Fear and loathing on a Marred Sunday morning

I wasn’t one of those impressed by Andrew Marr’s question about Gordon and drugs last week. The tone was gentle, and when Gordon replied incoherently “neagh” to the question, and went on immediately to talk about his eyesight instead, Marr did not bring him back to the point.

Cameron, meanwhile, was continually attacked by Marr in the segments of today’s interview that I have seen. Cameron was accused of misleading people even when he began to itemize his assets and their relative worth to him. This was Marr’s “personal question”, and contra his attitude to Brown he was a rottweiller who wasn’t giving up his locked jaws around Cameron’s ankle.

Worse though was Marr’s haranguing over the potential cuts the Tories might make in Government. He utterly ignored the imperative question of the deficit. He hemmed the question in to the narrow one of which of his statist fellows Cameron was going to sack. He didn’t even admit the question of the jobs that would be lost by higher interest rates, raised taxes or the other ills that may follow from failure to rein in the deficit caused by out of control public spending. “but you can’t!”, exploded Marr, “you can’t possibly avoid job losses!!!” Marr almost combusted.

Then there was Europe, where Marr quite brazenly affected not to understand the Cameron positon. It’s quite clear if you bother to inform yourself about the unfinished business in the Czech Republic and Poland. It’s also clear that we, the UK, have ratified the treaty, thanks to the broken promise of the Labour Government. When it becomes law throughout the EU it becomes law here. That will be a different position to work from, should it happen. Marr made out that it was inevitable, to create a straw man argument with which to make Cameron look evasive. It’s far from inevitable as Vaclav Klaus basically will have the last say, and st. Vaclav is a sceptic.

But the BBC have been busy bunnies, for those who assume that the Treaty is all but passed- they are trying to imply double standards from Cameron as he is said to have written to Klaus to make clear that he favours a UK referendum. The BBC have been beavering around trying to find dissonant voices on the eve of the Conservative conference. It’s a hatchet job alright- it’s absolutely clear the BBC have been using their media muscle to winkle out as much scandal as they can with which to spoil the coming conference.

As for Marr- the browbeating he delivered against Cameron was extraordinary. Again and again, right to the end, Marr swung ironic swipes at Cameron’s latest pledge to be direct with the public. Do you recall anything like that concerning Tony Blair’s infamous (because monumentally, historically provably hollow) “pretty straight sort of guy”? Me neither. There is clearly a kind of loathing in Marr’s heart against the Conservatives. He is a shocking ideological roadblock on the Sunday morning BBC schedule.

A climate of imbalance

Sometimes the BBC’s bias still has the power to shock. Perhaps because they just assume that this bias is ok; they know it and they think it’s ok. Reading this article about drought and farming dificulties in California, the story came down to an environmental clash over some fish. The BBC report:

It’s not just drought. The reservoir is fed from the the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, an threatened estuary that is home to a tiny fish called the delta smelt. Environmentalists say the smelt is essential to the food chain, and that a decline in smelt populations has led to falling numbers of bigger predator fish like salmon and bass. Late last year, the US government’s Fish and Wildlife Service argued that pumping water out of the delta harmed the smelt. A federal judge ruled water supplies to Central Valley farms should be reduced, in order to protect the fish. Farmers are challenging the water restrictions in court. They are a well-organised lobby with powerful support.

Notice how “environmentalists say”, federal government acts, and local farmers “are a well organised lobby with powerful support”. Yeah, Beeb, environmentalists aren’t a lobby, they are professionals right? Who just happen to have a massive international industry and lobby behind them. And obviously it’s the local farmers with the powerful support (sounds fishy to me) because that’s why they’ve just lost this years crop and are left challenging in court.

What a travesty. Oh, and I also intensely dislike the BBC’s attempt to generate a Steinbeckian scene out of this story by linking it to that of Latino migrants towards the end.

PS: somehow the indefatigable BBC journalist failed to mention the sterling work of totally impartial and unfishy environmental “organisation” Save the Bay, advised by nobodies like these and directed by disinterested public spirits like these. (including people from Wells Fargo and Cisco, two of California’s biggest companies and employers).

The Taliban are pleased to announce…

Reading this article about changes in the Taliban leadership I was struck by the way the language tends to validate them as an organisation. We are told:

Pakistan’s Taliban movement has named a new leader, its deputy head Maulvi Faqir Mohammed has told the BBC. He said Hakimullah Mehsud, a close associate of ex-leader Baitullah Mehsud, had been unanimously appointed at a meeting in northern Pakistan.

So, the “deputy-head” announces that “a close associate” of the “ex-leader” has been “unanimously” “appointed”. It sounds like a union movement, rather than a bunch of bearded desperate goons with ieds and the education levels of ten year olds except no doubt for their memorisation of the Koran.

Richard North of excellent EU Referendum has been railing at the BBC for a different reason- suggesting that they whitewashed corruption in the Afghan elections. Rather than just spotty as the BBC claim, he believes them to be worthless. Whatevever works for you when it comes to cynicism, but surely this illustrates how things are with the BBC- they do the British Government a small favour with a few apparently white lies in the name of furthering democracy, and then tell massive whoppers by covering for the enemies of the West. In hock to the politicians on the one hand, and to their own ideology on the other- where does that leave the paying British public? According to the BBC, claims that the Taliban has been at war with itself following the loss of their leader were just “rumours”, while the unanimous election of the new Taliban leader… totally Halal mate, straight down the line, fair dinkum and jolly hockey sticks, hurrah.

Hot air for U2

The BBC and U2, eh? Hand in glove, they go. I can’t say I was surprised to find a pretty meaningless article on the BBC frontpage all day which described how the frontman of Talking Heads had bitched a little about U2’s lavishly funded world tour. The article can’t decide if it’s the obscene costs of the tour, or its obscene carbon footprint that’s the problem. But it gives the Edge the chance to say “We’re spending the money on our fans”. Awww. The biscuit, however, is taken by the video that accompanies the article. Though cynical, I was expecting it to show some interview of a sort regarding the criticisms. Not a bit of it; it was instead a more or less promotional music video.

They say that there’s no such thing as bad publicity. In this case, even the title emphasised Bono’s boys as victims rather than culprits: “U2 brand green criticism ‘unfair'”. I’m tempted to call it free publicity on our national broadcaster, but I rather think that it’s a question of backscratching after U2’s “impromtu” concert at BBC headquarters earlier this year. In any case, most irritating.

Dirigism rules, ok!

Well, maybe not that exactly, but something close to the BBC’s heart- the idea that Government should intervene as much as possible in the economy. In this article the BBC gives us a tale of two factories, one in Wales, one in England. One helped by the Welsh Assembly, one not helped by Westminster, you see where this is going?

It would be a neat little comparison were they not comparing a dishwasher assembly plant with LDV van manufacturers. It’s surely apples and pears. Subsidies of the sort offered in Wales may work for light industrial jobs, but probably not for complex manufacturers like LDV. Yet the BBC give vent to their conviction that Government should be helping, and there is no balancing voice.

A second dimension to the article is the free publicity and praise it offers to the devolved Welsh Assembly, which is made without reference to the Barnett formula by which the Welsh get a thousand squid more per head than the English from the central kitty- thereby potentially more than funding the scheme the BBC is set on praising, the so-called “ProAct”.

Naturally I sympathise with the workers who are struggling, and I also resent the Government’s preference for their corporate socialist big banking buddies, but the BBC is trying desperately to pretend that from the crisis there are good socialist lessons to be learnt. There aren’t. But even if there were some, there are other sides which should be considered alongside- such as the question of the long term sustainability of certain businesses (eg. especially automobile) in changing times, and the need for a low tax environment to help swell investment.

Serious season

I notice that the BBC is running a headline story about a Government move to stop so-called queue jumping for organ donation.

A couple of points come to mind. One is that Parliament is not sitting, so the Government is spinning. The BBC is playing along with this. Another is that it is a wonderful piece of spin: fears of rich foreigners plundering our virgin NHS system, only to be sent packing by St. State. According to the chosen quangocrat: “Confidence in the transplant system should increase once money is removed from the equation”.

Well of course; it’s not as if the NHS costs money, after all.

Quangocrats, the Labour Government and the BBC in blissful unintermediated union. Ah, those summer trysts- if only the whole year could be summer.

Sunhats off

Yes, sunhats off to Tyler at Burning our Money who draws something to my attention: the reason the BBC are biased on the “climate change” issue is because they decided to be two years ago. This decision may be rather more controversial now than then, as sceptics are more organised and data more negative for the AGW hypothesis. DV mentioned a related study last week.

I can’t have been reading the excellent Mr Tyler’s blog back then, or if I did I missed it; certainly Jeremy Paxman seemed to have missed it when he said that “People who know a lot more than I do may be right when they claim that [global warming] is the consequence of our own behaviour. I assume that this is why the BBC’s coverage of the issue abandoned the pretence of impartiality long ago” (as chronicled in our sidebar). He assumed correctly (in a sense), but he needn’t have assumed. [in fact I think Paxman may have been having a dig here: a long time ago being well before it became official BBC policy]

Tyler reported in ’07 (and I missed) that the BBC in their report called, ahem, “safeguarding impartiality”, said that “The BBC has held a high-level seminar with some of the best scientific experts, and has come to the view that the weight of evidence no longer justifies equal space being given to the opponents of the consensus.”

So that was that: by fiat the BBC decided the narrative had changed; what numerous people from scientific and non-scientific backgrounds either refused to be convinced by or actively disbelieved had actually to be promulgated.

This is excellent evidence that the “impartiality” meme on which the BBC base their public service justification is unworkable, at least if they are also to “educate and inform”. To do these they need to know “the truth” about newsworthy issues, which is oxymoronic really- they wouldn’t be news if they were as predicable as “truth” (for want of a better word) needs to be. Apple falls from tree- shock, disbelief!

Anyway, yesterday Roger Harrabin started criticising the Met Officefor failed forecasts- the same Met Office which has been teaching the Beeb all about global warming. Is this preparatory for what could be known as the BBC’s Great Climate Trackback?

An inconvenient vote

Graham Dines of East Anglia Times weighs in on on the BBC’s (lack of) coverage of UKIP in the Norwich North by-election.

Out of fairness to the BBC, I can see how they are straining to accommodate the unpalatable rise of the Conservative opposition. They need some solace and we can’t expect them to reflect the full range of sentiment opposed to theirs, can we? Can we?


“Just why the BBC decided that the Greens were more meritworthy than UKIP is not difficult to discern. It’s all down to the unpalatable policy of quitting the EU. UKIP goes against the authorised version of Britain’s relationship with Europe and therefore should be ridiculed.”

UKIP are still pressing the BBC over their denial of UKIP’s evident electoral appeal (which many commenters here noted independently, as well). It seems to me utterly unsurprising that the Beeb would violate due impartiality during an election- the very time when they ought to be able to hold themselves together. They fail in every other so-called ideal which farcically underpins their public remit.