Why the BBC Have Let Down Republicans by ‘Sponsoring’ the Jubilee..
Whether you like it or not, ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ has definitely been the most over-used slogan of the last few years. You still can’t enter a novelty shop without being visually assaulted by everything from t-shirts to mugs carrying the ‘oh-so- hilarious’ phrase, usually altered for comic effect (eg. ‘Keep Calm and Trust Snape’).
Yes it’s ubiquitous. Yes the never-ending ‘hilarious’ variations of the soundbite make me want to travel back to the 1940s and murder its creator. But putting my fashion gripes to one side for a minute, I think our media could heed this stoic message as we approach this weekend’s Jubilee celebrations. According to well-known Chelsea fan and famous bandwagon-joiner David Cameron, ‘everyone’ is looking forward to them. I’m not so sure.
Turn on the TV, open a newspaper, switch on the radio: You’re instantly enveloped by Jubilee fever. There’s no escaping it – it appears Britain has gone mental for the Monarchy. But have we really, and is this coverage, particularly on the publically funded BBC, even warranted by demand? The growing republican movement of this country would say no, with pressure group Republic accusing the BBC of abandoning their impartial stance in favour of becoming a PR machine for the royal family.
The group has served a “letter of claim” threatening to take the corporation to judicial review, stating that the Beeb has breached its legal duty by attempting to “influence members of the public to support the institution of monarchy”. Republic’s chief executive Graham Smith is seeking an admission from Auntie’s execs that its jubilee coverage is in breach of its charter and has called on the corporation to reform its future coverage of the monarchy and royal family.
Unsurprisingly the BBC have denied the accusation, stating that the claim will be “vigorously opposed”. But with emails leaked to Republic earlier this year revealing that the Beeb refused to interview anyone with a “bad word to say against the Queen” for a jubilee documentary, I too find it hard to justify using the word ‘impartial’ when faced with the corporation’s wall-to-wall coverage of the Jubilee, and last year’s Royal Wedding.
Like any huge public event, I understand that the Jubilee celebrations are a big occasion and whilst I might not go along with the unprecedented cost of the day, I agree it warrants significant media coverage.
But what I am saying is that the BBC should be obliged to show license-payers and the estimated 10 million republicans in this country a range of views on the subject. We are a democracy after all, so let’s celebrate the fact by showing both sides of the coin (it should be quite obvious which side is which).
On retrospect of course the Beeb argue they have been impartial and in truth they have, on occasion, shown a multitude of views on the viability of our Monarchy. But this ‘balanced’ coverage amounts to less than 1% of the full amount and cannot be claimed to be a fair representation of the views of the audience.
Regardless of your views on the subject, one thing for sure is that no one in the UK will be able to escape the Jubilee completely. So if you’re a Monarchist, Republican, or don’t give a sh*t either way, remember the motto at all times, KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON (No matter how smug Andrew Marr looks).