Why the BBC is embarrassed by England and seeks to break up our country

I am meeting representatives of the BBC at their request following my submission that the review of the BBC considers their services to England.
I will not of course be meeting BBC England. After much prodding there is now a webpage on England, but there is still no BBC England with England’s news and other programmes in the way there is a BBC Scotland or BBC Wales. The BBC still seeks to implement a regionalisation agenda for England, breaking us up into regions that encourage little loyalty or even recognition.
My first question to the BBC is Why do you insist on trying to balkanise England when you do not do the same for Scotland? The Highlands and islands are very different from the lowlands, the borders are different from the central belt, yet you allow Scotland to be a single entity. Why is my part of England called the South of England? Why is Wokingham lumped with Dorset and the Isle of Wight, but not with neighbouring Surrey or west London?
My second question is why are you so embarrassed by England? The answer appears on your short profile of England which you have now published on the BBC website. In a revealing passage the BBC states

“Scottish and Welsh nationalist movements have long been part of the political mainstream, and are seen as champions of legitimate historical identities. English nationalism…has often been portrayed as a reaction to non white immigration and is seen as largely the province of the far right. But there is a constitutional nationalist movement that focuses on the English Parliament issue”

So England cannot have a BBC England because a few nasty people have pursued extreme nationalism, whereas in the case of other nationalist movements we look at the majority law abiding membership of those movements and not the criminal fringes. It is interesting that they seem to equate proper national coverage for the nations of the UK with nationalisms. Why can’t they just give sensible national coverage for England within the UK? Many English people want their country recognised and loved without wanting to break up the UK.

They are also hung up on devolution. Apparently you cannot have national feelings withouth a government. Their dismissive attitude to England is unpleasant. ” The kingdom of England had a distinct identity until it was subsumed into the UK in 1707″ – not you note 1603 and the union of crowns. “The establishment of devolved parliaments in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales after 1997 gave those constituent parts of the UK their own political identity, leaving England the only part directly run by the British government”.

England is a country with no England government. It has officially recognised symbols including its flag which is flown from Churches, sports stadia, and official buildings as appropriate. You are allowed to have the English flag on your number plates. Yet the BBC claims that “Markers of specific identity such as the flag of St George tend to be unofficial, while similar signs of Scottish and Welsh nationhood are sanctioned by the separate institutions of those countries.”

So when they ask me what my issue is, I will say simply stop denying England’s flag and national feelings, stop trying to break England up, and stop judging England by the minority tendency of its criminal extremists.

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52 Comments

  1. APL
    Posted August 16, 2015 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    JR: “So England cannot have a BBC England because a few nasty people have pursued extreme nationalism, ”

    Actually, the English have to have a British broadcasting corporation even if they choose not to watch or listen to the service.

    The solution to your complaint is to make the BBC a voluntary subscription service.

    • yosarion
      Posted August 16, 2015 at 11:43 pm | Permalink

      JR, I see the Beeb are suggesting that the people not politicians should decide its future, while your there, can you say that a good way and very democratic way would be those that want the BBC pay the TV tax and those that don’t like Me, just need the date that we can cancel the direct debit from.

  2. Richard1
    Posted August 16, 2015 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    what happening to the Justice for England campaign? i see the SNP are backsliding on this and want to be able to impose silly leftist policies on the UK which the people of England do not want. Perhaps a Corbyn-SNP alliance will give a new boost to demands for Justice for England.

  3. Old Albion
    Posted August 16, 2015 at 7:17 am | Permalink

    quote .. “Scottish and Welsh nationalist movements have long been part of the political mainstream, and are seen as champions of legitimate historical identities. English nationalism…has often been portrayed as a reaction to non white immigration and is seen as largely the province of the far right. But there is a constitutional nationalist movement that focuses on the English Parliament issue”

    They sound like the majority of Westminster MP’s. Self-loathing, hair shirt wearing deniers of England, it’s history and future.

  4. bluedog
    Posted August 16, 2015 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    An excellent opportunity to remind the BBC that they take money from the EU, Dr JR. Being in the pay of a foreign power, the BBC should consider itself disqualified from intervention in the British political debate.

  5. Antisthenes
    Posted August 16, 2015 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    The BBC is well past it’s shelf life and despite denials to the contrary it is now nothing more than the propaganda arm of the left. You will not get much joy or change of culture at the BBC just platitudes.

    I note they have become a little more politically balanced although the bias pokes through when they think they can get away with it since the election knowing their charter review is now going to be done by a Conservative government.

    The BBC licence fee must immediately be decriminalised for non payment and gradually it’s funding should move to pay to view and /or reliant on advertising revenue.

  6. Graspingatstraws
    Posted August 16, 2015 at 7:32 am | Permalink

    Surely it is the BBC that should be broken up rather than England? Why engage with such an extreme socialist, elitist organization as the Beeb? If the political will is not their to end their totally unjustified tele tax funding then they should be marginalized, ignored or ridiculed not pandered to.

  7. Margaret Brandreth-J
    Posted August 16, 2015 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    Who is the writer of such trash? The BBC persae does not write this but allows it to be published.
    We now have a TV station called Manchester.It is in the main presented in one room with people sitting on a pink sofa.It is so tacky.The exchanges may be interesting , but the presentation is such that I would rather sit and look at my garden and read.

    • yosarion
      Posted August 16, 2015 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

      Would this be on channel 117 through the Sky platform the Bristol one is, wonder who funds it?

    • libertarian
      Posted August 17, 2015 at 8:53 am | Permalink

      These are the first wave of a round of OFCOM local TV franchise licences. Once again proving that Ofcom and the government are totally detached from reality. These so called “community” stations are a nonsense. Vanity projects at best.

      TV and radio media is changing beyond recognition but is still being state controlled by the oppressive & dinosaur like OFCOM licensing and regulations, who haven’t yet noticed that the world has changed drastically

  8. JoeSoap
    Posted August 16, 2015 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    And of course it doesn’t matter that Scottish, Welsh nationalism could be portrayed as a reaction to being run by a Parliament in England and is often seen as a province of the far left? That’s all right because those nice people in Scotland who welcomed Mr Farage were to the left and so can be ignored as extreme nationalists….

  9. alan jutson
    Posted August 16, 2015 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    I wish you well in your discussions.

  10. Iain Moore
    Posted August 16, 2015 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    We had Welsh nationalist burning English people’s holiday homes, we had Scottish nationalists involved in terrorism, and Northern Ireland everybody knows about. But none of this worries the BBC when they indulge in their identities , it is only when it comes to England that the BBC seeks to find fault, and find some load mouths , mostly marching under a British flag with Britain as part of their name , as a reason why an English identity shouldn’t be recognised.

    The difference we have here is that BBC will tolerate (different behaviour ed)rom organisations embedded in the political left, but won’t tolerate any political movement that comes from anywhere other than the left. As for some reason the left hate the English, a hatred I have never been able to find the root of , those pushing for an English identity to be recognised has come from the right , this makes it a political movement that is beyond the pale for the BBC and so something that shouldn’t be aired.

    The BBC’s failure to recognise England , is yet another example of the BBC’s political bias.

  11. Iain Gill
    Posted August 16, 2015 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    for the same reasons they do not give equal weight to the majority mainstream views of the public on immigration. they have a settled view of what is good for us and continually try to pump that view as if its the majority view. they are even running Calais as a good news story this morning. no coverage at all of big issues like uncapped intra company visas and they way they have been used. and so on.

  12. MickN
    Posted August 16, 2015 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    “So when they ask me what my issue is, I will say simply stop denying England’s flag and national feelings, stop trying to break England up”

    Whilst you have a head of steam up you might like to have the same conversation with the Chancellor.

    • Mark B
      Posted August 16, 2015 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

      Hear, hear.

    • M Davis
      Posted August 16, 2015 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

      Ditto.

      “… you might like to have the same conversation with the Chancellor. …”

      And also the PM.

  13. DaveM
    Posted August 16, 2015 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    My apologies – a long post. I’d like to offer a slightly different theory, arguing that the BBC are just following govt policy, that it’s not about the ‘balkanisation’ of England, but the de-nationalisation of Scotland and Wales, and that it’s the Conservative Party which is the main cause of the policy of which you speak.

    I think there are two schools of thought in the modern Con Party. (I’m not even going to mention Labour because I don’t think they even know what they’re thinking at the minute, or the Ken Clarke pro-USE bunch.)

    1. The David Cameron (and friends) and BBC think (all unsubstantiated of course):

    I think he believes in an EU consisting of a large number of nation states all with similar costs and standards of living. He believes in a European council of leaders, headed up by a democratically elected non-executive Chairman. I don’t think he believes in a single currency, and I don’t think he sees any merit in a costly and ineffectual European Parliament. But regarding the UK, I think he’s uncomfortable with the UK being a ‘Union within a Union’, which is why he clings desperately to the Victorian idea that Britain is one country made up of regions. It would also explain his enthusiasm for regional assemblies; by introducing them in England, he is reducing the Scottish, Welsh and NI assembles to regional assemblies and thus reducing the countries to regions without national political identity as such. The trouble with this is that it doesn’t take into account the increasing nationalist feelings in the UK, and in fact by trying to decrease national political identity he is actually stoking the nationalism of which he is so scared.

    2. The other school of thought is that the UK is a Union of four countries which should have their own parliaments of some description, and which should work closely with the EU, not be in it. I would imagine that if the PM was in this school, most of his starry-eyed followers would be too.

    So ultimately, we can hammer the BBC as much as we like, but until the David Cameron ‘One Nation’ (whoops – I’ve heard that before somewhere!) faction within the Con Party changes, the BBC will continue to treat the UK as one country, hence their reticence towards England.

    Of course there is a simplish solution which would actually keep both sides relatively happy. I’ll suggest that another time.

  14. oldtimer
    Posted August 16, 2015 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    Balkanising England serves the EU agenda, which the BBC is paid by the EU to promote. Do you intend to ask the BBC about this aspect of their operations?

  15. Liz
    Posted August 16, 2015 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    The BBC’s statement on its attitude to England is a political one, The BBC is funded by taxation and should have no political views – this statement expresses exactly why the B B C should no longerbe funded by a compulsory TV tax but by voluntary subscription and also cut down in sizeconsiderably. The BBC seeks to regionalise England – itself a political ambition (and undemocratic) yet its regional coverage of England is absolutely dire. South Today its flagship TV programme for somewhere called “The South” is partly a repeat of the main news immediately before and partly parish magazine content. You would be hard put to find out what is happening in local politics (which it has a duty to cover) from its content. Its main headline is often the weather. It would be interesting to know what proportion of its resources are spent on the BBC Scotland, BBC Wales and BBC Northern Ireland divisions compared with the meagre regional programmes that England gets. I suspect that the English are subsidising the Scottish etc. broadcasting costs.

  16. Alan Wheatley
    Posted August 16, 2015 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    Here here!

    You might also ask them why it is not possible to see BBC Scotland programmes in England using the iPlayer facility. During the Scottish referendum campaign I was interested in what was being said in Scotland but found it impossible to find out what the BBC was broadcasting in Scotland.

    And there was a Rory Bremner programme that I would have loved to watch, but not possible from Herefordshire.

    The first “B” stands for BRITISH.

  17. Bert Young
    Posted August 16, 2015 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    I agree with your post 100% . The BBC has never given England its proper recognition and own place in its broadcasting ; the only thing it has done is to regionalise the weather reports . National outlooks are very different in the UK , so , if the BBC does this for Wales and Scotland , then there is absolutely no excuse not to do so for England . England must have its own voice ; if the BBC don’t accept this then another organisation should take the opportunity up .

    • Horatio McSherry
      Posted August 16, 2015 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

      “National outlooks are very different in the UK…”

      Indeed. And there is one of the main problems the BBC would face if it had to provide English representation: The Scots and Welsh would vote for a pig if it stood under a socialist banner, and the BBC has great empathy with this. However, the majority of England tends to lean towards “small c” conservatism, and having to reflect that would cause a complete ideological meltdown.

  18. forthurst
    Posted August 16, 2015 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    “The kingdom of England had a distinct identity [according to the BBC] until it was subsumed into the UK in 1707”

    Really? How did England, the larger and more powerful nation disappear whilst Scotland remained? The problem is not England or the English having lost their identity but a bunch of rootless cosmopolitans who run the BBC that never had that to lose in the first place. Another problem is that, as a consequence, the worldview of the BBC differs markedly from those it purports to serve but which it persists in inflicting on its declining audience, nevertheless; this phenomenon is not restricted to England but will be found in many other Western countries, e.g Sweden and is a result of a deliberate and concerted form of entryism which is most certainly not based on talent or affection for the people it purports to serve.

    It is not clear either why the BBC equates English identity with rabid nationalism, using this as a strawman argument for declining to recognise England in its broadcasting in favour of an arbitrary carveup of our country into what it refers to as regions. There are many of us who as a result of internal movement within the UK for whatever reason find ourselves geographically apart from places that formed strong memories from earlier years, where our ancestors may have lived for hundreds, about which we still retain an affection and an interest, and in any case, as we move around England we still see it as one country, our country, about which we have more interest than those which we might regard as foreign.

  19. CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON
    Posted August 16, 2015 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    The BBC and its regional manifestations have a truly gargantuan hiccup in their utterances. Their broadcasters, however sincere and even genuine, because of the medium have to cobble together Northern Standard English with its underlying dialectal syntax ( which is a complete mismatch ) and, somehow use what amounts to British Media Speak simultaneously. It all sounds contrived and to some patronizing even if well meant. Yorkshire dialect as with many other dialects is succinct as Shakespeare’s.

    Yet British Media Speak and the protocols of British-English proper is bloated chock-full of often unnecessary niceties, politenesses and protocols.
    The BBC should not try to speak in tongues.Should stick to the point. One Country. One Way. One Tongue. And ONE UNION FLAG for our athletes at the Olympics.

    Many people prefer listening to American politicians and wealthy Americans and industrialists than their British counterparts. Why? Because they sound like Me and You. And not You and I . Whatever linguistic affectations wealthy and powerful Americans MAY have, we British cannot hear their possible supercilious poshness.

    Donald Trump, Warren Buffet or Bill Gates should be Head of the BBC and would probably also make a more genuinely down to earth Labour Leader to boot.

  20. John Kemp
    Posted August 16, 2015 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    I understand where you are coming from but I would bet that you’d be the first to say that you weren’t wholly satisfied with the feeling, the idea, the grievance that you were trying to describe.
    But you weren’t far off.
    They try to make us ashamed to cheer a St George’s flag and yet it is the battle flag of the Royal Navy which raised the hair on my neck when it was hoisted at action stations. A 30 foot monster, snapping and cracking high on the mast, sharp white against low scudding grey clouds. Those enemies on the receiving end knew ‘what’ was shooting at them. England.

    • DaveM
      Posted August 16, 2015 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

      John,

      I see the White Ensign every day flying all over Devonport, saluted at Colours and Sunset and it still has the same effect. I also like the fact that every foreign ship that comes into port has to fly a Union Jack on the stern – even the Germans!!

  21. Peter Stroud
    Posted August 16, 2015 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    Thank you John Redwood. Please keep fighting England’s corner, both against the BBC, and in the Commons. It really is time for an English parliament, and a UK parliament, in addition to the devolved assemblies.

  22. Kenneth
    Posted August 16, 2015 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    The BBC as usual makes political statements. They are not shy to do so, with their arrogance and audacity boldly on display.

    The irony in the BBC’s political statement that “English nationalism…has often been portrayed as a reaction to non white immigration…” is that the portrayal largely comes from the BBC itself.

    For years the BBC has ignored the British people’s concerns over immigration and went the other way, heavily promoting all aspects of immigration and immigrants. This is still happening. Even the other day the BBC ignored Mr Pickle’s warnings about election rigging but found plenty of airtime and webspace to promote the plight of the Calais immigrants.

    Ever since the Labour Party changed its mind about the EC and supported our membership of it, the BBC has kept most criticism of it from its coverage. Numerous times the BBC has referred to the EU as “Europe” and referred to eu-sceptics as “anti Europeans”. It still does this to this day knowing full well that this is factually incorrect and insulting.

    For years the BBC promoted the Greens (countless appearances on Question Time throughout the 1990’s and 2000’s and ignored UKIP). The “green” policies that followed were self fulfilling prophecies.

    Then, a few years ago, the BBC went the other way and heavily promoted UKIP, creating a surge in its support which fell away as soon as the BBC promotion stopped.

    Recently, the BBC has plastered Mr Corbyn all over its network and website. People are wondering why he is so ahead and why so many people are attending his rallies. With such coverage, why do they wonder?

    Don’t get me wrong. There is a genuine core of support for Mr Corbyn just as there is for UKIP, but the BBC’s influence blows this out of proportion, bullying the country into moving in the direction that the BBC decides upon.

    We can even go back a long time where I remember the BBC heavily promoting Mrs Thatcher and denigrating Mr Foot, resulting in the election of our first woman prime minister. A few years later the BBC turned on her like a snarling dog in what perhaps was the most sustained political attack the BBC has ever mounted. The BBC which, in my opinion was largely responsible for her first election, was also responsible for her fall

    Propaganda has proved to be powerful throughout history, but what the Soviet Union teaches us is that the effect can be superficial and does not change the soul of the People.

    In the UK the greatest damage is caused by politicians being swayed by the BBC, short cutting the democratic process. Why? Because outside of election time they are more worried by a tv mauling or by unfavourable coverage than they are of the electorate. The media then arrogantly makes the assumption that this is a reflection of public opinion when, in reality, the public were never invited into this short-circuited process.

    Thus, we see swings from one movement to another, unwanted expensive “green” policies, expensive and damaging eu membership and unwanted immigration mainly due to the political wishes of the BBC

    The BBC has no right to make political statements or political assumptions, especially assumptions based on its own warped coverage. It has badly damaged our country and it is about time we brought in a subscription fee to replace the licence. Such a move could prove very unpopular as the BBC unleashes its propaganda. However the effects from propaganda are superficial and so I doubt that the unpopularity will be long lasting. Once the BBC is brought down to size we may at last get governments and policies that the People want and not what the BBC wants.

  23. agricola
    Posted August 16, 2015 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    “You cannot have national feelings without a Government.” What utter tosh, an elitist pseudo intellectual interpretation, invented to cover their agenda to marginalise England. No doubt following EU policy who are their paymasters in terms of political think speak.

    Think Cricket, Lords, the Ashes; Rugby Twickenham and the Six Nations; Soccer, Wembley and any game against Germany. How many manifestations of England and Englishness do these Guardianistas need.

    In the current review of the BBC you do not ask them, you tell them how to behave towards all things English and England. Make them subject to Ofcom who should have overriding powers to dismiss any who cannot obey the impartiality rules. Remind them who pays for their salaries and indulgences. If they find it impossible to obey the rules they should be directed back to their Alma Mater the Guardian.

    • yosarion
      Posted August 16, 2015 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

      Cricket was changed from the Test and County Cricket Board to the England and Wales Cricket board when Hugh Morris the EX Glamorgan Chairman took over at Lords. We are not even allowed a Cricket team of are own now.

  24. Kevin Lohse
    Posted August 16, 2015 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    You might like to ask the BBC take into account that no property in England belonging to a Welshman has been set on fire by an English nationalist, and that Scottish parliamentarians are not regularly hounded by aggressive English nationalists when electioneering. Neither do English lawmakers regularly excuse such outlandish behaviours. You may also find the opportunity to ask the BBC’s representatives what the quid pro quo is for accepting the large amount of EU funding they are invited to apply for.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 17, 2015 at 8:09 am | Permalink

      And you haven’t even mentioned the violent fruits of Irish nationalism.

  25. agricola
    Posted August 16, 2015 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    I read that Michael Gove wishes to de-criminalise the offence of not having a TV Licence because it is overloading magistrates courts. Why not have on the spot fines with no recourse to court as with parking fines. better cash flow and a reduction in court time.

    Much better to force BBC news and Current Affairs to go commercial. It would have the added effect of sharpening up their act. The TV Licence could then be much reduced to cover most of the other things the BBC does quite well. It would also eliminate the BBC’s political agenda for those who have no wish for it.

  26. outsider
    Posted August 16, 2015 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    Dear Mr Redwood: I was shocked by your revelations of the official BBC position. Fortunately, they do not seem as yet to be shared by BBC Sport, which acknowledges that England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have national football teams, that England, Scotland and Wales have national rugby teams and England and, more recently, Scotland have national cricket teams.
    In sport, the UK is seen clearly to be made up of four nations, though in some , particularly smaller sports they sometimes compete as a joint British team and in a few there is a whole of Ireland national team.
    The England cricket team is sent out by the England & Wales Cricket Board and often includes players from Wales, Scotland, Ireland and other countries but is still the England cricket team, not the British or UK cricket team or even ( perhaps unjustly) the England & Wales team.
    I hope that the BBC’s revisionist political line will not be applied logically so that its sports commentators are in future obliged to refer to the English football and rugby teams as the “rest of the UK” team.

  27. Boudicca
    Posted August 16, 2015 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    The BBC is simply following the lead of the British Establishment – or possibly doing as it is instructed by that Establishment (and the EU).

    This basically says that England is not to be officially recognised as a country, or the English as a nation. We are not to be allowed our own Parliament, free from interference by the other parliaments in the countries which make up the UK. England must be divided into regions – whether the English like it or not.

    The 3 parties of the Establishment in Parliament all adhere to this policy. Not one of them supports the creation of an English Parliament. They will, to a greater or lesser degree, allow a very limited form of EVEL to keep the peasants quiet …. and with the other hand, they will continue with their plans to regionalise England and therefore weaken still further what little political power the English have within the UK and the EU.

  28. JoolsB
    Posted August 16, 2015 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    “My first question to the BBC is Why do you insist on trying to balkanise England when you do not do the same for Scotland?”

    Whilst you’re at it John, could you also ask the same question to Cameron and Osborne, especially Osborne, and the rest of the self serving, anti-English UK MPs in the UK Government who happen to be squatting in English seats but can’t even bring themselves to say the word ENGLAND let alone demand an end to this balkanisation agenda once and for all?

  29. Denis Cooper
    Posted August 16, 2015 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    Well, good luck with the BBC, but you know my view – that England should have the same as Scotland has had for sixteen years now, namely a separate and separately elected devolved parliament and government for the whole of England,

  30. Ex-expat Colin
    Posted August 16, 2015 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

    Thought they were the experts (authority) on TV/Video and Broadcast, so you could use Skype. Saves travel and meals etc and I hardly think they will change anything. Unless they get a swift kicking from a major change in earnings.

    I understand they are outsourcing some of their desktop support to…Poland. Savings, well there’s a thing?

  31. petermartin2001
    Posted August 16, 2015 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

    I’m of the left but I’ve no problem with the concept of Englishness. I feel both English and British and I’d be very unhappy if the Union were to lose Scotland. People can say what they like about Jeremy Corbyn but I can’t see anyone else, from any other party than the SNP, who’s likely to command any significant level of political support there.

    I know what you mean about the soft-left types who inhabit the BBC and the Guardian. They are busy trying to persuade Labour supporters to vote for their brand of soggy centre leftish pro-EU “progressive” politics. Well, the signs are that we’ve had enough of them for a while thank you very much.

    It would be fine to have a united England if the North was getting the economic rebalancing and investment promised. What happened to the “Northern Powerhouse” concept? Does that still mean anything or was it just an election slogan? The recent cancellation of key rail electrification projects, though, just fuels the argument that England should be regionally divided.

  32. John
    Posted August 16, 2015 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

    I wish you luck with the BBC, JR, I have raised the issue of an English BBC with them in the past but, because I am a peasant in their eyes, I can be safely ignored. Please ask them about the Fry comment where he blurted out that he had only just been allowed to mention the word English and was still getting used to the change. Could you also keep and publish the transcript of your meeting with them or, better still, show a link where we can all follow your travails with them.

  33. Garry Young
    Posted August 16, 2015 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

    I’ve asked the BBC dozens of times why there is no BBC England, no England politics section on the BBC news pages, no England history page etc. and why they continue to insist on referring to the “Nations and English regions”.

    I just get fobbed off over and over again (by staff based in Northern Ireland or Scotland” with the standard line that there is no English national identity that needs to be recognised or “England is too big”.

    Apparently we can’t even have a BBC England logo (let alone channel) because “England’s population is almost ten times that of Scotland and such a large population cannot be effectively served by a single channel…” obviously, that hasn’t stopped BBC America. We can’t have an England politics section “because there is no England-only law making body, as such there is no such thing as English politics…”

    The BBC Trust’s own impartiality report” BBC Network news and current affairs coverage of the four UK nations” is worth reading. Just a pity the BBC seems to have decided to ignore its findings:
    http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/bbctrust/assets/files/pdf/review_report_research/impartiality/uk_nations_impartiality.pdf

    I suspect that the main reasons behind the BBC’s anti-England/pro-English regions approach are (1) the BBC Charter which uses the terminology Nations and Regions to set-out the BBC’s remit (presumably this would be easy for the Government to change to the “The four nations of the UK” (2) there is an army of BBC regional political and news editors who would be at risk if the BBC reported on England as a nation.

    If you wanted more evidence of the contempt the BBC Trust has for England just read what they say about the BBC’s “Public Purposes”:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/aboutthebbc/insidethebbc/whoweare/publicpurposes/communities.html

    Good luck with your meeting – I suspect it will be an uphill battle!

    • Iain Moore
      Posted August 17, 2015 at 8:05 am | Permalink

      It seems that quite a number of us have been having a go at the BBC for failing to recognise England over many years, but getting nowhere. It seems we suffer from being individuals having a go, who they can ignore, rather than being a collective group who they can’t ignore.

      The most frustrating thing about this is that you lay out your case to the BBC , then they completely ignore it . Like right from the devolution off, back in 1998, I pointed out to the BBC it wasn’t right they didn’t give English people a forum within their organisation to debate English politics , and it just wasn’t on having the likes of Kirtsy Wark going to host programs in Edinburgh and stating English people don’t want a Parliament, and I cited many other instances. Their response was to sent me a BBC document, ‘Devolution the BBC’s program response’ here it mentioned this that and the other about Scotland, in fact mentioning Scotland some 83 times. England it didn’t mention once, and in a regional context 3 times. The BBC just didn’t care that they were proving my case.

      And like you I have also had a go at the BBC for their online content , what particularly aggrieved me was the service they offered English people in the 2001 election. Where they gave the other nations a messageboard forums to debate their electoral issues, something they didn’t offer us English. The only national forum they offered English people was an NHS messageboard, which meant if you put anything on it about an English Parliament for instance, it got deleted for being off topic.

      I tackled the BBC over this , and was referred to the chap who had been given the job of creating an online BBC England. He disarmingly told be he was Welsh and didn’t know much about English identity, but as I seemed to have some idea perhaps I would care to speak to his boss who had the job title of ‘Diversity Editor and BBC English regions’ , which wasn’t a good start, and got no better, for againafter laying out my case, she responded , quote, ‘ Please feel free to email me your specific queries regarding English regions’.

      At times it had felt head bangingly futile talking to the BBC about an English identity, for no matter what you say, or no matter how carefully you craft your argument, they just ignore the lot , and talk English regions.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 17, 2015 at 8:06 am | Permalink

      “We can’t have an England politics section “because there is no England-only law making body, as such there is no such thing as English politics…””

      Another good reason why we need one, and should have one as we deserve.

  34. Chris S
    Posted August 16, 2015 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

    I entirely support your desire to keep England as a single entity and not allow the EU strategy of “Balkanisation” to succeed. For the most part, however, I disagree with the line you are taking with the BBC.

    Yes, you are right to criticise their associating our flag and country with right wing extremism but not about their regional news broadcasts.

    For the purposes of “Local” news, it is surely necessary to divide up a large geographical area. In fact the populations of each of the English regions used by both ITV and the BBC are much bigger than Scotland or Wales which both get regions all of their own. It would therefore be entirely logical to “localise” more within England rather than less.

  35. sm
    Posted August 16, 2015 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

    Look at our ‘democracy’ when you cant even de-criminalise the license/tax fee system. The problem at the moment is the HOL.

    Perhaps the funding for the BBC should become devolved to the nations in the union.?

    No doubt you can guess hoe many would wish to stay with BBC England.

    The BBC must be made tot go self-funding with genuine public broadcasting contracted out.

    The other alternative is closure or sell off. The sales proceeds could defray the costs of our EU obligations and fund the NHS.

  36. Roy Grainger
    Posted August 17, 2015 at 6:40 am | Permalink

    Good luck John. I expect the usual outcome to any complaint about the BBC “We have consulted widely with all interested parties and conclude that the BBC has done nothing wrong at all and is perfect”. All they need to find is someone who thinks the BBC is too England-centric (an SNP MP will say that) to oppose your view and they will conclude they have achieved a perfect balance.

  37. agricola
    Posted August 17, 2015 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    Rona Fairhead of the BBC Trust says the general public must decide the future of the BBC not politicians. Very democratic, I don’t think. The general public have no forum other than politicians to put forward their case. That is what politicians are there for , to reflect , as far as possible the wishes of their constituents.

    It would seem to me that Ms. Fairhead wants a response from the general public that is so diluted and meaningless that the status quo continues. Sorry you are not going to get away with that one.

  38. bluedog
    Posted August 17, 2015 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    The obvious solution to the problem of the BBC will emerge after the English parliament announces the formation of an English Broadcasting Corp. A sensible competitor to the BBC financed by an English government could work wonders. The Beeb would slowly atrophy.

  39. Eleanor Justice
    Posted August 17, 2015 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    Thank you again Mr Redwood I think you and Frank Field are the only two Englishmen in the Commons.
    A Voice for England a First Minister for England and a Parliament for England!

  40. William Grant
    Posted August 19, 2015 at 12:02 am | Permalink

    Due to high winds damaging my ariel, I was without television for seven weeks earlier this year and, as a voter, do not feel I was served well by the services available on my DAB service. Radio Scotland is not available to me on DAB, although it is to others in Scotland
    and I reckon it should go on the BBC’s DAB service UK-wide, along with Radio Wales and Radio Ulster. The rest of the BBC’s radio channels, apart from the World Service, should be Radio England channels, fully concerned with viewing things through an English prism.
    Radios Scotland, Wales and
    Ulster could broadcast the World service overnights instead of BBC Radio 5 Live.

  41. RB
    Posted August 22, 2015 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    and stop judging England by the minority tendency of its criminal extremists.

    >
    I have noticed this is what politically correct self destructive ideas always seem to do. They reduce everything to the lowest common denominator. By appealing to the minority all the time they undermine and eventually destroy the majority, in this case the English. I think that is such an important point. This is what the BBC do with everything, Gay marriage being another example.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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