Andrew

writes:

One story prominently featured over the Easter holiday weekend was the leftie march to Aldermaston, including various puff-pieces in advance (i.e. advertising for fellow-travellers).

Monday’s ‘News front page’ featured two links to stories about this relative non-event. The same story is highlighted a day later on the UK news page:

Joy as nuclear marchers hit base

Deep joy indeed. The story, by Hannah Bayman, features interviews with various protestors, Giulia Giglioggi, 11-year old Leela Levitt (from Southampton “pleading with parents Malcolm and Latha”, Daniel Franceschini and Reverend Hazel Barkham.

Knowing the BBC’s rigourous and honest approach, I did a little Googling for these people.

Giulia Giglioggi returns nothing. Google helpfully suggests “Giulia Gigliotti”, from Southampton, who it turns out is a major organiser of such protests (inc. a letter in the Grauniad signed ‘Giulia Gigliotti, Nuclear Information Service’) – all omitted (or simply unseen) by our scrupulous BBC inquisitor. (‘Nuclear Information Service’ turns out to be www.nukeinfo.co.uk – also based in Southampton).

Reverend Hazel Barkham (Google alternative ‘Barking’!) is also, unsurprisingly, a prominent anti-nuclear activist, popping up around the web and around the world.

So, how could our rigourous BBC reporter omit to mention the prominence of these anti-nuclear organisers whilst writing such a happy, nay joyous, report of this traditional outing?

Another spot of Googling, this time for ‘Hannah Bayman’, reveals a number of interesting Hannah Bayman coincidences:

– Revolutionary Communists “Rock around the Blockade at Guantanamo” (in April 2000 no less), inc. Hannah Bayman “I am really interested in the Pioneers and the UJC (Union of Young Communists)” (Link);

– “Operation Desert Rescue – 9.6m children in danger” – list of supporters includes “Hannah Bayman, Southampton, BBC journalist” (Link);

– Socialist Worker 26Apr03 letters page – an angry rant about Iraqi freedom, from Hannah Bayman, Southampton (Link);

– Globalise Resistance “free Nicola and Richard” petition – signed by Hannah Bayman, freelance journalist (Link);

– The Observer 21Jul02 letters page – Hannah Bayman of London N1 writes “People across the world have marched against Israel’s war in Palestine, including 80,000 in London in May, largely ignored by the mainstream British press. In September thousands more are expected to rally in London against the threat of a bloody war in Iraq. In November thousands of activists will converge in Florence for the European Social Forum, a weekend of demonstrations and debate on the future of the anti-capitalist movement.” (Link)

It seems I’m not alone in doubting the objectivity of Ms. Bayman – Robert Hinkley has posted details of his dealings with her here and here. Note also the picture here which is remarkably like the BBC picture here.

For those with long memories, I wonder if the Chris Blake in the first picture is the same as the one interviewed by Hannah for the BBC here. If so, Hannah seems to have a remarkably intimate interviewing technique – too intimate one might think to ensure the impartiality and objectivity that a Beeb-taxpayer might expect from the “World’s premier news broadcaster”, as they term themselves.

Just to be clear, BBC reporters, like everyone else, are entitled to their personal opinions. However, in the interests of transparency, when a reporter interviews a personal acquaintance (in this case Chris Blake, a former comrade on a political magazine “Resist”), it is, at best, a discourtesy to his or her readers not to mention it.

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67 Responses to Andrew

  1. chip says:

    Didn’t Dyke recently lecture the US on the merits of objective journalism. Quite frankly, I doubt Fox News could come even close to such, well, there’s no other word for it, propaganda.

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  2. Andy Whittles says:

    Great post – Hannah Bayman is absolutely perfect for the BBC. Can I put my bet on now that she’ll make it to DG in 15 years?

    Assuming the BBC still exists then…

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  3. JohninLondon says:

    And what the hell is the BBC Southampton website costing – you link to it. nd all the other BBC local sites. What is their purpose ?

    Edited By Siteowner

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  4. Scott Burgess says:

    That was an outstanding piece of work – congratulations.

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  5. Anthony says:

    That is appalling. Are you taking it further?

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  6. Jon Robson says:

    I would check out this link http://www.btinternet.com/%7Emhlevitt/Malcolm/politics/IsraelAndPalestine/index.html to see the credentials of 11 year old Levitts father

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  7. Lurker says:

    A further thread of research that can sometimes be followed is using a service like this one:

    http://www.getonline.co.uk/faq/web-email/faq-11/index.html

    Bang in nukeinfo in the domain search box and it will yield up the name of the registrant of the domain name.

    In the case of nukeinfo.org.uk it’s one Anselm Heaton, a quick google on that name and off you go.

    OK this doesnt add to the Hannah Bayman stuff but might be useful in other research.

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  8. marc says:

    And we have to pay for this garbage.

    Good work!

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  9. marc says:

    Has anyone seen, done or would like to do an article on why the BBC is so biased and anti-American? I would like to have such an article posted permanently on my site. I ask myself that question a lot and I get asked why a lot.

    Is it simply to push the UK further into the EU and be a counter balance to the US? Or, is it because the Soviet Union is gone and the US is a replacement target? Is it fear, jealousy or just sensational journalism?

    It could be a combination of all of those and more.

    I’m not a journalist or researcher but I would really like to see a good article on why the BBC has become as bad as it has.

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  10. rob says:

    OFF TOPIC – Bush’s speech
    Paxman once famously asked Blair whether he & Bush prayed together.
    One of many BBC Washington correspondents, Justin Webb, takes it further.
    Webb commenting on R5 about Bush’s speech mentioned Bush’s deep religious belief, & went on to state that many of Bush’s supporters thought that Bush was President through God’s will.
    Peter Oborne in the Spectator likens Blair to Charles I because of his autocratic rule. Webb perhaps may develop his theme by invoking Charles I as background to Bush’s divine right to rule.

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  11. RB says:

    Marc asks about the reasons for the BBC’s anti-Americanism.

    I think that most of the genuine bias (as opposed to some of the more dubious hysterics on this site) is directed against the Bush administration rather than the US as a nation. Partly this is due to the left wing politics of your average BBC journalist. Partly this reflects a genuine dislike of Bush and co amongst the British public as a whole. It’s a fact that this is a government that wouldn’t get near to being elected over here and has values and policies that are pretty alien and occasionally scary/annoying/laughable to your average Brit. No excuse for inaccurate reporting of facts however.

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  12. THFC says:

    where the general anti-US views come in I think this derives from the fact that the BBC journalists that I know are members of the London ‘chattering classes (as they seem to be referred to on these sort of sites) – i.e. they frequent the top French restaurants, Soho bars, galleries and holiday in the trendy bits of Europe. Nothing wrong with this of course – I like to think it applies to me as well (until the missus wants a new sofa and the wages run out). It does however lead to a fixation with the concept of pan-European cultural superiority and a tendency to look down on those uncivilised Americans (not to mention non London parts of the UK). These journalists couldn’t get away with being nasty to Northeners but they can just about get away with being nasty to non metropolitan Americans. Sad and wrong but true I think.

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  13. enloop says:

    Would UK and European attitudes about the Bush administration be different if Bush spoke with the flair of a Kennedy, didn’t admit to his religious beliefs, and wasn’t a product of Texas? Same policies, just different wrapping.

    How much of this hostility can be attributed to ignorance about the U.S. and a bias that says the U.S. consists of the little strip of coast from Boston to D.C. and a few acreas around San Francisco Bay?

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  14. THFC says:

    Bush has policies which are detrimental to the UK and Europe (steel tariffs) or UK and European pet projects the ‘benefits’ of which depend on your point of view (bypassing UN, Kyoto, ICC). Some of these would get criticism whoever implemented them but there’s no doubt that the criticism is intensified by the nature of his personality and rhetoric.

    I think from a BBC perspective if all Americans acted like those from Boston, NY, DC and LA there wouldn’t be a problem. It’s the religious and cultural practices of Americans from outside these areas that the BBC thinks it has a right to look down on.

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  15. Chevalier de St George says:

    THFC
    do you think that the elitism of BBC journalists which as far as i know has existed since the year dot is in fact a pendulum that swings its dislike according to the fashion of the day.
    The antimericanism and anti israeli bias has not always been there.
    I remember the days when the paternalism of the BBC was directed at the English “non educated plebs” classes as was evident in many of its comedy programs in the 70s.
    I’m sure that by endorsing these dislikes BBC journalists actually use this as a kind of “bonding”.
    Its a bitlike being accepted in the “School bullies” gang at school.

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  16. Alan Massey says:

    “Would UK and European attitudes about the Bush administration be different if Bush spoke with the flair of a Kennedy, didn’t admit to his religious beliefs, and wasn’t a product of Texas? Same policies, just different wrapping.”

    It would make little difference. It’d just mean they wouldn’t be able to sneer “cowboy” any more, and would just have to fall back on sneering “yank” instead.

    They just don’t like the fact that the US is rich, powerful & capitalist, and dosn’t handicap itself with democratic socialism. The reason they like the democrats is that they hope they’ll introduce a more european style welfare system, reduce defence expenditure, and stop making europe look so inadaquate.

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  17. THFC says:

    C de SG, I do think ‘fashion’ is the key driver.

    This just reflects a change in the nature of London media elitism. In the 70s this was if anything anti-sophisticate and involved a lot of sitting around in abysmal hellholes being manly, drinking vast amounts of bad beer and sneering at poor people.

    These days most of the stuff in London that’s media trendy (other than the OTT ‘ethnic’ bobbins) revolves around various superior elements of European decor, food and drink. It’s very easy to have a more relaxed view of Parmalat or the impending arrival of EU accession states when you’re polishing off a plate of venison with truffles in Locanda Locatelli or a glass of Zubrowka bison grass in Baltic. Also leaves you inclined to sneer at Americans with their Walmart and spray cheese.

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  18. enloop says:

    Alan:

    Here in the States it is very telling that discussions about “democratic socialism” do not and have never played a role in serious electoral politics. If there are folks in the UK who imagine that the Democratic Party is a Yankee version of Labor, they are delusional. You can’t model U.S. politics on European constructs.

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  19. annelise says:

    Back on track – Andrew I’m ashamed of you – you missed one.

    Electoral Roll search for Guilia Gigliotti reveals she lives in Southampton, at the same address as one Pietro Franceschini.

    Who is quoted in the article but one Daniel Franceschini – related? You decide.

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  20. annelise says:

    But no, there’s more. An anagram of Daniel Franceschini is Ideal Finnish Cancer.

    Put those into Google and search result 197 asks “Is there a time bomb in your diet” – a clear link to left-wing Marxist-Troskyist insurgency. Horrors.

    Boys, if this was important, i.e. Watergate, I’d be worried, but to waste so much time and bandwidth on a weekend colour piece by some local radio hack who was sent on the story by some bored news editor who had nothing better to do on a Sunday afternoon really does take the biscuit.

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  21. JohninLondon says:

    annelise

    Deleted

    Edited By Siteowner

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  22. annelise says:

    JohninLondon – I can see a lot of things wrong here, as the first part of my post demonstrates, but to compare this piece of mush to real journalism is probably a more accurate test of visual acuity.

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  23. JohninLondon says:

    annelise

    [deleted]

    Edited By Siteowner

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  24. Hannah Bayman says:

    This rant is laughable. I had never heard of or spoken to any of the people I interviewed before on Aldermaston in my life….they were campaigners interviewed randomly and they had a story to tell, having trekked four days in an event that was covered on all media, including Sky in far more detail than the BBC.

    So Giulia Gigliotti works for a nuclear information service? Er, it was an anti-nuclear march. I’m sure most of the people there could be linked to some peace organisation or pressure group. That’s not rocket science.

    I’m sorry if that doesn’t fit in with your conspiracy theories.

    Sure, I have signed petitions online and had a letter published in Socialist Worker. (The same letter was also published in the Evening Standard and the Daily Mail!)

    But as well as this dangerous act of sedition I have spent years working for the financial press…

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  25. Hannah Bayman says:

    P.S.

    If any of you guys would like to organise a four-day, 52-mile, pro-nuclear march I would be absolutely delighted to cover it.

    Hannah Bayman

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  26. Hannah Bayman says:

    P.P.S

    By the way guys, since a lot of the above posts relate to perceived attitudes of BBC journalists to America and Americans (and it appears that many of you, rather than being licence-fee payers, are actually from the US), it may interest/confuse you to know that I am a US citizen and have spent many happy family holidays there.

    Does that further wreck your stereotype?

    Cheerio

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  27. Hannah Bayman says:

    P.P.S

    By the way guys, since a lot of the above posts relate to perceived attitudes of BBC journalists to America and Americans (and it appears that many of you, rather than being licence-fee payers are actually from the US), it may interest/confuse you to know that I am am a US citizen and have spent many happy family holidays there.

    Cheerio

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  28. annelise says:

    JohninLondon: There is a difference between minimising it and blowing it out of all proportion. Perhaps more people should recognise that before making unfounded allegations.

    BTW, you claim that [deleted] This is utter rubbish, since most “respectable” newspapers are far more biassed.

    Edited By Siteowner

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  29. JohninLondon says:

    Hannah Bayman

    Try answering the point that you used an interview with a co-protestor friend as the core of your report from Evian.

    And do you deny that the drift of your reporting is persistentl;y aganst US policies ?

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  30. JohninLondon says:

    annelise

    [deleted]

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/hampshire/dorset/2953710.stm

    Edited By Siteowner

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  31. Scott Burgess says:

    Hannah wrote:

    “I am a US citizen and have spent many happy family holidays there.

    Does that further wreck your stereotype?”

    Yes – I was thinking that expat American citizens critical of US policy and globalisation were nonexistent.

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  32. Dino Sorrus says:

    Hannah

    I think you are cute.

    I work at the Natural History Museum, and have always wanted to go out on a date with a good ol’ communist. I’ve never met one before.

    6′ 2”, slim build, GSOH, own teeth, hair and flat in W2.

    Can we meet up for coffee?

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  33. JohninLondon says:

    The stereotype stands.

    [deleted]

    Edited By Siteowner

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  34. Hannah Bayman says:

    It is very funny indeed to read so much about my supposed views, most of it laughably incorrect and all of it irrelevant to the stories mentioned.

    Absolutely, I am a journalist with an interest in covering protests and perfectly open liberal views… but friends and family will roll around laughing when they hear me described as a communist and socialist demonstrator.

    Annalise, John: 1. The report from Evian didn’t involve any expense other than a short mobile call.

    2. It was clearly flagged up as an opinion piece from a British protester – with quote marks and a drop intro explaining it was an opinion piece. Do we really need to start wrting after such pieces “The views expressed are those of the person quoted and not anyone else”. I would credit our readers with more sense.

    The G8 was that weekend’s biggest news story and it was vital for balance to have a piece from a British person who had travelled there to protest.

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  35. Hannah Bayman says:

    If you are seriously suggesting the protest, like the Aldermaston march, would have been better covered without speaking to the protesters themselves, then we have a very, very different view of objective journalism.

    By the way, it may interest you to hear that some of my stories, including two of those that have caused you so much anger, have also earned me criticism from leftwingers for perceived (again wrongly in my opinion) anti-left bias.

    I think that tells me the BBC is getting the balance about right.

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  36. Dino Sorrus says:

    “I think that tells me the BBC is getting the balance about right.”

    Hannah, not only are you cute but funny too. That’s a good one.

    Don’t break my heart. Coffee?

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  37. Hannah Bayman says:

    But Dino, you’d be so disappointed… I’m nothing like the raving commie your fellow-bloggers have led you to expect 😉

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  38. Dino Sorrus says:

    I’ll take that as a no, and nurse my broken heart.

    Back to the Dilophosaurus then…

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  39. Hannah Bayman says:

    And to think you missed the chance to bid for me on eBay…;-)

    The real Hannah Bayman watchers out there will know what I’m talking about.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/3509169.stm

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  40. RB says:

    JohninLondon

    Not that I agree with anti-nuclear politics but are you trying to say that the political views of people on this site (from which your perception of bias is derived) would gather a significant slice of British votes??? Would you honestly say that George Bush’s (as distinct from American – there are a few Americans I know who don’t lapse into God-bothering flag waving gobbledegook at the drop of a hat) policies and values are shared by the British public???

    Crackpot fringes in glass houses shouldn’t throw tetchy emails.

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  41. Susan says:

    If a BBC reporter is actually deigning to post here, that must mean that this site is only growing in influence — and They Who Must Be Obeyed have noticed.

    Watch your back Natalie, Ed and all. Look how the BBC tried to smear that immigration whistleblower. I hope you all have secure jobs far from the influence of They Who Must Be Obeyed.

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  42. Hannah Bayman says:

    Oh absolutely. I have learned a really important journalistic lesson from this site today.

    Reporting a view that you guys disagree with = bias.

    I will be forwarding all copy so you can screen it for dissent from your world view in future.

    😉

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  43. Susan says:

    Hannah, if you want to convince us that BBC reporters aren’t all sneering left-wing elitists, you really didn’t do a good job of it with your last post.

    “Reporting a view that you guys disagree with = bias.”

    From a BBC reporter, this is priceless!

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  44. Foreigner says:

    [deleted]
    cheers all
    foreigner

    Edited By Siteowner

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  45. JohninLondon says:

    Hannah

    You are exhibiting typical BBC ineffable sneering when you suggest that you are not VERY left wing. In this piece there are some direct quotations from you :

    http://semiskimmed.net/misc/r8p45.pdf

    The fact that other extreme lefties have criticised you is irrelevant – spats in all the SWP-type groups are common. Look at Life of Brian.

    You despise capitalism, don’t you ? [deleted ]You think the mericans are imperialists, don’t you ? You like going on demos, don’t you – demos that attract the miniscule far left ?

    Or have you changed your views ?

    Edited By Siteowner

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  46. Susan says:

    Ah come on John — don’t be such a curmudgeon.

    I think lovey-dovey Hannah and Chris make an incredibly cute couple. And I’m sure Chris will be featured in many other “Man on the street” BBC-type opinion features to come. Just a regular guy you know, no connection at all with the BBC or its employees. No particular political agenda to push, no sir. Just a regular guy voicing his opinions like everybody else. Nothing wrong with that now is there?

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  47. marc says:

    “I think that tells me the BBC is getting the balance about right.”

    Reporting a view that you guys disagree with = bias.

    How to rig a poll.

    Let’s see, BBC polls its own viewers and asks is the US and Globalization (one question) worse than terrorism?

    Answer 52% say the US is worse than terrorism. Can we have the poll questions Mr Nye? No. Why not? Cause I say so.

    Why did you poll your own viewers instead of a wider audience? Cause we wanted the answer we got.

    How to rig a poll.

    Hannah Bayman, as an American, read more of this site and others like them and you will find proof conclusive of how evil your organization is. I’m an American living in Scotland and I started my site just to expose the BBC’s garbage.

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  48. PJF says:

    Hannah Bayman wrote:
    “I’m sure most of the people there could be linked to some peace organisation or pressure group.”

    Including you – which raises the question of why you were deemed suitable for covering this story.

    “That’s not rocket science.”

    That’s right, it isn’t rocket science – if you didn’t bother to find out when you interviewed them, you could have easily found out afterwards. So the question posed by Andrew still needs an answer. Why was the prominence of these individuals not mentioned in your ‘report’?
    .

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  49. RB says:

    Marc

    A media organisation polling it’s own viewers?? God forbid! Presumably if they polled externally you’d have been squealing about the hideous waste of taxpayers money.

    In most parts of the world BBC viewers are as good a demographic profile of the educated proprtion of the population as you’ll find.

    It’s also not surprising that most parts of the world don’t give a flying monkeys arse about terrorism – it kills an infintisimally small number of people in the grand scheme of things. Most of the world has better things to worry about.

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  50. PJF says:

    RB wrote:
    “In most parts of the world BBC viewers are as good a demographic profile of the educated proprtion of the population as you’ll find.”

    That statement is as unqualified as the ‘poll’ that spawned it. It’s just ‘wot you reckon’ because it ‘feels right’. Do you work for the BBC, RB?

    Whether you do or not, you are hastily parroting a BBC marketing/propaganda line there, for the poll cannot even be said to represent ‘BBC World viewers’. It represents only ‘visits’ to their website. I understand enough about computer ‘hacking’ to know that all those responses could have come from a back bedroom in Basingstoke (perhaps a PC literate friend of Hannah Bayman – just to be on topic (but impertinent)).

    The ‘poll’ was meaningless garbage in itself. The BBC then cynically misrepresented it as a ‘news’ story, with a stunningly perverse headline (so bad it has now been stealth edited). Your support of this says a lot about you.
    .

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