“An Independent Commission”

Where would the BBC be without it’s regular diet of “surveys”, “reports” and “enquiries” ? On Radio Four’s seven o’clock news this morning, the first three of four stories were all supplied to the BBC. While I’m not a great fan of the journalist Nick Davies’ analytical capabilities, his observational skills are first class – and in his book Flat Earth news he charges that too many news organisations are content to regurgitate the press releases without enquiring into the motives behind them.

Today’s top story featured an organisation new to me, the “Independent Asylum Commission“, which has produced a report lambasting Britain for its appalling treatment of asylum seekers. Said report is getting top billing on BBC news.

The morning is young, and I have work to do. But given that the Commission is sponsored by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, what are the odds that it will turn out to consist of pro-asylum, pro-immigration activists ? If any commenters have time to dig I’d be grateful.

Let’s look at another “independent” organisation.

From BBC News a while back :


Reforms of the criminal justice system are largely ineffective in cutting crime, an independent think-tank says.

The Crime and Society Foundation, at King’s College, London, says ministers should focus instead on tackling root causes such as poverty and sexism.

This ‘independent think-tank‘ is staffed by :

A former communications director for the anti-prison, pro-criminal National Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders.

A former researcher for the anti-prison ‘children’s liberation’ National Children’s Bureau and the Child Poverty Action Group.

A former Communications Officer at Action for Prisoners’ Families.

A former employee of the Howard League for Penal Reform, aka the Howard League For The Abolition of Punishment.

On its advisory board sits the anti-prison campaigner Una Padel and one Nick Page. Could it be this Nick Page ? Alas I think it’s this one.

There’s “independent”. And there’s BBC “independent”.

UPDATE – I see David and I have taken the same story this morning. Let a hundred flowers blossom, let a hundred schools of thought contend, as Chairman Mao once said.

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61 Responses to “An Independent Commission”

  1. Anonymous says:

    The reality on asylum seekers in the UK is more like this:

    “Asylum seekers on the doorstep”

    http://www.weeklygripe.co.uk/a61.asp

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  2. George R says:

    I don’t expect the BBC to make a favourable reference to this excellent reponse from Sir Andrew Green:-

    ” March 27, 2008
    Migrationwatch response to report by Independent Asylum Commission-

    “Responding to today’s Interim report from the Independent Asylum Commission think-tank Migration Watch
    says that the document has completely ignored the fact that in recent years just over 60% of asylum claims in the UK have been rejected as not genuine.

    “Despite its official sounding title, this is a private initiative by a number of charities involved in asylum issues “said Sir Andrew Green, Migration Watch chairman.

    “Like them, we fully support a welcome for genuine refugees who are fleeing persecution. They now amount to only 3% of immigration but the extent of false claims and the failure to remove those concerned remain serious problems. If you set foot in Britain and say the word ‘asylum’ you have an 80% chance of staying, more often than not illegally. No wonder they are still queuing up in Calais.

    “These uncomfortable facts are ignored in a report which implicitly assumes that all asylum seekers are genuinely seeking sanctuary from persecution when many are clearly economic migrants,” he said.

    “The report seems designed to convey the general impression that the process is unfair and oppressive instead of tackling the abuse which is undermining public support for those who need it most – genuine refugees,’ said Sir Andrew.”

    http://www.migrationwatch.org/pressreleases/pressreleases.asp#top

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  3. DB says:

    Not mentioned by the BBC – from the Independent Asylum Commission’s website: “The Commission is directly accountable to the Citizen Organising Foundation.”

    The COF campaigns for amnesty for illegal immigrants.

    Further background – apart from co-chair Ifath Nawaz of the Association of Muslim Lawyers (as mentioned by David Vance in the other post), the IAC’s co-ordinator is Jonathan Cox who also sits on the National Executive of the Christian Socialist Movement.

    (It’s been a good week, publicity-wise, for projects funded by the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust – its propaganda was used to justify the anti-military vote at the NUT conference.)

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  4. backwoodsman says:

    Beeboid propaganda at its finest !!
    Last year after a sustained series of complaints to them, the bbc agreed that they should not have been refering to Migration Watch as a ‘right wing’ group. However, they are insideous with their presentation of pressure groups they promote as ‘main stream’ – this is a classic example and illustrates why the bbc are so dangerous and cannot be allowed to continue in its current form. The fact that our taxes pay for it is the ultimate insult.

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  5. max says:

    From Nick Page’s page one can see that he’s, as he put it, an ‘information designer’. That’s the best euphemism for ‘propagansist’ I’ve ever came across.

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  6. Pete says:

    I’d rather BBC news just regurgitated press releases rather than subjecting us to the ‘analysis’ it prides itself on and which is often of very dubious value and impartiality.

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  7. jimbob says:

    someone did ask nicky campbell on r5 this a.m who this organisation were.

    his response was that it was a body of immigration experts and people working in this field.

    i think the word “commission” is deliberately misleading .

    we have commissions in

    forestry, audit, gambling, competition, legal services,healthcare

    these are all government funded or created by legislation.

    The use of the very word ” commission” has clearly led the gullibel hacks at the beeb to believe thsi report is somehow “official” in some way.

    shame on their naive little heads again…

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  8. Alex says:

    It’s a long article so I’ll only discuss the bits that are vaguely to do with the BBC:

    Said report is getting top billing on BBC news.

    That’s not quite the same as support, though, is it?

    There’s “independent”. And there’s BBC “independent”.

    If the organisation calls itself the “Independent Asylum Commission” the BBC isn’t really at the one at fault for use of the word ‘independent’. Zero points here.

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  9. Martin says:

    Haven’t heard Philip Green of Migration watch today. But the BBC usually refers to his organisation as “right leaning” or “right of centre”

    They never seem to refer to left leaning organisations in the same way.

    Remember this. Todays asylum seeker is tomorrows McLiebour voter.

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  10. Remember this. Todays asylum seeker is tomorrows McLiebour voter.

    And that is the point! The BBC knows this too. NuLab and the BBC say that failure to deport illegals is due to incompetence, but it is quite clear now that this ‘incompetence’ is the policy. The more illegals – soon to be handed legal status – the more NuLab voters.

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  11. DB says:

    If the organisation calls itself the “Independent Asylum Commission” the BBC isn’t really at the one at fault for use of the word ‘independent’.
    Alex | Homepage | 27.03.08 – 3:47 pm

    It is at fault if it doesn’t investigate – and report on – the veracity of the organisation’s claim to be ‘independent’.

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  12. will says:

    In other circumstances wouldn’t the BBC use “so called” Independent?

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  13. meggoman says:

    Unrelated to this thread but 437 wow. How big is your carbon footprint? Let alone the cost.

    Haven’t read it in detail yet I’m still recovering from the shock of that number 437!!!!!

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/7316690.stm

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  14. meggoman says:

    Just one thought. What do they do between the Olympics? After all BBC doesn’t have much in the way of big sporting events.

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  15. Cassandra says:

    Alex,

    SO WEAK!

    That has to be the weakest excuse I have heard in a very long time!

    Did the BBC ask the view of migration watch or anyone with a different view?
    Did the BBC ask just where all the immigrants would be housed and just who would get pushed to the back of the housing queue?
    Did the BBC offer any differing view or even give any background on a clearly extremist setup?
    Did the BBC point out that many of the contributers support unlimited immigration and unlimited amnesty for illegal immigrants regardless of their criminal history?
    Did the BBC point out that the majority of asylum seekers are bogus and many are in fact criminals?
    Did the BBC point out that because of mass immigration our health and social security and social housing services are at the point of collapse?
    Did the BBC point out that the only group of people who have become extremely rich are ‘yuman rites’ Lawyers?
    Did the BBC point out that immigrants have brought over a massive increase in AIDS and now untreatable TB?
    Did the BBC point out that the vast majority of British voters do not want any more unlimited immigration of people who will clearly be a huge burdon on the state and hard pressed taxpayer for life?
    Did the BBC point out that IF asylum seekers are treated so badly then why are tens of thousands trying to get in by any means possible and that traffickers and smugglers are getting rich?
    This terrible and one sided report is proof positive of bias.

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  16. Anonymous says:

    “If the organisation calls itself the “Independent Asylum Commission” the BBC isn’t really at the one at fault for use of the word ‘independent’. Zero points here.”

    The BBC could have used standard beebish and said “So called Independent” or Left wing think tank,perhaps even done a little research and stated it is a private non-governmental organisation.
    The beeb probably got so moist at the thought of a “Commission” the went no further.

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  17. libertus says:

    Melanie Phillips on the BBC Arabic Service:
    http://www.spectator.co.uk/melaniephillips/577881/the-bbcs-arabic-service.thtml#comments

    BTW, why do we have a BBC Arabic service?

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  18. David Preiser (USA) says:

    libertus,

    The BBC has an Arabic service for the same reason it has services in many other languages: they are trying to expand their audience.

    This is so important that they now seem to be cowtowing to China once again as reaching a Chinse audience (and keeping the flow of advertising money coming from the Chinese government) is more important than telling the truth.

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  19. Typhoo says:

    Cassandra extremely good comment at 5.54. I totally agree with everything you say in it.

    Nice work!

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  20. DB says:

    Hey Alex – is this you?

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  21. Fatter Than Ever says:

    Seems like the moderators are asleep on HYS. Hurry along and join the fun …

       0 likes

  22. Victoria says:

    Cassandra: gather a group of professional researchers, set up a non-governmental (otherwise known as ‘independent’) commission, find evidence to support everything you’ve just said and knock-up a press release. Then I guess the BBC would be obliged to report on that too.
    If you (or anyone else with suggestions) could point me in the direction of the source of your information, I’d be more than happy to increase my knowledge by reading it.

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  23. DB says:

    My mistake – hey Victoria is this you?

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  24. Hugh says:

    Why’s Alex changed his name to Victoria? I don’t get it.

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  25. DB says:

    Why’s Alex changed his name to Victoria? I don’t get it.
    Hugh | 27.03.08 – 9:45 pm |

    I don’t think he meant to.

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  26. DB says:

    Come on Alex/Victoria, what’s going on?

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  27. Alex says:

    Two separate people using the same computer possibly? One of which called Victoria and one of which called Alex.

    Anyway, it’s not me. This is me. And

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  28. Alex says:

    Cassandra:
    Did the BBC ask the view of migration watch or anyone with a different view?
    Did the BBC offer any differing view or even give any background on a clearly extremist setup?

    Not Migration Watch, no, and as Migration Watch’s response doesn’t actually mention treatment of asylum seekers, but simply adds information concerning their authenticity, this isn’t particularly relevant. But look at this:
    The head of the Border and Immigration Agency, Lin Homer, said: “I totally refute any suggestion that we treat asylum applicants without care and compassion. We have a proud tradition in Britain of offering sanctuary to those who truly need our protection. We operate a firm but humane system, supporting those who are vulnerable with accommodation and assistance. But we expect those that a court says have no genuine need for asylum to return home voluntarily, saving taxpayers the expense of enforcing their return.”

    The report gets refuted by the government. Not good enough for you, BBC mouthpiece of NuLiebour?

    Shadow Home Secretary, David Davis, said the government should be ashamed. “This is a shocking indictment of the asylum system under Labour”, he said, “showing that nobody wins – neither the hard earning British tax-payer nor the genuine refugee”. The Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman, Chris Huhne described Britain’s asylum system as “broken”. “The asylum process combines incredible complexity with systemic incompetence and is not fit for purpose.”

    Other parties get a look in too. What we’ve actually got is a fairly damaging report for the government being given front-page status.

    Did the BBC point out that IF asylum seekers are treated so badly then why are tens of thousands trying to get in by any means possible and that traffickers and smugglers are getting rich?

    I don’t think you quite understand what an “asylum seeker” is. Now this, and all your other points, seem to be asking that the BBC editorialise extensively on the topic from a right-wing perspective. Is that really what you want?

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  29. Alex says:

    Did I mention this is also me? And this is also me too.

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  30. Anonymous says:

    Feeble effort Alex/Vicky.

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  31. DB says:

    Anonymous was me

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  32. DB says:

    Unlike Victoria and Alex who share the same computer!

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  33. Hugh says:

    Alex, surely you’re on your home computer at this time. You must know who’s using it.

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  34. John Reith spins in his grave says:

    Is Victoria Alex’s mum – keeping an eye on his online activities?

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  35. Connell says:

    When the had this as the lead item on the 8am news on the Today program, I switched over to Nick Ferrari on another station. Cant take much more of this 🙁

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  36. DB says:

    Hey, Alex/Victoria/Whatever – why didn’t the BBC mention that the Independent Asylum Commission is directly accountable to the Citizen Organising Foundation?

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  37. DB says:

    Because Alex is busted!

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  38. DB says:

    Alex: Two separate people using the same computer possibly?

    You’ve got to be kidding, Alex. It doesn’t get any more feeble. Nobody is buying. Run along now.

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  39. Alex says:

    “why didn’t the BBC mention that the Independent Asylum Commission is directly accountable to the Citizen Organising Foundation?”

    Because it didn’t know, because it deemed it irrelevant or because it thought dredging through the organisation’s affiliations solely in order to discredit it wouldn’t really be ‘impartial’.

    Has anyone actually refuted the IAC report apart from the government?

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  40. DB says:

    Has anyone seen my shoes?

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  41. Hugh says:

    Vicky: dredging through an organisation’s affiliations to see whether they discredit what the organisation is saying is exactly what journalist are meant to do – BBC journalists included. Their editorial guidelines say as much.

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  42. DB says:

    Alex fucked up.

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  43. Martin says:

    Exactly. If an organisation “claims” to be impartial, then the journalists should investigate that claim. They look look at who runs it and who funds it.

    As I’ve mentioned before the BBC have no problems pointing out organsations that are “right wing”

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  44. Peter says:

    To give the BBC it’s due, they did comment on legal immigration Of course many could be illegals or asylum seekers.

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  45. David Vance says:

    Poor Vicky/Alex – cat out of the bag I’m afraif.

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  46. Anonymous says:

    Gather a group of professional researchers, set up a non-governmental (otherwise known as ‘independent’) Victoria | Homepage | 27.03.08 – 9:05 pm |

    Is this an official definition within the BBC of what “independent” means? Non-governmental.
    It would explain a lot – Al-Qaeda and Hezbullah affiliated propagandists are all “independent” as they don’t work for any government. So are various Leftoid outfits, BBC calls “independent”.
    However it is always a “right-wing” or a “conservative” think tank, isn’t it?

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  47. Anonymous says:

    Angry Young Victoria said: “Two separate people using the same computer possibly? One of which called Victoria and one of which called Alex.”

    :lol::lol::lol::lol::lol:

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  48. Pete says:

    Why trust a news service from the maker of Eastenders and Flog it?

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  49. Reversepsychology says:

    Are youtube attempting to steal this blogs thunder?

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  50. Cassandra says:

    Alex,

    I am not interested in what the three main political parties say on the issue as I do not support any of them, they are in my humble opinion different fingers of the same grubby and self interested hand!
    I am interested in the facts and background to a story by the BBC that seems to promote a pressure group and present it in such a way as to hide its politcal agenda.
    BTW the term asylum seeker is used by many immigrants to bluff their way into the UK under false pretences. The majority of asylum seekers are bogus and the majority of claims are fraudulent and this makes me angry, very angry, that genuine refugees are are getting pushed to the back or are being denied safehaven because crooked applicants and people traffickers and liars and economic migrants are abusing the system out of greed!
    It only takes the BBC to add some relevant facts about the pressure groups aims and background but this seems to be beyond them for some reason?
    The BBC has the resources to be able to distinguish between a planted story and a genuine one surely? The question to ask is just why they seem to fall prey to leftist fake stories only!

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