The BBC has been lambasted after Sandy Toksvig did not use an offensive word on The News Quiz on Radio 4 last October. Specifically, Miss Toksvig quipped that, “It’s the Tories who have put the n into cuts,” in reference to cuts in child benefit.
Many MPs and campaigners are seemingly furious, claiming that the use of the phrase carries connotations of sexual abuse, whilst apparently remaining unconcerned about the actual abuse of children resultant from their policies.
John Whittingdale, chairman of the Commons Culture, Media and Sport select committee, which has been responsible for a huge bunch of cuts, said, “The vast majority of people still regard this an offensive term,” possibly in reference to his government’s term in office. We weren’t really paying attention, to be honest.
The original complaint was made by Colin Harrow, a retired newspaper executive, who oversaw massive cuts during his time at Mirror Group Newspapers. Mr Harrow, who was group managing editor during the era when The Mirror published fake photos of soldiers torturing Iraqi prisoners, said that he felt the reference was unacceptable and that the BBC wasn’t living up to the expectations of its audience.
The story has been run in the press by The Mail on Sunday, who regularly bash the BBC and love to be outraged and scandalised by absolutely anything. Mail Online has been filled with ill-informed reactions indicating utter hypocrisy and a basic failure to read the story properly. Like always. Mail Group newspapers, incidentally, have been subjected to relentless cuts over the last few years.
In unrelated news, the BBC have announced that Danish-born Sandy Toksvig is to present a series of programmes on her homeland, beginning with a documentary on King Cnut. As a Danish prince, Cnut won the throne of England in 1016, since which time there have been many generations of Cnuts on these shores.