Alternate Tracks


Do you want tracts or tracks?  Quentin Letts has gone for the tracks and Radio 3’s politician-free zone detoxing from the Today show’s politicised take on everything from sliced bread to bent bananas.

Letts tells us in the Mail:

Virtuous teetotallers boast about going on a ‘detox’ for a month. Well, bully for them. Mind you, I just did something similar and truly feel a lot better for it.

But this is not because I forsook alcohol. Go without hooch for a month? You must be joking. No. My detox routine concerned early-morning listening habits.

I switched from Radio 4 and instead tuned in to the BBC’s classical music station, Radio 3. Yes, I gave up the Today programme.

It began in the second week of January and it is bliss. Instead of being assailed by the latest Project Fear alarms about how Brexit is going to consign us to ruin, I have had my horizons expanded by top-class music.

Today’s programme would not have changed his mind as it ticked every right-on box from Project Do Fear about Brexit to Project Don’t Fear about Islam.

We had an Imam comparing the shooting in Florida with the actions of the ex-British Jihadis, presumably trying to reassure us that the Jihadis are driven by the same temporal demons of the non-Muslim killer and thus their murderous rampages have nothing to do with Islam.  And anyway…forgive and forget…let’s be more compassionate and forgiving…they were driven to do what they did by circumstances, malign influences and world events…they’re not bad lads really.

Ironically we then had Today launch into Project Fear telling us we will be terrorised by Jihadis if we leave the EU.  They liberally quoted Sir John Sawers, ex-head of MI6, oh, a Remain voter, not mentioned by Today, who has consistently briefed against Brexit and wants it reversed….as any old chum of Tony Blair might do of course.

They also had Robert Hannigan on, ex-Director of GCHQ.  He was previously interviewed by Emma Barnett a couple of weeks ago.  She was rather stunned when she asked him if Brexit has made us less safe, she obviousy thought he’d say it would, but he replied no, in fact there has been more co-operation with Europe since the referendum…the only concern was to make sure we maintained the data sharing of intelligence.  He also said that most intelligence work was bi-lateral between nations and not the EU itself…thus Brexit would make no difference.

How times change…I imagine someone has had a quiet word as an almost completely different picture was coaxed out of him today.  Of course it helped that Justin Webb avoided asking if we would be less safe after Brexit and went straight for the data question…were the questions shaped to avoid embarrassing truths?  Webb cherry-picked subjects that were of minor concern as Hannigan admitted but which could be sensationalised to alarming heights.  It’s like the BBC reporting WWII by only looking at Dieppe, Dunkirk, the Blitz, Singapore and the fall of Tobruk and leaving the audience to think we lost the war….and of course failing to mention the Americans and all the other allies we had to help us win in Europe.  Much like today where our major intelligence partner, the US, wasn’t mentioned…nor all the other countries around the world.

‘Any Questions’ was trailed telling us they would be asking if ‘leaving the EU would make us less safe, and how do we stop it making us less safe?’…..Hmmm…seems like the first question is pretty redundant in their mind.  And of course then there is that important question…processed food, it gives us cancer and an early grave right, especially if you’re poor?  Yes, it’s really all about class war…it’s an ‘issue’ that’s been hijacked by the Left and turned into a narrative about the rich living longer and the poor dying early due to the rubbish food they have to eat due to poverty….never mind people are fitter, bigger and live far, far longer than ever before due to this food….and that is why the NHS is having to cope with so many old people now….processed bread and chicken nuggets….maybe we should feed the lower classes gruel and the odd turnip for a treat and let them die even younger….leaving only the rich, educated and intelligent who can then vote against Brexit in any future referendum and keeping the NHS for the healthy and wealthy.  So many problems solved with a bit of lateral thinking. ‘Toxic’ chicken nuggets are a liberal/fascist’s wet dream really…like Zyklon B for the dirty, unwashed, stupid masses who dare to think for themselves….it is after all Big Business force-feeding us these things…and they all want to Remain….suspicious or what?  Let’s face it Remainers are not shy about wishing death upon Leave voters.

Anyway…here’s some more of Quentin Letts’ thoughts on detoxing from Today…

Without Radio 4 winding me into a bate, life has become much less itchy. Instead of having to hear ministerial half-wits trying to claim the HS2 railway is a good idea, or professional grievance-mongers moan about the health service, or a gloopy-voiced reporter trotting out cliches about food banks, my mornings started with music from various centuries and cultures.

For a newspaper reporter to write that is, you may feel, self-harmful. Is Today not an agenda-setter?

That has always been the received wisdom in Fleet Street and elsewhere in British public life. At big investment houses, in government departments, in the lobbying and public-policy worlds, Today has long been de rigueur.

Maybe I’m imagining it, or maybe I’m just getting old, but since the EU referendum, the output of many BBC current affairs shows has become markedly shrill. Hour after hour they broadcast neuralgia — gripes from the modern Establishment that Brexit is going to bring all manner of disasters.

While prisoners of Radio 4 were being subjected to yet another fist-chewer of an interview with Labour’s robotic Remoaner Sir Keir Starmer MP, or while they were wheeling out yet another retired mandarin or professional secularist or social-mobility hand-wringer, I was being captivated by a Rachmaninoff cello sonata. The cello sang deep and lonely to the piano’s trickle. Mesmerising.

While Today listeners were probably having to endure some big-state propaganda about Whitehall impact assessments or NHS winter pressures or EU immigrants’ rights or Legal Aid cuts or Heaven knows what else, I was having my mind opened to the modern English composer Jonathan Dove’s In Beauty May I Walk.

If I’ve felt a smidgeon of regret it is only because an old friend of mine became editor of ‘Today’ last year and she said she was going to try to make the programme less metropolitan. She quickly ran into flak from the BBC establishment and Labour MPs.

I had been losing patience with Today for some years. I thought the programme was dreadful during the Leveson inquiry, after the Cameron government had caved in to centre-Left demands to bring newspapers under political control.

How could the BBC’s flagship radio programme sympathise so gleefully with such an authoritarian move?

During the Coalition years, when our country’s finances were teetering close to the abyss, Today eagerly promoted voices demanding greater spending by government. We rarely seemed to hear from the taxpayers who crave greater restraint by the Treasury.

Maybe I am being unfair to Mishal Husain and Nick Robinson & Co, but they seem imprisoned in the Westminster bubble, which, with every day that passes is further removed from the real world most Britons live in.

Life is so much bigger and more interesting and full of possibilities than Today suggests.

Can I keep up my abstinence from Today? Possibly not. Journalistic curiosity is inescapable and there is really no one better for skewering our awful politicians than John Humphrys.

But at least I now know where to go for relief when the cacophony of luvvies becomes too much.

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30 Responses to Alternate Tracks

  1. Fedup2 says:

    Says – Letts – the bloke who took his poppy off when al Beeb told him to on that so called comedy show have I got…

    Mr Letts has to fill his column to keep his job . Waking up to what al Beeb has become is obviously a new string in his r3 violin .


    • miker22 says:

      That’s rather sneering. I recommend Patronising Bastards, Letts’ recent book – it is both funny and has a genuine sense of outrage.


      • Fedup2 says:

        Mike you call it sneering – I just call it a fact . Glad you enjoyed the book

        I suppose that I could mitigate the sneer by saying that he felt guilty afterward but I enjoy a sneer once in a while .

        And for the time being -until the powers close this dissenting site – sneering is free.


      • Lefty Wright says:

        Iv’e read the book and have to agree with your verdict. Excellent read. However, we all enjoy a little sneer once in a while.


  2. johnnythefish says:

    Yes, it’s really all about class war…it’s an ‘issue’ that’s been hijacked by the Left and turned into a narrative about the rich living longer and the poor dying early due to the rubbish food they have to eat due to poverty

    Typical leftist dogma. The poor could eat more healthily and cheaply if they learned how to budget and to cook. Both me and the missus come from poor 1950s working class backgrounds when there were no chicken nuggets and no fast food – but we were fed a healthy diet with the likes of stews with cheap cuts of meat, pigs liver, all kinds of variations on a minced beef theme, soups made with ham hocks etc etc.

    As with many of the so-called ‘problems’ we face in this country, the Left in particular will never admit to or maybe even recognise the root cause (so many are due to family breakdown, for example). Why? Because it would be totally at odds with their dogma of inequality, nastytorycutz, welfarism, state intervention, class war etc etc. Plus, of course, it would be ‘judgemental’.

    Having said all that, the so-called Tories are doing ball-all about this social dystopia successive government have created.


    • Fedup2 says:


      The welfare dependency issue is one any politician will have an issue with because msm will kill their career . Austerity was not as severe as it could have been . HMG continues to pump money into welfare and any attempt to restrict it leads to an outcry – see spare room benefit reduction .

      Obese people and foodbanks. Unrestricted breeding without a thought to cost – entitlement and rights . This is a familiar rant here. But the source is the wet 1960s liberal thinking which infected al beeb long ago and cannot be purged without closing it


      • johnnythefish says:

        MSM, Facebook, Twitter, schools and universities – it’s where the real political influence lies now.

        Unfortunately the last couple of generations have had their outlook moulded by a narrow Marxist educational dogma which is still re-writing history, more latterly to adapt to a pro-Islamic agenda which has erased all historical references to (for example) Arab opposition to a two-state Israel/Palestine solution, the Arab commitment to wiping Israel off the face of the map, and the three attempts they’ve had at doing it since the end of WW2.

        Because the BBC supports this hard left agenda throughout all its programming genres and because it is still perceived by most as trustworthy these generations believe it to be the truth and don’t bother to seek alternative views, unwittingly trapping themselves in a BBC/Twitter/Facebook world view bubble that would have Orwell drilling his way to the Antipodes.


      • chrisH says:

        Yep, this has been a long term problem.
        But the rage of the priestly liberal class after Brexit and Trump shows just how much is at stake and what they are prepared to do to derail us and hogtie us for Islam and their pet Progressive agendas.

        This we now know-never in my life has a democratic mandate been so trashed by those who`ve built a whole career out of “respecting the peoples choices in their voting”. They`d rather import another electorate or kill us all off. They can only live as long as the state pays them and the poor are ridden to extract the money.
        Democracy-any pretence or genuflection to it-had been thrown overboard, they now don`t care. Just power and Soros, UN/EU quangos and liberal media,China and democratic lockdown until we change our minds.
        Well no. There`s more of us and this fight is for our lives and those of our kids.
        Nobody knew about fake news two years ago. The BBC and the EU, Labour couldn`t be starker. We are now without excuse, no place for us to hide.


    • Pounce says:

      Funny you should mention that. I had the pleasure of taking one of my young officers candidates down to Sandhurst the other Christmas in which to pick up some kit. (somebody presumed it would help her to see the place before she started her course) So there I was with this silly little girl who presumed it would be great to wear a Christmas jumper to RMAS. (Made her sit in the Naafi whilst I did my stuff) anyway we had a chat on the way back, and she was totally anti Brexit and stated that people could not be trusted to vote and that t should have been left to MPs. I tried to explain how democracy works, but she wasn’t haven’t any of it, and used the ‘I want to be able to visit Europe’ as her excuse. I turned the radio up.


      • johnnythefish says:

        An officer candidate?

        Wonder what she thought WW2 was all about and whether she might draw parallels between today’s German dominance of Europe and the Third Reich.

        Maybe during one of her ‘Europe visits’ she could go talk to the Greeks.


        • Third Duke says:

          Bingo Johnny! I am regularly surprised by our politicians lack of reference to Reich IV . . . Surely, if nothing else it’ll get right up ze Germans hooters and give us all the opportunity of a good old, Captain Mainwaring type “Harrumph!”
          I have significant recent experience working with, oops sorry, for Jerry and believe me, dissent, differentiation and opinion are either to be ignored, crushed and (ahem) removed.
          Anybody that believes otherwise is a very stupid boy indeed . . .


      • MarkyMark says:

        The argument is the point. The struggle is the point. Once you stop thinking then there is no point.

        “He gazed up at the enormous face. Forty years it had taken him to learn what kind of smile was hidden beneath the dark moustache. O cruel, needless misunderstanding! O stubborn, self-willed exile from the loving breast! Two gin-scented tears trickled down the sides of his nose. But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother.”

        – “the struggle was finished”!
        – When you tire of mocking and fighting, that is the end of freedom of speech.
        – When you mind tires of thinking a different thought, that is the end of freedom of thought.

        – The struggle was finished. He believed everything that the BBC wrote. He was free not to think!


    • chrisH says:

      Thanks for quoting my old pal John Taylor Gatto MM.
      I headed up the deschooling movement up north in the eighties and nineties, and we brought him over to speak in London 1999. Truly great guy, an original.
      Managed to clear our room of all the peaceniks and liberal suckup sponges when he was OK with guns being available in his country.
      Never seen a rainbow knitwear tidal wave break so quickly onto the Euston Road, as they left the buildings.
      Think we`re beyond his reach now though, back then he was a real danger to New York State public schools. Since then, no-one in education has been allowed to think about the damned point of their fiction factories.
      Hence the shit we`re in.


  3. Beeb Brother says:

    I used to love Today but it is so saturated with alt-Left propaganda it is often unbearable. If I hear any more about ‘diversity’ or ‘wage gaps’ I will explode. As well as being so intellectually dishonest it is so boring – we have heard it all a billion times.


  4. Richard Pinder says:

    I was thinking that Brexit would make us safer because we could control immigration and put people with peaceful beliefs like Patriotism, Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism and Buddhism first while deporting people of violent beliefs such as Islam, Liberal Elitism and European Authoritarianism back to the EU. But then with an IQ of 164, my thoughts would be very different from a Liberal Elitist employed by the BBC.

    For the Remainers, Africa provides the only evidence that a nation cannot economically survive independence from European rule, but as far as I know, the EU white supremacists are not calling for the return of colonial rule over Africa.

    But none African nations have thrived on independence and are the cause of Europe’s shrinking influence in the World. In that case, for low IQ people ignorant of the Commonwealth and the World outside of Europe wanting to be economically shackled to a self hating white supremacist organisation, in which Britain is in a £60 Billion trade deficit with, seems loony.


  5. ChrisMorrison says:

    Truly dreadful Question Time last night. Theresa Villiers is a head girl type straight out of the May school of politics. Dull as ditchwater with nothing of interest to say on the great issues of the day. David Lammy is a posturing loudmouth, while m’lady Camilla Cavendish seemed to spend the whole programme telling everyone what she did when she spent three minutes as David Cameron’s aide.

    None of the panelist picked up on a number of teachers in the audience who bleated on about a “mental health” epidemic in British schools. This seemed to consist of children getting worried because the little darlings sometimes get tested on their work. Of course the person really stressed out is the modern teacher. Many of them really hate exams. It’s when the paying public gets to see what these kids are being taught, or more often, not being taught.

    Then there was some bloke from Iceland who was busy blowing clouds of smoke around by stating that his “food” retail company was going to ban the use of plastic in five years. Nobody pointed out that most, indeed almost all of the plastic pollution arises in the developing world. But the smoke had the handy effect of obscuring the real issue of the day which was highly processed factory food. And of course one of the purveyors of this filth is Iceland – food that is often little more than industrial slurry full of E numbers, colouring, stabalisers, and pumped up the wazoo with vast quantities of sugar and salt to inject some sort of taste into it. I would not feed this to a dog. It would make it ill for a week.

    So nobody of any contrarian view at all. Complete waste of time. At the end Dimbleby promised Nigel Farage in two weeks time. The carefully unselected audience only managed a few pantomime boos. They must have all fallen asleep.

    Robin Day must be turning in his grave.


    • Beltane says:

      You understandably forgot to mention the token muslim who chose her words rather like confetti, scattered aimlessly from an uncertain and superficially educated source. Nothing she said seemed either relevant or illustrative of coherent thought – but she fulfilled her role selected from the BBC Personality Bank.
      Fortunately I have forgotten her name and would certainly regard looking it up as a grave waste of time.


    • Fedup2 says:

      I wonder what the audience figures are like for QT? What does it achieve ? Does it ever air arguments clearly ? Every seems to play a role assigned to them . I used to watch it then realised it was not doing anything positive .

      Dimbly must do it for the money. Why else ? Al Beeb tax cash into the production company . Pundits selling books . Some after publicity for their after dinner speech business. Politicians on the greasy pole.

      A very few there out of public duty. The others – dross.


  6. JimS says:

    I gave up on Radio 4’s Today years ago and listen to Radio 3 instead.

    However even that isn’t a ‘safe space’, there are the ‘ you vil listen to ze vimin composers vezer you lix it or nicht’, days and the guests who probably all went to the same BBC cocktail party. They even get in the (mandatory?) anti-Trump digs.


  7. Deborah says:

    I wonder what the listening figures are for Today. We have almost given up, but do find it most days effective at sending us back to sleep. Trouble is sometimes there is something absolutely outrageous and we are then wide awake before it is time to get up.


    • chrisH says:

      Like most people here,I`ve long given up on Radio 4.
      I know their views and their tiresome agendas. They`re repetitive , hackneyed and cliche`d like the best Pravda or Goebbels efforts. But we`re fully aware, can count the buzzwords and codes they use for themselves(solidarity, community, austerity etc).
      And the rest of us smile and look away. And am proud to say that there`s very few mugs still paying a licence any more round here. Just won`t pay Graham Norton any more, why should we?


    • StewGreen says:

      Quote” Radio 4’s Today programme had 7.15million listeners (from 7.06m last quarter and 7.45m last year
      Fudge figures .
      The key thing is something like 85% of UK adults DO NOT listen to the R4Today prog.
      That weekly reach is misleading : for whole of Radio4
      \\ A ‘listener’ is counted as an adult aged 15+ who listens for at least five minutes (in a week).//
      Actually it does give the total amount of listener hours
      Av of 10.9 hours/week over 11 million listeners
      That means 75% of UK adults do not count as listeners
      ..And actual listeners listen less than 2 hours/day
      And actually a lot will listen much less, with the many hours being clocked up by people who have it on all day.


  8. Blackcap says:

    Well it’s been sometime since I made contact here cos I have dropped BBC tv and radio. Last night I could not sleep so I found something to listen to, R4 is so boring it does send me off. It was In Our Time and they were talking about the disappearance of the Picts in about 1200 BC. After a while Melvin Bragg asked ‘was it climate change that caused this?’
    LOL. He was politely told that it takes more time than that to destroy a civilisation. I wonder how much he is paid to drop this question in? They can’t help themselves can they?


    • GCooper says:

      That’s exactly the sort of banal, knee-jerk comment that did for my relationship with R4, too! Perhaps it’s a standard interjection at North London dinner parties, like ‘Pass the salt, would you?’ – hostess passes salt and murmurs ‘climate change’ as she does….


    • StewGreen says:

      Somat up with your dates mate, Constantine mentioned fighting the Picts from his base in York, later on it was the Vikings who smashed the final Pictish forts which lasted upto 900AD
      (last king killed in 839AD)
      “First mentioned in 297AD
      “Aber” (rivermouth) is a Pictish word


  9. Annunaki says:

    Picts are everywhere now with their “ta’hoos”


  10. Third Duke says:

    I think you’ll find we can level much of our climatic cockery quite literally at the feet of T-Rex. Allegedly, the poor chaps residual front legs could not correctly operate the correctly supplied and clearly labelled thermostatic controls. The others just left him to it.

    Well you would, wouldn’t you . . .