If the available ingredients are Paul Gambaccini, Larry Elder and 9/11, is there a suitable recipe that can successfully blend them so the end result is a satisfactory soufflé? Such is the dilemma that often faces yours truly when several stories are vying for attention without any inspiring me enough to pen an entire post. If not giving over one post to one story, the task is then to join the dots of apparently unrelated plots and make a valid connection that holds up to scrutiny, regardless of whether or not any common factors jump out and join hands. However, perhaps the one thing these three individual storylines share is the Winegum Telegram itself. Each contains elements of stories that have been covered on here various times over the past six years, whether false allegations, Identity Politics, or reflections on where we are now courtesy of an event that took place two whole decades ago.
As far as Gambo is concerned, there is certainly enough history to warrant a post, though I’ve satirised his self-important pomposity via other online mediums many times; in this particular case, however, a live TV outburst during a down-the-line interview with Victoria Derbyshire on the BBC encompassed other previous topics like the corruption of the Met and the folly of media-driven witch-hunts into ‘historical abuse’. Gambaccini, for all his faults, has become a defiant contradiction to the narrative the BBC has stuck to ever since the Savile scandal almost a decade ago, and seeing him let rip with the enduring anger of a man to whom a criminal wrong was done remains an undoubtedly novel sight on our premier broadcaster. Gambo was invited onto the BBC News Channel to discuss an open letter signed by numerous prestigious parties (including Stephen Lawrence’s mother) who declared themselves victims of the Met’s incompetence and malpractice; the letter in question was a protest at the suggestion Met Commissioner Cressida Dick would have her contract extended for another couple of years. It demanded Boris Johnson curtail Ms Dicks’ role ASAP on the grounds that she has done nothing to alter the corrupt culture within the Met since her promotion.
Ms Derbyshire attempted to uphold the now-redundant BBC pretence of impartiality during the exchange, but something that was once admirable and key to the BBC’s position has been so abused in recent years that it no longer convinces as a tactic. And it prompted an understandably incendiary outburst by Gambo. ‘All throughout the witch-hunt,’ he snarled, ‘the BBC was on the side of the wrongdoers – and this will come out, by the way; don’t think that we are going to go away. We haven’t come for the BBC yet because we’re doing the Met now, but in the years to come – boy, the truth about the BBC complicity in the witch-hunt will be known.’ The fact that this is a former BBC star employee returning to plunge the knife into a corporation that failed to reward loyalty and long service by presuming guilt before innocence is perhaps emblematic of so much that has gone wrong at the Beeb in the last decade or so, and one cannot help but sympathise when Gambo admitted, ‘I’m sorry to have to say negative things about people; this is not why I went into public life.’
Circumstance and unforeseen events have forced the likes of Paul Gambaccini into the place he currently occupies; I’m pretty certain he’d be far happier embedded as the anchor of a long-running show on any of the BBC’s five national radio networks than having to kick his former employer while it’s down, but he no longer has a choice. The climate the Western world currently finds itself inhabiting is one some of us saw coming a long time ago, and we knew it was one in which we’d have to stand up and be counted. Hot on the heels of ‘Exposure’, I’m currently working my way through another of my previous satirical series, ’25 Hour News’, for Patreon uploading. Considering the material is seven years old, it’s nevertheless drawn an enthusiastic response from my subscribers – and one unnerving element of sitting through it again for the first time in a long time is how disturbingly prescient it seems. I saw a genuine TV news story yesterday from Australia that melodramatically reported on a dozen cops pouncing upon a solitary individual seen walking alone in the open air without wearing a mask. If that’s the actual news, then there really is no need for a parody anymore.
Moreover, who would ever have imagined back in a year as relatively recent as 2014 that it would eventually be perfectly permissible for a white activist masquerading as ‘anti-fascist’ to wear a gorilla mask and physically abuse a black politician running for the office of California Governor? That’s what happened this week to Larry Elder, the broadcaster-turned-political candidate who happens to be that most unfathomable breed to the SJW, an African-American Republican. Of course, the outrage that would have greeted this act captured on camera (or Smartphone) had Elder been a Democrat would have made Elder an international household name overnight; the woman in the gorilla mask would be eviscerated by media of both the mainstream and social persuasion and it’d be the lead story on CNN as well as splashed across the front page of the New York Times, held up as yet one more example of America’s systemic racism. As it is, Elder’s political affiliations means the story has been summarily buried by all the media outlets that ordinarily fall over themselves to push the race agenda, which suggests race is not really the issue after all. If it was, then it would be applied to everyone, regardless of where they stand on the ideological spectrum.
The racism inherent in ‘anti’ racism is really laid bare when it comes to how a character like Larry Elder is treated by the left. He refuses to play the oppressed victim card and evidently has the ‘wrong’ opinions; in the skewered logic of the Woke mindset, he’s fair game for racist abuse due to the fact he’s an Uncle Tom, nothing more than a subservient mouthpiece for White Supremacy on account of not sticking to the script whereby everyone has their preordained place. Should Larry Elder become the first black Governor of California, his achievement most likely won’t count in the same way that Margaret Thatcher still doesn’t count to some over here as a glass ceiling-smasher because she came from the wrong side of the divide. One doesn’t have to agree with all his beliefs to hope Elder wins – if only for the fact his victory would shatter the unhealthy omnipotence of the dominant dogma and enable even more people to discern the double standards bullshit at the rotten core of Identity Politics.
And so we ice the cake with some 9/11 topping. It was 20 years ago today? Yes, hard to believe for those of us who were around, I guess; but there it is on the calendar – and we only have to look at current events in Afghanistan to be reminded of its legacy. Amidst the expected TV documentaries which followed a well-trodden path, I did see one which focused on the Presidential perspective, featuring extensive and previously unaired recollections from Dubya and all his key players who are still alive. It was genuinely fascinating to hear how that dramatic day unfolded for the Commander-in-Chief and how his frightened team had so little clue as to what was happening, forced into flying around in circles aboard Air Force One, desperately trying to work out anywhere to land that might be safe. It served as a reminder of just how unprepared America was for 9/11 and how the passing of decades had erased the collective wakeup call of Pearl Harbour; given the diminishing length of attention spans, the sixty years that separated Pearl Harbour and 9/11 has probably been halved so that the impact of 9/11 on the present day will perhaps be gone within ten years from now. Considering how quickly the illiberal nature of certain pandemic policies has been normalised, perhaps we won’t have to wait even that long.
© The Editor