COMRADES UNITED

Did you see this?

The threat of industrial action by BBC journalists and technicians during the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee weekend in June has been withdrawn. Unions had balloted for a strike over a “derisory” pay deal. But the NUJ, Bectu and Unite unions have now released a joint statement with the BBC saying they had agreed to “key principles” on pay, performance ratings and redeployment.

I wonder why UNITE get such an easy ride on the BBC…..?

COME DINE WITH ME…

Well then, it looks like “Red” Ed Miliband and Trade Union baron “Red” Len LcCluskey do enjoy dining together. Yes, the uber militant  Unite Leader McCluskey and Miliband have had 8 meals together since Ed became leader – care of McCluskey and the comrades and the BBC dutifully report this. And then leave it there.

No follow up news items on Today or any other programme as to WHY the Labour leader seems to want to dine on such a frequent basis with a man who hangs a photo of Lenin on his wall. No follow up questioning as to how such meetings could be seen by even the most neutral observer as undermining Miliband’s claims that he is not a puppet of the Unions, the Unions whose activism and votes placed him in his current role.

I am sure some people may share MY view that the Labour Party under Miliband in particular is behaving simply as an extension of the hard left Trade Unions like Unite (the single biggest funder) and yet the BBC seem curiously reluctant to flag this up as an issue worthy of prime time discussion. They are, of course, delighted to question every nuance of where the Conservatives get their money, who Cameron chooses to dine with in Number Ten – and in my view rightly so BUT why the reticence when it comes to Labour? If the Labour Party is an extension of the Trade Union agenda, is the BBC simply the broadcasting wing ?

It seem to me that the lack of independence of Labour from those who fund it (Unions now hand over 90% + of cash and non cash funding) is a genuine news story – every bit as important as what Frances Maude says. But it is not something the BBC seeks to run with for reasons we can but speculate.

BBC Bias And Wisconsin – Again

So the Union-led petition to force a recall election against Republican Gov. Scott Walker has gathered 1 million signatures. That’s nearly twice what’s required to force the recall. Of course, that’s only if the signatures are valid. If you get your information on this story from the BBC, you’d have no idea there’s even a hint of impropriety. The BBC news brief sanitizes the whole thing, spins it to make Walker look bad, and even misleads the reader about the result of the recall elections from last summer.

Let’s start with how the BBC spins it to make Walker look bad.

The governor has become a conservative hero and put the Midwest state at the centre of the US labour rights debate.

The BBC News Online sub-editor decided to leave it as an anti-Unions thing, and censor the news that Walker balanced the state budget for the first time in ages. That’s actually what has earned Walker respect from conservatives. Curbing public sector union powers helped him do that, sure. But it’s about fixing the state economy, not just attacking unions. The BBC leaves out how this is about fixing the economy, leaving Walker looking like a villain. They do it again a couple sentences later:

The governor’s opponents are also angry at the $800m (£521m) in budget cuts to schools passed under him.

 But they leave out the fact that this actually improved things. Of course, the BBC has form on censoring news about this issue in Wisconsin. What the BBC didn’t want you to know at the time is that schools have saved well over $100 million since Walker cut down union power and passed his budget. In fact, one school district went from a major deficit to a budget surplus thanks to Walker’s plan. Instead, the BBC spins it so you think he hurt the schools. Does that sound familiar?
The BBC says this about the previous round of recalls:

Two Republican state senators were recalled in earlier elections.

What the BBC censors because it hurts the Narrative is that the other five Republicans kept their seats, and the Republicans kept their majority – albeit just barely – in the legislature. But that fact won’t help lead you to think that this new petition means the people of Wisconsin want the Republicans out, so the BBC leaves it out.

One last bit of anti-Walker spin is where the article mentions that he’s raised over $5 million for the fight, taking care to point out that half of it is from out of state. What the BBC doesn’t want you to know is that out-of-state Unions and other partisan PACs are pouring money into it for the Democrat cause. In last summer’s recall elections, Democrat-supporting groups from out of state even outspent Republican groups from out of state, to the tune of $23.4 million to $20.5 million. Does anyone think this time will be any different? So it’s grossly dishonest for the BBC to mention only Walker’s out-of-state money. But that helps the Narrative of “the hard-working innocent lambs against nasty Republicans and their moneymen”.

Now let’s look at the worst part of all this: the 1 million signatures. What the BBC doesn’t want you to know is that there’s most likely a massive amount of fraud going on.  The state board overseeing the whole thing has already admitted there’s going to be a problem with duplicate signatures. It sure doesn’t help matters that the far-Left group, One Wisconsin Now, actually encouraged people to sign multiple petitions, knowing that they won’t all be caught. One guy has even proudly claimed to have signed 80 times. Not a word about this from the BBC.

Then there’s the fact that the Government Accountability Board (GAB) is admitting they won’t be trying to dismiss all those Adolf Hitler and Mickey Mouse signatures if they have Wisconsin addresses and are dated properly. So there’s voter fraud built into the system, to help Democrats. But remember, kids, according to the BBC, only Republicans engage in voter fraud.  In fact, things are so bad that the GAB is hiring a bunch of temporary staff to sort through all this crap. The GAB, however, is an independent group. So when the BBC reports this:

Supporters of the governor are being trained to spot any duplicate or falsified signatures.

You have to say they’re lying. Only supporters of the governor are being trained? No, BBC, it’s the staff of the independent GAB. This is meant to create the suspicion in your mind that it’s only a Republican plot to disenfranchise honest Democrats, nothing to do with massive Democrat fraud. There isn’t even a hint of suspicion raised here, not a single eyebrow raised. Why do you think it’s going to take 60 days to sort this out?

Sure, it’s only an unsigned news brief, no time to mention all the details, right? So why are the details the piece does mention so dishonest? You can read about previous examples of BBC censorship and dishonesty about the goings on in Wisconsin here, here, and here. Don’t trust the BBC on US issues.

U.S. News The BBC Thinks You Don’t Need To Know

While they’re eager to tell you the latest updates from the White House spokesman, celebrity gossip, irrelevant death tattle, a human interest story about a US Communist who moved to the paradise of China, every new detail on a celebrity rape case, and a non-story about how a manufacturing increase really isn’t one (but it made for a good opportunity for a headline to mislead the lazy reader into thinking that The Obamessiah’s economy is on the mend), there are quite a few things going on in the US that might be of more interest and import.

The BBC’s North America editor has been rather silent since his last dismissal of a newly-declared Republican candidate for an election that’s 18 months away. One would think there are a number of issues on which he could comment. For example:

Public sector unions versus the Government is the biggest story in Britain right now (in between live coverage of Kate & Wils’ Canadapalooza, I mean). One would think that the exact same issue coming to a boil in a few US states would be worth your attention. Only the BBC has been silent about the events in Wisconsin and Ohio.

Many people here probably remember a few months back when the BBC actually did report on public sector union protests against the evil Republicans who (insert NUT/PCS talking point about attacking the poorest and most vulnerable here). As was pointed out here at the time, the BBC’s coverage was biased in favor of the unions and censored news of violence and unlawful behavior by union supporters which might harm the cause in the public eye. The point is, though, that the BBC though you should be informed about the union’s cause, all the way until they lost. Then….silence.

The problem for the BBC is that it turns out that at least part of Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s victory has, contrary to the protests at the time, in fact been good for schools. One school district even went from a $400k budget deficit to a $1.5 million surplus. Sure, there are about to be 354 teachers and a number of desk-jockeys laid off because of budget cuts, but there is also going to be a big increase in school vouchers. More independent schools equals more choice for students and parents, and more jobs for teachers: if they’re worth it.

Seeing as how this is directly relevant to what’s going on in Britain right now, this ought to be of interest to you. Except it’s on the wrong side of the Narrative.

In Ohio, another Republican Governor who defeated the incumbent Democrat in November just passed a major state budget in which he cut a lot of stuff and practically made up for a $6 billion+ deficit over the next two years – all without raising taxes. This is the exact opposite of what the President just recommended (and about which the BBC made sure to inform you), and the kind of plan which Justin Webb told you doesn’t exist.

If that’s not enough to make this story relevant, then consider that Ohio is considered by most pundits to be the poster child of “swing states”. Where Ohio goes in mid-term elections, so goes the rest of the country in the next general election. You can bet that Beeboids assigned to the US know all about this concept. They have no problem covering the early fits and starts of the election campaign itself (we’ve already had plenty of coverage of the Republican debate, speeches, appearances, Sarah Palin, etc.), but the BBC is going to be shy about mentioning this because Ohio made a major turn towards Republicans last November, taking the Governor’s seat, as well as winning most of the state’s Congressional seats, and a bunch of other top offices. And yes, the state legislature is majority Republican now. This budget is the exact kind of thing the Tea Party movement has been pushing for over the last two years and more, in a state which is often looked to as a weather vane for the country, and the BBC remains silent.

California has such severe budget problems that they’re practically bankrupt (when did you last hear about this from the BBC?), and need every last dime they can scrape up. So what did the State Legislature do? They passed a law requiring sales tax on online sales from Amazon.com. Sounds simple enough: install a new tax where none existed before, raise loads of revenue. Except Amazon told them beforehand that if the tax was enacted, they’d shut down the accounts of all the Amazon Affiliates in the state because it would Amazon’s profit (this was really about big brick-and-mortar retailers fighting their online competition). So when the tax went into effect the other day, about 25,000 people logged on to find out their accounts were shut down.

Result: The $151 million in income tax these people pay every year just vanished into thin air, in exchange for….um….no sales tax revenue for the state. California, by the way, is run by a far-Left Governor and a Democrat-controlled State Legislature. Whether one agrees with Amazon or California, this is a pretty major deal that has more informative news value than a special feature comparing Michelle Bachmann with Sarah Palin. Although that depends on what one’s newsgathering priorities are.

While Justin Webb can tell you that the Republicans don’t have a plan to reduce the debt, and only raising taxes on the rich is the way forward, nobody at the BBC is going to tell you that The Obamessiah’s plan to bail out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – the failed institutions which fueled the mortgage crash that led to the economic crisis we’re all still dealing with – will cost 2.5 times more than He said it would. $317 billion down the toilet, to prop up two failed government-funded organizations, which will only continue the damage they’re doing to the housing market.

His big stimulus package? All that “quantitative easing” Stephanie ‘Two Ed’s Flanders was sure would work? Didn’t do a thing. $2 trillion (!) down the tubes, all thanks to ideology. Not a word from the BBC. Again, this is exactly the kind of thing that fueled the growth of the Tea Party movement, and you can bet will be relevant in the coming election.

The BBC did find time today to mention that corn prices have dropped due to a bumper crop, suggesting that this is a sign that food prices will finally start to drop as well. Except they don’t tell you that ethanol subsidies have screwed things up so badly that both political parties voted at last to drop the massive tax breaks for ethanol farmers. These subsidies mean less people grow the corn we (and beef cattle) eat in favor of “dirty corn” for fuel, so food prices go up. The In this case, the Tea Party-inspired Republicans actually voted to raise taxes. One would think this kind of flip-flop is something the BBC would be eager to report with cries of “hypocrisy!”, never mind how it’s totally relevant to the story of a temporary drop in corn prices. Only they don’t think it’s worth your interest. Why?

Remember last week when the President announced he’d release 30 million barrels from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in order to help reduce skyrocketing fuel prices? It turns out that He learned a lesson from last year’s Gulf Oil Spill and waved the Jones Act to allow foreign ships to come in and deliver it. One would have thought this is the kind of smart move the BBC would tell you about. Only they’d have to remind you of one of His errors they censored before, so never mind.

That’s enough US news for now, so I’d like to ask everyone here two questions:

1. Does the BBC, with all the staff assigned to the scene, keep you informed on US issues you think are important?

2. What kind of stories does the BBC ignore which you think they ought to report?

IT’S 1926 ALL OVER AGAIN….

BBC seem to be enjoying the bellicose threats coming from the Trade Union comrades. Today we have the (helpful for the Unions) news headline from the BBC that Unison and other unions could bring about the biggest wave of strikes since 1926. This, of course is in defence of the unsustainable pension provision that the State workers demand, beyond their already inflated salaries. In a hilarious example of just providing us with one side of the narrative, the BBC quote Unison’s Dave Prentis and then invite on TUC leader Brendan Barber in order that he can provide the much needed balance by..agreeing with everything Comrade Prentis said! This is a perfect BBC meme – evil Tory led Coalition attacking helpless low paid kindly public sector workers. Danny Alexander is getting it in the neck for daring to suggest a degree of balance and at every point the BBC is selling the Union line. What a disgrace.

THE WORKERS, UNITED, WILL NEVER BE…RESPONSIBLE?

The BBC likes nothing better than a strike. Or two. This is even more true when Labour is not in power. So it ran this item on Today this morning with Comrade Mark Serwotka even as it runs this item on the main news portal. The State Broadcaster assiduously propagates the idea that the “poor” downtrodden public sector masses have no choice to but to strike and if that could bring about an Autumn of discontent then so much the better. Tragically, given the gutlessness of the Coalition, I fear Cameron will u-turn on any plans to make the Public Sector live in the real world – a place unknown to the BBC.

More BBC Dishonesty About Wisconsin

I’m sorry to keep making posts about this, but this time the BBC has really gone too far in their deceitfulness.

Wisconsin budget cuts: Madison rally attracts thousands

On the fifth day of such protests, opponents of the Republican state Governor, Scott Walker, outnumbered supporters of the bill.

The bill introduced in the Wisconsin congress would cut sharply the wages and benefits of public sector workers, and curtail collective bargaining.

Saturday’s rallies were peaceful despite angry chants on both sides.

“Sharply cut the wages and benefits” is union talking points. Same use of emotional, partisan language, just different choice of words than last time. But that’s not the worst part. Notice the “angry chants” were “on both sides”.

This is where the BBC disgusts me. Their Narrative about the Tea Party movement, as I’ve been reminding everyone for the last few days focused on the “anger”. There was never a raised Beeboid eyebrow at the anger of anti-Bush protests, and until now there hasn’t been a single mention about the anger of these union supporters. Until now, since they can pin blame equally on either side, thus mitigating any damage done to the Left.

But that’s still not even the worst part. This is:

Anti-Walker protester Jim Schneider, 69, waved a sign with “Hosni Mubarak?” written next to a picture of the governor, who has refused to negotiate with the unions.

Now, you might be thinking to yourself, “Hey, Dave, this is actually progress. The BBC is finally reporting on this kind of stuff when the Left does it. Not sure I agree with you here.” But then you’ll read this:

“The Egyptians have been a great example to us,” the retired teacher said. “What happens here is going to be very important to what happens in a lot of other states, just like the thing that happened in Egypt had an effect on a lot of other countries in the Middle East.”

The BBC even provides space to support this kind of behavior. They agree with the sentiment, of course. I’d like to point out, however, that for some reason the BBC decided to censor the image of the actual poster. I don’t know if it’s either of these two (Craig posted the one on the right in a comment to my last Wisconsin post), but I suspect it’s the one on the left:


In which case the BBC forgot to tell you that this guy is calling Walker a dictator. I’m sure that doesn’t help the Narrative that these area all good people, “workers”, salt of the earth, on the side of the angels. And if you missed which side you’re supposed to support, they make sure to mention that the governor “has refused to negotiate with the unions”.

And that’s it. Nothing else from the BBC about any signage or angry rhetoric. No mention of Hitler signs or union supporters comparing Governor Walker with Nazis. Instead, the BBC tries to play it as the anger being equal from both sides.

Not only that, but notice also how the only speaker for the Tea Party group was “Joe the Plumber” (for whom the BBC made sure to spell out his real name, a reminder of the moment when the BBC and Leftoid media tried to smear him as being a fake), but no mention at all of Herman Cain. Cain is an actual pundit and has a very large following. His name is even tossed around in discussions of 2012.

Why censor the news about Mr. Cain, BBC? Is it ’cause he is black?

There’s one more bit of information about these protests that’s been censored by the BBC: apparently a few alleged physicians (some actually med students) are handing out fake sick notes so the protesters can get off work. One of them even gave a sick note to Andrew Breitbart. Needless to say, this is a violation of federal law. But the BBC will keep quiet. Just like they’re keeping shtum about the fact that their beloved Obamessiah has sent His minions (Organizing for America) to help rouse the rabbles.

Don’t trust the BBC on US issues.

UPDATE: BBC Changes The Story From Wisconsin, But Censors Even More

UPDATE to my post yesterday about the union protests in Wisconsin. The BBC has dramatically changed the news brief since I wrote the post. They’ve clearly updated it to reflect the Dems going AWOL. I think that part of the story deserves its own report, but never mind. Unfortunately, NewsSniffer has no trace of this report at all, so no hard proof other than the quotes I pulled yesterday.

Changes made: Headline and lead, as they updated it following story developments. This meant the removal of that emotionally charged language from the intro, which is a good thing. They even give quotes from both the Dems and the Governor, providing actual balance for a change. In addition, the sub-editor inserted the following qualifier into the line I highlighted about the misrepresentation of the bill and bargaining rights: “except for matter of salary”. Not perfect, but definitely an improvement, slightly more of a reflection of the reality I provided. At least the union talking points have been mitigated. That was a main component of my complaint.

Unfortunately, the BBC decided to censor the part about the unions going to the Governor’s home and harassing his family. This is not good. It’s the BBC sanitizing the protesters and hiding the truth about behavior from the Left. They also continue to censor the news of the teachers busing in students, the Hitler/Nazi stuff, and the other violent rhetoric. If this had been a Tea Party protest, the only photos provided by the BBC would be of some idiot with a Hitler poster. That double standard is still entrenched in BBC editorial policy.

One step forward, two steps backwards, I guess.

UPDATE to the UPDATE: Click here to see the BBC’s slideshow of the protests in Wisconsin. Not a swastika in sight. Compare and contrast this to their coverage of protests they don’t like, e.g. Tea Party ones. Where’s the BBC mewling about the “anger” here? Instead, it’s all presented as perfectly justifiable concern. All we ever heard from Mark Mardell and his colleagues about the Tea Party was how angry we were, and how we never liked the President anyway. No mention here of how Democrat unions never liked the Republican Governor anyway. Did any Tea Partiers ever try to storm a government building? How many arrests have been made at Tea Party protests across the country? I forget.

UPDATE II: Now the Wisconsin Education Association Council has published the home addresses of state legislators (link to pdf file is directly below the big red Stop sign). Amusingly, the union supporters in the comments on that page are calling the Republicans “fascists”. Hey, BBC: Did any Tea Party protests harass people and their families in their own homes? Was this ever encouraged by any Tea Party groups, BBC? Who’s angry and dangerous, then? What happened to the President’s wonderful words in Tucson about togetherness? He’s not being very bi-partisan or helping cool down the rhetoric now, is He? BBC Narrative failure.

BBC Bias Favors Unions, Even In The US, And Censors News Of Violent Rhetoric

For the last couple of days, there have been major events in Wisconsin involving state government legislation intended to curtail public sector union entitlements in order to save money. Like several other states, Wisconsin faces a deep economic crisis and needs to save money and cut spending any way it can.

The newly installed Republican Governor, Scott Walker, has said that anyone who didn’t see this huge budget crunch coming must have been in a “coma”. He’s recently set forth a new budget plan with big spending cuts, including what gets spent on public sector unions. Needless to say, the unions are livid, and have taken to the streets.

The BBC reports it this way:

Wisconsin public workers protest over anti-union bill

Wisconsin public employees have crowded into the state capitol to protest the government’s plan to curtail their right to collective bargaining.

Teachers, prison guards and others say a Republican-sponsored bill would severely cut into their incomes.

In case anyone might get suspicious about the obvious trade union talking point here – ‘cut into their incomes’ – all doubts are dispelled immediately:

‘Scariest thing ever’

In Madison, the capital city of the mid-western state, the Republican-led legislature on Thursday was set to pass a bill pushed by Republican Governor Scott Walker that has been described by commentators as the most aggressive anti-union law in the nation.

The bill would eliminate most public workers’ collective bargaining rights and dramatically increase the amount they must contribute to their pensions and health insurance coverage.

“This is the scariest thing I’ve ever seen,” physics teacher Betsy Barnard told the Wisconsin State Journal newspaper of Mr Walker’s bill. “This is going to change Wisconsin forever.”

“Dramatically increase”? Here’s what the BBC doesn’t want you to know about that:

Currently most state employees pay nothing toward their pensions and only a modest amount for their insurance.

Yeah, I suppose having to pay a little something when you’ve been paying zero might seem “dramatic”. But that’s the union perspective the BBC is presenting, and not an objective fact. The use of emotional language here is advocacy behavior and not journalism. And what about the claim that the bill will “eliminate most” bargaining rights?

It’s also a bit of BS:

Walker, remember, is not removing unions’ fundamental power to bargain for wages. He is demanding that state workers put 5.8% of their wages toward retirement and that they cover 12.6% of their health care premiums, which would still have them paying more than $100 less a month than the average schmoe. He is also proposing that elected officials determine the shape of employee benefits without having to bargain them, and this as much as the added cost has unions crying “unfair.”

More reality can be found here:

Unions still could represent workers, but could not seek pay increases above those pegged to the Consumer Price Index unless approved by a public referendum. Unions also could not force employees to pay dues and would have to hold annual votes to stay organized.

In exchange for bearing more costs and losing bargaining leverage, public employees were promised no furloughs or layoffs. Walker has threatened to order layoffs of up to 6,000 state workers if the measure does not pass.

Instead of reporting (or, hell, even copying and pasting from the wire service) objectively, the BBC uses the emotional language of union talking propaganda, quite dramatically misrepresenting reality.

Next the BBC reports on the actual protests:

With teachers – and some students – massing in Madison to protest, dozens of schools were shut on Wednesday and Thursday.

Hundreds of protesters spent Wednesday night in the rotunda of the state capitol building.

Police officers stood guard outside Mr Walker’s office as angry protesters stood outside shouting for his recall from office.

How did the students get there? Aren’t they supposed to be in school? Well, no, because the teachers’ union closed schools for the day and bused the students in for the cause (video proof here).

How angry were the protesters, BBC?

Angry workers also surrounded Mr Walker’s family home this week, the New York Times reported.

How did they find out his address? Simple: the unions gave it out and sent their workers to harass the man’s family. They also went to the home of the Republican Speaker of the House in Wisconsin. Yet the BBC wouldn’t dream of frowning at this behavior in the way they did at the Tea Party protests. Quite a contrast. No suggestion of violence or dark forces behind it all.

Police in Madison, Wisconsin, estimated that 20,000 people rallied at the capital on Wednesday.

And that’s it from the BBC. Here’s a video of these heroic people. Guess to whom they’re comparing the Governor of Wisconsin?

In case that’s not enough, there’s this:

How about it, BBC? Any thoughts? You guys were oh, so critical when the odd Tea Party protester had a similar poster about The Obamessiah. What do you say now? Nothing, of course. Moving on…..

But Republicans, who were handed election victories in November in Wisconsin, say they have a mandate to cut government spending.

They say that despite the protests, voters approve of the cuts, which the Republicans say are needed to balance the state budget and avoid job losses.

Oh, those nasty Republicans, eh? Here’s what else the BBC doesn’t want you to know about what’s going in Wisconsin: a bunch of Democrat State Senators have gone AWOL because they don’t want to vote for it. If they voted against it, they’d show up. But they’re trying to boycott the vote instead. BBC: ZZzzzzzzzz

In sum: Biased in favor of the unions, use of emotional language which favors one side, censoring or misrepresenting of facts which harms the unions’ position. Don’t trust the BBC on US issues, or issues involving unions.

PART OF THE UNION…..

I know you’ve been talking about the topic over on the Open Thread but I couldn’t help but notice a/ Just how EASY a ride comrade Brendan Barber got on Today this morning and b/ how blatantly pro-Trade Union this page is. Just look at the headline email under the main story…

I’ve never been a member of a union but I will certainly be joining any demonstrations the TUC organises against cuts. Dorothy Stannard

All together now, “You don’t get me I’m part of the Union”..

UNITED WE STAND…

Did you listen to this interview with Comrade Derek Simpson? I felt that Justin Webb was nipping at his ankles but holding off from taking a bite out of him. Why was no-one from BA interviewed? It seems obvious that Unite are losing this one but Comrade Simpson was dodging any responsibility for this and Webb let him.

GOLD PLATED SECTOR NEEDS MORE GILT!

Had to laugh at the easy ride (Scroll down) afforded Mark Serwotka of the Public and Commercial Services Union when he was droning on about the vital need for further substantial wage increases. The BBC seems keen to promote the idea that the State sector has had a tough old ride in recent years and needs all the extra cash it can possibly get – now there’s a surprise!

NICE MAN JACK

When he died, the BBC paid fulsome tribute to him. Why even living saint Tony Benn declared him “one of the finest men I have ever met.” I refer to Trades Union baron Jack Jones. Then, a week ago, the BBC informed us that “he was briefly considered by the Soviet KGB as one of their agents, according to an official history of MI5.” Panic not, dear reader, because ” he only passed on Labour party documents, not secrets, and was last paid by the Russians in 1984.

So, Jack may have “briefly” been on the KGB payroll but heck, he was only passing on Labour documents, harmless stuff surely?

‘Fraid not. It appears that nice man Jack sold British secrets to the Soviets for 45 YEARS. Not sure how that can be passed off as “briefly”, can you? Also as f0r those innocuous sounding “Labour documents” they included plans for nuclear disarmament, military secrets, the private opinions of Harold Wilson and Jim Callaghan, and – crucially – the names of those in politics and the unions whom Comrade Jack believed might help the Communist cause. Notably, the files are said to contain slurs about people in every position of British public life – including key figures in the Armed Forces, MI5 and MI6.

Let us hope the BBC now moves to provide a somewhat more rounded portrait of this much loved…er… traitor. In the interests of balance, of course.