The Archers’ blunder – and what we can learn

The BBC has stirred up strong feelings by inviting listeners to The Archers programme to take part in a poll. Mike and Vicky Tucker had learned their unborn child had Down’s Syndrome, and listeners were invited to vote online whether or not they should abort the baby.

Not surprisingly, especially in the shadow of the London Paralympic Games there has been a storm of disapproval at such insensitivity. The BBC has admitted the foolishness of inviting people to give an opinion on a sensitive subject they cannot know enough about and withdrew the poll. No doubt it has been the subject of many blogs.

What do you think about blogs? It seems to us that the medium of the blog should be used with great care and consideration for the reader. Do you agree? Should the blog be a place for people just to sound off their opinions, or an opportunity for the writer to make snide comments about politicians or public figures they do not like? Do we waste the reader’s valuable time with our personal prejudices?

Surely the blog is far more valuable as a forum, not of opinions, but of ideas which move an argument forward and perhaps improve our understanding of a subject? A blog can provide an opportunity to show what one has learnt from one’s own experiences and how these may help others to reach some difficult decisions.

So to return to the subject of Vicky and Mike’s dilemma. Who is really qualified to have an opinion? You could argue everyone is! Some of us may have been faced with the same immensely painful decision whether or not to go ahead with an abortion. But our circumstances are all different. We are all complex individuals. We have different family, social, moral and religious considerations.

We would all fear the difficulties and challenges of bringing up a Downs child and how to manage its adulthood. Some of us would not manage well. Others would rise to the challenge and succeed in becoming better people. For these reasons only those of us who are involved can make the decision. And that will be from our own standpoint at the time. Change the time and place and we could make a different decision.

So whatever the issue, let’s put forward our ideas which can be constructive and helpful to the reader particularly when it comes to sensitive issues such as Downs and abortion. Considering the issues involved and discussing the merits of possible courses of action and outcomes will form the essence of the most stimulating and beneficial blog or article.

A useful page/blog for anyone affected by Down’s Syndrome

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