Just before budget day, the BBC were cheering on the massive profits Tesco announced. My contention was that this rather unusual BBC approval for vast corporate profits was aimed at creating good mood music as in “green shoots of recovery” ahead of Darling’s dismal Budget. Things reverted to form this morning however and I invite you to listen to the sneering tone Angus Stickler adopts when interviewing the Pfizer representative at the start of this item. The disgust for “profits” drips off his lips.
The narrative is pretty clear – it woz the Banks wot done it! The BBC is retailing the government spin that our current financial meltdown is primarily down to the reckless behaviour of the Banks – the so-called “Casino Banking”. If you read this BBC article you will note that it finishes by giving the Lib-Dems the final word on the issue, allowing the wretched Nick Clegg the opportunity to push one more polished knife into the back of the Banks. But it is not that simple and we are not that gullible. Why does the BBC shy away from talking about casino politics? After more than a decade of debt driven “growth” with Brown crowing he had done away with boom and bust isn’t there at least a case for Brown to answer? So why is the BBC so coy about prosecuting this as it seeks to identify all the causes of the depres…sorry recession we are now living in? During all those years when the Conservatives were in power, the BBC was in full on attack mode. But once Labour entered Downing Street, the reverse gear was engaged and a decade of benign indifference to the handling of the UK economy commenced – and clearly old habits die hard. Can you IMAGINE if Thatcher were still PM and she had assured us that she had abolished boom and bust the BBC response? But the BBC allows Brown to hunker in his bunker and instead reserves the bile for the Bankers.
The BBC seems to be at the fore for propagating the Government view that any bonus payment is wrong if tax-payers money is involved. Currently the banks are at the heart of this debate, with the likes of little Yvette Cooper popping up on the Today programme this morning to demand that bankers exercise “moral responsibility” and forego any bonus payments to which they may be legally entitled. Perhaps that it fair enough given the deplorable state of some banks management but what about all those juicy bonus payments that so enrich those who work for the NHS Trusts, who work in the Civil Service, who work in Local Government, and who work for the BBC? Isn’t it “morally responsible” for all of them at all levels to show restraint at this difficult time and walk away from all such tax-payer funded largesse? Or is the chance to beat up on the private finance sector just to good an opportunity for Labour to pass?
Did you see Newsnight shilling for the complete nationalisation of British banking? It strikes me that as this financial crisis deepens, those such as the BBC are taking the opportunity to advance their own agenda that the State should own everything, just as it owns the BBC. That way, the BBC secures its own parasitic position. Also, is it just me or is John McFall omnipresent on the BBC these days since he espouses the Statist values the BBC places such value upon.
The United Kingdom’s small to medium sized businesses (SME’S) are the backbone of our economy. They generate almost 50% of our GDP, and employ millions of people in genuinely wealth-creating jobs (Unlike the State sector, for instance). Yet I picked up this casual report on the Beeb that says more and more of these businesses are planning to take an extra break over Christmas purely to try and save money. The benign report finishes by reassuring us that government “has announced new measures to help small firms in the pre-Budget report, including the ability to spread tax bills, and increased access to loans.” Yes, but the government has also delighted in tangling small business up in endless Brownian-generated expensive bureaucracy; the government has systematically raised taxation on small business; the government has imposed expensive liabilities on small business via its ludicrous “equality” agenda. I’d like the BBC to report the ENTIRE picture as to what Mr Broon has done to our SME’s, not this sanitised version.
OK then, let me be clear about this from the start. I am all in favour of incompetent business being punished since that is the essence of the free market, as the strong and efficient prosper and the weak and unprofessional fall away. So in that regard I welcome the investigation the BBC has conducted into the private ambulance operator in Birmingham uncovering totally unacceptable practices.
But there is something about this that bothers me and it lies in the almost malicious glee with which the BBC “uncovers” this failure in the private sector. If you read through this you will come to the curious line from Sam Oestreicher, of the militant health union Unison, who says that privatising services was “always going to cause problems. Private sector providers, their priority is profit not the patient. We are seeing the growth of an uncontrolled and unregulated industry as far as the NHS is concerned.” My question is given the horrendous numbers of patients who die in our NHS wards across the UK, having acquired infection in the filthy wards, why does the BBC not investigate how public sector standards kill more than even Islamic terrorists could dream? I’ll tell you why; the BBC shows an underlying contempt for private enterprise and instead likes to prop up thoroughly discredited NHS standards such as those extolled by Mr Oestreicher.
If there is one concept that is guaranteed to raise hackles at the BBC, it is the idea that government might seek to cut taxes. For years now the BBC has assiduously retailed the Labour line that any cut in taxation would result in less doctorsnursesnteachers and so as Prudence Brown has cranked up taxation, the Conservative Party backed away from the idea of cutting tax (wrongly in my view). But now that dear Prudence has mired the UK economy in recession, all of sudden Labour is now making noises of tax cuts. As are the Lib-Dems! So the Tories under Boy David have been forced to come out and say that a future Conservative government would look to cut taxation. However what got my attention this morning was on Today circa 6.30am when John Humphrys was sneering at the Conservative notion that tax cuts could be paid for through efficiency savings. Humphrys seemed much more comfortable with the Labour notion that in order to cut taxes you just borrow more and more and more. It might be news to fat cat BBC presenters like Mr Humphrys BUT there is no organisation in this land that, if pushed, could not find efficiency savings. In fact this is a central engine of effective capitalism. But in the neo-socialist cossetted world of license-payer funded indulgences, Humphrys seems unable to grasp this key economic tenet. Labour under Brown has built up a bloated public sector which, like the BBC, could provide substantial savings were the axe to be taken to parts of it. But the BBC prefers to wallow in the tax and spend philosophy of Labour and that is why it will prove very difficult for Cameron to obtain a fair hearing for his (belated) tax cuts.
So, the totally independent Bank of England slashes interest rates on the very day of the Glenrothes by-election and Nick Robinson, in full on mode, demands to know of Alistair Darling why the government does not “force” the Banks to fully reflect this cut in their rates to borrowers. Great idea, Nick. But why leave it there? How about the government “forcing” the BBC to stop ripping us off with the bloated license tax? How about the government “forcing” itself to stop ripping us off with the grotesque share of tax it takes in fuel? Why should “forcing” stop at private business, Nick?
Caught the truly appalling Patricia Hewitt being interviewed by Eddie Mair on PM. This was concerning Peter Mandelson’s suggestion that the legislation bringing about a mandatory requirement for employers to accommodate flexible working hours for all employees with children under 16 be knocked on the head, for a while. The BBC was keen to offer Hewitt this soap-box from which she could witter on about how essential for small business that this provision be activated! Now I can understand that Hewitt is supremely ignorant when it comes to the stress on small business but I thought Eddie Mair should have made the point that any business can operate such flexible hours without draconian legislation making them do so. In the past day we have seen the Labour and Conservative Party offer up ideas as to how business can be given some help in these tough times. I personally think that the Conservative Party’s ideas have been quite good, but seem to have gained little media traction within the BBC, whilst Labour’s whimsies are discussed ad infinitum.
I wonder did anyone else catch the discussion on Today between psychologist Oliver James and historian Dominic Sands just before 9am? James was advocating the need to end the US/UK economic model whilst hailing that of mainland Europe (!) whilst Sands was going along with the entire “end of days” for our consumer society motif. James also urged the return of ” old fashioned manufacturing” with a stunning disregard for contemporary economic and labour realities. This little Saturday morning left-wing love-in was entirely uncontaminated by any alternative form of thinking and so it was that when the events in the financial markets during the past few weeks were favourably compared to the fall of the USSR, there was no-one to demur from such a fatuous comment. All the debate you want to hear – just so long as it conforms to the underlying BBC narrative. How they must miss the USSR?