Howard woos TalkSport…

Over on the Boris blog, the exciting debate continues on the comments section.

Someone calling themself ‘Monkey’ commented that:

Howard has made several intelligent manouvres in the past few days. Appearing on Talk Sport (the UK’s most popular radio station, (with a major demographic of working class men) was a great idea. He’ll be back again next week on the ‘james whale show’ (contreversial, populist right wing shock jock), which should be interesting. All of the Talk sport pundits are now rooting for the tories. Not a bad days work eh?

Errrr…. Intelligent move? As I responded:

Have you ever listened to Talk Sport? They’re the biggest bunch of swivel-eyed crypto-fascists on the airwaves. The Tories are attracting votes from the BNP. Woo-hoo!

This article by Steven Wells (a writer I’ve always loved since I first started reading him in The NME) in The Guardian sums them up nicely:

Back in March, I went to the Millwall-West Ham game. I didn’t see many black people down the New Den. But neither did I hear any racist chanting. Not a sausage. Not a dicky bird. Not a single solitary Sieg Heil. They’re very touchy about racism down the New Den. When some of the visiting West Ham fans – 4-1 down and ringed with riot plod – tore down a Kick Racism Out Of Football banner in frustration, it seemed as if every Millwall fan in the ground turned to the press enclosure and pointed at the naughty East Londoners. Some of them were frantically scribbling in imaginary notebooks. Others were pointing theatrically and miming – Them! It’s them! Not us! Get it right!

It was good to see. Not just the prominence the club hierarchy gives the anti-racist campaign – but also just how keen some Millwall fans are to distance themselves from their racist reputation. I very much doubt that racism has been eradicated at Millwall. But it has been made unacceptable. Even better, it is now considered embarrassing. And I think that’s brilliant. I think Kick It Out is brilliant. We all do – don’t we?

So why is it then, that when the UK’s most popular commercial sports radio station (with a claimed listenership of over eight million, nearly all of them football fans) gives a platform to nationalist bigots, quasi-fascists and racists of every strain, nobody blinks an eye?

When the Hutton report was published, TalkSport had a bit of a dilemma. For the two institutions TalkSport hates most are the Blair government and the BBC. What to do!? What to do!? The station’s single brain-cell hive-mind was nearing meltdown. The knee was primed and all set to jerk. But in whose bollocks? The crypto-communist BBC? Or the grinning Stalinist jackanapes, Tony Blair?

But one elderly female caller was in no such a quandary. She cut through all the silly shilly-shallying by pointing out that the BBC pursued an agenda of – wait for it – “internationalism, multi-culturalism and political correctness”.

“Internationalism” – as you probably know – is one of the code words Nazis use for Jews. Or Jewishness. Or, more usually, the international Jewish conspiracy (see also “cosmopolitanism”).

The woman then went on to say that the BBC pursued this agenda “despite the fact that the majority of people in this country aren’t multi-cultural”. Now this was a new one on me – the use of the word multi-cultural to mean non-white. As in “I’ve got nothing against your multi-culturals, I just wouldn’t want one marrying my daughter. Or living next door. Or reading the news. If you catch my drift.”

Now TalkSport’s presenters – as fanatically anti-union, savagely pro-Tony Martin and hysterically xenophobic as they are – are not Nazis. They make this clear whenever a Nazi caller makes a Nazi point. Which happens quite often. Because TalkSport might not like the Nazis – but the Nazis love TalkSport.

This is evident from even a casual trawl through the UK’s far-right websites. Debates about immigration on TalkSport are flagged in advance and later, Nazi callers boast about their performance in chat rooms.

But how could the Nazis not love a station that debates (seriously) whether the word “paki” is more offensive than the word “brit”? Where a presenter can claim that regional accents are disappearing because of “too many immigrants”. And that a boat full of asylum seekers “should be sunk”. And where, on the 12th of September 2001, the question was asked, “I wonder how all those politically-correct people are feeling this morning?”

And where one presenter – the unlovely Mike Dickin – has banned trade unionists from his programme.

Our only hope is that some day the sports fanatics who run the relatively sane part of TalkSport – the sports bit – will get together with the right-wing morons who run the utterly insane part and say – hang on, these footballers, tennis players, golfers, boxers and track athletes we keep banging on about? You do realise that a lot of them are, well, black, don’t you?

Maybe someone at TalkSport – maybe even Mr Kelvin MacKenzie himself – will make the connection between his station’s consistent stream of hateful refugee propaganda and the attacks that take place on asylum seekers (and other randomly selected “foreigners”) whenever anti-immigrant hysteria in the media reaches one its increasingly frequent crescendos.

And maybe, in the mean time, all those soccer clubs – and other sporting institutions – who so proudly boast of their anti-racist credentials, could boycott TalkSport. Until it cleans its act up. Until it stops giving sustenance and succour to racists who would destroy our sports if they ever achieved power.

Because TalkSport – as it operates at present – is an obscenity.

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