Thursday, October 02, 2014

CBBC sketch 'inaccurately' painted Florence Nightingale as racist, BBC Trust finds

The Seacole legend is 90% a Left-concocted myth.  Seacole was mostly white by ancestry and she ran a bar, not a hospital.  Details here

The BBC has been accused of “insulting” the achievements of Florence Nightingale, after inaccurately showing her racially discriminate against fellow nurse Mary Seacole in a Horrible Histories children’s programme.

The show, a comedy aimed at primary school children, showed Nightingale rejecting four applications from Jamaican-born Seacole to join her nursing corps, saying it was only “for British girls”.

Viewers complained the show was “insulting to Nightingale”, debasing the memory of her achievements in order to bolster the reputation of Seacole.

The BBC Trust, which examined the complaint, has now partially upheld the accusations, confirming Horrible Histories portrayed Nightingale’s actions inaccurately.

In fact, it said, there was no sound evidence to suggest she had rejected Seacole’s application, nor that she had acted in a “racially discriminatory manner” towards nurses.

The sketch, originally broadcast as part of the Vile Victorians series in 2010, and subsequently hosted on the BBC’s Learning Zone website, showed the pair visit an outlandish PR consultant to discuss their respective images.

The actors showed Nightingale as going down in history for her many achievements, while Seacole was forgotten because she was “just a poor, penniless black woman”.

The PR goes on to empathise “That’s terrible, after everything you did”, before going on to promise her a statue, a place in the history books, and fame.

The sketch showed the two nurses squabbling and jostling as the entered the room, in what the complainant called a “totally fictional and offensive misrepresentation”.

Seacole character is seen to say: “All the history books about the Crimean War only seem to mention one nurse. Did you forget about me? Four times me try to join old Lamp Face [Nightingale] in the Crimean War, and four times she said no.”

A dismissive Nightingale replied: “The nursing corps was for British girls. You’re from Jamaica.”

The BBC Trust has now ruled “the clip’s depiction of Florence Nightingale in relation to racial issues was materially inaccurate”.

Saying a charge of racism was “very serious”, it added the severity of “any imputation of racism” against Nightingale should have made it “incumbent on the programme makers to ensure that there was sound evidence”.

“In the Committee’s view, the programme makers had provided no such evidence,” it said.

In fact, the committee found, while Seacole did make five approaches to join the nursing corps, Nightingale was not personally involved in any of them.

It added children were “unlikely to regard the Seacole and Nightingale characters as representing anyone other than their historical counterparts”, saying the programme should have done more to make it clear.

The original complaint was made by members of the Nightingale Society, including Prof Lynn McDonald and Dr Eileen Eileen Magnello, who argued it was unfair to bolster Seacole's achievements at the expense of Nightingale for reasons of "political correctness".

Prof McDonald said it had been a "long struggle" against the BBC, which had fought the accusations "all the way".

"They seemed to think that because Horrible Histories is funny, it doesn't matter if it is inaccurate and you can just malign people," she said. "It is thoroughly dishonest. The portrayal of Mrs Seacole was a complete fabrication, and it made Florence Nightingale out to be a racist."

Dr Magnello said the Horrible Histories books, which originally told the story, had been accurate, only to be unfairly adapted by the television series.

"They have remodelled her as a person she never was," she said. "Children watching it will think what's right in front of them; that Florence Nightingale was racist."

The committee had now found there was no evidence to show Nightingale said or believed nursing was only for "British girls", making it “materially inaccurate” and leaving the young audience believed the racial discrimination was “established historic fact”.

Children, it concluded, would be left with the “overall impression that Florence Nightingale had acted towards Mary Seacole in a racially discriminatory manner”.

The report, now published, noted it did not want to limit Horrible Histories from engaging young people through comedy, but emphasised that “making a charge of racism is very serious”.

It rejected a complaint that Nightingale jostling with Seacole also suggested racism, saying viewers would have understood their comic squabble for historical precedence.

The two minute, 34 second-long clip has since been removed from the BBC Learning Zone website.

A spokesman for the BBC said: "We note and accept the findings of the Editorial Standards Committee.

"The intention of this “Horrible Histories” sketch was never to undermine the reputation of such an important historical figure like Florence Nightingale, but to open up a discussion of some of the attitudes of the time.

"The Learning Zone has withdrawn the sketch from their website and the episode of Horrible Histories will not be repeated in its present form."


Amusing:  An atheist church

Will we have atheist hospitals and charities soon too?

September 28th was a very a special day. On September 28th 35 towns across the world launched new Sunday Assemblies. What’s amazing is that the figure stood at 33 on Monday, but then we heard Budapest and Utrecht were starting too. Nearly three dozen towns around the world, including in the U.S. and France, launched their first “Sunday Assembly,” also known as the atheist church, on Sunday.

Assemblies are kicking off in the UK (7), the US (16), Belgium (1), Netherlands (4), New Zealand (1), Canada (2), France (1), Hungary (1) and Germany (2). Our 28 existing Assemblies welcome these new congregations to the Sunday Assembly family. Thanks for joining our mission to build radically inclusive communities that help everyone find and fulfil their full potential.

The Guardian reported on Sunday that the meeting in France had a “festive atmosphere” and featured a message of joy to about 130 Parisians who gathered. The hour-long event, modeled not unlike religious church gatherings, included sing-alongs, a party game, and a moment of silent reflection before coffee was served.

And the world certainly needs more community: social isolation and loneliness are on the rise with 40% of US adults say they are lonely compared to 20% in the 80s and 1 in 10 UK adults say they have no close friends. This has massive effects on society, and on the health of society with studies showing that loneliness has comparable impacts on your health as smoking and obesity, it impairs immune function and boosts inflammation and can contribute to arthritis, type II diabetes and heart disease.

The Sunday Assembly is proud to fight this decline in sociability with communities powered by karaoke, kindness and cake. If you want to come along to your local Assembly, you can find them below.

Belgium: Brussels; Canada: Toronto, Ottawa; France: Paris; Germany: Berlin, Hamburg; Hungary: Budapest; Netherlands: Amsterdam, Apeldoorn, Rotterdam, Utrecht; New Zealand: Christchurch; UK Bournemouth, Glasgow, Lancaster, Norwich, Southampton, Swansea

US: Baltimore & Howard County, Bellingham, Bloomington, Charlotte, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus OH, Denver, Detroit,Madison, Minneapolis/St.Paul, Phoenix. Pittsburgh, Rochester, Sacramento, Tulsa, Washington DC.

If you can’t find them here, then sign up on our Expression of Interest Form, on our website and we’ll help you start one, like we helped these folk. Thanks to everyone who is involved in the Sunday Assembly, whether you have started one yourself, attend regularly, support us online or just say nice things about us behind our backs. Thank you all. Together we are building something that will help an awful lot of people, for a very long time.


RSPCA should stop prosecuting hunting and animal cruelty, report finds

Their donations have slipped badly after they spent great amounts of charity money on political prosecutions

The RSPCA should no longer prosecute hunting and animal cruelty suspects to prevent further damage to the charity’s reputation in light of high-profile failed court cases, an independent report argues.

The charity operates in an “unstructured and haphazard” way that damages public confidence and lacks transparency and accountability, the report, published Wednesday, says.

Accusations that the charity had become too politicised – following a series of controversial prosecutions - led the charity last year to commission Stephen Wooler, a former Crown Prosecution Service investigator, to write the report.

Mr Wooler recommends that hunting prosecutions should largely be handed over to police and the CPS, with the RSPCA only pursuing cases where other bodies fail to act.

Other RSPCA prosecutions should also be curtailed to avoid “conflict with commercial and campaigning activities”, The Times reported the review as saying.

Currently the RSPCA is responsible for 80 per cent of animal prosecutions in England and Wales, with 1,600 people taken to court last year.

But Mr Wooler says that this should stop to avoid such conflicts as well as overlaps with the role of public bodies. It also recommends that its prosecutions should be supervised by the Attorney-General's Department, with inspectors' actions goverened by statute.

Four out of five attempts by the RSPCA to prosecute hunts failed, a study found, costing taxpayers at least £70,000. And last year a judge criticised the charity for wasting court time after a hunting prosecution was called off at the last minute.

Mike Tomlinson, chairman of the RSPCA, said: “We are determined to ensure that we operate an enforcement process fit for the 21st century. The public and the animals deserve no less.”


Innocent people accused of sex crimes could be granted anonymity, Chris Grayling suggests

About time.  This is mere justice

People accused of sex crimes could be granted anonymity to stop their reputations being ruined if they are innocent.

Chris Grayling, the Justice secretary, told an audience at the Tory party conference in Birmingham that he would consider changing the law “very carefully”.

It comes after a number of public figures like the entertainers Freddie Starr and Jimmy Tarbuck were found not charged after long running police investigations into alleged sexual offences.

The Justice secretary was asked about whether people who were accused of sex allegations should be allowed to remain anonymous before any charges are brought, or a trial starts.

Speaking at a Telegraph fringe meeting, Mr Grayling said: “There are strong arguments on both sides – it is a really difficult issue.

“We have not decided to make a change – it is something that I continually think about and will continue to look at and consider very carefully.”

Mr Grayling said that the issue was a “very difficult one” with “arguments for and arguments against”.

He continued: “Sometimes the publicity around the case leads to justice being done because other people have come forward and said ‘it happened to me too’, when that might not otherwise have been the case.

“Sometimes we end up with people who end up being found not guilty and having their reputations besmirched publicly. “

In March, the comedian Jimmy Tarbuck was told he will not face historic sex abuse charges.

The 74-year-old entertainer, was initially arrested in April last year by North Yorkshire Police over allegations that he had assaulted a young boy in Harrogate in the 1970s, but was later investigated over claims relating to six alleged victims.

In May, Freddie Starr, the veteran comedian, who learnt he will not be prosecuted over sex allegations after spending 18 months on bail.

Nigel Evans MP, who was cleared by a jury of sex attacks on men this year, said: “I am pleased that Chris Grayling is acknowledging the stress and torture that falsely accused people go through.

“Freddie Starr aged enormously by being accused. By changing the law we would give the same protections to the accused that the accuser gets, and gets for life.”



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here


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