Top UK TV programmes flagged for ´encouraging far-right sympathies´

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy poster

The UK´s counter-terrorism programme has been severely criticised after it flagged numerous top TV series and highly respected literary works for “encouraging far-right sympathies.”

Among those historian and broadcaster, Andrew Roberts told the Daily Mail on Saturday, February 18: “This is truly extraordinary. This is the reading list of anyone who wants a civilised, liberal, cultured education.

“It includes some of the greatest works in the Western canon and in some cases – such as Joseph Conrad’s The Secret Agent – powerful critiques of terrorism. Burke, Huxley, Orwell and Tolkien were all anti-totalitarian writers.”

The report by the programme’s Research Information and Communications Unit (RICU) referred to “reading lists” that are posted online by extremists. The shows and books that appear on the lists are said to be preferred viewing and reading for these groups.

Bizarrely making the list are works like Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Dambusters, Yes Minister and even Michael Palin´s Great British Railway Journeys.

Shakespeare is also said to be on the list as is noted author and Sun columnist Douglas Murray.

He wrote in The Spectator: “A number of books are singled out, the possession or reading of which could point to severe wrong think and therefore potential radicalisation…

“It seems that RICU is so far off-track that it believes that books identifying the problem that it was itself set up to tackle are in fact a part of the problem.”

Murray went on to call for those involved to be sacked.

Prevent had been criticised in the William Shawcross report for “double standards” that placed Islamist threats above those of the far right. In the report, he criticises the programme for highlighting material that “falls well short of the extremism threshold altogether.”

A spokesperson for the Home Office said: “The Home Secretary made clear that Prevent will now ensure it focuses on the key threat of Islamist terrorism, as well as remaining vigilant on emerging threats.

“We’ve accepted all 34 recommendations [from the Shawcross report] and are committed to protecting our country from the threat posed by terrorism.”

Home Office Secretary Suella Braverman had also criticised the counter-terrorism programme Prevent for having a too broad definition of far right, which she said also included the “respectable Right and the centre-Right.”

That definition is what had led to top UK TV programmes being flagged for “encouraging far-right sympathies.”

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Written by

Peter McLaren-Kennedy

Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at