How rude can the BBC get?

Last week the BBC asked me to give a pre budget interview on the Daily Politics on Tuesday of this week. I accepted and reorganised my Tuesday morning to fit it in. They rang to cancel mid morning on the Tuesday.
Yesterday the BBC asked me to step in as they had need of me to comment immediately after the budget on the World At One. I said I would and started to make the necessary adjustments to my plans. They cancelled the appointment later that morning.
Clearly they do not want hard htitting analysis from someone who has been a long term forecaster of recession and a debt crisis. Is it because the government doesn’t approve?

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37 Comments

  1. Ian Jones
    Posted April 23, 2009 at 6:08 am | Permalink

    I guess they are just playing games with you, some fun to be had by the lefties while they still have a job?

  2. Ruth
    Posted April 23, 2009 at 6:17 am | Permalink

    You are right, but don’t worry – those of us with a brain stopped watching BBC news a long time ago.

    I watched the beginning of Newsnight last night, was pleasantly surprised by the hard hitting opening, but then switched off when I became irritated by the ineptitude of the two “journalists” or whatever they were producing the usual BBC rubbish.

    With more and more people turning to the internet for news, your views are getting out there, increasingly so.

    • Amanda
      Posted April 23, 2009 at 9:00 am | Permalink

      Agreed. My elderly mother, who does not have internet access, rings me up to get a report on the what the blogs are saying. She still listens to the BBC but is astute enough to know she is being lied too and is not above ringing them up to complain when she is really cross – which she does more and more.

  3. kardinal birkutzki
    Posted April 23, 2009 at 6:30 am | Permalink

    I have been following your opinions since before the blogosphere was invented, John, and you have, indeed, been better than most at foreseeing and analysing the situation over the short and long term – even if you do say it yourself!

    I’m sorry that you have been irked by the Beeb. However, I find it more irksome that people such as vince Cable can gain such plaudits as being economic gurus ,while people such as yourself and a number of other usual suspects from the pre-1997 Tory party are portrayed as the lunatic fringe, even though they have been “righter for longer”, as it were; and even though they are saying things because they believe them rather than to have their day in the spotlight.

    Playing the Beeb’s game so often results in providing a strawman target for their left-of-centre agenda and in allowing them to portray the Tories as the “nasty party”. On reflection, therefore, you might be better off ignoring them and carrying on telling it how it is through other channels…

  4. Freddy
    Posted April 23, 2009 at 7:04 am | Permalink

    Who did they have in your place on these two programmes ?

    Ken Clarke and Norman Lamont

    • Freddy
      Posted April 23, 2009 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

      Right – both rather less scary to your average beeboid, one suspects.

  5. Stuart Fairney
    Posted April 23, 2009 at 7:10 am | Permalink

    I shouldn’t worry, BBC journalism is widely recognised as a complete joke in the wider world.

    But a freeze in the licence fee won’t change anything, it’s time to abolish ~ and bearing in mind we approach bankruptcy as a nation, you have the perfect justification. Many, many of us would support this. Indeed, if you could get the party to poll the wider population, you might be surprised just how popular it is.

    • Freddy
      Posted April 23, 2009 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

      I wonder how much could be raised by selling off the BBC’s back catalogue of old programmes ?

  6. Graham Doll
    Posted April 23, 2009 at 7:10 am | Permalink

    That leftie buffoon and Brown stooge Kevin Maguire is on the beeb almost daily. By their friends ye shall know them.

  7. Richard
    Posted April 23, 2009 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    There are certain opinions which the BBC and other left wing media do not wish to allow to be heard. They include, inter alia:-

    1. The equity injections into banks were unneccessary and the money is wasted
    2. The government debt figures are meaningless as they exclude items such as PFI and nationalised industry net debt. The national debt is much higher than the Labour / BBC figure.
    3. Increased marginal tax rates don’t raise revenue they reduce it – all evidence points to that, inc. the UK in the 1980s.
    4. There is huge scope for cutting tens of billions off public expenditure without cutting ‘sevices’.

    David Cameron was very good in the Commons yesterday & George Osborne was good on Today this am. But neither are yet hitting hard enough on the points above.

    But the internet matters more & more so you will be heard.

  8. Richard
    Posted April 23, 2009 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    There are certain opinions which the BBC and other left wing media do not wish to allow to be heard. They include, inter alia:-

    1. The equity injections into banks were unneccessary and the money is wasted
    2. The government debt figures are meaningless as they exclude items such as PFI and nationalised industry net debt. The national debt is much higher than the Labour / BBC figure.
    3. Increased marginal tax rates don’t raise revenue they reduce it – all evidence points to that, inc. the UK in the 1980s.
    4. There is huge scope for cutting tens of billions off public expenditure without cutting ’services’.

    David Cameron was very good in the Commons yesterday & George Osborne was good on Today this am. But neither are yet hitting hard enough on the points above.

    But the internet matters more & more so you will be heard.

  9. tim holden
    Posted April 23, 2009 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    We are now fighting the preliminary skirmishes of the last battle. It has long been painfully obvious that the BBC is entrenched as a last line of defence in front of the PM’s bunker. Any sentient observer of the struggle watches the BBC only to guage what they are attempting to have the public think. Do not lend them the credibility your opinion provides.

  10. Colin D.
    Posted April 23, 2009 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    I presume the BBC lack even the good manners to tell you WHY they are cancelling the arrangements at short notice.
    I find it more and more difficult to take the BBC news programmes seriously. They are becoming ‘entertainment shows’ – serious discussions are curtailed, we get mickey mouse graphics to portray statistics, footage of fairground rides to gives us a feeling ‘risky excitement’ etc. Dumbing down is what it is all about.
    The producers strike me as a bunch of adolescents let loose who have still to learn manners, judgement and a sense of what is appropriate for the presentation and discussion of serious news.
    Of course, the final irritant, is we have to pay for that lot with our tv licence!

    • Stuart Fairney
      Posted April 23, 2009 at 11:52 am | Permalink

      My particular bete noir is the free adverts in the guise of reports they give to new movies and West End shows, (plus of course great self-promotion for the producer’s actor mates). It is totally unwatchable and PRAVDA-esque these days. Maybe they think it’s better than actual news when the news is this bad day after day

  11. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted April 23, 2009 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    We know that the BBC long since ceased to be an objective public sector broadcaster. Sadly, I am not surprised that they treated you in this discourteous way. The pity is that you have a much better grasp of the causes and solutions to this crisis and are a much better communicator than many in your own party but because you have no front line position the media don’t often seek your opinions.

  12. Posted April 23, 2009 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    Try a freedom of information request on all communications concerning your appearance from other parties received by the BBC.

  13. oldtimer
    Posted April 23, 2009 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    Apparently the Labour party attempted to prevent Paul Staines (aka Guido Fawkes) from appearing on the Daily Politics a few days ago. They failed in that instance. I`ve no doubt that pressure was successfully applied in your case. As it happens I had tuned in to hear what you had to say – based on your earlier comment you were to appear. Instead I had to make do with Ken Clarke.

  14. yellowbelly
    Posted April 23, 2009 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    John, ignore the BBC and refuse any further requests. Get yourself on ITN, far better and more realistic analysis of the Budget from them last night. The BBC is a joke.

    • Liz
      Posted April 23, 2009 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

      Totally agree – ITN has little money but has first rate journalists who know to challenge the Government yet not reveal their own opinions. ITN does not seem to have any desire to promote one political party over another or social engineer the population – while the BBC does both. It would be very interesting to know how many times a day somebody from 10 Downing Street contacts the BBC with a view to influencing the news agenda – quite a lot I’d guess.

  15. Cliff.
    Posted April 23, 2009 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    The BBC news has been very dumbed down in recent years; You are clearly too intelligent for them!!

    • alan jutson
      Posted April 23, 2009 at 11:14 am | Permalink

      Cliff
      I agree absolutely.
      The BBC now lacks the realed skilled interviewers of yesteryear.
      They are now PRESENTERS which is an entirely different skill.
      PRESENTERS have to be fed information by the backroom staff or through their earpiece, and are thus not up to speed on a specialist subject.
      Not the PRESENTERS fault, as they have to cover a wide scope of subjects, but they really do struggle when confronted by an expert on any one subject, because they do not know what questions to sensibly ask as a follow up when given a comprehensive answer which should pose further questions.
      Hence the PRESENTER could look silly when in front of someone who really knows their subject.
      If the truth is known John, they are frightened you will make them look dumb, and that is probably one of the reasons not many of them have you on their Christmas Card list.
      The other reason, you would probably tell it like it is, which until now has not been a popular view.
      Perhaps now the penny is at last beggining to drop and the majority are now realizing that they have been sold a very expensive pup for the last 12 years.
      Keep up the excellent work.

      • Alan Wheatley
        Posted April 23, 2009 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

        I agree, presenters of an entertainment programme, dumbed down current affairs.

  16. Posted April 23, 2009 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    Looks like they are annoyed about what you have been saying about them here & are getting their childish own back. Better than being ignored. Unfortunately if you refused they would be bound to say that “John Redwood refused an invitation to appear on this proframme”. The BBC’s position as an oligopolistic mouthpiece of the state is a serious bar on fredom.

    I hope, next time you are on Sky you tell this story.

  17. Richard Lilley
    Posted April 23, 2009 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    The coverage on the Today Programme post 8pm this morning was truly bizarre in its spun disconnection from the real UK news agenda.

    After Evan Davis had done his usual excellent interview of the Chancellor, on the grounds that “we need cheering up”, and with no other context of any kind at all, they played the very well known “Drunken Sailor” review of the Fleet at Spithead from the early 1930’s, and then all fell about laughing. Perhaps Today is going to regularly broadcast randomly selected nostalgic items about the Empire – the Delhi Durbah would be marvellous.

    Afterwards there was no other mention of the Budget or the wholly negative reactions to it – just a remarkable degree of interest in Foreign Affairs and a shallow curtailed discussion by three no doubt excellent historians plugging their recent essays on crucial moments in British History from the 10th century to the early middle ages to yes, of course, Suez!

    After your excellent speech on the House yesterday which surely gave an important insight into what the Tories might do when they form the next government – where were you? I’m sure Evan Davis would have given you, quite rightly, a hard time; but we would all have been better informed about the present circumstances in our country.

    It is really wrong and stupid. Those in BBC News and Current Affairs following the governments line and even going a bit further in a MacBride sort of way (perhaps because they believe that this is what the corporations charter and historical precedent requires them to do in times of national emergency) are going to take the Corporation in its present form with them when this rotten government is shown the door by the electorate.

  18. David Eyles
    Posted April 23, 2009 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    I suggest that this is a deliberate ploy by the BBC. OR there is sustained McBride style pressure emanating from No 10 Downing Street, where we can be assured that despite the departure of McBride, it will be business as usual.

    Either way, Yellowbelly is right. Refuse to have anything to do with them. I know, it is difficult because the Opposition desperately need all the airtime they can get and if you unilaterally withdraw from the most powerful broadcaster in the country, then you are cutting your own nose etc etc.

    BUT if not just you, but all the Conservative shadow ministers did the same, including DC, then the message would get home to the punter and the BBC would be very frightened. After all, the BBC are hoping to survive longer than the next election.

  19. Posted April 23, 2009 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    Funny old John; imagining that the 23 year-old embryo who organised your spot gives a toss about your plans or has any concept of what you mean by the word “rude”. I suspect they line up more guests than they need as cover, and it appears you have been relegated to first reserve. It’s what they do.

    Your strangely old-fashioned idea that people who appear on the BBC’s political programmes should have something to say is testimony to your ivory-tower academic background. BBC political programming has gone from heuristic values (a drawn sword parting the darkness of ignorance) and synthesis (nation shall speak unto nation) , to “gis a quote – and can you make it 15 seconds long so we can segway into the competition?”

    You are asking for Caesar Salad at the Burger Bar but the Saturday girl didn’t hear you because she is texting with one thumb and jogging her I-pod with the other.

    Anachronism isn’t a slang word in Ohio.

  20. Posted April 23, 2009 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    Mr. Redwood, you obviously don’t know how to end the phone call with the BBC. Next time try saying, “chill the Vodka comrade, I’m firing up the zil.” This will put the BBC producer into a good mood with loving thoughts of how wonderful life was in the old Soviet Bloc. Alternatively, politely decline by saying, “who are you, oh! the BBC, does anyone watch you any more?”

  21. Julian
    Posted April 23, 2009 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    Next time they ask tell them to stick it.

    • Posted April 23, 2009 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

      Damn – I was going to say that!
      By the way, to make you feel better, some labour nonentity (Minister for Work and Travail or something was asked about the budget and, after attacking the do nothing Tories, he announced that because Labour had injected money into the economy they had saved “half a million jobs”.
      He was not questioned about this.
      He then repeated it!
      Embryos everywhere methinks!

  22. Alan Wheatley
    Posted April 23, 2009 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

    Correspondents have suggested Sky and ITN as preferred alternatives to the BBC, to which I would and Channel 4.

    On a slightly different tack, much as we all seem to dislike the BBC’s coverage of politics and current affairs, I do not think that is a good reason to scrap the whole of the BBC. They do make some very good programmes, and the licence fee enables them to cover minority interests. The fact that they do not do it very well, and at too much cost, is not a reason to get rid of the BBC but to adjust and improve it.

  23. Adrian Peirson
    Posted April 23, 2009 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    Ignore the BBC and concentrate on your blog and other online presence, make sure people know why, the Beeb could be doing this deliberately to waste your time.
    Send them a Bill.

  24. None
    Posted April 23, 2009 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

    Note the increased response. Do we really need to pay 2-3 BILLION a year for a media outlet which is
    a) inept
    b) incapable of serious journalism
    c) childishly immature on political matters (cue footage of John at Welsh conference which until last year, had seen almost 2 decades of repeats)
    d) incredibly partisan on political matters

    ?

    Really, who’d miss it ? We’ve still got the Black Adder and Fawlty Tower reruns, and the mindless portion of the population probably wouldnt notice as long as they got their weekly dosage of Eastenders.

    At the very least make the license fee voluntary, and put a limit on the subsidies. That way the ones who think it’s so great get to pay for it.

  25. robert doughty
    Posted April 23, 2009 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

    Nothing surprises me about the BBC. You are not politically correct and may rock the boat. The way the news is fed to us by the BBC makes me think its not much different than watching North Koren State Television. If you don’t fit in, then you are generally excluded, marginised or ridiculed.

  26. Johnny Norfolk
    Posted April 23, 2009 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

    The BBC does not want people on air that say it as it is. Labour would not want you on and probably blocked it. They have always been most ubfair to you the way they have portrayed you.

  27. Lola
    Posted April 24, 2009 at 12:25 am | Permalink

    Isn’t this ‘new media’ wonderful? It lets people like you reveal stuff like this about the BBC. They can’t manipulate things as much any more can they? Good.

  28. Posted April 24, 2009 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    I couldn’t agree more, Lola.

    There was a discussion on “This Week” last night (I say discussion, I really mean Andrew Neil giving his opinion) to the effect that gossip, for want of a better word, is no longer the preserve of the elite. All the stories doing the rounds come out on the internet. We bemoan the demise of democracy as we know it (well I do anyway) and yet, it has now been demonstrated that we do not need the moribund mechanisms we used to rely on to make progress.

    Turn it on it’s head, Winston Smith; they may be watching us, but we are watching them.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, He graduated from Magdalen College Oxford, has a DPhil and is a fellow of All Souls College. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.

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