Saturday, December 18, 2004

BBC Bias - A Random Selection

Short of blogging time - a few notes made in December 2001, when I was posting to the Evening Standard boards.


Have the BBC learned anything from the last 3 months ?

Not if its recent coverage is anything to go by. A couple of nights ago BBC2 featured a documentary by Bonnie Greer, who started by saying what a patriot she was (she left the US for Britain some years ago) before trawling her immediate family (who to a man or woman thought 'the chickens were coming home to roost') then various Chicagoans for their views. She nodded wisely when people said 'what goes round, comes round', but those who, like the solemn 10 year old boy, said 'these people should be put to death' were pointed out as examples of US 'insularity' and lack of empathy with the Muslim world.

The whole program gave the air of having been put together in that time (it seems so long ago now) when the 'liberal' left was preparing for a global wave of anti-Americanism to be unleashed by the military blunderings of the cowboy in the White House. Markets were crashing, dire predictions were being made of 'another Vietnam', and America was being told to try and work out just why the whole world hated it.

And tonight on Radio 4 news the coverage of Yemen seems to have gone straight back to early October in its defeatism - just substitute 'Yemen' for 'Afghanistan' and rebroadcast. Some polytechnic lecturer was wheeled out to explain why Yemen was so much trickier than Afghanistan for any kind of intervention. Apparently the Yemenis are 'xenophobic' and 'resent foreign armed forces'. And the Brits left 'with their tails between their legs' in 1967. But that's just what they said about the Afghans. And in 1967 I'm pretty sure more than one survivor got back, unlike 1842 when we lost 12,000 (admittedly 9,000 of those were civilians, victims of 'collateral' killing by Robert Fisk's mates).

St George's Day, 2001
Billy Bragg is chosen by 'The World Tonight' as their (sole) guest to discuss 'Englishness'.

March 2002
The Long View - Was Drake a Terrorist ? With Tariq Ali.
Drake equated with Osama Bin Laden.

'Dumbing Down of BBC' discussion on 'P.M.'. Two guests chosen - Tariq Ali and Bob Holman (the Holy Fool of Easterhouse).

14/03/2002 - World At One
Ann Sloman, BBC political head, discussing the Appeal Court decision against the BBC (re pro-life alliance election broadcast censorship) "There is no liberal elite".

28/5/02 – James Naughtie on R4 “Today” (discussing a Ms Amos' imprisonment for not sending her children to school)
“Her daughters say, surprisingly, (my italics) that prison works ..”

(Interviewing Estelle Morris, Education minister) “We know there are too many women in prison who shouldn’t be there (no response from EM) ... are you saying that prison works ?”

Ms Morris “Yes ...”

19/6/02 – John Humphrys interviewing Ivan Massow on ‘On The Ropes’
H - “are you still a Labour Party member ?”
Massow – “I’m really not sure – I may still be paying the fees .... do you pay by direct debit ?”
Humphrys (seemingly flustered) – “I – I can’t answer that one

October 2002
BBC R4 Social Affairs correspondent Rita Chakrabati describes the late Baroness Young as ‘a campaigner for so-called ‘family values’’.

Why is Stephen Lawrence always described on R4 news bulletins as “the black teenager Stephen Lawrence”, when Philip Lawrence is not described as ‘the white headmaster’ and Damilola Taylor is not ‘the black schoolboy’ ?

BBC news does not present news as such, but rather events are selectively used to illustrate an ongoing global morality play where the heroes and villains are well known.

Nationalist rioters in N.I. were reported as ‘venting their anger’ after the release of the jailed paratrooper Stephen Clegg ...

Classic example is the reporting of the Indonesian riots preceding the fall of the Suharto regime in May 1998. Those burning cars and buildings in Jakarta were described in bulletins as ‘protesters’ and ‘demonstrators’, and one R4 bulletin described ‘demonstrators’ burning and looting, observing that ‘Chinese areas were particularly targeted’. A remarkably restrained description of racist mob violence, and one which it is impossible to imagine the BBC using if the rioters were, say, white Britons. As reports over the next few days pointed to continuous anti-Chinese violence including mass rape, the tone of reporting changed and the ‘demonstrators’ became ‘rioters’ – which of course they had been from the start.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Scott Petersen Verdict - Liberal Larry Speaks

Laci Peterson's death was tragic, but let's be realistic. We can all feign shock and horror over the thought of a mangled fetus being picked at by crabs on the beach, but it doesn't change the fact that if abortion were safe, legal, and mandatory, Laci Petersen would be alive today.

I liked the comment from the National Organisation of Women, which should be a big poster on every ante-natal clinic wall.

"... despite all the joy that pregnancy can bring to a relationship, expectant mothers aren't necessarily spared the danger of being slain."

An Early Christmas Gift

It's a while since I've visited the Civitas blog, and I'm delighted to see that Norman Dennis, author of (among many other things) Families Without Fatherhood (available free at the site) and The Invention of Permanent Poverty, is blogging and commenting on the Blunkett brouhaha.

He's that rare kind of modern socialist who believes, as I do, that morality and personal conduct is important in politics. Frank Field is another. The IWCA might also be said to fall into this category.

Anyone who talks about morality is automatically (these days) put in a box marked 'the Right', but I believe morality is politically pretty neutral.

A non-moral Left gives you people who can explain (or support, or commit) killing, stealing, or even mass murder as an inevitable consequence of 'oppression'. A non-moral capitalist Right gives you Berry Birch and Noble, Alan Duncan or Mr Cohen's ways with the Courts pension fund.

"Howard Cohen, a former director of Courts, transferred £3.9m out of the company's pension fund and into a personal scheme just eight months before the furniture retailer collapsed into administration, the Sunday Times reports today. The Courts pension fund has a deficit of at least £14m".

Fathers 4 Justice

Seem to have a new recruit.

"The words "my baby son", "holding my son", and "love for my little boy" were prominent as he spoke of the emotional turmoil he has been through."

Though I'm no fan of the man who accelerated mass immigration and blinked, like his predecessor, when it came to the necessary task of building new prisons (finding he then he had to start letting the burglars out), it's impossible not to feel for him as a human being.

"What sort of human being, what sort of politician do people want? [Someone] who would actually put their career, put their public persona before actually doing what a decent human being would want to do?"

Well, up to a point. I imagine Mr Blunketts grandparents, or the founders of Labour, or the socialists who toiled by day at the furnaces and rolling mills and built the Sheffield Labour movement, the educational associations, the libraries, clubs and discussion groups once such a vital part of working-class culture, would not consider an affair with a woman only a few months into her marriage a decent thing to do. You'd have found eighty years ago that people weren't speaking to you.

In the modern Labour movement not aborting the child puts you on the moral high ground.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

"Politics In Germany Are Not As They Are Over Here..."

There you do not leave office to go into opposition. You do not leave the Front Bench to sit below the gangway. You may well leave your high office at a quarter of an hour's notice to drive to the police station, and you may be conducted thereafter very rapidly to an even graver ordeal.

Winston Churchill, House of Commons, July 13 1934.

It could never have happened here, of course.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Kill The Young

Kill the old.

Kill the sick.

But for God's sake don't let anything happen to criminals.

Monday, December 13, 2004

School Discipline - Governors Strike Back

OK, so the little darlings are hospitalising and raping teachers. But when a 10 year old in Ashton-under-Lyne dismantled a pencil sharpener and used the blade to slash the neck of a classmate, school governors took decisive action.

The child was suspended for two whole days.

And pencil sharpeners have been banned from the school.

Nationalising Children

Stuart Wavell in the Sunday Times reports on the annual Sure Start conference, chaired by Polly 'the nanny state is the good state' Toynbee.

He quotes Patricia Morgan

.. there is no doubt that a 1960s agenda is in play. “There is a feminist drive to get every woman in the workforce full-time and get equal outcomes between men and women, irrespective of what people want.”

She goes one stage further than Kirby by suggesting that the government’s policies are consistent with the eradication of marriage. “Women must be self-sufficient, with a huge subsidy, independent of men. Attention is given to the parent-child relationship rather than the relationship between the adults. The belief is that you can have what is called ‘peripatetic partnering’, where people move in and out of partnerships but the parental relationship stays the same and the children are largely reared by the state.”

I think that's correct, but Jill Kirby of the Centre For Policy Studies makes an important point.

Kirby believes that the government’s underlying concern is with getting dependent lone parents back to work and letting the state raise their children. Its assertion that everyone needs parenting help is aimed at catching these problem families, Kirby maintains.

I put this point to Hodge, quoting the words of Stephen Ladyman, the under-secretary for community, who told the conference how important it was to identify excluded families and “drag them in and make them feel included”.

The anti-family movement, whose most prominent representatives are three wealthy upper-middle class women, Jowell, Harman (bad luck, Harriet, you nearly got him jailed) and Hodge, see in Britain's underclass the perfect recruits for state rearing. After all, many underclass parents don't 'raise' their children in any meaningful sense anyway - so no one will object if the State takes on the task.

As Polly says "As for the moral panickers, if they want to avoid future generations of scary youth, they should urge higher taxes to pay the state to become the best possible nanny to all babies."

Everybody's happy. Chav parents get the child benefits and the free accommodation without even having to pretend to raise their offspring, the State and the social-workers get lots of tinies to try out their theories on. And Joe Public gets to pay for the whole thing.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Can you make it up - BBC Department

Radio Four's new 'comedy' is beyond parody.

School Discipline Part 47

A week or so back we had the eight-year old hospitalising his head teacher. Now this.

We obviously need more of this.

Cash For Good Causes II

It looks as if, not for the first time, Lottery money is going into some very dodgy pockets, not that we can be sure from the cryptic nature of the BBC report.

It has frozen around 30 bank accounts, all thought to be in England and Wales, "to protect charitable funds".

A spokeswoman added: "The majority are from urban areas and they are small community groups."