Today’s Guest editors don’t make good programmes

 

                Many of us awake to the sounds of the Today programme on Radio 4. It likes to think of itself as an agenda setting news and comment programme. This week we are treated to “Guest editors” who so far have served to remind us that the professional team knows a thing or two about how to construct an agenda and keep the audience engaged, even if we are shouting at the radio, annoyed  at the continuing human made global warming big government EU friendly bias of their interviews.

            Sir Tim Berners Lee is a great man whose role in the development of the internet can be recalled and celebrated in various ways. Asking him to choose the items for Today produced a turgid show based around his one main interest. The regular presenters struggled to generate dispute, varied opinions  and criticism in the interviews and selection of guests.  Eliza Manningham Buller avoided the error of filling the entire programme with stories of a secret service reluctant to have much airtime to expose itself, but ended up producing a timeless and harmless magazine of a  programme with features on house plants and actresses which added nothing to the Today tradition of tackling more serious topics.

         I will tune in for the remainder of the week in  the hope that a Guest editor with something to offer appears – and will turn off much more rapidly than usual if the present pattern persists. I long for the day that the programme contains stories like the attitude of the French to EU migration, the problem of ultra high  youth unemployment in Spain, or  the growing resentment of the Germans in the struggling Eurozone countries. I have got used to the Today diet assuming that anything European is great.

             I long for a few stories which suggest public spending is too high, not too low, that taxpayers money is being wasted,  how  the public sector could easily become more efficient, or how we could gain a few million jobs by leaving the single market. I would like some audit stories to run back over campaigns and spending plans that have been pushed through with the encouragement of Today programme guests, to see if any of them worked as planned.

            I would like to hear about all the jobs that higher taxes and higher energy prices destroy. I would like to hear from climate change “experts” in response to yesterday’s report that our wildlife flourished last summer when it at last warmed up, and that wildlife is very capable of adjusting to different temperatures.  It would also be good to hear them answer how they are getting on with their predictions of sea level rise, disappearing islands, higher temperatures and ice levels in Antarctic.

             Indeed, many of us would welcome a day or two when the Today programme conducted all its interviews from the opposite perspective they usually adopt without thinking or realising the bias implicit in most of what they do. Big government is not always best. Higher and more  taxes are not always a good thing. More government action may make things worse. Overseas aid may go to the wrong people and causes. The EU may damage our wealth. The single market may be more about laws and less about free trade. The 3 million jobs that “depend” on the EU may be a ideological myth. The climate may change in unpredictable ways, and may change for reasons other than man made CO2. Some public services might run better with fewer people and fewer levels of hierarchy, not more. Maybe people could take more responsibility for their own lives, and we could look to government less in some areas. England has a right to self expression, just as Wales and Scotland enjoy on the BBC.

             I yearn for just a few of these ancient heresies, as I think we might need some of them back.  

 

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73 Comments

  1. Wireworm
    Posted December 28, 2013 at 5:35 am | Permalink

    Excellent post! You should be a guest editor (you could have an item on high-altitude pork).

    • Hope
      Posted December 28, 2013 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

      It would be irrelevant as the BBC policy for these issues is already set. Therefore the thrust of each theme will be in the same direction.

      Oh for an independent impartial BBC. This will not happen in this life time unless it is forced to comply with its original remit or put into the private sector to sink or swim. It would be enlightening to see if the market forces for pay actually had any credence.

  2. arschloch
    Posted December 28, 2013 at 6:09 am | Permalink

    Er I think you might want to let sleeping dogs lie on this one. I seem to remember it was Mrs Thatcher who signed us up to the single market. Why did she not do any due diligence on the likely outcomes? Also did you and Dave not vote for the invasion of Iraq? How is the political situation there at the minute? Let alone all the dead and maimed British soldiers who were sent there for non existent WMDs. Similarly what about Afghanistan, you got the wrong country there, bin Laden was living elsewhere. Finally how about a report, not on Spain, but on comparing youth unemployment rates in Germany and the UK. What would you rather have a university system where fees are on the way out or an apprenticeship if you are not academically inclined or the British alternative of a mountain of debt and a 50% chance that you will not get a job in line with your qualifications?

    • Tad Davison
      Posted December 28, 2013 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

      arschloch, to be fair to John and in his defence, the Tories were taken into the Iraq war under false pretences. IDS was given assurances at Privy Council level from the Labour government of the day, that there were indeed WMDs to be used against us at 40 minutes readiness. He subsequently gathered Tory MPs behind the Speaker’s Chair before the vote to urge them to support the Blair government (and I know that’s the case, because my mate told me so – he was there and witnessed it).

      I have actually given written evidence to the Chilcot Enquiry that ministers knew before the second invasion that ‘Balistic missiles as they exist (the only way WMDs could be deployed and delivered at such ranges in the time quoted) do not pose a danger to the United Kingdom or our armed forces’. I subsequently advised IDS to that effect so he was properly covered.

      That information has been witnessed by a number of John’s colleagues as well as several national newspapers and should be safely stowed away. And when we see how many people have since died on this false premise, it’s little wonder men like George Galloway wish to see Blair tried as a war criminal. I’d include a lot of others too, and I’d back George Galloway to the hilt!

      It’s strange how history repeats itself, yet it’s the poor blindly-trusting voter who gets duped every time. In 1997, the UK voted for change, yet they got something very, very different. In 2008, the US voted for change, and they didn’t get what they thought they were voting for either!

      The biggest lesson the ordinary citizen needs to learn, is just how corrupt this world is, and I am particularly grateful to this blog for giving us all the chance to talk about it.

      Tad

      • hope
        Posted December 29, 2013 at 10:00 pm | Permalink

        So there should not be a problem to release all papers and Cameron should not exercise any block to Chilcott.

  3. lifelogic
    Posted December 28, 2013 at 7:08 am | Permalink

    These are indeed all total heresies to the BBC (and virtually all the endless lefty arts graduates who work there). They also all happen to be all clearly and demonstrably true. Without the BBC the Tory Party would not now be led by a Libdem who believes in more EU, ever more state, higher taxes, fake green very expensive energy, HS2, uncontrolled immigration and all the rest of the drivel. We would have a proper Tory party that made the case for smaller government, free trade, no EU, lower taxes and individual liberty. The BBC destroys any hope of real democracy by setting such an absurd agenda.

    But then without Cameron also the BBC would not be led by a complaisant “BBC think” man to the core like Lord Patten.

    The BBC are wrong on “green” energy production, wrong on bikes and trains, wrong on the size of the state sector, wrong on “dig holes and fill them in again magic money tree” economics, wrong on endless regulation, wrong on the EU, wrong on the higher tax rates, wrong on the benefit culture, wrong on the forced “equality” agenda and hugely anti real science, maths, logic, economics and engineering.

    Might we perhaps have some sensible guest editors – Perhaps David Starkie, Daniel Hannan, James Delingpole, JR, Jacob Rees-Mogg, Freeman Dyson, Norman Tebbit and the likes.

    Clearly there is no chance whatsoever of this at the BBC. Far more likely to get an actress (Actor as they would doubtless have it) from East Enders or some other clueless arty, champagne socialist.

  4. Mark B
    Posted December 28, 2013 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    ” . . . we are shouting at the radio, annoyed at the continuing human made global warming big government EU friendly bias of their interviews.”

    Steady on there old chap, you’re beginning to sound like one of us.

    And.

    “England has a right to self expression, just as Wales and Scotland enjoy on the BBC.”

    Yes, well true. But I would be grateful if these things were discussed in the HoC, the HoL, and dare I say it, at Number 10, before being derided by the BBC and its various tentacles.

    To me, this last one is a serious issue. The UK/Westminster Government effectively makes policy over England only issues already, having devolved more powers to the ‘minions’ (I jest).

    The problem is, that members of other parts of the Unions still have a say on England only issues, when in fact these issue do not affect their constituents. This is wrong and needs to be addressed. In fact, this should have been at the top of the Conservative lead Coalitions agenda. It wasn’t, because you have a man at the top who is politically naive and does not bother to look at a map and see where his voter base and power comes from.

    Please look at this map from the BBC of the 2010 GE results, and see it for yourself:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/election2010/results/

    The moral of the story is this. If you look after your own, they in turn will look after you.

  5. Anonymous
    Posted December 28, 2013 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    Virtually everything produced by the BBC assumes an overtly leftist perspective. The worst of it is the subliminal messaging embedded in entertainment, especially adult drama and children’s TV.

    • lifelogic
      Posted December 28, 2013 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

      Indeed children’s BBC has absurd propaganda endlessly pumped out.

  6. Richard1
    Posted December 28, 2013 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    Guest editors are normally boring as they have their own hobby horses and don’t have the experience to know what constitutes an interesting programme for most listeners. It would certainly be nice to have some of the liberal-left received wisdom properly challenged by the BBCs regular interviewers, particularly as you say in relation to the benefits and costs of the EU, the relative merits of big government and the failure of global warming theory to predict the actual out turn of the climate.

  7. Mike Stallard
    Posted December 28, 2013 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    Newsnight – I go to bed. Today programme – I am having breakfast. It was not always so, I can assure you.

    Yesterday there were two radio interviews about UKIP. In the first the interviewer at lunchtime discussed UKIP policy fairly until we got to the Grammar Schools. Then he was rendered speechless by the very strong support the UKIP spokesman gave. The interviewer trotted out some research in Oxford which proved that Grammar Schools did not work. Then he was demolished by what the Kentish voters actually thought about it.
    In the evening, we have a brilliant lady interviewer who chose to interview the man who said “Ongobongoland” and called women sluts. Yes he really did! And he was revealed as a complete idiot to boot! Triumph! So UKIP needs to get its act together, she said.

    It is in vignettes like this as well as in the omission of serious relevant discussion (well listed, Mr Redwood!) that we are not getting our money’s worth.

    • lifelogic
      Posted December 28, 2013 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

      Exactly

  8. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted December 28, 2013 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    ‘Thought for the day’ is one of Radio 4′s cornerstone and as with the choice of presenters there are deep divisions between what counts as a humanistic and naturalist approach and what counts as a religious approach to life. Exactly whose problems are the ones we daily encounter and why should one person seek to enforce one set of views when another script may be just as valid.Whereas you see a wall where a satisfactory dialogue cannot take place others see windows and opportunities to express ideas.You too have a set of ideas where you are accused of “wittering on ” when you won’t let the matters drop. This is good. People daily forget and move on.
    The tensions between the states and religions is even greater than in the past as we incorporate Islamic traditions into our dialogue .We had a notional traditional view of how a Country could gain power for itself and keep it’s people healthy and wealthy. This is being eroded by a sort of democratic fascism which allows these notions to stand as opponents without the necessary fluidity of ideas which can be shared yet be at traditional poles of argument.
    If you switched off though,(you could not contest) there would not be a counter argument voiced in another arena and those traditional poles would have no chance of morphing into a more rounded dialogue.

  9. lifelogic
    Posted December 28, 2013 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    The BBC seems to have an endless stream of people who have been proved totally wrong by events. This on say the ERM, the EURO, the counter-productive wars, the triple dip/ever more state sector economists, the oil running out in 1995 or something, the droughts, the no hurricane predictors, the world is doomed by population growth and G/W merchants, the pushers of silly (with current technology) electric cars/wind farms/HS trains and PV). Why do they never look at these fools historic prediction records before inviting them on?

  10. L Edwards
    Posted December 28, 2013 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    I agree with the general points you are making about the Today programme. However I fear that in one area you are repeating a common misunderstanding.

    I would like to hear from climate change “experts” in response to yesterday’s report that our wildlife flourished last summer when it at last warmed up, and that wildlife is very capable of adjusting to different temperatures.

    You are making the common mistake of confusing weather with climate. The weather was better in 2013 – it was warmer and drier – and a lot of wildlife benefited. The assumption that a warmer global climate will only bring warmer and drier weather to Britain is to misunderstand the relationship between the two.

    Nor does the recovery of wildlife in 2013 show that wildlife is adaptable to changes in temperature. After a series of very wet years the wildlife was recovering because we had returned to the weather that our species were already adapted to. The fact they had done so badly in the wet years shows how much many species struggle with changed conditions.

    The models mostly seem to predict that we will get greater extremes and more volatility. That means it will sometimes be a hot and dry, but sometimes gales, floods, heavy snow and all the rest. It seems probable that we will no longer have a temperate climate with occasional extremes but one of constantly swinging from one extreme to another. And constant, abrupt changes are hard for wildlife to adapt to. Evolution requires time and migration requires space, so abrupt change, especially if repeated over and over in places such as Britain where habitats have been squeezed, can result in extinctions.

    It would be helpful if more politicians took the time to inform themselves about how ecosystems work, because there seems to be a very poor knowledge of this at present. (With some honourable exceptions, naturally.) This is especially important with politicians making decisions about things like urban planning and infrastructure, which are putting the pressure on habitats. We cannot do much about climate change – especially if, as so many now believe, it is not man made – but we can reduce the pressure on wildlife habitats and thus give species a better chance of surviving the changes that are coming.

  11. Chris S
    Posted December 28, 2013 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    Clearly the answer is for your contributors here to start a campaign for you to be Guest Editor next Christmas.

    Rod Liddle could be enlisted to assist as he knows his way around Today better than most.

    However when your name is mentioned I suspect that they may suddenly discover they have a rule against allowing practicing politicians to do the job.

    In which case we need to find another suitably Eurosceptic personality to propose.

    • lifelogic
      Posted December 28, 2013 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

      James Delingpole or David Starkey?

      • margaret brandreth-j
        Posted December 29, 2013 at 11:08 pm | Permalink

        Starkey is a loose cannon.

  12. alan jutson
    Posted December 28, 2013 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    John

    I do not listen to Radio 4 but I think you miss the point, if those editors who you dislike for programme discussion are still in charge of inviting guests to edit/present the programme format, what makes you think the programmes will be any different in content, a different style perhaps, but content unlikely.

    The BBC pushing the boundaries of content and views to the so called right ?

  13. Iain Moore
    Posted December 28, 2013 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    “England has a right to self expression”

    I heard a BBC 2 Channel editor say that she believed part of the BBC’s remit was to give a voice to people who didn’t have representation, unfortunately this doesn’t extend to England or English people , for here the BBC marches closely in step with the British political establishment, where just as there are parliaments and assemblies for Scotland, Wales and NI, and British political parties, such as the Scottish Conservative party, there is no BBC England, for there is a BBC Scotland, a BBC Wales, and BBC Northern Ireland, there is even an apartheid BBC Asian Network, but no English representation.

    The lack of English representation on the BBC came to a ridiculous level a couple of elections ago when the BBC felt it was important to give its Scottish, Welsh, Northern Irish, and Asian listeners a messageboard to debate their election political issues, unfortunately the BBC felt the English didn’t deserve such a service, and the only way for English people to debate their political concerns was to do it via the NHS messageboard they gave us, if the censor would permit off message posting.

    This I felt was a pretty rum do, so I registered my complaint to the BBC, for some surprising reason I got put in touch with the person given the job of creating a BBC English website, he was disarmingly honest and said to me, ‘look I am Welsh I would welcome ideas of what it is to be English’. So where as the BBC is hyper sensitive of all other ethnic groups, where England is concerned they aren’t and couldn’t careless that they aren’t. Eventually I got referred up from the Web designer to the Editor, a Ms Elonka Soros Diversity Editor, BBC English Regions , and there you have it, that is what the BBC thinks of England, a regional after thought after diversity.

    PS Of course the BBC can get away without giving English people representation, for the British political establishment think it just fine that an English collective voice doesn’t get heard.

  14. Bazman
    Posted December 28, 2013 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    Higher and more taxes are not always a good thing? Well this may be true, but like the Today programme we do not hear anything from you about the collection of taxes that should be paid whether it be condemnation of outright illegal evasion and the failure of the government to apprehend these criminals or the avoidance of tolls otherwise know as taxes for services and infrastructure by large international companies and the failure of governments to collect them. The lack of comment and condemnation is by default, bias support of avoidance of money to fund the state and the interests of business.

  15. Roger Farmer
    Posted December 28, 2013 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    Your wish list is commendable, but do not hold your breath. Nothing will happen at the BBC until it’s organisation and ethos are given a thorough audit and overhaul by a small number of investigators such as yourself. Under present circumstances I advise not to give up the day job.
    Rumour has it that single person responsibility for programmes and other functions is to be introduced to replace the grey areas of management by committee that currently hides responsibility. How many committee grey faces will go. If left to an internal audit I submit very few.
    How do the Trust or Senior Management intend to eliminate political and contentious subject bias. Who will be responsible for balance of output in these areas. Who will filter outside contributors and even live audiences. Having a strong opinion is acceptable providing it’s counter opinion is argued with equal time and conviction in the same programme. We want debate not propaganda.
    What controls are in place to prevent outside vested interests having undue financial or output control at times of serious public debate such as EU Elections, General Elections, Scottish Referenda, or EU Membership Referenda. Such profound subjects cannot be left in the control of the Metro Liberal Elite, the CBI, the EU or any other financially well heeled lobby group or the BBC whose lack of balance is manifest.
    The purpose of the BBC is to inform, to educate, and to entertain. Not to disseminate propaganda of it’s own choosing. It needs to learn to distinguish between fact and opinion and be open and clear about what it is that it is broadcasting.

  16. The PrangWizard
    Posted December 28, 2013 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    This is indeed what we need and I wholeheartedly agree, but I am a strong opponent of the BBC, as you know. I would like to think they are listening to criticism, which self evidently is gaining a much higher profile, and the Leftist bias is undeniable. yet recent pronouncements by them leave much doubt. If they are trying to change it must be likened to turning a supertanker at sea with an unwilling crew, and much more determined action must be taken by others.

    I applaud your comment about the need for a recognition of England, being a keen promoter of English identity, and its emergence from under Britishness. Why is there no BBC England, for example, and at a ‘grassroots’, why does the local TV news from my British broadcaster only say ‘here in the South’ – south of where? They don’t mention England much at all but if the introducing captions/logos showed ‘BBC South of England’ it would be an improvement. Another example concerns the Countryfile TV programme. They used to say for example, ‘today we are going to Wales’, or ‘today we are in the Cotswolds’, or ‘today we are in Yorkshire’. Does the programme only go out to England? Could it not be called ‘Countryfile England’, especially if there is a ‘Countryfile Scotland’ and if it goes beyond England why do they assume everyone knows where ‘the Cotswolds’ are or where Yorkshire is? Why do they mention ‘Wales’ at all when they don’t mention England, and not say ‘Snowdonia’ only, or ‘Carmarthenshire’? Is there something adrift in their mindset or is there something I don’t understand about their broadcasts?

  17. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted December 28, 2013 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    I think you have clearly illustrated that the BBC is far from being an objective public service broadcaster. It is a self-serving propaganda machine for which we are forced, by law, to pay if we possess a TV receiver to watch or record television programmes as they’re being shown on TV, regardless of channel. As for your list of “ancient heresies” they may be defined as such in the minds of the BBC but it is essential that they are defended against the overbearing might and bias of the BBC.

  18. Alan Wheatley
    Posted December 28, 2013 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    I recently responded to the BBC Trust’s invitation to comment on some of the BBC output, which included the Today Programme.

    One point I particularly made, which applies to many current affairs programmes, is that the format is fundamentally flawed: generalist presenters cannot successfully cover specialist subjects. The fact that some of the generalist presenters do as well as they sometime do is a tribute to their skill, but they are being given an impossible task which no one can be expected to do.

    So you always have the specialist interviewee saying things that the generalist interviewer cannot properly respond to with further questions that test the credibility of what has been said. An additional interviewee with an alternative point of view does not help as the generalist chairman does not know the merits of either viewpoint, or indeed the relevance of the viewpoint to the issue. So, Person A says one thing, then Person B says something different, but the listener is left none the wiser because instead of probing further the generalist chairman is out of their depth and moves the interview on to the next item.

    The failings of this method is exacerbated when the BBC’s own specialist correspondent is “interviewed” by the generalist presenter!

    This weak and ineffective approach to presenting a specialist topic is thrown into sharp contrast when the generalist presenter occasionally leads on a topic where he/she does have specialist knowledge: opera comes to mind. Then the questions are insightful, relevant and probing, and the listener is more likely to find that it was worth switching on.

    The BBC must stop telling itself how wonderful it is and try different methods. After all, they have an abundance of channels to play with.

  19. Bert Young
    Posted December 28, 2013 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    Like you I listen to Radio 4 to hear the news and to have the input of other views on current affairs ; I usually switch it off annoyed at some point or other . On the BBC Home Page web site today there was a piece from Geoffrey Howe ( the failed and ineffective Foreign Sec. and Chancellor ) . He was making an effort to persuade David Cameron to turn his back on the growing influence of the eurosceptics in the Conservative Party . I had hoped to see another contribution giving a different view , but , of course , there was nothing . The BBC is very left wing biassed and does not deliver a rounded approach to its watchers and listeners , as such , it is a waste of time and money to the public . Margaret Thatcher must have turned in her grave .

  20. David in Kent
    Posted December 28, 2013 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    I love your wish list but so long as the BBC remains a state broadcaster funded by the tax payer (effectively) I would say just “Dream On”.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 29, 2013 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

      “so long as the BBC remains a state broadcaster funded by the tax payer dream on”

      Indeed no chance whatsoever of movement in the right direction with people like Clegg, Cameron and Lord Patten in charge. Pro EU, fake green AGW tosh, anti UKIP, endless absurd scare stories, enforced “equality” and every bigger government will remain the BBC (and indeed the governments) agenda.

  21. sm
    Posted December 28, 2013 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    Oh how I agree with you – if only the BBC would attempt a period of broadcasting ‘from the other side’. And if it could stop the obsession with ‘celebs’ and quizzes and contests, that would give me a really happy New Year!

  22. acorn
    Posted December 28, 2013 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    I think you have missed a trick here JR. Remember when Reagan did away with the Fairness Doctrine, and US radio was no longer obliged to be “honest, equitable and balanced”. The Republican party needed to spread right wing propaganda beyond its home in the Republican Party voting (Confederate) States in the south. Reagan set it up for them to go nation wide.

    (Warning, the following paragraphs contain flash photography. If you have been affected by any of the content and would like someone to put it all right for you, tough ****, it ain’t gonna happen cos you don’t care enough to make it happen.)

    According to you, the BBC is spouting left wing propaganda, but our Cameron has not done a Reagan and started up covert right wing propaganda national radio stations like the GOP did. Once again, much talk talk, no walk walk; and it’s probably too late to start up in the UK anyway now.

    Rush Limbaugh is the best known conservative radio “shock jock”, many say he actually sets GOP policy and is one of the few keeping Republican ideology alive. As always with these guys, they get the red mist of hate and go over the top, and the big radio advertisers, do not want to be associated with his rants, particularly at a girl student he called “a slut”.

    The UK Conservative Party in parallel with the US Republican Party (GOP) have the same problem, they are both being killed by the shifting demographic. Limbaugh’s audience in the US is limited to old people now, much the same as Cameron’s audience in the UK. “You listen to the ads on his [Limbaugh] and some of these other shows, and you’re going to learn a lot about incontinence and erectile dysfunction”. The UK Conservative Party will go the same way. Within two decades, most of its core supporters, “Boomers”, will be passed even postal voting and Generations X, Y and Z; the latter one now coming of age (PR and Marketing categories), have no interest in right wing conservatism, I am told.

    BTW. Nice job sorting out the House of Lords. The worlds most exclusive elderly day care centre. For a short while, my late parents were costing £1.100 per week together in a care home. The Lords Care Home PAYS £1.500 a week just to clock in and out again before breakfast. More talk talk, no walk walk.

    One day,(I am hoping for direct peaceful action ed). This would be the quickest way to get out of the EU, if that’s your bag, you can disavow all treaties or just some. You can repeal Parliaments Statutes (which are not Law) and keep the proper Common Law (which is Law). All in the same Day. ;-)

  23. Sue Doughty
    Posted December 28, 2013 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    I quite enjoy the change when they have guest editors, though some of it is not well done and they haven’t managed to get many guests in to speak live over the Christmas period.
    I do not believe there will ever be a time when they stop lambasting us for allowing food banks and start noticing they are run by volunteers giving they time willingly for the good of strangers. The BBC do not understand why anyone would turn out and work for no massive salary with pension accruing and it seems to me would never dream of doing it themselves.
    I hear the BBC as selfish people living off my tax money and using the time I am paying for to insult and debase me. But at least Today is better than Radio 1 or 2 in the mornings

  24. Bob
    Posted December 28, 2013 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    On his LBC program this morning Ken Livingstone referred to Chris Patten as a “busted flush”. I don’t often agree with Ken, but in this case I “strongly” agree with him.

    How much longer will Patten be kept in place?
    Are they struggling to find him a new public sector appointment?
    How much will it cost the BBC to pay him off? Rather more than his short term placeman George Entwistle I guess. Or perhaps he will retire gracefully and take his financial rewards in a less publicly transparent way.

    The BBC completely lacks accountability.
    It’s time to discontinue the TV Licence Fee.
    Let have no more BBC/TVL inspectors sneaking around our homes peering through our windows and wasting police time trying to force an entry to see if we are watching tv. Enough already! If you have to sell your product in that way, then obviously you need to look at what you’re selling and find out why people would not buy it voluntarily.

    • lifelogic
      Posted December 28, 2013 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

      I would far prefer George Entwistle to Lord Patten. George Entwistle seemed to be treated rather badly to me. Almost anyone would be better than Patten anyway.

  25. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted December 28, 2013 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    I am curious as to why no serious rival has emerged to Today and to BBC radio as a whole. There is no UK radio Fox News. Perhaps is because the cost of BBC radio is covered by the licence fee and there is no advertising.

    The thing that I find disconcerting is the stark dishonesty of the debate about fiscal policy. Everybody knows that cutting the deficit involves painful public expenditure cuts (real cuts) or tax increases. Yet the parties of the Right and Centre have relied only on economic growth since the budget of 2012 and the Party of the Left, who have opposed all of the limited cuts so far, have not proposed any general increases in taxation.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted December 28, 2013 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

      The prospect of a Radio Fox News sends shivers down my spine Lindsay. I only want to see balanced and inclusive broadcasting wherever it comes from. The BBC has a duty to provide that, but presently doesn’t, and therefore fails the very people who are forced to pay for it. However, given Fox News’ track record, I can’t say I’m confident a ‘Radio Fox News’ would be impartial either. Whether expounding predominantly left or right-wing views, the practise is wrong. In the BBC’s case, it is also inexcusable.

      Tad

    • lifelogic
      Posted December 29, 2013 at 9:19 am | Permalink

      No rival because the BBC gets taxes and can out compete any rivals by having no adverts (or rather only BBC and Charity adds) and gets free tax payers money. Also the lefty politicians like Cameron would never grant a licence to any fox new type radio. They like Chris Patten types to rule the airwaves. People who will not rock the pro EU, ever bigger government, high tax, fake green, over regulation, huge state sector, we know best boat.

      • Bazman
        Posted December 29, 2013 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

        Explain fake green? Is it like your Mythical ‘feckless’, or ‘absurd’ employment laws? Just ranting with no basis combined with a belief that tax laws and spending on welfare created the financial crisis and the only way to make this good is to tax the rich less and blame it all on the poor. Absolute religious fantasy held by you and a number of other right wing politicians. Ram it.

  26. behindthefrogs
    Posted December 28, 2013 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    Why do you, like so many people, keep confusing the temperature changes illustrated by one summer with slighly higher temperature with climate change. Climate change is something that happens over a longer term with potentially much more drastic affects. Anyway last summer, if it hadn’t been just a normal temperature variation, would probably have been a sample of global warming.

    As to your problems with radio 4, you should try five live, where at least two of the regular male presenters, frequently demonstrate their own scientific ignorance.

    • lifelogic
      Posted December 28, 2013 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

      Total scientific ignorance at the BBC is virtually a given, one just expects it – they usually cannot even use the right units – confusing energy with power and talking of positive feedback actually thinking it is a positive thing! They even have Melvin Bragg of all people presenting science programs on radio 4. You might as well have me explaining Mandarin poetry!

    • lifelogic
      Posted December 29, 2013 at 9:24 am | Permalink

      We do not “keep confusing the temperature changes illustrated by one summer with slighly higher temperature with climate change”. The point is that we cannot predict the weather next week precisely and we cannot predict the climate in 100 years either. This as it is a chaotic systems and we do not even have much of the input data such as volcanos and the suns output for 100 years. The weather next week affects the weather the day after.

      Adapt if and when needed is the sensible approach. Spent the billion wasted on reducing c02 on clean water, food for the hungry, inoculations, basic medical care, birth control, keeping the elderly warm, stronger houses in hurricane zones ………things that can save real lives now.

      • lifelogic
        Posted December 29, 2013 at 9:28 am | Permalink

        The Climate Change Act 2008 voted for by nearly all MPs is highly immoral, entirely counterproductive, destroys jobs and kills people now. Bio fuels too cause huge harm.

  27. Max Dunbar
    Posted December 28, 2013 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    I never listen to the Today programme, nor do I listen to the ‘news’. There is no point in harming ones health in this way before the day has even started.
    Fortunately we have your daily blog to read instead. Keep it going please Dr Redwood. It provides a datum for sanity.

  28. Posted December 28, 2013 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    The strap line that the Today programme used some years ago was “we set the agenda”.

    Sadly, that was more than mere boasting or arrogance. This radio programme very often really does set the political agenda.

    In a democracy that is plain wrong.

    I fear that the change of polarity you are looking for, Mr Redwood, will only happen if and when we have plural media.

    There should be 20 quality morning radio news talk shows to choose from, not one.

    I would suggest we make the licence fee optional and therefore reduce the BBC’s dominance. Effectively this would make the BBC a subscription-only broadcaster, competing in the market.

    If we want to see how plural media looks like then just look at the internet where all angles are explored; internet users have generally become good at separating the wheat from the chaff; the fact from the fiction.

    The BBC still lives in a 1990’s politically correct world with its obsession with women versus men; black versus white; poor versus rich and so on. It is divisive.

    Worse though, is the damage done to our country by its left wing bias.

    Time is running out. We currently have a ridiculous situation where the political party that did so much damage to our country not very long ago, the Labour Party, is ahead in the polls. While the BBC peddles left wing propaganda there is a real danger that they will finally finish off what is left of our country if they are elected to office next tine around.

    I will accept the will of the People in any case, but I would prefer the People to be free of BBC coaching before they cast a vote at the next general election, for the sake of the country.

    NB As one example amongst 100′s per day of bias, why do Geoffrey Howes’ comments in favour of our eu membership get stop billing today, while your comments or those of Norman Tebbit are never mentioned?

    • uanime5
      Posted December 28, 2013 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

      There should be 20 quality morning radio news talk shows to choose from, not one.

      It’s not the BBC’s fault that other channels aren’t interested in providing useful information.

      If we want to see how plural media looks like then just look at the internet where all angles are explored; internet users have generally become good at separating the wheat from the chaff; the fact from the fiction.

      Remember all those people on the Internet who were fooled by fake links, images, and trailers. Looks like many people aren’t good at separating the wheat from the chaff. Especially concerning issues that require research.

      The BBC still lives in a 1990’s politically correct world with its obsession with women versus men; black versus white; poor versus rich and so on. It is divisive.

      As opposed to the Conservatives who are dividing the poor into strivers and scroungers.

      We currently have a ridiculous situation where the political party that did so much damage to our country not very long ago, the Labour Party, is ahead in the polls.

      Maybe this has something to do with the fall in living standards, stagnating economy, high levels of unemployment, benefit cuts in real terms, bedroom tax, trebling of tuition fees, and the increase in the number of people needing food banks. None of which are due to Labour.

      • Posted December 29, 2013 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

        It is the BBC’s fault that we don’t have 20 quality morning radio talk shows (or more precisely our fault for giving the BBC such a large budget).

        The BBC’s ability to promote its own shows; generate its own news; have reporters everywhere; and therefore attract the main actors for interview etc means that no other player can get a look in. The only radio station that has made a decent job of it is LBC and this radio station has financially struggled more or less since it was founded (though is now doing much better, I understand).

        “Looks like many people aren’t good at separating the wheat from the chaff. Especially concerning issues that require research.”

        I agree that some people will be vulnerable to bad information and unfounded gossip but I have found that the more the internet is used the more discerning we are. Of course we filter comments we hear from other people every day and learn to take some with a pinch of suit. In this respect the internet merely reflects life.

        “As opposed to the Conservatives who are dividing the poor into strivers and scroungers.”
        Are you not pleased that a government is attempting to do this? I think you are about right: it is attempting to reduce the amount of people ‘swinging the lead’ and help those who want to get on (I understand the Labour position is similar). This is quite different from promoting division that we get from the BBC.

        “Maybe this has something to do with the fall in living standards, stagnating economy, high levels of unemployment, benefit cuts in real terms, bedroom tax, trebling of tuition fees, and the increase in the number of people needing food banks. None of which are due to Labour”

        Oh come on! It’s is 90% to do with Labour and 10% this government which is unfortunately continuing with the socialist model of maintaining a very large state sector and near monopolistic industries.

        I think you have been indoctrinated by watching too much BBC.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted December 28, 2013 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

      You’re dead right Kenneth, and it makes me want to spit feathers!

      I’m forever switching between different news channels and watching lectures on YouTube and the like in order to keep abreast of events. Occasionally, I come across some that claim there’s a Marxist sub plot to subvert the United Kingdom and lead it towards economic and democratic oblivion. I used to listen, just to see what was being said, and whether they could substantiate any of it. I would largely dismiss it all, but I might have to re-visit some of the sites, because some of the things they were warning us against, seem to be coming true.

      What possible benefit could there be in a policy that enslaves this nation by allowing the growth of a colossal debt, or drives the economy into the ground, but that seems to happen every time we get a ‘put the people first’ Labour government – aided and abetted by the good old BBC. And it’s the very people they say they are all for, who suffer the most.

      Tad

      • margaret brandreth-j
        Posted December 29, 2013 at 11:20 pm | Permalink

        Come on, this was war . Why use weapons other than monetary power when they can bring us to our knees and creeping for a living?
        Of course it was a global crisis, but look who hasn’t suffered , look who has gained power and potential dominance. Do you seriously believed Blair allowed this to happen.? Ask the pope who caused the economic war?

  29. Seb
    Posted December 28, 2013 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    Dear john,

    Your blog today covers a lot of ground. Just to address some of your points on climate change.

    Let’s start by agreeing that several organisations
    ( including HMG) are making the most of data and levies to their own advantage. But.

    The total heat content of the oceans continue to rise linearly with no abatement.

    Mean sea level (which varies a lot from place to place) is rising at about 3 mm per year, and about 1 mm per year of this is the result of thermal expansion of the oceans.

    Antarctic sea ice is a result of increased circumpolar winds and currents (itself owing to warming of the southern ocean), and partitioning of low salinity surface water reducing warm upwelling. The lower salinity is itself related to meltwater, notably the pine island glacier.

    These are just a few. I would be happy to try and answer any specific questions you may have, privately or in public.

    Bw

    Sebastian

    • uanime5
      Posted December 28, 2013 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

      Don’t forget that hurricanes are nature’s way of removing the heat from the oceans. So the hotter the oceans get the more violent the storms become.

      • Edward2
        Posted December 30, 2013 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

        From the National Geographic Uni…..
        Global warming…has raised the average global temperature by about 1°F (0.6°C) over the past century.
        In the oceans, this change has only been about 0.18°F (0.1°C). This warming has occurred from the surface to a depth of about 2,300 feet (700 meters), where most marine life thrives.
        So the oceans have become hotter by a tenth of one degree over a period of one hundred years!

    • forthurst
      Posted December 28, 2013 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

      Now that the there has been no demonstrable increase in surface temperatures, climate alarmists have refocused their endeavours on the theory that all the ‘excess’ heat generated by increasing CO2 is being sequestered in the oceans. The problem with this theory is that that the potential for heat capture by the Oceans from sunlight is many orders of magnitude greater than any such capture from infrared radiation from CO2.

      Incidentally what is your theory for the speeding up of the Pine Is glacier? Heating perhaps from the proximate Hudsons mountain volcano?

      The Earth’s Climate is not well understood and nor is it likely to be whilst there are well funded groups whose scientific observations are being used for the sole purpose of attribution to anthropologically originated CO2.

  30. Atlas
    Posted December 28, 2013 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    I suppose I ought to make a New-Year’s resolution to listen once to the ‘Today’ programme. Though by what you describe, I’m not sure my blood pressure would be helped…

    Happy New Year John !

  31. Tad Davison
    Posted December 28, 2013 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    I honestly can’t listen to the BBC anymore, at least not in any great quantity. They are so biased and so far behind the curve, it’s a puzzle as to why they keep being funded with our money.

    I have just listened to the (much technically interrupted, and I wonder why) Keiser Report on RT, and have heard about the alleged highly illicit practises of both HSBC and RBS that would make Al Capone blush! But the good old trusted BBC just doesn’t go anywhere near true investigative journalism. A Keiser Report interviewee alleged that Hester refused to investigate the matter, and as a consequence of the way HSBC and RBS operate, the British government are on the hook to pay between ’5 to 15 billion pounds of compensationary debt’. It also stated that Vince Cable simply will not talk even about it. Well in my view, somebody ought to pin him down one way or the other, but we cannot depend on the BBC to apply itself to seeking out the truth on our behalf and thereby earning its corn.

    Our politicians too need to get a grip and seek out more information than the BBC puts out. Reliance on the BBC leaves any one of them at a distinct disadvantage.

    At the very least, the BBC has a duty to all of us to take heed of what is broadcast by others and either prove or disprove the accusations, and get to the bottom of the matter, but our national broadcaster is just a waste of time.

    Most trusted broadcaster? They have just GOT to be JOKING!

    Tad Davison

    Cambridge

    • arschloch
      Posted December 28, 2013 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

      Tad
      I like reading your stuff but really do you take Max Keiser seriously? Anybody who has Geo Galloway on so much as a guest in my eyes has zero credibility

      • Tad Davison
        Posted December 29, 2013 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

        I hear what you’re saying arschloch, but if we cut through Max Keiser’s buffoon-like style of presentation, there are a few little snippets that come to the fore, and by digging a little bit deeper elsewhere, a lot of it is corroborated by others. The BBC won’t even give us a clue in the first place. And I firmly believe to get the bigger picture, we need to broaden our horizons. To listen exclusively to the BBC, just because they afford themselves the accolade ‘most trusted broadcaster’, we would run the risk of steadily becoming brainwashed by their discredited nonsense. Only by comparison can we see where the BBC lacks depth and credibility. RT is just one of many I listen to.

        As for George Galloway, it’ll come as no surprise to learn that I don’t agree with everything he says – far from it – but I still listen to him, because again, there are some things that deserve to be looked at in greater depth. But equally, there are one or two things he says that I absolutely agree with.

        Tad

    • Hope
      Posted December 28, 2013 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

      Excellent post. A bit like the World Health Service promoted at the Olympics. An embarrassment to the country. I do not listen to news or current affairs on the BBC as I already know it is absolute garbage, bias and inaccurate.

  32. yulwaymartyn
    Posted December 28, 2013 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    So the future is as follows?

    Either we adopt the German model and retire at 63 ish and have a declining population and have thousands of young EU migrants or mobility workers doing the jobs that nobody wants to do and more, or do we have no EU migrants, a rising population and do it ourselves and work until retirement beckons at 70 plus?

  33. John Eustace
    Posted December 28, 2013 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    I assume you would like the Today programme producers to treat this as your application for a guest slot next year? I’m guessing you’ve not had an invite yet.

  34. Cary
    Posted December 28, 2013 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    The Guest editor slot doesn’t work even when someone interesting does it because their control is actually very superficial. If I was guest editor, I’d get rid of the usual BBC leftie clone presenters for the middle hour (7-8am) and replace them with two presenters, one conservative and one left wing and have them interviewing people they disagree with. So one could have the show run by John Redwood and Alistair Darling or Peter Hitchens and Will Self – that would be worth tuning into and might challenge everyone shouting at the radio.

  35. Antisthenes
    Posted December 28, 2013 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    It appears to me that most of the MSM the BBC in the forefront do not have a clue about that which they report about. They churn out badly researched and biased articles that seeks to sensationalise rather than inform. Truth has always been a commodity in short supply particularly from journalists and politicians who are those we most need to be honest as they are the ones that shape opinion and direct much that effect our daily lives. It appears to me standards are not improving as you would expect from a more mature modern society but the very opposite. So that tells me decades of social democracy has had a very degenerating effect upon us all.

    • uanime5
      Posted December 28, 2013 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

      I’d say the BBC is better than most of the MSM because they can report the news without having to worry about upsetting a sponsor.

      Regarding the rest of the MSM it’s almost as if they are trying to sell more papers or get higher ratings by showing the news people are more likely to want to watch, rather than news that’s useful. I guess this is another example of how the free market promotes the lowest common denominator.

      • Antisthenes
        Posted December 29, 2013 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

        The BBC should be better than most for the reasons you give but it is not as it has the same faults as all the others. Lazy and inaccurate reporting that is left leaning biased which the BBC has no right to be. It’s charter implicitly insists on impartiality which it ignores. At least the rest declare their political allegiances and therefore their biases and as the BBC does not more people accept as fact their reporting which in essence amounts to no more than propaganda for the left and the eco-loons.

        As for free markets promoting the lowest common denominator that is nonsense only socialism, guilds(restrictive practices) and monopolies does that. Free markets are all about choice the bulwark of democracy available in the MSM is everything from the god awful to the very good so it is possible to pick and choose that which you read or listen to. Certainly it caters for popular demand as any good supplier does and I believe you would be very unhappy if it did not and restricted you soviet style choices which is generally none other than that set out by those in authority. We are actually seeing this in action as daily government is deciding more and more what we can and cannot do and what type of lifestyle we are allowed to have.

  36. wodge
    Posted December 28, 2013 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

    further to your comment on Sir Tim Berners Lee,I had just heard on the news that a cruise ship had become ice bound in the antarctic,and today I hear that a rescue vessel is unable to approach because of thickening ice

    • uanime5
      Posted December 28, 2013 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

      Actually if got stuck because it was hit by a blizzard while sailing next to the western Antarctic, which is currently the only place in the world where the sea ice is increasing.

      • Edward2
        Posted December 30, 2013 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

        You have to admit Uni, there is a delightful, amusing irony of a boat of Guardian journalists and global warming fanatics getting stuck solid in ice whilst trying desperately trying to prove the Polar ice is vanishing.

        But of course as I’m sure you already know, this is an example of “climate disruption” which is caused by “climate change” which is caused by “global warming” etc etc

  37. Timaction
    Posted December 28, 2013 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    The BBC is so institutionally biased the ONLY solution is to sell it off or break it up for privatisation. It should NOT be allowed to report news or current affairs programmes as its bias is extreme. Mass migration, EU, multi culturalism, same sex marriage, Labour, foreign aid, anything green, windmills, increasing public spending, climate change/global warming, anti English = good. Any opposing view= bad!
    When will it be reformed? Just like Westminster. Never.
    Mr Redwood your leadership is very much in harmony with the BBC and its ideology, whilst claiming to be on the centre ground. You are now in the wrong Party.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted December 28, 2013 at 10:00 pm | Permalink

      I agree that the BBC is institutionally biased, and I have every sympathy for the suggestion that it should be sold off, but that could be well down a road that is strewn with potholes. In the interim, I feel it should be made to take account of all political views, without favour. But what chance have we got, when there are men like the Europhile Patten in the BBC hierarchy?

      Perhaps JR would be a better overseer to ensure we get value for money?

      That’d be interesting, especially when Europhiles from the Tory party had to face stiff and concerted opposition from people who really could argue from a different perspective, rather than some of the weaker types the BBC likes to put forward in their attempt to weaken the Eurosceptic argument (Nigel Farage and Roger Helmer excepted).

      Tad

      Tad

  38. Stevie
    Posted December 28, 2013 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

    Bring back Brian Redhead, the dead would be more inspiring than most of the rubbish that is supposed to provoke interest or debate. As a listener of many years I listen in despair at the anti UK antics of the presenters but eventually as most thinking people I just switch off.

  39. uanime5
    Posted December 28, 2013 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

    You’ll be a waiting a long time John if you expect a radio show to tell you everything you want to hear, rather than what is actually happening. The Today programme is based on facts, not ideology, so in many cases it would be grossly misleading to take the opposite position.

  40. uanime5
    Posted December 28, 2013 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

    Hey John according to the Mirror councils are firing their staff due to coalition cuts and replacing them with people on various workfare schemes. How exactly is replacing paid employees with slave labour going to help the UK recover?

    http://www.mirror.co.uk/money/jobs/local-councils-exploiting-back-work-2965041

    • Posted December 29, 2013 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

      Slave labour? Are they actually in chains?

      • Edward2
        Posted December 29, 2013 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

        Indeed Kenneth, I notice that they are Labour councils in the main.
        These council slaves would be similar to those in that other workers paradise of Soviet Russia so beloved still by UK socialists.
        You don’t see private free market profitable businesses exploiting their workforce in this way.

      • Bazman
        Posted January 2, 2014 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

        Forced labour as they are being threatened with benefit cuts if they do not comply. How would they live if they did not? If it were a real job then it should pay minimum wage instead of undercutting people who work for this in the free market. The cuts where made and are now the necessary services are being done on the cheap. If they were not necessary and a waste of money they would not be still carried out whatever the cost.

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  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood has been the Member of Parliament for Wokingham since 1987. First attending Kent College, Canterbury, he graduated from Magdalen College, and has a DPhil from All Souls, Oxford. 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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