Archive for October, 2012

Revelations about the abusive behaviour of celebrities have a perversely hypnotic power to others apart from tabloid journalists. If you were abused as a child, you don’t need to ask how such things could happen. You knew that the adult world turned a blind eye to what was happening. You suspected that if you spoke out, no one would believe you. And worst of all, there was so much of it about, how could your own sad little case be worse than anyone else’s?

I was working in the BBC in the 80s and 90s and one of the criticisms aimed at our programme, which was for 3-6 year olds, was that it was too ‘politically correct’. It was the brainchild of the education department [which no longer exists], created by a team of young parents, some of whom had learned their skills in the Open University or as teachers.

Our passionate belief was that children deserve respect and that giving them a voice meant listening to what they were saying. The scripts that I wrote for ‘You and Me’ were inspired by hearing my children and their friends. And working with other kids, who had no one to be their advocate.

So now we have a national scandal and renaming of monuments to airbrush from history the name of a man whose personality must have been so overwhelming that he was able to get what he wanted and get praised and decorated by a grateful nation. I never met him, or anyone in the BBC who groped, raped, or behaved or spoke inappropriately. The culture around our programme was happy and healthy, to the extent that camera crews would keep working if we hadn’t quite finished on the dot [normally they pulled the plugs].

So I am glad we didn’t stop being politically correct.

Who invented that term? or, what man, because it surely wasn’t a woman?

If I see it happening, I will speak out. Injustice makes me angry. Abuse is the worst kind of injustice.

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Yes, I really need your help.

I have a stack of friends’ books to read [long overdue] and have just joined a public library where I can take TWENTY books out at one go. I am overwhelmed and delighted.

However, I note that a new novel has just been published. A novel about the underclass, or lumpenproletariat, or disadvantaged marginalised minorities. An area in which I have lived in my imagination [and earlier, in reality] for a long, long time.

So,  help, please. Whereabouts on my list should ‘The Casual Vacancy’ go?  Top five? Bottom fifty? Shades of unfortunate, you might say……


I am awash with literature [not complaining, just noticing]……


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