Cut the propaganda paid for by taxes

The Advertising Standards Authority were right to ban two of the government’s gobal warming ads. They attracted a record number of complaints from people who disagreed with their message.

It reminds us how there are some obvious spending cuts to make which would improve the quality of our lives. We do not need the government wasting our money trying to brain wash us into agreeing with their warped view of the world.

The BBC, ever faithful to Labour in its extreme global warming mode, told us this morning the government had had a “score draw” with the Advertising Standards Authority. I don’t think so. The government was judged to have run two misleading and politically biased adverts and told to stop running them. That is defeat for the government. We were told that there was just one word that was wrong – yes, the word that asserted a forecast and causation between global warming and other phenomena – a rather crucial word.

It’s not just the global warming ads that grate. This government bamboozles us continuously about lifestyle and taxation, spending much more than any previous government on “public information”. It stretches the limits of public information ever closer to political messages which should never be paid for out of tax revenue.

The government should do the decent thing and stop all this advertising in the run up to the election. A new government should make the ad budget one of the first targets for substantial reductions.


  1. Subrosa
    March 17, 2010

    During the course of the day I listen to Radio 4 and Talksport. The public information broadcasts are constant, ranging from Check Your Health to Climate Change.

    As you say such a waste of money.

  2. Richard
    March 17, 2010

    The subtle bias of the BBC on this and many other political issues is a matter of great concern. It comes over in the following ways: prioritisation of items for news; more aggressive interviewing of Conservative spokesmen than Labour-Liberal ones; refusal to challenge in interviews certain received wisdom – global warming being a good example; loading of left-wing influence in audiences (there was a particularly egregious example of this in a recent edition of Any Questions, held at the East London Mosque); subliminal left-wing propaganda in supposedly non-political programmes – the resolutely unfunny 'comedy' programme the 'Now Show' being a good example. The BBC must be given a choice: ensure political neutrality, or at least balance, or rely on the market to fund you as, for example, the Guardian has to do.

    1. APL
      March 17, 2010

      Richard: "The BBC must be given a choice: ensure political neutrality, or at least balance, or rely on the market to fund you as, for example, the Guardian has to do."

      No, no second chances, the BBC has had plenty of second chances. Accusuations of bias go all the way back to Thatchers government, instances of bias have become progressively more egregious.

      If the Tories form the next government, they would be neglegent and foolish not to address the BBC in a very robust manner.

      No choice for the BBC, simply abolish the license fee. They will then need to make the cuts and raise the income from private subscription or fight it out with ITV for advertising.

      And there should be no timetable, as each license expires the BBC should be disallowed under penalty from sending out a reminder. That would give then a year to put their house in order and find new financial arrangements.

      1. Stuart Fairney
        March 18, 2010

        Boy would they howl! Did you hear the fuss and navel-gazing when the announced the abolition of 6 music. But yes, doing it in year one would be the time to do it.

        Much as I would love to see it, it won't happen.

      2. AT
        March 23, 2010

        Agree entirely – no more 'second chances' – just pull the plug.

  3. Brian Tomkinson
    March 17, 2010

    Agreed, but I have a sneaking, uncomfortable feeling that your party would have run the same misleading global warming ads. This is part of the scam to terrify people directly and, even worse, through their children, into accepting that there are "good" taxes which people will be happy to pay. A politician's dream.

    1. APL
      March 17, 2010

      Brian Tomkinson: " but I have a sneaking, uncomfortable feeling that your party would have run the same misleading global warming ads."

      Of course they would, it's part of the faustian bargin between Dave & Zak.

      Vote Tory, get Green.

      1. Stuart Fairney
        March 18, 2010

        Yep, all part of the pantomime non-choice we will all get in a few weeks.

        Deficit funding, fiat currency, big-state, nationalised schools*, nationalised hospitals, nationalised TV, nationalised banks, Quangoland, AGW, EU integration, high tax and spend, speed cameras, DNA database for the innocent, anti-tobacco legislation (watch for various food and alcohol restrictions in a few years, for your own good based on the best medical evidence of course) meddling in every tiny aspect of your life and taxing it

        We can expect no change until we vote for it.

        * In fairness Michael Gove is making encouraging noises, how far he will be allowed to go remains to be seen.

        1. APL
          March 18, 2010

          Stuart Fairney: ” In fairness Michael Gove is making encouraging noises, how far he will be allowed to go remains to be seen. ”

          Sorry, I am not in a conciliatory mood with regard to either the BBC or the Tory Party. Michael Gove may be one swallow but it doesn’t herald a rightist Tory ‘summer’ once in government. The contrary augurs are too prominent.

          Redwood is sound, and one or two others as well, but sadly many have been contaminated by the expenses scandal. There are far too many supposed Tories who find no difficulty crossing the floor, the latest example is McMillan-Scott.

        2. Stuart Fairney
          March 18, 2010

          Yes, I think we are on the same page. Some time ago I heard a tory MP (yes a tory) who had been out in the USA helping with the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign!

          For someone such as myself, who did not regard McCain or any other of the supposed Republicans (except Dr Paul) as conservatives, this revelation was mildly shocking.

    2. Jmaes Clover
      March 17, 2010

      Part of the attraction of the Global Warming scare is that it's apparently not proveable for many, many years- Milliband mentioned on Radio 4 this morning "30 or 40 years". A dream! You can tax/manipulate people for years and years and no-one can prove anything because it's all still in the future. And by then your taxes have become as normal as income tax.
      Whoever was first to latch onto this was a political genius. Can anyone name the originator of the AGW/eco-tax notion?

  4. Gordon Charles
    March 17, 2010

    The BBC cannot possibly be independent on the subject of “climate change”.

    Its pension fund (is involved in ) in the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (words left out). If, as most of us already know, any climate change taking place is down to natural variability, what of the BBC employees’ pensions?

    Oh, by the way, the Chairman of the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change is Mr Peter Dunscombe. He’s also the BBC’s Head of Pensions Investment.


  5. Cliff
    March 17, 2010


    I couldn't agree more!! I am both sick and tired of the constant invasion by the state of my living room.
    I listen to two radio stations, Gold and LBC, both have many government ads in their ad breaks; Gold has two or three per ad break which equates to 50 to 75% of that ad break.
    Last year the government spent just under a quarter of a billion pounds on advertising, even more than Unilever!!

    I wonder how many radio and TV stations would go out of business but for the constant stream of government money for advertising…I realise Government has no money of its own, only what it can extract from us via taxation. I also wonder if there is any pressure put on these media organisations along the lines of, toe the line or receive no advertising revenue….Just a thought.

    John, do you think the publically funded government advertising is merely a cheap way, given Labour are broke, to run an election campaign?….These government messages, other than those that threaten us to pay up or they'll 'ave us, appear to me to be much the same message as Mr Brown puts forward at PMQ's; look at how much better things are under Labour and they've thrown a fortune at it.

    It does amaze me how similar our government has become to Big Brother in George Orwell's book 1984 and how they appear to have used the book as a blue print rather than taken it as a warning as Mr Orwell intended.

    Yes John, cutting the government advertising budget is a simple and effective way to save a quarter of a billion pounds!!

  6. Simon_c
    March 17, 2010

    I totally agree here.
    When you listen to commercial radio it sounds like the government are supporting the radio industry as well as the banks. Frequently 1 in 4 radio adds I here are government adds with adds frequently repeated every add slot !

    Gets my back up every time I hear them because surly this kind of marketing fluff is the kind of thing you cut back on when you're this much in the red !

  7. A.Sedgwick
    March 17, 2010

    Mr.Ed is reported as saying that the ASA vindicated the advertising. I despair how any vestige of integrity, truth and honesty has disappeared from most of this deplorable government.

  8. waramess
    March 17, 2010

    Yes, what a waste and how about the EU?

    Our money is spent and we are never given a chance to opine.

    No wonder such a strong force of support is said to be building for UKIP whilst the three main parties seem to conspire against us.

    So many things the Conservative party seem to stand for that are contrary to the instincts of its core support and yet the offer of a referendum on EU membershi would probably heal all; for the time being anyway.

  9. Letters From A Tory
    March 17, 2010

    The solution for advertising and the use of consultants is very simple. Set a cap as a percentage of total departmental expenditure on what can be spent on adverts and consultants, which will drive down costs and force departments to focus on what they NEED to do rather than what they WANT to do.

  10. Steve L
    March 17, 2010

    It's not just the message I object to – it's the sinister, insidious brainwashing being carried out, and the intention to influence children's beliefs by emotional scare tactics, rather than properly educating.

  11. Andy Hoff
    March 17, 2010

    The BBC should have it's license fee gravy train ended. It is an unjust and undemocratic tax on people that may not even watch BBC programs. In recent years it has become Brown's Broadcasting Corporation and as such has done huge disservice to the country. Any television service funded from tax should be 100% neutral and subject any person, agency, theory or interest group to the most rigorous scrutiny. That is something the BBC only does when it suits their politics.

  12. Gammidgy
    March 17, 2010

    In response to Richard: global warming is "received wisdom" because it is a scientific reality. The precise timing and nature of all the consequences of global warming are still uncertain.

    Clearly the BBC has a left-leaning bias and clearly this Government misuses our taxes to fund their propaganda. But let us not throw out the baby with the bath water. Public information films have a role in influencing public behaviour to the benefit of society, whether in relation to personal health, public safety or the conservation of natural resources. But let us have more scrutiny to ensure they are accurate and cost-effective.

    Incidentally, it is misleading to imply that the ASA have judged the ads to be "politically biased". The ASA referred this matter to Ofcom under CAP (Broadcast) TV Advertising Standards Code rule 4 (Political and controversial issues). I can as yet find no Ofcom judgment on the matter.

    1. Eotvos
      March 17, 2010

      I don't agree that any benefit from so called 'public information films' outweighs the danger that they peddle propaganda. After all governments are political and they will not pass up the opportunity to 'get their message across'.

      The broadcasts I've seen are an infantile. People do not need to be advised 'how to suck eggs'.

    2. Jonathan
      March 18, 2010

      Incorrect! That the climate changes is reality, whether it's warming or cooling is hotly debated; hence the reason people from CRU, Al Gore etc have stopped calling it Global Warming (also depending on what people think is a normal temperature and when people start the records); that man is causing the warming is completely unproven and is not "settled science".

  13. kevinH
    March 17, 2010

    2 questions John:

    In a recent PMQ Brown said that they had pledged to reduce media spending by 50% – does this relate to the kind of advertising you are highlighting or is it doubletalk?

    Secondly, do you have an opinion on another BBC article which appears: "UK credit rating viewed as safe"
    I've read some conflicting assessments of this…

    Reply: The UK's credit rating will be settled by the markets more than by the Rating Agencies. It is already well below Germany's reflecting market worries.

    1. Mark
      March 17, 2010

      Doubletalk – twice the value! 50% saving at a stroke!

  14. Norman
    March 17, 2010

    Isn't the Guardian losing enough money as it is?

    If the government really does want to advertise why not exclusively use the BBC? The adverts could be made in house using existing talent so you wouldn't have to outsource to ad agencies and it wouldn't cost anything to air them. The raison d'etre of the BBC is that it is a provider of public service broadcasts.

    If the government thinks that not enough people will see/hear adverts on the BBC then why are we all forced to pay for it?

  15. martin sewell
    March 17, 2010

    We could get the best of both worlds in this and many other aspects of the nanny state by placing this and, for example some of the pc "equality agenda" into the charitable sector so that if celebrities or trades unions want to express opinions in this way they may do so at their own expense.

    We can then of course judge the popularity of their views in a market expressed way

  16. Ian Pattinson
    March 17, 2010

    So dramatic licence based upon strong evidence is wrong but gross misinformation based upon wishful thinking and no evidence is okay?

    You'd have us carrying on as we are and exacerbating the problem based upon the ever dropping single figure chance that we're not affecting the environment. The Government's ads were simplistic and nowhere near radical enough, but they're nearer the truth than you'd like to admit.

    1. Mark
      March 17, 2010

      Small hint: China may be having a MUCH bigger effect on the global situation.

    2. APL
      March 17, 2010

      Ian Pattinson: "but they’re nearer the truth than you’d like to admit."

      On the contrary they are the sort of propaganda Goebbels would have been satisfied with.

      Ian Pattinson: "dramatic licence"

      If the government had strong evidence they would not need dramatic licence to put the case, they could just use the facts. They can't do this of course because the so called 'facts' they have accumulated have been comprehensively discredited by actual peer review.

      Be it the Mann 'hocky stick' effect or the poor Polar bears that according to global warming 'facts' are dying out because the ice is melting.

      Well the ice isn't melting and the Polar bears population is at an all time high. By the way the Polar bears eat seal and penguin both species are thriving too. If it gets too warm for a Polar Bear, do you know what it would do? Why it'd go for a swim.

      1. APL
        March 17, 2010

        " penguin "

        Whoops. In the interests of factual accuracy, I should correct my earlier post. Polar bears live around the North Pole whereas Penguins live in the Southern Hemisphere. Polar Bear would be unlikely to dine on Penguin.

    3. Richard
      March 17, 2010

      I'd be interested in your answers to these questions: 1) why no global warming since 1995? 2) why no good correlation between atmospheric CO2 and global temperatures over any of: geological time; human history; the period since the industrial revolution? 3) Why has the IPCC repeatedly found it necessary to use false information / scares (the 'hockey stick', melting Hamalayan glaciers etc)?

      Don't you think that a better use of public money than these plainly ridiculous ads would be a root & branch review of the actual scientific evidence, without predetermined conclusions, before the whole world economy is turned upside down with enormous adverse consequences for billions of people?

      1. Ian Pattinson
        March 17, 2010


        1) What are you talking about? Since 1995 we've had most of the hottest years on record. 2005 was the warmest on record, with 2009, 1998, 2002, 2003, 2006, and 2007 close behind.

        2) I think you'll find there is, you've just been swallowing the denial propaganda rather than listening to the people who have the data.

        3) The IPCC has withdrawn the few pieces found to be wrong, which is more than can be said for the denial lobby, who are still telling you that it's got cooler when it's actually got warmer and are peddling sundry other lies. The hockey stick graph is valid, it's the claims made against it that are fabricated.

        The science is constantly under review- that's what science is- and the evidence just gets stronger. We don't need to delay acting upon the science, that's what's going to have adverse consequences for billions of people.


        "dramatic licence"- presenting an abstract concept in an easy to understand way. Showing a possible effect of what is known to be happening would count as this as far as I'm concerned.

        1. Norman
          March 18, 2010

          He was referring to the statement made by Professor Phil Jones, not a global warming realist but an alarmist. Anyway, let me enlighten you on statistical method Mr Pattinson regarding point 1. I realise this will be tedious to most people but I feel the need to spell it out.

          The proposition (theorem) is no statistically significant increase (note that word, increase) in global temperatures since 1995. Let's say the average temperature from 1900-95 was 18 degrees C. For simplicity's sake let's say that every year was 18 degrees C, so that we can follow the argument. Let's also say that in 1995 the temperature was 20 degrees C. That is 2 degrees above the average. Now, let's imagine every year from 1995-2010 was 19 degrees C. Let's look now at 1995-2010. In 1995 the temperature was 20 degrees C. The average since then has been 19 degrees C. Has the temperature from 1995 increased or decreased? It has gone from 20 degrees to 19. I'll spell it out. There has been no statistical increase, in fact it has decreased.

          Yet the years 1996-2010 have been 14 of the 15 warmest in our fictional temperature set.

          All the time the CO2 in the atmosphere has been increasing dramitcally since 1995 yet the temperatures are falling.

          Now who is swallowing propoganda?

        2. APL
          March 18, 2010

          Ian Pattinson: " 2) I think you’ll find there is, [correlation between CO2 & Temperature]"

          [ad nauseam] Correlation does not equal causation.

          There may be a relationship between the two, but there is no evidence that CO2 drives the temperature rise. In fact by some accounts there is an thousand year lag between rising Temperature and the rise in CO2, this could easily be accounted for by rising temperatures leading to higher biological activity producing more CO2.

          Ian Pattinson: "presenting an abstract concept in an easy to understand way."

          Just present the facts and argue the point on that basis.

          Ian Pattinson: "Showing a possible effect of what is known to be happening would count as this as far as I’m concerned."

          Its not 'known to be happening'.

          So why it is a matter of showing the worst possible results? The scenarios presented are invariably frightening portraying disasters floods etc, drowning teddy bears etc.

          Potentially, there are beneficial effects of rising temperatures, for example fewer old age pensioners dying in the winter from hypothermia, more new crops growing in the UK, grapes perhaps leading to at least one whole new industry for the British.

          Rising sales of sun glasses, boombing tourism. Just think of the positive possibilities. But the prospect of a job, a warm climate won't scare people to change their behavior.

          But oddly the Global warming 'terrorists' only dwell on the potential downside of the effects of AGW.

          By the way, it is now proven that Pacific islands that were portrayed as sinking below the waves forever, have not experienced a significant change in sea level for the last century. Another AGW scaremonger lie nailed!

        3. Norman
          March 18, 2010

          (Wish I could edit posts).

          To clarify above I don't want to argue is / isn't global warming happening because here isn't the place and we aren't qualified to do so. Just trying to show how data can be cherry picked to give any result you want cf yesterday's unemployment figures.

          In the above example an alarmist would say 'temperatures in the last 15 years are 1.1 deg above average since 1900, if this continues in 60 years we'll have a mean of 25 deg'

          A denier would say 'temperatures have fallen in the last 15 years, if this continues we'll have an ice age'

          A realist will shrug his shoulders and say 'the earth warms up from time to time and cools from time to time, where's the mystery?'

        4. Richard
          March 19, 2010

          Ian’s answer isn’t convincing. It is clear there is no warming trend currently despite continued rise in CO2. No-one denies recent years have been hot as there has been a warming trend since the end of the Little Ice Age in the mid19th Century (the period from when we have temperature records). But CO2 does not explain the Medieval Warming, the Roman warming, or 5 of the 6 major ice ages since the formation of the planet. Therefore there are other factors at play. Its clear CO2 is a greenhouse gas which causes warming, but no-one has shown how much. The debate should be conducted with far more rigour and without the use of insults such as ‘denier’.

    4. Stuart Fairney
      March 18, 2010

      Dramatic licence = untruth I really do not want the state feeding lies to my son

      As for the wishful thinking based on no evidence stuff, it is wholly valid to ask questions of those who present a theory. Pointing out flaws and inconsistencies is part of the validation or rejection process. If the theory is robust, the predictions it makes should come true. For example, vaccination protects recipients from disease. The proof comes when the vaccinated population survive any outbreak of said disease unharmed. Ex post facto explantions of the failure of the theory are inadequate as proof to put it mildly.

      If the theory is nonsense, those advocating it will be hysterically denouncing heretics and subverting evidence. Galileo knew this.

      Which process do the AGW crew follow?

      What does this tell you?

  17. Neil Craig
    March 17, 2010

    Worse than direct advertising is the government use of fakecharities (registered charities who receive much of their money, sometimes almost all, from government & then use it to lobby government departments & produce what look like authorative “reports” for the media, but are in fact little more than government propaganda camouflaged. I won’t embarrass by naming name but it is at least 90% likely that any report or spokesman mentioned by the BBC, calling for any increased activity by government is such a fraud.

    This is a subject the mainstream press simply will not report – presumably for the same reason they don’t report details of the lobby system.

  18. […] post by John Redwood and software by Elliott Back Comments […]

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  20. David B
    March 17, 2010

    Does this expenditure constitute a “front line” services?

  21. Frugal Dougal
    March 17, 2010

    On some TV and radio station about all you get is Govenment "lifestyle" ads. What on earth is the BBC for?

  22. OurSally
    March 17, 2010

    My kids had a DVD about meerkats, cute things. It was from the BBC. Twice we were informed that these cuddly adorable meerkats in the Gobi desert were suffering from hunger caused by global warming, and we should all think about our actions. Over a scene showing a mixed bunch of animals chowing down on a corpse, the narrator regretted that "the big ones get to eat more than the small ones, just like they always do".

    This was followed by a DVD of Planet Earth, I gather a short version of the series. Again, a series of cute furry animals, all shortly to starve because of global warming, and to top it all, advertising for some Green organisation.

    Counterproductive, actually, even the kids though it was overdone.

  23. backofanenvelope
    March 17, 2010

    I watched the news clips this morning. These adverts seem to be designed to frighten and worry small children; can this really be morally alright?

    I also noticed that when the obligatory eco-(authoritarian) was speaking, he had a background of Jack & Jill and claimed that water shortages were already taking place in East Africa. How odd that Jack & Jill (looked like Europeans)!

  24. Simon
    March 17, 2010

    Ian Pattinson ,

    Well said .

    Absence of proof is not excuse for intransigence and innaction .

    There is a distinct lack of honesty and hard science in what is too serious an issue to be cynically being manipulated as a way of taxing people further and establish a government .

    Our whole standard of living and population level has only been possible because of easy cheap oil .

    The only type of aircraft which could fly without oil would be a nuclear powered hovercraft . Biofuel production would not even cover todays air travel .

    Our housing stock is hopelessly thermally innefficient and people won't leave the heating at 55 farenheit and put a jumper on .

    The cavalier attitude to wasting energy in the UK disgusts me – as if it's an entitlement .

    Unfortunately the populace and Westminster have been so dummed down that they will accept everything which is suggested to them .

    Eg1 , most people have been lead to believe that a "cleaner" car produces less CO2 for burning a given amount of fuel . Anyone who did O'level chemistry should know the products of burning hydrocarbons fully are CO2 and H2O .

    Eg2 people think there is merit in secreting CO2 underground in exhausted oil fields and are completely oblivious to the energy required to liquify it .

    Eg3 think that the electricity to recharge batteries is somehow magically generated without any cost to the environment

    Eg4 Reckon bio fuels can replace oil

    Not all renewable energy is pie in the sky . We are an island with a strong tidal flow around our shoreline for instance , not just in and out of our estuaries .

    I hold out hope that David Cameron at least sees the issues . His commissioning of James Dyson to write a report on growing Britains science and technology sector is encouraging .

    1. Stuart Fairney
      March 18, 2010

      Oh and please forgive the omission, but engaging a semi-celebrity vacuum maker to write a report excites me rather less than it does you apparently.

    2. Stuart Fairney
      March 18, 2010

      "Absence of proof is not excuse for intransigence and innaction"

      Your tacit admission of the lack of proof is welcome, but your conclusion is nonsensical. Question your own prejudice by looking at some of your assertions

      "The only type of aircraft which could fly without oil would be a nuclear powered hovercraft"

      Not true, here, today.

      "Our housing stock is hopelessly thermally innefficient"

      To make that statement, you must know (without going to wikipedia!) what the typical U-value of a house it ~ do you?

      "The cavalier attitude to wasting energy in the UK disgusts me – as if it’s an entitlement"

      I don't care whether you are unhappy at the temperature of my house, but it's no entitlement for sure, I have a contract with a gas company that both of us freely entered.

      If any renewable makes sense, the private sector would do it without subsidy. If not they start screaming blue murder for government money. Do the maths.

      1. Simon
        March 18, 2010

        I didn't make a tacit admission , I made a statement .

        "Not true , here , today " please elabourate .
        I know gas turbines can run on virtually any liquid of gaseous fuel you can give them and compression ignition engines have been made to run on coal dust and even sawdust .
        Maybe you think bio fuels are viable or are aware of a flying machine I'm not . Please tell me .

        No I'm not aware of the U value of a typical house but I have empirical evidence of widely different energy bills for different homes . With our mild climate and previously readily available energy what incentive has there been to consider trends in energy supply ?

        What about our contract with future generations ? Shouldn't we be trying to conserve some of the precious oil for them ?
        Reducing our domestic energy consumption at a time when we have a dire balance of payments and are a net energy importer ?

  25. gac
    March 17, 2010

    I listened to your question about our bank, RBS, at PMQ's and even more carefully to Mr Brown's answer.


    As I am not sure what he said as he tended to babble, and you were much closer to him, could you remind me please where he said the £700bn had gone?

    Thank you.

  26. Mark M
    March 17, 2010

    Quite right. I, for one, am sick of Labour going on about the danger of cuts when every other radio advert is the government selling itself at me.

  27. Eotvos
    March 17, 2010

    I've always thought of the BBC as The Labour Party Broadcasting Corporation ever since I discovered that all of their jobs vacant ads only appear in The Guardian.

    The Conservative Party has committed itself to forcing taxpayer financed organisations to advertise only on the Internet, I believe. This will be most welcome.

    Abolish the licence fee and let the BBC sink or swim in the private sector.

  28. Lindsay McDougall
    March 17, 2010

    Let me remind everybody of the case of the Advertising Standards Authority and Professor Richard Dawkins' atheist buses. I think there are about 80 of them and Prof Dawkins wanted to display a message including the sentence "There is no God". The ASA said that since there was no absolute proof of God's non-existence, he had to insert the word "probably". So now that full message reads:

    "There is probably no God. So get on and enjoy your life."

    The ASA did Prof Dawkins a favour. The final message is less "in your face" and more likely to be looked upon favourably.

    Prof Dawkins was spending his own money but was willing to agree to a reasonable compromise. In contrast, government officials do not finance their propaganda – you and I do – but they don't want to compromise on its content.

    When are government people going to get it into their heads that state propaganda financed by the taxpayer is LESS legitimate than private propaganda, not more?

  29. Steve Cox
    March 17, 2010

    The BBC is way past its sell-by date.

    (Goes on to recommend ending the Licence Fee)

  30. andy dan
    March 17, 2010

    I stopped watching and listening to BBC news a long time ago for precisely the reasons outlined above. Having said that, there's an excellent programme Thursday nights at 9pm on BBC4 called "Chemistry – A Volatile history", which I have really enjoyed. It would be a shame if programmes like this disappeared in the new, privatised BBC

    1. Simon
      March 18, 2010

      Same with Radio 3 , the serious radio station for music lovers .

      So good it hurts , Classic FM is club med in comparison .

  31. Cassandrina
    March 17, 2010

    The Conservative Party need to take to task the BBC at every opportunity.
    The Toady Programme and Question Time on radio 4 would be my first objective, together with the monitoring of the news for obvious bias.
    I would also target leading (description left out-ed) presenters like James Naughty and Caroline Quinn.
    Politicians like Ken Clark and the older more experienced politicians stand up to the constant interruptions from the presenters and NuLiebor, as well as the more rabid elements of the LibDems, but now all Conservative politicians need encouragement and training to show up the bias of these programmes and their presenters in a cutting manner.
    I cannot speak for TV as I threw the set out about 10 years ago not being able to take the dumbing down and political bias.

  32. ManicBeancounter
    March 17, 2010

    Like with any area of government expenditure, "infomertials", whether politically neutral or not, should be judged by the effectiveness. Many not only exaggerate, but use shock tactics. There is an issue with this. They work like hard drugs. The first impact is to have a large impact. The next slightly less. Therefore stronger and more frequent doses are needed to have any impact. So we now have "infomertials" of the mangled bodies of children, or the contents of muscus from lungs shown before the watershed. And nobody takes any notice, because they have seen it all before.

  33. John Broughton
    March 17, 2010

    When has this disgraceful government ever done the right thing? If Brown ever had a moral compass he clealry had the settings wrong.

  34. MrC
    March 18, 2010

    Has anybody else noticed how many Government ads are played on LBC throughout the day. I normally listen to a bit of James Whale drive time and Petrie Hoskin 7-10 and the ad breaks are mainly made up of Government ads. On the drivetime show, if 3 ads are played during a commerical break, 9 times out of 10 2 of them are government ads. What is even more shocking is the fact that on some 2 ad commerical breaks both ads are government ads. I understand that LBC is a commercial radio station that needs to raise ad revenue to pay for programing, however, this is very worrying, LBC is almost in danger of becoming a state sponsored broadcaster. Apart from the fact that tax payers money is being shamefully wasted on nonsense such as ads for accidents in the workplace, school singup and tax credits I think that regulatory authorities should seriously look into the amount of Government advertising one radio station can recieve especially so close to a general election

  35. Constant Focus_Shriek
    March 18, 2010

    Nice posting! Can you tell me of other source of this information?

  36. Mike Fowle
    March 18, 2010

    As one of the people who complained about the ad, I was interested to see that Lord Smith of Finchley, self confessed fervent believer in man made global warming, is chairman of the ASA. Of course, he declared an interest and took no part in the discussions……..

  37. Bob
    March 18, 2010

    I’ve heard lots of adverts on LBC regarding the smuggling of sausages into the UK.

    Surely sausage smuggling cannot be that big a threat to the national economy to justify the amount that that DEFRA has paid LBC for the airtime. This is just Labour buying favours, isn’t it??

  38. Dofus Kamas
    May 8, 2010

    Thank you for your help!

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