Last week, I noted that the story invented by the Dacre press about the BBC supposedly banning the use of the terms BC and AD had suddenly died down, but this turned out to be a false dawn: the chorus of hacks on the attack soon started up again. And today the invention has plumbed new depths as former Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey has allowed himself to be suckered by the Mail.
“Why are we letting the BBC abandon the Year of our Lord?” asks George, apparently unaware that the BBC has not abandoned anything, has not issued any edict (or, as the Mail likes to call it, “diktat”), and has tried – unsuccessfully – to make itself heard in the face of the attack from Paul Dacre, the intolerant, righteous and bullying source of the only “diktat” in the game.
Quite apart from the sheer exasperation that many must feel at Carey’s apparent inability to bother himself to read what the Beeb has said, one has to ask what on earth Dacre wants from this latest example of crude and dishonest attack journalism. Well, help is at hand, and those who saw this morning’s edition of The Andy Marr Show (tm) may have picked up on it during the paper review.
In another (almost certainly fruitless) attempt to be nice to the Dacre hackery, Marr had invited the irritating Andrew Pierce onto the substitute sofa. When Fat Eric’s £250 million waste of money on weekly bin collection reinstatement came up for discussion, Pierce became rather animated and made sure Marr knew that this was a victory for his paper (thereby saving himself a Dacre bollocking).
Yes, that is what Dacre wants: something that can be held up and shown to be a sign of victory. So the BBC will have to somehow prostrate itself before the legendarily foul mouthed bully, or be seen so to do: only then will the attack dogs (and Mad Mel) be called off and the story quietly dropped. So what might prove satisfactory, and why?
That part is easy: the Beeb’s head of religion and ethics has already confirmed that “We have issued no editorial guidelines or instructions ... the BBC, like most people, use BC and AD as standard terminology”. And Dacre can hold this up as a sign of victory ... as soon as the 50th birthday of Songs of Praise has passed. After all, that’s the reason for the ruckus.
Letting the BBC get away with telling the world that Songs of Praise has been going for fifty years is not allowable in Dacreland: that would dispel the myth of the Beeb as Godless. Hence the invention of the BC/AD “abandonment” in an effort to distract the readers.