By golly!*

The BBC have gone stark raving mad, if Iain Dale’s blog is to be believed, and his comments on the Today Progamme on Radio 4:

Carol Thatcher was fired by the BBC – not disciplined, but fired – from the One Show, after she likened a tennis player’s hair to that of a golliwog. It was a jokey remark made off air in the Green Room. And the tennis player concerned is allegedly the hideously white Andy Murray.

But the Daily Mail suggests a different target:

Miss Thatcher is said to have referred to a black tennis player, understood to be Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, noted for his physical resemblance to Muhammed Ali, as a ‘golliwog’.

I can find no evidence in the media for Iain Dale’s claim, apart from the above Daily Mail article which includes a picture of Murray, but no evidence he was the player called a golliwog. Without such evidence I think it is a little irresponsible to appear in the media suggesting that the player was white, when we don’t know either way.

Obviously, the target of the use of the term golliwog makes some difference to the situation, although whether or not Carol Thatcher is employed by the BBC is hardly an earth-shattering issue.

However, is there not a danger that the media focus on this type of issue distracts attention from real issues of racism and plays into the hands of those with racist politics who will exploit it as propaganda to show that they are being “oppressed”.

* By Golly, is a euphemism for God, before we have complaints.