WintonsWorld-BBCdiary

    Stop Using Abuse Against Parties You Don’t Like

    If you call someone “extreme”, say why

“In the real world, politicians moving to the right want less and smaller government, less tax and less regulation. The more extreme you are on this spectrum the more libertarian you are”

The BBC regularly falls into the lazy, not to say biased, trap of using words and labels to describe political parties it doesn’t like which are often not only clichéd but wrong and abusive.

During the French Presidential election it always refers to the National Front as “extreme right” but never says why. Last night on NewsNight egregious leftie and fairness offender Jeremy Paxman allowed one of his guests to call the NF “racist”. He should have immediately asked how this use of abuse could be backed up. Does the NF have anything in its manifesto that is “racist”? Is wanting to curb immigration of people with a culture that is incompatible with yours “racist”? This surely is an issue of culture, not race? It may well be that the NF can be described as racist, but whenever a journalist uses this term of abuse, they should immediately feel the need to say why.

The BBC calls the NF “extreme right”, not to mention most of the lazy,  kneejerk, mainstream media.  If you take the trouble to find out what the French National Front stands for you’ll find it is against globalisation and free trade, wants to protect French industry from foreign competition, and tax the rich until the pips squeak. These are socialist policies. Our own dear Labour Party would be happy to subscribe to these ideas. In the real world, politicians moving to the right want less and smaller government, less tax and less regulation. The more extreme you are on this spectrum the more libertarian you are.

Socialists on steroids

But Fascist parties like the NF are the complete opposite of what an extreme right party would want, but “extreme right” is used simply as a term of abuse. Hitler’s NAZIs for instance are now routinely used as an example by the BBC of the far right, but if you examine what they did, you’ll find that they were just an extreme and violent party of the left. Socialists on steroids. The NAZIs called themselves National Socialists. Why would they actually call themselves socialists, if that wasn’t crucial to their beliefs? NAZIs supported state control of industry and hated free markets. They had high taxes, a national health service, abortion, euthanasia. They provided big pensions, confiscated inherited wealth and spent huge amounts on public education. There’s nothing right wing about the NAZIs.

The BBC has a charter obligation to be balanced and fair. It certainly shouldn’t be a barrier to the truth by routinely using words that obfuscate reality and allow abuse to poison the political discourse.

(I’ll be putting these points to the BBC complaints desk later. I’ll let you know the outcome)

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Normal people don’t want to pay more tax

One of the most irritating things about Radio 4’s Any Questions is the audiences. They can be relied on to cheer at all the things thing regular listeners hate and remain silent when we all agree. I would remind you of the Any Questions session a couple of years ago in Eastbourne which had Bob Crowe on the panel. If you walked the streets of Eastbourne from dawn to dusk, you wouldn’t find a single soul who wouldn’t be happy if this thuggish, ignorant leftie was put out of his misery. Unless of course, his mother has retired there. But when Crowe spoke, his dim and childish thoughts were cheered to the rafters. It is clear that the Labour party and its apologists regularly pack these broadcasts, and I have often complained to the BBC insisting that it put a stop to this. Needless to say, the BBC does nothing and insists that there is not a problem.

I’ve now discovered a formula which the BBC could use to balance audiences. Last Friday, the Any Questions chairman asked the audience which of them would like to pay more tax, after one of the panellists, a distinguished professor who knew everything about DNA and nothing about anything else, declared he would like to pay more. Apparently, only four people in the audience didn’t want to pay more tax, proving how hopelessly biased it was.

So here’s my present to the BBC. Before starting the next Any Questions, ask the audience on the way in if they want to pay more tax. Those answering “yes” will simply be shown the exit. A “normal” audience will be guaranteed.

Thursday, April 26

Evan Davis should read the Wall Street Journal

The Today programme’s Evan Davis obviously thinks he is as sharp as a tack and exceedingly smart. But if he had done his job properly today when he interviewed Ed Miliband he could have shown the utter hollowness of the hapless Labour leader’s argument, not to mention the clown Francois Hollande, who is offering free money to the French in the presidential election Sunday week.

Davies let Miliband get away with his silly, student mantra that the Tories were stopping growth because they were cutting government spending back to much. Only Keynesian pump priming with money we don’t have would do the trick. If only Davis had read today’s Wall Street Journal Europe editorial, he might have been able to inform his audience on the vacuity, not to say, counter-productive nature of Labour’s criticism. The WSJE argued that the only way to restore growth is to emulate the Germans by cutting taxes on companies and individuals, and reform labour markets by taking away union powers.

The Journal quotes German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble on failed U.S. policy, which is often quoted by Miliband and his apologists on the BBC as being successful, when a moments research shows that it is leading the world’s biggest economy to disaster.

“They’ve already pumped endless amounts of money into the economy. The results are dismal,” Schauble said.

“Adam Smith’s bond vigilantes”

The Journal points out that the European spending spree is unsustainable, and although politicians are unwilling to own up to this, they won’t be able to avoid “Adam Smith’s bond vigilantes”. In other words, the markets, by demanding ever higher interest rates on money borrowed by the likes of France, Spain and Italy, will have their way in the end, and borrowing will be curbed and hard decisions will have to be taken, along the lines of Reagan and Thatcher’s in the 1980s to encourage private investment, risk-taking, labour mobility and flexibility.

“Amid this crisis, Europe (excluding the Germans) has tried everything except these policies,” the Journal said today.

“Growth is the only way out of Europe’s debt morass. But it has to be private growth driven by reforms in taxes, labour markets, regulation, pensions and more. What really needs to be swept away is the dominant and debilitating consensus that government spending can conjure prosperity,” the Journal said.

If Evan Davis did his job properly, these ideas might have gained some traction in Britain. Of course, it’s too much to expect anything brave like this from Cameron’s “Conservatives”, so perhaps I should be blaming them, not Davies.

Wednesday, April 25

News International’s 40%

The BBC is obsessed with the minutiae of the Leveson inquiry and latest boring saga concerning Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt. On Radio 4 this morning Lord Fowler tried to lure Evan Davies away from this cul-de-sac by pointing out that News International has about 40% of the British (print?) media market and this is surely much more important and significant for our freedoms and democracy. It can’t be right that Rupert Murdoch controls this much of our media. Surely a cap of say 15% would make much more sense, and isn’t this a much more interesting debate than crumbs from the Leveson hearings, at least until he compiles his report. Maybe talking about monopolies in the media makes the BBC nervous, because it has a massive and Stalinist dominance of TV and Radio, and needs to be cut down to size. Sell off Radio One and BBC1 TV. End the license fee. Make Radio 4 available as a subscription service.

Dumb question

The stupidest question I’ve ever heard, and that’s saying something. Victoria Derbyshire this morning on Radio 5 Live, asked an expert what was the point of publishing artist impression-pictures of what disappeared Madeleine McCann might look like today, aged 9, as the police reopen its enquiries into the case.

Tuesday, April 24

15 year terms for new Lords?

The BBC reported the proposals on Lords reform and I didn’t hear anybody on its news bulletins or discussion programmes saying a 15 year term was not very democratic. Yes; 15 years. Ludicrously long wouldn’t you say? Where on earth did that idea come from? Surely it won’t survive scrutiny in Parliament?

For what it’s worth, here are my ideas for reform of the Lords. I’m taken it as a given that nobody needs convincing that the current setup is shameful. No other mature democracy would allow itself to be governed by this bunch of played-out, second rate old farts who probably never had an original idea during their failed careers as over-promoted ministers, backbenchers, union whingers, legal chancers, or Church of England hand-wringers. John Prescott, Shirley Williams, need I say more? OK, John Gummer.

Let’s call it the Senate. It will be wholly elected. Members will serve one 5 year term. No repeats allowed. No pay either. When the Lords are reformed, we must make sure that party politics is kept to a minimum, so no gravy train career for its members. Hopefully citizens over 50 who perhaps have retired and have a huge backpack of experience in the real world will be tempted to participate. They will probably have a comfortable pension so can’t be corrupted either by bribes, or the siren songs of government. The candidates will either face a party primary election to win the nomination, or the vote will be by proportional representation. That might make sure that the failed political parties don’t have control of this body too.

Monday, April 23

French election

The BBC (and most of the lazy media) calls France’s National Front extreme right wing, but never bothers to tell us what the NF wants to do. It wants to stop foreigners taking French jobs, end free trade, protect French business, and tax the rich until the pips squeak. That makes it a party of the left by my calculations, and a Fascist party like the German NAZIs. The more right-wing you are, the more libertarian. Right-wingers (like me) want less state action, small government, less tax and regulation, and free trade. The BBC ought to sit down and ask itself why it persists in labelling the NF as an extreme right wing party.

John Humphrys interviews Prime Minister David Cameron on the Today show and won’t let the man speak. It’s not as though it’s his first major interview, so why aren’t these BBC interviewers told to let their subjects speak? And why did Humphrys decide to go on and on about that deportation business that stopped being interesting days ago?

Sunday, April 22

Bahrain

More childish propaganda about Bahrain on the News. The BBC wants the Grand Prix to be cancelled, and favours the petrol bomb throwers and tyre burners. Standard weasel words to try and justify the lead story on Radio4 News are “pressure mounts” overnight, when nothing much happened. The BBC keeps talking about the “pro-democracy” protestors in Bahrain, just as it does in Syria, Egypt and Libya, when even the casual observer knows this means demands for an Islamic state by the likes of the Muslim Brotherhood, in other words, the antithesis of democracy. When these people start calling for a secular state, they might be worth listening too. Otherwise change will replace one set of dictators with another.

Then Radio 5 started its coverage of the London Marathon with presenter John Inverdale’s bombastic talk of the big three sporting events in the spring – ludicrously – the Boat Race, a clapped out annual contest which interests absolutely nobody but which the BBC can hype with little cost to itself, the Grand National (which I hate, but which is undeniably important), and the London Marathon.

Tedious Marathon

This event is tedious even when the top athletes are performing. Why does the BBC think anyone is interested in a couple of hours of watching runners running endlessly? I think there was about 5 hours on the radio. Only those who want to take part and torture themselves in front of a national audience are bothered about this. Why don’t they raise the money for charity by offering not to waste all that energy on pointless marathons?

Cowardly

The prize for the most outrageous story of the day though was won by the Sunday Times, not the BBC. The SunTimes front page lead story talked of 100,000 cases of female mutilations in Britain as certain uncivilised sections of the population force their medieval cruelty on defenceless girls. The story ran inside too. Guess what word was missing throughout? Yes, the brave, fearless Sunday Times didn’t have the guts to mention Muslims anywhere in the piece. Cowards.  Then it writes an editorial based on its story criticising the practice. Not a word about Islam. Craven.

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