Question Time LiveBlog 31th March 2011

Question Time tonight comes from London.

At the time of writing this (approx 7pm) confirmed panelists according to the BBC Question Time website are Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, Sarah Teather MP, Diane Abbott MP and the regularly tedious Clive Anderson. It’s unclear whether an extra panelist is yet  to be confirmed, whether Abbott is vast enough to count as two people, or whether she’s already eaten the unlucky 5th chair z-list celeb.

Perhaps Abbott and Teather are supposed to average out?

UPDATE: Thanks to the ever-alert Clameur de Haro for updating us that mouth-breathing trade union parasite Mark Serwotka will be on the panel too. *sigh*

The LiveBlog will also cover the insane This Week, with Andrew Neil, Michael Portillo, a random lefty politician and an unbranded 6-pack of hangers-on.

Your cheerful brace of Moderators; TheEye and David Mosque, will be looking menacing here from 10:30pm.


Hi all. As you may know, I am standing for election to the Northern Ireland Assembly in the May 5th poll and pressures mean I must step away from this site for most of the next month or so.  I hope the other writers can keep you provided with copy whilst I am away. I will return.


BBC Greenies love farting cow stories. And when their favourite fart-gas – methane – is the subject of a government report that could lead to new emissions laws, they are clearly in their seventh, miasmic, heaven. It defies belief that a time when we are supposedly making record cuts, DEFRA spends countless and undisclosed oodles of our dosh in working out the relationship of feedstuff to gas (though this story also indicates that DEFRA has at best a very tenuous grasp on sanity). Especially as other research showed as long ago as 2008 that despite the frantic greenie alarmism, methane emissions have stablised. Never let the fug of a marsh gas fog get in the way of a good BBC scare.


Zadie Smith, the author, said the Coalition Government's policies on libraries, were
I see that Zadie Smith has caused a bit of a furore except to the BBC who see it all as fair and balanced; 
“Her comments, broadcast during the Today Programme on Radio 4, were an impassioned defence of libraries and “shared institutions” in Britain. 

The BBC has been criticised, however, for inviting Ms Smith to broadcast her comments without any interruptions or questions and for allowing the five minute piece to turn into a “party political broadcast”. After telling listeners about growing up with a love for Kensal Rise library in north west London, which is  earmarked for closure, Ms Smith rounded on the coalition Government’s “shameful” policies.”

It’s the rancid BBC which is shameful.


I was amused at faux BBC anger at the news that Luvvies are to be denied sticking their noses in the public trough to quite the extent has been the case in the past decade or more. I’m figuring that interpretative dance and endless plays endorsing left-wing hysteria is just one luxury we will have to go without…

BBC Correspondent Bridgette Kendall Tells A Little White Lie on the News

I just now saw BBC diplomatic correspondent Bridgette Kendall on the News Channel telling a lie to Sophie Long. It’s either a lie or a display of inexcusable ignorance. While discussing the very real concerns in nearly all corners about the legal and practical ramifications of arming the rebels in Libya, Kendall said that some people were wondering if it we could trust them.

“Some people in The States are saying” that they have links to Al Qaeda. No, BBC, it’s not just some people in the US. The leader of the rebel forces himself says so:

Libyan rebel commander admits his fighters have al-Qaeda links

Abdel-Hakim al-Hasidi, the Libyan rebel leader, has said jihadists who fought against allied troops in Iraq are on the front lines of the battle against Muammar Gaddafi’s regime.

In an interview with the Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore, Mr al-Hasidi admitted that he had recruited “around 25” men from the Derna area in eastern Libya to fight against coalition troops in Iraq. Some of them, he said, are “today are on the front lines in Adjabiya”.

Mr al-Hasidi insisted his fighters “are patriots and good Muslims, not terrorists,” but added that the “members of al-Qaeda are also good Muslims and are fighting against the invader”.

There is no doubt that there are Al Qaeda connections with the rebels in Libya. By suggesting that it’s only a concern put out by some people in the US, Kendall is either saying this man lied, the Italian newspaper created a false story and the Telegraph reproduced the fraud, or that she is simply unaware of this revelation. It also suggests a dismissive attitude towards certain factions in the US. Either way, it’s very poor behavior for a BBC correspondent, and indicative of a misguided attitude towards the realities of the Muslim world. It’s a pity, because the rest of her contribution was pretty straightforward stuff, clearly laying out the basic issues being discussed by the various politicians and advisers involved.

How can the BBC be trusted if the expert correspondent they bring out to explain things to you either doesn’t know the facts, or does know them and tells a fib to play down the truth? This is one of the most important international issues going right now, both for Britain and for the US, not to mention the rest of Europe and at least a dozen Muslim countries. Yet the BBC cannot tell the truth, or simply isn’t aware of it.

Your license fee hard at work.


Even I blinked with disbelief when I saw this. Thousands of dogs, cats, and millions of people pass from the UK and Europe and back each year; with them travel lots of unwanted insect life. Now, intrepid researchers at Bristol university have found that surprise, surprise, five (yes five) examples of a European tick have been found on a sample of 3,500 British dogs. My first reaction as an ex-reporter is to ask who the hell sanctioned such a lunatic waste of money. Not so Victoria Gill of the BBC. Instead, it’s a major new front in the climate change alarmism. She accepts without question the hooey from these nutty, priofligate academics that this is proof that the said ticks are spreading because it’s getting hotter. Their models say so, she faithfully reports.

Dogs retrieve sticks; BBC reporters pursue AGW tick stories with the same puppy-dog faithfulness and alacrity.


A survey conducted among 24,000 schoolkids by the BBC (clearly the frenzied cuts message has not yet got through the thick skulls of those at the corporation who so liberally spend out money) has found that 49% of them rate climate change as the second biggest threat facing humanity. Confirmation for the boys and girls at the BBC, if it were needed, that their daily alarmism is working a treat – Hitler was not alone in targetting youth.

If that’s not enough, there’s another nice scarefest wheeze afoot – the BBC’s very own climate change game. I kid you not. They’ve spent God knows how much of our money devising it, and this is how it is introduced:

Why make a game about climate change?

Currently there is a growing consensus amongst climate researchers that Earth’s climate is changing in response to manmade greenhouse gas emissions. The main debate amongst scientists is focussed on the amount of climate change we can expect, not whether it will happen. With the current level of debate in mind, the BBC decided a game might be a good introductory route into climate change and some of the issues this creates for governments around the world.

The producers’ primary goal was to make a fun, challenging game. At times it was necessary to strike a compromise between strict scientific accuracy and playability. For this reason, Climate Challenge should not be taken as a serious climate change prediction.

It goes on – seriously folks! – using such liberal dollops of cod science, vapid generalisation and crass misinformation. And it also betrays the BBC mindset in all this. They are actually playing a huge propaganda game with us in which they treat us all like morons. The most vulnerable and impressionable in our society – our kids – are the victims of this horrendous, vicious scam. How many of them lie awake in their beds worrying at night because of BBC climate lies?

Shame on every man jack of them.

How To Make A Half-Arsed BBC Documentary

As part of its ‘Inside BBC Journalism’ series the BBC College of Journalism has made a short film with documentary maker Martin Small to explain the role of a documentary producer. He talks a bit about the technical side of things, about creating a storyline and turning “a journalistic story into a dramatic story” through “all kinds of dramatic devices” (I think we know what he means there – e.g. the playing of scary-sounding music to signpost bad things such as climate sceptics or an Israeli flag.)

The college’s website also provides a transcript [pdf] of its interview with Small, and it’s amusing to note that his final piece of advice didn’t make the film:

It is only television, and somebody once said to me: ‘If a bus driver fails to turn up to work one morning it’s really, really inconvenient, and bad news for the people standing at the bus stop. They may get very wet; they may get very cold; they may turn up to work late; they may get in trouble with their bosses. But if you make a television programme which isn’t perfect, never mind, there’s one on after you.

Evidently someone at the BBC College thought that particular insight was better left on the cutting room floor.


I have not until now commented on the BBC’s coverage of Fukushima. The reason is that the safety of nuclear plants is a fearsomely complex subject, as I discovered many years ago when I covered for the BBC parts of the endless inquiry into the Windscale station. Even the experts were bamboozled by the evidence and obfuscation that went on.

But it’s becoming pretty clear now that, short of highly unusual new developments, what is happening at Fukushima falls far short of nuclear catastrophe. Far more important in human terms is the immense suffering that the Japanese are enduring in consequence of the tsunami itself. They have lost their homes during a bitterly cold winter and thousands are being forced to take shelter wherever they can, including in the compounds of nuclear power stations. And ironically, one of the biggest hardships they face is lack of power.

But nothing will stop the BBC in its greenie crusade. For the newsroom, Fukushima continues mostly to be an opportunity for full-scale anti-nuclear propaganda. Never mind the suffering, let’s focus on Armageddon. Yesterday, for example, Chris Hogg excitedly led a scarefest report with the news that radiation levels off the Japanese coast are at 1,250 times safety limits. Shock, horror, hold the front page, let’s evacuate everyone. Mr Hogg then goes on to amplify his alarmism by larding the piece with words like “unpredictable” and news of people being taken to hospital. The tone is undisguised hatred of nuclear power.

The place for such garbage should be the spike. Here, Anthony Watts explains why. First the radiation levels involved are well within safety limits, second, a nuclear plant that is 40 years hold has survived being battered at a level higher than it was ever predicted, and third the real story of Fukushima is the humanitarian distress.

To be fair, some at the BBC are not happy with this flagrant alarmism. The fragrant Fiona Fox of the alarmist Science Media Centre here warns on the BBC College of Journalism site that much of the reporting of Fukushima has been overblown. But as Ms Fox is a partner-in-crime for most of the green frenzy at the BBC, it’s definitely a pot/kettle/black lament.


As David Vance notes below, Nicky Campbell is continuing the BBC pro-riot love-in today. Here (scroll down to find the dedicated comment piece), Peter Hitchens explains how the anti-cuts frenzy party began on Friday night and continued at fever pitch through the Today programme with BBC “presenters” excitedly looking forward to the action ahead. Says Peter:

The atmosphere of much of its coverage was what might have been found in a Left-wing London household as Granny got out her old Aldermaston marching shoes, the head of the household dusted off his anti-Thatcher placards and the children dressed excitedly for their first demo.

Shame the BBC could not find room for a reality check like this, which puts the feeble Cleggeron cuts into their true, left-wing perspective.