Why does the BBC ignore England?

When the Culture Secretary gave his statement on the future of the BBC, I spoke for England. I asked if we could have a BBC England to match BBC Scotland? I pointed out that many of us do not want a BBC seeking to split up our country and trying to foster artificial senses of regional identity. As we move towards more England only decision making at Westminster, we need a BBC England news to cover it.

I will submit further evidence to the review to show the need for BBC England. My area is lumped into BBC South, so we see a lot of news stories about seaside resorts all along the south coast that have nothing to do with inland Wokingham. Meanwhile, we have to switch to BBC London to see things going on 20 miles down the road that are of more relevance to us. My part of the world is variously called Thames Valley, Rest of the south east, the south, London and the south east, the home counties, the three counties (Bucks,Berks and Oxon), and mid Berkshire. No wonder there is no great sense of regional loyalty, when there are so many differing boundaries and descriptions, and when none of these places have sports teams, Councils or representative figures to speak for them. There is no Head of the Thames Valley (apart from the Chief Constable)or First Minister of the south – I am pleased to say – and no Mayor of the three counties or Lord Lieutenant of the Home Counties.

In my area people relate to the UK, to England, and to Wokingham Borough or West Berkshire. There is also a loyalty to the royal county even though it has no Council. The County does have sports teams, ceremonial events and various dignitaries and its own historic sense of identity.

The BBC needs to work with the senses of identity that people feel. England is increasingly aware of itself and of its needs and abilities. The BBC is not even struggling to catch up. The BBC seems determined to cling to old twentieth century ideas of balkanising England and helping the EU split us into regions which mean nothing to us.

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82 Comments

  1. Lifelogic
    Posted July 24, 2015 at 6:12 am | Permalink

    Indeed the BBC seems to take its orders from the EU, but then so does the UK government most of the time. Be it on energy, transport, taxations levels, fishing, the balkanisation of England, refuse systems, the warming religion, the endless attacks on UKIP, the bloated & inept state sector or anything else.

    • Mike Stallard
      Posted July 24, 2015 at 7:45 am | Permalink

      Then, if what you say is true, why is the EU not reported? All over the European Press the new Treaty and Constitution are being trumpeted. On the BBC I notice that the Labour Hustings takes Pride of Place. I forget what was on Newsnight last night apart from the shout interrupty Scottish Kirsty Wark.
      The plan for a united Democratic Federal European Republic is not up and running and I have no clue whether or not we are going to be asked to join it as an Associate Member or whether Mr Cameron is going for Full Membership of Airstrip One (aka Great Britain).
      have you?

      • Narrow Shoulders
        Posted July 24, 2015 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

        On news night last night there was much surprise that government paying for nursery places for the few created extra costs and shortages for the many

      • Lifelogic
        Posted July 24, 2015 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

        Because the EU strategy in England is stealth. They understand the EU is very unpopular and so are trying to take over the country without it being noticed (until it is too late that is).

        They have nearly reached their goal.

    • Hope
      Posted July 24, 2015 at 8:34 am | Permalink

      The short answer JR is that it is doing the Govt. job to promote EU policy across the EU, every opportunity is starting to be used to question people that staying in the EU would be a good for the UK not surprisingly the get the answer they want each time! Pure coincidence I am sure.

      (Unknown e.g. Left out ed)how will Osborne respond to these sorts of situations if he is successful in Balkanising England? I doubt very much he will take responsibility for whatever ensues. A bit like last week, all chirpy speaking with firm enthusiasm that he had a firm line that the UK WILL NOT be involved in EU bail outs. Then he walks meekly out in silence with his tail between his legs. A few days late trying to spin he achieved something in the form of indemnities. Quite irrelevant to what he and Cameron body told parliament and the public. They were categoric that the UK would no longer be involved in the bail out of any Eurozone country. Cameron went further to deride his political opponents. Of course it transpires Cameron did no such thing. His incompetence and false words are astounding.

      Can we expect the BBC to pursue this? Or the BBC accurately portray the correct position of the deficit or debt? BBC accurately question the Govt. following the EU energy policy, asylum seekers, Climate Change Act? The BBC is not fit for purpose. It has gone way beyond its remit. It questioned the plurality of Sky TV with no thought to its own unfair market share and unfair funding stream compared to its commercial competitors. No, it is time to stop the licence tax it has no place in the modern world. People should not be forced to pay for a service that they do not want or is so bias that it can only be described as a propaganda unit. If it raises its own funds commercially it can have whatever bias it wants and people are not forced to pay for a service they do not want.

    • Timaction
      Posted July 24, 2015 at 8:53 am | Permalink

      …. So what is your party doing under Osborne and Heseltine other than EU regionalisation? You are in the wrong party Mr Redwood. The Tories are europhile.

      • Jerry
        Posted July 26, 2015 at 7:35 am | Permalink

        @Timaction; “You are in the wrong party Mr Redwood.”

        Utterly wrong, Mr Redwood is in the correct party, the party of government, meaning that if he gets the ear of Ministers, advisor’s or perhaps even that of the PM he stands an odds-on chance of making a difference.

        Whose ear, other than Mr Speaker, does (the single MP for) UKIP have?…

    • yosarion
      Posted July 24, 2015 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

      The tragic incident in Cheshire this week is a good example, they have a fire service but don’t seem to be recognize as a county by the BBC, though the County of Avon or the Greater Bristol as its called now seems to have evolved since it got a Mayor is never of the the BBC in the West of England.

    • yosarion
      Posted July 24, 2015 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

      The week before last we watched the Scottish open, last week we watched the British open from Scotland, can anyone tell me where the English open is being held this year, or any past year for that matter.

  2. Posted July 24, 2015 at 6:20 am | Permalink

    Ken Livingstone was interviewed on BBC 1 this am and he talked about the lack of investment in the UK for many years.He talked about English regions and how through all political eras over the last 30 years how we have failed to make a more attractive country for our children. I agree with him: we need to stop selling off and start to be creative with our own investment.

    • Richard1
      Posted July 24, 2015 at 7:02 am | Permalink

      Investment by whom? There has been a huge amount of investment in some areas – private commercial and residential property in and around London for example. When someone like Ken Livingstone talks about investment he means more public spending, financed by govt tax and borrowing. I suspect Ken Livingstone supports ‘investment’ such as wind farms and HS2.

      • Hope
        Posted July 24, 2015 at 10:04 am | Permalink

        Good to read today that officials in a bid to reach Cameron’s spending in Foreign overseas aid by the deadline wasted £500,000,000. Does this public spending fool understand these are our taxes and come from tax rises. The report further states the UK will spend (waste) £86 billion by 2020. Deficit debt seem to by words for Cameron and Osborne who appear to have lost the plot with the country’s finances. If only for an opposition. Perhaps this why Cameron is trying to curtail Freedom of Information.

        • Richard1
          Posted July 24, 2015 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

          The waste resulting from forced spending increases due to the 0.7% of GDP commitment for aid spending is a scandal and a disgrace. It is a wonder more Conservative MPs haven’t made more of a fuss about it.

        • alan jutson
          Posted July 24, 2015 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

          Hope

          Agree

          Foreign Aid is one of the scandals of all Governments for the last 20 years.

          So much money wasted when it could be better used at home.

          Do not forget our contribution to the EU Foreign Aid programme as well.

          Anyone would think we were running a huge surplus. !

      • Lifelogic
        Posted July 24, 2015 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

        Whenever governments and Livingstone types “invest” they are nearly always doing so with money taken off people (and businesses). Both of these would have invested it far more efficiently than governments.

        The net effect is a negative investment. Many of the investments such as greencrap energy, political propaganda, the EU, HS2 etc. do positive harm on balance anyway.

  3. agricola
    Posted July 24, 2015 at 6:20 am | Permalink

    The BBC receives annual payments from the EU and additionally takes out multi million sterling loans from the EU, so why sound surprised that it toes the EU line on the balkanisation of England. Wise up, smell what’s going on in the kitchen.

  4. DaveM
    Posted July 24, 2015 at 6:23 am | Permalink

    Quite agree. I come from Reading and have often noticed – on the rare occasions that I go home – that the TV focuses almost entirely on the south Hampshire area. But the identity of Reading people is town, then Berkshire. It riles me that the old Welcome to Berkshire sign that used to be by Membury services was removed when the CC was disbanded. I did (coincidentally) notice last night that ITV’s map of the UK has all the traditional counties shown on it, and unless I am mistaken the new Metro counties were not shown. I meet people from all over the country and unless they come from a large city they tend to tell you their county rather than their town. This is part of the reason why, every time you talk about England and/or elected mayors, I suggest that each trad and metro county has one – the sense of county identity is still very strong despite the efforts of some. Returning to your point, it is notable that the BBC TV concentrates on fake regions, but there are BBC county radio stations.

  5. JoolsB
    Posted July 24, 2015 at 6:24 am | Permalink

    John,

    Everything you say above could apply to your own government.

    It’s no use lecturing the BBC when your own Tory colleagues, there by the grace of England, nowhere else, REFUSE to say the word England, let alone speak up for it. I’ve was watching Nicky Morgan recently giving a speech in the house and spieling on about ‘up and down the country’ which politicians have down to a fine art in their deliberate attempt to avoid saying the word England. When talking about education, health and all the other English only issues, they should be made to say ENGLAND. It’s sickening. Osborne’s plans for a Northern powerhouse and devolution to cities with Mayors, despite Manchester saying they didn’t want one, is balkanisation by stealth, nothing else.

    And now of course even the giant sop of English vetoes (not votes as promised) for English laws has been kicked into the long grass until the Autumn – forever more like. People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones John so if you are going to lecture the BBC on their anti-Englishness, maybe you should start with your own anti-English Tory party.

    • matthu
      Posted July 24, 2015 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

      Wot – no reply from John?

  6. Old Albion
    Posted July 24, 2015 at 6:26 am | Permalink

    The BBC is just doing what succesive governments have done. Ignoring England and promoting Scotland (and to a lesser degree, Wales, N.Ireland)
    England needs a unified voice, not just from the ‘national’ broadcaster, but from government.
    England won’t get that from this government. Even the unworkable fudge EVEL has been rejected.
    Cameron “has Scottish blood running through his veins” He’ll do anything to keep this (dis)UK together (and protect is now even higher paid job) as long as England picks up the bill, in every sense.
    England needs it’s own parliament. Who will have the strength to offer that to us?

  7. Mark B
    Posted July 24, 2015 at 6:49 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    It is not just the BBC that refers to England as either the UK or, the Regions. Our own government do a good job of that as well.

    Slightly off topic. I heard an interview on LBC where all four prospective Labour Leadership candidates refered to the EU as; “Europe”

    They almost seemed that they were competing with one another as to who could say the most; “Europe”, when infact they mean the EU. All pretty much wanted to remain.

    I mention this because, whilst the political class and the media are happy to refer to the EU as; “Europe”, they are very quiet when it comes to naming my country.

    It is almost as if they really rather I did not exist ?

  8. JoeSoap
    Posted July 24, 2015 at 7:06 am | Permalink

    Here’s the deal to put to the SNP:

    Move the UK Parliament to Edinburgh, close the Scottish Parliament and end Scottish devolution. Turn the House of Commons into an English Parliament, with full tax raising -spending powers for England only. English M”E”Ps run a devolved England, and English MPs in Edinburgh have votes on all Scottish matters too.

    Sorry about your extra commute, but it might be worth it.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted July 24, 2015 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

      Relocating the UK Parliament to Edinburgh would not change the fact that the House of Commons is dominated by MPs elected in England, and I don’t think the SNP would accept that as a satisfactory quid pro quo for the abolition of the Scottish Parliament with all of its members elected in Scotland.

      Nor do I think the UK or Union or federal Parliament should be moved away from its longstanding location in London, alongside the ministries of the UK government, because that is where the rest of the world is used to looking when they have dealings with the UK on the international stage.

      Moreover I think that as the UK Parliament is the supreme law-making body for the sovereign UK I think it would be better to keep the safeguard of a bicameral structure, although not with the second chamber still composed of unelected legislators-for-life as now.

      What we need is simply the equivalent of what Scotland has had for sixteen years now, namely a separate and separately elected devolved unicameral Parliament and a devolved government for the whole of England, and that could and should be located outside London somewhere near the centre of England.

  9. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted July 24, 2015 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    JR: “The BBC seems determined to cling to old twentieth century ideas of balkanising England and helping the EU split us into regions which mean nothing to us.”
    More evidence of the BBC’s role as propagandist for the EU. Regrettably, they are supported in this same endeavour by many MPs.

  10. The Prangwizard
    Posted July 24, 2015 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    I too am ‘in the south’. There was a BBC feature recently about an electric aircraft which flew the English Channel. As I recall the BBC referred to its flying ‘from France to the UK’, not of course to England. We all know they do this sort of thing all the time, it is deliberate and conscious.

    You can be absolutely certain that if the flight had been from Norway to Scotland, they would have said so. They would not refer to Scotland as ‘UK’.

    It is vital that the BBC be confronted vigorously about these blatant political acts of discrimination. But I agree with others this is widespread and not confined the BBC. Mentioning this is not to divert attention from the vital need to change the BBC but to bring other organisations and authorities into the spectrum. There are many cultural institutions which do not identify with England, but which are institutions of England.

    But the British Establishment will fight the English desire for recognition; they must be made to realise that resistance is unacceptable and changes must be made.

    • yosarion
      Posted July 24, 2015 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

      Rory Cethon Jones called it the British Channel in an article some years ago

  11. Liz
    Posted July 24, 2015 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    Quite right – BBC does not like England at all but loves the EU and all the money they give it. Last night’s headline on the 10 o’clock news was that President Obama of USA wants us to stay in the EU- not a news story at all let alone a headline one but a propoganda one. The BBC has just appointed a Scot as their political editor. BBC Scotland is entirely staffed by Scots – I don’t suppose the new editor will mention England either. A PC appointment?

  12. Alan Wheatley
    Posted July 24, 2015 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    Agreed.

    But the problem is wider than the BBC.

    Having lived at one time in Berkshire at a time of a reorganisation of local government, I remember the debate. There was no enthusiasm for what was proposed, and at that time there was no change.

    I did think, and continue to think, that unitary authorities make a lot of sense, but making Berkshire a unitary authority was an option that was disallowed by the government. There was no popular interest in splitting Berkshire into two. The split happened after I had moved away, so I do not know what support the idea received. But it made no sense to me then nor now for all the “identity” reasons agued in this blog.

    The people of Humberside managed to get rid of that identity imposed upon them, and I hope that is not the last of it.

    “The Northern Powerhouse” is another unnecessary and unwanted characterisation and imposed bureaucracy.

    Reply Government would have accepted a unitary county, but the consultation overwhelmingly wanted unitary districts

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted July 25, 2015 at 5:36 am | Permalink

      It’s a long time ago now, JR, but as I recall the consultation did not include a “no change” option, it was only about the alternative ways of splitting up Berkshire into unitary authorities; and as I recall I wrote in on the form my true preference for keeping a county council for the whole of Berkshire.

      Reply. No change was an option which was chosen by most other counties

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted July 25, 2015 at 7:44 am | Permalink

        But that option had already been excluded for Berkshire, the county council had voted for its own abolition and could not reverse that.

        Reply Simply not true. All counties were offered no change, or county Unitaries or district Unitaries. Only Berkshire chose all district Unitaries. Most counties chose no change, which was fine and accepted as an answer by HMG

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted July 26, 2015 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Local_Government_Commission_for_England_(1992)

          “The proposal for an entirely unitary structure had been strongly supported by the County Council earlier, though with time and a change in political composition of the Council, it changed its mind and took this decision to court, seeking to have the entire Order declared invalid. The High Court ruled in their favour, but the Court of Appeal quashed this decision.”

          Reply. Yes the County Councillors changed their mind but all the rest of the consulted including the Districts did not, so I do not understand your point.

  13. stred
    Posted July 24, 2015 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    In order to head off any threat to their cosy salary and contract deals, the BBC managers and luvvies have produced a new ‘wonder of the BBC’ type advert, which is currently being played between programmes. They appear to have chosen Philomena Cunk to do the voice over, with pictures of educators such as Sir David and Prof Brian looking jolly. Mz Cunk is known for her very funny lectures on the ‘wonder of’ other subjects on the Weekly Wipe programme, where she gets everything seriously wrong and interviews frustrated experts on her subject. Bearing this in mind, the advert can be seen to have a comic side to it.

  14. formula57
    Posted July 24, 2015 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    Ignoring England is not the only example of where “The BBC seems determined to cling to old twentieth century ideas”.

    I recently completed the BBC’s online questionnaire about its future. It clings to old ideas in making presumptions about its method of fundings and its remit that the questionnaire provides little opportunity to challenge. Whilst purporting to seek opinions (and to be fair sometimes actually doing so though there is much box ticking of “good” notions) the structure is dishonest and clearly designed to facilitate reporting outcomes that further pro-BBC propaganda. I rejoice that Culture Secretary Whittingdale is unlikely to be fooled.

    The questionnaire can be found @ https://consultations.external.bbc.co.uk/bbc/tomorrows-bbc/consultation/intro/view

    • David Price
      Posted July 25, 2015 at 5:48 am | Permalink

      I started to fill that survey out but the questions are fixed on BBC-think rails. I was irritated by question 11 on fee approach which only allowed for increased funding and avoided the whole issue of a fully subscription based service.

      The BBC execs and trust will use the responses as they wish so I decided not to complete it but will look for a means to offer my perspective rather than theirs.

  15. Iain Moore
    Posted July 24, 2015 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    Well said but I think you are wasting your time, for I have been banging on about this for 17 years .

    In response to a complaint I made to the BBC back in 1998, they sent me a report ‘Devolution The BBC’s Programme Response ‘ where it mentions Scotland some 80 odd times, England not once, and only in a regional context three times. When I pointed out to them that their document , far from defending their position , actually made my case, was met with a response saying they weren’t going to talk to me any more.

    So what has changed in the 17 years? Nothing, absolutely nothing. Asking the BBC to be fair to England will get you no where, it doesn’t respond to argument or fact about the representation of England , because the BBC has a sneering institutional contempt for all things English. Being found out to be failing the English isn’t something it is embarrassed about, its something they will pride themselves on.

    If you are going to have a go at the BBC you have to attack them on ground they are super sensitive about, primarily its the cultural (politically correct ed)ground. Out them as a bunch of anti English …….. Cite them as an organisation that has institutional problems about representing England and the English. Make them uncomfortable with the fact that rather than being these champions against the Establishment , where England is concerned they are in bed with the British establishment, and they are part of the reason why English people have got such a rotten deal post devolution. Put the BBC on the other side of the barricades to the English proletariat, that will give them a heart attack in their Islington heartland.

  16. CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON
    Posted July 24, 2015 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    Yorkshire BBC very recently indicated our Yorkshire soldiers returning from abroad will be based in Catterick and they now are part of a “European Army”. Well that is certainly news.

    Perhaps the BBC could relocate to Brussels and the Euro Area can pay the licence fee. I do not see why anyone here in the UK should pay some kind of fee for having a TV set in their homes. One does not pay a fee for a refrigerator , iron, washing machine, dryer and most importantly a whistling kettle which by itself is far more entertaining than BBC programming.

    • Jerry
      Posted July 25, 2015 at 8:23 am | Permalink

      CH; Perhaps they meant NATO, of which most of the membership does in effect mean a “European Army”, perhaps this was an error made by the Sky News tabloid style dumbing down that is now so prevalent…

      Oh and if the BBC should relocate to Brussels, based solely on perceived content bias, then perhaps Sky should relocate to New York! 🙂

  17. Sean O'Hare
    Posted July 24, 2015 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    As a one time resident of Wokingham I would like to ask JR the date on which the town was moved to West Berkshire? At a stretch it could be described as in the centre of the county, but to my mind that description belongs to somewhere like Theale. That would clearly put Wokingham in the East Berkshire.

    reply. My constituency of Wokingham contains both Wokingham Borough and West Berkshire wards

    • Sean O'Hare
      Posted July 24, 2015 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

      Thanks JR. Having looked at the consituency map I see yours stretches to the west far more than I realised.

    • matthu
      Posted July 24, 2015 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

      We moved to Wokingham in the mid-nineties from Maidenhead – because at that time West Berkshire NHS recognised Asperger syndrome as a diagnosis and East Berkshire did not.

  18. James Matthews
    Posted July 24, 2015 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    Agreed. A BBC England must be demanded. Quite apart from the political implications of this being denied to the English, some BBC editorial decisions as to what is or isn’t a mere “regional” story seem quite bizarre. This http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-32378682 (for instance) was treated as “London” story. It followed closely on the German Wings co-pilot suicide/mass murder crash and quite soon after the Malaysian Airlines disappearance for which the most likely explanation is deliberate action by a crew member. Why does the BBC think only London based air travellers might be concerned?

    Reply This story is very different from the other two, as no harm resulted to passengers and there may be an innocent explanation with no attempted crime. There is only a story were there to be a successful prosecution.

    • James Matthews
      Posted July 25, 2015 at 9:42 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply:

      Well different in terms of its outcome certainly, but surely the possible threat it identifies is of concern to everyone. Alternatively if your criterion is accepted (though it is one with which many would disagree) it was not a story for Londoners either.

  19. Posted July 24, 2015 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    Normally your articles are clear and logical, this one is a rare example of one that is not.

    First you are calling for a BBC England. Then you appear to be saying that being part of BBC South means that you get irrelevant news about seaside towns that are only 60 miles away from Wokingham. It begs the question, how “local” does “local news” need to be to be considered relevant ?

    If we had a single “BBC England” News programme, it would take up an entire channel if it were to provide detail of local news in every area of England. Nothing would be more boring than that ! Perhaps local news is something that BBC TV should stop providing and allow local radio and online newspapers to cover it instead ?

    If you look at the channels on Freesat you will see that there is already a “BBC2 England” and there are separate BBC2 channels for Scotland, Wales and NI.

    Some regulars here might find it useful to know that Newsnight, for example, starts at 23:00 on BBC 2 Scotland rather than 22:30.

    I find it quite insightful to occasionally watch the BBC 2 Scotland political programme Scotland 2105, presented by Sarah Smith that runs Monday-Thursday and starts at 22:30. It provides an interesting insight into the attitudes and objectives of the SNP although inevitably it is often mind-numbingly parochial.

    It regularly provides clear evidence that Labour lacks a sufficient number of really credible politicians in Scotland, something they desperately need to rebuild their support.

    • forthurst
      Posted July 24, 2015 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

      “First you are calling for a BBC England. Then you appear to be saying that being part of BBC South means that you get irrelevant news about seaside towns that are only 60 miles away from Wokingham. It begs the question, how “local” does “local news” need to be to be considered relevant ?”

      If news is not national news but is not local either except to those that live in the proximity of where BBC staff have TV studios, what is the point of it? Wokingham is probably at least one change of horse from Southampton, if their reporters could find it on the map.

    • Jerry
      Posted July 25, 2015 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

      @ChrisS; Good points about TX areas that are nothing what so ever to do with the BBC, rather being the result of transmitter locations, Ofcom licences and international agreements (to stop co-channel interference issues) etc and this affects all terrestrial broadcasters (assuming that they actually offer regional content) . As for Newsnight starting at 23:00 hrs in Scotland, indeed and often the programme content is different, not just a delayed TX time.

  20. lojolondon
    Posted July 24, 2015 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    John, the BBC is not just ignoring England, it is anti-England. It desperately needs to be privatised, the whole lot.

    • Jerry
      Posted July 25, 2015 at 8:13 am | Permalink

      @lojolondon; “the BBC is not just ignoring England, it is anti-England”

      …and Sky (including its News channel) doesn’t ignore England even more? At least the BBC does have regions.

      “[the BBC] desperately needs to be privatised”

      Usual ultra-capitalist argument is to “privatise” yet when private profit is the motivation in the media industry it results in less UK (regionally) sourced content, not more.

  21. acorn
    Posted July 24, 2015 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    Perhaps the BBC doesn’t talk about England because practically nobody knows what England is. Hardly anyone refers to Counties anymore. Particularly as Westminster came up with three different definitions. The historic Counties of Britain; The “counties” of the Local Government Act 1972; The “counties” of the Lieutenancies Act 1997.

    English local government ‘s structure is a complete mess with multiple forms of responsibilities, that enable Westminster to dominate them and prevent political power bases forming.

    • forthurst
      Posted July 24, 2015 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

      “Perhaps the BBC doesn’t talk about England because practically nobody knows what England is.”

      Isn’t that a bit of a circular argument? If we had a BBC England, people might find out, which would be particularly helpful to the hoards of people who were not born here.

    • Iain Moore
      Posted July 25, 2015 at 8:33 am | Permalink

      “and prevent political power bases forming.”

      Very true. Trying to get any debate going about English representation is almost impossible. For you have the British establishment squatting there making sure English points of view don’t get asked or get represented.

  22. Posted July 24, 2015 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    One of the basic elements of the new religion, political correctness, is aiming to destroy your own country and culture. BBC staff are keen adherents to this new religion, and you can’t argue with religious people. So that’s that. As Arnold Toynbee said, “Civilisations are not destroyed: they commit suicide.” A.J.P.Taylor said something similar.

  23. Mercia
    Posted July 24, 2015 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    How can we pay money to an organisation that wants to destroy us a nation State?

  24. Tad Davison
    Posted July 24, 2015 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    And one could extend that question and quite reasonably ask, ‘Why does the BBC ignore things that go on in England?’

    Other channels cover protests and demonstration about the failings of the EU, and BBC bias, but curiously, the BBC itself doesn’t. Even protests right outside the BBC’s front door were not reported, and that smacks of partial rather than impartial journalism.

    We expect nothing but the very best for our licence fee, not to pay a compulsory levy to a lop-sided broadcaster with their own PC lefty agenda. It’s about as bad as paying a compulsory fee to the Labour party through a compulsory trades union subscription, when we fundamentally disagree with what they stand for.

    Tad Davison

    Cambridge

    • Jerry
      Posted July 25, 2015 at 7:49 am | Permalink

      @Tad Davison; “Other channels cover protests and demonstration about the failings of the EU, and BBC bias, but curiously, the BBC itself doesn’t.”

      What channels are these, I hope you are not suggesting either FoxNews or RT (Russia Today, as it used to be called)?… The UK’s Ch4 most certainly doesn’t “cover protests and demonstration about the failings of the EU”, they are if anything more biased towards the EU, more ‘lefty’ than most of the Labour leadership contenders!

  25. Mike Wilson
    Posted July 24, 2015 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    Mr. Redwood, as a man in the thick of the political system, do you have any idea when the Chilcott Report will be published?

    reply. No it is independent of govt.

    • Jerry
      Posted July 25, 2015 at 7:43 am | Permalink

      @JR reply; But the costs of the enquiry are not, so perhaps all payments should be suspended until the printing presses can start rolling, or at least threatened to be?…

      This is has become like an undesirable builder, the work is never complete yet the home-owner has to pay for a shed full of trades people each week when all that is needed is a single person on site to take delivery of those missing roof tiles!

  26. Atlas
    Posted July 24, 2015 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    I hope when you get time to analyse the BBC finances you will discover whether the BBC receives money from the EU and if it does what the money is used for and what strings are attached.

    As for your TV region – well ever since the days of 405 line TV just who was covered in the service areas of the limited number of TV transmitters has been a contentious issue. In olden days you just had erect a large TV aerial pointing to the transmitter for the region you wanted – and hope for the best in terms of picture quality !

    • Jerry
      Posted July 25, 2015 at 7:34 am | Permalink

      @Atlas; “whether the BBC receives money from the EU [..//..] and what strings are attached”

      Indeed but perhaps all non UK funding to UK media companies could be examined, including ownership and other sharing of costs, such as being able to tap into a non UK “sister network” as and when it pleases were other broadcasters would have agree terms and pay for such rebroadcast rights from non UK sources?

  27. Denis Cooper
    Posted July 24, 2015 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    “There is also a loyalty to the royal county even though it has no Council”

    There’s a story. Berkshire County Council misunderstood what Heseltine wanted and voted for its own abolition, and then when they found that it was not compulsory they went to court to try to get permission to reverse their decision, but the court said “Too late, you’ve voted to abolish yourselves and now that must stand”.

  28. Denis Cooper
    Posted July 24, 2015 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    Off-topic, some sense from a retired Italian general:

    https://euobserver.com/justice/129762

    “General Vincenzo Camporini, Italy’s chief of defence from 2008 to 2011, told EUobserver in an interview that the operation, EUnavformed, will encourage smugglers to set adrift more people in the Mediterranean Sea because there’ll be more EU ships which are obliged, under international law, to rescue them.

    “In essence, it’s helping the smuggling operation because it provides people with more means to reach their desired objective, which is to land in Europe”, he said.”

    • zorro
      Posted July 24, 2015 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

      Exactly, I have been saying this for some time, and the evidence backs it up.

      zorro

  29. Andrew Finn
    Posted July 24, 2015 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    You’re lucky you don’t live in Northern Ireland. BBC NI feed us more irrelevant stories from the Republic of Ireland than Northern Ireland – and we’re the ones paying the TV licence.

  30. Martin
    Posted July 24, 2015 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    While you are correct about BBC News coverage in Scotland being nationwide it is worth pointing out that the private channel 3 franchise (STV/ITV) operates differently.

    STV have two main news programs – one from Glasgow the other from Aberdeen with short local opt outs for Edinburgh and Dundee. The far south of Scotland is covered by ITV Border news.

    As for which is best well if it is a quiet news day the BBC is best but if there is a big local story the Channel 3 system is best.

    When I do channel hop onto BBC local news in England a lot of it does appear to be “Cat up tree rescued by fire brigade” stuff.

    The BBC’s UK wide news does cover a lot of endless school and NHS reforms that are all the rage in England but are of little interest elsewhere.

  31. E Justice
    Posted July 24, 2015 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    Mr Redwood I am sorry to say there are more anti English people in the Conservative Party now including The Prime Minister,Why is this? I know the MPs must Pander to the EU but it is much more than that .It is not only the BBC England has to fight.
    A first Minister for England and an English Parliament is the only way we can fight back. England must have a voice!

  32. forthurst
    Posted July 24, 2015 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

    “Why does the BBC ignore England?”

    There is much that JR finds uncongenial about the BBC as with his own party’s policies; however the extent to which the BBC is truly detached from government itself is difficult to determine. What is certain is that the BBC’s footprint is huge and growing to the extent that for many people it is the voice of this country. There cannot be a truly functioning democracy without an independent media and therefore the BBC baleful influence over the presentation of alternatives to their own orthodoxy or to putative alternative national news sources is destructive. There is far too much media concentration in this country and it doesn’t help either if foreign media corporations can dictate what is presented to us so its doubtful that the corporatist pro-EU editorial policy of the FT will improve under Nikkei ownership.

    • Jerry
      Posted July 26, 2015 at 7:49 am | Permalink

      @forthurst; “What is certain is that the BBC’s footprint is huge and growing to the extent that for many people it is the voice of this country. There cannot be a truly functioning democracy without an independent media and therefore the BBC baleful influence over the presentation of alternatives to their own orthodoxy or to putative alternative national news sources is destructive.”

      Utter ill-informed and simply anti BBC nonsense. You speak as if it is 1955 and the debate is about allowing ITV, not 2015 and a UK with hundreds of TV channels and radio stations, many available via the roof top aerial, and others via the internet or satellite (and thus, technically, accessible outside of the UK should the broadcasters wish in the same way as the BBC WS is) .

      • forthurst
        Posted July 26, 2015 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

        “Utter ill-informed and simply anti BBC nonsense. You speak as if it is 1955 and the debate is about allowing ITV, not 2015 and a UK with hundreds of TV channels and radio stations, many available via the roof top aerial, and others via the internet or satellite (and thus, technically, accessible outside of the UK should the broadcasters wish in the same way as the BBC WS is) .”

        More unconditional pro-BBC (material ed) from Jerry.

        • Jerry
          Posted July 26, 2015 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

          @forthurst; “More unconditional pro-BBC (material ed) from Jerry.”

          More utterly ill-informed nonsense, I just stated the facts!

          • Edward2
            Posted July 27, 2015 at 9:27 am | Permalink

            There were no facts in your post Jerry just your opinion plus a basic statement of the current choices we have these days, providing we subscribe to the BBC first.

            forthurst is quite correct in that the BBC is the dominant broadcaster and has a huge influence in the UK despite recent competition from freeview and satellite and internet broadcasters.
            Even its own executives have stated the BBC has a left leaning liberal bias and has taken firm political positions on many current issues, so I presume you do not accept even what they say.

          • Jerry
            Posted July 27, 2015 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

            @Edward2; Wrong again, anyone looking both the BBC and Sky lists of channel will soon see which of the two media companies has the greeter footprint – otherwise do name me those 6 BBC sports channels or those 12 BBC film channels.

            Oh and do tell me how to watch the Discovery channels without first having subscribing to 500 Sky channels. Fine, scrap the TVL fee but it will do more to highlight the above problem, probably why Sky do not rock the TVL fee boat themselves!

          • Edward2
            Posted July 27, 2015 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

            Its all about coverage and audience figures Jerry
            Being a self proclaimed media expert I would have expected you to realise.

            And tell me Jerry how I watch just BBC 4 without having to pay for all the other BBC channels

  33. Jon
    Posted July 24, 2015 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

    Absolutely agree. There is no support or stomach for the renationalisation of England. I identify with Hertfordshire and London then England and so on.

  34. yosarion
    Posted July 24, 2015 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

    The NHS hospital I attended recently no longer gives you the form to put your ethnicity in the other box as English, they now have that one covered to. I was asked the question I said English, she said that was not an option, I said as I walked away ” That’s great I’ve been ethnically cleansed by the NHS” should have seen the boat race.

  35. DaveM
    Posted July 24, 2015 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

    “Why does the BBC ignore England?” is a good question.

    I’d like to add a few.

    1. Why does the govt ignore child sex grooming by gangs of Asians?
    2. Why does the govt continue to ignore the utter chaos and misery being caused by would-be immigrants in Calais?
    3. Why does the govt waste billions on foreign aid whilst ignoring the fact that people in this country are using food banks?
    4. Why does the govt also ignore England when they wouldn’t be in power without it?
    5. Why does the govt try to erode our culture and history?

    …and many many more.

  36. Mercia
    Posted July 24, 2015 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

    Why is the BBC leading on Obamas visit to Kenya as the main news of the day? Obama is not our president. I would rather know what Mr Cameron was doing today.

  37. Jerry
    Posted July 25, 2015 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    More ignorant anti BBC ramblings, the BBC not only speaks for England but does so via a network of regional programmes etc. just as it does for the rest of the UK via its BBC Wales, BBC Scotland, BBC NI and BBC CI (which are in effect simply regions with perhaps some greater scope for opt-outs. Are you suggesting that there should be more of these regional opt-outs for the English regions, with perhaps greater scope for more regional programmes like there used to be on ITV (prior to mergers that created ITV Plc)? Perhaps you are wishing that there be a dedicated “English news channel” along with such news channels for Scotland, Wales & NI, but then if they did invest in such duplicated channels there would be cries as to why the BBC was wasting the TVL fee payers money. The BBC is dammed if they do, dammed if they don’t.

    Oh and when has Sky (news) ever spoken for “England”…

    Reply. I just want BBC England to do for England what BCC Scotland does for Scotland. I don’t want BBC South instead

    • Iain Moore
      Posted July 25, 2015 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

      When has the BBC ever quizzed British politicians on English people’s behalf.

      Did you ever hear the BBC question Gordon Brown’s legitimacy to set policy in England?

      • Jerry
        Posted July 26, 2015 at 7:53 am | Permalink

        @Iain Moore; I didn’t hear any broadcaster ask that specific question, although I did hear many broadcasters ask why the right wing (mostly press and IP) media was asking such a silly question about the PM of the United Kingdom….

    • Jerry
      Posted July 25, 2015 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

      @JR Reply; But you don’t get BBC South for 95% of the time on BBC1, very rarely on BBC2 and never on the BBC news channel, BBC3, or BBC4,, you seem to be complaining about a mere 5% or so of the entire output of BBC1… I can’t help thinking this might have more to do with the fact that the BBC is in competition with the regional programming elements of ITV Plc…

      Also, how long will News (regional or national) survive on BBC1, perhaps the News Channel should become the channel with the regional opt-out capacity, thus allowing for a four nations “coming together” style national news opt-in, most of the time the channel could indeed operate as an English News Channel (with existing English regional opt-outs in needs-be), whilst Scotland, Wales and NI would have their news channels. Technically, broadcasting wise, this is a simple change, the complexity and costs would be in the logistics of running four news channel studios in four locations.

  38. Stuart B(eaker)
    Posted July 25, 2015 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    Why not just bypass the BBC? Charter a separate English Broadcasting Corporation, and split the current licence fee with them on a head-for-head basis. That would soon get the Beeb thinking seriously about ‘alternative funding strategies’.

    Actually, the more I think about this, the better it seems. You could do the same with C4 – there’s already a Welsh service, so why not pick off the English service, and make all the weather forecasts end at Hadrian’s Wall and Offa’s Dyke???

  39. Stephen
    Posted July 25, 2015 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    The funny thing is that if you ask a lot of people in Scotland, BBC UK does often act like it is BBC England.

    I was reading this the other day. It’s from 2008 but most of it is still completely the same. It’s long but if you just skim you get the gist that BBC usually acts like the default for the whole UK is England:

    http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/bbctrust/assets/files/pdf/review_report_research/impartiality/uk_nations_impartiality.pdf

    I’m a Scot and I’m always saying there should be English stuff. An English Parliament, An English BBC, because when you have ‘British’ things trying to have a dual role for England as well, it pleases no-one. Sometimes the media make it look like the Scots don’t want you to have these things. Nothing could be further from the truth because the system doesn’t work for us either as the above BBC link proves.

  40. Miv Tucker
    Posted July 25, 2015 at 11:34 pm | Permalink

    A minor, but relevant point: While the BBC regularly acknowledges or celebrates St Patrick’s, St David’s and St Andrew’s days, they never, ever do anything on St George’s day.

  • About John Redwood


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

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