Climate Change

Nick Booth: The BBC is a candidate for a bonfire of the insanities

Nick Booth: The BBC is a candidate for a bonfire of the insanities

This is a guest post from Nick Booth of The Conservative Woman

Broadcasting trade papers are reporting that the BBC has brought in mandatory carbon footprint rules. All independent programme makers will now have to log the carbon footprint of their output, using a calculation tool pioneered during the production of Eastenders by BBC Studios.

So, if you’re an independent programme maker for the BBC, you have to square things with Albert.

One independent producer in the report complains about “yet more paperwork”, which will eat into the budget of companies that pay their staff peanuts.

However, she should rest assured that there will always be loopholes and exemptions. In contrast to the runners, the management of production companies are always obscenely well rewarded. The broadcasting industry, which has a polarised class system that’s the envy of the Third World, will continue to be full of rich white people who claim to be socialists.

Sustainability is an equally moveable moral feast. As with many directives some of the variables, listed here, are open to interpretation. ‘Source locally’, for example, could be interpreted to mean ‘only recruit your friends’.

Examine the explanation given by BBC sustainability manager Richard Smith, the father of Albert. Just as sustainability has three pillars, so is there a divine trinity of objectives in this exercise he says. That is, to understand the carbon impact of TV, raise awareness and engage people.

The key one is ‘engaging people’.

 

We all know the BBC is a people business. Which is another way of saying the right people. Only a select few good left-wing people are hired by our national broadcaster. It’s a closed society – the Poser Nostra – where recruits are only inducted if they are the type of person you’d like to go on a pussy hat march with or have at your dinner party.

However, since you cannot openly discriminate these days – good grief, has the weapon of political correctness fallen into the wrong hands? A subtler system is needed.

How? There’s a clue in the name. Albert. As in Albert Square, the fictional home of EastEnders. What did real Cockneys do to exclude outsiders? They devised their own language, rhyming slang. Just as diversity officers are really about division, so is there a hidden language agenda behind sustainability. It’s not about saving the planet. Much of the advice given is contradictory. One minute we’re all being instructed not to burn fossil fuels – and who could argue with that one? – but then we are told there are exceptions. Wood burning is good, for special secret reasons. So is diesel, despite the fact that it damages more children than a packet of Gary Lineker’s favourite crispy carcinogens.

These rulings don’t make any sense.

Common sense, surely, would tell you not to waste public money. An example given on the Albert website tells how the makers of Casualty saved £30,000 off the electricity bill. Which begs the question: what on earth were they doing before? It turns out they saved that money simply by not using needlessly powerful lights to burn public money. Imagine that! Whatever will they think of next? Not splurging on taxis? Not decamping to Brazil for a five second soundbite when that ‘expert’ could be interviews on Skype? If producers need to be told that, there’s something seriously wrong.

Still, will this new discipline lead to greater creativity and quality of output?

Could we expect an original storyline, perhaps, which dares to stray from politically correct orthodoxy and holds up a mirror to society as it really is? No, that would be too exhausting and energy intensive. It probably goes against other social engineering and activist policies. Better to recycle old prejudices from the usual ‘locally sourced’ members of the Condescentii.

I suspect we all love the BBC and want it preserved. We all remember what it was like and the Reithian values it once represented. These days, it’s about common purpose cliques who use their power to speak over the truth. I can see why people don’t think it’s sustainable and would gladly burn it down. But surely, we don’t want a bonfire of the insanities. Sorry, I slipped into sustainability slang there.

Photo by yorkshiregeek

BBC lays down the law on climate alarm coverage

BBC lays down the law on climate alarm coverage

Outrageous. That is the only way to describe respectably the latest impartiality ruling by the BBC Trust.

This band of climate change crusaders – led by the Trust’s Richard Ayre, chair of the Editorial  Standards Committee (ESC) – have ruled that a show that was a light-hearted dig at climate fanaticism by the Daily Mail’s Quentin Letts on Radio 4 back in August amounted ‘a serious breach of editorial guidelines’.

The crime? According to Ayre’s ruling – himself a former chairman of a group that campaigns on climate change – the producers failed to allow the Met Office totally to spoil the programme by being assigned acres of space to tell listeners that Letts was talking a load of rubbish because it was not in accord with the prevailing science.

Letts’ programme was in the humorous series What’s the Point of?…Specific criticisms levelled at it by the ESC also included that it had dared to suggest that the Met Office – which for years has been stuffed full of climate change zealots – was (shock horror), involved in political lobbying (over its own views), that it was not impartial about climate issues, and that it was alarmist (in the way it was trying to terrify us all into believing that the world would end soon because of our wicked capitalist ways).

For starters, the ruling is an affront to science and to basic intelligence because science does not and has never worked on the basis of ‘prevailing views’. Scientific theories aren’t reached by voting.

It proceeds by continually testing theories; the essence is that at any moment a whole edifice of accepted belief might come crashing down. There are thousands of scientists who do not agree with the Met Office’s and the BBC’s alarmism, as, for example, Jo Nova’s site regularly shows. They assert that the idea that the science relating to meteorology is settled is utter nonsense. And they point out that the UN’s process of inquiry into the science is totally flawed and designed for political purposes rather than reaching the truth.

But beyond that, the ruling also demonstrates that the BBC has descended into operating like the thought police in its attitudes towards almost every sphere of national life and culture. It has adopted a self-serving definition of ‘due impartiality’ to assess editorial balance.

Such judgments about who and who should not be heard now operate in coverage not solely related to related to climate, but also covering the environment, immigration, multiculturalism, religion, sexuality, Islam, the EU, the state-sanctioned killing of those who wish to die, family life, the British Empire, slavery, British history, morals, and much, much more.

Universities have rightly been condemned for operating the ‘no platform’ policy with increasing zealotry and bigotry. The ruling against the Letts programme confirms loudly and clearly that the BBC now has its own version of this. Those it disagrees with are banned from the airwaves completely, simply ignored, or, on the rare occasions where they are not, forced to offer their views in such a suffocating framework that they are effectively neutered.

Investigations have shown that the Trustees’ entire process of upholding impartiality is rotten to the core, and for years has been operating only to protect the BBC from criticism. This latest ruling confirms yet again that the Corporation’s governance is not fit for purpose.

Rona Fairhead, the Trust chairman, made yet another BBC-serving speech last week in which she argued that any changes to the BBC being made in connection with the charter renewal should be evolutionary rather than revolutionary. Let us hope that Culture Secretary John Whittingdale totally ignores her simpering pleas.

Quentin Letts’ response to the BBC’s ruling can be read here: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3355441/QUENTIN-LETTS-vaporised-BBC-s-Green-Gestapo.html

The full transcript of his programme can be read here: http://biasedbbc.org/blog/2015/12/11/whats-the-point-of-the-met-office-transcript/

 

Photo by allenthepostman

BBC apology over Quentin Letts’ climate change programme  ‘is the stifling of free speech’

BBC apology over Quentin Letts’ climate change programme ‘is the stifling of free speech’

Once in a blue moon…? Hold the front page… because the BBC complaints department has actually apologised to someone.

Not, of course, to the battalions of folk who have been saying for years that coverage of topics such as feminism, multiculturalism, the EU and immigration is beyond the pale.

The response to them – as News-watch chronicles in its submission to government review of the BBC that closed today (October 8) – is ‘brickwall negativity’, combined with a liberal dose of bone-headed obfuscation to defend the Corporation at all costs.

The document notes that, according to Complaints Unit figures, only around 6% of complaints are ever fully upheld by the Corporation – and those that are usually revolve around marginal points.

So, step forward instead to collect this rare-as-hen’s- teeth apology a certain Dr Andy Smedley. Who? Well, he pursues a career publishing obscure papers on snow, ice and (of course!) renewable energy at Manchester University. And, if his Twitter feed is to be believed, he spends most of his time telling the world that we are all going to fry.

The good doctor complained that Daily Mail columnist Quentin Letts had the temerity, in the Radio 4 series ‘What’s the Point Of…?’, to dare to criticise the forecasts of the Met Office and to include a range of contributors who – shock, horror – even mocked the Met’s inaccurate forecasts.

Those who earn an estimated $1.5 trillion from governments round the world for pursuing their scared mission of alarmism clearly don’t like their gravy train being threatened. Dr Smedley, it seems, was particularly incensed.

The Complaints Unit grovelling response to him was:

‘…we do not consider the programme met our required standards of accuracy or impartiality in its coverage of climate change science. As previously stated, we also recognise that in giving voice to climate change sceptics, it failed to make clear that they are a minority voice out of step with the scientific consensus – which we would normally expect on the occasion when we include such viewpoints.’

Then in chilling Orwellian vein, it added:

‘Since writing to you originally, we have carried out an examination of the programme’s productions processes to discover how it (sic) went wrong. We are confident that the programme came about through an unusual combination of circumstances which we have now rectified to avoid any repeated problems.’

Put another way, the BBC has decided that the science is settled and that’s it. Quentin Letts and his chums are dangerous deviants because they do not agree with the ‘the consensus’. The programme’s production team is going away on a BBC indoctrination course to be told about their extreme folly in inviting them to speak. And in future, Letts et al won’t be allowed back on unless an army of Dr Smedleys first gets the chance to say they are talking rubbish.

Those of you who have followed the BBC’s bigotry in this arena will not be surprised by the approach – a similar torrent of alarmist bile was unleashed when, after the 2013/4 Somerset floods, Lord Lawson of Blaby, the former Chancellor of the Exchequer was asked on the Today programme about the causes and possible remedies.

It illustrates graphically that the Corporation is bursting its sinews to limit free speech in an area of science that is highly complex and far from settled. The Cameron government confirmed two weeks ago that it was continuing to waste billions of pounds a year on the assumption that climate alarmism is warranted, so this is a matter of massive public concern.

One ray of sunlight is that Culture Secretary John Whittingdale told the Conservative party conference this week that, in connection with Charter renewal, the Corporation will no longer handle complaints against its output because it had not ‘always been as fair and impartial as it should’. He declared:

“I know from the many letters and conversations that I have had that you have sometimes felt that the BBC has not always been as fair or as impartial as it should….

“…what is important is that the public should have confidence that complaints are examined independently and carefully. And that it is no longer the case that if you make a complaint against the BBC, the decision on whether it is justified is taken by the BBC”.

Let us hope that in this vital area, he delivers. Handing such complaints to an outside body which is both robust and genuinely independent will put an instant check on the Corporation’s rampant bias. The News-watch submission to Whittingdale shows in graphic detail how far the rot has taken hold – and the ludicrous contortions the Corporation performs to stifle free speech.

 

 

 

Photo by N@ncyN@nce

BBC pushes green agenda – in tune with every political colour but purple

BBC pushes green agenda – in tune with every political colour but purple

One thing is certain in this phony election: vote any colour but purple and you are supporting policies that continue to sanction the wasting of countless billions on climate change lunacy.

At the heart of all three main party manifestos is labyrinthine state regulation, a forest of new restrictive measures foisted on both businesses and individuals. They want tougher measures in favour of ‘decarbonisation’ under the UK’s insane Climate Change Act.  You can read them here, here and here.

Whatever the outcome of the General Election,  the next stage of this multi-billion spending extravaganza is that the parties will be working in unison to achieve them  at the UN Climate Change ‘summit’ in Paris in the autumn.

Be afraid, very, very afraid:  the declared goal is a ‘universal climate agreement’ which will hobble efficient economic growth for the foreseeable future and will ratchet up the price of energy generation, putting our well-being, prosperity and real chances of ending poverty into a stalling nosedive.

The most obscene aspect of this is that artificially high energy prices hit the poor and the old hardest. MPs know this, but they do damn all about it, and this eco-lunacy certainly does not affect three-kitchens Ed, £5K cooker-owner Nick or call-me-Dave’s father-in-law, a major beneficiary of subsidies for ‘renewables’.

What is this agenda? The mainstream media scarcely touch the issues involved. But The Guardian is already in full gung-ho eco-warrior mode and giving maximum publicity to the pre-Paris agenda. Pride of place goes to their Keep it in the Ground campaign, the aim of which is a total cessation of recovering and burning using fossil fuels.

Actually, this is happening at a time when former UN climate change chief alarmist Yvo De Boer, has accepted that coal is an essential part of the energy mix, especially for developing economies, and when most of Asia is flocking to a new investment fund in China, which, unlike the Green-dominated World Bank, will provide investment support for new coal-fired power stations.   But our MPs are too immersed in their green ideology to do joined-up thinking.

More alarmingly – in true Politburo style – these zealots want   to shut down debate in this highly complex arena.  Anyone who disagrees that the science is proven is contemptuously dismissed by Guardianistas as a ‘denier’, a phrase deliberately hijacked from ‘Holocaust deniers’. Full-blooded nastiness is intended, and some want the jailing and even killing of opponents.

It boils down to the fact that the allure and stranglehold of doctrinaire Communism/socialism – which kept the Left happy for decades – may have weakened, but it has been replaced by a new Green ideology that is every bit as repressive, if not more so.   At its core it is not only anti-capitalist but also anti-welfare.

This immense Green Blob present themselves to the world as a downtrodden, progressive and  right-on. But they are bankrolled by billions of pounds or private and public cash.  Big Green has more cash than Big Oil,most of it from our pockets.  And all the manifestos show that they are now going to get even more.

Green campaigners are working to flat out to stifle dissent in the climate change debate and the party manifestos demonstrate beyond reasonable doubt that all our political class – but Ukip – are signed up to this eco-zealotry.   The extent to which it has taken hold is best illustrated by the semantics involved: the Liberal Democrats want an Office for Accelerated Low Carbon Innovation.

The BBC, of course, is fully complicit in this. It’s the mouthpiece of all three parties’ drive towards ‘decarbonisation’.  While the Corporation’s election campaign coverage focuses on the phony differences between them, it’s eco-warrior business as usual on the BBC website. Here it is pushing the climate alarmist agenda with every sinew of its corporate clout – we will no longer be able to eat fish and chips because of global warming.  That’s what Met Office models tell us, so in the BBC’s world of weather doom, it must be true.

There are a few glimmers of sense. David Cameron has rowed back from his Green Blob thinking in that he has declared that the Tories will no longer support the further development of onshore wind farms – and he says the party also supports fracking. But all other aspects of eco-lunacy – including enthusiasm for the Paris summit – are adopted hook line and sinker. Tory policy is broadly indistinguishable from any other.

And the party continues to support idiotic green schemes, such as the Swansea ‘lagoon’, a tidal energy project, which if it goes ahead with generate probably the most expensive electricity in the world.

Only Ukip’s manifesto promises to repeal the Climate Change Act and halt this insane spending on a political ideology that, in reality, is a massive con trick on the British electorate.

Photo by Jeremy Levine Design

Photo by IntelFreePress

Hall’s BBC Executive Board Climate Change Links

Hall’s BBC Executive Board Climate Change Links

Rona Fairhead, who David Cameron has parachuted in as new chairman of the BBC, is being grilled about her approach to the role by the Commons Culture and Sport Committee on Tuesday – and already questions of conflict of interest are being asked.

A former chief executive of the Financial Times group, she still owns a tranche of shares in parent company Pearson worth around £4.5m – and the BBC commercial arm BBC Worldwide has a deal with Pearson which involves the Corporation promoting  some of its educational products. No doubt the BBC’s spin doctors will come up with reasons why that’s perfectly OK.

Actually, her appointment may be smoke and mirrors and almost an irrelevance. The real power in the Corporation is vested in the Executive Management Board. It takes the day-to-day decisions about how its run.

The Trustees (of whom Fairhead will be chairman)   is supposed to be the BBC watchdog, but since its inception in 2007 has in reality been pretty ineffective and packed with left-leaning climate change alarmists such as Alison Hastings and Diana Coyle.

Under former chairman Lord Patten, they pretty much sat on their hands while former Director General Mark Thompson presided over a bean feast of eye-wateringly massive pay-outs to departing executives, embarked on lunatic  new technology projects that cost licence-fee payers more than £100m, and also spectacularly failed to act as senior Corporation editorial managers effectively suppressed the Savile story.

The executive management board is made up of a core senior BBC executives, such as former director of news Helen Boaden, who rather than being sacked,  was moved sideways to Managing Director radio after huge question marks were raised about her conduct in the Savile cover-up.

But the board also has a range of outside non-executive and it is here that Director General Tony Hall has been making a raft of appointments that show how the BBC is likely to conduct itself in the crucial build-up to 2017 Charter renewal, and who are likely to be far more important in the shaping of BBC conduct.

Who are these people? A mixed bag of fiercely independent minds?  Well no.

Step forward  Sir Nicholas Hytner, Alice Perkins, Dame Fiona Reynolds, Sir Howard Stringer, and Simon Burke.

All, it is true, have impressive-sounding career paths. Hytner is the former director of the National  Theatre; Stringer  a former president of CBS, the US terrestrial broadcaster, and Sony, the Japanese conglomerate; Perkins is Chairman of the Post Office; Reynolds is a former Director General of the National Trust;   and Burke, a retailer, has a career that started with Richard Branson’s Virgin and he is now a director of the Co-op Food division.

But scratch the surface, and familiar alarm bells start clanging immediately.

Alice Perkins hasn’t adopted the name of her husband – he’s the former foreign secretary Jack Straw. I’ll leave you to draw your own conclusions about that in terms of her outlook.

Stringer has a very public obsession pursuing climate change alarmism. Under his leadership, Sony got into bed very firmly with all the usual eco militants in leading the charge towards a 50% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions, and he is a platform speaker at climate alarmist events such as this. This adulatory piece in the BBC’s house journal The Guardian says it all.

Reynolds , now the master of Emmanuel College , can be seen and heard here in full cry telling the students of St Andrew’s University that we are all going to fry and die unless we mend our wicked ways and all become as madly green as she is.  And under Reynolds stewardship, the National Trust turned from being a body simply conserving our heritage to one screeching that climate change is a major national issue that affects us all.

Hytner is very careful about giving interviews about his political outlook. But my guess from a trawl of his background is that he was never a fan of Margaret Thatcher and he stresses the need for the arts to reflect ‘cultural diversity’ – often the code for the multicultural agenda.

Burke is also a bit of an unknown quantity – his career path too colourless to attract much attention –  but he cut his teeth as a key lieutenant of the right-on green warrior Richard Branson, whose enlightened  philosophy is to tell climate ‘deniers’ to get out of the way.

The problem facing the BBC as Fairhead’s appointment moves towards confirmation is not particularly who she is, or what she represents, but that the Corporation  desperately needs input from genuinely independent radical-thinking  figures who can shake up its slavish adherence to left-leaning ideology and outlook.

All the signs are that it is moving in the opposite direction.  Tony Hall has surrounded himself with a coterie that shares his own worldview – and in turn, that’s exactly the same as that of the Trustees.

On Tuesday, the MPs on the Culture Committee will focus on Fairhead, but she’s destined to be an empty, toothless figurehead.  The real power lies elsewhere.

Photo by Lepti

BBC drama queen: A warning from history?

BBC drama queen: A warning from history?

Scratch the surface of the BBC, and connections with vested climate change alarmist interests and the EU seem to lurk everywhere.   Not only has the Corporation become an alarmist propaganda machine, but also its personnel seem to be working on a massive scale behind the scenes to spread the message even further.

Acting chairman of the Trustees Diana Coyle is a paid advisor to energy company EDF – as was former chairman Lord Patten. And fellow trustee Richard Ayre is a former chairman of Article 19, whose goals include climate change rights advocacy throughout the world.

Deputy director of news, Fran Unsworth, can now be added to this list.  As well as being one of the BBC’s most senior female executives, she is also a board member of a major EU initiative that includes systematic ‘education’ about climate alarmism. This is called the  programme – of which, more later.

First, through, it seems that Ms Unsworth has taken personal charge of the BBC’s response to the row over the Corporation’s coverage of climate change centred on Lord Lawson.

She declares in a letter to The Spectator that Lord Lawson, contrary to some reports, is not banned from BBC coverage. Instead, editors must make it clear that his views don’t carry equal weight to those of alarmists because he is not an expert.

Ms Unsworth’s lofty  pronouncement would also seem to mean that Owen Patterson, the sacked environment minister, who has described alarmist lobby as ‘The Green Blob’, will not be afforded  ‘equal weight’ in future coverage of environmental issues.

Who else will join this list of ‘non experts’?

This will presumably be down to individual programme editors, who as a result of the BBC’s unbending partisanship on this most complex of subjects, are now in a position of deciding who is properly qualified to comment and who is not.  On what basis?

An interesting parallel, I would suggest, comes in the history of eugenics, which I am currently studying.   From the 1890s onwards, overwhelming numbers of scientists and liberal ‘reformers’ (Marie Stopes and George Bernard Shaw among them) came to believe  – on the basis of Darwin’s theories, as well as a torrent of books –that selective breeding and enforced sterilisation  was essential to eliminate mental and physical disease and to improve mankind’s genetic strength. They wanted to help natural selection on its way.

As a result, of course, we got Nazi Germany, but before that (less well-known but perhaps just as chilling, but now almost forgotten) more than 30 US states introduced enforced sterilisation laws and Britain came within an ace of following suit in 1913.  Sweden passed laws, too, and they were not repealed until the 1970s.  A ‘consensus’ of leading scientists, industrialists and politicians (who included Winston Churchill)  believed stridently in this social Darwinism and thought the only way forward was selective breeding.

Would the BBC have then been its cheerleader?  On Ms Unsworth’s logic, and with her certainty, it most probably would.

And what of Ms Unsworth herself, what equips her to make such clear adjudications on complex matters of science? Not, I would submit, her education…in fact her degree, according to the BBC, was in drama. Very apt for a BBC journalist, perhaps, but not in the understanding of the finer points of meteorology.

May be she is emboldened by the seminar which the BBC held back in 2006, at which, the Corporation claimed, a consensus of ‘scientists’ advised them that the science was settled. But Anthony Montford, of the Bishop Hill website, has shown conclusively that the whole meeting was a farcical charade – the scientists were in fact, mostly political activists, the ‘Green Blob’ that Owen Patterson has identified.

But no matter how flimsy these foundations, Ms Unsworth must be jolly sure of her facts about climate change, as her other connections also testify.  The BBC Register of Interests shows she is also an advisory  board member of the EU Erasmus Mundus  programme.  This, on the surface, is presented as an exchange scheme for students, and it clearly attracts lavish funding.  But hang on – there’s a catch.

This paper shows it has extensive climate change alarmist objectives.  It is doling out our money to create whole new generations of climate change warriors though a massive programme of international seminars and ‘education’.

No doubt listening only to Ms Unsworth’s approved ‘experts’  and properly constituted BBC reporting as they learn.

Photo by Universität Salzburg (PR)

Today Editor’s  ‘Blackpool Rock’ Propaganda

Today Editor’s ‘Blackpool Rock’ Propaganda

Jamie Angus, the young editor of the BBC Radio 4 Today programme appointed to the role a year last May, has risen through the BBC ranks virtually without a trace.

Aged 40, he’s already had stints as editor of sister programme World at One and as acting editor of Newsnight. He was parachuted into that role after the McAlpine libel fiasco, but failed to get the job full-time when director general Tony Hall decided it needed more left-wing influence and would go to Guardian deputy editor Ian Katz.

Despite Angus’s high-profile roles, search Google, and you draw a virtual blank on him, apart from this piece on the News-watch website a few months back.

But now, he’s decided to come down from his BBC mountain and has give an interview to The Guardian.  On first sight, it’s one of those soft-touch meejah ‘profiles’ without an obvious peg. But read between the lines and it speaks volumes about the man and his mission – as well as the Corporation he works for.

‘BBC propagandist’ is emblazoned there as clearly as if it had been extruded through a stick of Blackpool rock.

On the momentous occasion of his first national newspaper interview about his role, his list of priorities seems somewhat narrow. There’s not a squeak about the integrity of its journalism – for example, about how and whether his programme is fulfilling its role as the BBC’s declared flagship news and current affairs programme.

Many doubt that, but Angus’s priorities seem rather different: they are (in no particular order), whether there are enough female presenters, whether Thought for the Day should be changed, the need to make the ‘pop-py’ items he has introduced to the programme more ‘mainstream’, and how to procure more 35-54 listeners, though he appears to already have the answer: new six-second slots that appeal to them.

Of course, such issues have some significance in the overall fabric of the programme because the appeal of Today is that it does have variety and changes of pace and tone as well as the more serious interviews. But they are minutiae.

It seems astonishing that – given that not a single external  BBC interview happens without clearance at the highest PR levels – this would appear to be this thrusting new editor’s main public agenda for the BBC’s flagship programme.

Buried in the interview are some more worrying points. First, it’s clear that Angus is completely sold on what he calls the ‘pluralist’ agenda. He states:

“One of the great things about living in Britain is that we are a pluralist society that is immensely tolerant of a wide range of different religions. I think Thought for the Day is one of the hidden pillars that absolutely supports that architecture.”

That seems like BBC code for something rather less tolerant. What he actually means is that Thought for the Day has in the past been far too Christian and he is working with the rest of his chums to ensure that the need for such ‘pluralism’ ensures that Christian voices are actually heard as little as possible. And in a wider news and current affairs sense, those with ‘establishment’ views are often ignored or swamped out by the need for ‘diversity’.

And far more serious is what he reveals about  his BBC-biased attitude towards editorial impartiality.

Mr Angus says he ‘defended’ his decision to allow Lord Lawson on to the programme to discuss the Somerset floods, despite a complaint being upheld against the programme as Lord Lawson was not an expert on the subject and therefore had only ‘opinions’ and not scientific views.

He asserts:

“The BBC can’t say, ‘we aren’t going to put that point of view on air because scientists tell us it’s not right’.

Actually, he means the reverse, as becomes clear:

“People always raise flat earth at this point, but if you go into a pub on Oxford Street you won’t find anyone who says the earth is flat, but you will probably find a couple of people who are unconvinced by the science on climate change”.

There, in a sentence, is the entire problem with a crucial element of the current BBC treatment of editorial impartiality. Angus clearly thinks, that:

·        In a busy, typical pub (presumably that’s why he chooses Oxford Street) you will find only a couple of people who dare not to believe in the ‘science’ of climate change, and they are akin (but not quite as bad as) flat-earthers.

·        And the ‘science’ of climate change is so well established that those who do not accept it do not have a legitimate position – rather, they have not yet been ‘convinced’ by it.

The article also reveals that young Jamie began his career as a researcher for the Liberal Democrats – perhaps in the orbit of climate change alarmists such as Chris Huhne and Ed Davey.  How very, very fitting.

Photo by creating in the dark

BBC ‘non denial denial’ about Climate Change

BBC ‘non denial denial’ about Climate Change

All the President’s  Men, the Woodward-Bernstein book on Watergate, contained the rather neat phrase a ‘non denial denial’ to describe the contortions and distortions of the truth that Nixon’s White House manufactured  to deny that the body politic was infested with cheating, lying crooks.

The latest utterance from the corridors of the BBC in what looks increasingly like a dictatorial imposition of bias in the treatment of debates about climate alarmism brings the phrase forcibly to mind.

There were numerous reports last week that Lord Lawson had, in effect, been banned from BBC news and current affairs discussions about the subject because he dares to challenge what the Corporation says is overwhelming ‘consensus’ among scientists that we are seriously at risk from escalating temperatures.

The row ignited over reports of a ruling in the Guardian. It related to an item on the Today programme about the Somerset floods back in February.  In this, Lord Lawson argued that official responses should not accept unquestionably that the floods were caused by escalating climate change.

The Guardian now says that the BBC has issued a statement claiming that the reports about the ruling, and in particular that Lord Lawson had been banned from appearing, were wrong. It falls beautifully in the category of a complete non denial denial. The BBC says:

“Nigel Lawson has not been banned and nor is there a ban on non-scientists discussing climate change. We have also not apologised for putting him on air. The BBC is absolutely committed to impartial and balanced coverage, whatever the subject, and would not bow to pressure from any quarter whatever the story. This ruling found a false balance was created in that the item implied Lord Lawson’s views on climate science were on the same footing as those of Sir Brian Hoskins.

“Our position continues to be that we accept that there is broad scientific agreement on climate change and we reflect this accordingly. We do however on occasion offer space to dissenting voices where appropriate as part of the BBC’s overall commitment to impartiality.”

The saying: “Give them enough rope and they will hang themselves” applies here exactly.  Not only that, the Corporation is being massively disingenuous and alarmingly naive – or wilfully pig-headed – because their reaction is based on an ocean of prejudice and bull-necked corporate arrogance.

First, Nigel Lawson – though he is not a scientist – is a part of the debate about climate change alarmism because he has established the Global Warming Policy Foundation, a body which counts many eminent scientists as its trustees and advisors, and is rigorously marshalling the facts. Despite this, the BBC has only ever once (in the Today appearance) invited him to contribute to climate-related items.

Second, how on earth can the BBC declare with certainty that there is ‘broad scientific agreement’ about such a massively complex subject or that science is established by agreement?  And why on earth is it ‘false balance’ to include the views of a former Chancellor of the Exchequer into a discussion about whether resources relating to flood management are being wisely spent?

This new statement suggests the BBC, from top to bottom, are continuing to frame their reporting of climate alarmism on the basis that it has been proved. They may not have actually ‘banned’ figures such as Lord Lawson, but the facts speak for themselves – such appearances are very rare.

This seems every bit as sinister as Nixon’s White House. No lying or cheating, but preventing major national figures from properly taking part in debates of major public importance is surely  tantamount to the latter; audiences are entitled to expect the full facts, not a BBC diced and sliced and sanitised version.

Photo by Civilian Scrabble

Hall’s BBC Executive Board Climate Change Links

Hall’s BBC Executive Board Climate Change Links

Rona Fairhead, who David Cameron has parachuted in as new chairman of the BBC, is being grilled about her approach to the role by the Commons Culture and Sport Committee on Tuesday – and already questions of conflict of interest are being asked.

A former chief executive of the Financial Times group, she still owns a tranche of shares in parent company Pearson worth around £4.5m – and the BBC commercial arm BBC Worldwide has a deal with Pearson which involves the Corporation promoting  some of its educational products. No doubt the BBC’s spin doctors will come up with reasons why that’s perfectly OK.

Actually, her appointment may be smoke and mirrors and almost an irrelevance. The real power in the Corporation is vested in the Executive Management Board. It takes the day-to-day decisions about how its run.

The Trustees (of whom Fairhead will be chairman)   is supposed to be the BBC watchdog, but since its inception in 2007 has in reality been pretty ineffective and packed with left-leaning climate change alarmists such as Alison Hastings and Diana Coyle.

Under former chairman Lord Patten, they pretty much sat on their hands while former Director General Mark Thompson presided over a bean feast of eye-wateringly massive pay-outs to departing executives, embarked on lunatic  new technology projects that cost licence-fee payers more than £100m, and also spectacularly failed to act as senior Corporation editorial managers effectively suppressed the Savile story.

The executive management board is made up of a core senior BBC executives, such as former director of news Helen Boaden, who rather than being sacked,  was moved sideways to Managing Director radio after huge question marks were raised about her conduct in the Savile cover-up.

But the board also has a range of outside non-executive and it is here that Director General Tony Hall has been making a raft of appointments that show how the BBC is likely to conduct itself in the crucial build-up to 2017 Charter renewal, and who are likely to be far more important in the shaping of BBC conduct.

Who are these people? A mixed bag of fiercely independent minds?  Well no.

Step forward  Sir Nicholas Hytner, Alice Perkins, Dame Fiona Reynolds, Sir Howard Stringer, and Simon Burke.

All, it is true, have impressive-sounding career paths. Hytner is the former director of the National  Theatre; Stringer  a former president of CBS, the US terrestrial broadcaster, and Sony, the Japanese conglomerate; Perkins is Chairman of the Post Office; Reynolds is a former Director General of the National Trust;   and Burke, a retailer, has a career that started with Richard Branson’s Virgin and he is now a director of the Co-op Food division.

But scratch the surface, and familiar alarm bells start clanging immediately.

Alice Perkins hasn’t adopted the name of her husband – he’s the former foreign secretary Jack Straw. I’ll leave you to draw your own conclusions about that in terms of her outlook.

Stringer has a very public obsession pursuing climate change alarmism. Under his leadership, Sony got into bed very firmly with all the usual eco militants in leading the charge towards a 50% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions, and he is a platform speaker at climate alarmist events such as this. This adulatory piece in the BBC’s house journal The Guardian says it all.

Reynolds , now the master of Emmanuel College , can be seen and heard here in full cry telling the students of St Andrew’s University that we are all going to fry and die unless we mend our wicked ways and all become as madly green as she is.  And under Reynolds stewardship, the National Trust turned from being a body simply conserving our heritage to one screeching that climate change is a major national issue that affects us all.

Hytner is very careful about giving interviews about his political outlook. But my guess from a trawl of his background is that he was never a fan of Margaret Thatcher and he stresses the need for the arts to reflect ‘cultural diversity’ – often the code for the multicultural agenda.

Burke is also a bit of an unknown quantity – his career path too colourless to attract much attention –  but he cut his teeth as a key lieutenant of the right-on green warrior Richard Branson, whose enlightened  philosophy is to tell climate ‘deniers’ to get out of the way.

The problem facing the BBC as Fairhead’s appointment moves towards confirmation is not particularly who she is, or what she represents, but that the Corporation  desperately needs input from genuinely independent radical-thinking  figures who can shake up its slavish adherence to left-leaning ideology and outlook.

All the signs are that it is moving in the opposite direction.  Tony Hall has surrounded himself with a coterie that shares his own worldview – and in turn, that’s exactly the same as that of the Trustees.

On Tuesday, the MPs on the Culture Committee will focus on Fairhead, but she’s destined to be an empty, toothless figurehead.  The real power lies elsewhere.

Photo by Rajan Manickavasagam

BBC Trustees Cement ‘climate change’ Prejudice

BBC Trustees Cement ‘climate change’ Prejudice

The just-published  BBC Trust Review of impartiality and accuracy of the BBC’s coverage of science: follow up is an extraordinary, document which I think is virtually unprecedented in terms of partisanship in the broadcast arena.  The BBC Trustees have reinforced with steely belligerence against those who dare to disagree, their 2012 ruling that, in effect, the debate about climate change alarmism is settled.

News-watch has previously highlighted that Fraser Steel, the BBC’s head of complaints, has recently decreed after a complaint from a Green Party activist  that audiences must be made  aware that climate sceptics such as  Lord Lawson are totally outvoted by a ‘consensus’ of science, and is  wrong in holding such ‘opinions’.

In BBC programmes, if ever he is invited to appear, he must therefore receive only ‘due impartiality’ (Trustee Newspeak for less airtime). The document published this week explains why he acted with such certainty.

This is a long and complex subject to deal with in a blog post, but the way the BBC arrived at establishing there is such consensus is a whole catalogue of biased decisions.

Act 1 was back in 2006-7, and is expertly detailed by Andrew Montford, who runs the Bishop Hill blog. Roger Harrabin, the Corporation’s chief environmental correspondent – himself clearly linked closely to green activism  – persuaded BBC news chiefs  to call a meeting of ‘scientists’ to seek advice on the topic about what was then called global warming.  It turned out that, although the BBC tried desperately hard to conceal who these so-called ’scientists’ were, most of them were in fact fully-paid up leading eco-warriors, many linked to the EU, who were  determined to foist their anti-capitalist views on the world via BBC airtime. They got their way.

Act 2 was in 2010-12, when the Trustees commissioned a report to see if that adoption of such partisanship was correct. They appointed for this ‘independent’ review Professor Steve Jones, who is  a known climate change alarmist and had regular paid employment from the BBC in their science programmes. Somehow, the Trustees missed or glossed over that a) he is  not independent, b) he is  a biologist and not an expert on climate,  and c)  that he is a political activist who has broadcast that private schools are a ‘cancer’ in the education system.

The Jones report, which appeared in 2012 was therefore rather unsurprisingly a partisan political tract.  It argued that climate change science was settled and that the BBC must work to virtually exclude from the airwaves anyone who disagreed with alarmism. The BBC was already doing that anyway, but the report gave the BBC the Trustees what they saw as the ‘independent;’ authority to continue with their disgracefully biased approach in this area of public policy that is costing the UK taxpayer countless wasted billions to pursue.

Spool forward to the latest report. Since Jones, the Trustees have been monitoring the science output further, and have asked the programme-making executives to respond to the points made.

The new document is a total charade and whitewash. Throughout, it s tone parrots without an iota of modesty that BBC science reporting is the best in the world.

The first section reinforces the commitment to bias by chillingly repeating that a ‘false balance’ between well-established fact and opinion must be avoided. That’s the BBC Trustees code for saying Lord Lawson has wrong-headed ‘opinions’ whereas those who support climate alarmism have been somehow proved right beyond doubt.

It then goes on to outline that this orthodoxy is being enforced by the holding of more meetings with selected ‘scientists’ and the creation internally of a ‘Science Forum’ (at what expense, one wonders?). This has already trained 75 ‘senior editorial figures’ in ensuring they understand where ‘consensus’ lies in the reporting of climate change. In other words, in true Harry Palmer style, they have been to a brainwashing boot camp to ensure they do not give too much airtime to Mr Lawson.

Even more chillingly, the document also reveals that the goal of  senior management is now to create a centralised science unit which will ensure that What the BBC Knows To Be True in science  is enforced across all the Corporation’s media platforms and that no-one transgresses the due impartiality rules .

The irony lost on the Trustees here is that this is not science, because science has never worked on consensus; so-called ‘truths’ are established by a robust process of continual ferment and experimentation.  What the BBC Trustees are actually promulgating is a new Article of Faith: that they know they are right about the science of climate change because they have consulted the right people and they have told them that it is right to be alarmed.  This new report shows they are pursuing that self-declared orthodoxy with an unfounded and reckless missionary zeal.

Photo by NASA on The Commons