‘Flandering  V [flarn-der-in’]’:    Floundering whilst flimflamming on Labour’s behalf.


Fun day yesterday listening to the BBC old guard forming a ragged thin red line around Labour’s battered and discredited leadership just as Labour’s very own Old Guard are doing the BBC’s job and holding Labour to account.

Yesterday as mentioned in an earlier post the Mirror’s Brian Reade launched an attack on Labour’s record on the economy and now, today, Lord Mandelson surfaces to torpedo Balls and Milband…he says their approach to the economy is based purely upon party politics rather than any genuine attempt to fix the economy….”It is rather predictable party political stuff from over the dispatch box and it is a bit tiring to the public,”…….‘The former business secretary said arguments about the depth and speed of cuts were outdated and Labour should focus on how to rebuild the economy’.

The Telegraph reporting he said:  “I can’t quite remember which member of the government it was who claimed to have abolished boom and bust. Well, we abolished boom,”


Flanders, indeed the BBC as a whole, has always swallowed the Balls approach without any attempt to challenge it in any meaningful way.  They were happy to take the easy option because it reflected their own beliefs.

Here Flanders, after years of cheerleading for Plan B, finally admitted that it was pretty much baloney…short term popularism that solved nothing except to make people feel good…for a short time…..she is saying pretty much what Mandelson has now said:

‘Why do we spend so little time talking about what really matters?….if you ask business leaders, or most economists, which government decisions taken over the next few years will have the biggest long-term impact on our economic future, I’m not sure that Plan A versus Plan B would even make it to the top three.

Far more important, to them, would be the kind of long-term strategic choices highlighted in the LSE’s report.’


Perhaps in light of what must be a heavyweight battering from Mandelson on Labour’s credibility the BBC must at least be making serious demands that Labour start putting some meat on the bones of their claimed policies…and ask how much they will cost…and where the money is going to come from…two questions Balls has evaded for nearly 3 years… and not only ask the question…but get an answer.


What the BBC are prepared to do is to rip into Coaliton policies…such as the Budget.  No stone is left unturned in their search for something bad to say about it and the economy….as the Mail notices:

‘In a masterclass of uncritical journalism, the BBC gleefully gave the shadow chancellor a platform yesterday to recite why Mr Osborne’s austerity programme was not working.’


Nick Robinson, who seems to have lost his detachment and independent mindset since joining the BBC, seems delighted to keep using the word ‘omni-shambles’ (0805) to describe anything to do with Coalition economic policies whilst detailing just how terrible the economy is….. ‘In  the big economic picture ‘shambles’ is a good description of it…the chancellor would be in despair…the overall economic picture is pretty gruesome.’

Absolutely no recognition of  where the blame lies for such a heavy burden of debt…context really is everything here.

Flanders tried her best but came up against a hard truth that she had to admit…Osborne’s Budget was ‘all about encouraging the private sector to expand’….or put another way…for business to grow. So Osborne has a policy for ‘growth’.  Flanders now admits it.  One to remember.


Flanders has long advocated building houses as a way of stimulating the economy ala 1930’s which holds some ‘useful lessons for today’:

‘The last time our economy suffered so badly was during the Great Depression of the 1930s. One of the things credited for turning around the1930s slump was a boom in house building. This hasn’t escaped the notice of some commentators including the BBC’s Stephanie Flanders.’….

and  ‘the BBC’s Stephanie Flanders recently highlighted how house building  is the very industry that could take us out of recession.’

However whilst she admitted that the 1930’s housing boom was funded by private money she thinks such a policy could work equally well funded by government borrowings…and apparently there were no down sides to this policy or none that she cared to mention.

Osborne in his Budget has put in place an enormous incentive for the housing market to get building.

People from the housing sector said that the measures would have ‘significant and profound effects’ no less on the housing market and provide a boost for the economy.

Osborne has done essentially what Flanders was urging…and with government money.


But is the BBC happy?

They went straight onto the attack…immediately questioning the basis of such a policy which might create another housing bubble which was what originally landed us in the crisis we are in now.

That’s all true enough and the potential is there…but the BBC didn’t qualify their previous comments about housing being the solution when they were saying building homes was the way to recover from the recession….and now they don’t highlight those supposed benefits that were previously ‘so obvious’.


Once again the BBC take the negative view of any policy even if it means performing a volte face and radically altering their position.

An embarrassment for Flanders is that Tony Livesey, standing in for Victoria Derbyshire, has done a far better job of reporting an economic story than she has ever done…and he is not a BBC ‘economics expert’.

Yesterday he presented a programme investigating ‘Reshoring’, the bringing back of jobs, services and manufacturing to the UK…up to 40% of British manufacturers are doing this.

Livesey made a refreshing change being rigorous, even handed and looking indepth at the subject giving us a wide ranging analysis without any preconceived dogmas or party political points to make.


Worth a listen if only to see that the BBC can give us interesting, informative and impartial programmes….it is possible……

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27 Responses to FLANDERING

  1. Guest Who says:

    ‘Nick Robinson, who seems to have lost his detachment and independent mindset since joining the BBC, seems delighted to keep using the word ‘omni-shambles’
    Still? I recall a series of blogs and tweets where he seemed addicted to the word once before, but had thought he had moved on when it was pretty clear using Labour attack points lifted from BBC satirical shows was perhaps a bit obvious.
    Still, school hols beckon, so doubtless we’ll be again spared his and Ms. Flanders’ insights for a month or so.


    • Demon says:

      School Hols didn’t prevent him making stupid comments before if I remember correctly. One that he had to retract as best he could once he was back in the office.


      • Guest Who says:

        Apols. You are perfectly correct.
        There was the one where he had to add an update to explain how his ‘analysis’ was possible when he’d admitted he hadn’t actually read what he was commenting on and he was getting slammed in the comments.
        The BBC I believe subsequently claimed this showed he was a true professional, working even when he didn’t have to (in support, again, of Mr. Balls), and had a unique insight mere facts could not improve.


    • JohnM says:

      It wasn’t only ‘our Nick’ who used ‘Omni-shambles’. I heard it used on two occasions in the News Bulliten


  2. TracyJane says:

    The other probelm that Stephanie Flanders had this week was that whilst many new organisation responded to what was happening in Cyprus on Saturday it took the flounderer until Tuesday!

    I guess she was wondering for three days how to spin it in favour of her own pro-Euro views….


  3. Rufus McDufus says:

    Flanders swallows Balls. Like it!


  4. PhilO'TheWisp says:

    The BBC is always convinced it is in the right because it only consults itself. Look at the Budget coverage this week. BBC’s Huw Edwards hosting and BBC’s Flanders, Robinson and Peston round the table toeing the editorial line. Just like an Islington dinner party no doubt. No balance, no meaningful comment.


  5. thoughtful says:

    “Absolutely no recognition of where the blame lies for such a heavy burden of debt…context really is everything here.”

    And it seems that there’s none on these pages either. If we’re going to criticise the BBC then it’s vital that we don’t slip into doing the same thing in the opposite direction.

    As far as I’m concerned the blame doesn’t lie with Labour – well some of it does, but not the vast majority. The banking crisis certainly cost the UK an enormous amount of money, Brown bought banks shares which have value, even though they have a considerable value they are counted as being worthless when calculating the national debt.

    But why did the banks collapse? Well for that we have to look across the pond to the USA and the Community Reinvestment Act which forced banks to lend to poor blacks & Hispanics suspending normal banking practices – thus sub prime was born.

    This act was introduced by Jimmy Carter, and given teeth by Bill Clinton if the banks failed to lend then they could be prosecuted, one of the lawyers acting against them? Barak Obama!

    Greedy bankers? Well the bankers were buying ‘collateralised debt obligations’ which were rated by the credit reference agencies as AAA risk, they are now being prosecuted by the US government for getting it so wrong.

    The blame here lies firmly with the US Democratic party although slippery politicians blame dodge constantly which is the reason I think they should be called blame dodgers, after all politicians have ‘policies’!


    • Old Timer says:

      I have mentioned this story a number of times in comments and particularly the link to the Great Obama but I have never heard it on the BBC. It is always bankers’ bonuses that caused the financial problem according to them.

      Personally I think the irresponsible lending forced upon the banks, that stated in America and was so valiantly followed by Permatan Tone and Grumpy Gordon, was the main contributory factor to irresponsible salaries and bonuses. When forced to be stupid by governments and knowing where it will end, what do you do? Help yourself whilst the going is good.

      Of course it will soon be illegal to say such things about our Great Leaders. Well, according to the 2:30 am Stitchers Up Club of Labour & the Hacked Off consortium of deviants.

      I feel very sorry for our children and grandchildren, they are brainwashed into believing the nonsense of “anti-austerity”, (financial responsibility) and of “government investment for growth” (borrow more money from the Chinese & print more cash). It will end in more tears than we can handle. We do not have to look far to see the end result of this terrible propaganda, look at Cyprus, Greece, Spain. And we and the USA could follow, our underlying economies are no better.


      • pah says:

        here we go again.

        IIRC it was China’s insistence that US banks paid them back for their dabbling in the Far Eastern market that triggered the collapse. They called in the loans early or just at the right moment depending on your point of view.

        China wouldn’t care one jot if the West went under. In fact it would prefer that scenario.

        The less we deal with China the safer our economy will be.


        • thoughtful says:

          Do you have some links to back this up Pah?


        • Old Timer says:

          You are right Thoughtful. T’were the Sub Prime what done it. Huge bundles of worthless mortgages being sold around the world to unsuspecting Middle and Far Eastern Finance companies. To start with Johnny Foreigner trusted the western banks who thought they had been very clever in moving the worthless debts on. Then the bubble burst and we all know the rest.

          Pah is also right of course the Chinese are our financial enemy. We are flooded with their cheaply manufactured products that we should be making ourselves. Our manufacturing and technical services are the only ones than can rescue our economy, not the retail sector that the BBC and Sky seem so concerned about. The more retail businesses that stop selling Chinese goods the better and if shops have to close so be it. We might then just wake up and start making the stuff ourselves. I don’t think we would perish overnight for the lack of an up to date Ipad or a new 52 inch TV.

          To start with if we insisted that we would not buy products from countries that only pay their workers peanuts and that give no benefits, we might just get the country moving again. But that would take courage and leadership and there ain’t much of that about nowadays. Not in the cosy Cotswolds nor in the whining noises coming from Birmingham today.


  6. Alex Feltham says:

    After 60% real terms increase in spending under Labour a child could have found the 20% savings needed to more than balance the budget.

    Never mind Brown’s Ball’s up, Osborne has failed his country.

    We need a Neville Chamberlain.

    As Chancellor in the 1930s he was a great success. He cut spending across the board by 10% and Britain went on to grow at over 6% in 1934.

    There’s a good analysis of this in: “Here’s to a 1930s Style Recession” at:



  7. chrisH says:

    Maybe we need a BBC/Labour dictionary and to count how often stock Labour phrases are being used on the BBC as if they`re real concepts.
    “Plan B”,” omnishambles”,” bedroom tax”…they `really can`t be allowed to focus only on whether Labour “says” or “claims” or “proposes something wonderful that only Labour could”.
    I`m sick of the BBCs perpetual “Labour sez” thread throughout all that they report by way of …er “analysis”, “comments” or “news”.
    Words count-ask Orwell!


    • thoughtful says:

      OK Chris you’re opposed to these words, but here’s a challenge what actually is the official title for the policy known as the bedroom tax? Then when you’ve found it tell us which is the easier to say & to remember.

      The Tories have only themselves to blame for this allowing the incompetent civil service to think up a title, you only need look to history to see what a mess public officials make when with circumlocutory verbalisation is given to Sir Humphrey.

      Poll Tax or Community charge?
      Video/VCR or Video Magnetoscope (French language protection!)

      There are hundreds of examples of titles dreamed up by officials which as just too unwieldy or downright verbose & stupid to be used in common parlance. Any idiot should know & realise this, and in many cases it won’t matter, but it’s not good enough to be complacent especially with cuts which will play into the oppositions hands.

      They deserve everything they get from the Bedroom tax for being taking their eyes off the ball.


      • chrisH says:

        Agree 100% thoughtful sir!
        This Government are serially incompetent and stupid-no question.
        They should have ensured a balanced BBC, not a perpetual foxhunt as summonsed up by the lefties allowed to stew there at our expense( and I include the likes of Patten here, it`s not just Labour..but they`ll be 70% at least!)
        And yet-I don`t recall any of this use of language with 10p tax, losing tax discs for the nation, ID cards, Home Information Packs, Walter Wolfgang and all the other evils that Labour did in those dreadful years.
        I happen to think that IDS, Gove are simply better people that the likes of Blunkett and Blair…Labour are dangerous and incompetent…full stop…the Tories aren`t about to enforce ID cards and have yet to concoct wars for electoral advantage!
        Give `em time though eh?,,,and not thirteen years this time, please God!


        • thoughtful says:

          The problem is the description Cameron gives himself, a progressive Conservative as much an oxymoron as a giant dwarf!
          It’s actually called a ‘single room subsidy’ which is even more inaccurate and misleading than the ‘bedroom tax’
          How can making someone pay for an extra bedroom be a subsidy?
          The ID card was a good idea until BLiar got hold of it and made it into some kind of authoritarian spy into peoples lives. When the technology exists to read thumb prints at deep level (impossible to fool) and it’s used for criminals, real with a simple portable device & no one forgets to carry them , we have to ask the question as to what on earth Liebour thought they were doing backing a card solution?

          Oh & BTW it’s Madam ! lol


          • chrisH says:

            My apologies Madam.
            Can`t agree re ID cards…we all know what the Government-any one, not just the last lot-will do when they get personal details and all that technology to play with.
            I see no defence for what Labour did…they had 13 years, and trashed the nation in a way unheard of-sheer malice, PC gestures and our money to featherbed it…until the banks that they deregulated screwed up…Labour left the cocaine around, and hoped their pals would “act responsibly”.
            Unforgivable-and unforgiven forever too!


            • thoughtful says:

              Everyday at our borders men (usually) are pretending to be travelling to the UK with their families, only to abandon them in the terminal where they then claim asylum. We can’t catch them because we have no ID system.
              Every day at our driving test centres people take a driving test on behalf of others who have paid them to do so. We can’t catch them because we have no reliable ID system.
              We have drivers being stopped claiming they are someone else and again they can’t be caught because there’s no ID.
              People turning up for treatment they are not entitled to at NHS hospitals, illegal immigrants, visa overstayers, foreign students working the list is endless, and they aren’t being caught because people won’t allow the government to identify them.
              It’s pointless complaining about such things if you’re not prepared to allow the government the tools to combat this crime.
              You clearly have a much higher opinion of the governments ability to use even low tech let alone high tech than I have! The only information they need to hold is a name, address, NI number, nationality, and criminal records. Enough to assist an officer to effect an arrest if necessary.


              • chrisH says:

                You`re right about all these stories-but I`m not complaining about them.
                If the State is that lazy and indifferent not to be able to check if someone is who they say(or otherwise), do you really think that they`d care more if all of us…law abiding, with no need to carry around any proof of who we are…had to be chipped and pinned to suit the likes of Jacqui Smith, Blunkett or Clarke?
                No madame, they already hold too much information on us, and will give it to any cartel or wheelclamping creep at the drop of a hat.
                If immigration can`t do their job, chances are that they`d only stop me or my family from getting back into the country.
                Don`t give the State any more power than it already has…


  8. DYKEVISIONS says:

    I think it is time to have a weekly game called ‘name the Labour plant’ on BB1 Question time and as always Radio 4
    Spot the difference: -http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01rgszs/Question_Time_21_03_2013/ at 15m 12s
    and the execrable Radio 4’s the ‘Now show’ the very next day!
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01r9wd3 at 16m 15 s
    Who comes up with this mirthful stuff? Your guess on a postcard please.


  9. DYKEVISIONS says:

    Apologies, this ‘stuff’ should have been put in the open thread which I will now do!


  10. Jeff Waters says:

    Can someone please explain to me why the BBC thinks that people with over 100,000 euros in Cypriot banks are ‘investors’ rather than ‘savers’ or ‘depositors’?

    They aren’t investors in any normal sense of the word!

    I guess calling them investors helps to legitimize the theft of their money, making it look more like an investment gone bad rather than theft…



    • Sir Arthur Strebe-Grebling says:

      Isn’t 100,000 Euros per saver the limit under the government-backed compensation scheme anyway? So what is happening in Cyprus could happen to any of us anywhere in Europe if a bank goes bust.
      In Britain the government prefers a subtler method to confiscate our savings: keep interest rates low and inflation high.


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