General Dannatt presses for the Commons to be recalled on a date when it will be in session!


The BBC’s expert today, urging us to go and fight in Iraq, also urged the government to recall Parliament next week or the week after.

Shouldn’t he have studied the Commons timetable before speaking? My diary has┬árecorded ┬áParliament┬áreturning on ┬á1 September for a long time. Didn’t the BBC’s Today programme also know that Parliament returns at the beginning of September?

If they can be so wrong on such a simple issue of UK politics, should we trust them on the politics of Syria and Iraq?


  1. JoeSoap
    August 22, 2014

    Perhaps just content yourself that the army doesn’t have a recess.

  2. majorfrustration
    August 22, 2014

    Simple answer is no. But can we trust the politicians. I have my doubts.

  3. Lifelogic
    August 22, 2014

    The BBC is just, rather like Cameron, all the Tory wets, Labour and above all the Libdems. They can be trusted to be wrong on nearly every issue by about 180 degrees. On global warming they cannot even get their units right, often confusing energy and power & also thinking positive feed back (Anth.Global Warming terms) is a positive thing.

    Full of dim, guardian reading, art graduates who think purely in terms of irrational emotion, celebs and good TV footage – pictures of polar bears floating on ice, people hugging huskies or dramatic falling glaciers.

    They are wrong on tax levels, ever bigger government, employment regulations, more regulation in general, the EU, landlord and tenant, duff magic money tree economics, most wars, global warming, cycling, electric car subsidies (with current technology), so called “renewables” & the subsidy thereof, uncontrolled immigration, the minimum wage, nuclear power, fracking, the Arab/Israel conflict ….. the list is just endless.

    1. Lifelogic
      August 22, 2014

      They largely just repeat government, charity and other such press releases or such statements with no intelligent checking whatsoever it seems.

      Do they employ anyone with a science or numerate training other than to work their cameras and transmissions?

  4. Ex-expat Colin
    August 22, 2014

    Is it 2000 staff in the BBC News Dept? Yep..employment up but likely for the wrong reasons.

    The BBC used to be a world leader in TV engineering….no longer. It used to be a source of good/reliable/interesting information particularly R4 and the World Service…no longer.

    Large Exec salaries and a dumb Trust. Specialises in bad IT similar to Gov led IT projects.

    Would anybody invest in something like that….I don’t think so, so why should we be forced to? Its against the law to use a TV unless you have a BBC feeder licence.

    M&S is rather similar in some ways but we have an unhindered option.

  5. Brian Tomkinson
    August 22, 2014

    JR: “If they can be so wrong on such a simple issue of UK politics, should we trust them on the politics of Syria and Iraq?”
    We are not trusting the BBC and General Dannatt on the politics of Syria and Iraq, nor about the security of this country. You and your colleagues in Parliament have that responsibility – I hope you can rise to the occasion.

  6. Bill
    August 22, 2014

    The short answer is a clear and definite ‘no’.

  7. Leslie Singleton
    August 22, 2014

    Dear John–Disagree entirely–The General is talking substance not House of Commons procedure, about which ordinary people know nothing and care less. Of course it is in your Diary given that you are one of its Members but that hardly means much. Personally I see no reason for the Commons to talk about the subject anyway. That’s what the Prerogative is (was?) for: to avoid such delay and hot air.

    1. Denis Cooper
      August 22, 2014

      Blimey, if MPs are to be excluded from discussing crucial matters such as war and peace, what are they for? Pressing the case for the 8.30 train to London to have more than three coaches, as my own MP is doing?

      1. Leslie Singleton
        August 22, 2014

        Denis–As you may have gathered, MP’s in general do not impress me and I for one don’t trust them much if at all. As I keep saying, I do not believe that their being elected means much except that they are good at making speeches, being telegenic, kissing babies, networking and of course these days looking beautiful, Give me a few Generals anytime. I am certainly not interested in Cameron’s purely political posturing ahead of the Election.

    2. acorn
      August 22, 2014

      If you go out in the street and ask the populace, most would not know if parliament was sitting or not and they couldn’t care less either way. If you then asked are the schools on holiday; they could probably tell you but won’t make a connection with the two.

      I suppose the opposition could demand an emergency debate as usual; put up a motion as usual; which they would lose, as usual. Or, the might accidentally win a vote like they did on Syria. Dave won’t make that mistake again surely!

      The HoC needs an injection of “austerity”, Osborne style. The Commons is a fairly useless organ at the best of its times, the executive is all powerful, even with multiple ministerial substitutions per session. We could reduce the number of MPs by half by merging constituencies two for one. We could be more generous and have circa 415, one for each LAU 1 district. Both simple to implement. A US Congressman represents about eight times as many citizens as a UK MP.

      We could reduce the number of ministers from circa 120 to about 60 say. Fewer ministers mean less ministerial “initiatives” needed to impress the boss. So less chance of buggering up something that is working fine on its own already.

  8. alan jutson,
    August 22, 2014

    Poor research from The BBC ?

    Surely not !

  9. agricola
    August 22, 2014

    The BBC are there to report the facts as they appear to the reporter on the ground in terms of Syria and Iraq. Their opinion as to the rights and wrongs of any situation are not required.
    Should they wish to discuss situations by all means have a balanced debate but not before a participating audience as this can be skewed to upset the balance and often is in the case of the BBC. Perhaps deputy speakers of the HOC could be co-opted to chair such debates as they seem a bit more robust than the current incumbents whose bias is so often manifest.
    As to the BBC not knowing the date of Parliaments recall, I would put it down to sloppy journalism where the end result is more important than the facts.

    1. agricola
      August 22, 2014

      As an addendum I see that pressure is being put on Jeremy Clarkson to conform to BBC think as defined by one Danny Cohen Director of BBC TV. Thanks to the wisdom of Cohen I now know that a slope is more than an incline or hill. Thank you Cohen for adding to my understanding of English after 76 years of ignorance.

      Were I JC I would be talking to an alternative broadcaster and leaving Cohen to explain the dip in BBC income.

  10. margaret brandreth-j
    August 22, 2014

    Am I correct in assuming that a recall is something different than the recess and therefore separate from the usual spetember 1st return?

    In a recess you can either have a recall or an end to the recess. The recess ends on 1 September so then you do not need a recall!

    1. margaret brandreth-j
      August 22, 2014

      Tempus fugit

  11. Peter Stroud
    August 22, 2014

    Well said: the BBC is losing credibility daily.

  12. Iain Gill
    August 22, 2014

    You clearly never worked on a defence project, and seen close up how clueless our senior military officers are in allsorts of ways. Things are kept going very much despite rather than because of them.

    1. Sebastian Weetabix
      August 22, 2014

      Dannatt was the CDS who had to be ordered by the then (Labour) Secretary of State to send mine-proof vehicles and helicopters into Iraq. He wanted to persevere with snatch Land Rovers so the MoD could continue spending the equipment budget on the useless FRES project. I commend Richard North’s book “Ministry of Defeat” for further info.

      I have found it difficult to regard Dannatt with due seriousness ever since. (The highest leadership levels of the armed forces seem to be full of such types. They certainly were when I toiled in the lower reaches of the RAF. But I daresay they can all use the correct knife and fork.)

  13. Roy Grainger
    August 22, 2014

    Harsh. He isn’t a BBC employee and they presumably didn’t know in advance what he was going to say. It was even understandable from his point of view that as Parliament gets such long holidays it would still be away at the start of September.

    Reply Wrong on both counts – the Today programme follows Parliament in detail and should know for their programmes on 1 September onwards that Parliament is open again. They should have told their listeners that. General D should know the the dates when the Commons is in session – and they are posted on the public website – so why pontificate when you have not done your homework?

  14. Anonymous
    August 22, 2014

    Recall of Parliament – It depends whether we are using the Christian or the Muslim calendar, John.

  15. Tad Davison
    August 22, 2014

    I’m glad you highlighted that error John, but it’s not the first. There are far too many glaring errors and irregularities with BBC output these days, but the thing that bothers me the most, is that some members of the public still get their news from this one source only. I often have discussions with friends and others who are otherwise intelligent people, who blindly trot out the BBC line, without prior verification. I try not to embarrass them too much when I point out the faults with the coverage put out by ‘our most trusted broadcaster’.

    I do believe there was a time when the BBC was a broadcaster of merit, although it has never been as hard-hitting as it should. Others broadcasters are leaving the BBC in their wake. I hope the trend continues. We may then arrive at the point where the institution is taken in hand and it loses its ‘BBC think’ agenda.

    Tad Davison


  16. They Work for Us?
    August 22, 2014

    A problem with the BBC is that for example Programmes like the World at One are too long and are stated to be 45mins of News and comment. Far too much time is available for so called comment (usually with a left wing bias). A start would be to stop these time fillers, the World at One could return to 30 mins (15 mins of factual news). The credentials and bias of people commenting should be briefly stated .e.g we have a Greenpeace spokesman (an organisation that is anti nuclear, anti fracking etc as appropriate). “As a non scientist, now what is your view………”.

  17. Mark B
    August 22, 2014

    I care little for the BBC or its output. I care even less, the opinions of a Cold War Warrior, who was too busy fighting the last war, rather than the one we were in at the time – Afghanistan.

  18. oldtimer
    August 22, 2014

    On WATO I thought that Philip Hammond gave good, measured replies to the very provocative, leading questions that were fired at him. No doubt there is a budding war party trying to get UK boots on the ground in Iraq/Syria; a more stupid response to the situation there is difficult to imagine.

  19. ian
    August 22, 2014

    I see the west is not sending aid to east ukraine why that

  20. Margaret
    August 22, 2014

    I am a fan of the BBC.It is a great institution. There are misrepresentations and mistakes in most media’s output and fairly regularly. We take the good with the bad .Most the the time though, it is not trash which is spewed out .

  21. Max Dunbar
    August 23, 2014

    A rhetorical question?
    I force myself to listen to the BBC’s version of the news occasionally on the radio but getting the timing spot on is important in order that the stress inducing promotions of other programmes can be avoided completely. Some BBC news readers’ voices are so irritating that one regrets having turned the radio on at all.

  22. Gary
    August 23, 2014

    Follow the oil, don’t follow political relationships except in light of what they have to do with the oil.

    The elite use govt as monopoly business enterprise with its own military enforcement. Nothing changes, they used to call it the East India Company.

  23. Bazman
    August 23, 2014

    He also put these views forward in the right wing press such as The telegraph, the Mail and also on a number of other TV channels such as SKY and channel 4.
    A member of David Cameron’s front bench team has been forced to backtrack after suggesting General Sir Richard Dannatt’s appointment to the Tory defence team was a “political gimmick”.
    Shadow home secretary Chris Grayling, who mistakenly thought it was Labour that was offering Sir Richard a job, said: “I admire the work of General Dannatt and other senior generals who’ve done so much in Afghanistan and done so much to lead.
    “I hope that this isn’t a political gimmick. We’ve seen too many appointments in this Government of external people where it’s all been about Gordon Brown’s PR,” he told the BBC.
    Following his gaffe, Mr Grayling said he was “delighted” by the appointment and blamed a “misunderstanding” for his earlier comments – admitting they were “a bit embarrassing really”.
    LOL! Remind us again about the BBC. Magical thinking.

  24. Robert Taggart
    August 23, 2014

    Stop the World – until the British Parliament has spoken !
    Recalling Parliament would have done nothing other than to give assorted pompous windbags a platform to ‘let off’ – not least the ‘Gentleman Heckler’ – the ‘Gartered’ Knight for Saint Andrews !!
    Cameo has called it right – by not re-calling it !!!
    No doubt when Parliament does return – those said same windbags will have there say – and one fears our ‘green’ broadcast media will give them the fifteen minutes of fame they crave.
    Oneself will not be listening !

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