Saturday, January 01, 2011

Thought for the Year


2010 was in many ways a momentous year - from the death of thousands in Haiti to the rescue of 33 miners in Chile. Religions, too, have had their ups and downs - none more so than Roman Catholicism. The Pope was widely vilified early in 2010 for covering up crimes against children. Later the BBC attempted to salvage some remnants of the Pope's reputation with wall-to-wall coverage of his visit to Britain, substantially ignoring protests against his presence. No wonder the Pope was pleased to accede to Mark Thompson's wishes, and record the Christmas Eve edition of Radio 4's Thought for the Day.

Thought for the Day allows speakers to air their thoughts from a faith perspective. The BBC has resisted demands from atheists and humanists who believe they are equally entitled to promote a secular viewpoint. The Pope's Thought for Christmas Eve is likely to increase calls for the Radio 4 programme to be opened up to a wider pool of thinkers.

The dichotomy between religious and secular outlooks is nothing new: there are example dating back hundreds of years. Religious Christians believe in an afterlife. Othello, convinced of Desdemona's infidelity, says he would not want to kill her soul. So he counsels repentance, and eventually murders Desdemona, not recognising her innocence.

Cassio, on the other hand, bemoaned the loss of 'reputation' as the equivalent to the death of his soul: "I have lost my reputation! I have lost the immortal part of myself, and what remains is bestial." Iago consoles Cassio, suggesting that reputation is of little consequence: "oft got without merit, and lost without deserving." But Iago was duplicitous. In complete contradiction he counsels Othello on the importance of reputation:-

Good name in man and woman, dear my lord,
Is the immediate jewel of their souls:
Who steals my purse steals trash; 'tis something, nothing;
'Twas mine, 'tis his, and has been slave to thousands:
But he that filches from me my good name
Robs me of that which not enriches him
And makes me poor indeed.

Reputations have been falling like ninepins over the last few years. It's not just religion which has gone down in people's estimation. So, too, have the media and politicians. The failure of many Lib Dem MPs to keep to a pre-election pledge was particularly inexcusable, and the Liberal Democrat party will never fully recover its lost reputation.


Transparency has been stressed by both the Government and the BBC Trust. So you can rest assured that Newsround Blog will continue to scrutinise the people who matter, and especially those responsible for CBBC programmes and services.

Happy New Year

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