Posts Tagged ‘BBC News’

38 Degrees Petition against Truss and Coffee’s Running-Down of the NHS

September 23, 2022

I just go this email message from internet petitioning service 38 Degrees. Their disgusted at the government’s latest ‘reforms’ to the NHS, which in fact consist of telling doctors to try harder. They make the point that it doesn’t do anything to cut waiting lists nor counter the increasing rates of burn-out suffered by doctors because of overwork. They have therefore launched this petition against it, along with a wider campaign to spread the word about the government’s dreadful NHS policies using an ambulance.

‘Dear David,

Yesterday, our fourth Health Secretary since last year, Thérèse Coffey, revealed the Government’s “Plan For Patients”. [1] It turns out, the plan is nothing more than telling GPs to try harder and giving them a new target. [2] Health groups have said it will “make no tangible difference” and have “minimal impact on the care patients receive.” [3]

This is not acceptable. New PM Liz Truss says the NHS is one of her top three priorities. [4] Yet more than six million of us are languishing on waiting lists. More than two million of us are waiting to see GPs. And there are more than 60,000 NHS vacancies across the UK, with doctors at breaking point, suffering burnout. [5]

We needed something big. This wasn’t it.

We should all be furious about this. There is no point giving GPs new targets if there aren’t enough GPs to meet them. How is a new “cloud-based” phone system supposed to put an end to thousands scrambling for appointments first thing in the morning when there aren’t enough appointments to go around?

David, 38 Degrees supporters like you have been campaigning for a better NHS as long as we’ve been around. We can’t let the Government get away with this new lacklustre plan. Will you sign the petition demanding better – then share it with your friends and family so we, the British public, can make clear that we won’t accept anything less than a properly funded NHS?

YES, I’LL SIGN

NO, I DISAGREE

Over the summer, we fought hard to show that the NHS is on a knife edge. That’s why we bought an ambulance, turned it into a mobile advert, and drove it to leadership campaign events across the country. [6] We know Liz Truss heard us, because she said on the steps of Downing Street when she became PM that making sure “people can get doctors’ appointments” was one of her early priorities. [7]

Yet this first step is embarrassingly inadequate compared to the scale of the problem. And while it can feel hopeless at times seeing what’s happening to our beloved NHS, we know we can change things if we work together. That’s why last year we fought hard for NHS staff to get the pay rise they deserve, and after initially offering a 1% pay rise, the Government increased their offer after hundreds of thousands of us spoke out. [8]

The NHS is one of the most important issues to the 38 Degrees community. We’re not prepared to stand by and let this government underfund and understaff it. Millions of people depend on the services it provides, and thousands more will suffer if we don’t speak out.

Will you sign the petition, and get your friends and family to do the same? It only takes a few seconds to add your name, and a few seconds more to ask others to do the same.

YES, I’LL SIGN

NO, I DISAGREE

Thank you for your continued support,

Jonathan, Veronica, Megan, Tash and the 38 Degrees team

NOTES
[1] PoliticsHome: Therese Coffey Sets Out “Expectation” That GPs Will See Patients Within Two Weeks
[2] See note [1]
[3] Royal College of GPs: More expectations without addressing GP workforce shortage not best way forward, says RCGP
British Medical Association: Health Secretary’s new plan brings us closer to the demise of general practice, says BMA
[4] Sky News: The economy, the energy crisis and the NHS – Liz Truss sets out three key priorities in her first speech as PM
[5] Daily Mail: NHS waiting list shoots to ANOTHER record high of 6.8million
Evening Chronicle: ‘Bad health has doubled’ in the last decade across North East – and almost half of people report struggling to get GP appointments
BBC News: NHS in England facing worst staffing crisis in history, MPs warn
The New Statesman: “This is just not safe for anyone”: the NHS doctors at breaking point
[6] Express & Star: Ambulance protest greets Tory Party members at hustings
BirminghamLive: Protestors voice anger at NHS delays and costs crisis outside Truss v Sunak hustings at NEC
[7] 10 Downing Street: Prime Minister Liz Truss’s statement: 6 September 2022
[8] 38 Degrees: NHS Staff Pay Rise Campaign

I’ve had absolutely no problems signing it. If you feel the same way about this latest assault on the NHS, please feel free to do so as well.

Internet Petition from 38 Degrees Against Bankers’ Bonuses

September 22, 2022

And I have had absolutely no problem signing it.

David, millions of people up and down the country are struggling to make ends meet. As energy, food and fuel prices continue to go through the roof, many of us will be forced to make the impossible choice between heating and eating this winter. [1]

But what’s one of the first things our new Prime Minister and Chancellor have decided to do? Increase bankers’ bonuses. [2] You can almost hear the champagne corks popping!

This is the wrong policy at the wrong time. Why should city bankers be first in line for help when millions of people around the country don’t know how they’ll keep the lights on over the coming months?

Tomorrow, our new Chancellor, Kwasi Kwarteng, may announce this during a mini-budget – but it’s not a done deal. If enough of us make some noise and tell them this shouldn’t be a priority during a cost of living crisis, then there’s still time for them to do the right thing and drop their plans.

So, David, will you tell the Government that they should be focusing on support for ordinary people around the country – not city bankers? Simply click the button below to add your name:

ADD MY NAME

Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng seem to believe that if enough cash is stuffed in the pockets of city bankers, then this will ‘trickle down’ to the others. But it just doesn’t work like that. Ahead of a meeting with our PM on Tuesday, even President Biden said that he was “sick and tired of trickle-down economics. It has never worked.” [3]

These caps on bonuses were introduced to provide a more balanced economy – and to get away from a culture of bankers taking “excessive risks”. [4] If Liz Truss believes in ‘levelling up’ the whole of Britain, then she should prioritise places outside of the City of London and put ordinary people at the front of the queue for support.

Just months ago, former PM, Boris Johnson, floated the idea of increasing bankers’ bonuses. But after more than 96,000 of us took action, and after much public outcry, the plans were dropped. [5] We’ve shown that we can reflect public feeling and get the Government to scrap bad policies and we can do it again.

David, will you add your name to our petition calling on the Government to drop their plans to increase bankers’ bonuses?

ADD MY NAME

Thanks for all your do,

Tom, David, Robin and the 38 Degrees team

NOTES
[1] Sky News: Cost of living: Millions of people already behind with their household bills, new research suggests
[2] BBC News: Liz Truss defends plan to lift cap on bankers’ bonuses
[3] Twitter: President Biden
[4] The Guardian: What is the banker bonus cap and could scrapping it boost growth?
[5] 38 Degrees: Dear Chancellor: No banker bonuses while millions struggle

They’re also asking for donations. I can afford to do so, but some of you may wish to.

’38 Degrees wouldn’t exist without you, David.

38 Degrees has no big donors – we’re funded by ordinary people who care, like you. Regular donations mean that we can plan future campaigns, pay our workers a decent wage, and keep fighting for what we all believe in.

If you don’t already do so, will you consider setting up a regular donation of a fiver, tenner or whatever you can spare? Click here to donate securely:

CHIP IN WEEKLY

Liz Truss – Prepared to Be Unpopular Because She Knows the Tories Are Failing?

September 20, 2022

I just caught a clip on the BBC news of bog-eyed escapee from the High Energy Cheese lab, Liz Truss, calmly telling the camera that’s she’s prepared to be an unpopular prime minister in order to push through policies that will revive Britain. Such as lifting the cap on banker’s bonuses. The redoubtable Irish gentleman of the Maximilien Robespierre vlog on YouTube had a rather different perspective. The Tories are running scared because the polls show that if there was an election tomorrow, Labour would win hands down. When he put up that video a few days ago, the polls, he claimed, showed that if an election was called, Labour would have a 100-seat majority. To put this into perspective, Boris won with an 80-seat majority. They Tories are afraid the game’s up, and so are doing everything they can for their horrible friends and donors while they can.

It sounds convincing to me.

And it’s the same attitude shown by a number of third world dictators, who grab all the money they’ve embezzled and looted from their people before running off into exile.

Mad Right-Wing YouTuber Alex Belfield Found Guilty of Stalking

August 6, 2022

Oh ho,, here’s a turn up for the books! Hat tip to Gillyflowerblog, one of the great commenters here, for this interesting snippet from BBC News. For a few weeks now, internet radio host, YouTuber, and friend of right-wing celeb and former Apprentice contestant ‘Hatey’ Katie Hopkins, has been on trial on a charge of stalking. Some of this harassment goes back decades to when Belfield was taken on at Radio Leeds in the 1980s, but didn’t have his contract renewed after a year. He then went on a campaign of abuse and intimidation against his former colleagues and bosses.

Not that you would think this by the way Belfield, who calls his wretched programme ‘The Voice of Reason’, spins it. As one of this many critics on YouTube put it one video, Belfield has presented the trial as he was taking his former colleagues and victims to court, rather than the other way round. In fact Belfield has consistently presented himself as the working class underdog in his bizarre dispute with the Beeb. If you listen to him, he’s just an ordinary, working class lad from a pit estate, who was sneered at discriminated against by ‘Guardian-reading, oyster-eating, champagne-guzzling Naga Manchushi types’, who are naturally university-educated, as well ‘Celia Imrie-type BBC diversity managers with clipboards’. HIs channel’s content is the usual right-wing targets – channel migrants, whom he dubs ‘dinghy divers’, immigration, welfare scroungers, the trans craze and various gay or sexually ambiguous celebs he describes as ‘swishies’ and ‘a bit light on their feet’. Oh yes, and he’s also frequently demanded the privatisation of the NHS to improve services, despite the fact that it’s privatisation that is killing the health service, and that privatisation will result in the creation of a for-profit health service which many of his listeners will be unable to afford. Precious little of what he says is original. If you have the feeling you’ve seen it before, you probably have. Most of it seems to be drawn from the pages of that day’s Heil, or whatever has been going around YouTube at the time. Just as much of Simon Webb’s stories seem to be drawn from whatever is in that day’s Telegraph.

The BBC report on the verdict begins

A former BBC radio presenter has been found guilty of stalking four people including broadcaster Jeremy Vine.

However, Alex Belfield was found not guilty of stalking four other people he was accused of targeting.

Belfield, who now runs a YouTube channel called The Voice of Reason, told jurors he had legitimate reasons for his online communications.

The 42-year-old, from Nottingham, is due to be sentenced on 16 September and has been warned he could be jailed.

Belfield was not accused of physically stalking the complainants, who were mostly current or former BBC staff.

Instead, he made YouTube videos about them, posted messages on social media, and sent emails either to them or about them.

In his closing speech to jurors at Nottingham Crown Court, Belfield said he had a right to freedom of speech, and some of the communications were in his role as a journalist, holding the BBC to account.

The full wording of the charges stated that he “pursued a course of conduct that amounted to harassment” of the complainants, which “amounted to stalking” and caused them “serious alarm or distress”.

He was found guilty of this offence in relation to only two of the complainants – BBC Radio Northampton presenter Bernie Spedding, who is known as Bernie Keith, and videographer Ben Hewis.

In relation to Jeremy Vine and theatre blogger Philip Dehany, he was found guilty of two lesser offences of “simple” stalking, which does not require serious alarm or distress to be proved.

The verdicts in relation to each complainant were:

  1. Rozina Breen – not guilty
  2. Liz Green – not guilty
  3. Helen Thomas – not guilty
  4. Stephanie Hirst – not guilty
  5. Bernard Spedding – guilty (majority verdict)
  6. Ben Hewis – guilty (unanimous verdict)
  7. Philip Dehany – not guilty to the charge on the indictment but guilty of the alternative charge of “simple” stalking (majority verdict)
  8. Jeremy Vine – not guilty to the charge on the indictment but guilty of the alternative charge of “simple” stalking (unanimous verdict)’

The report concludes that there is a chance Belfield will get a custodial sentence.

See: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-nottinghamshire-62393949

If Belfield is going to head off to chokey, it’s going to mess up some of the events he’s advertised on his channel. He’s been appearing as a kind of double act in theatres across Britain with Katie Hopkins. He obviously won’t be able to do this if he’s jailed. Nor will able be able to use the money he’s been given from his followers’ donations to go on expensive holidays to places like Vegas, from which he then posts his YouTube videos saying how much he’s enjoying his break. This has also annoyed some of Belfield’s detractors, who rightly point out that many of Belfield’s viewers are probably on much lower incomes. They’ve given him their hard-earned money in the expectation that Belfield himself is hard-up, and needs the cash to continue broadcasting. But Belfield appears to live in a very grand house, complete with baby grand piano. His videos about his wonderful holidays seem designed to alienate people by rubbing their noses in how well Belfield is doing living off their money. It looks like a massive grift.

As for what Belfield will do now, I expect he may well appeal. And I don’t doubt that we’ll get a lot of complaining about how the trial was biased and he is being persecuted by them because he’s telling the truth. In other words, the same spiel the notorious islamophobe Tommy Robinson spins whenever he lands up in jail.

Hurrah! Labour’s Dan Norris Elected as West of England Metro Mayor

May 9, 2021

Another great result for Labour. I’ve just caught the local news for the Bristol, Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire region on the Beeb. Dan Norris, the Labour candidate for the west of England metro mayor, has been re-elected. He got 125,000 odd votes. The Tories came second with 85,000 or so votes. The metro mayor presides over the greater Bristol region, including parts of north Somerset and south Gloucestershire. I’d heard that he’d been re-elected yesterday, but this confirms it. Apparently the Conservatives have been claiming that they were defeated because there was a larger turnout for the election in Bristol, while voters in northern Somerset and south Gloucestershire stayed away. Perhaps people in north Somerset were put off voting Tory by the bad vibes coming from Jacob Rees Mogg in BANES.

This is a great result amongst the general dismal news for Labour, which is largely due to Starmer’s dismal leadership. It isn’t Angela Rayner, who should go, but him.

Correspondence with Deputy Major Asher Craig on Slavery Education in Bristol

July 9, 2020

Asher Craig (below) is Bristol’s deputy mayor from communities, which takes in public health, public transport, libraries, parks, and events and equalities, and the Labour councillor for St. George West.

Councillor Asher Craig

I sent an email to her on Tueday this week, 7th July 2020, expressing my concerns at a brief interview she had given to BBC News Sunday night, and which had been repeated that morning on Radio 4. This was about Edward Colston and the legacy of slavery in the city. The Beeb had dispatched Lisa Mzimba to Bristol to investigate this lingering issue, and sound out local people about their opinions on it. One of those he spoke to was Asher Craig. And her comments frankly annoyed me, because they appeared to show that she was unaware that the city had tackled slavery and produced books and exhibitions about it, and that there was now a gallery devoted to it at the M Shed museum on Bristol’s docks. She kindly replied to me, and I include this with my email in this article, as well as my own comments on this.

I’m very well aware how sensitive racial issues. Please don’t anyone troll her or send her abusive or threatening messages. There’s far too much of this on the net as it is, and I don’t want to stoke up more of it or increasing racism instead of trying get rid of it.

Craig had declared that Bristol had covered up its history of slavery, and that she wanted to see a museum of slavery opened here. She also said that the council was introducing a new curriculum, which would educate children about this aspect of the city’s past. This also concerned me, as I feel very strongly that western slavery needs to be put into its global context. Slavery has existed in many societies right across the world, including Africa and Islam. It was Black African kingdoms who sold the slave to us, rather than White Europeans raiding Africa directly for slaves, although that had also gone on. Furthermore, in the 16th and 17th centuries the Barbary pirates of Muslim north Africa raided Europe for slaves. Ships from Bristol were also attacked and their crews enslaved. I am concerned that these aspects of the slave trade should also be taught in order to avoid teaching a view that is equally racist but against Whites, that racism and slavery is something that only Whites do to people of colour.  And anti-White racism has also existed in Bristol alongside hatred of Blacks and other people of colour.

I therefore sent Deputy Mayor Craig the following email:

Dear Madam,

This morning Radio 4 broadcast a brief interview you did with the BBC’s news presenter, Lisa Mzimba, about the current controversy surrounding Edward Colston’s statue and the need to confront the city’s participation in the slave trade. You, like many people, feel that it has been insufficiently addressed and more needs to be done to tackle racism. Unfortunately, you made several statements which were factually incorrect and suggest that there are areas about Bristol’s education system and the various displays the city’s museums have put on to address this, of which you are unaware.

Firstly, you claimed that the city has covered up its involvement in the slave trade. This is myth, and I am shocked that it is still circulating. I understand that it comes from an incident in the 1970s when a member of Bristol’s Black community telephoned the city council whether there was anything available about the city and the slave trade. The person answering the call denied that Bristol ever took part in the trade. Obviously that is clearly wrong, and it is understandable that after this many of Bristol’s Black citizens would feel that the city was engaged in a cover-up.

However, educational materials produced at the time for teaching the city’s history in schools do cover the slave trade. The book Bristol: An Outline History for Schools, by H. Chasey (Bristol: George’s Booksellers 1975) discusses the slave trade on its page on 18th century trade. 13 years ago there was also a book published about Bristol in 1807, which was specifically brought out to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade in the British Empire. While this was a work of general history, it made a point of discussing the city’s participation in the slave trade. The book was available from the Central Library among other venues. The Central Library has also published a booklet of materials they hold on slavery. This was published by the Reference Library, and titled Bristol 1807: A Sense of Place – Our City in the Year of Abolition. It had the subtitle, Slavery, Abolition and Emancipation: A Reading List. The local branch of the historical association also published a booklet,Bristol and the Abolition of Slavery, by Peter Marshall.

In the 1990’s the City Museum presented an exhibition, ‘A Respectable Trade’, about Bristol and the slave trade, which coincided with the drama of that name then showing on BBC television, based on the book of the same name by Philippa Gregory. This exhibition has now ended, but there is an entire gallery devoted to the subject at the M Shed. I realize that a gallery or exhibition is not the same as the museum you wish to be built, but it does show that the local council has addressed this issue.

You also said that you had created a curriculum for schools across the city that would cover this and other aspects of Black history. I’d be very grateful if you could tell me whether this includes the participation of African states in the slave trade, and their resistance to its abolition. As I’m sure you’re aware, the slave trade was not simply a case of White Europeans kidnapping Black Africans. Many African states, such as Dahomey and Mali, had slavery long before the appearance of White Europeans in Africa. Europeans were largely confined to ghettos in some of these states’ cities, and it was these African states that led the raids and obtained the slaves, which they then sold to Europeans.

The slave trade was also not confined to White Europeans either. There was also the Arab and Indian slave trades, which saw people from central and eastern Africa enslaved and then exported to India, Afghanistan, Arabia and other countries. It was partly to suppress this slave trade that the British empire first made treaties with Imam of Muscat, who was then the region’s suzerain, and then invaded this part of Africa.There was also the Turkish slave trade, which saw Black Sudanese enslaved and transported north to Egypt and the other states of the Maghreb.Moroccan slave trade only ended in 1911, because the British empire actively opposed its conquest by the other European powers.

I realize that this goes beyond merely local history, but it is important to avoid perpetuating a simplistic view in which slavery in only something that Whites ever did to Blacks. You have made it very clear that you wish to stamp out racism. However, in my experience racism is far from being confined to Whites. There has been anti-White as well as anti-Black racism in Bristol’s schools, as well as vicious ethnic hatred between Asians and the BAME community. As difficult as this, I feel very strongly that this also needs to be addressed.

I would also like to know what you are doing to cover the subject of the White Bristolians, who were also enslaved. As you know, Bristol’s participation in the slave trade actually predates that of the transatlantic slave trade.The city sold English slaves abroad in the 11th and 12th century centuries. In the 16th and 17th centuries, Bristolian seamen were also kidnapped and enslaved by the Barbary pirates. Five of Bristol’s ships were captured in one year. While the enslavement of White Europeans was obviously minuscule compared to that of the Black Africans enslaved – 2 1/2 million compared to 12 1/2 million, nevertheless it occurred and is, I believe, partly responsible for modern prejudices towards Islam.

I would greatly appreciate it if you could tell me what you are doing to address these issues, and look forward to your reply

Yesterday I got this reply from her.

Thank you for your email.

I am very much aware of the history of slavery in this city and the resources & educational materials you refer to in your email.

It’s a pity that my interview was edited because if you had heard my full response you would not have sent me such an email.

The One Bristol curriculum will tell the full truth not the half truths of history we were all taught in school. It will celebrate our black history from Africa, Caribbean, UK but will also expand to look at the wider local history of poor white working class communities. The History Commission the Mayor is putting in place will  also I form our work going forward.

We have to start somewhere and we’ve always known that the burning platform, I’m sure you’d agree, is eliminating racial hatred & discrimination which is deeply embedded in this society.

Thank you for the history lesson but we know what we’re doing. We work inclusively not exclusively which I’m afraid is the centuries old way of white men in power.

It’s possible that the appearance of ignorance on her part was caused by the Beeb’s editing. I think if you challenged them, the Corporation would probably tell you that it was all for time. But considering their shenanigans in trying to present as biased a view of the Labour party as they can get away with, I’m not sure you can completely discount malice. I doubt it in this case, however, as by and large the broadcast media has presented Black Lives Matter sympathetically. I am very much aware that there are glaring exceptions to this from the usual crowd of right-wing shills. There is a problem with the broadcaster’s own ignorance of Bristol’s history. An ITV report on the pulling down of Colston’s statue recited some of the old myths including that about Black Boy Hill. This is supposed to be named after a slave, but the 1990’s exhibition at the City Museum showed that this probably wasn’t true, and that it was most likely named after a race horse owned by Charles II.

Councillor Craig’s statement that the history curriculum would include that of the White working class is interesting, and a positive step if that is the case. However, I’m not impressed her comment about White men. It’s been true of western society,  but in nearly all societies across the globe power has been in the hands of elite men. And most societies have been extremely nationalistic as well as hierarchical, excluding other ethnic and social groups from power and privilege. I’ve met people, who have been really shocked at how racist some non-Western nations, like China, can be.

Bristol has also been an ethnically diverse city for centuries. The latest issue of the Postscript bargain books catalogue contains a book on this aspect of the city’s history. Written by Madge Dresser and Peter Fleming, two of the history lecturers at the University of the West of England, it titled Bristol: Ethnic Minorities and the City 1000-2001 (Phillimore 2009). The blurb for it runs

Over the past thousand years, Bristol, as one of England’s most important ports, has been a magnet for migrants. From medieval Jews to 21st-century asylum seekers. This pioneering study examines the activities of the various ethnic groups who have settled in the city. Investigating how the survived economically, how they dealt with social dislocation and discrimination, and how they constructed identities for their communities, it offers insights into the wider history of the city and the nation.

Dr Dresser was one of those involved in the creation of the 1990s slavery exhibit along with several others. I think one of them might have been Dr Mark Horton of Bristol University and then Time Team fame. Dresser teaches 18th century history and the slave trade at UWE, and has published a book on how the city continued slaving after its formal abolition, Slavery Obscured. If the city is putting together a commission to produce a multicultural approach to the city’s history, then it almost certainly will contain her.

As for Craig’s statement ‘Thank you for the history lesson but we know what we’re doing’, apart from showing a certain tetchiness – she obviously doesn’t like being pulled up on her history by a member of the public – it remains to be seen if the council does know what it’s doing. They won’t be short of experts, with real insights into these issues from the city’s universities.

It’ll be very interesting to see.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Beeb’s Biased Reporting of NHS Privatisation

January 2, 2020

The Corporation’s General Right-wing Bias

The BBC is infamous for its flagrant right-wing bias. Writers and experts like Barry and Savile Kushner in their Who Needs the Cuts, academics at the media research centres of Glasgow, Edinburgh and Cardiff Universities, and ordinary left-wing bloggers like Mike and Zelo Street have pointed out time and again that the corporation massively prefers to have as commenters and guests on its show Conservative MPs and spokespeople for the financial sector on its news and political comment programmes, rather than Labour MPs and activists and trade unionists. The Corporation relentless pushed the anti-Semitism smears against Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour party. But it has also promoted the privatisation of the NHS too through its biased reporting.

Biased Towards NHS Privatisation

Jacky Davis and Raymond Tallis’ book on the privatisation of the NHS, NHS – SOS, has a chapter by Oliver Huitson, ‘Hidden in Plain Sight’, discussing the biased reporting of the NHS’s privatisation by the media in general. Here, however, I will just confine myself to describing the Corporation’s role. The Beeb was frequently silent and did not report vital pieces of information about successive privatisations, such as the involvement of private healthcare companies in demanding them and conflicts of interest. On occasion, this bias was actually worse than right-wing rags like the Daily Mail. Although these ardently supported the NHS’ privatisation, they frequently reported these cases while the Beeb did not. When the moves towards privatisation were reported, they were often given a positive spin. For example, the establishment of the Community Care Groups, groups of doctors who are supposed to commission medical services from the private sector as well as from within the NHS, and which are legally allowed to raise money from the private sector, were positively described by the Corporation as ‘giving doctors more control’.

Lack of Coverage of Private Healthcare Companies Role in Privatisation

David Cameron and Andrew Lansley did not include Lansley’s Health and Social Care Bill in the Tories’ 2010 manifesto, because they didn’t believe they’d win the election if they did. But in all the two years of debate about the bill, the Beeb only twice reported doubts about the bill’s democratic mandate. (p.152). In October 2010, Mark Britnell was invited to join Cameron’s ‘kitchen cabinet’. Britnell had worked with the Labour government and was a former head of commissioning for the NHS. But he was also former head of health for the accountancy firm, KPMG, which profits greatly from government privatisation and outsourcing. He declared that the NHS would be shown ‘no mercy’ and would become a ‘state insurance provider, not a state deliverer’. But the BBC decided not to report all this until four days after others had broken the story. And when they did, it was only to explain a comment by Nick Clegg about how people are confused when they hear politicians stating how much they love the NHS while at the same time demanding its privatisation. (pp.153-4).

On 21 November 2011 Channel 4 News reported that they had obtained a document which showed clearly that GP commissioning was intended to create a market for private corporations to come in and take over NHS services. But This was only reported by the Groaniad and the Torygraph. The rest of the media, including the Beeb, ignored it. (pp. 156-7).

Lansley was also revealed to have received donations from Andrew Nash, chairman of Care UK, another private healthcare firm hoping to profit from NHS privatisation. But this also was not reported by the Corporation. (pp. 157-8).

In January 2011 the Mirror reported that the Tories had been given over £750,000 from donors with major connections to private healthcare  interests since David Cameron had become their chief in 2005. But this was also not mentioned by the Beeb. (pp. 158).

The Mirror also found that 40 members of the House of Lords had interests in NHS privatisation, while the Social Investigations blog suggested that it might be as high as 142. The BBC, along with several papers, did not mention this. (pp. 158-9).

Sonia Poulton, a writer for the Heil, stated on her blog that 31 Lords and 18 MPs have very lucrative interests in the health industry. But this was also ignored by the Beeb, along with the rest of the media with the exception of the Guardian. (p. 159).

The Tory MP, Nick de Bois, was a fervent support of the Tories’ NHS privatisation. He is a majority shareholder in Rapier Design Group, which purchased Hampton Medical Conferences, a number of whose clients were ‘partners’ in the National Association of Primary Care, another group lobbying the Tories for NHS privatisation. This was also not reported by the Beeb. (pp. 159-60).

The Beeb also chose not to report how Lord Carter of Coles, the chair of the Co-operation and Competition Panel charged with ensuring fair access to the NHS for private healthcare companies, was also receiving £799,000 per year as chairman of McKesson Information Solutions, part of the massive American McKesson healthcare company. (p. 160).

There were other links between politicos, think tanks, lobby groups and private healthcare companies. The health regulator, Monitor, is dominated by staff from McKinsey and KPMG. But this also isn’t mentioned by the press. (pp. 160-1).

Beeb Falsely Presents Pro-Privatisation Think Tanks as ‘Independent

The BBC, along with much of the rest of the media, have also been responsible for misrepresenting spokespeople for pro-privatisation lobby groups as disinterested experts, and the organisations for which they speak as just independent think tanks. This was how the Beeb described 2020health.org, whose chief executive, Julia Manning, was twice invited onto the air to discuss the NHS, and an entire article was given over to one of her wretched organisation’s reports. However, SpinWatch reported that its chairman, former Tory minister Tom Sackville, was also CEO of the International Federation of Health Plans, representing of 100 private health insurance companies. Its advisory council includes representatives of AstraZeneca, NM Rothschild, the National Pharmaceutical Association, Nuffield private hospital group, and the Independent Healthcare Advisory Services. (p. 162).

Another lobby group whose deputy director, Nick Seddon, and other employees were invited onto the Beeb to discuss the proposals was Reform. Seddon was head of communications at Circle, the first private healthcare company to take over an NHS hospital. Seddon’s replacement at Circle was Christina Lineen, a former aide to Andrew Lansley. None of this was reported by the Beeb. Their corporate partners included companies like Citigroup, KPMG, GlaxoSmithKline and Serco. Huitson states ‘Through Seddon’s and other Reform Staffs’ appearances, the BBC may have facilitated private sector lobbying on a publicly funded platform without making relevant interests known’. (163).

Beeb Did Not Cover Protests and Opposition to Bill

Pages 164-5 also discusses the Beeb’s refusal, with few exceptions, to interview critics of Lansley’s Health and Social Care Bill, the rightwing bias of panels discussing it and how the Beeb did not cover protests against it or its discussion in parliament. Huitson writes

At the BBC opportunities were frequently missed to provide expert opposition to the bill on a consistent basis. the RCGP’s Clare Gerada was largely the exception to this rule. Many of the most well-known and authoritative critics of the bill – the likes of professors Allyson Pollock or Colin Leys, doctors Jacky Davis and Wendy Savage from Keep Our NHS Public – never appeared on the BBC to discuss the plans. Davis recalls being invited to appear on the BBC a number of times but the item was cancelled on every occasion. ‘Balance’ is supposedly one of the BBC’s primary objectives yet appearing on the Today programme of 1 February 2012 to discuss the bill, for instance, were Shirley Williams (who voted in favour of the bill, however reluctantly), Nick Seddon of ‘independent’ Reform (pro-Bill), Steve Field (pro-Bill) and Chris Ham (pro-Bill). It’s difficult to see how that is not a breach of BBC guidelines and a disservice to the public. One of the fundamental duties of an open media is to ensure that coverage is not skewed towards those with the deepest pockets. And on that issue the media often performed poorly.

Further criticism of the BBC stems from its curious lack of NHS coverage during the climactic final month before the bill was passed in the House of Lords on 19 March. One such complaint came from blogger and Oxford Professor of Developmental Neuropsychology Dorothy Bishop, who wrote to the BBC to ask why it had failed to cover a number of NHS stories in March, including an anti-bill petition that had been brought to the House by Lord Owen, carrying 486,000 signatures of support. In reply, the BBC confirmed that the bill had been mentioned on the Today programme in March prior to the bill’s passing, though just once. Bishop replied:’So, if I have understood this right, during March, the Today programme covered the story once, in an early two-minute slot, before the bill was passed. Other items that morning included four minutes on a French theme park based on Napoleon, six minutes on international bagpipe day and eight minutes on Jubilee celebrations.’

Other BBC omissions include Andrew Lansley being heckled by angry medical staff at a hospital in Hampstead, as reported by both the Mail and Sky News. On 17 March a peaceful anti-bill march took place in central London. Those out protesting for their national health service found themselves kettled by riot police despite being one of the most harmless-looking crowds you’re ever likely to see. The protest and the shameful police response were completely ignored by the media, except for a brief mention on a Guardian blog. On social media numerous examples have been reported of protests and actions opposing the bill that were entirely absent from national coverage.

Then, on 19 March, the day of the final vote on the bill, the BBC ran not a single article on the event, despite this being one of the most bitterly opposed pieces of legislation in recent history – it was as if the vote was not taking place. The next day, with the bill passed, they ran a full seven articles on the story. Three days after the bill passed, Radio 4 broadcast The Report: ‘Simon Cox asks: why is NHS reform mired in controversy?’ Why this was not broadcast before the Lords’ vote is a mystery. 

When the Bill was passed, the bill scrolling across the BBC News’ screen ran ‘Bill which gives power to GPs passes’. (166). Huitson remarks that when the Beeb and the other news networks reported that the Bill gave power to GPs and allowed a greater role for the private sector, it was little more than regurgitating government press releases. (p. 168).

Beeb Bias Problem Due to Corporation’s Importance and Domination of Broadcast News

Huitson also comments on the specific failure of the Beeb to provide adequate coverage of NHS privatisation in its role as one of the great British public institutions, the dominant role it has in British news reporting. On pages 169-70 he writes

Campaigners may not expect more from the Sun but they certainly do from the BBC, given its status as an impartial public service broadcaster whose news gathering is supported directly by licence fee payers. The BBC accounts for 70 per cent of news consumption on television. Further, the BBC accounts for 40 per cent of online news read by the public, three times that of its closes competitor, the Mail. Quite simply, the BBC dominates UK news. The weight given to the BBC here is not purely down to its dominance, however, but also because, along with the NHS, the BBC remains one of our great public institutions, an entity that is supposedly above commercial pressures. Many of the stories ignored by the BBC were covered by the for-profit, right-wing press, as well as the Guardian and Channel 4, so the concern is not that the organisation failed to ‘campaign’ for the NHS, but that it failed to report facts that other outlets found newsworthy.

The BBC’#s archive of TV and radio coverage is neither available for the public to research nor technically practical to research, but there are a number of reasons for confidence that their online content is highly indicative of their broader output. First, BBC online is a fully integrated part of the main newsroom rather than a separate operation. Consequently, TV and radio coverage that can be examined is largely indistinguishable from the related online content, as demonstrated in the examples given above. During the debate of Lansley’s bill, the BBC TV and radio were both subject to multiple complaints, the figures for which the BBC has declined to release.

Beeb’s Reporting of NHS Privatisation as Biased as Coverage of Miners’ Strike

He also compares the Beeb’s coverage of the bill, along with that of the rest of the media, to its similarly biased reporting of the miners’ strike.

The overall media coverage of the health bill brings to mind a quote from BBC radio correspondent Nicholas Jones, on the BBC’s coverage of the miners’ strike: ‘stories that gave prominence to the position of the National Union of Miners could simply be omitted, shortened or submerged into another report.’ (pp. 172-3).

Conclusion

The Beeb does produce some excellent programmes. I really enjoyed last night’s Dr. Who, for example. But the right-wing bias of its news reporting is now so extreme that in many cases it is fair to say that it is now a propaganda outlet for the Tory party and big business. It’s utterly indefensible, and in my view it will only be reformed if and when the newsroom and its managers are sacked in its entirety. In the meantime, Boris and the rest of the Tories are clamouring for its privatisation. Godfrey Bloom, one of the more prominent Kippers, has also put up a post or two in the past couple of days demanding precisely that.

If the Beeb was genuinely impartial, it would have defenders on the Left. But it is rapidly losing them thanks to its bias. And to the Tories, that’s also going to be a plus.

Thanks to the Beeb’s own Tory bias, it’s going to find it very hard to combat their privatisation.

And in the meantime they will have helped destroy the most valued of British institutions, the NHS, and free, universal healthcare to Britain’s citizens.

Labour Complaints Unit Fine With MP Wes Streeting Smearing and Doxing Party Member

February 11, 2019

Now that Tweezer is floundering about trying to keep herself and her wretched party from sinking on the black rocks of Brexit, they, the Blairites and the Israel lobby both within and outside the Labour party have taken to repeating the anti-Semitism. One of those who decided that he was going to try to whip up the witch hunt there again was Wes Streeting, who took it upon himself to dox and smear a 70-year old woman using a fabricated image on twitter.

Doxing is publishing someone’s name and personal details, like their address, on the internet without their consent. It’s against Twitter’s rules and is very dangerous. People have been personally threatened, attacked and their homes vandalized through others maliciously putting their personal details on the internet. In this case, Streeting decided he was going to dox Annie W-B because he’d decided that she’d dismissed anti-Semitism as a smear. He tweeted

Meet Ann . Ann dismisses anti-Semitism as a smear and says that hatred is being perpetrated by Emily [Benn] and Luciana [Berger] against innocent people who have never in their lives been anti-Semitic’.

He then goes to say ‘Let’s take a look in her back catalogue’.

But the tweet he was referring to did not dismiss anti-Semitism as a smear. It only dismissed the witch hunt against innocent people in the Labour for alleged anti-Semitism as a smear. Ann W-B actually posted this tweet, replying to Emily Benn raving about how brave Luciana Berger had been for standing up to anti-Semitism.

Oh please go away. Luciana Berger has done everything she possibly can to smear Mr Corbyn & over 500k members. #EnoughisEnough of the cost hatred being perpetuated by you and others towards innocent people who have never in their lives been antisemitic.

That these accusations are nothing but baseless lies and smears is amply shown by some of the very upstanding people, who have been accused. People like former Momentum Vice-President Jackie Walker, a Jewish woman of colour and civil rights activist; Marc Wadsworth, a Black anti-racism activist, who campaigned with the Board of Deputies of British Jews against anti-Semitic assaults by the BNP in the 1980s; Cyril Chilson, a former member of the IDF and the son of a Holocaust survivor and a heroic Russian Jewish airman; Ken Livingstone, who has always been notorious for his opposition to racism and the recruitment of real, genuine Nazis by the British secret state; Tony Greenstein, a Jewish anti-racism activist and campaigner. Because he campaigns against Zionism for the good reason that it is just another form of apartheid and Fascism. Tony Odoni, another Jewish anti-racist, for the same reason. And, of course, Mike, for defending Livingstone and Walker.

Then Streeting moved on to smearing Annie W-B with a doctored image. She was shown tweeting her approval of an image posted on Twitter by another person, which contained a spurious quote from Voltaire ‘To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize’. This was next to a giant hand coming down crushing a group of people. On its sleeve is a Magen David, a Star of David. Mike points out that the quote doesn’t actually come from Voltaire. It comes from an American Nazi and Holocaust-Denier Kevin Alfred Storm. As for the image, it has a variety of forms in which the symbol on the sleeve differs. In its most common form, there is no symbol. It’s possible that Annie W-B may have genuinely believed the quote was from Voltaire. I’ve come across it several times, and until Mike’s article did not know who was really responsible for it. Mike suggests other Labour members and supporters may have been tricked into liking it because of its similarity to Tony Benn’s ‘Five Essential Questions of Democracy’, which as Mike says, are ‘What power have you got? Where did you get it? In whose interests do you use it? To whom are you accountable? And how can we get rid of you?’ And the dodgy quote does look like something Voltaire would say as an Enlightenment philosopher and defender of free speech against institutional religion and absolute monarchy.

He also decided that she had to be an anti-Semite because she had also posted a series of comments attacking the Rothschilds. Mike says of this

Interesting subject, the Rothschilds: A hugely wealthy and influential business/banking organisation that is apparently immune from investigation under any circumstances because those questioning its actions may always be accused of anti-Semitism. Does anybody – apart from a witch-hunter – think that is reasonable? We can see that Mr Streeting does, but then, he stands with the witch-hunters.

And the family has immense personal power. Last year one of the continental members of the family appeared in a very brief article in the I. It reported that this man was having the indigenous people in one region of Zaire cleared out of their homes in order to make it his personal hunting preserve. It’s because of its wealth and power that the Rothschilds feature in many of the Nazi conspiracy theories about Jews, Freemasons and the Illuminati plotting the downfall of the White race. But they also have a very sordid past. They lent money to the Third Reich, even when it was known that the Nazis were persecuting and exterminating the Jews. But because the Rothschilds themselves are the subjects of so many conspiracy theories, any person asking serious questions about their influence and power is automatically tarred as an anti-Semite themselves.

The peeps on Twitter immediately pointed out to Streeting that what he had done to Annie W-B was wrong. Not only had he published her name, but it, and the story, had been picked up by BBC news. This was far too far, and they began writing complaints to the Labour party about Streeting, with one person stating it was a sackable offence. Unbelievably, the complaints team said that Streeting’s actions did not contravene Labour policy. Which made them all the more determined to press their complaints and escalate it.

As for Streeting, he then went off and attacked Mike for being an anti-Semite using the old, and now absolutely discredited Sunday Times article. Which left Mike demanding that, if it was an attempt to smear him, he wanted an apology.

See: https://voxpoliticalonline.com/2019/02/06/police-investigation-threat-for-mp-over-faked-anti-semitic-image-and-doxxing/

The controversy continued when Jenny Formby got involved. She was upset that Streeting was being ‘tried by twitter’ and so asked everyone to send their complaints into the Labour party’s Compliance Unit instead, so that they could all move on to attacking the Tories. She was then bitterly attacked in her turn by angry Labour party supporters, furious that the Blairites were able to smear and bully ordinary party members as they pleased without Formby or anyone else for that matter taking any kind of disciplinary action. As proof of this, Mike cited the example of one individual, who was thrown out for liking the music of the Foo Fighters, while Streeting himself went unpunished for what should have been a disciplinary offence. Some people stated that it was high time the Blairites were kicked out of the party. The sheer number of complaints about their behaviour on Twitter showed how deeply unpopular the various right-wing members of the Parliamentary Labour Party are. Finally, to show just how unfair the system is, Mike put up the case of Karen, a Labour party member, who told Formby that when she sent in a complaint against Tweeting, one of his little minions reported her in turn for ‘bullying’. Mike asked if Karen was also going to be penalized.

See: https://voxpoliticalonline.com/2019/02/07/formby-asked-and-labour-answered-reform-labours-complaints-system-but-will-she-listen/

You can understand why Formby doesn’t want a fuss kicked up about Streeting, or any of the other Blairites and supporters of the Israeli apartheid state. They’re actually a tiny minority in the party, but they have the full support of a deeply biased right-wing media. Whenever they are even lightly embarrassed or taken to task, their immediate response is to whine about how they’re being bullied by evil Trotskyites, Stalinists, Communists and anti-Semites. As Joan Ryan did after she lost her local party’s vote of ‘No Confidence’. And these lies are automatically retailed as absolute truth by the Beeb and everyone else.

But time is not on their side. They are only a minority and the strength of the response to Streeting’s smears and doxing, and Formby’s attempts to hush it all up, show how much ordinary party members have lost patience with them. And it is becoming glaringly clear to an increasing number of people outside the party that people like Streeting do not represent the real heart of the Labour party, and that their smears and accusations of anti-Semitism are nothing but grotesque lies. As for their own threats and bullying, it’s high time the leadership stood up to them and called them out on it. That would have saved a lot of grief if it had been done at the very start, no matter how hard they may have whined and moaned in response.

Radio 4 Series on Monday on Corbyn’s Labour Party

June 9, 2018

Radio 4 is also beginning a three party documentary series on Monday, 11th June 2018, at 8.00 pm, entitled The Long March of Corbyn’s Labour. The blurb for this on page 123 of the Radio Times runs

Steve Richards examines the current state of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour party, covering the events of the past year and exploring what the future holds.

The paragraph about the show on the facing page, 122, by David McGillivray, adds the following information and comments

In The Corbyn Story heard on Radio 4 in 2016, Steve Richards tracked Jeremy Corbyn’s progress from his election as Labour party leader the previous year. Now Richards – a regular presenter of Radio 4’s The Week in Westminster who for many years was the chief political commentator of The Independent – turns his attention to Corbyn in the 12 months since he confounded expectations in the 2017 general election when Labour made a net gain of 30 seats. But how have Brexit and the issue of anti-Semitism affected Corbyn’s chances of running the country?

Now, is this going to be an objective treatment of Corbyn and the Labour party? Or is just going to be another hatchet smear piece. Considering the way the Beeb’s news teams are stuffed with Tories, and its appalling bias against the Labour party, my guess is going to be the latter. But I hope I’m wrong.

Steve Topple: Did Andrew Marr Cover for Boris Johnson?

May 15, 2018

Steve Topple, one of the great people behind the Canary, posted this video as far back as April 8 2018. However, it’s only just come up on my search through YouTube.

We’ve all had profound doubts about Marr’s impartiality, as several times it’s been very clear that there is a profound anti-Labour bias there. Or at least anti-Corbyn. This raised the issue again.

Topple asks the question because, on his Sunday morning politics programme, Marr was discussing the Skripal poisoning with a couple of female journalists. One of them is the notoriously biased Julia Hartley-Brewer. In the piece of the programme Topple shows here, they’ve obviously been talking about Boris Johnson’s claim in a German interview that the Russians were responsible. Marr, however, denies it. He says he’s not trying to speak for Johnson, but states that he thinks Johnson only identified the toxin as Novichok. He then goes on to say that the Russians were oversensitive, and so declared that Boris had accused them.

This is followed by a piece from the German interview, where BoJo is shown saying exactly the opposite of what Marr has just said. Boris declares very firmly that the Russians are responsible.

You could be charitable, and say that Marr or his researchers were simply mistaken, and didn’t remember properly what our great Foreign Secretary really said. After all, Marr said ‘I think’ before making his statement to excuse Boris of blaming the Russians, which suggests he wasn’t sure.

But as there is a strong and pervasive Tory bias on the Beeb’s news programming, and there really does seem a concerted effort by this country’s military-industrial complex to drive us into a war with Putin’s Russia, I am not convinced.

It might be an honest mistake, but it looks to me like more government misinformation on behalf of the Tories and the war party.