A minor observation on the BBC’s coverage from Cameron’s visit to Beijing (which
has been, for the most part, of very high quality.) Nick Robinson closed his
piece yesterday with a reference to the authoritarian and censorious nature of
Chinese society and government heavy-handedness. To illustrate this, he
revealed that he and his crew had been prevented from filming in Tiananmen Square; prevented politely enough, mind. I don’t doubt for a moment that the Chinese government is foul and totalitarian, as the report which followed (regarding
Tibet) amply demonstrated. And a lot, lot, worse than what we have here. But
Nick – try filming anywhere in central London other than College Green and see
how far you get. I guarantee some jumped up little shit in a fluorescent jacket
will move you on before you can say ‘over to you, Hugh’. It is one of the big
changes in our society, the profusion of people telling you what you can and
can’t do and demanding you produce paperwork and so on. In that respect – and
probably that respect alone – we are no better, and probably worse, than China.

By way of indication, here’s a short film (above) I made a couple of years or
so back.