Category Archives: Television

Nothing To See Here. Move Along, Please…

If you only took your news from television, radio or the right-wing press, you’d be forgiven for thinking the Labour Party is uniquely violent, sexist and anti-Semitic, and the Tories are a party of fair-minded individuals, who stand up for the rights of oppressed minorities. That’s not only the image the political hacks want to give us, it’s a narrative that’s pushed out regularly and supported by a conspiracy of silence over the misdeeds of Tory MPs. But every now and again, a story comes along that disrupts that image. Today was one of those days and you could quite literally hear the wagons being hastily circled as the mainstream media outlets desperately attempted a damage limitation exercise on behalf of the Tories.

After the furore over Jared O’Mara’s sexist comments he made 15 years ago, and Clive Lewis’s use of the word ‘bitch’ in a conference event hosted by Novara Media, the Tories were quick out of the traps with their condemnations, with Nusrat Ghani demanding an “urgent debate” on the matter.  Here she is, claiming on Twitter that sexism and misogyny is “systemic” in the Labour Party.

Doesn’t she look the fool? She doesn’t think so, but then Tories have never been self-aware and as for thinking, they just don’t do it. Ghani herself says absolutely nothing about Boris Johnson’s numerous racist outbursts. But when it comes to racists in their own party, Tory MPs like Ghani are noticeably silent. The London-centric media is also silent and yet, the weakest accusations of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party are treated with great seriousness.

The BBC for its part, sourced the story from Guido Fawkes, a site with a less than unblemished reputation and whose founder, Paul Staines, a self-styled ‘libertarian’ has a love for tyrants. Indeed, as many people on Twitter pointed out, Guido has used the word ‘bitch’ not once, not twice but several times, and yet, the BBC and their allies in the Tory Party seemed, apparently, to be unaware of this. Can you imagine the BBC sourcing a story from The Canary or Evolve Politics? No, I can’t either.

This morning it was revealed that at least two Tory MPs have been accused of sexual harassment and sexism. But to see the Tories on today’s political programmes, you’d think nothing had happened. Isabel ‘Poison Ivy’ Oakeshott and Julia Hartley-Brewer, who appeared on The Andrew Marr Show and The Sunday Politics respectively, said in not so many words, “nothing to see here” and made excuses and yet, if these had been Labour MPs, they’d have been unrestrained in their condemnation and would have demanded the pair’s immediate dismissal.

Here’s Poison Ivy on Gove.

Here’s Hartley-Brewer attacking Bianca Jagger for daring to suggest that Poison Ivy apologized for “sex pests”.

No, Julia, she (Poison Ivy) didn’t have to directly apologize but she gave the impression, like you, that there was nothing to worry about.

In the tweet below, Hartley-Brewer suggests that stories of Tory sexual predators amounted to a “witch hunt”. Again, if Labour MPs had been involved, the words “witch hunt” wouldn’t appear and it would be taken as fait accompli that the MPs concerned were guilty of sexism and much else besides.

Hartley-Brewer’s position seems a little confused. This should come as no surprise, and if you’ve ever seen her on Question Time, she swings about in the wind, hoping to attract the maximum amount of applause from the audience for her ‘common sense’ views – muddled as they are. Hartley-Brewer only cares about one person: herself.

Changing the subject slightly, Hartley-Brewer, is rather fond of her schoolgirl jibes. For a supposedly ‘serious’ political commentator, she’s comes across as petty and immature. No wonder Westminster politics is in such a terrible mess when we have commentators behaving like school kids and politicians indulging in childish insults, while at the same time, infantilizing the voting public.

Here’s an example of her childish name-calling on today’s edition of The Sunday Politics.

The acrid stench of hypocrisy hangs over the pair of them, and their Tory pals.

We’re being poorly served by a weak government that has no policies, and a commentariat that thinks juvenile name-calling  and piss-poor opinion passes for serious journalism. Oh, how they squeal when those they defend are outed as sex pests.

As Corporal Jones often said in Dad’s Army: “They don’t like it up ’em”.

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The Daily Politics

Many of us already know the BBC’s attitude to the reporting of political stories is less than objective. The Daily Politics, the corporation’s flagship politics programme on BBC2 has long been the subject of a great deal of ire. Since Jeremy Corbyn became leader of the Labour Party, the overall tone of the programme has been increasingly anti-Labour but more specifically, anti-Corbyn. Any story that can be spun to cast Labour and Corbyn in a bad light is often seized upon with both hands.

Today was no different. The show’s host, Jo Coburn, pursued the Jared O’Mara sexism story not once but twice. First, she asked Nu Labourite, Chris Leslie for his view, then she asked Dawn Butler. Why is that? Because it’s pretty obvious that The Daily Politics, far from being impartial, is at the forefront of a pro-Tory propaganda exercise in which any anti-Labour story, no matter how trivial, is promoted above any other. In this case, to make matters worse, Coburn even cited her source: Guido Fawkes. Really?

One important story The Daily Politics decided to ignore is this one in which Tory MP and whip, Chris Heaton-Harris, had written to university vice chancellors requesting they provide him with details of “the names of professors […] who are involved in the teaching of European affairs, with particular reference to Brexit”.

 

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And yet, a story this important was completely ignored by The Daily Poltics? If a Labour or SNP MP had made a similar request, you can almost guarantee the story would have been covered on the programme.

This isn’t the first time that Heaton-Harris has been involved in controversy. Heaton-Harris, a self-styled ‘Eurosceptic’ was secretly filmed advocating support for James Delingpole’s anti-wind farm candidacy. The story appeared in The Guardian in 2012.

Chris Heaton-Harris, who is campaign manager for the Tories in Corby, was recorded saying he encouraged an anti-wind farm candidate to join the election race against the Tories, adding: “Please don’t tell anybody ever.”

The footage, covertly recorded by the environmental group Greenpeace, captures the MP saying the independent anti-wind farm candidate, James Delingpole, had announced his candidacy as part of a “plan” to “cause some hassle” and drive the wind issue up the political agenda.

He is also filmed claiming he helped Delingpole by providing him with “a handful of people who will sort him out”, including the deputy chairman of his own constituency party, who had stood down and then became the anti-wind candidate’s campaign agent.

Surely offering campaign advice and support for a candidate that isn’t in your party is a cause for having the whip withdrawn? For the Tories, not a bit of it. Delingpole’s views are shared by many Tories.

The Daily Politics, rather than report political news, takes an active role in making the news. Remember Stephen Doughty’s on air resignation?

Then there’s John Mann’s infamous ambushing of Ken Livingstone as he arrived at the BBC’s Westminster studio where The Daily Politics is produced.

The confrontation was repeated on the programme itself.

In August of this year, Open Democracy reported that Tory MP for Moray, Douglas Ross, made racist comments about travelling folk. The story wasn’t covered on the corporation’s television or radio news bulletins and appeared on the website only. Now, maybe that’s because The Daily Politics was off the air for the summer. However, if a Labour or SNP MP had made similar remarks, it would have been covered.

Scottish Tory councillors who made racist and sectarian comments were suspended and then quickly reinstated by the party. Still, not a peep about this from the Tories or the BBC.

The BBC’s website reported that Robert Davies, a Tory councillor on Stirling City Council, had left the party over his racist comments. Again, this wasn’t covered by The Daily Politics.

Robert Davies was one of two Tories who were suspended shortly after being elected to Stirling Council in May.

He had tweeted racist posts from a Twitter account in 2013 which was subsequently deleted.

However,

His colleague Alastair Majury, who was also suspended and then reinstated by the party, remains a Conservative councillor after making an apology to the council.

When Mr Davies and Mr Majury were reinstated by the Scottish Conservatives in August, the party insisted they had both offered “unreserved apologies for any offence caused”.

Contrast this with the calls to have Ken Livingstone expelled from the Labour Party. See the difference? Tories are given a slap on the wrist and then welcomed back with open arms, and their reputations are magically rehabilitated.

When a national broadcaster fails to report the really important stories and concentrates its efforts on smearing an opposition party, it is selling voters short. The Daily Politics is transparently biased in favour of the Tories. The programme’s editors may deny it, but the evidence is there for all to see.

Tim Fenton at Zelo Street has unearthed some interesting information on the Jared O’Mara story. You can read it here.

 

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The benefit debate is a diversion – that’s why it will go on and on

I only caught part of the ‘debate’ that followed Benefits Street, Channel 4’s latest entry into television’s hall of poverty porn shame. I watched as Allison Pearson repeated the same old myths about benefit claimants and sat in despair as the bloke from Pimlico Plumbers proceeded to repeat Pearson’s myths but with the addition of the word “fuck”. Let’s get one thing straight: these are not debates in the accepted sense of the word; these programmes are designed to attract lots of advertising revenue. They contribute nothing to the ongoing discussion about the lack of jobs and the pathetic amount of money that unemployed people are forced to live on. In the right-wing universe, if you’re poor, it’s your fault. If you lose your job through redundancy, it’s your fault, because you didn’t find a job where you couldn’t be made redundant. If that last bit sounded absurd, that’s because it is, but it’s no less absurd than the constant repetition of myths and tropes by people who have never had to struggle to feed their family and pay bills on £71 a week.

This is a reblog from Mike Sivier’s excellent blog about the Benefits Street ‘debate’.

Mike Sivier's blog

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How many of you tuned into the last episode of Benefits Street on Channel 4, and stayed on for the debate that followed?

Quite a few, I reckon.

They were worth watching, but the feeling that was left with this viewer (and I’ve been reviewing television for 20 years or more) is that we are talking ourselves around in circles – led by politicians with a vested interest in perpetuating the discussion.

They don’t want a solution. They want us to keep going over the same ground – which they have laid out for us with very specific limits – and they want to concentrate our anger about this issue so that we blame, not the people responsible – the tax dodgers who put money into tax havens that could be invested in British industry, the private landlords and low-paying bosses who are subsidised by the benefit system and the…

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Grilled Bozza served on a bed of chutzpah

In case anyone missed Bozza getting a grilling from the deadly Eddie Mair on yesterday’s Andrew Marr Show, here it is:

Here’s the full interview.

Even at the beginning of this interview, Bozza has a tough time as Mair asks him awkward questions.

During the course of the interview, Mair brought up the infamous telephone conversation between Johnson and his schoolfriend and fellow Bully Boy, Darius Guppy, in which the latter asks the former for a phone number of a News of the World journalist who crossed him. At last, here is a recording of that conversation:

A Classics graduate, Johnson seems to fancy himself as a latter day Roman emperor. Think of his vanity projects like the stupidly expensive Boris Bus and the cable car and you’ll see that Bozza has delusions of grandeur that are comparable to that of a vainglorious emperor of the Late Roman period.

I have read comments from people who seem to think that Bozza gave a good account of himself and castigated Mair for a “tabloid” interview. Mair had seen Michael Cockerell’s documentary on Johnson, which will be aired on BBC2 this evening, and it is this interview that Mair is focussing on. Anyone who thinks Bozza did a good job needs to learn how to read body language and think about how discourse is being used by him.

As London Mayor, Bozza has done nothing for the city. He’s taken Ken Livingstone’s ideas and claimed the credit for them. He has no ideas of his own and has been led around by his corporate chums. Bozza is nothing but a bullshitter.

London deserves better.

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Prinz Harry versus the beastly Taliban

This morning the BBC News Channel gave us 28 minutes of its airtime to show us a film of Royal brat, Prinz Harry (yes, I insist on spelling the word “prince” in German) posing beside his Apache helicopter and sharing meals with his pals. Such a brave young man. He killed beastly Taliban insurgents. He’s like a one man army. But others are not so fortunate. They have their limbs blown off or are traumatized for life. Prinz Harry got off lightly and the Army was always going to make sure he came back in one piece. He won’t be neglected by the Army either, like so many other soldiers, who get a kick in the teeth or who have to endure substandard housing.  Some are caught up in the criminal justice system or end up sleeping rough on the streets. That won’t happen to Prinz Harry, who will have a nice warm palace to live in.

In the eyes of the mainstream media, the Prinz is a hero because anyone can be a hero these days – especially if you’re a Prinz. The word “hero” has become so devalued by the British media. All you have to do to qualify is be a soldier in Afghanistan. That’s all.  You don’t even have to rescue a comrade while under fire either. You just have to be there.

I suspect the Prinz will sign himself up as patron of Help for Heroes. Then he’ll do a strip for the cameras or don his Nazi uniform for a larf. Go on, Harry, give us a twirl!

Today the government announced 5,300 Army cuts… the day after Cameron talked about fighting “terrorists” in North Africa.

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Patrick Moore

Patrick Moore has always been regarded as the quintessential British eccentric. Often portrayed as a stereotypical boffin, perhaps reinforced by his monocle, he was the face of The Sky at Night. In recent years, other astronomers like Chris Lintott have been used to fill in those parts that would have been occupied by Moore, who was beginning to look less capable. Moore also appeared as himself in a number of programmes from Morecambe & Wise Christmas specials to GamesMaster on Channel 4.

But not many people know about Moore’s political activities and some choose to see past them.  Nostalgic for the Empire, he was chairman of the anti-immigration United Country Party (UCP) in the late 1970s. The party had close ties to The Freedom Association (he was a friend of the McWhirter brothers) and other right-wing pressure groups. The UCP could be seen, in some respects, as the forerunner of UKIP, which Moore later joined. The UCP was absorbed into Dennis Delderfield’s racist New Britain Party in 1980. Some former members of New Britain joined UKIP.

Nowhere Towers will not be mourning the passing of Patrick Moore. For us, he was not some charming old star-gazing duffer who played a xylophone but a nasty old reactionary who held far-right views.

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Gaza under attack and the lies continue

I don’t know how the IDF chooses  names for its operations but there is certainly no subtlety applied to them. Operation Cast Lead could have easily been called “Operation Spray Bullets”. The latest operation is called Operation Pillar of Cloud, which presumably refers to the cloud of smoke that billows skyward after an air strike. It’s as subtle as a brick in the face.

The issue of proportionality is one that is alien to the Israeli state. A few homemade rockets land on its soil and kill no one and it responds by assassinating Hamas’s military commander Ahmad al-Jaabari.  If the situation was reversed and the Qassam Brigades killed the racist Avigdor Lieberman, you can imagine Israel’s response: they would roll into Gaza with heavy armour and as many chemical and biological weapons that they could muster… but even without such provocation, they would do that anyway.

Let’s be clear about something: western news outlets have taken their information from IDF press briefings and as we know, those briefings only put forward the lie that Israel is the damaged party and that its response was purely defensive. Nothing could be further from the truth.  The first wave began on 5 November when the IDF shot and killed Ahmed Nuwabi, a man with learning difficulties,  who apparently had “approached the border fence”. 3 days later, the IDF tanks and bulldozers rolled into Southern Gaza and killed a 13 year old.

Today, the Foreign Secretary, William Hague said that Gaza “had to bear principal responsibility”. How about that for balance? As I type this I have BBC News Channel on in the background. Matthew Amroliwala is interviewing someone from Hamas. Amroliwala repeats Hague’s line and that of the IDF. This is the BBC. “Nation shall speak peace unto nation”and all that crap. With that kind of coverage it’s little wonder many people in this country are completely ignorant of the facts and see Israel as the “good guy” in this binary narrative.

Ben Brown is now reporting from Kiryat Malachi about a Hamas rocket strike. He’s interviewing a policeman with a suspiciously antipodean-sounding accent. The BBC reporter in Gaza reports that he “has seen rockets being fired from Gaza”. This is the first thing he says. He only mentions the IDF attacks towards the end of his report and even then, the overall narrative is one of Israel good/Palestine bad.

Brown returns, he talks bout how Israelis “live in fear from rocket attacks”. And the Gazans don’t live in fear of Israeli attacks? Get real.

Live blog from Occupied Palestine here.

UPDATE 16/11/12 @ 1119

I’ve noticed that the Israelis have now changed the name from “Operation Pillar of Cloud” to “Operation Pillar of Defence”. A subtle change but the word “defence” in the hands of the Israelis and the Americans means exactly the opposite. I also noticed that I had 2 visitors from Israel to this blog. I wonder if they… nah, surely not?

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Channel 4: pandering to people’s prejudices for the sake of entertainment

Channel 4 has been going downhill since the 1990s. When I first started watching C4 in the 1980s, it was innovative and groundbreaking. It also got up the Thatcher government’s nose. Michael Grade, the station’s chief and a Tory supporter, was often cast by the tabloid press as Britain’s “pornographer-in-chief”. The station was known for hard-hitting and gritty soap operas like Brookside and off-the-wall comedies like The Comic Strip Presents...

Today’s C4 is voyeuristic and trashy. The schedules are cluttered with cheap programmes fronted by the likes of the ghastly Hon. Kirstie Allsopp and her chum, Phil Wotshisname. C4 is described as a “public service broadcaster” but it barely fulfils its remit these days. I mean, when was the last time you saw a programme on C4 that could be genuinely described as “public service”? There’s Dispatches, itself once a bastion of investigative journalism is now reduced to being the platform for Tory hacks and former RCPers to spout nonsense and misinformation.

Recently we have seen a rash of programmes that can only be described as “low budget dross  designed to pander to people’s deeply-held prejudices”. The first of such shows was My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding which showed some of the worst aspects of traveller life. It also conflated the Romani with Irish Travellers. While the nation’s couch potatoes were gawping at the ‘pikeys’, the residents of Dale Farm near Basildon were being threatened with eviction. Other travellers are constantly moved on by local authorities who are no longer obliged to provide pitches for travellers . The show fuelled anti-Ziganism rather than doing the reverse.

C4’s latest hit is Jewish Mum of the Year, which treads pretty much the same ground as MBFGW. You can hear the conversations up and down the country. “Oh, aren’t they funny”?

Its producers, naturally, defend the show, while Maureen Lipman finds it “appalling”. Quoted in the Telegraph, she said,

“It is very damaging, with anti-Semitism being what it is. Not to mention that being a Jewish mother is nothing like the way they portray it.

“It is just the next stage in this culture of humiliation on television, and I think it is appalling. A programme like that would never have been made when Jeremy Isaacs was in charge of Channel 4. I haven’t spoken to him about it, but I suspect he would be appalled, too.

By the way, Lipman played “Beattie”, a stereotypical Jewish mum in a series of crap adverts for British Telecom. 

Jennifer Lipman (no relation) writing in The Independent is more scathing,

So why did watching Jewish Mum of the Year – with its token religious spoilsport, steely Alpha Mum, not to mention X Factor contestant Stacey Solomon dispensing wisdom – feel akin to having a tooth pulled? Mainly because it wasn’t about informing its audience, it was, unfortunately, all about cheap laughs at the expense of quirky traditions.

C4 started the race to the bottom years ago, dragging the other networks along with it. But C4 differs from the rest by showing what it believes to be ‘groundbreaking’ programmes that are little better than gawp-fests. Programmes like MBFGW and JMOTY are possibly the worst of C4’s entire output and do nothing to challenge the stereotypes, instead they pander to prejudices.

I wonder what’s next for C4? My Yardie Friend?  Maybe they’ll start showing repeats of the disgraced sitcom Curry and Chips. Perhaps I shouldn’t be giving these lazy bastards any ideas.

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The BBC and right-wing bias: a very close relationship indeed

The British Gazette: The BBC’s news source during the 1926 General Strike

Many of us on the left have been disgusted at the way in which the BBC treats studio guests who do not conform to the government’s pro-austerity line, while allowing government ministers to speak freely without interruption.  Labour politicians, for example, are routinely interrupted and talked over, while government ministers are fawned over and treated with kid gloves. As far as The Cat is concerned, the worst offenders are Andrew Marr, Jo Coburn, John Humphrys and the various newsreaders on the BBC News Channel who are too numerous to mention.  On the other hand, the Tories and the others on the right will complain that the BBC is “left-wing” yet when you press these people, they’ll splutter something along the lines of “I meant the entertainment not the news”.  What about Upstairs, Downstairs or Parade’s End? Are they left-wing? “It’s the bloody comedy”! What? Like Michael MacIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow, you mean?  [the Tory interlocutor then mutters something about immigration and multi-culturalism].

Information was a tightly controlled commodity in the early 20th Century, the property of wealthy Tory-supporting newspaper barons, who offered the public a diet of slanted news and fluff (so nothing’s changed then). Like their American counterparts, they also engaged in a fair amount of red-baiting. But the newspaper printing presses fell silent during the 1926 General Strike, when print workers, along with millions of other workers, walked out on strike for a week to support the miners struggle for better pay and conditions. The BBC (then a private company), which took its news, from a variety of news agencies, found itself without any sources for its bulletins because the journalists had joined the strike.  Winston Churchill, a former journalist who was no friend of the worker, immediately created a government news organ called The British Gazette and it was from this paper that the BBC took all of its news during the strike.

The BBC could argue that it was a young institution, having been founded in 1922 (coincidentally the same year that Mussolini seized power in Italy) and it didn’t know how to “play the game”. But this would be a lie: the BBC was close to the state from day one and this is perhaps best illustrated when its staff and directors attended a dinner party that had been held for Stanley Baldwin in December 1926. The BBC’s licence to operate initially came from the General Post Office and it had no rivals. In this respect it is hegemonic because its dominance over Britain’s cultural production is near supreme. The BBC was incorporated by Royal Charter in 1927 and substituted the word “Corporation” for “Company”.  Officially speaking, the government and the BBC have what is known as an “arms length relationship”. This means that the government is not supposed to interfere with the BBC and use it for political ends. Of course, this is a fiction. The BBC regularly yields to the slightest pressure from government as the example of 1926 shows us. There are other notable examples.

That Was The Week That Was, while not a left-wing programme, was perceived as such by many Conservatives, because it portrayed them in an unflattering light. TW3 mocked all the political parties, because it was tied to a contract of impartiality. It was produced within News and Current Affairs, rather than Light Entertainment  in order to get around the draconian regulations that governed live performances, which by implication meant political satire performed before an audience.

This article from the Daily Telegraph, of all papers, tells us that MacMillan’s Tory government “helped to take TW3 off the air”. Pressure was applied during the first series  by Lord  Aldington, the vice-chairman of the party, who wrote a sternly-worded letter to the BBC Director General, Hugh Carleton-Greene complaining that,

“The Government’s defence policy takes knock after knock from remarks that are only part relevant to the fun of the piece. What is quite defensible if said once or twice becomes objectionable if repeated so as to form a theme of policy or on politics.

“It has begun to look to some – all your friends – as if Frost nurses a hatred of the prime minister which he finds impossible to control.

“This kind of programme can become highly politically charged. If it does then the Conservative Party are bound – indeed ought – to ask for balance.

“Once political targets, policies or persons become discernible we shall all be in trouble and no doubt we shall take up the cudgels.”

“The Government’s defence policy” can be read as a euphemism for the Profumo Affair.  Aldington’s “we shall take up the cudgels”,  can be seen as a not-so-veiled threat. Nonetheless, the BBC commissioned a second series. The complaints from angry Tory-voting viewers continued to pour in. The article tells us that,

Some of the BBC’s most senior figures were among the programme’s detractors. On August 13, 1963, the director of television wrote: “Several powerful establishment friends of the chairman are complaining … Especially about vulgarity and smut. You know what I thought about the programme. We agreed that we really disliked the lack of professionalism in production, the lack of judgment about what is funny and what is not.”

The “lack of professionalism in production” seems to refer to the programme’s deliberate breaking of the fourth wall. However the suggestion that there was a “lack of judgment about what is funny and what is not” reminds us of satire’s historical conflict with state power and offers us a glimpse into how the cultural hegemony operates.  It is the voice of the stern Victorian dad, mutton chops and all, as he shows you the back of his hand. “I shall tell you what is funny, my lad”!

TW3 was cancelled in the middle of its run, ostensibly because 1964 was an “election year”. But with the Profumo Affair still rumbling, the Tories’ electoral chances were in the khazi. Alec Douglas-Home, who succeeded MacMillan, who’d resigned due to ill-health was the caretaker leader of a doomed party.The Tories had only themselves to blame for their loss in the 1964 General Election.

There are plenty of other examples but one caught my eye a couple of weeks ago on the BBC Parliament Channel. It was the coverage of the first 1974 General Election. Held against the background of the miners’ strike, power cuts, the three-day week and the international energy crisis, the petulant PM, Heath threw a strop and demanded to know the answer to the question, “Who Governs Britain”? The BBC evidently agreed it was Heath and pretty much told us so. This was evident  in their questioning of Labour shadow ministers and the general, “Hurrah for Heath” tone of the presenters. The result, as we know, was a hung parliament, with Wilson commanding a sliver of the popular votes over the Tories. The irony here is that under a proportional system, it all would have been much different and Heath would have won with his superior percentage of the vote.

The Miners’ Strike of 1984-85 again revealed the BBC’s right-wing bias when, during the Battle of Ogreave, it decided to take the side of Thatcher’s semi-private gendarmerie the police by selectively editing the footage to suggest that it was the miners who had charged the police and not the other way around. The BBC was more than happy to paint the miners as thugs, because this fitted in with  the government’s view of the worker; the enemy within. In the aftermath of Orgreave, the South Yorkshire Police (SYP) fitted up 95 miners whom it accused of being involved in violent affray. Thanks to the work of the Glasgow Media Unit, the truth was revealed and the SYP force was exposed as corrupt. Fast forward to 1989 and we see the same police force involved in the Hillsborough Disaster cover-up with the BBC taking its line directly from the mouths of the cops and the government.

More recently, the BBC has worked hard to shut anyone up who questions the government’s austerity measures. In many instances the BBC news editors will have a panel that is entirely composed of people from the pro-austerity side of the debate. Representatives from the CBI, the IEA, Taxpayers Alliance, Policy Exchange and others all get airtime, while the UK Uncut, the Real Taxpayers Alliance and so forth will either get shouted down by right-wing studio guests or attacked by the interviewer, who will offer “Well, what would you cut” as the only form of counter-argument to the interlocutor’s discourse. There have been instances where I have seen the BBC invite someone like Dominic Raab on to talk about his latest book but offer no balance to counteract his lies and shoddy theses.

This site claims to “expose” BBC bias but it’s a right-wing site that plays a familiar tune on a broken violin. Unhappy with the less than total control of popular discourse, the Right wants all broadcasters to pay deference to their notional ‘superiority’. The charge that the BBC is “left-wing” has been refuted time and time again, yet they persist with this nonsense. The BBC is cheerfully dancing to the austerity tune that is being played by this government. The idea that the BBC has an arm’s length relationship to the government is beginning to look like more and more like a warm embrace of like minds.

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Nazi Boy Burley in hot water over dodgy tweets

Aidan Burley. Just when you thought he was keeping his head down, up he pops. You just can’t keep a good Nazi down.  The Olympics Opening Ceremony wasn’t, it seems, to his liking. He tweeted,

Over at Torygraph blogs, James Kirkup was first up to defend Burley. He writes,

Danny Boyle’s take on British history, from the Industrial Revolution to the present day, via the suffrage movement and the Empire Windrush, did not please Mr Burley (or whoever is using his Twitter account). Nor did the focus on insitutions like the NHS.

I think we can safely say that it was Burley’s account because he later tries to appear contrite.

The fingers type the words but the brain isn’t engaged.

I found this tweet from a young ‘nationalist’ follower who offers his support,

Hmmm, great.

ITV News live feed says that senior Tories have distanced themselves from Nazi Boy’s tweets. Fellow Tory MP, Gavin Barwell was quick to slap him down.

Nowhere Towers thinks the opening ceremony for the 1936 Munich Olympics would have been more to Burley’s taste.

UPDATE: 28/7/12 @ 1125

Every time Burley opens his mouth he digs a deeper hole for himself. This is from ITV News.

He think that “it was all rather clichéd about multiculturalism” though he accepts he could have phrased his tweets better.

But in comments that could further annoy, he wondered “why there was the huge, disproportionate focus on rap music when it is a small part of multiculturalism.”

Keep digging, Nazi Boy, we’re loving this. We also hope your French is good because where you’re going, you’re going to be needing it.

UPDATE: 28/7/12 @ 2336

Here’s Burley being interviewed on Sky News.  He refuses to accept responsibility and instead chooses to deflect attention from his odious views.

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