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?
The BBC report on the 10 0 Clock news concerning the Labour Party conference today is very interesting. The shrill calls from the comrades to nationalise, to tax and to punish capitalism further was reported with ill disguised glee and I note that new face on the block Robert Peston is very keen to advance the notion that changing economic conditions play into Gordon Brown’s court, which is verging on the surreal. There seems to be a political notion abroad amingst the media that only imposed socialism can save us from the perils of capitalism and the BBC is to the fore in subtly promoting this.
If you want a laugh, have a read of this BBC article entitled “Where now for capitalism”? Great to read the thoughts of such renowned free marketeers as….Noam Chomsky, Tony Benn, Brendan Barber. Along with other elements within the left-wing media, the BBC takes delight at the current chaos in the money markets/housing market and it is fantasising at the moment that capitalism is dying and it’s time for socialism uber alles.
Most economically illiterate line of the morning from the BBC “Given that Alitalia was government owned, how could it have gone so wrong?”
Most wishful thinking line of the morning from the BBC “Our government has banned short-selling(in the money market) but the Russian government has banned all selling”
From first thing in the morning to last thing at night, the BBC spews out a relentless diet of left wing TOXIC bias.
Again early this morning on the business section of the Today programme between 6am and half pas the hourt, I listened to a BBC correspondent suggest that the state sector had suffered in recent years with very modest wage increases. This was related to the TUC conference today where the comrades are seeking to encourage Brown and Darling to open the cheque-book for some inflation-busting wage increases for the army of state workers. Now I appreciate that the BBC is PART of the State but please, can we not just have the facts? You know the facts I’m talking about, don’t you? The ones that show that average state sector worker now earns MORE than his private sector equivalent? The ones that show that the average state sector worker has enjoyed years of wage increases way greater than those awarded in the private sector? The ones that show that 99% of state sector workers enjoy final salary pension schemes (compared to 18% in the private sector)? If we want to debate the merits of wage increases in the state sector, can we please have the full economic background and not just selective cherry-picking by biased BBC journalists aimed at making us feel sorry for the state?
It’s clear that the BBC is sympathetic to those politicians who favour raiding the cash assets of the energy companies as a means to obtain cash to then bribe, sorry I mean help “poorer families” struggling to pay their bills. This article is typical of BBC bias. It starts by putting the case in favour of the alleged “windfall tax”. Then, it provides space for an opposing view. But it then carefully segues the recent profits of the energy companies with a poll from the Observer to suggest that the majority of the public favour this tax grab. All very subtle and all contrived to convey the idea that government raiding the profits of private business is an honourable and worthy course of action.
I know you’ve been discussing this over on the open thread but I’ve been away all day and didn’t want to let the BBC’s coverage of the great Northern Rock debacle today to pass without some comment. I listened to the Today coverage and then again to that on the PM programme and it was quite amazing to hear the BBC commentators blithely pass off the £3bn that is being wasted on top of the £26bn from last year as just one more economic necessity in this credit crunch world. I think it cuts to the mindset that characterises the BBC, it sees nothing wrong in principle with government taking £££billions of taxpayers cash and just peeing it up against the wall. Expenditure without responsibility is the name of the game and the fact that Brown and his pals have entirely screwed up over Northern Rock, costing us all a fortune, all in order to sustain the mortgages of those in the Labour voting north-east of England heartland does not seem outrageous to the BBC. It seems natural.