Questions the BBC need to ask to show balance on the EU

The BBC will I trust wish to be fair in the long run up to the EU referendum. We know they have a list of questions to ask to assist the stay in campaign, as we hear them regularly on radio and tv. Just to help them I am going to suggest some other questions they need to ask to show balance.

Let’s first take the case of interviews of business leaders. They nearly always ask for comments on the possible damage they think exit might do, but rarely ask about the gains. They could ask

Which countries would you like the UK to negotiate a free trade deal with on exit, as we would be free to do so? (The EU has no deal with the USA, China, India etc)

How much more could you export to markets like the USA, India and China if the UK was free to have its own free trade agreements?

Which EU laws, taxes  and regulations would you like a UK government to amend or repeal for business at home and with countries outside the EU, on exit?

Let’s then take the case of interviews with people from public sector organisations. The BBC is normally keen to see these bodies receive more money from government, as it usually aligns with public service rather than with taxpayers. It could ask all of them

If the UK leaves the EU how would you like the £10 billion we save from no longer having to pay a net contribution to the EU to be spent? Would you prefer it to be added to public sector budgets rather than offered as a tax cut?

If the UK stays in the EU, do you think domestic budgets should be cut as the EU budget grows and demands more UK cash?

Let’s take the case of interviews with representatives of the EU government, and with political parties in favour of staying in on current terms.

They should be asked

Do you agree with the 5 Presidents of the EU that rapid progress now needs to be made with economic, monetary, capital markets, banking and political union?

What should the UK’s relationship be with the Euro area and its emerging political union, given the fact that the UK is not about to join the Euro?

If other interviewees are also going to brought into the EU debate as most business people are they could ask

Which taxes would you most like cut when we no longer have to pay £10 billion a year into the EU?

I noticed this morning, once again the Today programme business section was in full propaganda mode despite Bernard Jenkin’s excellent critique of them on Tuesday. During a piece on the success of Aston Martin and the UK motor industry they had to ask how could Aston and the industry do so well with the uncertainty overhanging them about the UK’s membership of the EU! The interviewee rightly ignored this and talked about the excellence of Aston’s people.

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86 Comments

  1. Rita Webb (Mrs)
    Posted September 11, 2015 at 5:21 am | Permalink

    “Tax cuts”, you have got to be kidding! Any money saved from the EU is going to evaporate in dealing with the 100,000s making their way into the UK each year. It must be patently obvious by now that the vast bulk of the people settling here now are not going to be net contributors to the state’s coffers.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted September 11, 2015 at 7:38 am | Permalink

      As you say: “The vast bulk of the people settling here now are not going to be net contributors to the state’s coffers.”

      Indeed, and certainly not in the short to medium term, even less so when they bring their sick, elderly and extended families to join them.

      • bigneil
        Posted September 11, 2015 at 11:50 am | Permalink

        “not going to be net contributors ” – but they will “contribute”, (words left out ed). Photos of those making their way across Europe have shown no respect or regard for the laws of the country they were in at the time. Walking on motorways and train tracks. Told to do something THEY don’t wish to do, results in instant yelling and behaving in a threatening manner – with nothing done by the authorities. If they had been met with some show of control and force, letting them know they do NOT behave like that, they may start to think of their behaviour. When hundreds of thousands amass in one country, then start behaving like this, then civil unrest is bound to happen. As their %age of the population increases their only “thank you” will be the destruction of what they came for – and it will be “job done”. I honestly don’t believe that many could behave in a calm civilised manner. Screaming and yelling is soon to be commonplace here – and our own taxes will be paying them to do it. A very sarcastic “Thank you” to Cameron and “Ange”.

  2. Peter van Leeuwen
    Posted September 11, 2015 at 5:50 am | Permalink

    Then again, once left,the UK is likely to be over occupied for many years to disentangle the many treaties it had within the EU, with the EU and as part of the EU with other parts of the world. Quite a few employment opportunities for and army of lawyers, civil servants and UK politicians?

    • Mark B
      Posted September 11, 2015 at 6:11 am | Permalink

      Many of the rules, regulations and laws that currently come from the EU also come from other bodies, such as ISO and SMMT, to name but two. All others can be brought under the UK statute and changed or repealed. Trade can be done through EEA and EFTA.

      Yes, there is still much work to do, but people need to be positive and see the benefits of not being tied to what is now a debt union.

    • Rita Webb (Mrs)
      Posted September 11, 2015 at 6:21 am | Permalink

      Yes and look at countries that have never been in the EU and how they get caught in its web like Norway. Perhaps someone could explain why after the Swiss people voted against building minarets in their country, the Federal Council still needs to go to Brussels to get permission to bring it into law?

      On a positive note I was in Arnhem at the weekend. It was nice to see lots of people flying “Airborne” flags in their gardens and kids going around with union flag designs on their t-shirts. Though I should point out its often forgotten that Poland fought their too!

    • Anonymous
      Posted September 11, 2015 at 6:24 am | Permalink

      Peter vL – You are, of course, right. It is all too late to extricate ourselves from this mess but it would be nice to see the mass rejection of the EU anyway.

    • Know-Dice
      Posted September 11, 2015 at 6:51 am | Permalink

      One step at a time Peter…

      First the “mill stone” of the EU, then a kick in the pants to our over eager gold plating civil servants… 🙂

    • Iain Moore
      Posted September 11, 2015 at 7:26 am | Permalink

      Petty fogging bureaucrats can only make you life a misery if you allow them to make your like a misery.

      • Iain Moore
        Posted September 11, 2015 at 7:26 am | Permalink

        read it as …make your life a misery. Thanks

    • Edward2
      Posted September 11, 2015 at 8:04 am | Permalink

      Just buy a big shredder.

    • margaret
      Posted September 11, 2015 at 8:05 am | Permalink

      Yes PVL , you are right on that one. At the prospect of all that impending change one can imagine the hands of lawyers being rubbed in anticipation of collecting that remuneration from the prolonged period of time dealing with rights and responsibilities.
      The BBC is a brilliant organisation , but John brought up the stand that it was bias towards the left in the house the other night along with Bill Cash. As this is televised and views can be heard the argument of bias will be more balanced. I occasionally listen to Radio 4 ,but not half as much as I used to 30 years ago or as my parents before me; much of the chatter bores me,. The more intellectual output can be read or listened to on the less tatty TV channels.
      The way forward for JR’s opinion is to bring it into prime time television and reach out to more viewers. How about the channel 4 news John.?

      • Kenneth
        Posted September 11, 2015 at 10:34 am | Permalink

        I suspect that Channel Four News would run a mile from such an interview.

        Quite apart from the (understandable) unwritten code of journalists not criticizing their colleagues there is the deeper problem that the BBC is the only secure employer in broadcast journalism. As such, domestic tv and radio journalists tend to toe the BBC line. It would be a bad career move to do otherwise.

    • Chris
      Posted September 11, 2015 at 8:09 am | Permalink

      Peter, could I suggest you read Flexcit, by R North?

      • Graham Wood
        Posted September 11, 2015 at 9:58 am | Permalink

        Chris. Flexcit? Hardly bed-time reading at over 400 pages of prolix political fantasy that really has very little by way of practical solutions for a Brexit.
        In any event, Flexcit is described by the author as a POST exit strategy in six stages, and further, which is “not an end in itself”. Brexit and every effort to extricate the UK from this corrupt and outdated organisation is every bit an end in itself.

      • M Davis
        Posted September 11, 2015 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

        I’ll second that which, Chris, @8:09am said.

    • Mike Stallard
      Posted September 11, 2015 at 8:13 am | Permalink

      There are indeed a lot of people who stand to lose a lot of power and income. But then, again, there are lot of people, including our host, Mr Redwood, who stand to gain – regain? – their lost power in parliament.
      The army officers will, of course, be ordered to the Baltics and Ukraine if we stay in as war is increasingly likely after Mr Juncker’s State of the Union speech a couple of days ago.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted September 11, 2015 at 9:18 am | Permalink

        Most importantly the British people as a whole will regain power. Of course there is no guarantee that they will then use it wisely, indeed they have repeatedly failed to do that in the past by electing old party politicians who have no commitment to the sovereignty of the national Parliament of which they are members, and who are perfectly willing to cede more and more of its legal power to international organisations. There are some elected representatives who are very concerned about sovereignty, but oddly enough they are mostly in assemblies which are not actually sovereign, yet, namely the Scottish Parliament and the European Parliament; while many of the members of the UK Parliament, which is actually sovereign, seem more concerned to bring about an end to that legal supremacy.

    • Bob
      Posted September 11, 2015 at 8:35 am | Permalink

      @Peter van Leeuwen

      “the UK is likely to be over occupied for many years to disentangle the many treaties it had within the EU”

      The sooner we get started the sooner we can return to good governance. I’m sure other EU member states will want to follow suit once they see what can be done when a country has the flexibility that independence brings.

    • Timaction
      Posted September 11, 2015 at 8:46 am | Permalink

      Any work is no problem to free us from the shackles of the dictatorship and return our sovereign democracy given away by lies and stealth by the legacy parties. Make our own law , secure our borders, make our own trade agreements! As the 5th largest economy we really don’t need the EU. Trade and friendship only! Bliss.
      I’d rather have no voice in the world but be free!

    • forthurst
      Posted September 11, 2015 at 9:59 am | Permalink

      “Quite a few employment opportunities for and army of lawyers, civil servants and UK politicians?”

      … and also for the builders of massive storage capacity at Rotterdam for all those containers and motor vehicles awaiting shipment to the UK whilst the EU Kommissars engage in prevarication, and the engineers busily bolstering sea defences as the Netherlands begins to sink under the weight of cargo awaiting consignment.

    • lojolondon
      Posted September 11, 2015 at 11:22 am | Permalink

      Peter, the moment we stop paying the £13 Billion per annum, you will be amazed how fast the treaties fall away. The big mistake would be to gently unwind all the contracts – payments stopped with 30 days notice.

    • Anonymous
      Posted September 11, 2015 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

      Peter vL

      The EU is proving to be an economic, cultural and humanitarian disaster zone.

      Do you dispute this ?

      The people who want and the people who run it are being proven wrong at every turn.

      Once out we might be able to limit judicial and legal interference in our affairs and not before time.

      All too late though. We are about to be swamped in an unprecedented wave of migration just as our lights go out.

      I blame the EU for much of this.

  3. Mark B
    Posted September 11, 2015 at 6:07 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    I think a good question to ask is; “Who do you wish to have your affairs governed by and make your laws ?” “The elected representatives of UK, or some faceless Eurocrate ?”

  4. Anonymous
    Posted September 11, 2015 at 6:21 am | Permalink

    The BBC will also have to be watched for bias in soap and drama story lines. This is how they try to control public opinion more than by any other means.

    This is where they are at their most insidious because they know that few people watch politics shows outside the news.

    • oldtimer
      Posted September 11, 2015 at 8:49 am | Permalink

      You are right to make this point. The notorious case of th meeting convened to set BBC policy on “climate change”, dating from c2006, clearly demonstrated this approach. The BBC spent a lot of money on expensive lawyers seeking to suppress the fact of this meeting. Nevertheless the names of those attending did get into the public domain; they included heads of or members of several BBC departments, including news, drama and comedy.

    • Timaction
      Posted September 11, 2015 at 8:50 am | Permalink

      I agree. They did it through all sorts of mediums in the lead up to the election. Usually so called comedy to slander UKIP. We won’t forget when we disband or sell off this evil organisation.

    • Kenneth
      Posted September 11, 2015 at 10:39 am | Permalink

      I agree. Ditto comedians and singers. Ditto most playwrights etc

      For example, there are plenty of right-wing comedians out there but they never make it onto the BBC.

      The BBC is saturated by left wingers and communists. Just check out their tweets.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted September 11, 2015 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

      Indeed this is certainly true. They are used to indoctrinate on all their usual agenda – ever more EU, ever bigger government, ever higher taxes, open door immigration, fake enforced “equality” plus all the green crap.

      Also the way they select for interview (with daft leading questions) only the extreme oddballs on the get out side of the debate. Never the very many sensible and well reasoned people, they are largely kept away.

      • Vanessa
        Posted September 12, 2015 at 11:07 am | Permalink

        “….ever more EU” This is because the BBC is funded by the EU to the tune of a few million every year. These are in the form of “loans” but as long as the BBC stays true to the EU they never have to pay those loans back.

        Good arrangement ! Hence the “ever more EU” and “global warming” agenda.

  5. APL
    Posted September 11, 2015 at 6:21 am | Permalink

    JR: “Would you prefer it to be added to public sector budgets rather than offered as a tax cut?”

    Even Tories never consider a borrowing cut.

    We’ve been in the EU for forty or so years, if its cost us £10b per year for forty years, pretty soon you’re talking about real money.

  6. Lifelogic
    Posted September 11, 2015 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    With the possible exception of Andrew Neil the BBC simply do not employ anyone capable of asking such questions. They are all to a woman or man steeped in the BBC biases on the EU, green crap, an ever larger state, ever more regulation of everything and ever more government at every level.

    Their bias against UKIP at the general election was massive.

    • Timaction
      Posted September 11, 2015 at 8:53 am | Permalink

      Everyone with a brain saw it. They are incapable of change as it is ingrained in their culture, policies, recruitment and selection. The same as the legacy party leaderships! All the same groupthink.

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted September 11, 2015 at 10:54 am | Permalink

      Massive and Disgraceful! There is never anything positive written about UKIP in the media and yet they are the only party making any sense over Europe. Individuals like John are needed but it would be better if his leader were to follow his example. Instead of which he will hang onto EU membership as if his life depended on it – wait a minute – it might.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted September 11, 2015 at 11:53 am | Permalink

      I see that Sadiq Khan has been elected as Labour’s candidate for Mayor of London.

      I cannot help thinking that a lefty, ex-government suing, ex-human rights lawyer as Mayor is the last thing London needs. He should be easy to beat, but have the Tories even got anyone sensible to stand?

  7. CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON
    Posted September 11, 2015 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    I do not believe it matters what questions the BBC asks.

    They used to have a regular programme featuring letters from Angry from Solihull or Jack and Jill from Lower Totting-on-the-Wharf. When praising the BBC they would inevitably use the word “superb”, which appeared to be equivalent to saying ghlarss instead of glass.. In criticising, either nasty words such as “useless” to indicate the writer was lower class or a whole paragraph saying the same thing indicating they were educated at a wrong and rather common university.
    People interested in politics and with nothing useful or superb to do on a Thursday night listen to BBC Question Time and believe for the most part it is biased dependent on their own political views.
    The rest of the population generally do not trust any politician or businessman answering questions. Quite a number of people have attended works or staff meetings where their management and bosses, often thought grossly overpaid and superbly useless, waste productive time by grandstanding their own progress reports and pretending to listen to their staff.
    Far fewer people buy daily papers than previously despite having more money than ever to do so. Not many people have faith in a doctor answering questions on the BBC who advocates as first and second choice wearing copper to fight cramp “as we don’t know what causes it” and adds “copper could be good for arthritis too”.

    It will be difficult to get very many people to vote in the Referendum as it is seen as a BBC thing .
    If the Hungarian Prime Minister Mr Orban is permitted to stand as Prime Minister here under EU rules and the Macedonian police force can take the place of our Tuition-fee-kettling-and-thumping police forces then there may be a huge turnout in favour of continued EU membership. But nothing to do with the BBC being “balanced” or other wise.

  8. Bill
    Posted September 11, 2015 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    Excellent. Questions could also be asked about the EU’s Defence Force (EUFOR); about the complaints made by Hungary and others to the policy for resettlement of migrants; about the rise independence parties equivalent to UKIP in other European states and about whether the existence of a Shengen area in the EU already indicates the existence of a two tier Europe.

  9. Iain Moore
    Posted September 11, 2015 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    An important question never asked is…Can our Parliamentary democracy survive when much of its sovereignty has been locked away in EU treaties, which cannot be changed, with the result that MPs and Parliament can no longer represent the interests of their constituents?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 11, 2015 at 9:28 am | Permalink

      Apparently that’s OK, as the UK Parliament and the other national parliaments will still have an important role within the EU as “legitimacy intermediaries” supporting the EU Parliament, putting forward “green card” proposals for new EU legislation which the EU Parliament can then pursue:

      https://euobserver.com/opinion/130134

      The unelected legislators-for-life in the House of Lords have already made a small start on making sure that the UK Parliament will fulfill its new role:

      “The trial “green card” on food waste, initiated in June 2015 by the House of Lords, could have been a good start.”

  10. Lifelogic
    Posted September 11, 2015 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    I heard on BBC radio a suggestion that if Corbyn is elected it is likely that Cameron will tack to the centre. As he is well to the left of centre already that would clearly be a very good thing. But I think they meant he would tack yet further to the left.

    We already have a government who thinks they should decide wage levels, is bringing in the absurd workplace pension scheme, is disallowing legitimate business expenses from tax computations, is spending/wasting a huge proportion of GDP yet delivering mainly worthless and rapidly deteriorating dross in the way of “public services”. They can only collect the stinking rubbish once a month it seems, kill thousands in the appalling NHS, cannot investigate burglary and many department cannot even be bothered to answer the phone. HMRC seem to have trouble replying and dealing with letters too causing a huge inconvenience and costs to businesses and accountants.

    A government who thinks businesses in the UK are just there to be milked, over regulated, over charged for energy and preferably driven out of business. Unless they are in the film industry it seems when they can have 25% refund taken off other businesses. Or the greencrap subsidy industry and others daft schemes favoured for some idiotic political or religious reason or other.

  11. Ex-expat Colin
    Posted September 11, 2015 at 7:32 am | Permalink

    I happened to view some of the HoL debate on the BBC tax last eve (yawn). Most of those debating were ex BBC employees…enough said really. One of them (female) seemed to think the World Service(WS) was quite something and that the WS audience as wide and diverse as it is should be consulted. I think they may be eluding to the very distant past when it was good…as I know. Now, I think its more about Africa (Nigeria) than much else.

    Apparently, BBC Worldwide makes a lot of money..for the BBC? Shouldn’t that benefit the shareholders/financiers generally? If that was the case then the BBC tax should be gradually reduced/held…not increased.

    As very sensible as your approach is I cannot see the BBC taking any notice at all.

  12. agricola
    Posted September 11, 2015 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    Telling them at the BBC what questions they should ask is far too polite. I cannot imagine them taking much notice.

    Re the Aston Martin situation you need to be prepared to be aggressively impolite with reposts such as “Well that is a particularly stupid question, do you have any idea of what the balance of trade is between the UK and EU. Do you even understand the extent to which trade even between the UK and EU is governed by the WTO. Is it your opinion that the bosses of Mercedes or BMW would allow their trade with the UK to be jeopardized by the petulant intervention of a German politician or BBC journalist.” All accompanied by disdainful Jeremy Paxman like intonation, gestures and looks. Go for their jugulars.

    • Anonymous
      Posted September 11, 2015 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

      Agricola – If avoiding “three million jobs lost” means taking in ten million EU people* who will need jobs and welfare then the economic case for staying in is diminished.

      We simply cannot afford to keep car manufacturers here on the EU’s terms.

      *I’m being conservative here. Frederick Forsyth and a Tory MP have already said that our way of life is now under threat. With few obvious exceptions there is no sign that our politicians have any idea of the gravity of our predicament and how soon things are going to deteriorate in Britain.

      The Left are STILL in control of the debate.

  13. Pete
    Posted September 11, 2015 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    I certainly don’t trust the BBC to be fair about the referendum. Every every program they make demonstrates pro EU, pro big government and pro climate change bias. The whole corporation is riddled with this cultural leaning and as such is far more like the old Soviet Tass or Pravda “news” agencies being little more than a bloated propaganda organization.
    How did we end up with such a massive leech feeding off an unjustified and immoral television tax?

    • Timaction
      Posted September 11, 2015 at 8:55 am | Permalink

      There are only one of two solutions. Sell it off for subscription. Make people pay to watch the propaganda or disband it.

    • Bob
      Posted September 11, 2015 at 11:08 am | Permalink

      @Pete

      “How did we end up with such a massive leech feeding off an unjustified and immoral television tax?”

      Apathy.
      By the time the host becomes aware of the parasite it could be too late. The BBC was a victim of the long march through the institutions which has done possibly irreversible damage to our country.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted September 11, 2015 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

      Indeed the BBC hardly employ anyone without the requisite Guardian think, LibDem big state, arts graduate, magic money tree, greencrap, fake “equality”, juvenile views.

  14. Douglas Carter
    Posted September 11, 2015 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    I would note that early last week, that Guy Verhofstadt appeared in an evening Channel Four News interview discussing ‘Associate Membership’.

    In particular culture, I would wish to see the nature of BBC discourse over the EU to acknowledge that what they call ‘the EU’ is changing quite fundamentally in the next ten years. Whilst it might sound something of a cliché, many (if not all) of the usual Business suspects who the BBC reliably drag out were verbose enthusiasts for UK membership of the Euro. They remained verbose enthusiasts for ‘this’ EU – an EU which will not actually be on offer in the future. They don’t seem to have a consistent bedrock concept of what it is they’re supporting – in particular where they often seem convinced that the EU is a trading zone – which would invalidate their qualifications to the debate in advance in any case.

    So to get back to the (deeply flawed, if some descriptive accounts are accurate) idea of ‘Associate Membership’ – something which has been floating around for three years at least, not a new idea belonging to a single politician – it would appear that the 2017 Referendum may well aver between full disengagement or a looser arrangement, the legal and political details and obligations of which also haven’t been concluded.

    So, many of these ‘leaders’ know they want to remain ‘In’ the EU – no matter its shape or the obligations it brings, and even in the absence of any advance knowledge of its shape.

    It’s that I’d like the BBC to demonstrate a clear concept of.

  15. Mike Stallard
    Posted September 11, 2015 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    The BBC are simply pursuing their own agenda now with no pretences. Rather like Auntie parading round in the nude.
    The euthanasia “debate” was presented as a pathetic appeal from a pretty young woman about her poor old Dad who had to travel abroad for suicide. Bless!
    Newsnight was an appeal for more refugees, dressed up as a report from Syria.

    Mr Redwood, allow me to ask, how do you stand on AM (Assisted membership which is going to come up, as we all know, in 2017 because that is the plan in the Bertelsmann Spinelli Fundamental Law)? Will yo be voting stay in or leave if that is the proposal?

    Will you allow me to point out, whether or not you decide to allow this through the Moderator, that you were mentioned by name on EU Referendum site which gains, I am told, some 20,000 hits, some of them quite influential politicians, I understand.?

    Reply I doubt Associate membership would offer me what I want – democratic self government. We would need to see the terms.

  16. Bert Young
    Posted September 11, 2015 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    I fully agree that biassed institutions – particularly those that receive funding from the EU ( the BBC and the CBI ) should be monitored and encouraged to maintain complete impartiality . Too often broadcasts – such as the instance quoted in today’s blog , are outrageous and must be subject to disciplinary action . The questions Dr. JR has suggested as guides to the BBC are both valid and fair ; this tempering of approach is much needed .

    The time that is left before the EU referendum is a critical period ; those – like me who need no convincing of the evil effect the EU has on our day to day lives , are one thing , the other side of the fence are those who are undecided . The undecided need to be given a fair and detailed understanding of what our relationship with the EU is all about ; it should not be put to them in a slanted way . I want to believe that the final judgement reached is the result of a properly balanced campaign where the ” Fors ” and “Againsts ” have been treated equally by all the media .

  17. formula57
    Posted September 11, 2015 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    Your guidance to the BBC seems entirely appropriate, but alas shows how far the BBC has fallen from the aspirations of Reith and how much it deviates from its present Charter. It must be natural though for one over-funded, unaccountable, greedy and stupid organization to promote the well-being of another and so maybe the BBC cannot modify its behaviour.

  18. Roy Grainger
    Posted September 11, 2015 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    “The BBC will I trust wish to be fair in the long run up to the EU referendum”

    I genuinely think that is right, but I also genuinely think that the BBC are so insular and locked-into their own left-wing mindset that they don’t even realise they are institutionally incapable of being fair. For example I am sure they think that only liberal left-wing staff are capable of putting their own beliefs aside and being dispassionate and balanced and that equivalent right-wing staff would be permanently biased. You can see this in the way they recruited a high-profile Guardian journalist with obvious and unconcealed left-wing views to be the editor of Newsnight – they would NEVER have recruited a similar right-wing journalist to the post, but they see nothing wrong with this stance.

    • Timaction
      Posted September 11, 2015 at 8:58 am | Permalink

      Their centre of gravity is so far left they can’t see the wood for the trees.

    • Vanessa
      Posted September 12, 2015 at 11:17 am | Permalink

      Roy – I quite agree. I have a BBC journalist who stays occasionally when his schedule brings him down to London. We have had “soft” discussions about the BBC bias and he genuinely does not think it is !!!! God help us. What would it take for them to understand how they are perceived by those who watch the internet sites like RT dot com and Aljazeer and Eureferendum?

      It is painful to see an Institution, paid for by British taxpayers putting two fingers up to the truth on every story.

  19. Graham Wood
    Posted September 11, 2015 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    PVL. Your comments invariably show a mind-set about the EU which is decades out of date. To quote Mark Steyn: The EU is a 1970s solution to a 1940s problem.
    It is now an anachronism which even the most statist politicians in the UK and elsewhere are beginning to understand. Even Claude Juncker himself admitted it is a failure.
    Incompetence, failure, irrelevance and even absurdity are stamped on every area of policy it seeks to impose on its member states. Nobody knows what the EU is actually for, and how it can serve any meaningful function which member states cannot obtain by old-fashioned bi-lateral agreements.
    Best cut the Gordian Knot now, the one urgent step the UK needs to take in order to be a self governing nation once again, and let the unravelling process of the treaties (none of which have ever been endorsed by British electorates) simply take their course and wither on the vine.
    Repealing the 1972 European Communities Act is the obvious first step in that process – but I can’t speak for the Dutch!

  20. Denis Cooper
    Posted September 11, 2015 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    As I said a few days ago, Sky is just as bad as the BBC and in some ways worse; so too is Channel 4 and I expect ITV as well, although I rarely watch its news and current affairs programmes so I can’t say for sure. Basically they are all staffed by the same kind of people sharing similar ideological prejudices, in line with those of the NUJ.

    Of course it rubs salt into the would that we are expected to pay for the BBC even if we never watch any of its output, and that should be stopped, preferably by moving to some pay per view system which I guess should not present great technical difficulties these days.

    • Timaction
      Posted September 11, 2015 at 9:07 am | Permalink

      The msm are awful at the moment over the coverage of the illegal migrants from everywhere, although they would have you believe they are all from Syria! The 90% male group is a bit of a clue, very few women and children. No mention of the other 634000 annual invasion from everywhere else or that Germany is desperate for migrants due to its shrinking population and demographic. Lots of spin and manipulation. Few facts or real analysis. Would make you think it could be Government spin to soften us up when they roll over to take more illegal migrants encouraged by the UN\EU to imprison us in their EU forever!

    • formula57
      Posted September 11, 2015 at 9:46 am | Permalink

      Indeed so, what amounts to involuntary funding by non-customers of the BBC is an outrage that it is difficult to understand being allowed to continue.

      Informing the BBC that from, say, the end of the year the licence fee tax will be abolished and, if it so wishes, it may then adopt a subscription model levied only on its customers might help take the BBC’s mind off preserving the present imbalance in its reporting of EU-related matters.

  21. CdBrux
    Posted September 11, 2015 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    The business section presenter on Today at about 6.20 each morning almost always asks the interviewee the same EU related question and often, if they don’t give a clear ‘no problem’ answer says “we’ll take that as a yes then” and moves on without giving the interviewee a chance to take breath let alone contradict him!

  22. Denis Cooper
    Posted September 11, 2015 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    Largely off this topic, an interesting article here:

    http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/coffeehouse/2015/09/angela-merkel-is-making-the-refugee-crisis-worse/

    “Angela Merkel is making the refugee crisis worse.”

    “First, she has chosen to prioritise those Syrians who have already made it to Europe. These people are not in imminent fear of their lives unlike the millions of internally displaced people within Syria …”

    And not just Syrians, but Iraqis, Afghans, Pakistanis, Bangla Deshis, Eritreans, etc etc etc, a motley, etc ed
    “Next, Merkel — having unilaterally ripped up the Dublin Convention—wants to impose mandatory quotas for refugee resettlement on other EU states … ”

    And now not just other EU states, as yesterday the EU Commission threatened reprisals against Switzerland and Norway if they don’t do what Merkel wants.

    But look at the reason why “This is an extremely bad idea”: not because it is a large scale and predominantly Muslim (migration to ed)European countries, only because:

    “… it is hard to think of a better way to boost anti-immigrant, populists than to force countries to take refugees against their wishes.”

    Meanwhile the Saudis still refuse to accept any of these migrants, even though they are their co-religionists, albeit of different varieties or denominations; however they have generously offered to pay for 200 new mosques in Germany.

    You could hardly make it up.

  23. oldtimer
    Posted September 11, 2015 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    Good questions that the BBC should ask. I doubt that they will be asked – there will be no isk or redress for the BBC if they are not asked. The BBC is a law unto itself and beyond the control of any outside agency.

  24. Atlas
    Posted September 11, 2015 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    I suppose the BBC’s trendly-lefty stance on the EU might change if Corbyn realises that he has to say ‘Leave the EU’ if he wants to enact his renationalisation ambitions.

  25. MPC
    Posted September 11, 2015 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    What about the biggest current question? It looks highly likely the EU is to retain the Schengen Agreement and I see that Romania seems to have agreed to migrant quotas on the understanding that Schengen will be retained – music to the ears of Mr Juncker. The Romanian view is no doubt shared by many other EU countries who know that giving the many new arrivals the right to live and work in the EU will mean most of them will travel on and come to the UK and soon become our direct problem. Even if the EU referendum results in a ‘leave’ decision it’ll take several years from now before we are in charge of our own borders, by which time our country may be very different. There needs to be some dispassionate media discussion on this grave threat, not just postulating questions for the BBC that we know they will not take on board.

  26. Chris S
    Posted September 11, 2015 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    “Which taxes would you most like cut when we no longer have to pay £10 billion a year into the EU ?”

    CGT, VAT and an increase in the 40% threshold in that order.
    Although reducing CGT would result in a net increase in income from the tax so is not strictly going to take any of the money saved from not paying Brussels.

    VAT at 20% is simply too high and causes resentment every time one places an order. It is also at a level that encourages massive tax evasion. I would like to see it reduced to 10% but 15% is a more realistic target. That would only be possible if George Osbourne is really serious about shrinking the size of the state because each percentage point reduction would cost £5bn a year. He would therefore have to find another £15bn of expenditure cuts to get to 15%.

    The situation with VAT only goes to show what a massive increase there has been in the amount of money absorbed and spent by all the countries of Europe as they have all dramatically increased their rate. When I lived in Germany in the 1980s, VAT was at 13%. The German rate is now 19%

    In our own case VAT rate has increased progressively from 8% to 20%.

    If George can’t or won’t find another £15bn of savings, reducing VAT by a couple of points would have little effect so let’s use the money to increase the 40% threshold.

    I would be totally against increasing the basic rate threshold as the people who pay no income tax have no incentive to vote for a government dedicated to reducing public expenditure ! In my view the Government have already gone too far in this direction.

    To redress this he could leave the basic rate threshold as it is in cash terms for the rest of the parliament and progressively reintroduce a 10% rate on rises in income caused by inflation. In a few years we would return to a situation where the vast majority of working people pay some income tax and would therefore have a vested interest in voting for a government dedicated to keeping taxes low.

  27. DaveM
    Posted September 11, 2015 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    A couple of questions to start with:

    1. “Without mentioning business, what are the benefits of staying in the EU?”

    2. “Regarding trade and business, what does the EU give that the EFTA does not?”

    3. “In 5 years’ time, who will decide the UK’s Foreign Policy?”

    4. “We give £XXX Billion a year DIRECTLY to the EU. What does the UK public get back DIRECTLY from the EU?”

    5. “What does the PM get in return (personally) for encouraging continued EU membership?”

    6. “What influence does the UK’s MEP cohort actually have in the Euro Parliament, bearing in mind nearly all af them are anti-EU?”

    7. “Bearing in mind also that UK policy in European matters is nearly always contrary to the Franco-German viewpoint, (and therefore contrary to the viewpoint of all the other countries which do whatever the Germans say), does the UK actually have ANY democratic representation in EC or EU matters, or are we merely dictated to?”

  28. agricola
    Posted September 11, 2015 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    Off Piste but Important.

    I see in the Daily Express that Chris Ryan is quoted as being in favour of a Russian, Western Alliance to tackle and eliminate ISIS in Syria. Much as I have advocated in the past.

    We must first decide how Syria is governed after the removal of ISIS. As previously stated I would prefer that Assad be reduced to the status of the ex WW2 Emperor of Japan with a Macarthur type figure to run the country until such time that the Syrians are deemed fit to run it themselves.

    All we need is for Cameron and Obama to start talking to Putin to lay out the ground rules for such an alliance.

    Taking this step is the first in returning all the Syrian refugees to their own country made a safe place. I’m sure all Syrians would prefer to live in their own country were it safe to do so.

  29. bluedog
    Posted September 11, 2015 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    Dr JR, it has been evident for some years that the BBC is a political movement with its own agenda, unaccountable and yet financed by the tax-payer through compulsory licence fees, in short a specific tax.

    Reading today’s over-wrought comments by Lord Bragg, who clearly speaks with the support of the higher echelons in the BBC, it appears the BBC now sees itself as being possessed of a Divine Right to Broadcast, as it sees fit. The government is being dismissed as cultural vandals just because thought seems to have been given to the cost-benefit equation offered by the BBC. Lord Bragg’s assertion that the BBC has a better reputation both at home and abroad than the British government suggests a remarkable detachment from reality.

    If this is how the BBC is behaves before the EU referendum campaign has even begun, with respect there is little hope of the BBC giving sensible answers to the sensible questions you propose. Mass hysteria seems to have taken hold.

    It follows that there is nothing to loose by cancelling the licence fee absolutely and putting the BBC on a direct, annually approved grant. Cancelling the licence fee would be electorally very popular. An annual direct grant allows the government some control over the BBC empire. Most importantly, the British government should deny the BBC any right to obtain funding from foreign government sources, however derived.

    It is outrageous that the BBC should be in the pay of an entity as undemocratic, incompetent and corrupt as the EU. Taking these steps would help Lord Bragg understand the weakness of his position.

  30. Kenneth
    Posted September 11, 2015 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    Very good post which lays bare BBC bias.

    Most ordinary people are busy and do not have the time to investigate what they hear on the radio and tv. We assume that we are being given the whole story. It’s not our fault that we do not always detect this bias.

    There have been various ‘official’ and ‘non-official’ reports into the problem of BBC bias surrounding our relationship with the eu. There have been plenty of books and articles written by ex BBC staff about the same problem. The weight of evidence of BBC bias is overwhelming.

    However, as the BBC is the main political force in the media and the main instigator of public debate we are being kept in the dark.

    Just as the BBC kept quiet about excessive deaths in the NHS during the Labour terms, it is keeping quiet about this national scandal of its own making. Broadcast journalists from other organisations also toe the line as the BBC is the only secure employer in this sector.

  31. Colin Hart
    Posted September 11, 2015 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    All good questions. But don’t expect direct and honest answers. The people being questioned didn’t get where they are today by….

  32. lojolondon
    Posted September 11, 2015 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    Dear John, I fear your trust in the Biased BBC is completely misplaced. Every single programme, from sports coverage to soaps, to quiz shows, to the “news” delivers the Lefty agenda on Israel, “global warming”, the EU, Islam, refugees, the NHS, the environment, political parties, Obama, Trump, etc. The BBC has violated our trust for so long that it cannot in any way be trusted, the only way to ensure fair coverage is to shut it down, and leave the “news” to commercial enterprises that tell people what they want to hear, not what the Labour party wants to tell them.

  33. Iain Gill
    Posted September 11, 2015 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    You cannot ignore the BBC’s overwhelming pro high levels of immigration position either. Since the Europe debate will include immigration as one of the issues. The open and obvious propaganda from the BBC and complete failure to understand, engage with, sympathise with, and so on the real position of the majority of the population needs fixing.

  34. paul
    Posted September 11, 2015 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    Hi john, interest rate hikes with more QE at the same time, taking the perceived so called chosen few civilize elite all the way up, loving every moment, all i can say is QUE SERA SERA. CAN THEY THE FEW SAVE THEIR CIVILIZATION FROM THE POWER OF THE UNIVERSE THIS TIME ROUND, been hear so many times before. QUE SERA SERA

  35. lojolondon
    Posted September 11, 2015 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    John,

    Can I suggest you read this excellent article (from this excellent website) on this very subject?

    http://www.conservativewoman.co.uk/kathy-gyngell-bernard-jenkin-takes-jim-naughtie-to-the-cleaners-over-bbc-pro-eu-bias/

  36. Tim L
    Posted September 11, 2015 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    John

    They need to ask businesses where they would base themselves if the EU had ‘harmonised’ taxes?

    We ought to find out now if they see any point being based on an island if they’ve lost the benefit of a favourible tax regime that allows them to compete against mainland businesses.

  37. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted September 11, 2015 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

    The only way to deal with the BBC in the run up to the EU Referendum is to put it in purdah. It is simply not to be trusted. If we don’t force it to abandon political programmes in the run-up, the EU will fund it and use it as a back door channel to disseminate masses of pro-EU propaganda. This funding will be kept secret.

    Which umbrella business organisations really do represent business? The CBI? I think not. I would welcome a blog from Mr Redwood on business organisations, their EU opinions and whether these opinions are driven by their interests.

  38. Sean
    Posted September 11, 2015 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

    As you may all know here by now that I dislike the BBC . I am not happy be force to fund A socialist company. Pay per view is the only free and fair why to continue with the Beeb.

  39. Juliet46
    Posted September 11, 2015 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

    How much funding from the EU does the BBC receive?

    • Hefner
      Posted September 12, 2015 at 6:15 am | Permalink

      According from BBC website, the total licence fee collected in 2012/13 was £3656M and £3726M in 2013/14.

      These figures have to be compared to the EU grants (as reported by different sources):
      3M over 4 years DT 01/02/2012
      141M borrowed from European Investment Bank since 2003, also DT 01/02/2012
      24.4M€ between 2007 and 2012 Spectator/EUReferendum.com 05/03/2014

      A storm in a tea cup?

      • bluedog
        Posted September 12, 2015 at 8:54 am | Permalink

        ‘A storm in a tea cup?’ The sums involved may not be large in comparison to licence fee receipts, but what are the strings attached and where is the record of outlays made with EU funding. Remember, MPs have got in huge trouble for using public funds to build houses for their ducks. The question therefore becomes, did any individuals at the BBC benefit in any way from the funds paid by the EU? If so, who and how much? It’s hard to believe that EU funds weren’t occasionally used for study tours to Brussels and even more attractive destinations.

        Reply One MP foolishly asked if he could fund a duck house and was correctly told No, and did not claim.

  40. Brigham
    Posted September 11, 2015 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

    The BBC will I trust wish to be fair in the long run up to the EU referendum.

    Is this a bit of humour from you John?

  41. David Pearl
    Posted September 12, 2015 at 4:14 am | Permalink

    Dear Dr Redwood,

    Thank you for your article on BBC bias. I have a 2-part suggestion for how to deal with this.

    1. The Short-Term – What can we realistically hope to achieve with the BBC in the next 3-12 months and what methods could be used?
    2. The Longer-Term – Addressing inherent and systemic bias and correcting this via legislation.

    The purpose is essentially carrot and stick: we need some real change quickly and it’s our collective fault that most of us haven’t addressed this properly before now. This leaves us limited options and I suspect that legislative remedies will be unavailable to effect the changes needed in the short time available.

    However whatever short-term methods we can think of should have the backing and threat of the second phase: the potential dismantling of the current structure and the BBC’s loss of its existing cosy way of life.

    I’m not normally given to wild and sweeping statements, nor calls for radical reform. I prefer the gradual approach. However like many of my fellow-countrymen and women I can be pushed just so far. For decades I supported the BBC’s independence and even backed it whenever it came under attack, despite the attacks coming from those with whom I disagreed.

    Regrettably I’ve now come to the conclusion that my once-loved BBC is not the animal it used to be in days gone by, when it could be respected by most people. In fact it’s now so far gone that radical change will be required.

    To give just one example, all staff in what they call ‘newsgathering’ and current affairs should attend compulsory re-training in what constitutes balanced reporting and programme-making. This would include the fundamentals of having all viewpoints represented, by inviting those with opposing views onto each programme.

    This re-training would also include the explanation that the BBC News and Current Affairs is not funded as a campaigning or lobbying organisation. It is there to present us with facts and also to question those who are integrally involved and those in positions of power or influence, in order to bring out all aspects of a story.

    The reporters’ own views should not appear in word, vocal inflection, facial expression or in any other way, because they are reporters. They’re not there to make or shape the story in their own image. If that’s their ambition they should run for parliament as you did, or they should seek employment with an appropriate NGO or charity.

    I liked your proposed questions. With your permission I’d like to add to this in a different but complementary way. I will shortly post some practical ideas on my ‘Phase 1’ – ways in which all interested parties could participate in helping the BBC towards a short-term and partial fix to the overwhelming bias we’re all seeing in their output on a daily basis.

    And maybe your correspondents could add to this with their own ideas. One of us is sure to come up with something you like!

  42. David Pearl
    Posted September 12, 2015 at 5:21 am | Permalink

    Here are a couple of ideas for the ‘Phase 1’ plan to tackle BBC News & Current Affairs endemic bias in the short-term. I’m sure other correspondents will be able to add to this with their own ideas for practical measures which could be applied.

    In the House on Monday night, several Honourable Members made the point that they thought that BBC staff are unaware of the depth and breadth of the bias which comes out in their daily reporting. I tend to agree, despite the fact that these staff are highly-paid and are supposed to be intelligent.

    We could therefore give them something to think about. Regrettably I don’t feel that Members of Parliament are the right people to do this on their own. Witness Bernard Jenkin on the Today programme interviewed by Jim Naughtie on Tuesday morning. Naughtie clearly felt that the criticism was beneath contempt. And this is the man who is about to be given a roving BBC brief on EU affairs. Heaven help us….

    I therefore feel we need to inundate the BBC with the views of normal citizens and licence-payers from all political persuasions. Perhaps if they saw the sheer volume of views about BBC bias, they might pause for thought.

    In recent months I’ve read three specialist websites which clearly detail and demonstrate BBC bias and which have hundreds of readers’ comments, as well as reading the thousands of daily comments sections of the major newspapers (including the Guardian!) and various other news and current affairs sites including this one. Almost all those dealing with the Beeb are complaining about its bias.

    If all the people who complain on these sites were to complain to the BBC, at the very least the Corporation couldn’t ignore the strength of feeling on this subject. I’m happy to post the online link to the BBC’s complaints dept specifically for News and Current Affairs. The emails they receive are allegedly circulated to all staff in News and Current Affairs each morning.

    Second idea. (Sorry JR I suspect you might hate this.)

    Nearly half-a-million twitterites and other ‘instantly competitive compassionate’ people signed a government website petition following the photo of the poor 3-year old who lost his life in Turkish waters.

    Why can’t we launch a more thoughtful petition asking the Government to introduce compulsory guidelines for fair and balanced reporting from the BBC, with some form of oversight and penalties? It could also state no confidence in the Trust as a suitable mechanism of ultimate adjudication. 100,000 signatures leads to the Government having to debate it in the House or give good reasons why not.

    I have other ideas but for now I’ll shut up and open it to the floor. Please restrict these to practical short-term ideas. You never know, JR may be able to support and advise or act upon one or two of these. The main aim is fair and balanced reporting of the EU Leave/Remain question.

  43. Richard
    Posted September 12, 2015 at 6:14 am | Permalink

    As a public service broadcaster the BBC should be told it needs to employ people with differing views on such issues as the EU, CAGW, immigration etc. and allow them to produce programmes such as Newsnight.

    The problem with the BBC is that there is only one view.

    The BBC is a sufficiently large organisation with sufficient channels to allow a wide variety of views to be broadcast on any subject.

  44. David Price
    Posted September 12, 2015 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    “If the UK leaves the EU how would you like the £10 billion we save from no longer having to pay a net contribution to the EU to be spent? Would you prefer it to be added to public sector budgets rather than offered as a tax cut?”

    My prefered starting point would be to pay directly what is already received indirectly via the EU and simply don’t spend and borrow the surplus. This would allow projects and what not to continue without financial impact while the catalogue of recipients is analysed to get rid of the dross and wasteful.

    Howver, I would not take on the EU funding going to the BBC, and similar EU trumpeting activities, but cut those at the same time as moving the BBC swiftly to self financing via subscriptions. The BBC should also lose ownership and control of all previous production material.

    I would expect the government to not borrow the surplus, so there isn’t anything to “give” to the public sector. I would also expect an immediate reduction in VAT and any other EU mandated levys and taxes.

    Reply I wish the leave campaign to guarantee all the EU payments to the UK from our saved gross contribution. The £10 bn is net – i.e. the money we don’t get back.

    • David Price
      Posted September 13, 2015 at 5:53 am | Permalink

      @Reply I agree but this isn’t made clear in any of the material I’ve seen with the possible exeption of being implied in Dr North’s Flexcit. This should not be an open ended, unqualified, guarantee, the EU focus is not our focus and we should cull unwarranted and wasteful activities as soon as possible to concentrate on what benefits the UK. This may mean continuing collaborative projects with EU partners but it must be our decision, not theirs.

      If we must spend the £10bn then use it to support devlopment of relationships and trade beyond the EU, to ensure any disadvantages of leaving the EU from whatever cuase aren’t because of lack of funding.

  45. David Edwards
    Posted September 20, 2015 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    That the bbc is biased is not moot, but what I don’t understand is the derivation of the bias, whether it might be ‘active’ senior level editorial or ‘passive’ at a lower level for the sake of career progression. Before we can ensure balance at the broadcaster for the referendum we really need to know the cause.

  • 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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