British television, like television almost everywhere, is dominated by left-wingers masquerading as liberals. As a consequence, British television often denigrates those traditions and institutions held in most affection by the indigenous inhabitants of this country. In the interstices, it finds time to celebrate and promote everything that is not British, or at any rate not integrally British, such as “documentaries” vindicating various bad things. To take two particularly bad examples, there was a famously biased BBC program called Death on the Rock, which criticized British security forces for defending themselves against IRA terrorists, and thereby earned the BBC the undying disrespect of all Unionists. In a part-mawkish, part-splenetic program called Justice for Joy, leftists attacked Britain’s already over-gentle deportation procedures and hinted that there should be no immigration controls, by using Joy Gardiner—a Jamaican who outstayed her visa by eight years, ignored three requests to leave the country, and then died inopportunely while she was biting a policemen—as an exemplar of saintlike womanhood, and as a symbol of outraged “human dignity” and inalienable immigrant “rights.”

Although there are many worthy television programs, too much broadcasting time is taken up by films legitimizing violence or sexual perversion, by chat and game shows, deliberately multicultural children’s programs, social-realist soap operas gritty with typical working-class lesbian intellectuals with mathematics degrees, confessional and sermonizing programs of different kinds, trashy comedies, emotive depictions and impertinent examinations of what should be private, doctored news bulletins and excitable talking heads who jump to conclusions and would like to involve Britain in every war, every movement of refugees, every famine, every plague, every earthquake, every human rights abuse, every political or religious controversy in the world. I am sure this description will sound familiar to civilized Americans.

These tendencies are especially noticeable on Channel 4, one of Britain’s independent channels. Some examples of recent programs give the general flavor—Dyke TV, for the gratification of militant lesbians (the programmer concerned is herself one of the sorority); Drugs R Us; Hookers, Hustlers, Pimps and Their Johns; Dusky Sapphos; Silent Porn. Although Channel 4 was set up to cater to minority tastes, and although they also show many fine programs and avant-garde films that would not be shown elsewhere, Channel 4’s programmers seem overly concerned with those seamy and sordid things that should either not be discussed at all, or only with great care.

This process has been going on since Channel 4’s inception. Its previous program director was once editrix of the left-wing newspaper, the Guardian. She is now managing director of BBC Radio, which shows that “Auntie” is not far behind. To take just one example, BBC 2 television has just begun ~aytime TV, which, editor Neil Crombie promises, will “be so glamorous and exciting that straight people will love it too.” The BBC has always been regarded as “Red,” and it seems to be still true (although the BBC is always outraged whenever anybody points it out). But some enthusiasts do not think the BBC is left-wing enough; the ghastly Janet Street-Porter, former director of youth programming at the BBC, recently said that television executives were all “male, middle-class and mediocre,” and asked why “those with ‘willies'” predominated in the industry.

All in all, conservatives should not, and most do not, expect much from the television screen. But a recent episode of The Word, a “yoof” program on Channel 4, must have surprised even many blase right-wingers. The Word (possibly inadvertently) fosters everything that tends toward social dissolution. It glorifies minority aspirations (at any rate, the ones which conflict with majority aspirations), even to the extent of deliberately hiring presenters with strong regional accents or unusual tastes. One presenter was a bald lesbian from Newcastle with a strong Geordie accent. The less standard or middle English, the better, so far as The Word is concerned.

Previous episodes of The Word have featured a performer named “Mr. Powertool,” who pulls people across the room by means of a rope attached to his genitalia, and “Santa Claus” vomiting over a child. Encouraged by the ratings occasioned by “Mr. Powertool” and Co., The Word’s writers decided to introduce an even better viewer attraction. Although the program’s audience is a generally “right-on” group, this did not protect them from the contempt of the producers who deliberately released the contents of a colostomy bag all over them while they were laughing.

This occasioned much hostile press coverage, even from normally bland newspapers like the Times, none of which, however, had any effect on Michael Grade, the chief executive of Channel 4. “I am in no way answerable to the public,” he said when challenged. He feels only contempt for the Broadcasting Standards Council, whom he has described as “highly unrepresentative, middle-aged, middle-class busybody dogooders”—a description reminiscent of Street-Porter and which might, with equal justice, be applied to Grade himself (except, of course, that he is instinctively lower-class). Only the Guardian stood up for Grade and Channel 4, and said that it didn’t matter if older people were offended, as they were not one of the minorities being catered for. Only certain groups deserve consideration, after all, and society at large deserves none whatever.

What next for television’s schlock-and sleaze-merchants? Every descent into baseness must be succeeded by another, even lower descent in order for momentum to be maintained. After condoms, vomit, and bags of excrement have fully penetrated popular culture, we arc almost inevitably bound for guts. We already have horror films full of gore, and programs showing hospital operations; we are really getting too close to the “snuff movie.” In a world where truth has been inverted, where evil has become good, where male has become female and female male, where the beautiful has been deliberately uglified, where perversion is presented as normality, where there is no respect for anything but the disreputable, where the estimable is no longer esteemed, where values are relative and not worth anything in themselves in any case, what more logical next step than that life and death become conflated and so lose their meaning?

The television taste terrorists who are always trampling at the outermost limits of the tolerable will never stop until they come up against some ultimate taboo, some innermost steeliness against which they will shatter themselves into a million opaque fragments. What would John Logic Baird have thought, if he had foreseen in 1936 the brown-foamed flood of dross bearing down on Britain? If he had known what was coming, would he not have pulled the plug out, and smashed the first fitfully flickering apparatus?