Inglish Lesson

From hippiepooter in the comments comes a timely reminder, ahead of the BBC leaders’ debate, that Sue Inglish, the BBC’s Head of Political Programmes, is married to former Labour Party Director of Communications John Underwood. He was the man behind Progressive Policies Forum, the don’t-think tank which channelled funds to Peter Hain’s failed deputy leadership bid.

As hippepooter points out, the declaration of personal and family interests section of Inglish’s BBC profile appears to be in a permanent state of “will be published shortly”.

I wonder if it was Ms Inglish who gave the go-ahead to broadcast this week’s edition of Any Questions from a school with close ties to another former Labour Director of Communications.

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37 Responses to Inglish Lesson

  1. George R says:

    A reprise of extracts from Robin Aitken’s book: “Can we trust the BBC?”

    “What is the loneliest job in Britain? Being a Tory at the BBC”


  2. John Anderson says:

    They really are incorrigible !

    Nice track-down, h-p


  3. Guest Who says:

    Might be an opportunity for a wee evolving list, in the manner of Craig’s excellent investigations?

    In just a few weeks I’ve learned that, as the de facto ‘balance’ (ie: by any definition counter the other side of the mean) to some media elite perceptions (actually mostly correct, but I only have to pay for one) of how opinion should be weighted between popular, populist ‘right wing’ wrong notions from such as the Daily Mail, and niche ‘let wing’ good thoughts from such as the Graun, Aunty has managed, so far:

    1) A blog moderator who was/is also a party PPC. Now ‘transferred’.

    2) A ‘reporter’ who can only find in her ritzy borough supporters of her bestest chum, who is running for office, to vox pop.

    3) A channel editor who tweets uni-politically, claims he was teasing equally and then has to take down everything pronto as that claim didn’t stand up one jot.

    And now the head of the whole rotten political aspect of the whole rotten shebang turns out to be as compromised as it is possible to be. Published shortly, my ****. CONFLICTS OF INTEREST, maybe?

    Is there anyone, especially at senior level, in the BBC, NOT up to their armpits in a rather unique famiiy-leaning politically?

    And just how long can they hope to get away with ‘Beware of the Leopard’ obfuscation, delayed disclosure, Balenesque coyness and/or giggling “I’m shocked’ brazenness to shame Capt. Renault?

    That last bit is rhetorical.


  4. Martin says:

    Again though I ask HOW does the BBC monitor balance across its output? There appears to be no formal system in place, so this claim by the BBC is a pile of crap.


    • David Preiser (USA) says:

      They have a compliance officer who goes through the complaints to see if they come from both sides.  Sometimes a Labour party official will claim that the BBC did something that favored the Tories, and they do air occasional negative comments from viewers.  That’s enough to prove in their own minds that the BBC is impartial overall.


  5. hippiepooter says:

    It may interest you to know that I have concluded this week’s B-BBC/beebbiascraig Digest with this comment:  
    To round off this Digest, BBC guidelines on ‘impartiality’ are written by the BBC’s former ‘Chief Political Adviser’ and current ‘Director, Editorial Policy and Standards’ David Jordan.  Before these posts he was producer on one of the BBC’s most breathtakingly biased news programmes ‘On the Record’.  I once asked him to provide me with a breakdown of complaints for anti-Tory and anti-Labour bias at ‘On the Record’.  He claimed that ‘the BBC doesn’t have the resources to compile these figures’.  I suggested he hire a YTS trainee to put the complaints in their respective piles and count them.  The Rt Hon Peter Lilley MP asked Mr Jordan to send him a copy of his reply.  It never came.  Can it come as any surprise that BBC staff are self-evidently aware that guidelines on ‘impartiality’ from David Jordan are not meant to be taken seriously?


    • John Anderson says:

      well done with the regular bias-digests, h-p.

      If there is indeed a hung parliament,  the likelihood is that there could be another election fairly soon.

      It would therefore be ESSENTIAL for all this blatant bias to be rooted out of the BBC.   Maybe your various bulletins could be assembled into a full dossier of charges of bias covering the present election period. 

      And I suggest that we should ask for a meeting with some of the Tory panjandrums – to really press the issue with them face to face.   I for one would be willing to come along suited-and-booted.  

      As Martin has said – there appears to be no proper mechanism to monitor balance within the BBC.  So maybe a meeting with some BBC executive too ?   Because it seems to me that this site conducts more monitoring than the BBC itself does.  Sure,  we are coming at it mostly in protest at the leftie bias – we could declare that up front.  But there is enough ammo to seek a meeting – and good pretext to report to the press if the BBC refuses to discuss the dossier ?


  6. B J says:


    As we’re talking about Sue Inglish, perhaps it would be apposite to discuss two of her immediate subordinates — both very senior editors in BBC political programmes. One, Steve Mawhinney, is the son of a former Tory party chairman; and the other, Robbie Gibb is the brother of a front-bench Tory MP and a former party spin doctor.

    And that’s not to mention the Conservative candidate Tina Stowell, who is head of corporate affairs at the BBC. Nor Patrick Mercer, Chris Grayling, Roger Gale, Pauline Neville Jones or Peter McCann — all ex BBC staff (or in PNJ’s case, a governor) who are now prominent Tories.

    Just thought you might like a reminder, as you wouldn’t want to get accused of bias now…


    • Manfred VR says:

      Well, BJ, considering how many Tories are there, they are certainly not achieving any success in influencing the notion of impartiality in the BBC.
      Have they gone native, or do they see which side their bread is buttered?


    • Martin says:

      And your point is? None of these people have any influence over the BBC. Grayling was in the SDP was he not in his early years?

      I can’t be arsed with looking into Merceer or the others but I’d best NONE of them have had the influence the leftie Liebour lot have on the BBC today.


    • hippiepooter says:

      Thanks indeed for that BJ.


      Let’s take a look at that information you’ve so kindly provided us with, shall we?


      Perhaps you’d like to read Roger Gale’s views of the BBC here.  I heard him a number of times on the news bemoaning the bias of the BBC he once worked for.


      Ex BBC Governor and Tory Peer Dame Pauline Neville Jones’ views on BBC bias here.


      What Steve Mawhinney’s dad, ex Tory Party Chairman Lord Brian Mawhinney has to say about BBC bias here, here and here


      • hippiepooter says:

        Con’t/… Jonathan Isaby and Tim Montgomerie at ConservativeHome accounting for the ascension at the BBC of Tina Stowell last year here


        Peter McCann worked on The Cook Report, Top Gear and Watchdog, hardly the hotbeds of BBC subversion we go on about.


        As for Patrick Mercer and Chris Grayling, I can’t find any comments from them complaining of BBC bias.  Can you find any of them defending the BBC’s impartiality?


        Oh, and Robin Aitken, you forgot to mention this prominent ex-BBC Tory


  7. Martin says:

    If the BBC does monitor political balance across the BBC network I’d expect to see some form of monitoring by the BBC. For example every month editors or show producers would be expected to fill in a return form giving a list of guests and their political bias, stories covered and general airtime given to political stories.

    I’d expect all this data to be fed to a central reporting system where senior managers could ensure that no particular part of the BBC is being more pro left say than the norm, this would help to ensure that no individual at the BBC is able to influence political output without senior management being aware.

    This could then be cross referenced to audience feedback.

    Anyone want to bet the BBC can’t provie it does something along those lines?


  8. B J says:

    In BBC radio news during election periods, producers are required to fill out spreadsheets detailing how many clips of politicians from different parties etc are played on air. My guess is there’s a similar system in other departments. 

    But why would cross-referencing it to audience feedback be any use? Audience feedback is entirely self-selecting, and therefore not a representation of people’s views at large. Maybe the BBC should commission proper opinion polls?


    • John Anderson says:

      Have you read Craig’s summaries – FAR more coverage of Labour than the Tories,  LibDem coverage was running close to Tory coverage even before the Clegg surge.

      And more pointedly – Craig keeps tallies of INTERRUPTIONS – and the tallies we have seen here show that leftie politicians usually get a far easier relatively uninterrupted time than Tories.  Craig’s interruption quotient relates length of interview to numbers of interruptions – and looks very telling.

      Anyone who really claims that the BBC is “balanced” must be blind and have a tin ear.


    • John Anderson says:

      If simply keeping a tally of numbers of clips per party is all the BBC does,  no wonder there is no proper monitoring for bias.

      I come at this from a background of voting Labour, SocDem and Tory.  I am convinced there is bias – far more than at any time I have known the BBC.

      And when you couple bias with sheer ignorance – as in the BBC’s lamentable science coverage especially its mania for all things global-warming,  you have an out fit that really screams out for far tighter editorial control.


      • hippiepooter says:

        When I was a Tribunite member of the Labour Party in 79-80, I thought the only real bias at the BBC was towards the left.  It’s now endemic.  When the BBC dictate the terms of debate to such an extent that it railroads the Conservative Party in adopting cultural Marxim to minimise bias against it, BBC bias poses a serious threat to British democracy.

        UKIP doesn’t cringe before BBC bias.  I’m against its policy of unilateral withdrawal from the EU, but for the sake of British democracy I hope it gets as big a share of the vote as possible in this election.  Cameron is going to continue dancing to the BBC Correctnick tune in coalition or with a majority.  I think its best we have a hung Parliament that triggers and early election to give enough time for Real Conservatives in his Party to put a rocket up his behind to lead Real Conservatives against Real Labour and Lib Dems and take no prisoners in demanding the removal of the huge tranche of people in BBC News & Current Affairs who are just completely unfit to work there.  That would mean ‘bye, bye Jeremy, bye, bye James, bye, bye John’.


    • Martin says:

      So presumably these spreadsheets are freely available or available under an FOI?

      My point about audience cross feeds is that if published this data could be used to show that the BBC did for example give UKIP as much coverage as say the Green Party.


    • hippiepooter says:

      Yes BJ, wouldn’t a breakdown of figures for complaints to the BBC for bias be very embarrasing for you.  Why, if they were kept and published, there’s no telling what those opinion polls might show on what they think of BBC bias.  Best not go there, eh?


  9. DJ says:

    I guess we’ve managed to find the only area where the BBC doesn’t spend its time agonising about The Diversity!


  10. hippiepooter says:

    A few Contributions back, it was noted that while covering allegations of Goldman Sachs corruption, the BBC didn’t make any references to the close relationship between Gordon Brown’s Government and Goldman Sachs, that among other things led to Brown selling British gold at a ridiculously low level that nevertheless benefitted Goldman Sachs.  Brown’s chief enconomy adviser was Goldman Sachs’ Gavyn Davies.  Having just re-read Robin Aitken’s piece in the London Standard, it reminded me that Gavyn Davies was appointed BBC Chairman, while Greg Dyke was BBC DG:

    “Dyke, a Labour Party donor and member along with BBC chairman Gavyn Davies, mumbled a muddled reply. As he left the meeting, I overheard him demand angrily of his PA: “Who was that f****r?””


  11. Framer says:

    Any Questions from Camden on Friday was unbelievable, not just the deceits of Jack Straw, the avoidance of reality by the Tory and the slobbering woman from Mumsnet but the hysterical screeching of the audience in support of any vaguely pc statement



  12. Lloyd says:

    I’ve had a look at the profiles of most in this section and it would seem that the “declaration of personal and family interests section” is incomplete for the overwhelming majority. Perhaps they’ve been advised that it’s optional?


    • Guest Who says:

      One presumes it is there for a reason and was either introduced to full senior staff acclaim… or fought tooth and nail.

      Either way, it exists.

      Yet for some reason some are either coy about providing the information or the munchkins who ‘do’ are tardy in uploading it.

      Can’t think why. It’s not like BBC enhanced narrative editorial practices couldn’t make them all seem politically neutral, business-interest untainted, nepotism-uncompromised saints.

      Well, until a counter chart gets published showing BBC truth and accuracy is a little more unique than others.

      But first it would be nice to see what they think about themselves.

      For a laugh.


  13. Martin says:

    I noticed that the BBC were bigging up this story about some ‘supposed’ Tory split on education.

    Looks like the drugged up rent boys abusing scum at the BBC are DESPERATE to try to get the story off the failing one eyed idiot.


  14. Martin says:

    BBC now bigging up the “Cameron heckled” story. Funny they totally ignored one eye getting heckled a few days ago.

    Same with how the BBC ignored one eye getting heckled after the first TV debate but bigged up Cameron getting it.


  15. George R says:

    -Looks like some more anti-Tory political positioning on BBC ‘Newsnight’ tonight:

    “In his interview with Jeremy Paxman on Friday, David Cameron indicated that the north-east of England and Northern Ireland may face a public sector squeeze under the Tories.
    David Grossman has been despatched to Belfast where William Hague is visiting today.”

     No mention of any ‘Newsnight’ critique of Labour/Lib Dems.


  16. George R says:

    “CCHQ fury at BBC ‘Today’ programme’s reporting of  Tory schools policy”

    [-includes excellent photomontage]-


  17. Martin says:

    I wonder what ‘tricks’ the BBC have planned to try to trip Cameron up on the next debate?

    Bad photo angles for Cameron? Badgering by Bimblebore? Getting a leftie audience to heckle?


    • Lloyd says:

      A similar thought crossed my mind – dodgey camera angles, poor lighting, differing levels on the mic’ (a 5live favourite that one). But i’m just being paranoid – aren’t I?


      • Martin says:

        No the BBC will try something on for sure, ITV and Sky were down the middle on the debates, the BBC just won’t be able to resist doing something to Cameron.

        I think Bummerbore hectoring Cameron and giving the one eyed coward a free ride sounds favourite along with bad camera angles.


  18. Martin says:

    Oh and why is the BBC ignoring the issue that YET another Liebour candidate has had to stand down? Guido is all over this story, but the BBC?


    • David Preiser (USA) says:

      No mention of this at all for the last six hours on the News Channel.  But three times now I’ve seen the story about people getting chemical burns from sachets in leather sofas.


      • Guest Who says:

        No mention of this at all for the last six hours on the News Channel.

        Maybe, like headlines, ‘it wouldn’t fit’… if only with ‘the narrative’?

        They can pick ’em, eh? (Labout, that is. The BBC seems adept at not doing so in its ever more selective edit suite)