In the wake of the Jade Goody/Shilpa Shetty saga on Celebrity Big Brother I am at a loss to understand why the government funded Anti-Bullying Alliance (ABA) and their 65 members are (unlike Gordon Brown) silent on the biggest bullying issue in the last decade.
On Wednesday (Jan 17) the ABA put out a pathetic and anodyne statement on CBB on its website. Part of it read:
"The Anti-Bullying Alliance (ABA) believes that bullying in any form is wrong and should not be tolerated, and that any environment that encourages bullying, prejudice, and discrimination is unacceptable."
Yet this statement was pulled from the ABA site yesterday. Why? I think for the £600,000 it receives from tax-payers each year we can expect leadership and inspiration - a response that is both timely and exemplary. The ABA ought not to fear controversy.
One of the ABA's member organisations Act Against Bullying even had to issue an apology after publishing a statement that appeared to offer understanding of Goody's behaviour (whom they've just dumped as a rep). Part of it read:
"We apologise once again for any misunderstanding caused by (the) statement yesterday. We under no circumstances condone bullying of any forms, and do our very best to work to eliminate it wherever possible."
This is true incompetence. Why the ambiguity on as clear a case of bullying as has ever been witnessed on national television (non-fiction)? As the non-government funded Bullying Online points out on its site:
"Act Against Bullying says 'that Shilpa Shetty is being bullied not because she is Indian but because of what she represents.' We disagree with that view. Numerous comments have been made on the show referring to Shilpa’s Indian background and most of the large number of complaints we have received share our concern about those remarks."
In fact, as I write, only Bullying Online and Kidscape have spoken out publicly and directly about CBB and its bullying entertainment. Perhaps Gordon should take a closer look at the ABA and its personnel when he finally levers Bliar out of Number 10.