[Update at end of post]
Anyone who thought that the invention by the obedient hackery of the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre of a BBC “diktat” to abolish Anno Domini was a bit of weekend froth has been disabused of that notion by the faux outrage emanating from the Daily Mail today – and followed obediently by the Maily Telegraph, demonstrating just what a quality paper of record it really is.
As has been shown, there is no “diktat” from the Beeb, but now the Mail’s entirely bogus story has got legs and is away and running. There is even room for a spurious piece on those brave BBC faces determined to keep using BC and AD in the teeth of the non-existent onslaught of political correctness, so the Mail is briefly in favour of Andrew Marr and James Naughtie.
But it is the pundits that have now marched into the breach in the Beeb’s defences punched by yesterday’s invention. And the Mail has ordered the most seriously batshit pair it can muster into action. First of the not at all dynamic duo who have journeyed beyond Barking and are en route to Upminster is Peter Mullen, whose name the Mail prefixes “Reverend Doctor” (it sounds less batshit).
“No-one should be surprised that the BBC has stopped using the abbreviations ... BC for Before Christ and AD for Anno Domini” he begins, apparently unaware that the lack of surprise is because it hasn’t happened. And then he goes completely Gaga and brackets the Beeb with Pol Pot and Josef Stalin. That’s after he tells that the Corporation wants to “obliterate Christianity from public life”.
And having set the bar low, there is another hack to set it yet lower: step forward “Mad” Melanie Phillips, who kicks off with an excellent attribute transfer ploy by labelling the BBC as “bigoted”, a description that many followers of The Prophet might readily apply to her. Mel takes the baton from James “saviour of Western civilisation” Delingpole and runs with it.
“Our language is being hijacked by the Left to muzzle rational debate” she screams, in a clear attempt to, er, muzzle rational debate. But she’s away with the fairies: “sinister ... political correctness”, “the majority who want to destroy their own culture”, “another attack on British culture”, “wider desire to obliterate Christianity”, and the excellent “morality itself has been reversed or negated”.
Then for sheer brassneck, the biscuit is well and truly taken by occasional London mayor Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, collecting yet more “chicken feed” over at the Telegraph. Tearing into the BBC, he tells “I pay through the nose for ... having a TV. I think the last bill was about £148”. Shine a light Bozza, you get £250k a year and you can’t be arsed doing a fact check (it’s £145.50).
That’s today’s gallery: ranting vicar, mad hack, upmarket Littlejohn. Marvellous.
[UPDATE September 27: by the most unusual of coincidences, all the papers that had been pushing this story - the Daily Mail, Maily Telegraph, and (characteristically a day late) the Daily Express - have ceased coverage, although Bozza's rant is still available. It is as if there had been a collective realisation that this wasn't worth any more effort. Also worth noting is that the Murdoch Sun did not jump on this particular bandwagon, which reinforces the thought that it wasn't really news at all - or that Rupe's troops are being nice to the Beeb. Why might that be? Well, with more phone hacking coverage to come, the thought may have entered that the Murdochs would do well not to antagonise those who might give them the most even handed treatment]