmes on Islam are always supportive.’
The Sikhs and Hindus have already noted this.
The Archbishop of Canterbury met with Mark Thompson in March to challenge him on the issue. The response came by way of two fingers when the corporation appointed Aaqil Ahmed who had something of a reputation for anti-Christian bias while in charge of commissioning at Channel 4. Last summer, Channel 4 screened a week of special programmes on Islam including a feature-length documentary on the Qur’an and a series of interviews with Muslims around the world talking about their beliefs. Their main Christian documentary broadcast for Easter, called The Secrets of the 12 Disciples, only sought to cast doubt on the legitimacy of the Pope's leadership of the Roman Catholic Church.
It is noteworthy that broadcasting around both Christianity and Conservatism tends to be concerned with fringe issues and with bringing them into disrepute. The BBC is constitutionally bound to provide adequate time and fair representation to both the Conservative Party and the Christian faith, if only because Conservative and Christian issues are the concerns of the majority of the nation.