Friday 2 March 2012

Make Britain Bradfordian

Well, part one has been and gone, and it wasn't quite the end of the world for Bradford that some predicted. I quite enjoyed it, and, like most people, saw it through the lens of 'fly on the wall' media style. I don't think it portrayed Bradford in a terrible light at all - in fact, what we saw was eight very different people, working things out as they went along. I know some of them, and I like them.

There are obvious weaknesses that are easy to spot. As a programme, it fails to look at the complexity of Bradford life, particularly its history and economics, but that is not what the programme makers are about. They are more interested in the interpersonal issues that arrive in such a city, and their programme does touch on these issues quite well.

It also awkwardly kept going on about the city being 'the most segregated in the country' - and that is such a weak stereo type. At least it allowed me and my Muslim/Chinese/Polish/Bulgarian friends to chuckle to away to ourselves. The programme makers went for difference, but most of Bradford is made up of commonalities - we all try to get by, and most of us are better at getting on with our neighbours than the outside world recognises.

I don't like the line that the participants unwittingly allowed themselves to be 'used' by Channel 4. I think they are all giving it their best shot - and allowing their flaws to be exposed so that others might do some learning. I think those Bradfordians are making me proud to be part of a city working out the strengths and problems that diversity brings to modern Britain. It is flawed but real.

We are all slowly learning to find our shared humanity amongst a capitalist economy that endlessly tries to divide us.

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