Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Columnist

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Columnist

Article excerpt

Byline: KEITH HANN

THE famously impartial BBC, along with most of our national press, seems to have decided that the revolution in Ukraine is A Good Thing.

Just as they hailed the falls of Ceausescu, Saddam, Gaddafi and Mubarak, and are all rooting in unison for the overthrow of President Assad in Syria.

In the case of Ukraine, the now victorious opposition want to steer the country into the European Union, which is obviously progressive and marvellous. Added to which the ousted President Yanukovych used his security forces to shoot demonstrators, and had execrable taste in interior decor. Both of which are self-evidently unforgivable.

When I was at school we were taught that the Whig interpretation of history, which viewed the past as one long progression to the broad sunlit uplands of enlightenment and liberal democracy, had been completely discredited.

But it still seems to be very much alive and well in Broadcasting House and elsewhere. This is perhaps borne out by the oddly selective media interest in overseas uprisings and oppression.

For example, there is considerable civil unrest in Venezuala at present, but we hear little about it (particularly on the BBC) because the country is well known to be a socialist paradise.

North Korea and Zimbabwe must both be high on anyone's lists of regimes that are simply evil, but both are very effective at suppressing news-gathering and firmly in the "too hard" pile when it comes to doing anything about them.

Now, I do not suggest that fans of the Ukrainian revolution have necessarily got it wrong. I merely note that many leading opposition voices there appear to be, for want of a better word, fascists.

Similarly, while no one disputes that Saddam was a monster, to what extent has life improved for the average Iraqi since he was overthrown? Look closely at the al-Qaeda-affiliated opponents of Assad, and one cannot help but wonder whether that is a simple conflict between right and wrong.

One may also pause to wonder just how long the enthusiasm of much of the British press would last if Ukraine did join the EU and immigration from there replaced the inflow of Romanians and Bulgarians on their list of things to fulminate about. …

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