Friday, 17 July 2015

Babies and bathwater: this government needs to tackle BBC bias head on rather than fiddle about at the edges

Sorry to return to the subject of the BBC so soon – but it’s in the news a lot these days. The thing that’s starting to worry me is that the government - let alone everybody else with skin in this particular game - has already got itself in a muddle about what the object of their review is. Is it about creating a level playing-field for commercial broadcasters and websites? Is it about making sure old folk don’t have to pay? Is it about the alarming spread of BBC services on an unsustainable plethora of fronts? Is it about establishing a funding model in line with the reality of the rest of the modern media landscape? Is it about making sure people only pay for the bits of the BBC they use?

It’s actually about none of these things. Fundamentally, it’s about the corporation’s inherent political bias. The current Tory government wants the BBC to stop pumping out anti-Conservative left-wing propaganda via its news, current affairs, comedy and drama programmes.  That’s it. Everything else is of secondary importance.

Obviously, as someone who is to the right of this government on every single issue, I am thoroughly in favour of curbing the BBC’s ability to pump out its relentess politically correct, dirigiste, high tax, high spend, anti-“Austerity”, pro-EU, pro-Green, pro-immigration, anti-Monarchy, anti-Christian, pro-gay, culturally relativist, pro-public sector, pro-Big Government message. Roughly half of the electorate doesn’t share the BBC’s views on some or all of the above issues. Why should half of all license-fee payers stump up £145.50 a year each just to hear their opinions mocked or ignored altogether? The result of the general election was as much a rejection of the BBC’s policies as it was of the Labour Party’s.  The argument that the BBC doesn’t have policies is, of course, nonsense – by a process which is mysterious to both insiders and outsiders alike, the corporation has come up with a more clearly-defined set of policy positions than any major political party. (Test yourself – name any issue, and tell me you can’t instantly identify the BBC’s line on it.)

Because no government can state this truth baldly, it inevitably ends up seeking to revenge itself in other ways. I’m not saying that these other routes aren’t valid in their own right, or that the suggested changes aren’t perfectly justified – it’s just that they don’t address the central issue, which is that the BBC – by a country mile the single largest and most influential provider of news and opinion in the UK - is utterly, screamingly, 100% left-wing, and that it has spent decades distorting Britain’s political landscape and the attitudes of its people to an alarming extent. The very fact that we have a majority Conservative government and that UKIP polled almost four million votes in May bears heartening testament to the sheer bloody-mindedness of the British people (the utter uselessness of Labour – the BBC’s preferred political party – helped, obviously).

The main problem for the Culture Secretary, John Whittingdale, is that there’s no obvious way of curbing the BBC’s rampant bias without turning the corporation into the worst kind of state broadcaster, reading out government press releases and burying bad news (although quite of a bit of this went on when Blair was in power – not exactly Auntie’s finest decade). But the least – the very least – Whittingdale could do is compile a video file containing the very worst examples of bias, and give the BBC a chance to answer the charges against them on camera, in public. I’d be happy to compile it. It would contain some of Home Affairs Editor Mark Easton‘s reports, a variety of jaw-droppingly awful lowlights from Newsnight, almost any edition of The News Quiz, choice selections from the Today Programme, slices of Victoria Derbyshire on the News Channel, chunks of John Piennar and Norman Smith, Andrew Marr continually interrupting David Cameron during the election, snippets from the laughably one-sided Question Time, examples of John Sopel’s slavishly pro-Obama misreporting from America, Jeremy Bowen (and many others) constantly sticking it to brave little Israel in the Middle East, and almost anything uttered by the ghastly Robert Peston with his ridiculous drawling delivery and his stupid fucking hair-do. There’s tons more to show, of course, but that little lot should be enough to start the ball rolling.

At the same time, Whittingdale could ask the Labour Party to come up with examples of BBC right-wing bias. (Good luck with that, lefties!)

To be honest, I’m not sure such an exercise would make a difference, given how blind the BBC is to its own lack of balance: let's face it, any broadcaster which claims to be politically balanced while pumping out Newsnight has lost touch with reality. But at least it would be fun listening to the BBC’s excuses.  I’m sure it doesn’t need me to tell John Whittingdale that hobbling the BBC by, for instance, severely reducing the licence fee (while not in itself a bad idea) would do absolutely nothing to diminish its ability to broadcast socialist propaganda by the shedload to the majority of Britons. If the Tories genuinely want things to change, they’ll have to tackle the issue of bias head on. I sincerely hope they succeed.


  1. I would wish to add Roger Harrabin to that list and along with him all the rest of the uber-Greens whose burblings the BBC broadcasts more or less 24 hours a day.

    'Green' politics are just that - intensely political. In effect they are a new, deceptively coloured wrapping for some very old and dangerous Marxist ideas. That the BBC uses its drama, children's programming, documentaries and just about every other opportunity to promote 'Green' ideas is about as naked an act of political advocacy as would be opening and closing its day with The Red Flag and having a reading from Mao or Lenin on the hour.

    The Greens are dangerous - not as a political party, but as weather makers and while commentators tend to focus on the BBC's promotion of Labour 'values', they too often overlook the stealthy takeover of public opinion by an alien political force dressed-up as something benign and unobjectionable.

    Anyone who presented a dossier showing the influence of Green Marxism by the BBC would have the old girl bang to rights.

    1. Greenery is indeed a wonderful flag of convenience for anyone wishing to advocate far left policies with a caring smiley face. The Greens were doing a good job of hiding their hatred of the West in general and their determination to destroy this country in particular when that mad Aussie bint who is supposed to be their leader revealed that one of their policies was absolutely unlimited immigration. I suspect this may have given many of those who saw the Green movement as a sort of cuddlier New Age alternative to the Lib-Dems pause for thought. I suspect Greenery may have reached its apogee - but it'll take a while for the penny to drop at the BBC, especially as the person supposed to comment on it is a frothing advocate.

      On an unrelated point, my wife uttered a strangled cry from the next room yesterday evening. I asked her what was wrong, and she informed me that Jo Brand had just come on the Radio 4 book programme she was listening to to tell us why reading the socialist tract "The Ragged-Trousered Philanthropist" had had such a profound effect on her political views. Radio 4 seems now to be entirely given over to politically re-educating that section of the English middle class which hasn't already seen the socialist light.

      And thanks for the link - I was wondering why this particular post was receiving so many hits!

    2. I just managed to hit the 'off' button in time before Brand (whom I have met and can assure you is absolutely every bit as bad and as stupid as you might imagine) could get started

      R4 has been a lost cause for a decade or more. I used to record the occasional afternoon play to listen to on long car journeys. Until four or five years ago you could find the odd one that wasn't a thinly veiled piece of agitprop about one or other of the BBC's cherished 'isms'. Now they are vanishingly few and far between.

      Sadly, I suspect it works. The opinions of quite a few retired folk I know are quite clearly informed solely by the Guardianista drivel dripped into their ears as they do the washing up.

    3. On the few occasions where I've been caught napping and inadvertently catch a few minutes of an afternoon play, it seems to feature either Irish people whining about their cruel British masters or Asian or West Indian immigrants whining about how racist the British are. Or it's something to do with the sodding miners strike. To quote Kevin, "Nobody's a fan of that."

      I agree with you that Radio 4's constant propaganda is messing with the conservative instincts of the middle classes, and convincing them it's somehow wrong to feel the way they do about things.

  2. I keep asking lefties, who all claim to be very concerned with freedom and personal choice, how they can support an organisation that can actually threaten you with arrest, for not paying up for something you do not want or watch. Their stock answer is that it's cheaper than the Daily Mail. When I point out that you are not required by law to pay for the Daily Mail, they come up with the same old myth, that the BBC is revered the World over. But they absolutely refuse to discuss the outrageous liberty of criminalising people for not paying a T.V. licence.

    Getting back to their bias surely a re run of the episode of Inspector George Gently, aired just before the election would be all the proof needed.

    1. I've long believed that the BBC does the majority of its dirty work not through the nakedly political stuff which few watch (Newsnight being the best example) but as tasteless poison wrapped-up in a popular, sugary dramatic coating.

      The comrades have achieved far more with the plotlines of The Archers, George Gently, or Call The Midwife than they ever have via obvious twerps like Paul Mason or Andrew Marr.

    2. Agreed re George Gently - I had a go at that particularly reprehensible episode in May:
      If I'd had anything to do with the Conservative press office, I'd have been on the blower to the BBC to complain before it had even finished. But as you imply, GCooper, the politicians only ever watch stuff like Newsnight and Panorama, and therefore miss the bigger picture - i.e. the drama and "comedy" programmes where the real political indoctrination is being carried out. I'm not sure the politicians are even aware of this, or whether you need to be part of the real world to grasp it.

      We're watching the new crime series, The Interceptors at the moment, whose content (so far) is so unpolitical, and therefore so un-BBC, I keep waiting for the adverts to come on!