BBC Talking Point, long your #1 destination for knee-jerking and button-pushing, has recently redesigned and now has a ‘recommendations’ system on replies, whereby you can click on “most recommended” and see the viewer comment that most people have agreed with. This is – as you might expect – generally the most bilious contributor with the greatest mastery of tabloidese. Here for example a fairly innocent question about ‘icons of Britain’ gets predictable treatment: “The ultimate ‘real’ icon at the moment is ‘the chav’ – a real unifier – universally despised and feared by the decent, powerless and silent tax paying majority of all races and creeds.”. Scroll down for more of the same, should you wish.

BBC TP makes for miserable reading whenever it touches on a serious topic, and sadly the days when the rabies was leavened by non-political questions seem to be fading. The new system is also interesting in that it destroys any pretence that Talking Point is a conversation, rather than a park full of soapboxes screaming blindly into the digital fog.