Lord Hall has received a wide welcome as the new Director General. I wish him well. I trust he remedies poor journalism and the institutional bias which can disfigure the BBC’s news and current affairs output.
It was a little worrying to hear so many enthusiasts for more EU government and for global warming theory extolling his virtues. The rest of us who are sceptical of more EU government or who do not like the EU government we already have, will reserve judgement. The test for many at the BBC is to understand that there is now a large chasm between their metropolitan views on the EU, carbon dioxide, immigration and the rest and where much of their audience is on these issues.
I have a plea to Lord Hall. Could he first concentrate on the quality of journalism? Before we get into an argument about whether all sides in the main controversies are fairly represented, can we at least agree that journalists on quality programmes should read some original sources rather than just relying on spin doctors? They should, if presenting economic arguments about debt, deficit and spending, know the main numbers and present them fairly. They should, when investigating an EU matter, read the underlying budget or document to understand its significance. When wishing to relaunch a very old story like the Welsh child abuse story, they should at least read the full public enquiry which has already reported on it, to understand it better and to see if they have anything new? When wishing to talk about climate change, they should seek independent scientific and economic advice from both sides of the argument, and not decide with forces on one side that it is all settled.
There is clearly a political controversy about whetehr an economy recovers by borrowing and spending more or by borrowing and spending less in the public sector. It is not, however, possible to have an intelligent debate about this if the participants and the BBC expert do not know the figures or understand how much government spending there is and by how much it is increasing anyway.
If Lord Hall recognises the need for change over these crucial issues, then I will join his fan club.