The BBC and Afghanistan

The BBC wished to interview me concerning Afghanistan this week. I was very suprised to be asked why I had suddenly decided to be passionate about this issue and write and speak about it.

I explained patiently that I have been speaking and writing about getting our troops out for all too many months. Instead of apologising and accepting my word that this was not a new opinion, the interview became a discussion of why the BBC usually ignores these pieces on my website. A leading US newspaper went further and without any discussion with me, or clearly without any reading of my blogs, just asserted that I was a supporter of the war who was now calling for “early” withdrawal of troops.

I fully accept that the BBC is a powerful news medium, who can decide each day what they think the news is and who should appear on their programmes. They need to accept that I and others may have a different sense of what the news is each day. When they interview they should at least believe me if I tell them what my view is and when I formed it, where there is clear documentary evidence to back that up. I chose to highlight Afghanistan again on 30 August on this site, 17 days before their decision to highlight it. I then followed that up this week when opportunity presented in the Commons when it was at last back from its over long holiday. I had not suddenly come to this view.

The BBC interviewer said he did read my blog. Nonetheless they usually ignore the best stories. No-one has bothered, for example, to follow up the recent stories here of the £320 million of derivative losses at Network Rail, or the 5% plus increase in incomes for people on out of work benefits compared to people working. It took the BBC around 2 years to partially catch up with the public spending reality described here from the official figures, when the BBC wished to consistently present a false picture of the “cuts”.

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  1. A.Sedgwick
    Posted September 20, 2012 at 6:57 am | Permalink

    The BBC appears to fail to take any notice of public opinion too. For years polls have said that the majority asked, sometimes 80+%, think we should be out of Afghanistan and most of the people I know say that we should never have been there in the first place.
    Add immigration, EU, soft law and order, climate change debate for further examples where they are biased.

    • Timaction
      Posted September 20, 2012 at 9:08 am | Permalink

      The BBC is totally out of touch with reality. They only report what they want from a left wing slant and actively seek out those people to report the News or populate there biased labour focussed political programmes and so called News. Anyone who actually knows what is actually going on is opposed to mass migration, more EU, foreign aid, human rights act, benefits, global warming/climate change balony etc. The BBC actually celebrates this and we are taxed to pay for it. It’s long overdue when this dated monstrosity should be privatised. Then it could sink or swim on what it offers. I gave up watching its news and so called current affairs as my wife got fed up with me shouting at the television.

      • Nina Andreeva
        Posted September 20, 2012 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

        As the liberal metropolitan elite (of which the coalition government is just Coca Cola to the Nu Labour Pepsi variant) are determined to Americanise the UK. Why not just turn the BBC into something like NPR and PBS? Here if you want to listen/watch that sort of liberal stuff you can subscribe to it voluntarily without being forced into paying for it with the threat of bird if you do not. Have a listen to NPR its not if it would come as shock to the BBC judging from the amount of there stuff is broadcast stateside.

        One good thing to come of all the human rights legislation, according to my local satellite TV installer in multi-culti Bristol who spotted that my other half is Chinese. Is that if you have trouble with the neighbours about putting dish up because you live in a street full of listed buildings or you are being hassled by the licence people because they have spotted your dish and you have obviously have a TV.Is to just mention to the council that you are from an ethnic minority and that you want to watch TV in your own language and any threats about fines/jail time will simply melt away.

      • Disaffected
        Posted September 20, 2012 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

        It was in the gift of Cameron to cut its size and privatise many parts of it. It has grown way beyond its remit. Society today does not a state propaganda unit. Mr Patton’s EU pension appears in conflict with the impartial aspect of broadcasting policy at the BBC as does the grant it receives from Europe.

  2. Electro-Kevin
    Posted September 20, 2012 at 7:01 am | Permalink

    Why are you not in the Cabinet ? We desperately need politicians like you in control.

    Is it that the BBC also dictates the make-up of the Tory party in this era of headline politics and spin ?

  3. Wattylersghost
    Posted September 20, 2012 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    Great comments. Yet MPs still support the funding of the BBC through threat of prison – WHY?

    • Robert Taggart
      Posted September 20, 2012 at 10:13 am | Permalink

      The threat of imprisonment for non payment of the television poll-tax should be abolished.
      The maximum penalty for non payment of the television poll-tax should simply be enforced payment.

      • Jerry
        Posted September 20, 2012 at 11:23 am | Permalink

        Well that would really be some inducement, pay-up or err pay-up if one gets caught!… But indeed, a financial penalty (a fine or the loss of equipment for example) yes but imprisonment and/or criminal record no.

        • Bob
          Posted September 20, 2012 at 6:54 pm | Permalink


          The only “punishment” should be that your access to the service is discontinued, just like water, gas, electricity, Sky TV, Virgin, BT, etc. etc.

          What right should TVL have to burst into private homes and demand to search the premises.

          If you haven’t paid, then cut the service – simple!

          • Jerry
            Posted September 21, 2012 at 8:01 am | Permalink

            Indeed, that is why I suggested that the offender should loose their reception equipment, just like those who avoid the VED now risk the loss of their cars!

            Remember that the TVL is a licence to use television reception equipment, not for watching the BBC. Oh and the TVLA has no right to “burst into a property”, unless they have both the police and a court warrant they have no power of entry – just as with any other civil/criminal activity…

          • Single Acts
            Posted September 21, 2012 at 11:21 am | Permalink

            They don’t have that right, not without a warrant anyway, despite what they say.

          • Bob
            Posted September 21, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

            “Remember that the TVL is a licence to use television reception equipment, not for watching the BBC.”


            So does any of the money raised go into general taxation?

            Or does it all go to the BBC after TVL have skimmed off their £200 million?

          • Jerry
            Posted September 21, 2012 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

            Bob, first off the TVL is not a tax, whilst many people think of it as a tax, might even call it a tax, legally speaking it is no such thing. Secondly, would you suggest that those who dislike the VED [1] not pay it, or is your wish to incite others to break the law simply because you feel safe that detection is low enough to take the risk, if you were at risk of loosing your television reception equipment would you still refuse to obey the law?

            [1] preferring that revenue be raised on a

            I hear, and agree with a lot you say about the BBC its funding but there are better and more effective ways of getting both the law and the way that the BBC is funded changed rather than mass civil disobedience.

            As for how much goes to the BBC, no all of it doesn’t, a percentage has been used to fund the DSO help scheme and I think I am correct in saying that cut will now be used to improve other digital provision such as broadband were the commercial sector has no interest.

          • Bob
            Posted September 22, 2012 at 12:28 pm | Permalink


            “…as with any other civil/criminal activity…”

            Civil or criminal?

            and wouldn’t you think the police and the courts time could be better spent, especially in view of the violence and murder that afflicts our big society?

      • lifelogic
        Posted September 20, 2012 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

        People should stop paying the licence tax and just not watch live TV and use the iplayer (as I understand you legally can) until they stop the political indoctrination.

        • Jerry
          Posted September 20, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

          I don’t believe legal aid is available to defend claims of non payment of the TVL fee, and I’m sure if your suggestion really did happen (the BBC would be able to tell via their server stats) the first service to be disabled would be the iPlayer…

          No, the answer is to keep pushing these issues with people like our host (and if possible your own MP), people who will be able to ask the pointed questions of DCMS, demand the answers from both Ofcom and the BBC Trust etc. Do remember that the process for the BBC’s Charter renewal will be starting in just over three years (I think that is the schedule?).

          • sm
            Posted September 21, 2012 at 9:47 am | Permalink

            If the i-player was stopped, the market would probably provide an alternative most likley paid by a combination of advertising and further subscription channels.

            Is the i-player a really free public service or an anti-competitive spoiling action? Ensuring that the BBC has a dominant platform to spread the right message.

            I understand 4G services may utilize some of the same spectrum that TV signals use. How long before the law actually becomes irrelevant as people switch away from TV tuners as a delivery method.

            I suspect tptb will try and control the internet in a similar way by moving for an internet equivalent tax for the digital BBC. More unwanted protectionism used to frame social thinking.

          • Single Acts
            Posted September 21, 2012 at 11:22 am | Permalink

            Technology will destroy the licence fee, not the deaf politicos.

          • Bob
            Posted September 21, 2012 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

            “Charter renewal will be starting in just over three years…”

            I suspect it’s already been agreed.

          • Jerry
            Posted September 21, 2012 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

            @sm: The iPlayer is for BBC owned (or rights acquired) content, so it is not being anti-competitive in any shape of form (just as any other broadcasters ‘catch-up’ service doesn’t). Unless you are suggesting that the BBC should neither make its own content nor buy the rights to content on the open commercial market?!…

            The iPlayer is not free, it is paid for via the TVL fee, certainly within the UK.

            The only way a third party commercial company could legally provide the content from the BBC/iPlayer is to buy the rights to it from the rights owner. Just because it has been broadcast on the BBC doesn’t make access to it open season.

            @Single Acts: Technology is likely to enforce the TVL and control of any other rights management content, might I suggest that you read up on encryption (such as that used by BSkyB for example) and DRM in general etc.

            @Bob: there might be a draft Charter but I don’t think it can be signed off on until after the next government is in office.

        • zorro
          Posted September 20, 2012 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

          Yes, just unplug the antenna from the TV (no need to pay money to get rid of the antenna) and use the TV as a DVD viewer or link it up to your computer and watch catch up TV programmes. If someone comes to your door (and if you answer the door) tell them that you do not have a TV connected to receive live programmes and wish them a good day. Perhaps you might suggest that they get a useful job too.


          • sm
            Posted September 21, 2012 at 9:59 am | Permalink

            A number of newer DVD players/boxes media streamers already allow connection to the internet for streaming digital content to your display screen ( or TV). Its only a matter of time before ISP offer a combined internet/dvd/usb/box/router to avoid the current license fee, by not utilising the service and technology subject to the law.

          • Jerry
            Posted September 21, 2012 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

            As I said before, the first casualty of any TVL boycott, coupled to an increase in iPlayer traffic, will be the iPlayer service. No ISP will (knowingly) allow access to ‘boot-leg’ content.

        • Bazman
          Posted September 22, 2012 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

          If the BBC is so bad why would anyone want to watch it on an iplayer or anything else. Seems to be a lot about not paying the fee, but not much on not watching.

  4. Old Albion
    Posted September 20, 2012 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    You can add to the list of important issues ignored by the BBC, the plight of England in the disunited kingdom.

  5. Paul Flynn
    Posted September 20, 2012 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    It’s surprising that you were invited to talk about this subject with your views which are ones that I share. News media are obsessed with RUSI or other military-based ‘experts’ who are judged to be the sources of all truth. In the past 48 hours I have been interviewed for Canadian, Australia, New Zealand and Russian television. Not once for the BBC. Strange.

    • zorro
      Posted September 20, 2012 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

      I suppose that is why they are the state broadcasting corporation….


    • outsider
      Posted September 20, 2012 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

      Dear Mr Flynn,
      I am sorry but under the rules of mainstream political discourse, Paul Flynn and John Redwood are not permitted to agree: you are “loony left” and Mr Redwood is “ultra right”. One might have thought that if two independent minded thinkers come to a similar conclusion from different starting points, their argument must have some merit. But Establishment spin tells us that if Messrs Flynn and Redwood agree, that cannot be a view held by “sensible” people. What a shame.

  6. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted September 20, 2012 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    The BBC has its own agenda for most, if not all, issues. I doubt that the BBC interviewer really reads all your blogs, for, as Peter Sissons highlighted last year, the BBC takes its lead about what constitutes the news from the Guardian:

  7. NickW
    Posted September 20, 2012 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    There was an opinion poll recently which showed that the majority of the public had no idea of the trajectory of the national debt, (up), no idea of the progress being made, (if any) in deficit reduction, and no real idea of the distinction between debt and deficit.

    Given that the BBC’s charter is legally binding, and the fact that it is has single handedly been responsible for the bulk of this deliberate misinformation, that is a very strange and serious state of affairs. One has to ask our legislators how they continue to allow it.

    Mr Gove’s educational reforms could very usefully include in the school curriculum some factual information about debt and deficit, how Government spending is funded, and the impact on the present younger generation of a rapidly growing national debt. This should be considered an essential part of the National curriculum.

    Democracy cannot function properly if the BBC dedicates itself to partisan misinformation, and the young voter is left unaware of economic reality.

    • lifelogic
      Posted September 20, 2012 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

      As you say:- “Democracy cannot function properly if the BBC dedicates itself to partisan misinformation, and the young voter is left unaware of economic reality.” indeed and not just the young.

      The BBC with its “Guardian think”, pro the anti democratic EU, cutting too fast too hard, pro ever more government and tax, pro ever more regulation (often to trying absurdly force people to be “equal” in some mad way), ever more government and ever more pointless wind turbines, PV and silly (with current technology for most people) electric cars and absurdly exaggerated climate scares.

      Not too taxing for them though as so many (nearly 500) have personal service companies the rest gold plated pensions. Paid for through the licence fee by people who often have none. Sometimes as many as 100,000 licence fees for one single persons BBC pension I understand.

      They work mainly with the simple emotion of people who, in the main, do not think beyond the picture of the polar bear on the melting ice or the steam “dirty pollution” coming out of the cooling towers. Favourite BBC phrases are “unscrupulous landlords” or “unscrupulous employers”. What about appalling, dumbed down, unfairly state subsidised, near monopoly, broadcasters with an evil agenda from Brussels?

      The BBC is just appalling and there useless iplayer has stopped working on my android tablet too!

      • lifelogic
        Posted September 20, 2012 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

        I was against all Bliars wars from the very start as I could only see them as being totally counter productive and unwinnable. This in the sense that the end result might well be even worse than the start.

      • Mark W
        Posted September 21, 2012 at 5:55 am | Permalink

        The BBC ought to apply its favourite derogatory term to itself and the EU.

        The EU Regime and BBC Regime sound so much more accurate.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 20, 2012 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

      When apportioning blame for people’s poor understanding of their government’s dire financial position I’d hand a much greater share to politicians than to the BBC or other media outlets. Nobody forced Brown, Cameron and Clegg to all shy away from laying it on the line during the TV debates before the general election, it was their collective choice to bang on about whether there should be a few billions of spending cuts here or there rather than pointing out the sheer magnitude of the budget deficit in terms which could be readily understood by viewers. The same happened with the only public meeting held here during the election campaign, none of the candidates wanted to hammer home to the audience just how bad the position was (and still is). Consequence: people weren’t prepared for what would have to be done after the election, whichever party won it, and every attempt to cut the deficit arouses fierce opposition from one quarter or another.

      • lifelogic
        Posted September 21, 2012 at 9:50 am | Permalink

        Politicians are to blame, but they are often in a catch 22. Tell the truth and you do not get elected or lie and do get elected. The voters, it seems, do not like the truth and rarely vote for it.

        The BBC could however report the truth is they wanted to. Rather than their usual absurd propaganda – they have no such excuse and if were more honest politicians could move more to the truth too. They would not have to fight against a silly BBC framing of the debate.

        • Bazman
          Posted September 22, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

          What would you do about the other non state run channels such as SKY and Channel 4 saying the same things?

          • lifelogic
            Posted September 23, 2012 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

            It is a problem, as much of their information is from government, quangos or such hangers on any they too know they they do not want to annoy the state too much.

            But at least we are not forced to pay for them.

  8. oldtimer
    Posted September 20, 2012 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    I am not surprised. The BBC has its own agenda. It is not a neutral or objective reporter of trends or events. It selects and slants its interviewing, reporting and editing to promote its agenda.

  9. English Pensioner
    Posted September 20, 2012 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    The BBC: –
    “Don’t confuse us with facts, we’ve made up our mind” !

  10. Alan Wheatley
    Posted September 20, 2012 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    The BBC is a great National treasure. It is part of what makes Britain. It is an example of where Britain led the World. To some extent it is still a World leading organisation, but it is also flawed. It is high time we, the British, had a open conversation about what we want the BBC to be, and how much we are prepared to pay for it.

    To those who think the Licence Fee is the heart of the problem I would say there is no shortage of commercial broadcasters, and making the BBC yet another is pointless; better it continue as an alternative to commercial organisations and there by provide variety, contrast and competition. But commercial broadcasters need their space, and the BBC should be no bigger, and no more costly, than it needs to be.

    It seems to me the four big issues are:-

    (1) scope – to what extent should a licence fee subsidise broadcasting to minority interests;

    (2) bias, which is not limited to politics: (it may be an inherent consequence of the fact that those people attracted to a career in broadcasting have a certain world outlook rather than an active “agenda”);

    (3) government involvement, such as setting the licence fee (and then top slicing some of it for other purposes) and appointing senior people;

    (4) accountability, which includes the way the Trust operates.

    • Jerry
      Posted September 20, 2012 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

      Well said Alan, the TVL is not the problem (except for those who seem to object to any form of ‘taxation’), the problems run far deeper, problems that would not end even should the BBC become either a wholly commercial or subscription financed media empire -in fact the constant complaints about the TVL fee actually distracts from these bigger issues.

      • Bob
        Posted September 20, 2012 at 6:56 pm | Permalink


        Do you know how much TVL slice from the Licence Fees for themselves?

      • lifelogic
        Posted September 20, 2012 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

        I agree the problem is mainly their absurd political agenda and all the “bbc adverts” they run. If they did not have these I would be happy to pay the licence fees that I have to pay just for radio 3, the desert island discs podcasts, some of radio 4 and the highly amusing “thought for the day”. Also the absurd and amusing wimmins’ hour. Where they cannot make up their little minds whether they are just the same and so pay differences are due to “discrimination” or they are different usually better at multi-tasking, have different motivations, are better at “communicating” and languages and similar in which can perhaps it reflect those motivations.

        Still logic is not the BBC’s strong point irrational emotion is all to the BBC.

        • Nina Andreeva
          Posted September 21, 2012 at 2:45 am | Permalink

          Regardless of the obvious bias the TV output is horrendous. Switch on on a Saturday night and its a never ending format of the lottery followed by Holby City/Casualty which is just what you want to look forward to after a hard week’s work. Why do you have to pay for this mind numbing crap?

          Something else is the waste. Currently they have Jim Muir in Beriut “monitoring” the situation in Syria. Why the hell does he have to be in Beiruit? He is not using any sources that are not available to him as if he were in the UK, such as the internet and satellite TV. I can see all the stuff he uses from Syrian TV via Eutelsat in my back bedroom. I bet he cannot even speak/read Arabic either!

          • lifelogic
            Posted September 21, 2012 at 9:52 am | Permalink

            Indeed – but still some good stuff on rare occasions main on Radio.

          • Jerry
            Posted September 21, 2012 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

            He is not using any sources that are not available to him as if he were in the UK, such as the internet and satellite TV.

            Actually satellite can be very directional and dependant in latitude but more importantly being in Beiruit is good if you want to speak to people who have crossed from Syria, just as having a journalist in Washington DC is good to for speaking with people in and around 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, being in London W12 doesn’t quite fit the same bill…

          • Bazman
            Posted September 22, 2012 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

            SKY and ITV are good on Saturday night?

        • Jerry
          Posted September 21, 2012 at 8:14 am | Permalink

          “lifelogic”, you are about 30 years out of date, you no longer need a licence to receive radio, even less a television licence!

          • lifelogic
            Posted September 21, 2012 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

            I know, but merely wanted to point out that some things, on BBC radio, are still worth listening to.

    • Mark W
      Posted September 21, 2012 at 6:02 am | Permalink

      Useful points, bias is a difficult problem to weed out. Almost impossible. A simpler solution to my mind, would be to have broadcasters be open about their views. We accept it in newspapers. I read papers from both view points and it troubles me little. The BBC pretence of impartiality is the annoying bit. It is very similar to the Guardian newspaper in view, it should just be frank about this. No sledgehammer required to crack this nut.

      • Bazman
        Posted September 22, 2012 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

        Making right wing views and fantasy the truth as Fox news has done in America? You’ll have to do better than that.

  11. Stewart Knight
    Posted September 20, 2012 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    Agree with every word, now if we could just get the craven coward Cameron to accept that the BBC is not fit for purpose, in reality, and scrap its tax on working people.

    • Nina Andreeva
      Posted September 21, 2012 at 2:49 am | Permalink

      You will not because Cameron believes in the BBC news agenda, remember he is not a conservative (deliberate small “c”).

      • Bob
        Posted September 21, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

        It’s about time the Tories dropped the epithet “conservative”, it really doesn’t apply anymore.

        They should be renamed to something that encapsulates their new ideology.

        “The Quisling Party” perhaps?

  12. Richard1
    Posted September 20, 2012 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    The persistent bias of the BBC on so many issues is a public scandal and should be the subject of proper independent scrutiny, with a view to enforcing change.

    • lifelogic
      Posted September 20, 2012 at 7:07 pm | Permalink


      • Jerry
        Posted September 21, 2012 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

        Bias on any broadcast media out let should, as the rules are currently written, be subject of proper independent scrutiny, and as this is not just a problem with the BBC. It is so funny how those on the right so often claim that the BBC (or whoever) is bias to the left whilst those on the left so often claim that the BBC (or whoever) is bias to the right, whilst those who have more centrist views always seem to complain that the media is biased both ways and no one takes any notice of their centrist views. Go figure!…

  13. Bruce
    Posted September 20, 2012 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    So you chose to ‘highlight’ Afghanistan on 30th August, 2012. Almost 11 years after the debacle began. Great foresight. As another commenter suggested, you should be in the cabinet with vision and judgement like that.

    reply: And many times before.

  14. Martyn
    Posted September 20, 2012 at 8:54 am | Permalink


    Apologies for posting yet another link, but what you are saying (and I think many bloggers on this site know and agree with) is evidenced in some detail if one follows this link.

    • uanime5
      Posted September 20, 2012 at 11:30 pm | Permalink

      This article not only applied to the BBC but every news channel in the UK and to most politicians.

  15. Ralph Musgrave
    Posted September 20, 2012 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    The hundreds of British deaths in Afghanistan is the price we pay for multiculturalism. Reasons are thus.

    The original reason for going into Afghanistan was to deal with a regime that supported terrorist training camps that resulted in atrocities both in Britain and other Western countries. if we’d never allowed mass immigration, (words left out) terrorists would have found it near impossible to operate in this country.

    The terrorists being trained in Afghanistan could have slaughtered as many people as they liked in for example the Middle East. That would have been of little concern to us: in the same way as we are letting rival factions in Syria fight it out.

    • Jerry
      Posted September 20, 2012 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

      What utter nonsense, has it escaped your memory that the 9/11 terrorists were in the USA legally as visitors/students (training to be airline pilots…), they booked their tickets for their flights on 9/11 openly – the rest is history as they say…

      • Ralph Musgrave
        Posted September 21, 2012 at 10:11 am | Permalink

        True, but it’s still far easier for any terrorist group to operate where there are significant numbers of local sympathisers who will provide safe houses, store weapons, etc. Plus if say the UK police are looking for (a particular type of-ed) terrorists, their task is very much easier where there are (fewer people in the UK from a sympathetic background to the terrorists-ed).

        • Bob
          Posted September 22, 2012 at 10:21 am | Permalink

          Look at the way this comment has been butchered.

          We’re hamstrung by political correctness in this country to the point that we can no longer say what we mean.

          Mostly thanks to the BBC!

          • Bazman
            Posted September 22, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

            The BBC has a lot to answer for, but as I have pointed out before if it where perceived as right wing bias you would be happy. I suggest you switch off your TV and put on your tin foil beenie hat.

          • Jerry
            Posted September 22, 2012 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

            No Bob, it’s due to the law, nothing what so ever to do with the BBC – the reason you don’t hear the language you wish to hear is because the BBC (like our host) is not immune from the law.

  16. michael mcgrath
    Posted September 20, 2012 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    Now that Stephanie Flanders has told us that the Euro Crisis is over and that the ECB has triumphed, all further discussion has disappeared from view.

  17. Trimperley
    Posted September 20, 2012 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    Regarding the BBC ignoring the best stories, yes people are noticing this and it’s why I now read your blog and no longer pay attention to BBC news. They are going to make themselves irrelevant. I’m even finding I prefer some reporting on Al Jazeera better than on the BBC and I never thought that would happen.

  18. a-tracy
    Posted September 20, 2012 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    I like the BBC, I have trusted the BBC to be fair, even handed and just. I don’t like people being misrepresented and if the BBC do read your blog I hope the person responsible for this posts a comment to answer your log.

  19. Iain Gill
    Posted September 20, 2012 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    I wouldn’t worry about it. The BBC has a narrow world view, with strange versions of political correctness layered on top, interspersed with a disproportionate Arts graduates understanding lacking in substance across many abilities, an incestuous liberal elite chattering class’s inbuilt bias, and a complete contempt and lack of compassion and empathy for the views of the genuine decent majority of people in this country. Take any example from their bowing down to the pseudo-science babble of the pro speed camera nutters, to their coverage of immigration issues, to their token regional accents. They need breaking up and most of what they do does not need to be a nationalised industry.

  20. Jerry
    Posted September 20, 2012 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    It pains me to say this, as a believer in the need for Public Service Broadcasting (as stated passionately many times on these blogs!), the more I consider the issues involved the more I’m starting to accept that that the BBC (as currently structured) is now not a fit PSB organisation to provide a core news service any more [1] – it is not simply that it is far to powerful.

    I am also disturbed by the way the BBC, especially on flagship programmes like “Today” and the News Channel, use the modern reporting practise of an anchor-presenter interviewing a (supposedly) ‘subject-specialist’ journalist (BBC or other) rather than a real expert (either of independent or with vestige views), thus the BBC is able to appear editorially neutral but at the same time soft-push its editorial a point of view. The added problem with Afghanistan (and Iraq before) is that the BBC was effectively bullied into not questioning the governments line on such issues after the Andrew Gilligan affair (and the loss of a DG), the BBC have so far not realised that it is now OK again to question the government position on this. Also, of course, news these days has been reduced to that of sound-bites (thanks Mr Blair/Campbell…), thus people like our host find it difficult to express their ‘yes, but’ positions as these do not fit the sound-bite mentality of the interviewer and editors.

    I find myself asking questions like; should the state broadcaster be providing a news service at all, should the news division of the BBC be sold or at least be a notionally independent commercial company like BBC worldwide, were would programmes like “Today” exist in such a new-world? I’m also leaning towards the USA/FCC solution, allow (news) broadcasters to hold announced political positions, that way the listener/viewer is more likely to be fully aware of them.

    [1] and more worryingly, this is now spreading to the (BBC) Parliament Channel since its re branding into ‘corporate colours’

    • uanime5
      Posted September 20, 2012 at 11:29 pm | Permalink

      Are news companies, such as Sky News, any more independent, accurate, or likely to challenge the Government than the BBC? If not then privatising the BBC won’t change anything.

      • a-tracy
        Posted September 21, 2012 at 8:07 am | Permalink

        We don’t have to pay for Sky, we have a choice. We do not have a choice with our state broadcaster we have to pay even if we choose to watch every other channel but the BBC, therefore they are more answerable to the people that pay for their service and most people trust them because they have no other paymaster than the people they serve. However, if they start to let down that trust they are answerable to us.

        • Jerry
          Posted September 21, 2012 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

          @a-tracy: Who, and how do you think the channel is funded?…

          I can tell you that it is funded [1], at least in part, by a far more draconian way than the BBC is, at least with the BBC one has a choice if to watch TV or not!

          [1] and any commercial broadcast radio station or TV channel

        • Bazman
          Posted September 22, 2012 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

          You have a choice with SKY? So a large number of the population just hand over up to a hundred quid a month because they want too for high quality programmes and films? Not real

      • Mark W
        Posted September 21, 2012 at 11:26 am | Permalink

        I don’t think any are independent. I don’t think this is a problem either if it is open about it, like newspapers in the UK.

        Fox news has a clear slant as does the Daily Mail. The Guardian has a clear slant as does the BBC. The only problem with these is the BBC as it pretends to be impartial, when it clearly isn’t. This point should take little effort to put right. Maybe Andrew Neil would be moved into prime spots to balance Jeremy Paxman. Maybe….

        Although I disapprove of the pretence of impartiality, it would not be of too much concern if the state funding of a left wing broadcaster was occuring honestly. It’s a shame it’s left wing but it is possibly an attractive vocation to people of that view, broadly speaking.

        Despite its bias, I still believe it’s a treasure and wouldn’t wish it to be pushed down the commercial route. Its poll tax is annoying but at least the feckless and bone idle pay in equal level to everyone else. (Supposedly!!)

        • Bob
          Posted September 22, 2012 at 10:27 am | Permalink

          @Mark W
          ” Its poll tax is annoying but at least the feckless and bone idle pay in equal level to everyone else. (Supposedly!!)”

          I think you’ll find that enforcement in concentrated on the leafy suburbs.

          You won’t find any TVL agents in a Tottenham council estate.

      • lifelogic
        Posted September 21, 2012 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

        There is something, particularly offensive, about having to pay for something that then uses your money to ram propaganda at you that you find absurd and obnoxious.

        • Bazman
          Posted September 22, 2012 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

          Is that why you cannot stop watching it?

  21. Vanessa
    Posted September 20, 2012 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    It seems rather weak of you to have to justify yourself here for the idiotic BBC. We all know they are the Brussels Broadcasting Corporation and have no loyalty to Britain even though they take our licence fee. It really is time to break this dinasaur or an organisation up into manageable parts so we can control it or get rid of state television and radio. I do not pay my licence fee as I know they take huge “loans” from the EU (illegal under their Royal Charter) but as long as they say nothing against the EU they do not have to pay them back. They are a total waste of money and as biased as it is able to be.

    reply This site does not agree with people who should pay a licence refusing to do so.

    • Bob
      Posted September 20, 2012 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

      “reply This site does not agree with people who should pay a licence refusing to do so. “

      Does this site approve of the BBC breaking the terms of The Royal Charter?

      Reply No, of course not.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted September 20, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

        So how can the BBC be compelled to properly observe its Charter?

        It would take somebody with deep pockets to take them to court, which I think would be technically possible but probably futile.

        • lifelogic
          Posted September 21, 2012 at 9:55 am | Permalink

          Start by firing Lord Patten and replacing him with someone with sound views.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted September 21, 2012 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

            Good idea.

            But hasn’t he only just been appointed?

          • Jerry
            Posted September 21, 2012 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

            @lifelogic: You mean someone who holds views similar to your own and those on this blog. Of course exactly the same conversion is probably going on some left-wing blog some place!

            Many of the BBC’s current problems started under a Deputy Director-General, and later as the Director-General, who was a darling of the 1980s Thatcher government, I of course refer to John, now Lord Birt…

          • Bazman
            Posted September 22, 2012 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

            Like Dingbat?

  22. Cliff. Wokingham
    Posted September 20, 2012 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    There has been a major shift in media coverage over the last couple of decades.
    With instant rolling news and twenty four hour news channels, broadcasters changed from reporting the news to actually driving and making the news.
    Under Mr Blair, the media became far more important: he was a good communicator and, with the help of a good team, was able to exploit the media to his party’s benefit. Mr Cameron continues in the same vein. In modern politics, image and presentation are far more important than substance and that is to our detriment.
    It is my opinion, that journalists and politicians have become far too cozy. I don’t like the idea that top journalists travel with senior politicians on government flights etc. I worry that if a journalist is minded to make a negative report about a trip or a top politician he shares the plane with, he may resist to be as critical as he might have been, given that he relies on the benevolence of that politician to be in the loop. In other words, if he does give a negative report, he may be stopped from travelling in the cozy club and his boss may not be too happy with him because his media company will no longer be in the loop with close access to top politicians.
    I don’t know whether that happens or not but, it is the suspicion that it may, which makes me feel uncomfortable about the arrangement. All too often at news conferences, some political editors/journalists appear just too pally with the people they are supposed to be questioning and holding to account.

  23. colliemum
    Posted September 20, 2012 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    Actually, I’m surprised at your surprise about the BBC, John!
    Their attitude to neutral reporting of the facts has been abandoned years ago.

    It would be very interesting if a Commons Committee could make the BBC show the complaints against their programmes and news reporting, with a detailed look at the complaints procedure provided by the BBC – and the replies received by those of us who are not totally put off by the hoops we’re made to jump through.

  24. sm
    Posted September 20, 2012 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    Another problem of the too big nature. Just how do you guard against the supplier or provider interests, and or the dominant state or private monopoly ? I suggest by not having a tax on the useage of the dominant live broadcast technology, which suck limited media discretionary spend away from other providers to the favoured and more controllable BBC.

    Perhaps you should consider the occasional video-blog where you invite the BBC expert presenter or others to a debate and ask questions and then you can release it, without issues like we only have 1-2 minutes to do this? No doubt they wouldn’t like the loss of control of the message broadcast. If they were a public service broadcaster they would load it up on iplayer for MP’s as a public service.

    We really need the BBC paid for by voluntary subscription only, with public sector required broadcasting met by tenders or license conditions. That would be competition! Something which only applies to a limited part of the economy at present.

    Was a coalition government formed because of the wiggle room it gave the elected dictators to continue with unpopular policies.
    1) massive bank subsidies
    2) massive eu subsidies
    3) massive overseas subsidies
    4) massive immigration in a saturated employment market, leading to massive public subsidy on housing and other related benefits and infrastructure.
    5) further moves to an ultimate economic union and political and fiscal union.

    Why is it the BBC, the EU, all the main parties and the Civil Service and seem to be fully 100% welded to ever closer union. Interesting to note all apparent pledges in the run up to elections can be shed once under the protective screen of a coalition.
    I wonder how many people actually think we live in a democracy, rather than corrupted version of it.

    • Jerry
      Posted September 21, 2012 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

      @sm: Reading your first paragraph, I wasn’t sure at first if you were talking about the BBC or BSkyB…

      • Bazman
        Posted September 22, 2012 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

        Sky sports pushes up prices for non sport viewers and beer prices in pubs that show SKY sports. The sooner all sport is on pay per view giving the choice of what sport to watch and whether to watch, the better. This will push up the standard of the sport no end. Of course it will you all believe this for everything else.

        • Richard
          Posted September 25, 2012 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

          Im so glad to see you embracing and realising the many advantages a free market can bring Bazman

  25. Robert Taggart
    Posted September 20, 2012 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    The BBC and, to be fair !, ITV / Granada – uop nourf – are even worse at the moment – we are suffering a ‘double whammy’…
    The shooting / killing of the two women koppers was ofcourse News on the day, covered both nationally and regionally, but, four days on ? It still be the lead / big news story on both counts! – it is not NEWS any more – it is history now !!

    The point to this rant ? – the newsrooms of the broadcasters have always appeared to have a very limited idea of what is news. Those who mutter about the death of newspapers are usually from this broadcast background. Newspapers, while they may lead on the same story, have nevertheless many more stories covered inside – stories the ‘dumbed-down’ broadcasters could never figure out !

  26. Stephen O
    Posted September 20, 2012 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    Seems modern journalists are more interested in sticking to their own preconceived narrative than reporting facts. That is a problem as it massively distorts public debate, politics and therefore how we are governed.

    I am not clear on what the solution is though.

  27. Bob
    Posted September 20, 2012 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    The BBC has outgrown it’s role as a “state broadcaster” and now dominates the media in news, entertainment and politics.

    As I have said many times before, since our elected politicians are too timid to confront the BBC, it’s going to be down to the general public to withhold the Licence Fees in order to force a much needed change in the BBC’s unique method of funding.

    You do not need a TV Licence to watch DVDs or other recorded media, and you do not need a TV Licence to watch catch up TV over the internet.

    Mr Redwood,
    Last time I mentioned this you contradicted me.
    Have you now had sufficient time to verify that what I say is true?

    Reply: The licence fee is needed “to use any tv equipment to watch or record tv programmes as they are being shown on tv. This includes tv on computers, mobile phones, dvd recorders and other devices”
    The problem you have is you have a tv in your home that can receive tv programmes you will find it difficult to prove you are not using it for this purpose.

    • Bob
      Posted September 20, 2012 at 11:21 am | Permalink

      @Mr Redwood
      “…you have a tv in your home that can receive tv programmes you will find it difficult to prove you are not using it for this purpose. “

      Does the burden of proof lay upon the accuser or the accused?

      |Reply: therein lies the rub. They are bigger than you.

    • Little White Sqibba
      Posted September 20, 2012 at 11:55 am | Permalink

      “…you will find it difficult to prove you are not using it for this purpose.”
      Guilty till proved innocent?

      • zorro
        Posted September 20, 2012 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

        Thankfully not yet….


        • Jerry
          Posted September 21, 2012 at 8:37 am | Permalink

          Actually that is their policy, have you noticed how there warnings are always speaking of having a list of every unlicensed property in the UK

          • zorro
            Posted September 21, 2012 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

            The have a list of properties who have paid to have a TV license. It is not a crime to live in a house without a TV licence. Many people do not have a TV and do not require a licence. I understand that the TV licence people have to establish that you have a TV and are receiving a service to try and enforce a charge.


      • Bob
        Posted September 20, 2012 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

        Search on YouTube for “The Great TV Licence Scam “

        You should also watch it Mr Redwood, there is an important legal point raised about the threatening letters issued by TVL.

        • Jerry
          Posted September 21, 2012 at 8:40 am | Permalink

          Care to elude on this Bob, I very much doubt that the TVLA has made such a basic mistake but having never received such a letter I will bow to your (apparently self-confessed) superior knowledge!

          • Bob
            Posted September 21, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Permalink


            What do you mean by “elude on this”?

          • Jerry
            Posted September 21, 2012 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

            Bob, care to cite a reliable document? Anyone can make and put up a YouTube video, such content is not proof of anything, if they were NASA have missed the boat in finding proof of life on Mars, and just as Elvis never died in 1977 and can now be seen collecting trolleys at the Memphis branch of Home Depot…

          • Bob
            Posted September 22, 2012 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

            Scroll to 12:45 he quotes the Bill of Rights 1689

            ~~ “All grants and promises of fines and forfeitures of particular persons before conviction are illegal and void.” ~~

            Also, you ridicule me as a tin foil hat conspiracy theorist, but you should remember that:

            1. Conspiracies do happen. History is littered with them.

            2. A theory is only a theory until the evidence can be found to prove it, like the Hillsborough disaster or Watergate.

          • Jerry
            Posted September 22, 2012 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

            Yes I know that conspiracies happens, they happen all the time on the internet, including YouTube – talk about putting your own foot in your own trap Bob! 🙂

            As for the 1689 bill of rights, grasping at straws… Much old law is still technically on the statute book but is dead law, it would be some kind of masochist who would waste the vast amount of time and money required to test that point of law.

          • Bob
            Posted September 23, 2012 at 8:52 am | Permalink

            “…talk about putting your own foot in your own trap…”

            It appears from your comment that you don’t actually know what the word conspiracy means.
            Look it up.

  28. Sue
    Posted September 20, 2012 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    I would just like to refer you to “Julian Lindley-French, the Eisenhower Professor of Defence Strategy at the Netherlands Defence Academy” and a post on his blog regarding the merger of BAE and EADS.

    He says “The proposed “merger” is nothing of the sort. It is a straight forward take-over of BAE Systems by the French and Germans who will together own 60% of the new company. BAE Systems say the imperative is purely business, driven by the massive cuts to the UK defence budget that the British government has foisted on the armed forces. For the French and Germans the imperative is purely strategic; to make the costs of any future British departure from the EU exorbitantly high and effectively kill at birth any hope of an alternative defence Anglosphere”.

    So there you have it Mr Redwood. Who is responsible and knows about this? We, the public haven’t been told, have we?

    • outsider
      Posted September 20, 2012 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

      Sue, you are right. EADS’ takeover of BAE is not a merger in the normal business sense, nor I imagine under accounting rules, though it may be framed as legal “merger” to avoid stamp duty.
      Leaving geopolitics to others, the fairly transparent purpose of the deal is to disadvantage taxpayers. Defence orders are being cut back in the developed world. So we should expect competition to bring some keener prices to help taxpayers get better value for money. Oh No. The City answer is that the rivals must “merge” so that competition is severely reduced and profit margins can be maintained at taxpayers’ expense.
      The takeover of BAE (whether European or American) would result in another big drop in corporation tax revenues as profits and intellectual property are shifted to more tax efficient centres.
      You are also right that one of the last remaining UK industrial groups of any scale would disappear, probably to be followed shortly by Rolls-Royce on the same thinking. Judging from past experience of both UK and German companies “merging” with French partners, research and new products and other high-value stuff will gradually move to France.
      Apart from any geopolitics, the shame is that we shall lose one (probably two) of the only UK companies with the scale of technical knowledge and finance to undertake the major new high-tech developments that would actually rebalance the UK economy. If an independent BAE saw low growth in defence systems, it would naturally invest in new projects in related technologies that have stronger prowth prospects. This is all lost if the decision-making centre goes elsewhere and the capital is recycled into anti-competitive consolidation.
      Of course, politicians would still be under tremendous pressure to buy from EADS rather than some other competitor, as the row over (Canadian) Bombardier trains has shown.

      • Electro-Kevin
        Posted September 21, 2012 at 9:52 am | Permalink

        We’ve seen this with various other UK engineering industries. Largely blamed on unionism but was this simply an excuse ?

        No workforce is more militant than the French – their railway workers discharge detonators on the tracks – their farmers spray slurry on the police …

        It is they who will be designing our power stations.

        Dan Hannan (whom I much respect) says “Mrs Thatcher didn’t destroy industries – she just made sure that others didn’t subsidise them.”

        I’m sure something needed to be done to curb militancy.

        However, we still subsidise those former industrial communities – in fact to a higher standard of living than they had when they were working. Instead of brass bands they now rap, street dance and trade drugs.

        Sell offs (setting fire to our feet to keep warm) and credit bingeing are what have kept us going so far.

        I believe that it is difficult (impossible) for a developed economy with a large population – used to a relatively high standard of living – to survive in a truly free-market world.

        The French seem well aware of this.

  29. Neil Craig
    Posted September 20, 2012 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    The BBC is a (questionable-ed|) propaganda organisation maquerading as a news source but willing to (use any spin-ed) and censor any fact to promote Big State totalitarianism.

    I have given details of the lies and censorship the BBC engage in, up to and including (some bad things-ed). If the producer in question is telling the truth about reading this blog it is noticeable that neither he nor anybody else from that organisation has felt able to dispute any of this. If he is lying about having read it that rather proves the point.

  30. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted September 20, 2012 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    Have we not got to the point when it is worth writing a letter of complaint to the Prime Minister or the relevant Minister about the BBC’s bias and misconduct? We have the relentless pro-EU propaganda (Paul Mason and others), the highlighting of all the bad news on the economy (Stephanie Flanders), their presentation of alarmist views on climate change as if they were fact, their insistence that a Labour opposition spokesperson is interviewed first whenever there is an item of hot news etc.

    Now we have the deliberate misrepresentation of the evolution of your views on Afghanistan. Incidently, dealing with ignorant Americans is easy. Just say ‘Ron Paul’ and they will know where you are coming from.

    • Ben Kelly
      Posted September 20, 2012 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

      Paul Mason, if you listen to him, is actually one of the most impartial, reasonable and thorough journalists on air at present.

      He highlights anomalies and backs up his opinions with both facts and others’ theories.

      His delivery on Europe and state debt also suggests an element of incredulity that things have got this far.

      • zorro
        Posted September 20, 2012 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

        He is certainly one of the more watchable ones who tries to make it interesting (whether you agree with him or not).


      • Lindsay McDougall
        Posted September 21, 2012 at 11:51 am | Permalink

        Your impression of Paul Mason is different to mine. He always conveys the impression that everything in the Euro zone will eventually be sorted out, whereas in reality it probably won’t be.

        German public opinion, the Bundestag and the Bundesbank are on a collision course with the demands of Club Med governments, with Angela Merkel and the ECB desperately trying to find common ground.

        The last time that I combined estimates from financial journalists about the probabale size of PIIGS debt, I concluded that it was beyond the ability of Germany to bail them out. I haven’t seen anything since to contradict that. This is why the ECB essentially wants to print money to overcome the problem; the ECB buying PIIGS bonds at below market rates (i.e. underpricing the risk) will eventually lead to this.

  31. Demetrius
    Posted September 20, 2012 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    What is the old saying about never being a prophet in your own country?

  32. Matthew
    Posted September 20, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    There are a couple of strands to this

    With the tragic deaths of the servicemen last week – one of them only 18 years of age – I would have thought it more important for the BBC to interview an MP on their current views about our involvement in Afghanistan, than do conduct an interview of the MP’s suspected inconsistency on the subject.

    As a second point if the interviewer had decided to take the tack that he did it should have been beholden on him to visit your blog and type Afghanistan into the search box. It would have taken a few minutes and thrown up your previous blogs.

  33. Alte Fritz
    Posted September 20, 2012 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    The significance of your post is not really about the BBC but the gradual death of objective truth in public debate. You can point to a record of expressed views which are vouchsafed by members of the public who comment. The interviewer appears to ignore the record and continue to ask the question which fits the answer he wants to hear.

    Does this not sound a bit like a hostile interrogation in a totalitarian state? It goes beyond 1984 to the extent that they don’t bother to airbrush, they just ignore or pretend they cannot see what is on the record. This is happening in an ostensibly free society ordered under a democratic system of government.

  34. zorro
    Posted September 20, 2012 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    Some intern will have probably seen the last blog and some reference to it elsewhere and thought that it was a good story to stir up trouble, notwithstanding the merits of your views. It happens with the EU/Euro as it did last year when you raised your eyebrows at Sir Malcolm Rifkind’s eulogising over his role as Cahief Eurosceptic in the 1990’s!!

    The BBC always looks at ways to present its own views. Also on the economy, I am struggling to remember one economic correspondent giving a sensible, cogent explanation about how QE works in practice. They usually say that the money is being ‘injected into the economy’ which is, of course, a travesty of the truth.

    The other obvious one is the ‘cuts’ issue as you mention – I wouldn’t mind if they disagreed with the principle but at least explain what spending is, and how that spending might be being used to pay interest, and prop up government spending…..


    • Gary
      Posted September 20, 2012 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

      As I wrote on carswell’s blog, QE, according the the BoE itself , the BoE purchases treasuries through the secondary market from third party finance companies such as funds and banks.

      But spot the glitch. The BoE looks for the EFFECTS of this inflation by looking at a basket of prices which do not include treasuries themselves and all that happens is that the finance companies , knowing that the BoE WILL keep purchasing the treasuries from them , instead of letting the money already received from the sale of their treasuries to the BoE filter into the economy, the finance companies enter the sure-fire trade of using the money to buy more treasuries to sell back to the BoE at a guaranteed profit ! Because treasuries are not part of their inflation test basket , they miss the inflation effects which now resides in treasuries. When this trade unwinds we will have hyperinflation.

      This is how dumb bureaucrats , trying to rig the market(LIBOR rigging was not allowed, this rigging is govt policy), wind up making an almighty mess of that which is already a mess.

      You can’t out-guess the market , but these dopes will keep trying until we are well and truly stuffed.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted September 20, 2012 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

        I posted a reply to you about that.

        It would be strange if the price of gilts were included in a consumer price index such as RPI or CPI; as I understand housing costs only find their way into RPI (but not CPI) in an indirect way, not by giving a weighting to the price of houses as if they were consumer items like food or petrol.

        • Gary
          Posted September 21, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Permalink


          Inflation is the excess supply of money above that demand by the economy. The prices are just the effect of the inflation. If they are to accurately judge inflation, as they claim to be so interested in doing, then they must track the prices of everything that the money could end up bidding for. Actually the task is probably impossible, once again, you cannot effectively do Economic Calculation outside of a market. So what to do ?
          Use the market to show you inflation , and use the price of the most perfect money in the free market : gold(denominated in the currency that you are trying to control for) . Gold is only sensitive to demand for money , since the change in the supply of new gold over any quarter or annum is negligible compared to the stock of existing gold.

          The corollary to this , of course, is that those who want to perpetuate an inflating fiat system probably will be very interested in suppressing the price of gold in that fiat currency. For as long as they can. However, eventually they will lose control.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted September 22, 2012 at 11:45 am | Permalink

            Are you saying that you want the price of gilts included in a consumer price index?

            When was the last time you picked up some gilts when you went shopping?

      • zorro
        Posted September 20, 2012 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

        Indeed, they think that they can park the QE related ‘money’ back with the BofE and get some interest too…..all with long term impunity……Well, only if they can wind this in a co-ordinated fashion to avoid inflation…..If anyone thinks that they have the remotest chance of doing this successfully, I can recommend a good doctor…


      • Mark W
        Posted September 20, 2012 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

        I’m very facsinated by this comment. But struggling to understand exactly how this is so. Would you care to expand a little please?

        • sm
          Posted September 21, 2012 at 10:09 am | Permalink

          Gary-Yes please expand. Why would not for example increasing the capital reserves towards full reserve banking -not offset this surplus cash needing a home? and could such a transition macro control work?

        • Gary
          Posted September 21, 2012 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

          Mark, why this mechanism for QE ?

          Either the central bank is so naive that they believe the money will trickle down into the economy, or they know full well that the banks still have to be capitalised but cannot overtly be seen to be doing so , so they run this circuitous boondoggle that actually has the same capitalising effect.


          At this point , full reserve banking would precipitate a crash of the financial system. The banks are still highly leveraged. The central bank has shown its hand, they are going to inflate. Watch where they put their own pensions.

          • Mark W
            Posted September 22, 2012 at 6:37 am | Permalink

            Thank you Gary.

            Do you believe this will eventually lead to a big jump in inflation? Where to invest in pension is a concern. After George Osborns attack on his own voters with child benefit I can’t see him removing the 40% relief on pensions, but high inflation is the most sinister tax of all on savings. I’ve long believed that property is a sound bet but like pension is not liquid. Foreign currency but which one? Canadian dollar at present.

            So where are these players putting their money?

  35. stan francis
    Posted September 20, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    People either convey passionately or are guided-Those passionately like myself you only see/hear for a brief moment because we are suddenly shut up, the position you held is removed or you are forced to give it up and offered to someone that will adhere?…a councilor would be suspended if words did not agree with a leader for example.
    So those guided do as they are told to keep their job, their position in life and future, income, so everything you read or hear has already been pre-formed by one person or a group…hence majority are puppets, a mouth piece.

  36. Conrad Jones (Cheam)
    Posted September 20, 2012 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    The BBC does not appear to be concerned with responding to Public opinion.
    The BBC is in the Business of shaping Public Opinion. This is the only reason – I can think of; would explain their failure to report accurate and timely News Stories, instead of creating distractionary News – the sole purpose being to bury real News and real Facts.

    Stephanie Flanders recent program on Economics concerning John Maynard Keynes was very flowery and typically disappointing. She failed to get across the opinions of other great Economists of the time of Keynes and failed to point out that Keynes’s ideas of Government Intervention did NOT mean a continual pumping into Private Banks Reserve Accounts – Keynes’ idea were that the Government would Directly Spend Money into the Economy – not Bail out Banks and hope that they would increase their lending a bit. He also said:

    “Lenin is said to have declared that the best way to destroy the Capitalist System was to debauch the currency. By a continuing process of inflation, government can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of their citizens. By this method they not only confiscate, but they confiscate arbitrarily; and while the process impoverishes many, it actually enriches some.”

    Stephanie Flanders does not seem to understand what inflation is. She discusses all Government Figures as if they are absolute Gospel. The state to her is a benign and caring Father Figure. Stephanie Flounders again.

    • Conrad Jones (Cheam)
      Posted September 20, 2012 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

      In clarification:

      Keynes’ Idea was that the Government should only spend money directly into the Economy during Financial Downturns as he realised that the debt based money was susceptible to regular Booms and Busts, and that Banks tend to do the opposite of what is required for each phase. They lend to much in a Boom, and reduce Lending, during a Bust, always making things worse.

      Low Interest Rates have made the Problem worse, as Banks cannot make large enough profits through simply Lending Money – so speculative repackaging of Debt, sold on to Investors, has reduced their Risks and passed on their Risks to Investment Banks and Insurance Companies. Pension funds no longer saw good returns on Government Bonds so sort other Investments – and they found them – MBSs or CDOs also giving rise to CDSs to insure the higher quality Mortgage Loans. Rating Agencies rated these Investments highly and now say that it was only their “Opinion”.

      • Gary
        Posted September 20, 2012 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

        We can only conclude that these misrepresentations of basic economics are willful, after all , these usury tricks are at their basis at least 800 years old, and probably from before Jesus threw the money-changers out of the temple. Basic principles of debt and money is not even taught at school and that too , one must conclude, is willful. Customer ignorance is the chief weapon of the usurer.

        • Conrad Jones (Cheam)
          Posted September 20, 2012 at 11:31 pm | Permalink


          “Make financial education a compulsory part of the school curriculum”

          Number of signatures:

          “This e-petition has reached 100,000 signatures. The Government has notified the Backbench Business Committee in the House of Commons”

          If this is passed then the next problem will be how to get an accurate representation of how the Financial System works – a bit of a challenge when so many so called experts still did not predict the Financial Crisis. Hopefully they won’t ask the BBC to use the current misleading Videos on how the System works.

          Pythagaros is taught at School – but how many people have used it? How to use a Credit and Debit Card are NOT taught at School – how many people use those? The best option would be that Parents teach their children about Money but many of them do not fully understand it themselves.

        • Bazman
          Posted September 22, 2012 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

          Especially the ones using credit cards and payday loan companies.
          Got them down as a bunch of mugs.

      • zorro
        Posted September 20, 2012 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

        Yes, the emphasis on deficit spending not deficit bailing out….but Keynes also advised that during the good years, governments should spend less and try and build up surpluses which could be deployed when necessary….Keynes would turn in his grave at some of the machinations undertaken by neo-Keynesians.


  37. Mike Stallard
    Posted September 20, 2012 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    I was here.
    You are right.
    The BBC is wrong.

  38. Antisthenes
    Posted September 20, 2012 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

    I do not believe the majority of journalists are interested in facts or truth but only in getting their opinions dressed up as news into print or aired.

    • lifelogic
      Posted September 21, 2012 at 10:03 am | Permalink

      Indeed most people (even the weather and new presenters) seem far more interested in saying look at me, me, me than imparting any useful information to anyone. Their outfits, makeup, voice and delivery far more important than content to them.

      • zorro
        Posted September 22, 2012 at 6:22 am | Permalink

        …and often more appealing to look at than the weather….


      • Bazman
        Posted September 22, 2012 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

        Should we get your geography teacher to tell us the weather? This might be your fantasy, but not mine.

  39. Credible
    Posted September 20, 2012 at 3:38 pm | Permalink


    So what you are saying is that the BBC should read your blog more and base the news on what you think. That seems a bit arrogant to me. It’s positive they contacted you about this, why the fuss?

    Perhaps you should have a star rating system for your articles so that they know which ones they must report. After all they are busy and have a lot to read. Alternatively, they should just be forced to present whatever you and the government tells them to. It’s an approach that works very very successfully in China and Russia.

    I know people with left-wing views (I don’t subscribe to) who get upset that the BBC is too right wing and pandering to the government agenda. Strange. Could be that the BBC has it about right in a democratic society, although I do accept that a few opinions don’t consitute an objective measure and the possibility that they slant in a particular direction is possible.

    Reply: No, that is not what I said. However, if the BBC is interviewing someone who has made clear public statements which are easily available it is a simple matter to check them first before interviewing that person. The BBC interviewer said he did read my blog, yet does not use the best stories which are only available here.

    • Credible
      Posted September 21, 2012 at 7:53 am | Permalink

      The ‘best stories’ is a matter of opinion and that is the point.

      If you decide the best stories we have a politically controlled state media.

  40. forthurst
    Posted September 20, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    The main problem with the BBC is that is extremely boring; the reason is very simply that it is constantly trying to ensure that all its output supports its agenda to the almost total exclusion of anything else. This of course means that producers endeavour, not to inform, educate or entertain, but to ensure that they will never be responsible for straying off message and thus possibly condemned to spend the rest of their careers in meetings about nothing in particular. The BBC are wary of people like JR because although they might have something informative or interesting to say, they are inherently off-message and furthermore might land a knockout punch on one of the those professional idiots whose opinions the BBC reveres. Of course, David Starkey is allowed on, witty and intelligent and not noticeably a kneejerk liberal, but then again he is gay as he oft proclaims, so that’s really fine afterall.

    It is interesting to note the extent to which the MSM can pervert public opinions and beliefs. Here e.g. is a survey whose results defy all logic other than the profound capacity for people to believe total absurdities if presented continuously with a false reality for long enough:

  41. Mark
    Posted September 20, 2012 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    The dominance of the BBC in the media is well documented in this study:

    I think that Maria Miller, as the responsible minister, should look into it.

    • Jerry
      Posted September 21, 2012 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

      Oh right, so Reuters (a competitor to the BBC news services) says via its academic Institute that the BBC is dominant… What a surprise!

  42. The Prangwizard
    Posted September 20, 2012 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

    I would argue that the time has come to consider splitting the BBC into completely separate and independently managed and financed units for each of the nations, should each of them wish to have the same, so there would be a Scottish Broadcasting Corporation, an English Broadcasting Corporation and so on. Not quite sure how to manage what’s left to cater for the ‘rump’ of Britain, but the issue will need addressing, given the ongoing advance of devolution and the movement for Scottish independence.

  43. Ian Hills
    Posted September 20, 2012 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

    John, if you ever make PM, privatise the BBC. Include a little clause in the flotation bill capping pension and severance payments, to make the corporation more attractive to investors.

    Hurry the bill through Parliament by telling DPP to pick up and drop all prosecutions for non-payment of the license fee. If the BBC is really that good, people will subscribe to it, or put up with commercial ads. The market, not nanny, knows best.

    Incidentally, why not spend the flotation money on something the BBC would hate? Like armaments.

    • Credible
      Posted September 21, 2012 at 7:58 am | Permalink

      Privatise the BBC and replace it with what, News International, tap tap tap?

      If the BBC went the cost of watching TV would soar and programs would be dumbed down.

      Now that’s not to say that the BBC doesn’t have faults and it shouldn’t have political bias. But of course political bias is a matter of opinion and that is the difficulty.

      • Bob
        Posted September 21, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Permalink


        If the government want to have a state broadcaster then fine, but one channel is sufficient, we don’t need umpteen tv & radio channels and a hugely expensive website.

        They should not be trying to duplicate what is commercially available and their funding should not employ a £200m Stasi type harassment operation in order to collect the money.

        Is that an unreasonable expectation in the 21st century?

        • Jerry
          Posted September 21, 2012 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

          @Bob: For that matter then BSkyB should not be allowed to package their channels, people should be able to chose any or all and pay for each individually – many might want to break up the BBC but many will also be careful of what they wish for as in any new world post the BBC the collateral damage could be great…

          • Bob
            Posted September 22, 2012 at 6:07 pm | Permalink


            Since BSkyB is a commercial enterprise they can package their offerings however they see fit.

            We’re not in a dictatorship (yet).

          • Jerry
            Posted September 23, 2012 at 8:44 am | Permalink

            Sorry but once again Bob you are wrong, BSkyB are still regulated by both UK broadcasting regulations and UK/EU/WTO anti monopoly regulation, how ever much some of their shareholders wish they were not…

            Had BSB (British Satellite Broadcasting) survived as an independent company and thus be sector competition you might have had a point but as they did not the result is that we now have BSkyB which is overly dominant in the sector (and are the only UK provider of DVB-S encrypted home entertainment).

        • Credible
          Posted September 21, 2012 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

          Go no further than News International for harrassment.

  44. Mark W
    Posted September 20, 2012 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

    I would imagine that were not aware this was not a recent conversion as you are of the political centre, (I believe this is referred to as being very right wing), and therefore in BBC think you are bad and have a set of opinions they wish to state on your behalf. Why bother checking what you really think when their lazy journalism decided you are a pantomime villain.

    Your character was disgracefully tarnished with that absurd jibe by M Parris. Typical social democrat policy, slur the character with ad hominem and your real views are rarely newsworthy again.

  45. David Langley
    Posted September 20, 2012 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

    When I saw how much interviewees get paid for their contributions I decided that it was all part of the BEEB scamming. I gather certain Labour MP,s have been derided for their blatant efforts to get on the BEEB and collect this extra income. One must be careful about giving interviews with the media John. The results can be decidedly far from the impression you are trying to convey and an experienced chap like you must beware the roar of the greasepaint and the smell of the crowd!! Get your publicist to tape and put your offerings on You Tube, it will go viral in no time if you let it all hang out.

  46. Jon
    Posted September 20, 2012 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

    When it comes to news there are times when the BBC are utterly out of order and bias. We don’t want their bias just balance. I’d be quite happy for the news portfolio to be removed from the BBC, can keep the other which are often down really well.

    May have been 2 weeks ago I was watching the news, a male / female partnership presenting it. The male was long time experienced, the other was not as well known. Her bias was visibly annoying her co presenter let alone me and probably many others. A narrow minded (woman-ed). That cannot be tolerated but it is. As it is tolerated it leaves the only answer to remove news coverage from the BBC. Also to the detriment of many presenters who are balanced.

  47. Max Dunbar
    Posted September 20, 2012 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

    Some years ago the BBC were filing reports from one of their journalists attached to the Taliban, no doubt to provide “balance” and “impartiality” and for the purposes of “objectivity”. Does anyone remember that? It was on the Radio 4 news at the time.

    • Bob
      Posted September 21, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

      @Max Dunbar

      They also broadcast reports from the Falklands explaining that the Argentinian bombs were bouncing off of our ships without detonating because the release altitude was too low.

      This operational error was then corrected by the Argentinians.

      I won’t say what the result was because I’m pretty sure our host would not allow me to.

      The BBC World Service also pre-announced that the men of 2 Para were advancing on Goose Green and Darwin. Nice one BBC! Who’s side are you on?

      • Jerry
        Posted September 21, 2012 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

        Bias, in a time of war, what ever next!

        I very much doubt that the BBC announced anything without first checking with -if not actually having to have the permission of- the MOD, never mind pre announce anything (if they did I suspect that it would have been intentional miss information, under instruction).

        • Bob
          Posted September 22, 2012 at 3:10 pm | Permalink


          That doesn’t make any sense at all.

          Why would the MOD approve a pre-announcement of a surprise attack over the world service?

          And why would the MOD tip off the enemy as to the fact that their bombs were not arming prior to impact?

          • Jerry
            Posted September 22, 2012 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

            The fact is Bob, I don’t recall any live broadcasts from the Falklands during the conflict [1], all reports from the front line had to first go through the MOD for clearance, and can you be sure that the place mentioned on the BBC WS from London was the same place were the British army were approaching (assuming that this information was given in real time, no certainty of that remember, not in 1982).

            [1] I think I’m correct in saying that all media transmissions were either sent via military satellite link (audio only reports?) back to the UK or a hard tape/film copy had to be sent back via the Ascension Island.

            Sorry Bob but the more I think about this the more I’m inclined to totally disregard your comment about the BBC and the Falklands, it simply does stack up on all number of grounds.

            But what your comment does sound similar to is the incident, on a live link from New York, were in the immediate aftermath and confusion of the 9/11 attacks a BBC reporter in NY announced live on air that a certain building had also just collapsed even though the stated building was still standing in the distance behind the reporter -the conspiracy theorists had a field day with that one but the truth was less conspiracy and more cock-up, someone sending/receiving the agency news-wires simply got the name of the building wrong, another building had indeed collapsed as a result of the earlier WTC collapse.

          • Bob
            Posted September 23, 2012 at 9:03 am | Permalink


            It appears that you need to refresh your memory.

            Quote from Wikipedia:
            “In his autobiographical account of the Falklands War, Admiral Woodward blames the BBC World Service for these changes to the bombs. The World Service reported the lack of detonations after receiving a briefing on the matter from a Ministry of Defence official. He describes the BBC as being more concerned with being “fearless seekers after truth” than with the lives of British servicemen. [72] Colonel ‘H’. Jones levelled similar accusations against the BBC after they disclosed the impending British attack on Goose Green by 2 Para.”

          • Jerry
            Posted September 23, 2012 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

            That sounds more like a veiled criticism of the MOD rather than BBC by the authors, how ever the Wikipedia editor has phrased it, after all if the information shouldn’t have been cleared by the MOD censors…

            As I said, there was no live broadcasts from the battle fields, everything went through the MOD, staff in Bush House, Broadcasting House and Television Centre only knew what they were being told. Sorry Bob but your disdain for the BBC is not allowing you to judge things with any objectivity.

          • Bob
            Posted September 24, 2012 at 12:34 pm | Permalink


            No one except you mentioned ” live broadcasts from the battle fields” that’s just an attempt by you to muddy the water.

            The World Service broadcasts are a historical fact, whether you want to believe it or not.

            Why do you think the BBC didn’t challenge Admiral Woodward statements in his autobiography if they thought they had been erroneously blamed for passing militarily sensitive information to the enemy?

            Answer is because they’re guilty.
            The chairman and DG of the BBC were summonsed to the Commons and over 100 irate MPs berated them at the time.

            If it had been anyone other than the state broadcaster, there would have been hell to pay.

            It’s time to pull the plug on the BBC.

  48. Thomas E
    Posted September 20, 2012 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

    I was wondering what your position is on the military buildup in the persian gulf. With military exercises from 25 nations, three US aircraft carriers present and 1 more on its way, it looks like NATO has an invasion fleet in place and ready to roll at any time.

  49. Marlin
    Posted September 20, 2012 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

    The BBC should be called the British Socialist Brainwashing Corporation, it is state owned and completely biassed. It is

    1) anti conservative

    2) pro EU

    3) anti Christian

    This is not an impartial organisation and as a result the licence should be revoked immediately, or privatised.

    • Jerry
      Posted September 21, 2012 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

      @Merlin: Whilst those on the left will me muttering that the BBC is;

      1) anti Labour (indeed the SLP have been complaining to the BBC Trust that they don’t get fair treatment)

      2) there is not enough coverage of the EU and its work (or the SLP might argue that the BBC is pro EU)

      3) anti any religion that is not Christian

      Bias is always in the eye of the believer…

      • Bob
        Posted September 22, 2012 at 6:11 pm | Permalink


        There is a website dedicated to documenting BBC bias

        You should go on there and defend the BBC.

        • Jerry
          Posted September 23, 2012 at 9:03 am | Permalink

          There is a website, it must be true…

          Rather proves my point Bob!

          • Bob
            Posted September 23, 2012 at 3:26 pm | Permalink


            How does it prove your point?

            The website is called biased-BBC.

            You should leave some comments there and give them the benefit of your wisdom.

          • Jerry
            Posted September 23, 2012 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

            Bob, if I did it might well be removed for being to objective…

            If I was to spend £10 tonight, register the Domain “Biased Bob” and buy some web hosting, then put up a website full of “proof”, does that make it true? As I said, bias is always in the eye of the believer.

          • Bob
            Posted September 23, 2012 at 8:52 pm | Permalink


            Give it a try, I’m pretty sure they don’t remove comments unless they contain excessive profanities. They’re rather keen on debating the issues.

    • Mark W
      Posted September 22, 2012 at 6:55 am | Permalink

      Or the BBC should just be honest about its bias like newspapers.

      It has an open bias on which side it picks but doesn’t offer the code it uses publicly. For example;

      Syria – Regime
      Libya – Regime
      Bahrain – Government
      Zimbabwe – Government
      EU – Government

      The BBC has decided who is good and who is bad. Of the above all are regimes, possibly less so with Zimbabwe as Mugabe does have an election but there’s little coverage of how free it is.

  50. Alan Wheatley
    Posted September 21, 2012 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    On the Radio 4 Today Programme this Friday morning good coverage was given to the forthcoming contest between England and Afghanistan on the cricket field. So “the BBC” and “Afghanistan” can be coupled with a good news story!!!!!!!

  51. Monty
    Posted September 21, 2012 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    By all means let us get our troops out of Afghanistan, as soon as possible, and regardless of any opinions advanced by Karzai.
    And then could you please please do something to get the BBC out of our wallets? Just tell them the license fee is being abolished, and their business units and capital assets sold off to the private sector, with all proceeds going to the treasury.

  52. frank salmon
    Posted September 22, 2012 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    I think I spotted a first on Radio 5 live. Peter Hitchens was interviewed without a line up of socialist spivs to counter his point. He was the lone interviewee. Amazing.

  53. David Wilkins
    Posted September 22, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    Sadly I think this has less to do with the BBC as an institution and more to do with the sensationalist media in general. There seems to be a lot of effort made to build compelling narratives, but very little to make sure they are grounded in reality.

  • 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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