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The BBC’s “Have Your Say” feature adds value

Yesterday, Barnardo’s released the results of a survey of 2,000 adults which revealed that 54% felt that children in the UK behave like animals. That’s strong and, frankly, scary stuff… Clearly not enough people have been reading this site.

The very same day, one of my blogging colleagues over at Crashed Pips used the story to deliver an almighty harangue against BBC News‘s Have Your Say feature. I’m sorry, Jonathan, but in this case I just can’t agree.

You see, I find some comments on Have Your Say as amusing as the next guy. I greatly appreciate the efforts of site like spEak You’re bRanes in putting the funniest and most ridiculous contributions directly in front of my eyes via Google Reader.

Yet, like the BBC Radio 5 Live Phone-in, in amongst the utter banality lies the occasional sparkling diamond – one of those moments where you finally understand why your opinion is so disconnected from that of almost everybody else, and perhaps come to appreciate the frame of reference the rest of the world is using.

Given, then, that I was so utterly dumbfounded to discover that the majority of adults apparently view children as feral, the Have Your Say discussion plays a vital role: It allows the seemingly idiotic majority to explain and justify their views. After having the pleasure of reading a couple of pages of comments, it’s suddenly much clearer that the majority is primarily made up of those who fervently believe the misleading impression of youth generated by the media. This allows my breathing to steady, my pulse to slow, and me to continue with daily life.

My point is that this is the kind of story where Have Your Say is anything but useless: It allows for clearer expansion and explanation of the nation’s feelings on a topic and hence adds to the reportage. A Have Your Say topic about living with Blackberries, with a tenuous link to the Presidential style of Barack Obama, is clearly less enlightening.

Now, there’s just one other thing puzzling me about Jonathan’s post: He says that, in the minds of the masses,

anyone under 25 who speaks with a slight accent and wears a hoody is automatically a troublemaker

I’m under 25, speak with a slight accent, and quite often wear a cardigan. What the hell does that make me?

This post was filed under: News and Comment, Responses, , , , , , , .

Diary for 17th November 2008

Antiques Roadshow beat I’m A Celeb in the ratings, winning almost as many viewers as X Factor: At last, a victory for timeless, quality TV. «

This post was filed under: Diary Style Notes, , , , .

Renewed, refreshed, and ready to go . . .

It’s been two months since I last wrote anything of any substance for this site. As I said a little while ago, you should blame the NHS for that.

But, really, when you think about it, has anything of political significance happened in the last couple of months? Only an unprecedented economic crisis, the election of the first black President of the United States, the political return of Peter Mandleson, and a few other trifles. It’s not as if I’ve missed anything of any real significance, is it?

Yet, in what’s likely to be the most sensational political story for months, I’ve given this site a minor refresh, to feature much more of my childlike scrawl. I hope it makes the site look modern and friendly. After all, there’s no point going for an overly professional image when making predictions like this and this.

You’ll also notice the disappearance of the word ‘political’ from the title of the site… with good reason. Heck, when someone like Peter Mandleson can make his seventy-second political comeback, it’s getting beyond satire – it’s too depressing to be fun to write about. So expect some more ecclectic stuff, more like the good old days. I’m talking Eurovision, funerals, nosepicking and amphibian genitalia. Frankly, that stuff was always more popular anyway, and if that last link doesn’t guarantee hits from Google, I don’t know what will.

Of course, there will still be the odd bit of politics – how could I help myself – but I’m hoping the wider coverage will better reflect the fact that I now find myself reading heatworld.com more often than totalpolitics.com… though whether that’s good for my sanity remains to be seen.

This post was filed under: Site Updates, , , , .




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