Electric Blues

Has the BBC been caught red-handed pumping out black propaganda against the government whilst promoting Labour policy?

Today was the day when Ed Miliband was to relaunch his energy price freeze policy….just a coincidence that a story broke today, exclusively on the leftwing BBC, that Cameron was supposedly also going to adopt that policy…the only thing was the story was a load of bollocks….in fact “complete b******s”  according to the Government.


The BBC this morning reported that:

The government is asking the Big Six energy companies to hold energy prices until the middle of 2015.


This was reported as fact.

The sources for this report were ‘energy companies and one of the Big Six’, all unnamed….and still unnamed….the story, the BBC says, ‘broke over night’.

So let’s get this right….several energy companies apparently got in touch with the BBC, and only the BBC, this is a BBC ‘exclusive’, a Scoop, in the middle of the night, and told the BBC that Cameron, who has spent the last few weeks castigating the Marxist Miliband for state interventionist plans, his ‘con’,  has suddenly decided to do exactly the same thing and freeze prices.

I’m buying that…sure I am.

Not only that but there appeared to be no government spokesman available at all to come onto the BBC for a very long time….on 5Live the only one we had was Peter Lilley…after 13:00….and Lilley said that in fact it was the energy companies that had come to the government and said they would hold down prices if the government axed some green levies….a completely different picture of events.


But at 07:10, death O’clock in the morning, The BBC had managed to get hold of Labour’s Caroline Flint and put her on the Today programme to talk about this:


The government is asking the ‘big six’ energy companies not to put up prices until the middle of 2015 – after the next general election. The shadow secretary of state for energy and climate change, Caroline Flint, speaks to the Today programme’s Sarah Montague.


Which the BBC followed up with a big splash:

Flint: Cameron ‘following Miliband’s lead’ on energy

“David Cameron is desperately now running around the energy companies asking them to impose a price freeze when he’s spent two months saying that the price freeze that Ed Miliband announced is a con.

“He has been too weak, too indecisive,” she continued.



Stitch up?  I think so.


So the question must be….Just when did the BBC first ask the government to confirm these stories?

It looks like the BBC  haven’t bothered to ask the government and went right ahead and reported this as fact without any confirmation…because the government vigorously denies they ever made any such request…and looking at the facts it seems hardly likely that they would.

The BBC are still reporting (at 16:00 today) it as ‘fact’ on their front page…despite having  a separate story of the government denial….and one story of Miliband claiming Cameron is following his policy, and another reporting Miliband’s policy.  Here is the main headline with the denial…..but still followed by the ‘complete bollocks‘ reported as fact:

Ministers deny energy bill bid

The government denies BBC reports it is seeking a commitment from energy companies to hold their prices down until 2015.


Ed Miliband: David Cameron pleading with energy companies

3 hours ago

Labour leader Ed Miliband says the prime minister has been “pleading with energy companies to get him off the hook”.


Government asks energy firms to hold prices


Energy bills: Ministers not seeking ‘price pledge’


All a bit of a shambles from the BBC.



But there’s more to this….not only had the BBC managed to get Flint onto the radio at 07:10 but they had rounded up Dale Vince, the boss of Ecotricity…..who not very long ago at all was quite open about his leanings:

Ecotricity boss Dale Vince backs Ed Miliband in energy company power struggle


Ecotricity founder Dale Vince today called for Ed Miliband to go further than thoughts of a price freeze and consider either renationalising the energy industry


He appeared on Wake Up To Money(05:49ish)….so a very fast move by the BBC to get him on early doors.

When asked about the alleged government’s proposal he said:

‘It does sound awfully similar to what Ed Miliband is proposing’.

Well, fancy that.  Of course it does….and that is why it was so unlikely to be true…and yet the BBC report it, unconfirmed by anyone, as fact.

Here is a further taste of Vince’s politics…..

The Big Six threatened blackouts if Ed Miliband tried to freeze prices (note ‘threatened‘…I thought ‘warned of’ more appropriate’)…I remember the 70’s when the blackouts were caused by the miners…and now we’ve privatised the energy industry it’s the bosses threatening blackouts.’

The presenter asks:  ‘Do we get stitched up by the Big Six?’  ( a leading question or what?  Vince isn’t exactly neutral here)

Vince replies :  ‘Oh yeah…for years…..since privatisation they’ve been running rings around the regulator and they get away with murder.’


OK…so the privatised energy firms are ripping us off….whilst the jolly little green midget is a ‘friend of the people’ providing energy at affordable prices?  Vince boasts he has fixed his prices until the end of winter as well.

100% Green Electricity, Britain's Greenest Gas, Great Customer Service, Cheaper than the Big Six*



Let’s compare Saint Vince and one of the evil Big Six:

Here is npower’s offer:

Fix your energy prices now until December 2017

You can switch tariff or supplier at any time, with no early exit fee.


So….just what benefit is Miliband’s price freeze when it is already happening?…and from 2013 not some time after the election….I don’t think I’ve ever heard the BBC mention these price fixes by the big companies…why not?


And what about that ‘rip off’…that ‘stitching up’ by the Big Six?

Well UK energy is one of the cheapest in Europe.

Here are Ecotricity’s prices compared to SSE’s:

Electricity……15.67 p/kwh        But SSE costs 13.08 p/kwh

Gas………………04.66 p/kwh        But SSE costs 04.36 p/kwh


Not only that but SSE’s standing charge is much cheaper if you pay by direct debit.

Don’t know about Vince’s arithmetic but I’d say SSE’s prices are cheaper.

So if the Big Six are stitching consumers up, ripping them off…..just what is Ecotricity doing as its prices are higher than SSE’s, one of the Big Six?

Why isn’t the BBC doing these checks on claims by Vince?  They don’t want the facts just as they didn’t check the false claims made by the owner of OVO Energy who was caught out twice making false claims but was given huge publicity by the BBC.


So let’s round this up…..the BBC reported a completely unconfirmed allegation as fact….they made no attempt to confirm it…but they did get in a lot of people who are on Labour’s side to talk about it at suspiciously short notice.

Miliband was relaunching his big ‘price freeze’ policy and it is just coincidental that the BBC was making claims that Cameron was now to adopt that very same policy on the same day?

The BBC are still reporting it as fact on the politics page…3 reports saying the government wants a freeze…and one denying it:

Note in this ‘breaking story’, ‘Energy bills: Green levy reform plan revealed there is no mention of the denial…but there is a video of Miliband smearing  Cameron…why is it on that page when it is irrelevant to the article?


Note also that the interviewer in the video asks if we should re-nationalise the energy industry?…this is a constant theme from the BBC…..Dominic Laurie is a particular exponent of this policy…he has history ranting about the evils of privatisation…and today continued that theme.

Laurie was talking about this alleged government policy….and brought on some callers….well, one or two…the first two were likely Miliband supporters…and both remarkably demanded nationalisation of the power companies….followed up by texts…also demanding nationalisation…with only one doubter.

Laurie told us this was a policy that was extremely popular with the Public…not sure how he knows.

Laurie also had on Labour MP Alan Whitehead who was allowed to speak practically uninterrupted…only stopping to be fed a question by Laurie that seemed purely designed to allow Whitehead to continue his hatchet job on the Tories…one example….

Laurie asks:  ‘Shouldn’t we wait until the energy companies come out on the record [regarding the alleged government attempt to freeze prices] before we call it a shambles?’

So…Laurie thinks it is all a shambles…and gave Whitehead the chance to ‘confirm’ that, as he would.

But hang on…this was after 12:00pm….so the BBC hadn’t yet had an ‘on the record’ report from the horse’s mouth that the government had asked them to freeze prices?

So why had the BBC been reporting this as an absolute fact?

It looks very much like the BBC has been deliberately putting out false information about the government not bothering to check a story that is highly damaging to the government whilst enormously helpful to Labour…and all on the day Labour were relaunching their own energy policy.


Caught red handed peddling pro-Labour black propaganda?  I think so.


Let’s have a look at some recent BBC history:

Paxman made utterly false and insulting allegations about David Cameron and the BBC has not made any apology.

The BBC gave Miliband a massive platform on Desert Island Discs to sell himself to the Public.

Then John Humphrys wrote an article for the Labour newspaper,  the Mirror, defending Miliband’s appearance on the show.

The BBC has been pretty uncritical of Miliband’s price freeze policy, in fact has been supportive of it whilst being extremely critical and negative towards Cameron’s cutting of the ‘green crap’.

The BBC has been party to the massed attacks on the energy companies…the most recent example being the reporting of the ‘excess winter deaths’ which was vastly exaggerated with the BBC not reporting all the facts allowing it to lay blame at the energy companies’ door…..high fuel prices causing the deaths apparently…along with slogans like ‘heating or eating‘ and then the latest..‘heating or healing’ where cancer victims were also suffering because of the high price of cancer treatment or so we were told by the BBC….but blamed on the energy companies.

And today we have the BBC printing ‘legend as fact’ which conveniently tied in with Labour’s narrative.


Taken together a cynic might suggest there is a thread which runs through all of the BBC’s actions….that of helping out the Labour Party, publicising and promoting its policies whilst burnishing Miliband’s image which every commentator agrees is unappealing to the voters.












I received this very well written and detailed example of BBC BIAS and wanted to share!

“I have done some research on today’s items on the BBC website concerning Iran and Syria, with results that you may find of interest. To cut to the final conclusion, the BBC is hiding from its readers essential information on the Iranian involvement in Syria on the side of the murderous Assad regime, reported amply by other MSM. This allows them to present the deal between the western powers and Iran as an unblemished positive development, rejected only by Israel. Iran is consequently whitewashed, Israel vilified as usual, and the persecuted Syrian people sacrificed to this simplified and distorted narrative.

Although I am Israeli and naturally worried about the rehabilitation of Iran, it seems to me that the true Czechoslovakia of this ‘peace in our time’ approach is in fact Syria, with BBC approval. I wonder if they even realize where their blinkered view of the Middle East has led them.

Here are the details: One BBC report on Syria fails to mention Iran at all.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-2512595 Another, discussing the proposed peace talks for Syria, mentions towards the end that the Syrian opposition powers object to the participation of Iran. Nothing is said as to why Iran is at all relevant in this context

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-24628442 Contrast this with the reports on Syria from other MSM, which do refer to Iran’s role, and of which I link two of many: France 24:


Bloomberg: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-11-27/iran-dips-into-nukes-bank-to-back-syria.html

To which may be added a leading blog, and a left-wing one at that, the Huffington Post:http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/robin-lustig/iran-nuclear-deal_b_4332506.html?utm_hp_ref=uk

As noted, the deal with Iran is treated by the BBC as an unrelated subject, opposed only by Israel. Even the opposition of Saudi Arabia goes unreported: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-25133824


It’s interesting how the BBC itself is actually seeking to be the Opposition to the Coalition..

The government has denied BBC reports it is seeking a commitment from energy firms to hold their prices down until 2015.

The companies told BBC News ministers had asked them to keep bills on hold so long as there is no significant move in global wholesale energy prices.

Government sources deny this, and say they are focusing instead on boosting competition and reducing green levies to cut annual bills by about £50.

The BBC has decided that Miliband’s stunningly cynical and undeliverable policy to “freeze” energy prices for 18months is beyond serious critique as you would have concluded had you heard the easy trot afforded Caroline Flint on Today this morning.



An all attack on the energy companies is in progress….the BBC, rather than standing back from the fray and giving us impartial news and information, is more than happy to land a few punches of its own.

We had ‘green’ companies complaining about their state subsidised profiteering being taken away from them…and linking it to yesterday’s scare stories about winter deaths….much exaggerated as shown in a previous post.

The company spokesman telling us that 50% of deaths were due to high fuel bills.

The BBC didn’t challenge that.

The BBC itself was questioning the profits made by the energy companies…and then this interview with Tim Yeo, the reinstated chairman of the Energy and Climate Change Committee.


Once again it ‘tackled’ the subject of Cameron cutting the ‘green crap’…with Yeo demanding no cuts be made…or else the poor will suffer.

As the not so very poor Yeo has many vested interests in green companies every time he or his committee promotes global warming or programmes to deal with it there is the potential that it puts money in Yeo’s pocket.

Conflict of interest?  I can imagine any member of the Public would say so.

Yeo also states that there are no costs put onto the national grid system due to renewable energy infrastructure development….that’s just wrong….there are massive costs associated with connecting up wind farms to the Grid.


The interview seemed scripted…designed just to tick off and tidy up ‘myths and misconceptions’ about green politics and those involved in it….the final segment just confirmed suspicions.

Winifred Robinson asked Yeo about those apparent conflicts of interest…this is a subject that the BBC has avoided for a long time…and it is a separate question to that which was being asked by the Standards Committee in reference to the Sunday Times report.

Yeo claimed that if you read the report  , and he invites you to read it from cover to cover, you will find it cleared him of all charges…‘you will find I have behaved properly in every possible respect’.

Yeo’s reply was highly misleading….because the Committee didn’t examine the potential conflict of interest generally, just in regard to a specific case, and in fact they suggested that they will investigate further such possibilities….and Robinson didn’t challenge his reply ending the interview there.


Yeo was allowed to slip out of that one almost as if it was designed that way.


Here are some extracts from the report to help you decide if the Committee cleared Yeo of having a conflict of interest as he claimed, by being chairman of a climate change committee advising government policy whilst also have large financial stakes in green companies…..


 The committee concluded that Yeo had not breached the rules of the House, stating that “Mr Yeo made no improper commitments, despite the tone of the Sunday Times articles, and the energetic attempts of the journalists concerned to draw him into doing so”.

However, the committee confirmed it was now ready to move forward with a consideration of concerns raised by Speaker John Bercow that there might be “an inherent incompatibility between chairing a Select Committee and having commercial interests, even though fully transparently registered, in the sector covered by that committee”.

The Parliamentary Commissioner who investigated the allegations against Yeo said: “I have not found Mr Yeo to be in breach of the rules of the House but nevertheless have concerns about the external perception of the relationship between a Member’s outside employment and interests and his work for the House,” she wrote.


This is from the report itself:

His comment that he told the director what to say in his evidence and linked to this is his comment that “What I do in private is another matter”. Taken together and at face value they could give the impression of a senior member of the House who has little regard for the rules and can easily find his way round them in order to suit his own purposes. This of course is the perception which is conveyed by the Sunday Times and strongly denied by Mr Yeo.

While the House takes a very reasonable position that a Member’s knowledge and interests may well enhance his or her ability to contribute to the work of the House and in particular to some of the specialist committees, there is equally a reasonable concern that that Member is then placed in a privileged position which he or she may be able to exploit for their own interests with few checks and balances to control this.

...A privileged position…to exploit for their own interests….????

Guess Yeo will be in the news again…maybe not the BBC news, but perhaps Sky will pick it up when the time comes.



Good Luck IPCC!!! Love Vicky!


Victoria Derbyshire has a love-in with the IPCC. (10:40)

Derbyshire looks at the Kyoto Agreement….she is in full support of it and is shocked that it is being disregarded…‘it’s hugely disappointing’….because of course climate change is the world’s greatest current threat to global security with famine, floods, disease, extreme weather and mass migration.

Naturally she links Typhoon Haiyan to climate change.

Note what the IPCC’s vice chair, Mr. Jean-Pascal van Ypersele,  says…to meet Kyoto targets would mean zero emissions of CO2 by the end of the century.

We are told that the climate has been stable for the last 10,000 years…no it hasn’t…it’s been warming consistently as it emerges from the last ice age…with numerous cold snaps and warm periods just as warm as today’s world.

No questioning the ‘science’…far from it, just all out belief from Derbyshire.

Of the IPCC’s ambitions to get agreement…Derbyshire ends the interview with this…

‘Good luck!’








Yesterday saw the SNP unveil its vision for an Independent Scotland. Now, leaving aside whether one sees this as an act of sublime delusionalism, the question I have for you is how did you think the BBC covered it? I listened to Jim Naughtie wax elegant on the document itself, apparently the sheer number of pages made him think the tome was weighty. In my view, the BBC coverage was pretty much pro SNP, although it is interesting to see that the SNP would remove the BBC from Scotland in the event of them gaining Independence. Sadly of course Salmond would replace with an even more fervently Statist broadcaster! Thoughts on their coverage then?

BBC ‘Cuts’


The BBC tells us that:

The energy regulator Ofgem has launched a scathing attack on the record and profits of the big gas and electricity suppliers.


Sky has a much better report….and mentions something the BBC misses out…curiously:

He also warned that Labour’s proposed energy price freeze “puts at risk the proper functioning of the industry”


Why does the BBC not mention such an important statement about the leading policy of Her Majesty’s Opposition?




A Stalwart Labour Supporter



Carrying on from the last post about excess winter deaths, Victoria Derbyshire had a guest on her show to talk about just that (11:07)


She introduced him as Professor John Ashton, President of the Faculty of Public Health‘the Association for the country’s most senior health officers‘ she tells us.


So the FPH is a government body yes?


Though you may have thought so from her introduction….An assumption that might mean you listen less critically to what Ashton said…though when you hear it,  perhaps not.

Ashton’s statements were clearly highly political….he said ‘we don’t seem to care enough about our elderly folk to look after them…to make sure they have enough money in their pensions and to pay their energy bills’.

Derbyshire asks….’Are you saying they are dying because they don’t have enough money and we don’t look after the?’

Ashton replies...’Exactly right…..I hope the government will do something with the energy companies and their approach to poor people’


All very worthy you might think…until you realise the FPH is not a government body but a campaigning charity…..which Derbyshire only mentions in the last three words of the interview….’the Faculty of Public Health…which is a charity’…presumably a listener has contacted the BBC and complained.


What she doesn’t mention is that Ashton is a ‘stalwart member of the Labour Party’ and that the BBC has been castigated for not mentioning this before, though Ashton, who has the Labour Party in his DNA, thinks he is above bias:

 “The fact that I am a member of the Labour Party has never interfered with my professional objectivity. For me, being a member of the Labour Party is like being Church of England, or black or gay. It is where my values come from. It is the fundamental right of citizenship to belong to a political party.”

A Conservative Party spokesman said: “The BBC has a responsibility to report news objectively. They should always inform their viewers if the person they are interviewing has political motives, and it is absolutely appropriate for us to request that they do so.”



Any chance that Ashton is just by chance travelling down the same road as Ed Miliband and his attack on the energy companies?

Nice of the BBC to give him such a platform to continue the politics by stealth.



What also isn’t mentioned is that today sees the launch of a campaign on this very subject by a whole raft of groups:

“George Osborne has an opportunity when he gives his Autumn Statement in two weeks’ time to solve this problem once and for all, by increasing funding for energy efficiency,” said Mr Matthew [Ed Matthew, director of the Energy Bill Revolution]  “If he cuts the energy efficiency budget he will be condemning people to death.”

Next Tuesday fuel poverty campaigners will be marching on the offices of the UK’s big energy suppliers. A range of anti-austerity groups including Fuel Poverty Action, UK Uncut, Disabled People Against Cuts and the Greater London Pensioners Association will target Npower in the City of London.

Further protests are to take place at British Gas’s new HQ in Oxford, and at Lewes and Bristol. The campaigners will march under the banner “Bring down the Big Six – Fuel Poverty Kills!”

On Tuesday morning they will deliver a coffin filled with energy bills and a “peoples’ invoice” to German-owned Npower to recover energy as a public good. In addition, a speak-out will be held where those hardest hit by fuel poverty will tell of their experiences.




Christmas Kills…Government Must Do Something



An estimated 31,100 excess winter deaths occurred in 2012-13 – a 29% increase on the previous winter.

What the BBC doesn’t say is that summer deaths also rose compared to the previous year….by 25%.

So that actual ‘excess winter death rate’ is  only 4% above what might be the expected rate in comparison to the summer rate.

Not such a headline grabbing, politically powerful message for all those with vested interests.


Things are never as simple as the BBC presents them.


Which country in Europe has the highest excess winter death rate?

Answer….Portugal…followed by Spain.


Here is a report from the Office of National Statistics

Death rates plunge despite coldest winter in 14 years

Date:23 November 2010

There was a dramatic drop in excess winter deaths in the severe winter of 2009/10, the coldest in 14 years, compared to the milder winter of 2008/09, according to a new report out from the Office for National Statistics. The winter brought an estimated 25,400 excess winter deaths in England and Wales in 2009/10, a 30 per cent drop compared with the figures for 2008/09. There were 10,600 excess winter deaths in males and 14,800 in females, the majority occurring amongst those aged 75 and over.

The report, Excess winter mortality in England and Wales, 2009/10 (provisional) and 2008/09(final) points out that excess winter mortality is mostly not caused by conditions directly related to the cold, such as hypothermia. The majority of additional winter deaths are caused by cerebrovascular diseases, ischaemic heart disease and respiratory diseases. Exposure to cold or to influenza infection can be fatal to people who are already vulnerable because of these pre-existing health conditions.

“Although the winter of 2009/10 was the coldest one since1995/96, excess winter mortality fell by almost a third. This is may be because levels of influenza were low for most of the winter season. The highest excess winter mortality in recent years was in1999/2000 when influenza reached epidemic levels in a relatively mild winter.”




Here is the latest from the BBC for last winter’s deaths:

There was a big rise in the number of winter deaths last year, official figures for England and Wales show.

An estimated 31,100 excess winter deaths occurred in 2012-13 – a 29% increase on the previous winter.


This is the latest from the ONS:

Excess Winter Mortality in England and Wales,

In 2012/13 19.6% more people died in the winter months compared with the non-winter months, up from 15.5% in 2011/12. There were an estimated 31,100 excess winter deaths in England and Wales in 2012/13 – a 29% increase compared with the previous winter.


[Hmmmm….a rise in excess deaths, compared to summer deaths, from 15.5% to 19.6% is a rise of nearly 20%……..so where does that 29% come from?….that must be taking other factors  into account….

Looking at the figures…summer deaths also went up…by 25% from 2011/12 to 2012/13

(summer deaths from 20,875 to 26,000…..winter deaths….from 24,111 to 31,100)

That means that the excess winter death increase isn’t quite so bad….if summer deaths went up 25% then excess winter deaths would also presumably at least go up that much…but have actually gone up 29%…..

…therefore, if my maths is correct….the actual, unexpected, genuinely ‘excess’, increase is around 4%


Now 4% of course is not just a statistic, somebody has died….but it puts things into perspective…..if I calculate correctly]


Here is the main factor, as the BBC admits but then ignores for the more eye catching ‘profiteering by evil energy companies kills pensioners’ narrative:

The number of winter deaths peaked in the first week of January, which coincided with a peak in rates of influenza-like illness over the Christmas weeks.


So…the Christmas period…any chance it is all those relatives visiting, who have spread influenza around, being the likely cause of these deaths rather than the cold?


Ban Christmas!


I showed you the excess death figures for 2009/10…here are the previous years figures, 2008/09 which was apparently a comparatively mild winter:

“In the winter period of December to March 2008/09 there were an estimated 36,700 more deaths in England and Wales, compared with the average for the non-winter period (see definition below). This was an increase of 49 per cent compared with the number in the previous winter 2007/08. This is the highest number of excess winter deaths since the winter of 1999/2000, when excess winter mortality was nearly a third higher than in 2008/09.”




So 2008/09, a milder winter, had 36,700 excess winter deaths.

2009/10 had the severest winter in 14 years…and a 30% drop in excess winter deaths compared to 2008/09…….25,400.

2012/13 there were 31,100 excess winter deaths.


If you can work out the causes let me, and the BBC, know….because they seem to be swallowing press releases uncritically and not doing some basic journalism, exactly on the day a campaign has been launched by charities and politicians on this subject…..which hasn’t been acknowledged by the BBC:

Next Tuesday [26th Nov] fuel poverty campaigners will be marching on the offices of the UK’s big energy suppliers. A range of anti-austerity groups including Fuel Poverty Action, UK Uncut, Disabled People Against Cuts and the Greater London Pensioners Association will target Npower in the City of London.

Further protests are to take place at British Gas’s new HQ in Oxford, and at Lewes and Bristol. The campaigners will march under the banner “Bring down the Big Six – Fuel Poverty Kills!”

On Tuesday morning they will deliver a coffin filled with energy bills and a “peoples’ invoice” to German-owned Npower to recover energy as a public good. In addition, a speak-out will be held where those hardest hit by fuel poverty will tell of their experiences.


The problem is possibly far more complicated than the BBC, and others, are letting on.  It suits many people’s agenda of course for that to be the case and for there to be yet another cause to rally around that can be used to try and force the government to spend more money on their pet projects such as ‘socioeconomic progress’….and climate change.











Poor Old Ed Miliband


As said before Miliband’s appearance on Desert Island Discs was pure propaganda, an opportunity that the BBC has milked for all it’s worth….even reporting it for themselves, giving the story a prominent place on its Frontpage.

The newspapers naturally couldn’t resist, which both the BBC and Labour spinners would have known…and because there was little really substance politically to the appearance, it being more about presenting Miliband as a ‘nice guy’ who loves his dad and family, there was little to attack Miliband on if a paper was that way inclined….the Sunday Times even gave Miliband practically the whole of its page 3, what a waste….and hardly laid a finger on him….telling us how emotional the interview on DID was….no surprise there.


But then there is this in the Daily Mirror today:

John Humphrys: Ed Miliband’s Desert Island Discs selection would have been ridiculed regardless of his choice

Poor old Ed Miliband. It’s not often I express sympathy for him or any other politician. Mostly I spend my time on Today duffing them up – or being duffed up by them.But Mr Miliband has been getting a hard time in the media for the past couple of days because he decided to appear on Desert Island Discs – and that often ends in tears.Not because it isn’t a great show – it’s brilliant – but because whatever records you choose will expose you to ridicule and you’ll spend the rest of your life wishing you’d chosen something different. 

A hard time in the media?  Not that I’ve noticed….mocking his choice of record, as Humphrys says, is standard fare for the Press.  Miliband would have known that, his focus group no doubt working over time to come up with a reasonable choice….he would have calculated that the benefits by far outweigh any negatives as long as he stays off the tricky subjects or dishes up bland, anodyne  statements that Kirsty Young doesn’t challenge.


Any reason why John Humphrys should be defending a Labour politician in a Labour newspaper?

Humphrys of course isn’t defending Miliband’s politics…but his article is all the more insidious and possibly effective because of that…For the Daily Mirror and Labour spinners it is all about generating a certain ‘feeling’ around and about Miliband…a genuine guy, trying his best, attacked by the nasty right wing press, smeared left, right and centre….and all he’s trying to do is play a few records and have a nice chat.


Humphrys should have known better than to step in to defend Miliband even in this apparently innocent way, it’s still politics…just as much as a bag of rice with ‘From The USA’ printed on the side is when handed over to victims of war or disaster.


Poor old Ed Miliband indeed.




I noted the BBC provided Stella Creasey with an easy run on the Today programme at 7.10am to launch Labour’s soundbite attack on the Coalition’s attempt to cap “payday” loans.  All the more remarkable is how her clear indication that Labour wants to “control” markets goes unchallenged by the BBC. What could be more natural after all? It’s amazing how the BBC is so aligned with labour each time the Coalition tries to do anything – ensuring that the UK public get to hear the smug hypocrisy from Miliband’s muppets.

The BBC’s Cover Up Of Labour’s Crises



Today the major story about the Labour Party from the BBC was this:

Desert Island Discs: Miliband brothers’ rift still open

A programme that was always about promoting Miliband and ‘smoothing over’ recent events….as indeed it did…Falkirk..nothing to see there, the Mail’s story about his father’s influence over him….nothing to see there….which is curious really as he admits…

“In modern politics, who you are, who your family is, it’s always going to be relevant and important to people, so it comes with the territory.”

‘Integrity of party’

He added: “We live in a capitalist society – my dad thought you could abolish capitalism, I don’t – but I think it throws up fundamental injustices.

“What motivates me as a politician is you see injustice and you seek to do something about it.”


Owen Jones, in an interview with the BBC,  said that of course he was a Marxist, it would almost be odd if he wasn’t…why?..because four generations had been so inclined and he’d grown up ion a house full of Marxist books.

At least I suppose Jones is honest enough to admit his real political leanings.



However that is digressing…..the BBC’s top story on Labour….a puff for Miliband……


The BBC is completely ignoring Labour’s connections to the Co-op…or rather doing its best to downplay them whilst making the most of Labour’s counter attack on the Tories.

Here they talk of ‘Parties’ but really use the article as an excuse to bash one party, the Tories…just how many times can they mention the ‘nasty party’ or other disparaging remarks in one article?

Parties continue row over Paul Flowers ‘smears’

The Conservatives have been accused of a “return to the nasty party”

The shadow home secretary said there had been a “real deterioration” in the politics pursued by the Tories.

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said previous prime ministers would not have linked the revelations to Labour in the way David Cameron has.

“What we’ve seen recently is a real deterioration in the nature of the politics that the Tory party is pursuing,” she told the BBC’s Andrew Marr programme.

“It is a return to the nasty party.

“It is just smear and the politics of the gutter for the Tory party to keep pushing this”.

The “nasty party” phrase was first coined by Home Secretary Theresa May



Whilst the BBC is happy to adopt Labour’s narrative the Daily Mail reports that Labour’s tactics are a desperate bid to hide the truth:

Tories label Ed pathetic as he fumes at Co-op ‘smears’: Labour leader under fire for bid to shift blame over drug banker

‘This is a pathetic attempt to evade the serious issues. Labour have big questions to answer, and when they are asked, they simply try to avoid them by claiming they are smears,’

Here the BBC do manage to find time to report a Tory criticism of the FSA…and by association the Treasury and government…

Co-op Bank crisis: David Davis says ministers should have seen it coming


But is there any investigation into Labour’s connections and shady deals with the Co-op?

Such as this:

Labour Party’s property firm cashed in on cheap loans from Co-op

Opposition’s property portfolio benefited from low rates of interest offered by the bank

The revelation raises fresh questions about Labour’s close relationship with the Co-operative Bank [Not for the BBC though]

LPPL paid 2.88 per cent interest on the loan, according to the company’s 2012 accounts – a far cheaper rate than would typically be offered to property firms on the open market, one expert said.

Interesting that Labour’s response is:

It is a “smear” to call them soft loans, a spokesman said.


Guess Labour has no intention of being open and transparent then.


Wonder what they make of this if they think the last was a ‘smear’?

A commercial mortgage broker who inspected the accounts said: “This is a ratbag collection of second and third-rate properties, and any of my clients would not get money at that rate of interest out of any bank on the face of the planet.

“They are paying half the rate of interest that the rest of us would pay. This is not a genuine arm’s-length transaction – it’s far too cosy. Poor little Co-op bondholders who are taking a haircut should be asking why they are doing it.”



Just why doesn’t the BBC proactively investigate Labour rather than sitting back waiting for Labour Party press releases which the BBC then disseminates for them whilst also undermining the opposition?

Co-op bondholders, pensioners and those with plain old bank accounts at the Co-op must be wondering how the Labour Party are taking them for a ride…..whilst they counted their losses Miliband and Co plundered their assets to fund their Socialist Dream.


Guess Thatcher was right…..

The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money



Labour’s new media strategy:

“It is important to hang a lantern on any media-led campaign against Labour well before the election is called so you do not waste precious campaigning time exposing the motivation behind their attacks, as we were forced to do. Second, enlist allies and third parties to reinforce your message about media bias. Research and publicise the concrete examples early and often. Put together a team to ‘war-game’ possible attacks by hostile media outlets and how to pre-empt them or respond effectively. Utilise social media as a strong alternative means of disseminating your message.

“It is also a very effective medium to lampoon and expose media bias. And enlist their competition to expose bias. Remember, your enemy’s enemy is your friend”.

And remember Ed…the BBC is your best friend!







The Few




The BBC has been looking at the NHS, the number of nurses in particular.


This, which might have some relevance, they haven’t looked at:

 ‘Stealth’ pay rises for NHS staff costing £1bn a year

 The NHS is spending almost £1 billion a year on a “stealth” system of automatic pay rises, which have seen some workers’ earnings rise by up to a third in five years, an investigation discloses today.

The system means the cost of employing 1.3 million NHS workers is constantly increasing above inflation.

The system, known as increments, have led to pay increases as high as 45 per cent over the last seven years for some staff without any promotion or improvement in performance.

 More than half of NHS staff received an incremental rise last year, giving an average total rise of 4.5 per cent last year, well above the rate of inflation.
The nationally announced pay settlement was a one per cent rise last year.

Last night Dr Dan Poulter, the health minister, said he system was not fair because it meant senior managers gained far more in cash terms than low-paid workers, and was not affordable.

Abolishing the system would allow the NHS to recruit at least 10,000 more front line staff, he suggested.



The BBC asks if there are enough nurses in the NHS and informs us that below a certain number patients will die:

Are there enough nurses in the NHS?

A recent study by the National Nursing Institute seems to confirm this.
It found that half of hospitals are regularly running wards with fewer than one nurse to every eight patients.
The one-to-eight ratio is considered the minimum level – below this research shows that an average-sized hospital could expect to see as many as 20 extra deaths a year.
According to official data from the Health and Social Care Information Centre, there are just under 307,000 midwives and nurses working in England (in terms of full-time equivalent posts).
Once you strip out the midwives, health visitors and school nurses, which are not employed by the NHS, there are about 275,000 nurses working across the health service in both hospitals and community services.
That represents a drop of 6,000 – or 2% – since the election.


This raises two questions…firstly are the BBC’s figures for the number of nurses accurate, secondly are the claims made regarding the effectiveness of certain nurse to patient ratios correct?

Answering the first, it should be noted that getting an accurate number of staff in the NHS seems to be fairly difficult.
The BBC limits it here to the number of nurses in England, full time ones at that…and limits it further specifically to fully qualified nurses…disregarding Health Care Assistants as well as Midwives, despite right at the very end of the article stating that the mix of staff should also be considered.

This is the total NHS figure in 2012 (not just England):
Professionally qualified clinical staff? There were 687,810 professionally qualified clinical staff in the NHS Workforce, an increase of 1,063(0.2%) since 2011.

For the NHS as a whole these figures are relevant and put things in perspective:

2011-2012  the NHS lost 3238 staff members in total.

A total of 8602 non-medical staff were made redundant.  That would indicate that at least 5364 more frontline medical staff were employed.

The number of nurses lost was 2409.…but there were 2239 doctors employed, and 1,063 professionally qualified clinical staff added to the payroll….and 6000 Health Care Assistants have been recruited as well as hundreds of Midwives.

The total figure for nurses lost since 2010 seems to vary….but the usual figure is between 5,000 and 6,000.…but, the BBC does mention…by the end of this financial year the NHS will be employing an extra 3,700 nurses.

Even the government can’t get its figures to add up though, this from Aug 2012:

“There are 2,400 more clinical staff working in the NHS than there were two years ago in May 2010, including over 3,700 more doctors, and over 900 extra midwives. In contrast, the number of admin staff has fallen by over 17,500, creating savings that will be reinvested into frontline patient care.
“Funding will increase by £12.5bn over the next three years, protecting the NHS for the future.”

This from March 2013:
Health minister Dr Dan Poulter said: “These figures are exaggerated. There are now more clinical staff in the NHS than in 2010, including around 5,500 more doctors, 1,300 more midwives and more than 900 more health visitors. In contrast, the number of admin staff has fallen by over 18,000, and the money saved put back into frontline patient care.

But no doubt qualified nursing jobs have gone.

It should be noted though that highly qualified nurses are not needed for all the tasks that patients need to have done for them….these can be done by the HCA’s, allowing the qualified nurses to concentrate on the patients with the most need…thereby possibly improving care.

So you have to look at the whole picture…which the BBC doesn’t.

Also whilst nurses leave the NHS they are not lost to nursing…and in fact are often still employed, via private companies, by the NHS, often providing care in the community.
Midwives should not have been dismissed by the BBC here either….for if they provide services in the community that means mothers to be don’t have to go to hospital…and therefore fewer nurses are required in hospital:

NHS figures reveal 5,000 fewer nurses since 2010
Trade unions and Labour blame drop on coalition’s cuts, but figures may also reflect nursing moving to private firms or charities.
The drop in nursing numbers is significant because it represents in part a shift from state employment to working for private companies and charities. Nursing is moving out of hospitals and into the community, where staff work for private firms or the voluntary sector but are paid for by the NHS.


The BBC article paints the loss of nurses as a bad thing…telling us that below a certain nurse staffing level and…an average-sized hospital could expect to see as many as 20 extra deaths a year.

So the next thing is to ascertain whether claims about the nurse/patient ratio are correct.

The figures on which the BBC is basing its report comes essentially from a single piece of research in the USA, in California, where they made it  law to maintain a certain ratio of nurses to patients.

These are some qualifications in that research itself which might be relevant but again the BBC doesn’t mention them:

Our study is cross sectional and we cannot establish causality in the associations we observe.

Although our data are cross sectional and lack baseline measures, our positive findings are bolstered by other research showing improved nurse staffing in California hospitals between 2004 and 2006 (Bolton et al. 2007) and increases in satisfaction of California nurses between 2004 and 2006 (Spetz2008

There is little evidence in the research literature that having more unlicensed personnel in hospitals adversely affects patient outcomes.


So no causality, no baseline and little evidence elsewhere.  


Here is the Royal College of Nursing’s take on the report:

The potential consequences of such ‘compromised’ care were made explicit in recent research (Aiken et al., 2010) which found that lower patient per nurse ratios (as a result of mandated minimum staffing levels in California) were associated with significantly lower mortality rates.

Put bluntly, the research concludes that fewer patients die in hospitals with better nurse staffing levels.


But here is a report on that research from Bristol University in the UK in 2012, ignored by one and all, and the BBC:

New study reveals increasing nurse-to-patient ratios do not extend patient safety
Press release issued 27 February 2012

We evaluate the impact of California Assembly Bill 394, which mandated maximum levels of patients per nurse in the hospital setting……We find persuasive evidence that AB394 had the intended effect of decreasing patient/nurse ratios in hospitals that previously did not meet mandated standards.
However, these improvements in staffing ratios do not appear to be associated with relative improvements in measured patient safety in affected hospitals.

A study into the effects of a law requiring increased nurse-to-patient ratios on patient mortality finds that mandating such changes do not reduce adverse patient outcomes.
Dr Andrew Cook, lead author of the study, said:  “Our findings suggest that mandating nurse-to-patient ratios, on its own, does not lead to improved patient safety.”
Martin Gaynor added: “While we do not find evidence that the regulation improved patient safety, that does not necessarily mean that nurse staffing levels are unimportant.  Improved nurse staffing might be crucial in improving patient safety, but only in combination with other elements. It is important that analysts, policy-makers, and healthcare providers sort out these important issues.”


And there are many more doubters:

Many registered nurses believe that nurse staffing in acute care hospitals is inadequate. In 1999 California became the first state to mandate minimum nurse-to-patient ratios in hospitals. State officials announced draft ratios in January 2002 and expect to implement the legislation by July 2003. We estimate that the direct costs of compliance will be small. However, mandatory ratios could generate opportunity costs that are not easily measured and that may outweigh their benefits. Policymakers elsewhere should consider other strategies to address nurses’ concerns, because other approaches may be less costly and produce greater benefits to nurses and patients.

A key finding from this synthesis is that the implementation of minimum nurse-to-patient ratios reduced the number of patients per licensed nurse and increased the number of worked nursing hours per patient day in hospitals. Another finding is that there were no significant impacts of these improved staffing measures on measures of nursing quality and patient safety indicators across hospitals. A critical observation may be that adverse outcomes did not increase despite the increasing patient severity reflected in case mix index.

We find persuasive evidence that AB394 had the intended effect of decreasing patient/nurse ratios in hospitals that previously did not meet mandated standards. However, these improvements in staffing ratios do not appear to be associated with relative improvements in measured patient safety in affected hospitals.


What is certain is that more nurses means a happier staff as noted by all reports…naturally I suppose…a lighter workload is going to make life easier and more manageable with some benefits all round….less stress and less burnout.


Here is the RCN’s look at staffing levels from 2009:

A key theme in the 2006 RCN ward staffing level guidance was the recommendation that skill-mix on acute wards should not be more dilute than the benchmark average of 65 per cent registered nurses
A large-scale RCN survey of 9,000 nurses in 2009 (Ball and Pike, 2009) found that on average NHS hospital wards have a ratio of eight patients per registered nurse during the daytime, and 11 at night (see Table 5.1). Across all specialties, on average 5.4 nursing staff are on duty during the daytime – roughly three RNs and two HCAs/auxiliaries per ward


So the average Registered Nurse ratio was around 9 patients per nurse in 2009.…the ratio the BBC tells us is ‘acceptable’ on average is 8 to 1.

The BBC discounts the number of other staff, such as HCA’s, helping…and with those on hand the ratio drops to around 5 patients per staff member….well below the 8-1 ratio.

The HCA’s do much of the lower skilled work thereby allowing the more qualified nurses to deal with patients who have the most serious problems rather than having such highly qualified nurses running around emptying bed pans etc.

So for the BBC to just make a blanket claim that a ratio of 1 nurse to 8 patients saves lives doesn’t give a full and sophisticated explanation of the mix of skills that could be used on a ward.


Here is a brief summary of the research from California:

Aitken and colleagues compared outcomes from common surgeries in the three states. Nurses in California care for an average of one fewer patient per shift, and these lower ratios have sizable associations with surgical mortality.After adjusting for extensive patient and hospital characteristics, the investigators found that better nurse staffing was associated with a decreased risk of 30-day mortality and failure-to-rescue. The effect of adding an additional patient to hospital nurse workloads increased the odds of a patient dying by 13% in California, 10% in New Jersey, and 6% in Pennsylvania. The effects of increased workloads on failure-to-rescue were similar. The investigators then estimated how many fewer deaths would have occurred in New Jersey and Pennsylvania from 2005-2006 if those hospitals had the same nurse staffing ratios as California.

The findings suggest 222 fewer surgical deaths, (a 13.9% reduction) in New Jersey, and 264 fewer surgical deaths, (a 10.6% reduction) in Pennsylvania. Thus, in the two states alone, 486 lives might have been saved among general surgery patients in a two-year period if the hospitals adopted California nurse staffing levels.

Although this study cannot draw cause-and-effect conclusions, it strongly suggests that better nurse staffing is associated with better nurse and patient outcomes.



Here is the actual study and its own conclusions:

Implications of the California nurse staffing mandate for other states.

We have tried to minimize this source of potential bias by obtaining reports from nurses in states without legislation and by using in-dependent patient data to validate the better outcomes for California hospitals. Our study is cross sectional and we cannot establish causality in the associations we observe.

Although our data are cross sectional and lack baseline measures, our positive findings are bolstered by other research showing improved nurse staffing in California hospitals between 2004 and 2006 (Bolton et al. 2007) and increases in satisfaction of California nurses between 2004 and 2006 (Spetz2008

There is little evidence in the research literature that having more unlicensed personnel in hospitals adversely affects patient outcomes.

When we use the predicted probabilities of dying from our adjusted models to estimate how many fewer deaths would have occurred in New Jersey and Pennsylvania hospitals if the average patient-to-nurse ratios in those hospitals had been equivalent to the average ratio across the California hospitals, we get 13.9 percent (222/1,598) fewer surgical deaths in New Jersey and 10.6 percent (264/2,479) fewer surgical deaths in Pennsylvania


This is the important bit where they lay out what they conclude are the odds on a patient dying if one more patient is added to the nurses’ workload:
The effect of adding an additional patient to hospital nurse workloads increases the odds on patients dying by a factor of 1.13 in California, 1.10 in New Jersey, and by a factor of 1.06in Pennsylvania. The effects of increased workloads on FTR were substantially similar, with odds ratios of 1.15 in California, 1.10 in New Jersey, and 1.06 in Pennsylvania.


What that says is that in California the odds of you dying are actually greater than in States where they don’t have mandatory ratios when you add one more patient to the nurses’ workload.

This proves that mandatory ratios save lives?……

That might seem odd…..but I can only assume that because the death rate in States with higher ratios is already higher than in California one more patient will make little difference to the odds of you dying…if the odds are already, for example, 100%, then you can’t really get much worse can you?

But then you look at the figures and the Californian odds are a factor of 1.13 as opposed to 1.10 or 1.06…..very marginal differences.

As suggested above the cost effectiveness of employing highly trained nurses may be less than adopting other measures that will also save lives…possibly more lives……mandatory ratios could generate opportunity costs that are not easily measured and that may outweigh their benefits. Policymakers elsewhere should consider other strategies to address nurses’ concerns, because other approaches may be less costly and produce greater benefits to nurses and patients.


What isn’t in doubt is that more nurses/HCA’s reduces the workload on them and must reduce stress and ‘burnout’……whether that is a factor to consider is one any employer has to think about….but the BBC is presenting this as a life and death matter….that maybe each hospital could see 20 extra deaths per year if they don’t adopt these lower ratios….but only mentions qualified nurses…without considering the mix of skills that could actually be utilised cost effectively for the same health outcomes….telling us that:

…half of hospitals are regularly running wards with fewer than one nurse to every eight patients.

But as seen from the chart above that isn’t the true picture when other staff are considered who also help with patients….and right at the end the BBC admits….

But it is not just about numbers. Skill mix is important too.

The support they receive from healthcare assistants varies too.

Some do no nursing roles, while others have been trained to change dressings and monitor a patient’s vital signs.

As in any work environment a mix of experienced and junior staff is needed.


But that is after a long article which is essentially a promotion of the higher ratio of qualified nurses to patient concept.

In other words the article is highly misleading and, well, wrong about its central claim….at least based on much contrary evidence and the less than certain evidence of the research all this is based on….a study which admits there was no causality, no baseline and little evidence elsewhere to say that staff, like HCA’s, were detrimental to patient outcomes.