Keith Vaaz, chairman of the house affairs committee of the house of commons, the British member of parliament from the labour party, thank you for joining us at our London studio. Rahul easwar, Sabarimala spokesperson live from Thiruvananthapuram. Lord Meghnad Desai, you know.. I think the British are willing to take humour about everybody except themselves. You know.. when they acted too smart with the Mexicans and they said that the ..you know.. when they said Mexican cars reflect national characteristics. The saved group of these people Hammond, May and Clarkson on top gear.. In the middle on as a court they had to apologize when they called Gordon Brown a one eyed Scottish idiot who keeps telling us everythings fine and he saved the world but we know he is lying.. hes just smooth at telling us they had to apologize.. they very happily apologized there.. but when it comes to the Indians they wont apologize.. why? Lord Desai? Well, you know, I think.. ah..yea.. Well my view is that we are being far too sensitive. Jeremy Clarkson always talks his head off. He makes a car show which is watched by car lovers and nobody else.. as the general public don’t actually watch this program. And I think hes always shooting off. But my problem is that if hes pointing out the toilets in India are dirty, hes not revealing a truth that we don’t know ourselves.. now if there are problems in India that he has spotted and pointed out.. why should we be insulted. we should agree it as our problems. I take your point.. If ,you know, they say cultural stereotyping is part of fun then why don’t they have the same fun when it comes to themselves. When it comes to themselves they’ll answer to their constituencies and the people who fund the BBC, the tax paying citizens of Britain will say we wont take it any more. We don’t fund the BBC so they can have fun at our expense.. But they cant have fun at the British people expense because Keith Vaaz is not going to allow that.. Now let me bring you in keith Vaaz.. Is this just a small little thing Mr Vaaz in your view? Are we being too touchy? Or has he gone a little overboard. Well, it could’ve been a small little thing if they had handled it properly. As we all know in public life, it is never the crisis, its how you deal with it. As Meghnad Desai has said, this was a program that was made by people who were talking about cars. There was absolutely no reason why they should have written to the high commission requesting a visa and not revealing the fact that the program was actually going to be wider than that.. it wasn’t just about cars. This was a social documentary in a sense about India. And I am not surpirised that the Indian people have found it insulting and offensive. Why are they being so rigid. I mean the BBC lectures the whole world when it comes to editorial standards and ethics and what is right and what is appropriate and what is not appropriate. But you know, why are they being so touchy? Lord Desai I’m sorry. Lord Desai. Lord Desai, you have had your first argument.. you said that here is a person who does that regularly. I know he does it regularly from Indians, Mexico’s Mexicans, people with special needs, women who wear burkhas, lorry drivers, Germans, Gordon brown, Black Muslim lesbians, drunk drivers and Albanians. This man has abused everybody and made fun of everybody and got away with it. My question is why is the BBC protecting this man? I mean, just because someone is a serial murderer you are not told that your next murder will be condoned because you are known to continue. You are known to be a murderer so..you know.. lets forgive him. Jeremy Clarkson brings money to BBC. BBC doesn’t.. BBC likes Jeremy Clarkson. Sir, If he wants to be profitable by racist stereotyping what can be seen to be casual racism then do we have no right to ask for an apology from this man? And however bigger star he may be! We have every right to ask for an apology but not to expect one. Not to expect one! He is such a bigger star to be touched even by the BBC! Rahul Easwar..Rahul Easwar.. Let me bring you in.
I don’t know why not.. Why not exactly..Rahul easwar? Sir ,three points.. First, we may have some bad toilets which is unhealthy for our children but atleast our children of the age 12 or 13 doesn’t go for riots and steal blackberrys and ipads when the London riots are there. I saw it myself when I was in London. Second point, of course this is clever and clear racism in an indirect way, making fun of everyone else except themselves. The greatest ability a man has is the ability to laugh at themselves. Can he do it? I really doubt.. And We all respect their queen, we all respect England. Will he have the same standards of making fun at others expense, will he do the same to his nation or the symbols he respect? Three.. we always respect humour. Indians have a pride in respecting humour. We respect people who can laugh, we respect who make other people laugh.. But it should be in a derogatory way and and you can see the banners they have put out.. Im not saying because it is too offensive to be aired on such an important channel like times now.. you can see their banners you can see how they have misinterpreted and had double meaning sentences.. So it is very bad. Of course india is not very rich. We are, we might be a developing nation. But remember we have an ancestrian lineage and heritage which is 1000s of years old, which is much older than any of the western civilization. So we should have sensitivity and one important point is, in a multicultural globalized world people shuld be sensitive to each others sensibilities. Other wise there is no meaning in saying that this is a global village. And Lord Desai its not like the British are not sensitive. I mean if one were to do a program, saying the greatest..you know, for example landmark or symbol of Britain were to be the millions of pounds of pigeon droppings on Trafalgar square and if that were to be put out on a national channel here and that were to be talked about or we were to talk about all the homeless people on the subways of Britain and say these really are the symbols of real Britain! And you know that, then the British.. I’m sure the British government will be outraged. Maybe even Jeremy Clarkson will complain. “ No..no..no.. why don’t we do it? Jeremy Clarkson abuses British people as well. I mean its not as he doesn’t abuse British people like he abused Godon brown. Sir im sorry, but he has a habit of taking on certain nationalities and religions. He has a bias on non-British people sir. He insults everybody Sir this is colonialism. He insults everybody including the British. Is that an excuse? Is that an excuse? One minute! One minute! I don’t think that’s an excuse. Mr Vaaz is asking you something.. yes go on Mr Vaaz. Go on Mr Vaaz. Yea well look Meghnad, you are a man of the world, you are an internationalist. And of course you believe that the people have freedom of speech and the right to say what they want. But is it an excuse? Is it acceptable? For a broadcast a paid for by the British taxpayer through the license fee to first of all pretend they are going to India for a particular reason and to produce a program that involves the prime minister and involves 10 downing street and when he finds that lots of people complain and are upset, why should it just be acceptable? Meghnad? It should not be acceptable. He should apologize. The BBC should apologize. And frankly I think William Hague should be involved and say something about it.. Yea. Ok. If you want the BBC to..ok. I will agree BBC should apologize, the prime minister should apologize, Clarkson should apologize, the queen should apologize, everyone should apologize. If that satisfies you fine.
I’m not asking for the queen I have never watched a Jeremy Clarkson program. I have never watched a Jeremy Clarkson program because I think he is a fool. But he makes a lot of money. Meghnad Desai, Rahul Easwar has something to say If BBC is not apologizing it will lose its standing it will lose its credibility. We all respect BBC. BBC is respected worldwide. BBC is losing its standing and credibility if they are not apologizing. Why don’t the Indians boycott the BBC? why don’t the Indians boycott the BBC? Sir I have one point. But Meghnad? Why should they do that? They pay for the.. but Meghnad, the British Asian community pays for the BBC. Why should it boycott the BBC? The simple way to deal with it is for the chairman of the BBC to apologize. I mean. You are in public life. If BBC don’t apologize, throw it out. No. If the BBC wont apologize, their ought to be issues raised by parliamentarians like you and me to find out why.. and Meghnad hang on a minute. Just let me finish. If they don’t apologize, you are in the upper house and I am in the house of commons. Are you gonna let me say something? Let him complete. Gentlemen… gentlemen.. I am privileged tonight that I have on this program a lifetime and very respected member of the house of lords and I have one of the powerful and very respected members of the house of commons. And I’m so glad that on this channel, we are having an open debate. In fact the BBC should emulate times now and have a debate on this subject. Go ahead, go ahead Keath Vaaz.. go ahead Keath Vaaz. We as parliamentarians, I atleast represent people who elected me. You represent basically the whole country in the house of lords. We need to make sure that both from the house of lords and form the house of commons, we should make sure that these people understand the upset and concern that is being expressed by British Indians but also members of the indian parliament as well. And I think we have got a duty to make sure that there is an end to this issue and we can move on. This is not satisfactory. Yes. And racism and colonialism And I also suspect one thing.. are we purposefully seeing India through the prism of negativity? Of course we have positives and negatives. But we should try to remove our negatives. But nobody should make fun. It is against internationalism, it is against the idea of a global world and it is against the idea of global brotherhood. So we should respect each other and disrespect should not be appreciated and we should stand up against it. And I take this occasion to congratulate Indian high commission who took a strong stand against this. Every Indian will applaud and appreciate his move. I think that Jeremy Clarkson can still maybe deeply introspect what he did what he didn’t do, the form of humour, where the quoting controversy in this manner is a good strategy despite whatever profits he maybe making.. its a big.. its its interesting to follow this. Meghnad Desai and Keath Vaaz and Rahul Easwar, thank you for coming on news hour.