17.1.14

Benefit Street

I haven't watched Benefit Street. I do not intend to watch Benefit Street. This does not stop me having an opinion on Benefit Street.

One would have to be blind, deaf, living in another country and have no access to any news, to not know about the Channel 4 show Benefit Street.

I have not watched it because the title tells me all I care to know. It cries 'let us be disparaging of those scroungers that lay around all day living on benefits'.

And it seems from the discussions on Radio 4 and elsewhere that I'm not far wrong. Sold to those that 'star' in it as a 'show about community spirit', it appears to be far from that.

I feel sad that the people in the show were so used and so naive to let it happen.

Why did they not guess that a TV show would have an agenda? Why did they not realise that it is negativity that the world loves? Why did they not think to get something in writing as to what would be the tone of the show? Why was the street identified so that now people (and children!) that live there are being bullied?

I'm disgusted that while thousands condemn the show, a huge number of people watch and believe what they see. Disgusted that many who don't believe it, watch it anyway, (adding to the viewing figures) and then mutter their disgust after each episode.

I don't suggest for one moment that all people everywhere are saints. But I do suggest that skewing results is an unkind and deeply cynical thing to do.

I await with some glee a "Politician Street" looking into the lives of a more upper class of 'benefit' claimant. But I'm not holding my breath.