UKI Left on Possible Collusion between Dimbleby and Anna Soubry against John McDonnell on Question Time

Mike last week posted up a piece stating that John McDonnell, Corbyn’s second-in-command, did an excellent job of defending both himself and the Labour party leader on last Thursday’s Question Time, when all the panelists, including Alistair Campbell, Anna Soubry for the Tories, and someone from the SNP, decided to pile into criticise the Labour leadership. Strangely, the quietest of the panel was Quentin Letts, the parliamentary sketch writer for the Heil, who usually has much to say for himself. Amongst those piling in was Dimbleby himself.

Michelle, one of the great commenters here, posted this observation

The actual clip of Mcdonell on BBCQT is shown in this blog which also points out that there seemed to be a collusion between David Dimbley and Soubry re the Marxist accusation:

The above blog came to my attention via the comments on The Canary’s post about the same programme ‘Last nights meltdown on BBC Question Time has provoked abdolute outrage.’

The piece linked to is at UK & International Left, which blogs on issues about a variety of left-wing organisations across the spectrum, from the Labour party to the Greens, to various forms of anarchism. The piece is a detailed analysis, with the relevant clip from the show, of the point where Soubry calls him a Marxist and insults him as ‘a nasty piece of work’ or some such. But she does so reading from a slip of paper, and after Dimbleby has commented on McDonnell being a Marxist. McDonnell states instead he’s a Socialist, but Dimbleby keeps on. And then Soubry joins in.

The piece argues that Dimbleby and Soubry had some kind of meeting beforehand, at which Dimbleby told Soubry he was going to raise the issue of McDonnell’s ‘Marxism’, and Soubry wrote it down, to use later.

Unfortunately, this is all too plausible. The Tory bias at the Beeb is becoming increasingly obvious, despite the bluster and denial by the corporation. Laura Kuenssberg, BBC news’ political editor, is the most blatant regular offender, but Nick Robinson and Andrew Neil have also been responsible for twisted reporting that would have delighted Goebbels. Way back in the debate over the Scottish referendum, for example, the Beeb cut the footage of Robinson asking a question of the former SNP leader, Alex Salmond. Salmond answered the question, but this was gradually cut in subsequent reports, until it vanished completely with Robinson stating that Salmond hadn’t answered his question. As for Andrew Neil, the former editor of the Economist and Sunday Times, Mike has put up a piece commenting on how the spectacular resignation of one of the Labour rebels from Corbyn’s shadow cabinet occurred on his Sunday Politics show, after Brillo had secretly prompted him beforehand.

I’ve already commented on how one Beeb journo wrote a piece in the Radio Times pondering whether the Corporation should try to keep its ratings by copying Fox News, the very blatantly right-wing news network in America. It looks like this is becoming very much their business model, despite their protestations of impartiality. As for Dimbleby, he comes from a line of newspaper proprietors, who, according to Lobster, did not allow unions at their papers. So you can’t really expect impartiality there, then.

Whatever the facts behind this episode of Question Time, the BBC is showing itself increasingly biased, as shown by the documentaries which have appeared, and no doubt are yet to appear, attacking the Labour leader and Momentum. If they think it will let them retain their viewers, they’re wrong. The majority of the audience of Fox News are late 60s +. Younger viewers are increasingly switching off and turning to the net. Just as they are and will with the corporation.

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3 Responses to “UKI Left on Possible Collusion between Dimbleby and Anna Soubry against John McDonnell on Question Time”

  1. Blissex Says:

    «how one Beeb journo wrote a piece in the Radio Times pondering whether the Corporation should try to keep its ratings by copying Fox News, the very blatantly right-wing news network in America.»

    I think the story is completely different: I remember that before 2010 many Conservative big names attacked the BBC saying it was heavily biased to the left, and that a party-political advocacy broadcaster should not be funded by the license fee. They made absolutely clear that they were prepared to abolish to license fee and privatize the BBC or maybe even close down the BBC.

    My guess is that the BBC understood well the underlying message, and in order to preserve the corporation for perhaps better times they decided to make sure the Conservatives understood how useful they could be. I think that since then there have been no calls from the Conservatives for abolition of the license fee or of the BBC itself. Which is curious, because they are really keen on privatizations :-).

    • Beastrabban Says:

      They really are keen on privatisations, and I think they really do want to privatise the Beeb. And you’re right – they have attacked the Beeb very frequently as being a bastion of left-wing bias. I can remember how they howled with rage about Paxo when he asked awkward questions about Major’s government. In one classic interview, this provoked Tarzan Heseltine into flouncing off, tossing his mane. But Private Eye also ran a piece in an issue about that time, talking about how one of the readers had been on a grouse shoot up in Scotland, and bumped into either Marmaduke Hussey or one of the other, very senior execs of the Beeb, crouched behind another bush with a crowd of Tory politicos. The Eye pointed out that this proved that the Beeb wasn’t full of Leftists.

      From what I’ve been reading, a lot of the Tory demands to privatise the Beeb ultimately come from Rupert Murdoch. When Murdoch makes a speech, or one of the journos on his rags starts ranting about how the Beeb is an undemocratic institution stifling market-driven change, or some such drivel, the Tories chime in. I think it’s part of the Faustian pact successive governments have made with Murdoch since Thatcher. He gives the government a good press – literally. In return, they do everything he wants to boost his media empire.

      I think the Tories may also be very hesitant to privatise the BBC because it’s one of the most admired and respected British institutions. I can remember there having been polls, which show that the British public conclusively does not want adverts on the Beeb, which was one of the options being considered at one time. So the Tories are stuck between Murdoch’s demands, and what their market research has probably told them is a very ‘courageous’ policy, in the ‘Yes, Minister’, sense. In other words, it’ll lose them the election.

      • Blissex Says:

        «the Tories may also be very hesitant to privatise the BBC because it’s one of the most admired and respected British institutions.»

        A more cynical view is that they don’t want to be utterly dependent on Murdoch as their mouthpiece, and as long as the BBC understands what their survival depends on, the execution can be delayed.

        Also the tories don’t need to abolish or privatize the BBC from one day to next; they can use the same strategy as for the NHS: cutting the license fee (popular!), more “efficiency gains”, driving work to private subcontractors, lowering the overall quality of the service until it become unpopular.

        As a reminder, M Thatcher’s letter to F Hayek:
        «I was aware of the remarkable success of the Chilean economy in reducing the share of Government expenditure substantially over the decade of the 70s. The progression from Allende’s Socialism to the free enterprise capitalist economy of the 1980s is a striking example of economic reform from which we can learn many lessons. However, I am sure you will agree that, in Britain with our democratic institutions and the need for a high degree of consent, some of the measures adopted in Chile are quite unacceptable. Our reform must be in line with our traditions and our Constitution.

        At times the process may seem painfully slow. But I am certain we shall achieve our reforms in our own way and in our own time.»

        It is called the “salami technique” or the “boiling the frog” approach.

        For now the BBC seems to be trying hard to prove it does not need to be privatized and it is a useful alternative to Murdoch.

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