Pandora: Hain's anti-apartheid show hits the skids

  • @tompeck

Ever since Peter Hain was "too busy" to declare £100,000 worth of donations to his deputy leadership campaign last year, the Welsh Secretary has not been the beneficiary of a great deal of public sympathy. Perhaps until now.

For the perma-tanned former Northern Ireland Secretary, who brought new context to the term Orangeman, is to be denied the chance to tell the heroic tales of his youth as an anti-apartheid activist, in the name of impartiality.

Next spring is the 40th anniversary of the Stop The Tour campaign when, as a zealous young idealist, he led the campaign to prevent the South African cricket team touring the UK during the height of apartheid.

A landmark BBC documentary had been mooted, which would naturally have featured Hain in heroic high profile. But therein lies the problem. The anniversary falls in the immediate run-up to the general election, and the idea of depicting an MP seeking re-election as a stout-hearted campaigner for moral rights has led to fears of accusations of bias. So the documentary has been shelved.

"At the beginning of the year the BBC put a proposal to me that they were planning a programme and I offered to co-operate fully," Mr Hain tells us. "I had understood that the programme was proceeding but have heard nothing since the beginning of the year." Oh to be the bearer of bad news.

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