Ploys to make a politician look bad

I try to accept interviews on topics I know something about and have well based or distinctive views on. Usually the media want to offer an interview on a topic where I am not an expert where they think I will have difficulty supporting the position of my party or government so they can create a split which does not yet exist. When I do get an offer that is worth accepting I spend my preparation time not on the topic itself, because I know the subject and know what I wish to say. I spend the time thinking about all the other things the interviewer might wish to deviate to in the hope of ensnaring me.

There are a series of regular ploys.

  1. The creation of a caricature. The BBC often claims to know the  views  of the interviewee better than the interviewee knows them himself. When the person  explains their   view to them they counter argue by asserting they  must believe something else because they have invented a caricature of the person as a “right winger” or “left winger”, or “Eurosceptic” or whatever. It makes the interviews foolish, with the BBC setting out their version of the person’s  view and the interviewee  denying it. They then seek to suggest that their version of the view is the real view and so the   interviewee is in someway dishonest to say otherwise.
  2. Undermining by false association. The BBC quickly diverts the interview of a politician who is doing well into an interview about the worst or stupidest thing some other member of that person’s party has said or done recently. The interviewee is forced to deny what the person has said or done to avoid contamination. An original interview about an important subject then becomes instead repeated pressure to get the interviewee to set themselves up as the moral arbiter and disciplinarian for their party with questions about whether the person who misspoke should be  sacked, prosecuted etc.
  3. Subverting from past quotations. Someone setting out a cogent and appropriate case for current conditions is confronted with something they said or wrote many years before in different circumstances. It may be that the two views are fully compatible because circumstances are different, but precious interview time is lost trying to establish that. It may be that the interviewee has changed their mind owing to new facts and insights. This should not be a crime unless it is one of those cases where a party does do a major U turn in a dishonest or flagrantly political self serving way.
  4. Setting the interviewee up against others in his or her party. Someone making a good recommendation or providing informative background to policy may suddenly be faced with a contradictory quote from another senior person in their party, as if this invalidates their position.
  5. Quoting so called experts and insisting that because they are experts their opinion is correct and the politicians must be wrong. The politician is never allowed to debate with the experts and will not have advance warning to be able to explain why these particular experts may have flawed judgement or be coming  at the problem from a biased vantage point.
  6.  Mistaking fashionable viewpoints in media circles like Remain and a particular version of Green for facts and attempting to shout down or crowd out a politician who has a considered but different opinion.
  7. Trying to ascribe base motives to any politician expressing a different view from those deemed acceptable to the BBC. The interviewer alleges motives of personal career advancement or party interest when someone is putting forward their best judgement of what is in the public interest or the interests of their constituents.
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  1. Peter Wood
    Posted March 17, 2020 at 5:32 am | Permalink

    Sir John,

    You are unfailingly polite, but perhaps a bit more ‘won’t suffer fools or foolish questions’ might be employed. Usually the interviewer is overconfident, the occasional verbal smackdown puts them on the back foot, ‘you really must do better research’, or, ‘is there a sensible question in your last monologue.?’, ‘if you stop speaking (over me) you might learn something’ One word answers – Mrs T. was famous for it!
    Mr. T Blair, for all his faults, handled all interviews the same way, he’s listen to the question politely, then say ‘ the REAL question here is……, possible on an unrelated issue, then proceed to answer his OWN question. The interviewers fell for it every time!!

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted March 17, 2020 at 7:25 am | Permalink

      The most famous creation of a split which did not previously exist was done by the media, and by politicians such as John amongst the public.

      It was between those for and against our membership of the European Union.

      As recently as 2007 analysis showed that it was only a matter of concern to fewer than seven percent of the people.

      Incidentally, I see that the Law Commission says that online political ads should be banned. I agree fully, but for the euro-hostile, I ask them, who elected our Law Commission?

      • Hope
        Posted March 17, 2020 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

        The cover up of the lies and deceit behind EU membership continues to today. FCP paper 30/1048 made clear to hide true facts until it was too late to do anything. EU even now wants to include a no criticism clause. It was always the case not to show the public where the true decisions were made in EU directives, rules and laws entered into effect through quangos and parliament not even discussing or debating central issues effecting our lives.

        • Hope
          Posted March 17, 2020 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

          JR, in fairness some MPs and ministers do need help to look or come across as stupid, dishonest or lying. The current crop of crap think strap lines is enough without any substance i.e. Cast iron guarantees, call your supporters,swiveled eyed looms or turnip taliban, Brexit means Brexit, no ifs or buts. It is perfectly reasonable to come back and challenge them when it is clear they lied, failed or did not bother. Moreover, let the country down or sold the country out!

          Mayhab was a disaster she could not even hide her spiteful looks. Brown was another. Blaire for all his faults came across smiling with nice sound bites etc.

          The briefing by Trump and his team today was clear, decisive with sharp direction and purpose with total focus on what had to be achieved in two weeks! Compare to the four dullards leading the NHS speaking to the select committee!

          Today the four chiefs of NHS being questioned by Hunt and his select committee came across as wishy washy fools not sure what had to be done, what direction or strategy to follow not competent or in charge of their brief (Hunt was their boss for six years!). They used nice fluffy language “to jump in” or defer to someone else but came across utterly clueless, not able to make a decision not a clue what direction the service should take. Even Hunt tried several times to get them to explain why NHS staff should stay in hotels if their families were infected. It was abysmal and cringe worthy. Even the commentators after could answer better than any of them! No one had to spin, Hunt was doing his best to alter the way he asked the same question to get N answer from them. It was embarrassing. These are the people in charge to leave the fight for medical staff to fight this epidemic. Johnson should step in sack them and get a leader who knows what he is doing.

          Why is Stevens still in post? Another person ripe for sacking. He should have gone after the £34 billion computer system scandal and health tourism costing us a fortune and preventing UK nationals being treated! As for the NHS operations chief, I despair at her performance.

      • czerwonadupa
        Posted March 17, 2020 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

        Europe’s nations should be guided towards the superstate without their people understanding what is happening. This can be accomplished by successive steps, each disguised as having an economic purpose, but which will eventually & irreversibly lead to federation
        Jean Monnet, Founding Father of the EU 30th April 1952

        Oh dear oh dear, so the whole edifice was built on deceit & opaqueness from the beginning & has continued by his successors right up to the present day.

      • Fred H
        Posted March 17, 2020 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

        of no not more breast beating over them over the water.

  2. Peter
    Posted March 17, 2020 at 5:53 am | Permalink

    It is a poor show when you have to anticipate and second guess any strokes the interviewer might pull. Obviously with decades of experience so it must be difficult to ambush you.

    Of course from an interviewer’s viewpoint they will try to avoid the politician’s ploy of diverting any question into a well-rehearsed statement of the points the politician wishes to make. We have all seen that too. Capable interviewees who rarely draw a breath or allow the chance of interruption are a challenge.

    You don’t mention the situation where particular interviewees are simply avoided. These are usually conviction politicians who are on top of their game. The interviewer will always come out second best if they try to make the talk an adversarial contest. Nigel Farage is a prime example. Despite many embarrassing statements by people in his parties over the years interviewers never managed to land a knock out blow. Others manage to address the interviewer in a friendly but patronising tone that gives the impression they know far more than the interviewer. Ken Clarke was a master at this and William Hague attempted to emulate him with varying degrees of success. On the left Tony Benn was a tough opponent whether or not you agree with his views. Harold Wilson too was wily. Then of course we had Tony Blair.

    There is a big difference between those who are good on paper and those who are agile and persuasive with the spoken word.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted March 17, 2020 at 7:28 am | Permalink

      In times of uncertainty it’s an instinct to stick with what one knows, the familiar.

      And so here we have all the usual carrying on in their time-worn attacks, on people and on bodies, who dared to give the facts on the European Union a fair hearing just once in a while.

      You won – get over it.

      • Edward2
        Posted March 17, 2020 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

        Glad to see you moving towards accepting the result of the 2016 referendum.
        I appreciate it is a slow and difficult process for you.

        • Fred H
          Posted March 17, 2020 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

          the day he does that is the day I’ll believe there is a God.

  3. Tom WESTON
    Posted March 17, 2020 at 5:53 am | Permalink

    Interesting that you commence with the generic ‘media’ but name-check the BBC specifically. They are, of course, the most egregious example but Sky reporters, often BBC alumni (or more appropriately illuminati), are becoming increasingly hostile to politicians, but for some strange reason only to Tory politicians.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 17, 2020 at 6:20 am | Permalink

      Indeed and most Tory politician like May, Osborne, Hammond, Cameron, Grieve, Greg Clarke, Ken Clarke …… are essentially tax borrow and piss down the drain, climate alarmist socialists anyway. The BBC are particularly hostile to the very few MPs that have the right policies.

      The ones who want a rather smaller state sector, cheap reliable energy, freedom of choice, lower taxes, to be out of the EU and who want to see a bonfire of red tape.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted March 17, 2020 at 7:31 am | Permalink

        But you want a well-organised and resourced public sector to spring into action to protect you and your family, and the economy, from the coronavirus, and are critical that it is unable to do this.

        You have to make up your mind.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted March 17, 2020 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

          You could give 99% of your earning to the government and they would still not “spring into action to protect you! They would just piss it down the drain as usual. They only time they spring into action is to mug you if you are a minute late back to the car!

          Look at the NHS now about 1/40th of the number of ventilators they need, shortages of PPE equipment for staff, shortage of testing facilities, drug shortages, beds staff, a 111 web site that basically say piss off and stay away from the GP or the Hospital just go home and infect your family infect them and die quietly please so as to “protect the NHS”. The blood bath has not really even started yet.

          Some NHS staff are of course totally heroic but the system, structure and funding is useless. As was the absurd failure to delay the infection WEEKS AGO so that the NHS could get more ready. Without the dire state monopoly NHS we would have had rather more medical capacity.

          One thing the government should change now JR is that people should be able to borrow from their own pension fund or withdraw from them to tide themselves over. Currently if you draw much you limit yourselves from making further contributions later and incur large tax charges.

          It would be a very positive thing anyway even for normal circumstances anyway!

        • Lifelogic
          Posted March 17, 2020 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

          I just want one that is not totally bloated and hugely incompetent. One that spend money wisely on sensible things and does not piss it down the drain on endless lunacy.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted March 17, 2020 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

            Ideologues on the Right endlessly referred to the maintenance of spare capacity in public services, such as health, as “inefficiency” though, didn’t they?

            And so, here we are, without any.

            You got what you wanted and have argued for.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 17, 2020 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

            There is spare capacity in every health system in the world.
            It is planned for most emergency situations.
            But tens of thousands in a few weeks is beyond planning.
            You still refuse to answer my challenge to tell us where the budget comes from to keep dozens of hospitals and staff and equipment on standby by for decades to cope with a sudden demand such as this one.
            As this is your priority spend tel us does the money come from Defence Welfare Overseas Aid Education Housing?
            You need about £50 billion a year for your priority.
            Looking forward to your reply.

        • czerwonadupa
          Posted March 17, 2020 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

          So why does ‘Little Britain” need more employees in their health service than any organisation in the whole world bar the Chinese Red Army & the Indian railways?

          Examples were seen yesterday when the PM was asked why Northern Ireland’s response was different from the Republic’s & another asked why England’s was different to Scotland’s. Not for enlightenment but to sow discord

  4. Iain Gill
    Posted March 17, 2020 at 6:07 am | Permalink

    If you think thats bad you should see some of the judgments from the Financial Ombudsman Service. Really I mean it. Just absolutely obvious humbug.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 17, 2020 at 6:47 am | Permalink

      Indeed I too have seen some very bad decisions by the Ombudsman. And indeed by the FCA (under the earlier leadership of the now BoE governor) they actually encouraged the one size fits all overdraft rates of 40% or even 78%. These banks are still charging these rates when base rates are at 0.25% and the bank pay virtually nothing or actually nothing on deposits.

  5. Lifelogic
    Posted March 17, 2020 at 6:13 am | Permalink

    You are exactly right in what you say and it makes the interviews very unsatisfactory. The sensible politicians who put forwards sound free market policies are always portrayed as being uncaring and nasty when in fact these policies are better for all.

    The endless use of phrases like “the government must invest in this or that” when governments clearly have no money other that what they extract or borrow on the backs of their citizens. Money they would in general have used far more efficiently than governments.

    • Otto
      Posted March 18, 2020 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

      Didn’t we have a link recently to a video explaining that the govt. does not need our money to pay for anything so can make money as they wish hence always money for wars.

      I didn;t understand it myself but he seemed quite convincing.

  6. Lifelogic
    Posted March 17, 2020 at 6:41 am | Permalink

    Meanwhile (the very well prepared and “they will have everything they need”) NHS has insufficient protective equipment to protect staff, insufficient testing capacity and apparently just 4o00 ventilator (compared to 28,000 in Germany it seems – and even that is still not enough). In failing to delay the spread of the virus (to give the NHS time prepare) the government and government experts have made a huge error. They are still, even now, severely under reacting.

    Neil Ferguson Imperial Collage and a member of the Sage Group has predicted about 260,000 deaths. Given the lack of NHS capacity this seem about right or even a bit low to me. In the many areas where the the Italian health system was totally overwhelmed then in some areas the mortality rate was well over 10%.

    • dixie
      Posted March 17, 2020 at 7:27 am | Permalink

      Neil Ferguson, that famous epidemiologist – Really?

      Do you seriously think name-dropping an historian on such a subject gives weight to your unsubstantiated, wild ass guesses? Or that attending IC imbues him with automatic authority.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted March 17, 2020 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

        It’s a different Ferguson, I think, Dixie.

        Do not confuse with Niall Ferguson the “historian”

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 17, 2020 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

        Neil Morris Ferguson OBE FMedSci is a British epidemiologist. He is a professor of mathematical biology, who specialises in the epidemiology of infectious disease spread in humans and animals.

    • Glenn Vaughan
      Posted March 17, 2020 at 7:44 am | Permalink


      You have no idea what the death toll in the UK will be from this virus and neither does Neil Ferguson so producing imaginary numbers is counter-productive and typical alarmist claptrap!

      • UK Qanon
        Posted March 17, 2020 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

        GV – The death toll will be miniscule compared to:
        The number of children who go missing.
        The number of children sexually abused.
        Death from influenza
        Death from heart attack.
        Death from road accidents
        Death from cancer
        All the of above occur regularly and no one gives a toss.
        This so called plandemic caused by the globalist MSM.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted March 17, 2020 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

          If only you were right.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 17, 2020 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

        Well clearly something may happen to change it some miracle drug or something or even some variation of the virus to make it even worse. But is looks fairly predictable to me just extend from all the many figures we have so far for death rates.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted March 17, 2020 at 7:45 am | Permalink

      “In failing to delay the spread of the virus”

      Do you even watch the press conferences with the CMO ? Yesterday he explained why you statement isn’t true.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 17, 2020 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

        I did and he did not.

        Delay like mad “AND” flatten the peak was clearly what should have done ages ago – so as to give the NHS more time to equip and get ready.

        Death toll up to 55 from 35 in just 24 hours so do the exponential maths for 14 days hence! Perhaps as many as 30,000 deaths by then and 300,000 needing ventilators or other treatments.

    • Andy
      Posted March 17, 2020 at 7:47 am | Permalink

      This is what happens when you under-invest in the NHS for a decade. It is a simple fact that while the NHS would still have struggled to cope with this crisis if there had been 10 years of Labour government, it has no chance after 10 years of Tory cuts.

      We are about to all learn – in a very sad and shocking way – what austerity actually means. When people who could have been saved are left to die for want of equipment which would have kept them alive.

      • Edward2
        Posted March 17, 2020 at 11:54 am | Permalink

        Is there a health service in the world that can cope with the sudden crisis?
        You would require dozens of fully equipped hospitals with trained staff left empty and unused for decades on a just in case basis.

        You try to make cheap pro Labour party political points but there is no logic to your claims.
        Even under Labour there were long waiting lists, delays in A and E and scandals of deaths caused by incompetence.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted March 17, 2020 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

          Yes, the Chinese did and have done, unless you claim that the WHO are liars, of course.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 17, 2020 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

            You believe every propaganda press release from the Chinese Communist state.
            As do the UNs WHO
            Says a lot about you and your politics.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted March 18, 2020 at 8:10 am | Permalink

            But they were correct in their disclosures over SARS, and the WHO were correct about ebola, and MERS too.

            Why would they lie now?

            No, I accept that there could be inaccuracies, but name a better source?

          • Edward2
            Posted March 18, 2020 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

            Missing the point Martin.
            The outbreak in China began months ago.
            Probably way before they made it public.
            It is encouraging to see numbers not growing as were feared.
            The Chinese health service struggled to cope.
            The difference was their ability to use their dictatorship powers to lock down the whole area.
            Which people living in Western democracies would find unacceptable.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 17, 2020 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

        Not money really they are just appallingly run. They are a state monopoly that kill all competition by being free at the point of rationing.

      • Richard1
        Posted March 17, 2020 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

        the NHS was never ‘cut’, unlike in deficit eurozone countries where there was real austerity. you wanted us to join the eurozone.

        The NHS was never cut, spending increased every year, even though the Conservatives managed to get the deficit down from over 10% where the Labour Party, which you voted for, left it.

        Imagine if we had ignored the deficit and not cut it and joined the eurozone, both as you wanted – we would be in far worse shape to face the crisis today!

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 17, 2020 at 8:01 am | Permalink

      It is an error that might well meant the difference between 100,000 deaths from this virus and perhaps as high as 500,000.

      A rather more appalling mistake by a factor of many thousands than the ones made by the fools who clad Grenville Tower and the senior fire officers who sent people back to their flats when if was obviously idiotic to do so.

      Even now they could do far more to delay further and get the NHS up to the job.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted March 17, 2020 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

        It was more than a “mistake” by those who clad the Tower – and many had a hand in that.

        Breaking fire prevention regulations is a very serious offence.

        I wonder if recklessly ignoring professional disease prevention advice is one too?

        • Edward2
          Posted March 17, 2020 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

          Which expert advice are you referring to.
          There have many different ones.
          Oh I know, any that are different to the Government.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted March 17, 2020 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

            WHO’s and almost every other country’s.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 18, 2020 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

            Who still have problems.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted March 17, 2020 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

          The fault mainly lies with building control and fire regulation control, the greencrap pushers of climate alarmist, the owners, the people who specified the material (knowing it was going on a tall building) and the fire brigade’s senior officers for sending people back to their flats.

          Almost all failures of the state sector.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted March 17, 2020 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

            I’ll repeat myself then, since you have done so.

            The work was planned by private sector architects, who admit that they did not even read the fire regs.

            It was executed by the private sector.

            The cladding was made by the private sector.

            Building control has been outsourced by councils to the private sector “consultancies”. Town and Country Planning are not responsible for such matters, and never have been.

            I don’t think so.

            Nothing like this has happened anywhere else in the European Union. It is an Anglo-Saxon – in the economic theory sense – disorder.

        • mancunius
          Posted March 17, 2020 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

          If it is, they’ll have to arrest the Leader of the Labour Opposition, who announced today that he would refuse to co-operate with the restrictions on social contact among over 70s urged by the CMO in order to protect the NHS from overstress. ‘This is absolutely critical!’ stressed the CMO. Yet Mr Corbyn will – as usually during his life – stubbornly disobey sensible instructions regardless of risk.

          So now I expect we’ll see a caucus of elderly or sickly Corbynites insisting on following the Master in order to cause chaos.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 22, 2020 at 10:06 am | Permalink

        No one who has seen what is going on in Italy would think the UK is not hugely under reacting we are two weeks or less away from this. Please get Boris and his experts to talk to the Italian medics and experts.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 17, 2020 at 8:10 am | Permalink

      The only remotely good news (for those under 60) is that only about 3% of those who died were under 60.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted March 17, 2020 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

        There’s good news from Italy.

        They have broken the exponential pattern, with hundreds fewer new cases yesterday than the day before.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted March 17, 2020 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

          This is misleading as they are testing fewer I suspect as we also are in the UK due to lack of capacity to do so.

          Still 368 deaths just in 24 hours.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted March 17, 2020 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

            Sorry, I meant deaths not cases, which, for the reasons that you give are misleading.

            It is early days too.

    • Robert McDonald
      Posted March 17, 2020 at 8:32 am | Permalink

      And we have a totally different government in place now, in place for merely 4 months, and the previous government was, in effect, a puppet government to the pro remain lobby who diverted attention from what needed to be done and what they had promised would be done. Already we see a different approach, proactive but balanced and seeking the best specialist guidance available. And of course, we must always remember which party was responsible for spending all our money, and bragged about it.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted March 17, 2020 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

        The passage of time, and comparison with what happens in other countries is going to be so very revealing.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted March 17, 2020 at 9:24 am | Permalink

      The NHS has hardly any resources (only £170 billion annually – the South African economy is £250 billion for comparison) so you expect far too much of them. The staff are basically part-timers and off sick with ‘mental health issues’ etc.
      Perhaps we could simply give all that money to Italy for use of its health system? I’m sure the amount would pay for flights hither and thither too.
      Then we could close the Beeb and the NHS!

      • BJC
        Posted March 17, 2020 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

        Lynn Atkinson: I imagine the private sector will be only too willing to offer their services at a preferential rate, as they’ll clearly need an alternative source of income now that the country is slowly being locked down. No more lucrative boob jobs, rhinoplastys, facelifts, etc. for a while. Sadly, I’m not convinced this would offer many additional doctors, as quite a few are already employed by the NHS. As you rightly observe, part-timers.

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted March 17, 2020 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

          I see the capitalists are being begged for ventilators – no doubt they will do a few miracles and provide – again!

    • IanT
      Posted March 17, 2020 at 10:14 am | Permalink

      Having lived and worked in both Germany and Italy – I find it interesting that at this point people are deciding to make comparisons between the UK and other nations. However the health systems are not the same – with both Italy and Germany having a ‘mixed’ public & private care system. In Germany this is funded essentially by insurance schemes and in Italy there are charges involved for both treatment and drugs. The standard of treatment in Italy also varies very widely between regions, especially north and south.

      So I hope folk will not use Corona as an excuse to criticise NHS resources – because they are probably the same people who get so upset about allowing any private sector healthcare involvement in the UK when GPs are essentially private businesses and a good chunk of our hospitals are run under expensive PFI schemes.

      The NHS is a vast and expensive organisation that does great good but is also poorly managed and often inefficient. But I don’t expect any real change soon – because the simple political solution is to just keep throwing money at it.


    • Oldsalt
      Posted March 17, 2020 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

      Just how many of those 4000 ventilators are immediately available for use as the need arises?

      The fact that there are 4000 proves the previous need for up to that amount at any one time suggests there would now be few free at any one time.

      With the previous NHS funding issues the outlook is rather bleak or worse for those in need.

    • DaveK
      Posted March 17, 2020 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

      In one of the Jordan Petersen interviews he discusses the fact that everyone has a topic which leads them to illogical thought and behaviour mainly due to a personal close link. This appears to be LLs. Normally you would query the efficacy of computer models ala economics/climate change etc. Yet you quote millions of deaths defined by other models, does GIGO not apply here? If 85% of over 60s with severe underlying medical conditions sadly succumb, is it reasonable to run around saying 50 odd million will die in the UK. So we need to know 1. How many in total have/are infected. 2. How many have died. 3. What are the characteristics of the victims. Considering number 1, the CMO said there have been x number infected, but “probably” 10 times more than that. Sounds like a convenient number or what is commonly known as I don’t know but here is a Wild A$$ed guess. Check out the internet and Nature online for chloroquine phosphate and possibly some slightly encouraging news.

      • cornishstu
        Posted March 17, 2020 at 10:48 pm | Permalink

        I think you will find the models used have a long well proven track record unlike those used in the man made climate change scam that can’t even reproduce past climate accurately.

  7. Cynic
    Posted March 17, 2020 at 7:04 am | Permalink

    A good description of why I no longer listen to any BBC news programmes. It gives a new meaning to gutter journalism..

  8. Stred
    Posted March 17, 2020 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    Some interviewers are so full of themselves that they prevent the interviewee from explaining interesting points, even though they may be politically sympathetic. Tubby Ferrari is particularly annoying in this respect. He is quite quick with detail and figures and will jump in on some unimportant matter and the interesting point will be lost.
    The BBC apart from Andrew Neil is just the broadcast Guardian and seems to be getting less professional and is losing audience.
    Ot. Why are schools and universities not being closed, as in other countries. They are known to be hotbeds of infection and pupils then infect their families. If the pupil shows symptoms the family is supposed to isolate for two weeks but other member are likely to become infectious themselves after another week although symptoms may not be evident. Then they will be out for up to a week passing on the virus. In universities the students may be less affected but pass the virus to senior teaching and research staff who will then be off sick or worse and not be able to teach remotely. Older professors may be lost permanently.

  9. Lifelogic
    Posted March 17, 2020 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    Having said this politicians do often look bad – it is the nature of the job. The job makes them try to be all things to all people and they do not want to be the bearer of bad or realistic news. Plus what they do say will be twisted (as with Gove’s experts who get it wrong).

    They do not want to alienate one section of voters by coming down firmly on one side of a controversial argument. Before election the Conservatives invariably claim to be tax cutters, want to cut immigration levels and to want to improve public service (but then do the complete opposite in office).

    Labour say thinks like – We will “ask” those with the broadest shoulders to pay their fair share and then when in office they mug everyone, destroy the economy and waste money hand over fist.

    Hancock said the NHS was very well prepared for the Coronavirus.
    Cameron said he was a low tax at heart, cast iron EUsceptic and would serve the section 50 notice the next day.
    Sunak said the NHS would have everything it needed.
    May said Brexit means Brexit and then tried to deliver remain
    Major said interest rate would go up further if we left the ERM if it is not hurting it is not working
    Kahn said the tube was safe from the virus due to cleaning with hospital grade …..
    Osborne promise a £1 million IHT threshold
    They surely all knew these were blatant lies unless they are all complete idiots?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 17, 2020 at 8:07 am | Permalink

      A politician who does not use sophistry or just blatantly lies tends not to get elected. One that tells the complete and clear truth in plane language very rarely gets elected.
      The job is alas best suited to a bent second hand car salesmen types.

      JR and a few others are the rare exceptions.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 17, 2020 at 1:38 pm | Permalink


  10. Bryan Harris
    Posted March 17, 2020 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    Agreed – The media is totally dishonest. As many of us have been saying for some time – THEY ARE TOTALLY UNFIT FOR PURPOSE.
    How are they allowed to get away with such under-hand tactics – Aren’t there supposed to be standards of decency for broadcasters?
    If something real was to be done about the BBC, the others might just get the message.
    No more pussyfooting about, the BBC is beyond redemption – Abolish the BBC, and save us all from the tripe and pc brainwashing.
    Without the media making so much of the CV, panic buying would not have happened!

    • Doug Powell
      Posted March 17, 2020 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

      Abolish the BBC – spot on!
      To all the other complaints, we can add viciousness and vindictiveness!

      The Corporation is well aware of the demographic of the Brexit voters, that is why they are going all out to pursue the over 75s for the Television Tax! Total, pure unadulterated viciousness and vindictiveness! The corporation must have its pound of flesh from the aged Brexit voters!

  11. Mark B
    Posted March 17, 2020 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    “So what you’re saying is . . . ?”

    I don not think Kathy Newman will be interviewing Jordan Patterson any time soon 😉

    The above is a reference to an interview where the interviewer came up against someone of superior intellect, and crashed, badly. Very badly.

    The only solution is simply to ignore those that will not provide a suitable platform for those wishing to understand more about a certain subject. It is not only those that are being interviewed that are being mistreated but, the viewing and listening audience. And not all are as wise as some here are 😉 One only has to look around London and the people wearing surgical masks, or on the near empty shelves of supermarkets to see how hysteria, created by what I regard an irresponsible media, can do to a populace. This is a time to ask good searching questions and listen to the reply, then challenge that reply if need be.

    The media now is little more propaganda machine and people, the sensible ones, are going elsewhere. Perhaps it is time our host in order to get their message across do the same and leave the Legacy Media to the sound of its own noise.

  12. formula57
    Posted March 17, 2020 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    All 7 cases do not actually require the interviewee to participate, rather just some infotainment industry operative to talk stridently, and I have sometimes witnessed that in substance.

    One joy of our age so far as established media is concerned is the ease with which it can be disintermediated so we consumers can obtain direct access to sources, avoiding its filters, biases, unprofessionalism and stupidity. This diary is a prime example of the best of direct channels.

    Another joy is the speed and ease with which infotainment industry excesses are exposed and ridiculed.

  13. Alan Jutson
    Posted March 17, 2020 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    What a sorry state our media is in and has become in more recent times.

  14. formula57
    Posted March 17, 2020 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    As for politicians getting a tough deal from the infotainment industry, I think the Blair government is responsible for then it became routine for ministers to lie whereas prior to those times such behaviour whilst clearly not unknown was exceptional. The interviewers gradually changed their approach to cope and never stopped, hence the situation now that you describe.

  15. Newmania
    Posted March 17, 2020 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    Infamy infamy , they’ve all got it in …….(etc)-


    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted March 17, 2020 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

      Yes, the claimed victimhood by the Right and by the eurohostile is really quite noteworthy.

      • Edward2
        Posted March 17, 2020 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

        All I hear is you complaining about everything.
        Like it would be perfect under old Mr Corbyn .

  16. Richard1
    Posted March 17, 2020 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    By far the most interesting and insightful interviews and discussions are now to be found online, in podcasts or on you tube. On both you can find sensible long form discussion in which there isn’t some bbc ‘star’ trying to set up a gotcha moment. I barely watch live tv at all now, and never the news or newsnight etc. I do still listen to the today programme though find it tedious. I’ve heard a rival radio station is to start up focused on news and politics and which will not have a liberal-left bias. I assume it’s on hold now, but it can’t come soon enough.

  17. Richard1
    Posted March 17, 2020 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    The ghastly siddiq Khan is using the crisis to score political points by blaming ‘austerity’. Unchallenged of course, it being the BBC. Let’s have a recap:-

    – the NHS has more doctors and nurses than ever before
    – it has had an increase in spending in each year of ‘austerity’ under the Tories
    – it treats more patients than ever before and achieves better healthcare outcomes
    – it was not cut as happened in those countries in the eurozone which had real austerity, ie actual cuts in spending
    – ‘austerity’ was a policy response to the Labour govt busting the economy and leaving a 10%+ deficit.
    – because the Tory eurosceptics kept the U.K. out of the euro, there was no need for the radical austerity seen in Greece Spain Portugal Italy etc.

    Please could leftists take note. If we’d listened to them – not fixing the deficit, joining the euro etc – the NHS would be in a far worse place to face the crisis we are in today.

    • Edward2
      Posted March 17, 2020 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

      It’s a strange form of “austerity” when government spending was £340 billion in 2000 and we will be hitting £900 billion very soon.

  18. Peter
    Posted March 17, 2020 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    John Prescott was another on the left was another who was good at the interview game. He was always available when Labour was at its lowest ebb even though detractors might claim he was simply advancing his own career. Not many were putting their head above the parapet at the time.

    Nobody would claim Mr. Prescott was one of the left’s great intellectuals

    What he did have was a loud, assertive, combative style. Famously punching a protester who threw an egg at him, he gave as good as he got. He was a prime example of a man who never drew a breath in an interview. You could always hear him struggling for air.

    So there is another way to approach interviews if you are one of life’s bruisers.

    • ukretired123
      Posted March 17, 2020 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

      2Jags Remembered for taking the photo shoot boarding a train
      For public gullibility
      Then getting out down the line back into his govt limo.
      No thanks!

  19. David Webb
    Posted March 17, 2020 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    Sadly the BBC seems determined to kick away the best single argument for a publicly funded broadcaster – the provision of sensible, helpful information in a national crisis.

    • rose
      Posted March 17, 2020 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

      The BBC’s Lord and Lady Haw Haws are fighting many political campaigns:

      1 They are trying to win the American election for the Democrats so keep telling us the President said the virus was a hoax, when he actually said the politicisation of the virus was the latest Democrat hoax – and so it has turned out. If he thought the virus a hoax, why did he ban Chinese flights in January? And why do the BBC still think we can vote in US elections?

      2 They are trying to break up the Union (despite having used the Union as a reason why they should be allowed to continue their privileged arrangement as only they can keep it together). They are driving a wedge between England and Scotland, using the virus, and they are doing the same in Northern Ireland. They will no doubt be working on the same project in Wales.

      3 They are trying to topple the Government, especially the PM, and are using the virus to undermine their authority and credibility. Each time HMG gives a clear and candid statement, the BBC piles in to confuse it and then report it is confused. For that reason it was not a good idea to cave in to BBC demands for daily press conferences. They supply more words for the BBC to misreport and distort. HMG should only make announcements when they have something to announce.

      4 The BBC are trying to reverse Brexit and hoping the virus will do that for them, if only enough chaos and damage can be brought about.

      • rose
        Posted March 17, 2020 at 11:25 pm | Permalink

        5 They are hoping to smuggle in a universal wage while they are about it.

  20. villaking
    Posted March 17, 2020 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    Sir John,
    I take comfort that politicians as diverse as you and Jeremy Corbyn both complain about persistent media bias. To me this implies you are uncomfortable with interrogative and awkward questioning and would much prefer to bat on a comfortable wicket but are not allowed to. Long may it continue.

    Reply Not what I said at all! Do try reading before commenting.

  21. agricola
    Posted March 17, 2020 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    These days the interviewer is not intent on revealing the truth, that is their last interest. They prefer the character assassination of the interviewee. This they feel enhances their reputation as an interviewer, but the audience come away no wiser. They may be happy because the attitude of the interviewer reflected their own. Most of us with half a brain can see through this and mentally or physically switch off. The gobby chairperson elicits nothing even if you are able to follow three voices shouting over each other. Question time is a classic and Daily Politics can come a close second. Channel Four is known for it’s vitriol.

    There have never been many really competent interviewers, capable of getting at the truth without engendering WW3. David Frost comes to mind with his interview of Richard Nixon. No histrionics but a sense that we had witnessed the revelation of truth.

  22. Robert Bywater
    Posted March 17, 2020 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    Yes, that was all spot on.

    There is also the “so, what you are trying to say is …..” followed by a prepared BBC opinion.

    No. 3: “the two views are fully compatible because circumstances are different, but precious interview time is lost trying to establish that. It may be that the interviewee has changed their mind owing to new facts and insights”

    Indeed so. As John Maynard Keynes is said to have remarked: “When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?”

  23. Fred H
    Posted March 17, 2020 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    who’d be a politician, eh?

  24. nhsgp
    Posted March 17, 2020 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    I’ve just one an appeal against the BBC. I posted that they have a private company, and that they were prosecuting people and having them jailed. I said that private companies should not have that right, and that its just a form of fascism. State owned and controlled business going after the public.
    That was pulled. I appealed, listed it was factual and went through each of their site rules and it was reinstated.
    So even the BBC think they are (authoritarian ed).

  25. SecretPeople
    Posted March 17, 2020 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    I gave up the TV licence a few years ago so no longer watch the BBC or Sky news programmes. But when I did, I always wondered why the interviewee never turned to address the camera (the audience at home) directly, showing the interviewer up for what they are. You’d have to move quick as no doubt the production team would be flicking between cameras in a bid to outmanoeuvre you. The other option is to make your own recording after the interview and upload it to YouTube, or post to Twitter – your viewpoint in your own words putting the record straight would reach a sizeable audience.

  26. Brigham
    Posted March 17, 2020 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    It is not only the BBC. Piers Morgan is now slagging off the government and the coronavirus experts accusing them of a u turn, even when they have explained themselves so well that I understand what they are trying to do perfectly.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 17, 2020 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

      He is right, they made a huge mistake in under reacting and thousand will die as a result of the NHS lack of capacity and equipment – and they still have not U turned nearly enough. Plus it is probably too late now.

  27. Ian Kaye
    Posted March 17, 2020 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    Train all dentists how to operate respirators.Suspend Data Protection laws so that commercial banks can provide customer account details for the government to provide cash for SMEs to keep going

    • SM
      Posted March 17, 2020 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

      “Train all dentists how to operate respirators” – you are repeating the same foolish and indeed dangerous twaddle as LL, unless you are making a sick joke.

  28. Iain Moore
    Posted March 17, 2020 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    You missed one out, the use of the interruption, where they don’t allow groups they dislike , eg Brexiteers, right wingers, an opportunity to make an argument, instead within seconds of an interviewee being asked to respond they jump in with a hostile interruption. In addition to stopping someone make a point, it also serves the purpose to project to the public the opinions they disapprove, conversely of course by allowing uninterrupted speil by others, it shows which opinions have their approval.

    It was also interesting to see how the BBC reported borders going up across the EU , and not even bothering to report that Germany had stopped the exports of medical goods, stuff that Switzerland had paid for they weren’t getting. All this EU solidarity the Remainers made so much part of their campaign has disappeared, yet we got hardly a word on it, not a hint of criticism, and certainly no reference back to the referendum, just a matter of fact report of borders going up between Germany and France . blink and you would have missed it, but you can be sure if the circumstance was reversed they would have made a meal of it. So we also have bias by omission.

    After the media had their feeding frenzy over J Rees Mogg’s comments I turned off the news running up to the election, I had had my fill of it. The same is happening again, the MSM is in full feeding frenzy over the Coronavirus , they are acting like a fifth column. ‘Just reporting on the panic buying’ fed the panic buying , they are also up to their old tricks of trying to find division, sow division, trying the old ‘Gotcha’ and so on . When we need a media to report calmly what is going on and what is needed we have them in hyperbolic overdrive. Months of this is going to make it unendurable. Beff Rigby’s question to the PM in the news conference the other day …’How many people are going to die?’… was about as disgraceful as it could get. As in the election I would like to turn it off, but unfortunately we need to find out the information. May I suggest the Government streams news conferences on line , and of course other information, so we don’t have to tune into the MSM nonsense.

  29. Lynn Atkinson
    Posted March 17, 2020 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    Yep. That’s why nobody listens anymore. Scrap the Beeb – it might wake the others up.

  30. Shirley M
    Posted March 17, 2020 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    It’s six of one and half a dozen of the other. Rarely do politicians answer the question which was asked, and rarely do interviewers allow a response without interruption.

    An interruption is fine if the politician starts rambling on a different subject or outright evasion, but it has to be applied fairly to all. Currently, left wing politicians seem to get a very easy ride even when saying things that are obviously untrue or wildly exaggerated, while others are hardly allowed to speak.

  31. Ian @Barkham
    Posted March 17, 2020 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    Good morning Sir John

    As always a good informative read.

    I agree with you train of thought on this as with many things.

    Watching the media question Boris yesterday evening highlighted why we the public are not well served by our ‘Guardians’ in the media. The questioning had no value other than stroke the questioners ego. Among the many that stood out as ‘dumb’ was to paraphrase, Sky News asking the Prime Minister when this situation would end!

    Are these people for real?

  32. Everhopeful
    Posted March 17, 2020 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    Oh dear!
    The BBC does not work for the good of the country.
    Hijacked by a narrow metropolitan liberal left viewpoint on every subject.
    Why should we all pay for that??
    It should have been severely hobbled.
    But it wasn’t.
    Instead the govt embraced greenery.

    • Ian @Barkham
      Posted March 17, 2020 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

      The BBC has for sometime been the voice of the Metro Left.

      There is nothing Liberal about the organization, that would suggest the are half in half out and that they would be whatever you wanted them to be.

  33. Cheshire Girl
    Posted March 17, 2020 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    When it comes to interviews with experts, Channel 4 are the worst. They outtalk, interrupt , and generally sneer at them.

    It was very noticeable two nights ago on Ch. 4 News, that Kathy Newman, was very disappointed when, after several efforts, she couldn’t get a very senior Doctor to say that the Government was doing the wrong thing.

    I just had to switch off. Who do these presenters think they are! They are often not fit to clean the shoes of those they are interviewing!

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 17, 2020 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

      Kathy Newman simply cannot think logically in real time, she clearly has no science, economics, understanding or business or maths – but does have a first in English from Oxford I understand. She has all the usual channel 4 BBC think views. The famous interview with Jordan Peterson show this very clearly.

  34. steadyeddie
    Posted March 17, 2020 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    Although I agree with a number of your points, I fail to understand the references to BBC without giving specific examples. You only need to watch Piers Morgan haranguing the Scottish medical professor on Good Morning Britain on ITV yesterday to see it applies to commercial as well public broadcasting.

    • Cary
      Posted March 17, 2020 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

      Piers Morgan can be terrible but everyone knows he’s an opinionated so and so and he doesn’t hide this. What makes the BBC so reprehensible is its use of the underhand tricks John Redwood sets out whilst maintaining the pretence of impartiality.

    • rose
      Posted March 17, 2020 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

      It certainly does apply to the commercial channels too but it began at the BBC and the BBC is the one with special duties to uphold standards.

  35. Bob
    Posted March 17, 2020 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    I have developed a cynical approach towards the MSM, having been involved in election campaigns and seen first hand how they manipulate interviews, news and current affairs to promote their agenda. For this reason I don’t subscribe to their services and that includes not having had a BBC Licence for well over ten years. The fact that a politicised organisation such as the BBC have their revenue enforced by law is unjustifiable.

    Your party are now in govt with a decent Parliamentary majority, so what are you going to do?

    • Bob
      Posted March 17, 2020 at 9:55 am | Permalink

      BBC Licence inspectors would be better employed helping isolated vulnerable people instead of harassing them. Maybe they could distribute some basic household items and groceries so that elderly people won’t need to join the rampaging masses in search of toilet paper. The BBC must have thousands of copies of the Guardian which they’ve already read – when needs must!

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 17, 2020 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

        Same is true for tax inquiry people, motorist muggers and much more of the state sector who main job is harassing or mugging the public!

  36. Norman
    Posted March 17, 2020 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    I seem to recall this adversarial style of media interviewing came in in the mid-1960’s – part of the sea-change in jettisoning respect for authority and long-established values.
    Now, as you say, we have to beat them at their own game, and to do this with good grace is even more of a challenge. However, sincerity, common sense, and honesty (with due discretion) are still much appreciated by many listeners to such interviews.

  37. Andy
    Posted March 17, 2020 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    I have no sympathy for politicians. Only those who can’t adequately answer the questions are made to look bad in interviews. There is nothing wrong with admitting you don’t know the answer to a question. What is wrong is making up guff to pretend.

    It is fatuous and wrong to claim the BBC has an agenda against climate change deniers or Brexiteers. On the contrary the BBC has repeatedly given a platform to people who have repeatedly proven they don’t deserve one. If a climate change denier or a Brexiteer is asked a question and responds without uttering demonstrable falsehoods then that is great. But they usually don’t. Frankly we should have stopped bothering with these people a long time ago as they have poisoned debate.

    • Edward2
      Posted March 17, 2020 at 11:57 am | Permalink

      That is the “I dont like other people’s opinions so no platform them” idea becoming prevalent in many areas of the UK.
      It reveals the dreadful fascism embedded in the Left’s thinking.

    • Edward2
      Posted March 17, 2020 at 11:58 am | Permalink

      Is there a health service in the world that can cope with the sudden crisis?
      You would require dozens of fully equipped hospitals with trained staff left empty and unused for decades on a just in case basis.

      You try to make cheap pro Labour party political points but there is no logic to your claims.
      Even under Labour there were long waiting lists, delays in A and E and scandals of deaths caused by incompetence.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted March 17, 2020 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

        The Chinese built those emergency isolation hospitals in days.

        Now that they have defeated the epidemic, they celebrate the closure of the last of them.

        So yes, there is, Edward.

        • Edward2
          Posted March 17, 2020 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

          They just converted some empty office buildings by moving in some beds.
          Dozens died when one such building collapsed but you missed that bit out.
          And you believe every propaganda release from them.
          defeated the epidemic…hilarious.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted March 18, 2020 at 8:14 am | Permalink


            I love it.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 18, 2020 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

            You believed their reports that they built a whole hospital in 10 days.
            You were fooled.

    • MPC
      Posted March 17, 2020 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

      Wrong look online and you will find the leaked BBC editorial policy to deny climate crisis sceptics air time.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted March 17, 2020 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

        No, homeopaths don’t get that much either, nor astrologists.

        There seems to be a pattern…

        • Edward2
          Posted March 17, 2020 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

          I’ve seen more homeopaths and astrologists on TV than scientists who dont accept the world on fire and we are all going to die on a decade or two.

    • rose
      Posted March 17, 2020 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

      “Frankly we should have stopped bothering with these people a long time ago as they have poisoned debate.”

      It is this dictatorial and authoritarian attitude on the part of so many people which has poisoned debate.

      • Andy
        Posted March 17, 2020 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

        I have no problem with people putting all sorts of views across. Unlike most of you I am most comfortable outside of my own echo chamber. I simple draw the line at people who knowingly do not tell the truth. Obviously it is always possible to interpret facts in different ways – and that is fine. What is wrong is people who either lie – or who get thinks wrong and refuse to admit it and apologise. This goes for every side by the way – right, left, middle. It’s just that in recent years it has been the Trumpian / Brexiteer climate change deniers who have been most heavily involved in dealing with what they call ‘alternative facts’. Or what I call lies.

        • Edward2
          Posted March 17, 2020 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

          Ah “truth”
          Do you believe ” the world is on fire” or that “the human race will be extinct in a decade” or that “major cities will be submerged in a few decades”

          Or do you accept the combined experts in the UN’s IPCC last report?

    • Man of Kent
      Posted March 17, 2020 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

      What nonsense !
      I have never heard a reasoned discussion on climate change on the BBC since their line was taken over by climate activists posing as scientists .
      All they say is ‘the science is settled ‘ when it is not .
      And end any dissenters career like Professor David Bellamy who was treated brutally .

      Surely we need a national debate on climate change to be on a par with that going on with CV .
      In both cases huge sums of public money and lives are at stake ,but so far as climate change is concerned there is no debate at all .

      • Andy
        Posted March 17, 2020 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

        I’m sorry but climate science is settled – and has been for a long time. The debates now are only about the scale and what to do about it.

        Sure you can find some self-proclaimed ‘experts’ who rubbish it but they have no credibility anymore. You lost. Get over it.

        Incidentally it has been more than 2000 years since man discovered the world was round. We can now literally see this from space but some people still argue it is flat. You occasionally hear flat Earthers on the BBC too. Some people will always refuse to engage with reality.

        • Edward2
          Posted March 17, 2020 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

          Tell us the peer reviewed report that states the actual percentage mankind is responsible for the 1.3 degree warming since 1850.
          Is it 100% or 10% or something in between?

    • Richard1
      Posted March 17, 2020 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

      No surprise it’s the EU fanatical leftists and eco-zealots who think the BBC is just fine and dandy. Case made.

      • Andy
        Posted March 17, 2020 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

        I am not a leftist. I am not an eco-zealot. I am not an EU fanatic. I think the BBC has many flaws. But I disagree with all the comments Mr Redwood made about interviews.

        He and his fellow Brexiteers are struggling because they no longer get the easy ride they had on TV for 35+ years. It doesn’t matter what you say when your clan is not in power.

        Now the Brexiteers are in power they get all uppity because they can’t answer the questions and are frequently made to look silly on national TV.

        The problem is not the interviewers – it is the incoherence of the Brexiteers argument. Come up with sensible arguments and none of you will be made to look silly. But when you have to try explaining how 200 million extra customs forms and 50,000 extra customs officers cuts red tape then no wonder you find it uncomfortable.

        • Edward2
          Posted March 17, 2020 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

          Sir John writes about the attitude by broadcasters which has gone on for many years towards politicians of all parties.
          You automatically spring back to you obsession of Brexit but you miss the point.
          Try re reading the article.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 17, 2020 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

      No one sensible denies that the climate changes it always has always will. What is clearly mad is to assume that CO2 is some kind of world thermostats and that hell on earth is certain if we do not reduce man made CO2 (plant food).

      Not only this but the “solutions” – renewables, public transport, bikes and electric cars they proffer as solutions do not even work not even in PURE CO2 TERMS.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted March 17, 2020 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

        But climatologists do NOT assume that.

        • Edward2
          Posted March 17, 2020 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

          Yes they do.
          The believe CO2 is the driver of all warming.
          And they argue for the solutions Lifelogic lists.
          Surely you know this.

  38. glen cullen
    Posted March 17, 2020 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    Love that word ‘predicted’ every man and his dog is now making predictions

    We need a single voice and source of info ie the government (and I don’t mean various MPs grabing headlines I mean the uk chief scientific advisor)

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 17, 2020 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

      The scientists the Government used have got it badly wrong – we should have delayed the infection like mad as hard as we could possibly do many weeks ago. This so as to get the NHS as ready as it could be with equipment and staff. As I said at the time. Not reassured us as they did on how wonderfully prepared the NHS was and that it would have everything it needed, how wonderfully clean and safe the Tube was, how Cheltenham should go ahead, how most people had a mild infection. Many tens (or evens hundred of thousand) will die as a result of this error and lack of NHS capacity. They had all the information they needed from China and later Italy they should have got it right but they did not.

      Even now they are under reacting badly. The deluge will hit the hospitals in just a few days time. Death rates will I suspect be far higher than they needed to be as a result. I hope I am wrong but I doubt it.

  39. Javelin
    Posted March 17, 2020 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    One contradiction in Government advice is for the vunerable to isolate but the rest to suggest isolating by only doing essential things.

    So why should healthy people be forced to stay in? Why should the economy collapse ? Just because a few vunerable people break their curfew and go out.

    What this calls for is leadership. Vunerable people stay in and the healthy will look after you. It needs sorting out and Boris in not fumbling the ball but seems unaware there is even a ball to catch.

    This half way wishy washy contradictory nonsense doesn’t cut it with anybody. The vunerable will still be going out and getting ill and the healthy will be left with economic armageddon.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted March 17, 2020 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

      I know that egoism is endemic these days, but it’s not about self-protection, rather, the protection of vulnerable others, from mildly-affected people who would otherwise give it to them, and then who would in turn overwhelm the NHS.

      The number of infected people MUST be kept down for this reason. That means, absolutely, the young and fit avoiding it too.

      Do you understand?

      • a-tracy
        Posted March 18, 2020 at 9:49 am | Permalink

        No I don’t understand Martin, if everyone just stops work to take care of their own children, if all businesses just stop the clock how long do you think they’ll have to close for? A month? Who pays the bills? Who pays the companies extended sick pay and sick holiday pay, the Rent, Rates, Hire Purchase, Insurances, to protect the vulnerable – why can’t the actual vulnerable be the ones to self-isolate? S Korea has the virus coming back, as soon as this virus is out in the largely populated areas of India, Africa etc. and there is no vaccine it is OUT and will be around for years not weeks.

        In the meantime in your world everything will just fall over, supermarket staff will be at home, hospital staff, petrol stations, vehicle recovery companies, dentists, just how long are you expecting to stop the clock for? And which of us are you expecting to carry on working regardless of everyone else being off?

        • Edward2
          Posted March 18, 2020 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

          In Martin’s world the State will pay using their magic money tree.
          Or just tax the rich until everyone is equally poor.

  40. Rhoddas
    Posted March 17, 2020 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    Whether people are fooled by these interviewing shennanigans, I somehow doubt it.
    Both politicians and interviewers need training, tools and techniques in their roles and how to ensure worthy interview results – all must be held to account properly.

    On the virus pandemic, UK appears woefully unprepared, behind the curve and still in denial about closing schools; I will leave it to the medical professionals to say what they need in terms of ventilators and protective clothing etc.

    When it comes to handling the economy we hear a lot of help announced but individual finances of those people who stop receiving normal income through illness and/or loss of employment/trade needs addressing ASAP. My recomendations are:

    * SSP increased to min wage level, by way of cancelling the NI giveaway.
    * Moratorium on council tax for several months, which HMG can bankroll councils through some borrowing.
    * Mortgage payment freezes (entending the term).

    Re Airlines/trains and so forth – likely some partial form of nationalisation may be required to keep them afloat enough to recommence operations, being being consumed by debt. Talking of debt, the banks and insurers will feel the pain soon shortly as many companies are forced to fold and ligitation and claims begin in earnest. Do we sense another Lehman moment? I would welcome your sage views Sir J, on the necessary steps needed here.

  41. a-tracy
    Posted March 17, 2020 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    Perhaps someone could do a little podcast video of examples of your points, there is more than enough evidence. Sometimes I just shout at the screen, “let them finish their response before you jump in!”

    All these people mouthing off about insurance companies covering every loss, don’t be silly – the whole insurance industry would fall over in quick order, they don’t expect/anticipate in the best actuarial reports that 75% of their cover would be called in at the same time.

  42. William Long
    Posted March 17, 2020 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    I found this a very interesting post. Whatever you may think about the Government’s approch and policy towards Covid-19, in my view the Prime Minister’s Press Conferences offer a very refreshing example of how interviews should be conducted: generally sensible and useful questions from journalists and considered and informative replies. The broadcast media and the BBC in particular should take note.

  43. cosmic
    Posted March 17, 2020 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    Another dodge is an hour of recorded interview, from which the two minutes shown on air is selected. Obviously that’s chosen to suit the interviewer’s agenda.

  44. Geoffrey Berg
    Posted March 17, 2020 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    True, most broadcast interviewers are either too ‘soft’/’unincisive’ or get in the way of a coherent case by interrupting too much.
    Furthermore it is far easier to answer than to ask the questions (as Opposition Leaders have found in PMQs).
    The intervieweee has the advantage in interviews: he/she gets to say more words and chooses how to reply. Anyhow, as is almost invariably the case, so long as one’s supporters still support one by the end of the interview, no real damage is done to the politician.
    So interviewers very rarely get to beat any politician, least of all John Redwood!

  45. Irene
    Posted March 17, 2020 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    I get the feeling you have been bitten by the BBC recently. If so, can you give date and time of transmission of said episodes, so that we can form our own opinion. BTW, have you ever noticed how difficult it is for politicians to answer the question with a straight reply? Another thought – perhaps the fault lies with the media training given to politicians of all parties. Couldn’t be a failure of that media training, could it?

    Reply No I have not

  46. John Griffin
    Posted March 17, 2020 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    The one thing that BBC interviers fear is silence. My late brother in law worked in the 1970’s and 80’s for the Jimmy Young Show which featured fairly gentle interview with politicians. They were terrified of Sir Keith Joseph because having asked a question they got seconds of no response, whilst he, Sir Keith thought about the question and how to answer it. To a broadcaster 5 seconds seems like 5 minutes. But Sir Keith was recognising the value of the question and the respect he gave it was by giving it some serious thought. The last thing anyone on the Today programme wants.

    • SM
      Posted March 17, 2020 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

      I used to listen to Jimmy Young’s show when I was a young at-home mother, and I remember very clearly how his patient and extremely polite interviewing style got far more out of his guests than the ‘me, me, me’ interviewer style that became so fashionable, starting at least 20 years ago. I recall Mr Young interviewing Mrs Thatcher, and gently pointing out that she hadn’t actually answered his question – it was done so courteously, she had to respond!

      • rose
        Posted March 18, 2020 at 12:14 am | Permalink

        Roy Plumley was another who put the guests so at ease that they revealed far more than they would otherwise have done.

    • Fred H
      Posted March 18, 2020 at 9:04 am | Permalink

      Harold Wilson admitted he’d light his pipe, puff away while he thought how to answer….

  47. margaret
    Posted March 17, 2020 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    Why just link this to politicians ? The same ploys are used in every walk of life even leaning towards tacit blackmail to keep people down . If someone is being unfairly used and are a good source of income from unspoken abusers then they try to get ‘ something on them ‘ or if events have been twisted,any small chance to fabricate evidence will be appealed to ..

  48. Well, I
    Posted March 17, 2020 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    According to CNBC today interviewing a major Doctor Dr Scott Gottlieb Former FDA Commissioner)(death toll in US only 85) “The Virus will peak ( in the US )in April-early May” etc etc downhill of course.
    Looks like the Virus has discovered WARP Technology as on Star Trek and travels so fast it goes to destination before it has set off,( literally in point of fact).
    The clock has increased the rate of its tick!

  49. Ignoramus
    Posted March 17, 2020 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    Interviewers who have a pile of notes, probably prepared by research assistants, indicate in advance they are going to be hostile.

  50. Ian @Barkham
    Posted March 17, 2020 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    Another amusing tidbit

    Mr Macron said measures unprecedented in peacetime were needed. In a sombre address to the nation, the president said that from Tuesday midday (11am UK time) people should stay at home unless it was to buy groceries, travel to work, exercise or for medical care.
    Anyone flouting the restrictions would be punished.

    So shopping for food good, going to work OK then a jog around the village also great.

    The main stream media is desperate to create a headline – then the Political Elite create and feed their own.

  51. rose
    Posted March 17, 2020 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    This is exactly what they do, to a tee. When they aren’t doing all these things, they are reading out a prepared list of false allegations and bellowing down any attempt to answer them.

  52. ed2
    Posted March 17, 2020 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    Why are al the mobile networks collapsing today? Because of the coronavirus they say. What garbage! Because everyone’s gone home from work they say? So why is that different to any other Sunday? The MSM report the networks are collapsing when all are working fine and then 20 minutes later they all collapse as if its part of the script hmmm, and they are the ones who want us to buy new expensive 5g ready phones?

  53. ed2
    Posted March 17, 2020 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    Now they banning us going to Church?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 17, 2020 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

      Perhaps for the best as the churches are all full of bats and bat droppings now thanks to the mad bat protection laws and bats seem to be where this virus came from. Plus they carry rabies.

  54. Ginty
    Posted March 17, 2020 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    “Lay down suppressing fire…” From that Alien film.

  55. Mike Wilson
    Posted March 17, 2020 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    I do wish politicians would be more robust with BBC interviewers. I just wish that, for once, a politician would say ‘I am not going to engage with your simplistic attempt to either point score or use your limited intellectual ability to try to force me into a black or white position. If you wish to have a nuanced discussion, let’s proceed. If you want to try to prove your point and force me to agree with your little slogan, I will leave and see if a sensible interviewer wishes to interview me.’

    Thank heavens for the removal of that captcha thing.

    • Robert Bywater
      Posted March 18, 2020 at 8:10 am | Permalink

      Agree completely with that Mike.

  56. Limp finish
    Posted March 17, 2020 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    New York says the Virus will reach its peak in 45 days. So I guess that’s 1st May and that’s the Virus’s lot.
    Should the UK now make preparation as our peak should be stated, allow people back in pubs and shops open by about the end of first week in April?Or would that be uneconomic?
    We have a dopey Government in the UK. Is Trudeau the PM?

  57. Iain Gill
    Posted March 17, 2020 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

    Gavin Williamson is doing a good job of making himself look silly today.

    Trying to keep the state schools open while telling a large proportion of the staff to stay home is nonsense. The public schools are shutting, it just looks bad when the state sector does this.

    Not to mention all the kids mixing and spreading virus.

    • Mitchel
      Posted March 17, 2020 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

      After his embarrassing Frank Spencer impersonation,when telling the Russia to go away and shut up,I’m amazed anyone considered him suitable for another government job.

    • mancunius
      Posted March 17, 2020 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

      Let’s be sensible about this. Children have a much lower rate and seriousness of infection, with fewer and often no symptoms, and if they are at school, they are containing the virus within the school premises and within their cohort: the adult-child class ration is 1 to ca. 27, and teachers are normally recruited from the healthy adult population so that reduces the knock-on risk within the more vulnerable adult population.
      If the kids are all sent home, they will not be staying at home: they will spread infection invisibly around the stores, supermarkets, buses, trains, cafés, streets, parks etc to those whose infection has far more serious dimensions and consequences.
      And in order to feed and supervise their children, many working parents would be forced to enlist the help of grandparents – precisely the age group that is most vulnerable to serious forms of the virus.
      Where it has been effected, in the US, closing the state schools has caused utter havoc among the less well off families. We should think of them, and resist the pressure from the teachers’ unions.

      • Iain Gill
        Posted March 17, 2020 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

        simply nonsense.

        lots of children have diabetic parents and so on, who are the most vulnerable to this virus.

        really this lazy thinking is dangerous.

  58. mancunius
    Posted March 17, 2020 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    One particularly sneaky BBC ploy is to ‘invite’ the uninterrupted viewpoint of some political activist who claims to be an expert. For example, last week they introduced Labour MP (Rosena Ali-Khan) as ‘a GP who has been recently practising’: she (of course) spent a few minutes making a fierce attack on the government under the guise of ‘medical expert’ : she claimed the NHS was completely demoralised and depleted ‘by ten years of austerity’, that the NHS 111 line was not responding to the calls of the severely ill, that everyone else ‘in Europe’ was doing better than the UK, and not for a moment did Evan Davies question any of her ‘expert’ views, or her motivation.
    Absolute disgrace. We must have a referendum on the next BBC Charter renewal: dismantling the licence fee is no longer enough.

    • a-tracy
      Posted March 18, 2020 at 9:40 am | Permalink

      mancunius I thought the NHS was the only service that didn’t have austerity cuts. I thought the Conservative Government put more money in than ever? “we spend twice as much on health today as we did 20 years ago. by the government, or almost £1 in every £3 spent on public services. These shares have grown at a rapid pace since 2009–10. Additional funding will be required for the NHS if it is to meet a range of pressures.” IFS – How much more Employees National Insurance are the public prepared to pay?

      • mancunius
        Posted March 18, 2020 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

        Yes of course – but ‘austerity’ is a mantra that Labour MPs parrot faithfully on air, knowing that no BBC presenter will ever intervene to contradict them.

  59. Anonymous
    Posted March 17, 2020 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    I am extremely concerned. Friends who work in hospitality and leisure are already having to send out begging letters.

    People are going to start to get hungry very soon.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted March 17, 2020 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

      Just continue to patronise them by spending what you’d normally spend, without attending. The pub or restaurant will make more money and owe you a few pints when things get back to normal.

      • Anonymous
        Posted March 17, 2020 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

        Yes. We’re doing this already. Until we go on half pay sometime soon.

    • Sea Warrior
      Posted March 17, 2020 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

      Does no-one bother to have savings to cover three months’ bills anymore?

  60. ukretired123
    Posted March 17, 2020 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

    The main traits I have noticed how SJR has survived countless interviews are:-

    Keep it Simple
    Keep to the point
    Deal with the real problem
    And last but not least,
    Attention to detail
    Interviewers hate all that but it’s marvellous to witness him sticking to his unshakeable beliefs while they flounder.
    Please keep it going.

    It reminds me of a book title years ago called Straight & Crooked Thinking.

  61. margaret
    Posted March 17, 2020 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

    As more cases of corona virus occur I wish all of you success in fighting to stay virus free and to stay alive to fight again to build up our economy .

    I see that the first vaccines are being tried in China and hopefully they will be safe enough for administration next year.

    I hope I am around also to join you all in a positive rebuild , until then keep clothing well aired and clean, wash hair and shower regularly, gargle with salt and water frequently,stay out of crowded places , eat fresh fruit and veg daily and if you seem to be winning don’t become complacent and keep complying with all previous advice.

  62. Robin Davies
    Posted March 17, 2020 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

    The press conferences on the coronavirus situation have the Prime Minister flanked by two impressive professionals and show the government is trying to act on the basis of scientific advice. He is not helped by sniping comments to the news programmes by Rory Stewart who has no expertise to offer and by Jeremy Hunt who should know better. But then they both have axes to grind and scores to settle. A long period of silence from both of them would be a better contribution to dealing with the problem.

  63. Vanessa
    Posted March 17, 2020 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

    All good reasons to close the BBC down. This shows what an utter farce the organisation is to inform the public. I have not paid my Licence Fee since 2012 and refuse to do so.

  64. Iain Gill
    Posted March 17, 2020 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

    2 kids and a vulnerable wife to feed, no work, nothing the chancellor has said will help freelancers.

  65. John Hatfield
    Posted March 17, 2020 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

    And we the public, are forced to pay for this. The BBC should be made pay per view or made to go commercial.
    A mon avis.

  66. steve
    Posted March 17, 2020 at 7:53 pm | Permalink


    We all know how the BBC operates, and most people hold that organisation in contempt.

    Your opinion is widely shared.

    The way to sort it out is to abolish the licence fee, and actually penalise the BBC each time it resorts to political bias, on the grounds of breach of charter.

    It is supposed to be politically neutral,….. it isn’t, and hasn’t been since Blair corrupted it.

  67. Sea Warrior
    Posted March 17, 2020 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

    Here’s an idea: make a short video on this subject, illustrated with appropriate clips, and then have it posted on YouTube. And when you’ve done that perhaps you would kick Boris and get him to sort out the BBC, once and for all, while he has a majority.

  68. glen cullen
    Posted March 17, 2020 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

    And sometimes MPs don’t do themselves any favours, today’s questioning of the UK chief scientific advisor by the health committee was completely substandard and an exercise in point scoring…especially the questions and performance of the chair Jeremy Hunt MP

    • Sea Warrior
      Posted March 18, 2020 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

      Jeremy Hunt should stand down as the chairman. How can he be allowed to inquire into matters of NHS preparedness when he is a past Secretary of State for Health?

  69. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted March 18, 2020 at 12:02 am | Permalink

    Don’t you ever feel like retaliating. Next time Andrew Marr gets up to his tricks, just ask him “Do you still bite your toenails?” Works a treat.

  70. Worker
    Posted March 18, 2020 at 4:02 am | Permalink

    Extension of transition period on Brexit. We expected this irrespective. Project Delay. Any and all excuses!
    But there can be no excuse whatsoever. Negotiators are not a food outlet. Only hot air producers and we have had 3 years of it. They should roll up their sleeves, noses to the grindstone and get Brexit done!
    Their behaviour is unforgivable! Only their brains and Honour should be in self-isolation!
    So many people are having to go to work but these work shirkers are wishing months off. Glass backs!

  71. ferdinand
    Posted March 18, 2020 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    Then why do so few politicians check the facts about AGW. I was told that when an eminent Conservative minister was confronted with the facts he replied “Go away I don’t want to know “.

  72. Ian Fantom
    Posted March 20, 2020 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

    Many thanks for that. I had noticed how the BBC and Channel 4 increasingly go out of their way to interview the people who know least about the subject.

  73. a-tracy
    Posted March 20, 2020 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

    (Named person ed)needs disciplinary action talking like that on C4 news I’m fuming, get the health minister on the news showing people the action you’ve taken, the empty beds ready, the ppe, the action you’ve taken, I hope I never need treating by anyone that hysterical she scares me making her political points and I want our Health ministers to point out what you’ve been doing, because I know it’s a lot.

    • a-tracy
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

      Ok John, but force this Doctor to name the hospital she is talking about having no ppe and investigate and get them some from the military today, I’ll deliver it free if you need to. Just stop them scaremongering.

      I have just read about Louis Vuitton Bernard Arnault owner paying for 40 million masks from a Chinese manufacturer and he’s picked up the tab. Construction sites etc will have masks in store – Nissan, Vauxhall they’re shut ask them to repurpose them to get through.

  74. Wireworm
    Posted March 21, 2020 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

    Brilliant post! Should be framed and hung in the vestibule of Broadcasting House.

  • 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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