How much longer will the BBC run their Osborne story as cover for Labour’s economic mess?

Yesterday I joined a 9 minute discussion of the economy on Sky, and was allowed to talk about the big issues of tax, spend and banking, without questions on George Osborne. This morning I turn on the Today programme and a whole item is devoted to the BBC’s political correspondent examining the “Osborne crisis” before concluding that David Cameron will not move him!
It is amazing how much power of spin Labour have, that at a time like this when people are desperate to learn how Labour is going to try to dig us out of their economic hole, we have to put up with this side show created by Labour’s black counter arts department.

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22 Comments

  1. Peter
    Posted November 17, 2008 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    You might find we are keen to learn how tories are going to try to dig us out of the economic hole. So far we've seen nothing but the usual fiddling round the edges. Certainly nothing that would inspire me to vote.

    Read the next post…

  2. Tony Makara
    Posted November 17, 2008 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    We have to wonder why Labour and the BBC are so eager to get rid of Mr Osborne. He really seems to have got under their skin over the Sterling crisis, he has touched a few raw nerves and has cast doubt on whether the borrowing binge is really worth the destabilizing effect it will have on our currency. The Conservative party should continue to keep the focus on the Sterling crisis, even if it draws attention to Mr Osborne and the speculation about his future, which as we know is an attempt to deflect from the real issue, Sterling. The public will soon tire of the speculation when it becomes clear that Mr Osbornes position is secure, however, they will be interested in the fact that the Pound in their pocket is worth less with each passing day.

  3. Amanda
    Posted November 17, 2008 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    I think it is time all decent people and the Conservatives kept hammering Labour about their economic mismanagement. The media are unbelieveable -of course the opposition should scrutinise the economic plans. Maybe if they did it a bit more, investors would have MORE confidence.

    The Sunday papes were appalling in their lies, the Monday leaders give ‘grudging’ agreement to Osbourn that he is right. Why grudging? Brown is the architect of this disaster, why are they not going for him? What is wrong with them?

    Please, please, please will the Conservatives get out the big guns, rally round and start hitting back. They are not just doing it for themselves, they are doing it for the country. I agree with Tony, why are labour so frightened of Osbourne?

    I’m going to refuse to pay my TV licence in the new year. I’m going to write now and say way. The BBC are at war with the British people – and I have had enough.

  4. not an economist
    Posted November 17, 2008 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    It seems odd to me that if the govt policy is, as they often say, "the right thing to do" and it has the support of the G20 then why does an article written by a supposedly inexperienced, judgement lacking Tory front bencher – a novice even – threaten that policy's destruction?

  5. Alfred T Mahan
    Posted November 17, 2008 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    I've been a critic of Osborne's for his failure to 'tell it like it is', so I applaud his new-found conversion to directness. I'm quite sure the Great British Public will respond to it, just as you had a much warmer reception on Any Questions than Rosie Winterton last week. When the argument is correct, the GBP generally realise in the end.

    I think, contrary to those who say that Osborne has given the government an alibi for a further fall in sterling, that their attack on him will rebound badly. The pound will continue to fall over the coming months (unless the government changes tack, of course) and it will be obvious to all that the fall cannot just be result of Osborne's interview. At that point, the attack will be discredited and Osborne will have the added bonus of having been proved right. So it follows that the Conservatives need not fear the story – if the party sticks to its guns, and so does Osborne, it will in the end harm Labour and the more the latter attack now, the worse it be for them eventually.

  6. Henry Crun
    Posted November 17, 2008 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    John, there was an article on page 2 of the Sunday Times which claimed Tory Activists were calling for Osborne to be replaced. This was based on comments on the Conservative Home website.

    You know and I know that comments on websites could come from anyone and are not indicative of public opinion and are often mischief making and sometimes bloddy mindedness.

    Be that as it may, the story does give the impression that somehow the Conservative grassroots are somehow dissatisfied with George Osborne's performance. Which I honestly believe not to be the case.

    George Osborne is quite correct to call attention to sterling's performance of late. I suppose the upside is that should sterling tank spectacularly it will shut Gordon Brown up about Black Wednesday.

  7. Stuart Fairney
    Posted November 17, 2008 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    As I was staying with the outlaws yesterday, I cast an eye towards Andrew Marr (as they don’t have SKY). My reasons for long since giving up the BBC were validated in spades.

    They started with a news report explaining how government spending and the G20 agreement will “solve” the recession. They then give the PM a vox pop to back this up. No analysis or counter-opinion permitted, just reported as fact. Item two was a pointless attack on Osborne “talking down” the pound.

    We then had Jarvis Cocker advertising his wares for some reason (it seemed rather non sequitur to me?), Douglas Alexander given a series of patsy questions that Alistair Campbell could have scripted with no follow-ups, John Reid in a supposed non-political interview, explained how the PM was indeed the saviour of the universe and how Osborne’s position was becoming “untenable" (seriously, no evaluation of the trade gap, or the budget deficit or economic fundamentals at all, it was all George’s fault, as international investors clearly hang on his every word). I’m afraid I could not stomach Marr’s interview with Mr Osborne and my good lady reminded me that Sunday morning was not the time for a tirade of ‘colourful metaphors’ when we were in her parent’s house. But really this stuff was “Saddam Hussein TV” in praise of the dear leader.

    I will write and ask if they think charter obligations regarding fairness were fully discharged by this show. My fear is that they probably think it was fine!!

  8. Johnny Norfolk
    Posted November 17, 2008 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    John

    The BBC and Labour are one and the same thing.

    I hope the party remembers all this and does something about the BBC when in power.

  9. THE ESSEX BOYS
    Posted November 17, 2008 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    Despite what we felt was George's initial clumsiness in not making clear that the currency run was well and truly underway before he spoke on Friday, he came across well on Sunday and the implied support of your own weekend appearances helped in getting across the real story – Brown's ineptitude.

    One statistic we elicited to confirm our recollections, however, is that the £ stood at $1.63 in May 1997 so the long-term decline is not as spectacular as the 25/30% headlines suggest.
    Nevertheless it does mean that Brown's 'boom bubble' has deflated in a matter of weeks and his current 'bounce' will be short-lived as that reality dawns on a misled public!

  10. Andrew Forbes
    Posted November 17, 2008 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    This morning Today gave Mandleson such an easy ride I was surprised they didn't address him as "Your Lordship". I was struck by the comparison with the venom and constant interruptions inflicted on Cameron late last week. Something is very fishy indeed.

    • mikestallard
      Posted November 17, 2008 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

      It really does not pay to tell tales about what went on on board Mr Deripaska's yacht, does it.

  11. THE ESSEX BOYS
    Posted November 17, 2008 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    John – our blog above shows up as at 12.12pm.
    Perhaps your clock didn't go back recently?

    All the best

  12. THE ESSEX BOYS
    Posted November 17, 2008 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    We should have added that the level of the £ this morning suggests that George hasn't brought the house tumbling down…he's leaving that to Gordon still!

  13. Keith
    Posted November 17, 2008 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    The spin by Al-jaBeeba is nothing short of outrageous and has been going on for ages.
    Something really needs to be done about them.
    They are supposed to be neutral.

  14. DBC Reed
    Posted November 17, 2008 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    All sections of Tory Party including leader might try showing unequivocal support for Osborne: he should at least be given a shot at Pre-Budget statement ( only next week!).
    Nasty Party reverts to type : any weakness at the front of dog-team and they tear you to pieces.Not edifying.
    Are n't the Buller sworn to lifelong mutual support? I seem to remember Boris at least pretending to help Darius Guppy when he was in porridge-connected trouble.

  15. james barr
    Posted November 17, 2008 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

    John,

    The bias of the BBC is unbelievable. The communique from the G20 does not support out and out fiscal stimuli as Gordy would have us believe. So why do the BBC report it as if this was the case? I'd like to think that the BBC are not paid up members of the Nu Liebour project but Robinson, Peston et al do their utmost to create this impression. The first quango to be axed should be the BBC!

    • Stuart Fairney
      Posted November 17, 2008 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

      Well said. The number of us who support your position James is rather more then the BBC might imagine.

  16. Mr C
    Posted November 17, 2008 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

    Why are the Labour/BBC spinners going for Osborne? It’s quite straightforward really. If they can succeed in derailing Osborne then by extension the spinners can call into question the competence of Conservative financial policy as a whole. This would leave Brown free to pursue his cynical ‘world wide financial saviour’ act, without serious challenge and explains the ad hominen attacks on Osborne over the past few weeks.

    Osborne's long overdue comments about Sterling have put the cat amongst the pigeons, as the pound’s recent weakness exposes the dangerous shallowness of Brown's imprudent and ill-considered financial policies.

    Labour doesn’t simply doesn’t have the option of cutting public expenditure to fund its proposed tax breaks or ill thought out bailouts. They cannot do so without alienating their ‘payroll’ vote. So it’s printing money all the way! Brown’s government has put its own survival- quite literally at any cost- above the national interest. The BBC’s angle? Well, I gave up on them years ago as a source of independent news or analysis.

    But you can't buck the markets. And the currency markets have been voting with their wallets against Brown’s policies. Unfortunately it’s the British taxpayer who picks up the bill. By calling Labour out on the recent decline in Sterling, Osborne has publicly demonstrated that Emperor Brown has no clothes. Hence the desperate attempts by the Labour/BBC establishment to close down the debate.

    But never fear! The British public are smarter than Brown and the BBC thinks. Those of us outside of the Westminster bubble can see for ourselves that the decline in Sterling started on Brown’s watch, months before Osborne opened his mouth.

  17. mikestallard
    Posted November 17, 2008 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

    I watched the interview with George Osborne on BBC.
    I usually like Andrew Marr, but to see him hunched forward in attack position and picking away at what might (for him) be a good story, rather than sensibly asking what was wrong and what ought to be done about it upset me.
    I couldn't bear to watch the rest of the show.

  18. Rose
    Posted November 17, 2008 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

    I watched the whole of the Marr Show and could see exactly why Mandelson's people want to get rid of George: he is very good at explaining feaerlessly what is happening.

    PM has been brought back to do what he is good at: sowing dissension in Tory ranks in time for the early election they are obviously planning in the wake of all this bribery, and squaring the media. But George did make an impact on the later bulletins, some of which actually picked up his two main deadly serious points.

  19. number 6
    Posted November 19, 2008 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    How long before the Consveratives pledge to ditch the current BBC 'telly tax' mode of funding. I would support that 100 percent. The BBC has long ceased to be impartial and spouts the socialist/green party line at every opportunity.

    There are gems in their canon of programming (mainly in entertainment and documentaries) so let them follow the US public broadcast system of funding and still remain commercial free, but funded by people who want to watch the output via direct donations/pledges. I know, I stumped up a few bucks to PBS when I lived stateside to watch quality telly (a lot of which was from the BBC) and did not object to doing so. I do object to having to pay, wheter I want to or not, for BBC outputI do not watch or listen to.

  20. THE ESSEX BOYS
    Posted November 19, 2008 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

    Our apologies for using this blog to comment on your previous BBC blog to which we contributed on the Ross/Brand affair.

    4 of us, after separately watching yesterday's select committee appearance by 'Batman & Robin', agreed the top management were truly dire!

    They still feel the Ross/Brand problems centred on:
    (a) the internal control system and
    (b) the invasion of Sachs' privacy and rights.

    They appear not to recognise that the public were, in the main, disgusted at the nature of the content itself.
    Messrs Lyons & Thompson believe the BBC must be 'edgy' and that the public want them to 'take risks'.
    Arguably most business decisions involve 'risk' – that is the risk of being a good or a bad decision – but are generally made without compromising the ethos and reputation of the business itself.
    Both HAVE been compromised as our BBC – under its current management – have waded further and further into their own murky waters of 'edginess' and 'risk'.

    Lyons is a lone voice in arguing that Ross is worth his £6m pa, which rather confirms how far out of touch he is. Apart from its inflationary effect, has it occured to him to look at the cost per viewer given the numbers for Ross' off-peak tv and radio shows?
    And now Radio 2 has even announced that Ross will return on 24th January before the investigation is complete! Right and left hand?

    We believe these senior men fail the Corporation as managers and are way out of step with us, their customers, on what we really want for our £140 a year. Both may well be out of a job if Ross has to go so their personal interests seem to be standing in the way of a BBC with which most licence payers are happy.

    Sadly there can be no smugness on their news coverage either as Channel 4 and Sky easily and regularly out-perform them on content, relevance and scoops – and without the bias!

    We deserve better and judging by yesterday’s sad performances, we’ll get it only after changes at the very top.
    A bit like this Labour Government eh what?

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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