Drive: sadly divisive

Friday 2nd March 2012

IGOR Kozuchov, 60, is a street cleaner in the London borough of Waltham Forest. He was recently forced to leave Britain and return to the Ukraine after being made redundant. A three-year-old boy, whom he’d befriended, was so upset his mother wrote to the local council.

On discovering that Igor was ‘clearly one of the best street cleaners we had’ and ‘adored by the local community’, the council’s contractors have reinstated him.

A touching tale of cute toddler reunited with best friend. It warms the cockles. Radio 5’s Drive programme interviewed the Mum:

“We walk down the exact same high road every single day at the same time… my boy started to wave and was getting waves back… then it was hello… running down the street into his arms and Igor was lifting him up… the friendship developed… one day Igor wasn’t there and we found out from a friend… he had said, ‘Today redundant, goodbye, merry Christmas.”

Igor works seven days a week in all weathers. On his return, he is quoted as saying:

“Such a good and kind boy. I’m so pleased I could come back.”

So far, so good. But Drive thrives on audience participation. Fifteen minutes later, we get:

“Couple of texts about Igor. Says Mark from the West Midlands, ‘What a lovely story. In a time of ever-increasing cynicism, it is fantastic to hear that human kindness and empathy still exist.’ On the other hand, the next text says, ‘Will that little kid pay sixty-year-old Igor’s pension, housing benefit and health-care, all of which will cost us a fortune?’

Presenter Peter Allen concludes, “That kind of reflects the two… um, the two brands of reaction to that particular story.”

Typical of the BBC ’s insistence on what they call ‘balance’. It’s bollocks.

Does a report about United require one about City? Are criminals invited to reply to statements from the police? Is something only news if it’s ‘controversial’?

And why is it necessary to sully Igor’s joyful reunion with hateful and divisive slurs from an ignorant, ill-tempered racist?

 

 

 

 

 

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