James Harding’s Resignation Speech




“One of the things I really like about the BBC is that it’s alive to its critics. It listens. And, as importantly, we are self-critical.”   James Harding, Director of News and Current Affairs


James Harding has made a resignation speech, or rather if the contents of the speech are a true reflection of what he actually thinks then he should perhaps consider it a resignation speech and walk the plank.

Alternatively the speech could be a sign that he has given up the arduous task of thinking for himself and has merely resigned himself to the groupthink inherent in working for the BBC…..living in the Bubble in total denial about what the BBC does, completely divorced from reality, detached from the real world….for instance the small quote at the head of this post is one Harding thinks worthy of highlighting on the webpage….and yet it is totally at odds with how most people see the BBC and indeed the experience of anyone who has the temerity to actually complain to the BBC and receives a swift kick to the crown jewels.

The speech is long and packed full of Harding’s thoughts on many subjects based around the BBC’s election coverage….most of which are highly questionable claims by Harding.  As I say there is a lot of information to wade through but this quote stands out as the most egregious claim from Harding, one that demonstrates how the BBC just doesn’t understand what is going on…

‘I think we delivered against our own editorial ambitions. Forgive me, but I think we put on the television event of the campaign – arguably, the event of the campaign – namely the Question Time in Leeds. It was one of a series of events at the BBC, which, like no other news organisation, gave voice to the voter.’

The Leeds Question Time where Miliband got his backside handed to him on a plate…certainly that was a major event of the campaign but it had absolutely nothing to do with the BBC other than they were in the lucky position to be filming it. Harding’s claim also neglects the fact that most Question Time audiences are jam packed with left wing activists and more often than not the BBC fails to give that prized ‘voice’ to the real voters.

The Leeds audience was the star of the show and not the BBC.  What we heard when Miliband was hung, drawn and quartered on the deficit by that audience was what the BBC has failed, deliberately failed many would say, to do.  The BBC has spent the last 5 years effectively dodging giving Labour a hard time about its economic record in office and the real causes of the economic crash.

To now claim that the BBC was central to a major election event putting a Labour politician’s feet to the fire is laughable.

Anyway, back to the main body of the speech now that we’ve cherry picked the most outrageous, well there is more, a lot more outrageous, stuff.

Harding starts with this….‘A few weeks on from polling day, what can we say of the BBC’s coverage of the General Election of 2015?  Let’s start, not by patting ourselves on the back, but by taking a look at our election coverage with a critical eye.’

Already he’s in denial…the speech is one huge puff piece for the BBC and an attack on the politicians….as for that ‘critical eye’.…do I even have to say anything?

Harding blames the pollsters for misleading everyone…‘A serious critique of the coverage must address the problem with the pollsters. ‘

Well yes they got it wrong, but it wasn’t the polls that steered the BBC’s coverage which for 5 years has been blatantly critical of the Coalition and supportive of Labour’s policies, it wasn’t the polls that made the BBC put Labour policy announcements as headline news day in day out whilst Tory policy news headlines quickly disappeared to be replaced by ‘Labour says Tory policies are rubbish’ which gives the lie to another Harding claim…’Also, we have to ask ourselves whether we did enough to hold in check the political machines of each party.’  The BBC put itself at the service of the Labour Party.

He tells us that ‘And, of course, the polls were central to the politicians’ campaigns, too, so it would have been impossible to ignore them. ‘  As I understand it both the Tories and Labour’s own internal polls gave an entirely different picture to that presented by the polling companies.

Harding gets one thing right…‘We and all other media organisations allowed the poll numbers to infect our thinking: there was too much ‘coalitionology’ as a result.’  The BBC gave the impression that we were heading for a Labour led government in some sort of coalition with the SNP….to the BBC it was a done deal and spent endless hours discussing the ‘likely’ scenarios.

Here Harding again demonstrates how out of touch he is with how people see the BBC and what it is really like…the first sentence is interesting though…..very unBBC..

‘To be clear, I’m not one of the people who subscribes to the view that if you’re getting criticised from all sides you must be getting it broadly right. In fact, part of my job is to listen and assess the merit of each complaint, each request, each argument. And the fact is that a fiercely fought election generated a lot of strong feelings: Labour was angry about the focus on the SNP, the Tories regularly questioned our running orders and editorial decisions, the Lib Dems felt they weren’t getting sufficient airtime, the Greens complained about being treated like a protest movement not a party, UKIP railed against what they saw as an establishment shut-out, the DUP felt Northern Ireland parties were being treated as second class citizens, the SNP questioned what they saw as metropolitan London bias at the BBC. And the list goes on.’

Harding lists the complaints from the various Parties….and dismisses them…..yet reading them you realise every one rings true.

Then we get to the real gist of Harding’s own über whinge…

‘But there’s criticism of the BBC’s newsrooms that is unfair and unfounded. Take, for example, the fabled left-wing bias. I find this increasingly hard to take seriously. In the light of the Conservative victory, what’s the argument? That the BBC’s subtle, sophisticated left-wing message was so very subtle, so very sophisticated that it simply passed the British people by?’

So the BBC can’t be biased to the left because the Tory Party won the election…..childishly daft reasoning, if reason it can be said to be.  The Tories are in power despite the BBC throwing everything at them including the kitchen sink…..not a city sink estate has been left untrawled for single mothers, destitute and broken by Tory welfare reforms, not a hospital A&E department has been allowed to go to work without a BBC number cruncher counting the daily ‘catastrophic crises’, not a foodbank has gone unvisited so that we learn of the desperate plight of those left behind by the Coalition’s heartless policies that leave the poor to starve.

The reality is that the Tories are in power because, as the Leeds audience showed, in the real world Labour was recognised as the party that would heap yet more economic misery and ruin upon us, led by a man whose incompetence knew no bounds and who inspired absolutely no confidence in people….I suspect Miliband was possibly the real reason Scots voted for the SNP in droves and nothing to do with their policies.

The BBC utterly failed to report Miliband’s disconnect with the voters.  It was the BBC that held Miliband up as a new kind of politician who was shaping the political narrative about a new world order, a new form of politics, a new form of society, a new form of economic system.  Unfortunately Miliband was none of those things. There was no real substance to his politics, each policy announcement was carefully weighted and crafted to please the crowd and catch the next news headline, the BBC being very obliging on this, but as soon as they were put under the slightest scrutiny, not something the BBC was prone to do, they melted away like the lightweight airhead policies they were.

The BBC entirely misjudged the mood of the country and Labour’s politics believing them to be at the forefront of the ‘inequality’ Zeitgeist apparently sweeping the world.

Harding goes on to tell a complete lie by connecting two of Nigel Farage’s statements and reporting one as a consequence of the other…

‘I’ve been asked whether politicians made the link between the BBC’s election coverage and the future funding of the BBC? Mostly, not. But, along the way, there were people from all parties who made the connection between their dissatisfaction with the election coverage and the fact that the next government will set the licence fee and the terms of the Royal Charter. Some did so explicitly. Nigel Farage, for example, said he was unhappy at UKIP’s treatment on the BBC and proposed cutting the licence fee by two thirds.

Fargae made no such statement about cutting the BBC funding due to its biased audiences in the debates.

Here is what Farage said about restructuring the BBC…

“I would like to see the BBC cut back to the bone to be purely a public service broadcaster with its international reach and I think it could do that with a licence fee that is a third of what it currently is.”

Even the BBC’s own report on his statement makes no claim that it is linked to BBC bias despite noting that he thought one BBC audience had been biased.

So no Farage did not ‘explicitly’, or even implicitly, threaten the BBC with a cut in licence fee funding in retaliation for its bias.  Harding is mistaken.

Finally I’ll end on this from Harding...’In the months ahead and the political contests to come, politicians may not always like our news judgments. But we’re not here for them, we’re here for the public.’

That’s just not true.  The ‘Public and their views are the absolute last concern of the BBC.  The BBC was there for the Labour Party year in year out for the last 5 years and in everything the BBC has done over those years it has sought to challenge the Public mood, the Public’s own values and beliefs whether on immigration, climate, the EU or Islam.  The BBC has a world view that is at odds with the majority of the people of this country and represents not ‘The Public’ but a very small group of likeminded people, the liberal, metropolitan elite, who want to maintain their grip on power that the Media bestows upon them and is happy to abuse that power to keep themselves in those positions of influence.

That’s why they hate the internet and the Blogger.  The internet democratises information and stops uncomfortable truths from disappearing and history being rewritten.

The BBC does not give a voice to the People, only very select, approved people, it does have that ‘fabled left wing bias’, it isn’t ‘alive to its critics’ as Harding proves in his speech, it is defiantly unself-critical and is utterly and implausibly living in the very rarified atmosphere of its own little elitist bubble.

It is an irony that an organisation like the BBC with its enormous resources for news gathering and analysis could so badly misunderstand the world.  The reason for that is because it is institutionally left wing and any recruits soon learn to toe the line….the famous groupthink that Harding denies exists.  Never mind making efforts to employ disabled weather presenters, how about employing a lot more ‘right wing’ minded journalists…..so many that group think towards the left becomes unnecessary as people with right wing views do not feel isolated and under pressure to conform, left and right balancing each other and working as checks on each others work….after all that is the supposed essence of the BBC, providing a balanced, impartial news service not becoming some sort of social service providng jobs for life’s waifs and strays.



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18 Responses to James Harding’s Resignation Speech

  1. desperatedan says:

    “Labour was angry about the focus on the SNP, the Tories regularly questioned our running orders and editorial decisions, the Lib Dems felt they weren’t getting sufficient airtime, the Greens complained about being treated like a protest movement not a party, UKIP railed against what they saw as an establishment shut-out, the DUP felt Northern Ireland parties were being treated as second class citizens, the SNP questioned what they saw as metropolitan London bias at the BBC. And the list goes on.”

    and yes EVERY ONE of these points is perfectly valid not proof of fairnness and shows how far the bbc is removed from public opinion


  2. chrisH says:

    S`pose if Blatter can fall on his letter-opener over nothing much-despite oodles of flummery and bolt-holes, padded with loads of moolah-then we can all hope that the equally venal, incompetent,malicious and unaccountable BBC will similarly fall on its ariel.
    Parallels between the BBC and FIFA might be worth a go-and , at least FIFA never employed Savile…nor pretends to speak for anybody but porn models and foreign aid despots.
    At least FIFAs crooks pimp off voluntary contributions from dopey sports fans…we here are forced to pay for the likes of Harding.
    Maybe the BBC DID get the Tories in-we all hated the BBC bias THAT much, so many of us voted just to give the liberals a slapped arse.
    Trouble is that they`ve grown to like that now!


  3. Gunner says:

    FIFA/BBC: Chris, you are right on the money. The following extract from an Independent article in 2013 says it all.

    “The BBC’s journalistic independence could be threatened if the National Audit Office (NAO) is allowed to investigate the corporation at will, James Purnell, the former minister who became a high-profile BBC recruit, has warned.

    Maria Miller, the Culture Secretary, said the NAO should be given unlimited access to the BBC’s accounts to avoid a repeat of the scandal over excessive pay-offs.

    But Mr Purnell, a former Labour Culture Secretary who is now the BBC’s director of strategy, argued that politicians could use the implicit threat of an intervention by the public spending watchdog to intimidate the corporation’s journalists. “


  4. JimS says:

    “It was the BBC that held Miliband up as a new kind of politician who was shaping the political narrative about a new world order, a new form of politics, a new form of society, a new form of economic system. Unfortunately Miliband was none of those things. There was no real substance to his politics, each policy announcement was carefully weighted and crafted to please the crowd and catch the next news headline, the BBC being very obliging on this, but as soon as they were put under the slightest scrutiny, not something the BBC was prone to do, they melted away like the lightweight airhead policies they were.”

    Sounds just like the BBC’s line on Obama! Can anyone doubt that he has turned out to be the worst US president in living memory?

    You are completely right about the A&E ‘targets’, at times I felt it should have been in the daily summary, “the pound is worth $1.45, the Dow Jones is 8394.16, today’s high will be 19 celsius and the A&E target has been missed by 0.5% (and Miliband will have a majority of 30!)”.


  5. The Beebinator says:



    • Richard Pinder says:

      Peter Hitchens is lucky: The BBC effectively censors Journalists such as Andrew Montford, Christopher Booker, Christopher Monckton, Anthony Watts and Martin Durkin. As well as the new Einsteins/Darwins of Climate Science: Piers Corbyn, Ned Nikolov, Karl Zeller, Henrik Svensmark and Ian Wilson.
      I suppose the BBC thinks it would need a football stadium full of aggressively angry lefties, to obtain a balance with that lot.


  6. Kenneth says:

    In my humble opinion the polls got it wrong in large part due to the ‘shy tory’ affect. Or should I say the ‘ashamed tory’.

    This is the result of years of painting right-wingers as the bad guys, whether it is the bad businessman versus the eco-warrior (fracking), or the bad Republican/Tea Party-ers versus the good Democrat or indeed the bad Tory versus the good socialist.

    This is so engrained in us – and surely we are all affected by it – that it has become improper and sordid to speak up for a right wing cause in polite company and even shameful to admit to right-wing voting intentions to a pollster.

    Look at the affect of Soviet propaganda from the 50’s through to the 80’s. There were many Russians who genuinely thought that people from the U.S.A were evil.

    And today there are people who genuinely think that Mrs Thatcher meant real harm to people. These ridiculous notions are actually plausible to some people because of BBC grooming.

    Consider how expensive it is to put an ad on commercial television and how transformational such exposure can be. And that is for an occasional 30 second spot for toothpaste.

    Now multiply that many times over a vast network of broadcast outlets and a substantial website and a continuous hammering of the message and then we have some idea of the wave of propaganda that we have endured for decades. It is a miracle that we still have a Conservative Party let alone a Conservative government despite this relentless battering.

    Nobody likes to give up power once they have tasted it. BBC management knows that politicians are hanging on its every word; timing announcements to coincide with Question Time etc and it knows that its output is so powerful that it can decide referendum results and make or break governments.

    Except, of course, this time it failed to get Labour in power. This time the BBC was hoisted by its own petard. It’s own propaganda provided us with an army of silent, cowed but nonetheless determined Conservative and UKIP voters who the pollsters did not detect and another group of emboldened (emboldened by BBC bias) non-voters who would parrot to pollsters the stuff the BBC had told them, but didn’t make it to the polling booths. Just as with the John Major ‘soapbox’ victory the shock and melancholy at the BBC came as clear as crystal across the airwaves. The long faces and talk of the misery of the losers this time around was in stark contrast to the joy of Tony Blair’s first victory when the champagne bottles popped in the offices of Broadcasting House and all the talk was of a bright future.

    As the Soviets found out, propaganda has its limits. It certainly silences one group and turns up the volume for the other group, but ultimately there is, thankfully, a hard core of people who, deep down, still stick to their beliefs. This time there were enough of them to prevent a disaster that would have finished of the calamitous work of the last Labour/BBC administration.

    I guess there is still hope.


    • Mrs Kitty says:

      My favourite moment on the 8th May was looking at the news reports and watching the Beeb presenters chew wasps as they spoke of the Conservative Victory.


      • Wild says:

        My favourite moment was a cut away to the journalists Kevin Maguire and Andrew Pierce. The face of the former was like thunder, and the latter struggled to contain his joy at the election results.

        It is up there with the two journalists having a fight in the background of the presenter on Grandstand, and Diana Ross pulling back a very young Michael Jackson from the front of the stage at a concert because his dancing was taking attention away from her.


  7. Dover Sentry says:

    Examine the CVs of all BBC ‘front men’ and ‘front women’.

    What do you see? A total affinity with the Left.

    Any from the Right? No.

    Two Examples.

    Look at Andrew Marr:
    –He was once a member of the Socialist Campaign for a Labour Victory (an off-shoot of the International-Communist League, now known as the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty). At Cambridge, Marr says he was a “raving leftie”, and he acquired the nickname ‘Red Andy’–

    Ewan Davis:
    One obvious manifestation of this approach was that he interrupted Farage at least 50 times. Counting the total is quite hard because sometimes there seemed a deliberate desire to stop Farage talking at all, and certainly from presenting an answer that contained detailed reasoning.

    There are many more examples, including women.

    No right wing commentators.
    No right wing comedians.
    No right wing management.

    So, that’s balanced is it?



  8. Richard Pinder says:

    Nepotism at the BBC: Could you confirm that James Harding is the son of Phil Harding, the former Director of Editorial Policy at the BBC? He was responsible for the Editorial Standards of all BBC output and wrote the BBC’s Editorial Guidelines, and features prominently in the investigations into the origins of left-wing Bias at the BBC.


  9. TrueToo says:

    ‘We and all other media organisations allowed the poll numbers to infect our thinking’

    Yes, that is most unusual – the BBC admitting an infection? I thought the BBC was perfect.

    However, even when engaged in apparently ruthless introspection the BBC is unable to really see itself for what it is: in fact, it was the BBC’s existing left-wing infection which motivated its staff to report the inaccurate poll results which such enthusiasm.


    • TrueToo says:

      Oops, that should be with such enthusiasm.


    • GCooper says:

      It’s both a classic case of buck passing and self-deception.

      Yes, the BBC allowed itself to obsess about the polls, but it also created the climate in which those polls veered so wildly off course.

      The BBC makes the weather in media land. Few who work for polling companies, or in the media generally, do not take their political views, such as they are, from the Guardian-BBC consensus and their results show that.

      A few minutes spent on the emetic YouGov website is enough to show what went wrong.


  10. Beltane says:

    ‘…I suspect that Miliband was possibly the real reason that Scots voted SNP in droves’
    True, but it was just as much a broader anti-Labour vote, based on umbrage, a deliberate kick in the testicles (where applicable) for all their previous heroes who’d had the temerity to vote with the dastardly Toories and swing the referendum from Yes to No.
    A sad reality, not given the slightest credence by the BBC, is that the SNP were voted in, not on a wave of Democratic Socialist euphoria, but with at heart a spiteful, mean spirited and very short-sighted understanding of the totalitarian regime to which they have chosen to subject themselves.


  11. CranbrookPhil says:

    Ugh! I had to switch Radio 4 off this evening at ten past eight, all I could endure of a programme on the future of the Labour Party. Goodness, can’t the BBC give this subject a rest?


  12. chrisH says:

    Driving to work to the sounds of Classic FM this morning.
    Civil, urbane, witty measured -everything that the BBC is not at morning rush hour…did I hear Naughtie get his naughty nightie raised by the Fag Ash Lils of the “transcommunistish Communitiz” for dissing Sister Genna Jenner?
    I digress-Classic FM clearly has ads, so is NOT scornful of money and businesses like the BBC is.
    It has to compete for listeners so knows what its audience wants to hear-not Bruce Jenner, not Greg Dyke, not Anjem Choudhury.
    Classic FM actually WAS inclusive-educating, playing the best of western civilisations music.
    It was NOT hectoring me or telling lies, not begging me to give to IS, to Burnham or to Saviles Polenta People on Comic Relief.
    Not a peep about the Toricutz or the need for Labour to get a blowjob like the automatic pilot on Airplane!
    Remind me again-when Classsic FM is that good so effortlessly, why the hell is Radio 4s Toady Show allowed to pick my pockets to lie through its dentures?


  13. chrisH says:


    Compare and contrast THIS Mr Harding-an old bloke who was happy to give us a garden-with the new breed like James Harding.
    The likes of the BBC hierarchy will get assorted boyfriends from the Baltic states to do their crazy paving for them-in the hope that some IS rough trade will celebrate their culture with the chavs out there.
    The BBC are dangerous traitors-and we need rid of it asap.