Search Results for: BBC Media Action

BBC media action ‘spends 500k on climate alarmism’.

BBC media action ‘spends 500k on climate alarmism’.

BBC Media Action   has spent an astonishing £500,000 on a cod survey in Asia that is designed to spread alarm about climate change among some of the world’s most vulnerable communities. Its methodology is so laughably inept that it doesn’t bear a moment’s scrutiny: how can lay respondents know with certainty (as the survey asked them) how much local climate has changed?

For the uninitiated, BBC Media Action was set up in 2011 to work alongside the BBC World Service in delivering desirable change in developing countries. It claims to be an ‘independent body’, but  is funded  by taxes because much of its money comes from  the Department for International Development and the EU. Further, at least half its board of Trustees is actually nominated by the BBC. The current chairman, Peter Horrocks (a former editor of Newsnight)  is also in charge of the BBC World Service broadcasting operation.

News-watch has been investigating Media Action (and its predecessor body, the World Service Trust)  for several years. News of the Asian surveywas posted  two months ago on the News-watch website, and it has also been noted that its activities were likely to be intensified with the influx of £20m of funds from backers such as the EU – and also because the World Service is expanding massively. The goal is to double the audience in five years.

That may well presage more of the Asian style surveys.  If so, it will amount to blatant climate change alarmism on an unprecedented scale.

Most appalling s is that Media Action is deliberately targeting vulnerable young people, with the effect of inculcating a hugely negative worldview and a deep loathing for capitalism. The Asian report is full of unmitigated gloom and threatens famine, drought and disease on a massive scale. Despite the mental damage it causes, targeting the impressionable young has always been regarded as legitimate by those with extreme political causes because – like Prince Charles – they believe they are ‘saving the world’ and that validates any tactics, no matter how repugnant or morally questionable.

John Whittingdale, the chairman of the Commons media and culture committee, the main parliamentary BBC watchdog, professes that he is ‘astonished’ that the survey was authorised and claims it is a waste of money. But with respect to this very fair-minded man, it seems  that he and his committee colleagues have been fast asleep on their watch.

The reality is that Media Action works as it does because it has the backing of the highest levels of the BBC. Here’s the evidence:

Alison Hastings,  the Trustee who chairs the editorial standards committee (ESC),  the internal editorial watchdog, issued a Trustee statement four years ago which, in effect, said that those who disagree with climate change alarmism would get only very limited exposure because there was a ‘consensus’ that they were wrong.

Diana Coyle, the current Trustees deputy chairman, who is hoping to become the next chairman, is a stakeholder advisor to EDF Energy, a company which is working systematically to harvest as much cash as possible from the government for renewable and green energy provision.

Richard Ayre, a colleague of Ms Hastings on the ESC, was a career BBC journalist before becoming a quangocrat. He is also is a former chairman (2003-5) of a body called Article 19. This fights for freedom of expression, but like many such leftist organisations, also has a major climate change alarmist agenda. Its website declares:

At the national level, greening the economy will include improving fiscal policy reform, reducing environmentally harmful subsidies, employing new market–‐based instruments, and targeting public Investments to “green” key sectors.

Finally,  the most recent recruit to the ESC and the Trustees.Is Nick Prettejohn, His career is in the financial services sector, and he has recently also been appointed chairman of Scottish Widows Group. His new company website states:

Fundamentally SWIP believes that strong climate policies from governments are the essential pre-requisite to addressing climate risk. Without strong climate policies we will fail to mitigate climate change.

So, to recap. The BBC has been caught red-handed spending half a million pounds on a project specifically designed to spread climate change alarm and panic among some of the world’s most disadvantaged communities.

But, chilling as this is, the evidence is not actually hidden, nor is it new. It is going on blatantly in broad daylight, aided and abetted by Trustees who are seemingly hell-bent on a climate change crusade.

So when is  Mr Whittingdale, and his committee going to wake up and intervene? The BBC itself won’t change because the rot is in the inside from the very top downwards. The only hope is that Parliament will act with the teeth it sadly only sometimes bares.  BBC Media Action   has spent an astonishing £500,000 on a cod survey in Asia that is designed to spread alarm about climate change among some of the world’s most vulnerable communities. Its methodology is so laughably inept that it doesn’t bear a moment’s scrutiny: how can lay respondents know with certainty (as the survey asked them) how much local climate has changed?

For the uninitiated, BBC Media Action was set up in 2011 to work alongside the BBC World Service in delivering desirable change in developing countries. It claims to be an ‘independent body’, but  is funded  by taxes because much of its money comes from  the Department for International Development and the EU. Further, at least half its board of Trustees is actually nominated by the BBC. The current chairman, Peter Horrocks (a former editor of Newsnight)  is also in charge of the BBC World Service broadcasting operation.

News-watch has been investigating Media Action (and its predecessor body, the World Service Trust)  for several years. News of the Asian surveywas posted  two months ago on the News-watch website, and it has also been noted that its activities were likely to be intensified with the influx of £20m of funds from backers such as the EU – and also because the World Service is expanding massively. The goal is to double the audience in five years.

That may well presage more of the Asian style surveys.  If so, it will amount to blatant climate change alarmism on an unprecedented scale.

Most appalling s is that Media Action is deliberately targeting vulnerable young people, with the effect of inculcating a hugely negative worldview and a deep loathing for capitalism. The Asian report is full of unmitigated gloom and threatens famine, drought and disease on a massive scale. Despite the mental damage it causes, targeting the impressionable young has always been regarded as legitimate by those with extreme political causes because – like Prince Charles – they believe they are ‘saving the world’ and that validates any tactics, no matter how repugnant or morally questionable.

John Whittingdale, the chairman of the Commons media and culture committee, the main parliamentary BBC watchdog, professes that he is ’astonished’ that the survey was authorised and claims it is a waste of money. But with respect to this very fair-minded man, it seems  that he and his committee colleagues have been fast asleep on their watch.

The reality is that Media Action works as it does because it has the backing of the highest levels of the BBC. Here’s the evidence:

Alison Hastings,  the Trustee who chairs the editorial standards committee (ESC),  the internal editorial watchdog, issued a Trustee statement four years ago which, in effect, said that those who disagree with climate change alarmism would get only very limited exposure because there was a ‘consensus’ that they were wrong.

Diana Coyle, the current Trustees deputy chairman, who is hoping to become the next chairman, is a stakeholder advisor to EDF Energy, a company which is working systematically to harvest as much cash as possible from the government for renewable and green energy provision.

Richard Ayre, a colleague of Ms Hastings on the ESC, was a career BBC journalist before becoming a quangocrat. He is also is a former chairman (2003-5) of a body called Article 19. This fights for freedom of expression, but like many such leftist organisations, also has a major climate change alarmist agenda. Its website declares:

At the national level, greening the economy will include improving fiscal policy reform, reducing environmentally harmful subsidies, employing new market–‐based instruments, and targeting public Investments to “green” key sectors.

Finally,  the most recent recruit to the ESC and the Trustees.Is Nick Prettejohn, His career is in the financial services sector, and he has recently also been appointed chairman of Scottish Widows Group. His new company website states:

Fundamentally SWIP believes that strong climate policies from governments are the essential pre-requisite to addressing climate risk. Without strong climate policies we will fail to mitigate climate change.

So, to recap. The BBC has been caught red-handed spending half a million pounds on a project specifically designed to spread climate change alarm and panic among some of the world’s most disadvantaged communities.

But, chilling as this is, the evidence is not actually hidden, nor is it new. It is going on blatantly in broad daylight, aided and abetted by Trustees who are seemingly hell-bent on a climate change crusade.

So when is  Mr Whittingdale, and his committee going to wake up and intervene? The BBC itself won’t change because the rot is in the inside from the very top downwards. The only hope is that Parliament will act with the teeth it sadly only sometimes bares.

Photo by ToastyKen

BBC BIAS DIGEST 18 OCTOBER 2020

DIMBLEBY AND GIBB ‘NOT ELIGIBLE’ TO BECOME BBC CHAIRMAN: Edward Malnick (£ Telegraph 18/10), reported  that the job advertisement for the new chairman of the BBC stipulated that candidates must be independent of the BBC, and not employed by the corporation in the past five years, and he suggested that this would mean former BBC1 Question Time presenter David Dimbleby and former BBC head of political programmes Sir Robbie Gibb – both of whom had declared an interest in the role – would fall at the first hurdle if they applied for the post.

 

OFCOM LAUNCHES COMPETITION INQUIRY INTO BBC SOUNDS: Brian McGleenon (Express 17/10) reported that media regulator Ofcom had announced an investigation into the impact on the market of BBC Sounds, a corporation platform which allowed users to listen to BBC radio stations and a selection of other stations live and on-demand.  He said that the move followed the raising of concerns by commercial radio industry organisation RadioCentre and the all-party parliamentary group for commercial radio. He added that Ofcom had stated:

‘. . . there have been a number of incremental changes to BBC Sounds, and some stakeholders in the commercial radio sector have concerns about its development. The audio and radio sector is undergoing a period of rapid change due to the evolution of streaming services, including the entry of global players such as Spotify and Apple Music.

‘Audience expectations are also changing; increasingly they want to listen to the content of their choice, when and where they want to, and there is a tendency for younger audiences, in particular, to listen online.

‘The BBC has responded to these audience changes and competition by developing and expanding BBC Sounds. Given the incremental changes that the BBC has made to BBC Sounds, we consider that now is the appropriate time to take stock of the market position of BBC Sounds and assess whether there are any issues that need to be addressed, via regulatory action or other means. We are therefore seeking evidence from stakeholders about the impact of BBC Sounds on the market.’

BBC BIAS DIGEST 28 SEPTEMBER 2020

BBC IMPARTIALITY ‘IS BEING CONSIDERED BY GOVERNMENT’:  Alastair  Stewart (£ Spectator 28/9), discussing press speculation that former Daily Telegraph editor Charles Moore and former Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre were being considered by Downing Street for the chairmanships (respectively) of the BBC and Ofcom,  claimed that the appointments could ‘redraw the broadcasting landscape’.    Mr Stewart also noted that culture secretary Oliver Dowden – though not commenting directly on the speculation – had told the BBC’s Andrew Marr show that the sort of person he wanted for the BBC role ‘would guarantee genuine impartiality at the corporation’ and would ensure that it represented the whole of the UK, not just the metropolitan elite. Mr Stewart added that in the ‘highly competitive’ era of modern broadcasting, there was a growing sense that impartiality had become an afterthought, with journalists often taking to social media to put their own take on stories, and ‘wokery’ at the top.  He said:

‘I sense it but, more importantly, so do thousands of what Alastair Burnet used to call, with respect and affection, ‘the plain folk’. More of them voted to leave the EU; more of them voted for Conservative candidates than Labour candidates in recent general elections. Rightly or wrongly, they sense a greater warmth for Remain than to Leave on the BBC. Rightly or wrongly, they sense a greater affinity to opposition parties than to the government. In truth, it shouldn’t be either and that is the burning issue. These matters, as my quote above of Ofcom clause 5.1 makes clear, must be reported with ‘due accuracy and due impartiality.’ If they are not, Ofcom is the public’s final court of appeal. If their disquiet is not answered to their satisfaction, they have another course of action: they can cancel their TV licence. And many are now doing that.’

Mr Stewart, noting that culture minister John Whittingdale was working on a new definition of public service broadcasting and would soon launch a public consultation on it, said that the various concerns made the issues of dealing with the BBC and impartiality more pressing. He concluded that, while the speculation about Charles Moore and Paul Dacre might be kite-flying, ‘the appointment of people who take the issue of impartiality seriously and will act to defend it’, was on the agenda.

BBC BIAS DIGEST 3 SEPTEMBER

BBC MUST ‘URGENTLY CHAMPION IMPARTIALITY’: Dan Sales (Mail online 3/9) said that new BBC director general Tim Davie, in his first address to staff, had asserted that if they wanted to be opinionated columnists or partisan campaigners on social media, they should not be working at the BBC, and that the corporation needed to urgently ‘champion and recommit to impartiality’.  He had insisted his drive was about being ‘free from political bias, guided by the pursuit of truth, not a particular agenda’, and asserted:

‘If you work here, nothing should be more exciting than exploring different views, seeking evidence with curiosity and creatively presenting testimony. Making use of our own experiences but not driven by our personal agendas. I wonder if some people worry that impartiality could be a little dull. To be clear, this is not about abandoning democratic values such as championing fair debate or an abhorrence of racism. But it is about being free from political bias, guided by the pursuit of truth, not a particular agenda. If you want to be an opinionated columnist or a partisan campaigner on social media then that is a valid choice, but you should not be working at the BBC.’

Mr Sales reported that Mr Davie had also told staff that there was no room for complacency about the BBC’s future and must evolve to protect what was cherished because if current trends  continued ‘we will not feel indispensable enough to all our audience’. He added that Mr Davie believed the corporation had spread itself too thinly amid competition from streaming services, which could mean it was time to stop making some shows, to stop navel-gazing, and maybe close down some services, stating that the end had come of ‘linear expansion  for the BBC’.

Mr Sales also said that Mr Davie had made it clear that he opposed the idea of a subscription model of revenue generation in future, but had not spelled out what other options might be favoured.

Steven Brown (Express 3/9) said that Mr Davie, in his address to staff,  had said that the future of the corporation was in doubt if it could not regain the trust of the public.  He had also said that the corporation must explore new ways of delivering impartiality, including seeking a wider spectrum of views, pushing out beyond traditional political delineations and finding new voices from across the nation. Mr Brown added that he had warned staff that he would be taking action in the coming weeks, including new guidance on how to deliver impartiality, and affecting a ‘radical shift’ in the focus of the BBC  to reconnect with those who felt alienated by the corporation.

Ti Davie’s full speech can be read here.

 

NEW BBC DG ‘IN TOUCH WITH ORDINARY PEOPLE’: Robert Hardman(Daily Mail 3/9), stressing that he wanted the BBC to thrive,  argued that in the row over the last night of the proms, new director general Tim Davie – who had announced that the sung version of Rule, Britannia would be included –  had been handed a very simple, headline-grabbing and cost-free means of making his mark on the corporation, and in tune with ‘ordinary people’. Mr Hardman claimed that the decision would be welcomed by most ‘level-headed’ people in the country, though he said that the announcement about the change of heart over the proms was ‘both condescending and nonsensical’ in claiming that the problems had been thrust on the BBC by the problems of Covid-19  rather than being of their own making.

Leo McKinstry (Express 3/9) claimed that the decision by Tim Davie over the proms represented an extraordinary defeat for the ‘social justice warriors’, and that if Mr Davie continued in the same way, he would ‘transform the corporation for the better’.  Mr McKinstry  suggested that the new director general was the ‘antithesis of the progressive mandarin’ who had worked in the commercial world and in the 1990s had been a Conservative activist.

BBC’ SHOULD PROVIDE COMEDY THAT IS FUNNY’: Rod Liddle (Sun 3/9), noting that new BBC director general Tim Davie had reportedly suggested that BBC comedy was too ‘left-wing’,  argued that the real problem was that jokes told on air – involving often, for example, that Donald Trump had an orange face – were not funny.   He asserted:

‘Listen in now and you get ­panels of people who all think the same thing, making the same jokes, over and over. It is stultifying. Luckily, the new director-general of the BBC has noticed this. Tim Davie has said he wants a few more right-wing comics on those panel shows.’

Mr Liddle argued that the solution was not to choose comedians simply because they were right-wing, but ‘comics brave enough to tackle subjects the BBC staff think are sacred cows’.

He concluded:

‘One more thing, D-G. I hope you are including Newsnight in your list of comedy programmes that need an overhaul. And ­ridding of leftie bias. Get shot of Emily Maitlis for a start. That would give us all a laugh.’

 

‘CONSERVATIVE VIEWS OMITTED FROM BBC NARRATIVE’: Nicholas Burnett (The Conservative Woman 3/9), discussing BBC bias, observed that throughout the summer, in the ‘midst of racial tension stocked by Marxist agitators’ (referring to the Black Lives Matter protests), the BBC had chosen to amplify individuals’ claims of racism against the police ‘without challenge or context’.  He added:

‘The same sense of grievance plays out in much of the ‘woke’ narrative too often consuming BBC News output. Many black people don’t feel deeply offended by white society. Many gays feel awkward with train carriages painted in their name. Many women roll their eyes when the next round of gender-pay grievance figures is headlined. Conservative views are omitted from the BBC’s narrative as it gives credence to ‘strong feeling’ over balanced rational coverage. Britons do care about fairness, tolerance and equality but not the version pushed by activists.’

Mr Burnett argued that the BBC’s pursuit of ‘more diversity’ had led now to the assumption that race, sexuality and gender were primary factors in the worth and measurement of people , and that – in effect – was bouncing back on them with reported claims of institutional racism within the BBC, with employees of the Africa service complaining that having a white manager was akin to ‘working the cotton plantations of old’.

 

 

BBC BIAS DIGEST 30 AUGUST 2020

DAVIE ‘SET TO BECOME MOST RADICAL DG SINCE DYKE’: John Arlidge (£ Sunday Times 30/8) claimed that Mr Davie was set to introduce the most radical reforms to the BBC since Greg Dyke 20 years ago.  Mr Arlidge – explaining that he had not interviewed Mr Davie – said he had pieced together his intentions by talking to ‘senior BBC sources, close friends ands executives who have worked with him’. He added that the changes would include reconnecting with a broader audience by shedding its London-metropolitan bias and its ‘politically correct’ culture, while at the same time ridding the corporation of its ‘lumbering management’, by halving the size of its executive committee from 18 to 9. Mr Arlidge, noting that Mr Davie is the first director general since Sir Michael Checkland in the 1980s not to have a journalistic background, said that he was not afraid of taking on the news ‘behemoth’  to restore impartiality through providing ‘facts, the truth and proper reporting’.

BBC ‘MUST BECOME IMPARTIAL ONCE MORE’: Sir Robbie Gibb (Sunday Telegraph 30/8) argued that events in the past week, including the last night of the proms row, had made the scale of the challenge facing Tim Davie ‘painfully clear.’ He argued that BBC bosses had seemingly seemed so fearful of causing offence to woke activists over racism that they had ended up outraging the majority of the public who were proud of their country, its heritage and traditions, and, further, that the corporation had been ‘culturally captured’ by the left-leaning attitudes  of a metropolitan workforce drawn mainly from a similar economic and social background.  Sir Robbie added that BBC staff were increasingly letting their political preferences show, ranging from liking certain tweets to flagrant breaches of editorial guideline impartiality rules, such as Lewis Goodall, the Newsnight policy editor, grabbing the New Statesman’s cover story with an attack on the government. He claimed that during the EU referendum, rigorous internal controls ensured bias-fee coverage, but that afterwards, this had been abandoned and ‘group think’ crept back in. He argued that what was now required was a cross-BBC steering group to ensure impartiality across all BBC output and that content genuinely reflected the ‘outlook of the country’.  He asserted:

‘In order to provide evidence and benchmarks  on which impartiality can be judged, the BBC Board, working with the BBC editorial policy and standards department, should commission regular Ofsted- style reports into individual programmes and how the BBC is handling a particular running story. The BBC can only be justified as a publicly-funded broadcaster if it provides something commercial rivals do not – truly impartial news coverage.

DAVIE ‘TO CLAMP DOWN ON MOONLIGHTING BY BBC PRESENTERS:  Rosamund Urwin (£ Sunday Times 30/8) said that Tim Davie, the BBC’s new director general, would clamp down on presenters such as Naga Munchetty, Fiona Bruce and Simon Jack making tens of thousands of pounds by hosting corporate events and moonlighting for private companies. Ms Urwin reported that a ‘source close to Davie’ had said that he believed impartiality was a cornerstone of the BBC and that the corporation needed to think about whether there were things which happened with outside interests and on social media which could erode trust and confidence.

MPs WARN THAT BBC NO LONGER SERVING AUDIENCES:  Guido Fawkes (30/8) reported that, according to the Telegraph, the new BBC director general Tim Davie had received a ‘blunt’ letter signed by 14 Tory MPs  accusing the BBC of fundamentally failing to ensure it was covering the diverse perspectives and interests of the public, with the result that many no longer wanted to fund it.  The letter also instanced several examples of bias reporting, including the BBC1 Panorama programme about supplies of safety equipment to hospitals which had been dominated by Labour-supporting contributors without the audience being properly told.

‘TWO TV NEWS CHANNELS TO RIVAL BBC’: Glen Owen (Mail on Sunday 30/8) said that former BBC executive and Downing Street director of communications Sir Robbie Gibb was spearheading a drive to raise funds for GB News, a 24-hour broadcasting station which would provide what was being described as an antidote to the ‘woke, wet’  BBC.  Mr Owen said that the new channel would use a ’standard digital platform’ such as Freeview and had already been granted a licence to operate by broadcasting regulator Ofcom.  He added that pressure on the BBC would further increase with the development of a second rival, a news channel from Rupert Murdoch’s News UK company, likely to be streamed online in a similar way to Netflix. Mr Owen – referring to the controversy about the dropping of the sung version of Rule, Britannia from the last night of the proms – also reported that Lord Hall, the outgoing BBC director general, had insisted that the BBC was not ‘a woke’ corporation and that his predecessor, Tim Davie (due to take over on September 1) had jointly approved the decision about the proms. Mr Owen added that ‘a source close to GB News had said that the servicer would be ‘truly impartial’ and would deliver the facts, ‘not opinion dressed up as news’.    He speculated that broadcasters such as Andrew Neil and Julia Hartley-Brewer had been approached about working for both channels, and said that News UK was ‘at pains’ top point out that it would not be a British version of the ‘right-wing’ Fox News in the US, but rather a television version of services such as TalkRadio.   He added that GB News had also distanced itself from Fox News and from ‘claims that Nigel Farage would be involved’.

NEW DG ‘COULD REVERSE PROMS DECISION’: Ryan Sabey (Sun 29/8), quoting a ‘BBC insider’, said that incoming director general Tim Davie believed that the corporation’s decision to axe the sung versions of Rule, Britannia and Land of Hope and Glory at this year’s last night of the proms had wrought ‘terrible damage’ on the BBC and could reverse it.

Scarlet Howes (Mail on Sunday 30/8) claimed that, according  a report on the Slipped Disc music website,  the BBC Symphony Orchestra, which performed at the last night of the proms, had held a ‘panicked meeting’ about ‘unconscious bias’ and ‘institutional racism’ a few weeks before the row over the content of the concert. She added that the meeting, which discussed responses to the Black Lives Matter movement, decided to forge close links with Chineke!, the first professional orchestra in Europe to be made up mainly of black and ethnic minority musicians.

OFCOM ‘INVESTIGATING BBC’s COMMERCIAL PLUGS FOR BRITBOX’: Matthew Moore (£ Times 28/8) said that the BBC was facing an Ofcom review of its decision to run advertisements for Britbox , a commercial programme box set service provided through online streaming in which it owned a 10 per cent stake.  Mr Moore explained  that Britbox was a joint venture between the BBC and ITV – which owned the remaining 90 per cent – and cost subscribers £5.99 a month to access classic episodes of series such as Doctor Who. He said that Ofcom investigation had been sparked after a promotion for Britbox was run after an episode of Doctor Who, and suggested that the regulator would likely conduct a wider review of the BBC’s rules for cross-promoting commercial products later in the year.  Mr Moore noted that the BBC’s rivals had long complained that the BBC had an unfair advantage because it could market products on its television and radio stations at no cost. There were strict guidelines on the promotion of commercial products, but in the Doctor Who case, the BBC had said it was permissible because it was a trial scheme ‘focused on helping viewers find materials directly relevant to the show they had just watched’.

BORIS JOHNSON ‘NOT DOING ENOUGH’ IN LICENCE FEE ROW: Gerrard Kaonga (Express 30/8) reported that Dennis Reed, the director of the campaign group Silver Voices – which was trying to reverse the BBC’s decision to charge over-75s for their BBC licence fees – had accused prime minister Boris Johnson of ‘washing his hands’ of being able to intervene. Mr Reed claimed that the BBC would jump at the opportunity of talks with the prime minister about resolving the matter, but so far Mr Johnson had said everything was down to the BBC. Mr Reed asserted:

‘The Government must approach the BBC rather than conduct an argument through the press, which is what has happened up to now. They could approach the BBC and the new director-general and say we have got to quell this dissatisfaction amongst the over-60s.’

BBC BIAS DIGEST 26 AUGUST 2020

BBC’S CONTEMPT FOR BREXIT ‘HAS DESTROYED CASE FOR THE LICENCE FEE’: Former editor of the BBC Radio 4 Today programme, Rod Liddle (Sun 26/8), in a comment piece,  said that he would never again pay his television licence fee because the decision by the corporation to drop the sung versions of Rule, Britannia and Land Of Hope and Glory from the last night of the proms was a sign that the BBC held middle England – regarded as ‘nasty little Englanders who probably voted for Brexit’ –   in ‘utter contempt’. He added that his former employers could not tolerate anything which did not fit in to its ‘woke’ agenda.

A Sun editorial (26/8) argued on similar lines and asserted that the BBC’s approach to the proms showed that the corporation no longer sought to represent or entertain the 50 percent of the population who had repeatedly back Brexit and the Tories.  The article said:

‘Its decision now to censor Rule, ­Britannia! and Land of Hope and Glory ought to be the last straw. Boris Johnson has rightly joined many others in condemning it. And though it is not for the PM to decide the BBC’s output, his Government can and should end its publicly funded financial model. The Beeb could turn this around. It just doesn’t want to. It dislikes much about Britain and is ashamed of our past. The BBC has destroyed the case for its licence fee. It’s time the Government stopped griping about it and took action.’

The Sun also reported (26/8) that a ‘chorus of anger’ had met the BBC’s decision to ban the words to Rule, Britannia and Land of Hope and Glory at the last night of the proms, with attacks on director general Tony Hall for his failure to intervene and intensifying calls to defund the BBC from figures such as the actor Laurence Fox.  The article said that prime minister Boris Johnson had blasted the ‘cringing embarrassment’ over Britain’s history and had demanded that the nation should stop its ‘culture of wetness’.   It was also noted that the late Dame Vera Lynn’s sung version of Land of Hope and Glory had reached number one in the iTunes chart after the singer’s daughter had urged the BBC to reverse its decision over the song, which, she said, her mother had started singing at VE Day in 1945.

Robert Hardman (Daily Mail 26/8) noted that that the BBC had also dropped the sung versions of Rule, Britannia and Land of Hope and Glory from the last night of the proms in 2001 because it had been decided they would strike the wrong note so soon after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York. He argued that the BBC’s reasons this time  – that it was a ‘creative conclusion’ in response to limitations created by Covid-19 simply fell apart when subjected to scrutiny because ‘safe’ songs such as Jerusalem and You’ll Never Walk Alone were being sung.

The Daily Mail (26/8) also reported that Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer had weighed into the row and had asserted that the proms  were a staple of the British summer and that enjoying patriotic songs was not a barrier to examining and learning lessons about history. The article also noted that director general Tony Hall had told BBC media editor Amol Rajan that he backed the decision over the proms and had said it was the ‘right conclusion’.

It was also reported that Cat Lewis, the producer of BBC1 programme Songs of Praise had compared the lyrics of the two songs to ‘Nazis singing about the gas chambers’. She had said:

‘Do those Brits who believe it’s ok to sing an 18th Century song about never being enslaved, written when the UK was enslaving and killing millions of innocents, also believe it’s appropriate for neo-Nazis to shout, ‘We will never be forced into a gas chamber.’

CHARLES MOORE ‘COULD SORT BBC PROBLEMS’: Paul Goodman (Conservative Home 25/8), discussing the selection of the next BBC chairman in the context of the current row over the dropping from the proms of the words of Rule, Britannia and Land of Hope and Glory, said that two names stood out: Andrew Neil and Charles Moore. Mr Goodman said that Moore was a ‘high Tory’, who could not see an institution without wanting to shore it up, and Neil a ‘low one’ who couldn’t see one without wanting to tear it down. He added that Neil, as a BBC presenter and interviewer knew a lot about the corporation from the inside and would want to shake it up, but was said to be involved in the setting up of a new enterprise to rival Sky News. Mr Goodman said:

‘If a Neil appointment would have senior BBC managers heading for the doors, a Moore one would see them running for the hills’.

He argued that Moore understood Lord Reith’s inheritance and would be more than capable of applying its ideals to education, drama, the regions and programming as a whole, as well as orientating the BBC towards the nation as a whole, including the majority which voted leave in 2016, and Britain outside central London.

MICHAEL CRICK: ‘BBC NOT COMMITTED TO GENUINE DIVERSITY’:  Michael Crick (£ Spectator 26/8), noting that the BBC had committed spending of £100m on achieving diversity, suggested that they were thinking in terms of what was currently narrowly fashionable, namely, ‘gender, race and sexuality’, at the expense of the elderly, the poor, those who lived in the north and in rural areas, and those who did not go into higher education. He warned that until the definition of diversity included these people, the BBC would ‘never understand it whole audience. Mr Crick added: ‘It will grow ever more out of touch with the have-nots, the left-behinds, and the people who voted leave the EU.’

CARRIE GRACIE ‘QUITS BBC’: BBC correspondent Carrie Gracie – who had resigned from her role covering China in 2018 when she had discovered she was paid less than male correspondents – had decided to leave the BBC after 33 years (Daily Mail 26/8). Rory Tingle reported that Ms Gracie had subsequently received a pay rise and back pay, as well as sparking a corporation-wide row about pay inequalities.

BBC Bias Digest 23 July 2020

BBC ‘WRONGLY BLAMES CHURCHILL FOR INDIA FAMINE’:  Writing for The Critic magazine (21/7), Christopher Howarth accused the BBC, ‘the most powerful megaphone in the land today’, of airing ‘a one-sided attack’ on Winston Churchill.  He wrote that a feature, by the BBC’s Yogita Limaye, which was broadcast on Radio 4’s Today programme (20/7), only included voices critical of ‘Britain’s most famous politician’, all concurring in presenting him as ‘reprehensible’ and ‘racist’. Mr Howarth added that the Radio 4 piece focused on the devastating 1943 Bengal famine, and held Winston Churchill ‘responsible’ for it. Mr Howarth argued that it reflected the BBC’s ‘obsession’ with ‘a particular version of history based on…poisonous, chronic racial essentialism’, projecting a ‘narrative of British evil and oppression’ . He added that it was not ‘worthy’ of the BBC to report it ‘as fact, without any semblance of balance’.

Rory Tingle (Daily Mail 23/7) reported that historians had attacked the BBC for an ‘unbalanced’ BBC One News at Ten report (on 21/7)  by Yogita Lamiye  claiming that Churchill was responsible for the ‘mass killing of three million people’ in the 1943 Bengal famine.  Mr Tingle said that in the item – part of a series examining Britain’s colonial legacy’ – contained claims from Indian academics that the then prime minister had framed policies which made him a ‘precipitator’ of mass killings and that he  could have  prioritised ‘white lives over Asian lives’ by not sending relief.  He added that LSE academic Tirthankar Roy had pointed out that the weather-induced famine had been due to the Bengal government’s unequal distribution of food and its failures to invest sufficiently in agricultural development. Mr Tingle said the BBC had responded that the report had contextualised Churchill’s actions  in relation to his overall war strategy, and that they ‘stood by’ the story.

 

VETERAN RADIO 2 PRESENTER ATTACKS BBC MANAGEMENT STRUCTURE: A report by Matthew Moore in The Times recorded BBC Radio 2 veteran Ken Bruce’s interview with David Lloyd’s Radio Moments Conversations podcast (£ 21/7). Mr Bruce, host of the Britain’s most popular radio programme, told Mr Lloyd that the BBC is ‘a frustrating place to work’ and that he sometimes thinks ‘a cull of managers would be no bad thing’, except that, ‘somehow’, whenever such a cull happens, ‘they come back within a few years’. Complaining about licence fee money being spent on the Director-General’s car, Mr Bruce asks, ‘How much does Radio 2 need a policy unit dealing with government?’.

 

BBC ‘SHOULD MOVE BEYOND BIG CITIES’: In a piece in The Times headlined ‘Time to move the civil service out of London’ (£ 22/7), Ben Houchen noted that, ‘too often’, for organisations including the BBC, ‘the north seems to mean Manchester’, arguing that ‘real change’ will come when such  organisations broaden out and also base themselves outside big cities.

In a similar vein, Jim Waterson, media editor of The Guardian (22/7), quoted former Culture Secretary, now Government minister, John Whittingdale saying that it is ‘absolutely essential’ for the BBC to ‘try to sustain support for the licence fee in all these communities [people who live in smaller towns and rural areas] and not just serve the metropolitan elite in London and Manchester. I am very much aware that communities like Cleethorpes begin to feel that the BBC is not providing sufficiently for them’.

 

JOHN WARE ‘CONSIDERING SUING JEREMY CORBYN’: BBC Panorama presenter John Ware (Daily Mail 23/7), noting that former Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn had said that his party’s decision to pay damages to him over an edition of Panorama which had investigated anti-semitism in the party was ‘political’ rather than legal, said he had been advised by his legal team that the statement was defamatory and potentially actionable. Mr Ware also said that ‘pro-Corbyn conspiracy theorists’ were persisting in spreading falsehoods about him on the internet. Mr Ware asserted:

“It is broadcasters like the BBC that are trying to hold the line on standards, not the self-appointed ‘media activists’ who make up their own rules and whose self-righteousness leaves them with dangerously little self-doubt. If we want fair and truthful journalism to prevail over deceitful propaganda on the internet, we must hold their authors to account. If we continue to let them get away with it, truth will not be the only casualty. Democracy itself will be wounded – perhaps fatally.”

BBC Bias Digest 15 July 2020

BBC CUTS ‘WILL HOBBLE WEBSITE’:  Charlotte Tobitt (Press Gazette 15/12) said that cuts in BBC England (providing local and regional journalism) of £25 million by the end of 2022 would lead to the loss of 450 jobs, with a BBC ‘insider’ also claiming  that the BBC News website would ‘cease to function in its current state’. Ms Tobitt said that the insider believed that the axing of a central web team in Birmingham that acted as a quality control filter, together with numerous operations staff, would mean that there was no longer the capacity to produce a properly comprehensive regional news service. She also reported that the BBC had responded to the criticism by stating that news generated by BBC England would become more localised and more efficient.

 

BBC ANDREW NEIL SHOW AXED:  Paul Withers (Express 15/7) said that as part of BBC cuts in journalism which in total would lead to the loss of 520 jobs, the Corporation had announced that it was permanently axing the Andrew Neil Show, which had been taken off air at the beginning of the pandemic lockdown. He added that Mr Neil would continue to present on an occasional basis the Politics Live programme and that the presenter was in talks about a new BBC One interview show.  Mr Withers claimed that ‘furious Britons’ were now calling for the licence fee to be scrapped in response the news as this was evidence that ‘the lefties are getting their way by stealth’.

 

BBC TO INVESTIGATE STAFF ‘TWITTER ADDICTS’: David Jordan, the BBC’s director of editorial standards, had told the Lords communications and digital committee – in a hearing about the future of journalism – that the ‘seductive’ Twitter website had sucked a number of its people into becoming ‘addicts’ who then broke editorial standards in ‘egregious ways’ by posting their own content (£ Daily Telegraph 15/7). He asserted that staff had not upheld the Corporation’s editorial standards and sometimes disciplinary action had been taken. Mr Jordan also confirmed that Richard Sambrook (a former BBC Director of News)  was investigating the use of Twitter by BBC employees.

Matthew Moore (£ Times 15/7) also reported that David Jordan had told the committee that BBC staff had become addicted to the ‘toxic’ Twitter platform, and warned that the desire by some to ‘go viral’ was undermining the Corporation’s reputation for accuracy. Mr Moore added that Mr Jordan had assured the committee that not all BBC journalists read The Guardian, but had acknowledged that the broadcaster had succumbed to liberal-left groupthink in the past. He had said: “We had issues, for example, about tracking the rise of Euroscepticism. Across the BBC, did we do that adequately? No, we didn’t. We had issues  around tracking the growth of concern about immigration”.  Mr Moore also said the committee had heard evidence from media minister John Whittingdale, who had said that metropolitan broadcasters including the BBC had failed to understand the strength of feelings on certain issues, including Brexit, outside the capital.

BBC censures presenters – but not very much

BBC censures presenters – but not very much

Two rulings have been made in the past ten days by the BBC’s editorial complaints unit (ECU) against Corporation presenters. Both the offending broadcasts, one an attack on Donald Trump, the other the ‘sneering’ handling of an interview with Rod Liddle about Brexit, took place in July.

This is hold the front page territory. Usually, the unit dismisses everything thrown at it, on grounds which have turned stonewalling into a whole new art form. The nature and extent of this is detailed in this blog dealing with the rejection by the ECU of a complaint from News-watch about the pro-EU, anti-Brexit bias in the BBC Radio 4 Mark Mardell series Brexit: A Love Story?

So who are the two who have earned such exceptional opprobrium? Step forward Emily Maitlis, of BBC2 Newsnight, and Naga Munchetty, a regular BBC1 Breakfast Time presenter.

An immediate observation is that those in the ECU should now watch their backs. Under the Corporation’s separate but over-riding equal opportunities agenda, singling out in quick succession two women in this way could be deemed by internal and external thought police as both sexist and anti-feminist. Labour MP David Lammy has already called the ECU’s decision against Ms Munchetty ‘appalling’, and 150 black broadcasters are demanding that the BBC reverse the ruling on her.

The pair’s transgressions, according to the ECU? Ms Maitlis was ‘too personal’ when she quizzed Sunday Times columnist and former BBC Today editor Rod Liddle about his book on Brexit, The Great Betrayal, suggesting that his views in it were often racist and xenophobic. The full ten-minute interview is on YouTube, and you can read the transcript here. 

In the sequence, Mr Liddle’s fellow guest was Tom Baldwin, the communications director of the People’s Vote campaign.

Ms Munchetty, for her part, had ‘gone beyond’ what editorial guidelines allowed by asserting that Donald Trump’s views were ‘embedded in racism’ when he tweeted that Democrat politicians Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib should ‘go back home’ to sort out problems there rather than criticising the US. A 40-second extract from the sequence was tweeted by the BBC itself on the day of transmission.

The ‘partly upheld’ ruling added: ‘She went on to comment critically on the possible motive for, and potential consequences of, the President’s words. Judgements of that kind are for the audience to make, and the exchange fell short of due impartiality in that respect.’

Excuse me, if that’s the case, where does virtually all of US correspondent John Sopel’s reporting of Donald Trump stand? His bias is evident in almost every utterance. And what of Roger Harrabin’s almost risible partisanship in the climate change arena?

Miracles sometimes do happen. This might be the start of a whole new chapter in BBC accountability and rigour in enforcing Charter impartiality requirements, a sign that the Corporation is beginning to take action against the blizzard of biased reporting that dominates its coverage of issues such as climate change and Brexit.

But don’t hold your breath. At this stage, the full ECU rulings against the two women are not available; there are only the briefest details on the BBC complaints website.

What’s the point of guilty findings if precise reasons are not given? The BBC is its own judge and jury in the vast majority of complaints, and for that reason, maximum transparency and explanation should be a matter of course so that licence fee-payers can be confident that their concerns are being scrupulously considered.

Further examination of the brief details of the ruling in the Maitlis case in the light of the transcript and video of the exchange with Mr Liddle raises huge concerns.

Point number one is that we are told that Ms Maitlis was said by the unnamed complainant to have been ‘sneering and bullying’ towards Mr Liddle. The ECU does not address this grave core charge at all.

It says simply: ‘The ECU did not agree that it was possible to deduce Emily Maitlis’s view on Brexit from the discussion. It also believed that it was valid to press Mr Liddle on his personal views and noted that he had the opportunity to vigorously defend himself.’ As an action point it adds: ‘The programme has been reminded of the need to ensure rigorous questioning of controversial views does not lead to a perceived lack of impartiality.’

Looking at the interview and checking against the transcript, it’s easy to see why the complainant thought Ms Maitlis was both sneering and bullying. She spoke over Mr Liddle, aggressively interrupted him, relentlessly suggested he was racist and xenophobic and focused the interview in that territory, refused to accept Mr Liddle’s point that some of his barbs in his columns were humorous, allowed fellow guest Mr Baldwin to join in to underline her claims of racism, and throughout reinforced her verbal onslaught with body language which expressed what looked like contempt and was arguably sneering in tone for much of the time.

Her approach was cumulative, but was best typified halfway through the exchange when she asserted in connection with her allegation that Liddle was racist: ‘It’s so consistent, it’s week after week, the bile that you spew up has to be who you are.’

To be fair, towards the end, Ms Maitlis put two adversarial questions to Tom Baldwin, based on the point that holding a second referendum was not democratic. But her tone towards him was strikingly less negative, and she did not follow through with the sort of treatment handed out to Mr Liddle. To be fair again, her questions opened the door for Mr Liddle to attack Mr Baldwin’s approach and to assert that if the second referendum did not back remain, his group would probably press for a third vote.

To sum up, the ECU’s ruling is both disingenuous and an affront to common sense. What it ruled was simply this: ‘It was insufficiently clear that this was not Ms Maitlis’s view of Mr Liddle but that of his critics, and the persistent and personal nature of the criticism risked leaving her open to the charge that she had failed to be even-handed between the two guests.’

Pardon? Her questions, observations, body language and overall handling of the interview can only be described as overtly hostile. This was an outright open attack on Mr Liddle.

The most disgraceful aspects of Ms Maitlis’s handling of the exchange, such as sneeringly calling Mr Liddle a xenophobe – which were the main substance of the complaint – have been glossed over in the outline finding or completely ignored.

Trust in the BBC will only return, if ever, when its complaints procedures become rigorously robust and independent and genuinely tackle the current rampant bias. There is no sea change here. Ms Munchetty and Ms Maitlis behaved in the way they did because the current editorial framework fosters such bias.

When will Team Boris wake up to BBC bias?

When will Team Boris wake up to BBC bias?

ACCORDING to weekend press reports, Boris Johnson’s director of communications Lee Cain has had a lightbulb moment. He has told Downing Street staff that appearing on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme is a ‘waste of time’.

Well, golly gosh. An old saying about a pikestaff rushes to mind.

In reality, it is hard to believe that the Johnson administration wants to do anything serious to tackle the BBC because the new Culture Secretary is Nicky Morgan. Her reaction when 70 MPs wrote to BBC director-general Tony Hall complaining about BBC Brexit coverage? 

She tweeted:

Theresa May, of course, was not concerned about BBC bias at all. That’s because she and her communications chief Robbie Gibb – a former BBC news executive – knew that the Corporation would assist in every way possible to undermine a clean break departure from the EU. It is reasonable to infer that they were probably not disappointed in the support they received.

News-watch research, contained in six separate surveys, has shown consistently that since the EU referendum in 2016 the Today programme has massively under-reported and misrepresented the withdrawal perspective, and in parallel characterised ‘no deal’ and those who support it as extremists or ‘hardline’.

Perhaps the most egregious example was that in the six months after the vote, the programme’s business news section carried only ten interviews with supporters of Brexit out of a total of 192. The introduction to the survey stated: ‘Between them, the negative guests painted a relentlessly pessimistic picture of gloom, doom and uncertainty, of plunging economic prospects, of a collapse of consumer confidence, rising inflation, a drying up of investment, job freezes, of a drain of jobs from London to mainland Europe, skills shortages because of the ending of free movement, the introduction of tariffs, and endless, complex renegotiation.’

For three years, this has been the hallmark of the BBC’s mindset. Preliminary findings from the latest News-watch survey, covering Today’s coverage of the European elections in April and May, show that as the May administration collapsed there was a doubling down on the BBC’s projection of concentrated Brexit gloom.

There were 487 EU-related speakers, of whom only 76 (15.6 per cent) were from withdrawalists (drawn from the ERG, the Brexit Party, UKIP, or those who had voted Leave in 2016 and were opposed to Theresa May’s ‘deal’). Between them, they spoke 14,000 words, which is only 10.5 per cent of the total of 133,500 spoken by all the EU-related contributors.

Figures, of course, are only part of the story. Perhaps the most striking exchange, illustrating the overall editorial approach, in the survey period was an interview by Nick Robinson with Sir William Cash on April 23. The background was that Nicky Morgan had complained the day before on the programme that she had received death threats because people such as Sir William had written an unhelpful letter to the press about her stance containing words such as ‘capitulation’ and ‘betrayal’.

The transcript of the interview with Sir William has to be seen to be believed. (It follows below.) Nick Robinson adopted a tone reserved by BBC presenters for those whom it regards as especially unsavoury, such as former BNP leader Nick Griffin. In an aggressive barrage of questions, Robinson asserted:

‘. . . what’s at issue here is the language you used, Sir Bill. No, the issue here is the language you use and I want you to address the language you’ve used rather than the argument.’

And inquired:

‘Do you think we’re still at war with Germany, Sir Bill? You refer to “appeasement”, “collaboration”, “surrendering”, “being on our hands and knees to Germany”. Do you think the war is continuing? . . . Why do you use the language of wartime, “appeasement”, “collaboration”, “surrender”, Sir Bill?’

Sir William patiently and politely explained that he had chosen the words because they were appropriate in the context that the EU were being very intransigent and ‘doing everything possible to make it difficult to leave’ on reasonable terms. Robinson was having none of it. Nicky Morgan had been offended and penance was required.

In sharp contrast, the programme’s general approach to the numerous Remain guests who suggested that leaving the EU with ‘no deal’ would be damaging or ‘catastrophic’ was benign acceptance.

Finally, a comparison with BBC’s 2014 European election coverage yields a startling statistic. The percentage of Brexit supporters who appeared in the survey period before the EU referendum was more than in the 2019 equivalent!

In this context, it would be an exciting development if the Johnson government did decide to do something concrete about such overwhelming BBC bias. Can Lee Cain succeed where others have so clearly failed?

Footnote: The News-watch legal application for a judicial review of the BBC’s approach to impartiality has been formally lodged with the BBC and the legal team is awaiting their formal reaction.

Transcript of interview with Sir William Cash, Today programme, April 23, 2019

Nick Robinson: ‘A forced and humiliating surrender. Appeasement on bended knee, the Prime Minister is making us crawl on our hands and knees to Germany and France.’ Not my words, the words used by the veteran anti-EU campaigner, Sir Bill Cash, who was condemned on this programme yesterday by fellow Conservative MP Nicky Morgan who, like many MPs who back Remain, has received a series of death threats and blames, in part, the language used in this debate. Sir Bill Cash joins us on the line now, good morning to you.

Sir William Cash: Good morning.

NR: Will Nicky Morgan’s words make you reconsider the words you use?

WC: No, for a very simple reason that considering the anger in the grass roots against what’s been going on and the broken promises that have been made and the fact that I don’t think she’d read my article, in fact I’m pretty certain, because she referred to the article in the Daily Telegraph today, when it was the Sunday Telegraph and didn’t give me the impression that she’d actually read it. But there we are.

NR: (speaking over) But she’s not the only person who’s condemned it. A fellow Conservative MP Alistair Burt said, ‘Does it ever cross your mind what you’re contributing to?’ So does it?

WC: Well, no. And the answer to that is this: that this is actually about the question of our leaving the European Union. We are standing up and I’m certainly standing up and have been consistently for the vote that was cast in the election, in the, in the referendum vote and also democracy itself and the manner in which . . . and this is what my article is actually about, which is about the legality of the extension of time and the broken promises that were associated with that by the Prime Minister and in the . . . in the House of Commons. (words unclear due to speaking over)

NR: (speaking over) Indeed, but what’s at issue here is the language you used, Sir Bill. No, the issue here is the language you use and I want you to address the language you’ve used rather than the argument.

WC: (speaking under) Yeah, okay.

NR: Do you think we’re still at war with Germany, Sir Bill? You refer to ‘appeasement’, ‘collaboration’, ‘surrendering’, ‘being on our hands and knees to Germany.’ Do you think the war is continuing?

WC: No I don’t, I think . . .

NR: (speaking over) So why do you use that language?

WC: As . . . well as, as quite clearly you can gather from looking at the situation as I’ve described it, I’m talking about what is going on now. This is the problem. (fragment of word, or word unclear due to speaking over)

NR: (speaking over) Why do you use the language of wartime, ‘appeasement’, ‘collaboration’, ‘surrender’, Sir Bill?

WC: Words mean what you choose them to mean, Nick, and the reality is that . . .

NR: (interrupting) They’re your words and you chose them, and I’m asking you why you use the language of war to describe a political disagreement.

WC: Well it is actually about a (fragment of word, or word unclear) as the European Scrutiny Committee made clear last year, we are, have been, consistently in these negotiations supplicating the European Union and thereby France and Germany. That is the position as it is now. We made a report, we made it clear, (words unclear due to speaking over)

NR: (speaking over) Are they the enemy, Sir Bill?

WC: What?

NR: Are our nearest neighbours in Europe the enemy, in your view?

WC: They’re not the enemy, but what they are, are people who are being very intransigent and are doing everything possible to make it as difficult as possible for us to leave the European Union on the terms on which we have a right to leave. (words unclear due to speaking over)

NR: (speaking over) But what I notice, that you use very different language now you’re on the radio to the language that you write . . .

WC: (speaking over) No, I . . .

NR: . . . in the article. You used the words, I put it to you again . . .

WC: (speaking over) That’s your interpretation . . .

NR: . . . of war.

WC: . . . of it, Nick. (words unclear due to speaking over)

NR: (speaking over) It’s not my interpretation, it’s a fact. You use the language of war, ‘surrender’, ‘hands and knees’, ‘collaboration’, ‘appeasement’ – why do you use that language?

WC: I’m using the language because it is an accurate description of what is actually being done over the last two, two years in negotiations.

NR: So Theresa May is a traitor to her country, is she?

WC: No, I’ve never said that. What I’m saying is it’s a complete misjudgement. It’s the manner in which the negotiations have been conducted. It’s the manner in which the extension of time has been made. And when I said, in the House of Commons, it was an abject surrender, I meant what I said, because that’s what it was.

NR: So, brief last question if I may, if someone issues a death threat and echoes the language you use, is your view, ‘so be it’?

WC: They certainly, they certainly wouldn’t be justified in doing so. I’m absolutely and totally against all those sort of death threats and anything of the kind. What I do say is that actually we have to express our language in a manner which reflects what’s been going on, and that’s what I did.