BBC and MPC independence

I do not believe these arms of the state are “independent”. The BBC has been slave to every fashionable interpretation of British politics and economics the government has put into circulation over the last eleven years. It is ironic indeed that the BBC should now find itself on the “wrong” side of an argument over whether to broadcast a charitable appeal or not as it seeks to discover some “independence” of the present ruling elite, just when its decade long error in parroting that the Bank of England is “independent” has so visibly come apart and done so much damage to the livelihoods and jobs prospects of so many.
If we are to have a truly “independent” BBC then they need to be free to make decisions like the Gaza one, and the believers in an independent BBC like the present government should refrain from criticising them. The problem with the BBC in recent years has not been crude party political bias, but an unwillingness to see the dangers behind the policies of the government, and a refusal to see that so much of the news output they put forward is spin based on the propositions that big government is good, bigger government is better, the EU is generally a good thing, and the US is usually a bad thing (pre Obama).
The BBC’s failure to give airtime to those of us who were warning about the coming crash showed the dangers of a broadcaster who could not see beyond the complacent government soundbites that they had made the Bank of England independent and this guranteed economic stability. Now they mount a defence of their independence by picking a fight with the Labour government on an issue over a charitable appeal. In so doing they give huge publicity to the charitable appeal anyway, whilst showing a rare willingness to disagree with the Establishment.

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16 Comments

  1. Will S
    Posted January 26, 2009 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    Quite right. I think this entire row has been a waste of time and column space.

  2. Colin D.
    Posted January 26, 2009 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    The BBC charter calls for it to be ‘politically neutral’. But how is BBC neutrality defined and by whom? Do they take account of the fact more votes were cast for Conservatives than Labour in the last election? I sense that BBC ‘neutrality’ is driven by the views of a political elite who inhabit a world quite different from the rest of us, who think little about accountability and integrity and for whom politics is less about democracy and more about staying close to the perks of the job.

  3. Anoneumouse
    Posted January 26, 2009 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    The BBC’s position has nothing to do with the imminent publishing of the judgement by the House of Lords’ on the Balen Report into lack of even-handedness in the corporation’s reporting in the Middle East over the years does it?

  4. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted January 26, 2009 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    JR: “Now they mount a defence of their independence by picking a fight with the Labour government on an issue over a charitable appeal.”

    It seems to me that it is certain Labour ministers and MPs who are picking the fight and if they have their way that will prove (if more proof is required) that the BBC is in fact controlled by politicians and not independent.

  5. Dennis
    Posted January 26, 2009 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    Anoneumouse, quite so!

    Hilarious interview this morning on Today with John Humphrys — Mark Thompson came across as a stuttering, spluttering twerp completely at a loss to answer the simple questions being put to him. And for this he gets nearly £16,000 a week! (Though nothing from me.)

    Of course the BBC is biased. It’s bound to be, given the demographic of the people who work there and who, naturally, choose their successors and appoint new staff. The attitudes of the BBC are a classic example of groupthink; I wish Thompson would stop this pretence of impartiality.

  6. John
    Posted January 26, 2009 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    This government seems to love the word “independance” doesn’t it? The BBC are independant, yet are very politically aware for an independant broadcaster, and clearly in favour of the establishment. The MPC is independant, yet it’s members have to watch their backs should they not follow the will of the government. The police are independant, possibly the worst lie of the lot given that they are under direct Home Office control, and the clear political activism of Sir Ian Blair while in office.

    If all that is considered “independance”, then I shudder at the thought of the alternative.

  7. Cliff.
    Posted January 26, 2009 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    This so called row regarding the BBC has amused me. I personally get sick and tired of constant charity appeals on our TV channels however, regarding the BBC’s reason for not screening it is crass in the extreme, as their entire coverage of the conflict has appeared to be very much biased towards the Palestinians and very anti the state of Israel.

    The British Media appears as a whole to have misrepresented the entire episode by failing to mention that Israel were forced to take action because of the constand firing of missiles into Israel by Hamas. If say, France fired eighty missiles aday into West Sussex, would Britain be wrong to take action? I doubt it. If you are a small weak person, you don’t keep poking the big boy with a stick unless you want to get a slap….Hamas should take note.
    Stop firing the missiles into Israel and the troubles will cease; Then meaningful negotiations can take place and the lives of those in Gaza will improve as investment will flow in, as it did in Northern Ireland once the violence stopped.

    • mikestallard
      Posted January 26, 2009 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

      I wonder who is pouring money into Gaza now? And where, I wonder, is all that money going to end up?
      And, remember, comrade, the fact that it is channeled through the elected government of Gaza is democratic in the extreme – as you would expect from the European Union.

    • iluvni
      Posted January 28, 2009 at 1:02 am | Permalink

      The ‘investment that flowed into Northern Ireland’?…hahahahahaha

  8. Neil Craig
    Posted January 26, 2009 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    The way the BBC report on every news bulletin that they aren’t broadcasting this shows that it is a cynical move not to be impartial but to look as if they were trying to be impartial when in fact they only look as if they are trying to look as if they were trying to be impartial.

    By comparison when there were no broadcasts for aid for Serbian refugees from the Krajina Holocaust (250,000 refugees or dead) or from Kosovo (350,000 refugees), despite having done many for the Albanian & Bosnian Moslem ex-Nazis, they did not feel the need to report such censorship on every bulletin.

    They also had a Scottish Radio phone in on not showing this, which I called in to, but with so many callers to get through on the anti-Jewish line they had no space for anybody expressing such cynicism

  9. DennisA
    Posted January 26, 2009 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

    The whole thing is pointless nonsense, by taking this stance it could be argued they are taking the side of Israel.

    In any event the Palestinians’ situation will soon improve as the result of a comittment of $1billion from Saudi Arabia to re-build Gaza. http://digg.com/world_news/Saudi_Arabia_to_Donate_1_Billion_to_Rebuild_Gaza

  10. Voter
    Posted January 26, 2009 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

    One clear piece of evidence of BBC bias is that it advertises for its staff almost entirely in THE GUARDIAN, more there than in all other papers put together. Therefore, not surprisingly, it produces a GUARDIAN like response to issues.

    The simple remedy is to take away the compulsory licence fee. If the BBC is any good, then people will be glad to pay for it; if it is no good, as I believe, then why should people be forced to pay?

    I subscribe to Sky and that service was very careful on this issue as it is on anthing else; its viewers can cancel their subscriptions.

  11. mikestallard
    Posted January 26, 2009 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

    Imagine a country where every single person had to buy the government newspaper every day to find out the Truth. If they did not pay up, then officials could enter their house and seize property to the value of the contributions that they had missed.
    The government would be really powerful, and they could say anything they wanted. Sometimes (rarely) the opposition would be mentioned, but only to be mocked.
    Are we not lucky that such a ruling does not apply to TV!
    Anyway, such a thing could never happen in this country, because we are a democracy.

  12. Coeur de Lion
    Posted January 26, 2009 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

    The BBC is absolutely terrified about the next General Election. With good reason.

  13. TomTom
    Posted January 27, 2009 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    Hilarious interview this morning on Today with John Humphrys — Mark Thompson came across as a stuttering, spluttering (person-ed)

    must be your radio…mine showed Humphrys at his (…) worst. He really is a self-opinionated (person-ed) and interrupted repeatedly…Thompson should simply have shut up and let Humphrys flail -(rest left out – this is all getting too personal).

  14. adam
    Posted January 27, 2009 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    Independence is one of these idealistic terms which doesn’t really exist. Beeb will always upset somebody.
    I think the scale of the reaction to this one small issue and the publicity it has been given show how used the left is to having its way with the BBC.

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    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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