What not to wear
The hot debate in BBC News at the moment concerns a hypothetical question. What would we do if a newsreader of Muslim origin returned from holiday in Pakistan and said that from now on she wants to read the news wearing a headscarf?
Tricky, certainly. But I think the chances of that particular scenario happening are so unlikely it's not worth worrying about unduly. It's far more likely surely that one day soon a Muslim journalist who happens to wear a headscarf will become a reporter and then a presenter on national television. I reckon it might cause a stir for a day or two and then we'd all carry on. On Newsnight, Hardeep Singh Kohli has been presenting Newsnight Review for more than a year wearing a turban - sometimes a shocking pink one - and as far as I'm aware the world has not ended.
Then Jeremy went to interview a group of schoolchildren on the day Tony Blair went on Blue Peter (watch the piece here), and the fact that he went to a school in Southall where the vast majority of pupils are not white caused shrieks of displeasure from some viewers. How typical, they suggested, that Newsnight should pick such a school.
But the thing is it's not typical. The vast majority of the guests we book on Newsnight are male, white and middle-aged, so are the majority of our viewers. And as Paul Mason's internal poshometer shows, Newsnight staff are hardly representative of the nation as a whole either.
You might say that's fine then. But what will happen in Britain if sizeable minorities feel that the news is not about people like them, not made by people like them, not for people like them. Problems ahead I'd suggest, but at least the headscarf conundrum might remain hypothetical.