Tuesday, May 01, 2018

When New Labour took on the Teletubbies

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China has banned Peppa Pig, reports the Guardian:
The wildly popular children’s character was recently scrubbed from Douyin, a video sharing platform in China, which deleted more than 30,000 clips. The hashtag #PeppaPig was also banned, according to the Global Times, a state-run tabloid newspaper. 
The seemingly innocuous cartoon’s downfall appears to be no fault of its creators. Instead the problem is Peppa’s association with counterculture memes and “society people” – a slang term for lowlifes and gangsters. 
People who upload videos of Peppa Pig tattoos and merchandise and make Peppa-related jokes "run counter to the mainstream value and are usually poorly educated with no stable job". "They are unruly slackers roaming around and the antithesis of the young generation the [Communist] party tries to cultivate."
Ridiculous. Nothing like that could happen in Britain.

You say that, but I am reminded of what happened when Labour came to power in 1997.

An article by Anne M. White on Televzion Online tells the story of how it became caught in crossfire between trendies and traditionalists in education:
This becomes clear in an article about Stephen Byers, the then Minister of State for School Standards, who is described as "fighting back" against the "dumbing down" of British culture exemplified by the "Teletubbies". 
Significantly in this context, the journalist notes: "Mr. Byers said he had asked for a recording of the "Teletubbies", but had not yet had an opportunity to view it," highlighting the fact that it was what the programme symbolised that was really the issue.
Mr Byers and the Teletubbies were the subject of one of my first columns for Liberal Democrat News. I had written to him some time after the story broke, but the civil servant who replied said that he had still not found the time to watch it.

In the event the Teletubbies were to last rather longer than Mr Byers

So there are surprising parallels between the Chinese dictators and New Labour.

This affair also reminds us how well things were going for the country when the latter came to power and how hard they had to try to find things to be outraged about.

Again! Again!

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