The BBC presents a fairly unsophisticated picture of this country’s economic state and the debate surrounding it. It allows them of course to control the debate and what is said more easily….at a basic level it can invite on speakers who it knows may not be very good at getting their views across (probably a Tory)…or someone who is rather good at ‘soundbite’ debating (usually a Labour person).
AA Gill in The Sunday Times a few weeks back said this about the BBC’s TV approach to debate (and I think it is a fair comment on the Today programme):
‘[This raises] a bigger question about how we treat politics and current affairs on television. It is almost always confrontational and rabidly partisan, a four-minute, invigilated slanging match that is intellectually bankrupt and obtuse. Television’s way of exploring issues is always more about the desire for lively television than illuminating arguments. The cast list of pugilists, hack and thwarted politicians who will turn up at any studio, anywhere, in the early evening has become the constitutional version of Mexican wrestling: shouty and phoney. Question Time, in particular, needs to be seriously reimagined. None of this is about involving the viewers in political debate or thought. It’s thuggish and dispiriting and adds to the general disgust with the whole political caste.’
Even the grand Paxman himself agrees the BBC has dumbed down:
We all remember Paxman telling us all about it in 2007:
“In this press of events there often isn’t time to get out and find things out: you rely upon second-hand information-quotes from powerful vested interests, assessments from organisations which do the work we don’t have time for, even, god help us, press releases from public relations agencies. The consequence is that what follows isn’t analysis. It’s simply comment, because analysis takes time, and comment is free.”
The biggest and most important debate right now is whether the Coalition is making ‘savage’ cuts that are bringing the economy to a grinding halt and whether Labour’s plan to spend more are the only way forward….in other words does ‘Austerity’ work….This suggests it does…but you won’t hear it on the BBC.
Which is why the most important questions are just how much is the Coalition cutting and how much are they borrowing? This is the heart of the matter…the crucial difference between Balls and Osborne, but….
…they are two questions that the BBC singularly fails to ask never mind answer. To do so would cut the rug from under Balls completely when the Public realise debt is rising now even with ‘cuts’…so imagine how much bigger the debts burden would be under Labour’s profligate ways.
John Redwood, Tory MP, has been consistently trying to get his point across that there are no real cuts in government overall spending at the moment….the NHS for example is having more money spent on it…but that money is being reallocated within the NHS…so some sectors are losing money others are gaining..but overall the NHS spend is going up.
The fact is debt is going up, just at a slower rate.
Look at this from the Spectator’s Fraser Nelson who talks about how the truth is being hidden (and Osborne gets some of the blame himself to be fair)
‘Like Brown, Osborne’s reaction to economic trouble is to borrow more. He may well be right to do so, but he ought to be honest about it. This matters, because it’s not his money. Every penny of money his government borrows has to be repaid by ordinary people.’
He goes on to suggest we are being badly served by the BBC who fail to make the debate understandable and wide ranging enough:
‘Osborne ought to be shocked at the opinion polls showing that only about a tenth of the public understand that he’s massively increasing the debt, and that most people think he’s reducing it.’
‘The BBC ought to be the custodians of this, with its role as a public service broadcaster. But the BBC has adopted a Balls-lite narrative of harsh, radical cuts – and won’t back down from it.’
In the comments ‘#88′ links us to this which reveals the effect on manufacturing employment that Labour’s massive Public Sector ‘national service’ scheme had:
‘The Keynes vs Hayek debate is at its sharpest on the issue of employment. Can government create jobs (as Balls says)? Or does large public sector employment simply displace economic activity that would happen elsewhere (as Osborne says)? A fascinating study has been released today by the Spatial Economics Research Centre at the LSE showing the damage done by public sector employment to the real economy. Drawing on a huge amount of local-level data over an eight-year period, it’s a serious piece of research that is worth looking into and deserves to impact our economic debate.
1. First, what is seen. In the short term, hiring someone to work for the government means another worker, who in turn spends. As the report puts it, ‘additional jobs may be generated as a result of increased demand for locally produced goods and services’. That is what is seen. In the short term — 2003-07 is the time period looked at — the study finds that for every 100 extra public sector jobs you get 50 additional jobs in the service and construction industries.
2. Next, what is unseen. Namely, the effect on other industries. For every 100 extra public sector jobs, the study finds 40 fewer jobs in manufacturing, because local businesses find it harder to hire people. This essentially cancels out the benefit in the service industry. As the study says, ‘Public sector employment has little effect on total private sector employment in the short run’. Over that four year period, expanding the public sector didn’t crowd out the private sector, but it didn’t help it grow either.
3. In the long-term, the public sector crowds out the private sector. Crucially, over a longer period (1999-2007) the study finds that enlarging the public sector causes even greater pain to manufacturing with no gain in the services industry. In fact, adding 100 extra public sector jobs leads to 100 fewer private sector ones, and leaves the overall employment level unchanged.
What the study does not say, but is blindingly obvious, is that manufacturing jobs are a whole lot more beneficial to the economy than public sector pen-pushers. So the net effect of all this is to make government bigger, but everyone poorer.’
If the BBC are not discussing this study that Nelson has summed up for you above then you have to seriously question the BBC’s professionalism and impartiality and its ability to inform and educate the public about the most serious and important issues in the public domain.