Tuesday, 21 January 2020

Another Open Thread


As posting will be a bit quiet for a few days here and the previous open thread is filling up fast, here's a new open thread. Thanks for all your comments. 

Razzall Dazzle


Newsnight 21st January 2020

Katie Razzall's intro looked promising. Things might be looking up! Judging from the build-up, it would be easy to assume the BBC had finally been “listening”

”Accused of bias, from left and right!” -  clips of John Whittingdale! Nick Ferrari! Robin Day! 

But no. It turns out the BBC had been listening, but not to us. To each other.



Dimbles looked worn out.  Quickly glossing over his opening statement.......
 “I think in the end —— I think—-people trust the BBC more than they do politicians” 
..he too began promisingly:
“and I think there are major, major problems with the BBC at the moment […](Hall’s) successor will face major challenges!!”
Gesticulating wildly, he even cited the BBC’s coverage of Brexit: 
“People shouting ‘bloody wankers!’ “ 
and 
“something isn’t right!”

So one might have anticipated an insightful analysis of the BBC’s hideously white woke agenda. Then he went and spoiled it all by saying something stupid, like: 
“Look at how Fox News demonstrates ‘not listening to the people’ by promoting Trump!’”
Yes, David; in your personal alternative reality where ‘yes’ is ‘no’ and ‘up’ is ‘down’ and 'the BBC is a mouthpiece of the Tory gov’ment'.

He turned to Emily Maitlis:
“People like you who sit in the studio, night after night, trying to be fair - you do your best to listen to every voice….” 
and then I suddenly realised that Maitlis was now trying to put the case against herself in a kind of despair - probably because no-one else was putting it, and she thought ‘I’d better get that in quick before someone mentions Rod Liddle'.  (H/T Monkey Brains) It was getting very weird.

It seems their suggestions about how to resurrect the BBC’s falling ratings are: More Trump-bashing. More diversity.  Ash Sarkar on every panel.  More pandering to the youth market. (Not just ordinary pandering, but especially cloth-eared M & S pandering - to a market they’ll never win over -  while cocking an M & S snook at their core customers (who must have been young once)  


Russell   Jo   Katy Brand was a runner? I can’t quite picture that. 

I nominate Jeremy Corbyn for the next D.G. As I said earlier, killing two sits vac with one stone - where do I send my three quid?

Annual pre-Christmas routine

In view of the BBC's silence on the persecution of Christians (apart from its yuletide Israel-bashing ritual) I felt like sharing this; albeit belatedly.

Stig retreats


Here's a little Twitter chat to brighten up your breakfast involving TLS editor/Front Row presenter Stig Abell, the LSE's Charles Beckett and Today's Justin Webb:

Stig Abell: People would like the BBC more, if the BBC talked about the BBC less. Just a thought.
Charlie Beckett: Any evidence for that? People seem obsessed by the BBC on Twitter, at least. Shouldn't an influential organisation that takes billions of public money have an open conversation about its future and what it does?
Stig Abell: It should. But it shouldn’t self-obsess in public. The BBC’s transparency is laudable. But at the moment its boss has gone and there will be an open recruitment: a story, but it doesn’t need hours of self-conscious musing. Which is what it gets.
Charlie Beckett: You are a super-informed media insider, so it's dull for you. Yes, it can be indulgent, but I can't think of a moment where wider public debate was more needed.
Stig Abell: Anyway this is a short way of me saying, yes, I’m applying for the job.
Justin Webb: After half eight: more money for BBC Front Row - the biggest test for the candidates ...๐Ÿ˜Ž
Stig Abell: *bursts through the door, eyes gleaming*.

Panorama's John Ware sues the Labour Party for libel



Some complained to the BBC - including the Labour Party itself, which compiled 28 objections to the programme. This then went through to Ofcom. 

Well, Ofcom has now thrown out Labour's complaint declaring the programme to have been duly impartial. 

"So BBC"


Guido Fawkes is coming close to copying my 'Very BBC'  catchphrase here ๐Ÿ˜„:

Matt


Another dramatic intervention by Lewis


Newsnight's new policy editor Lewis Goodall may have overruled the Government over the House of Lords but he's sticking up for HS2 and dashing my hopes about trains north of Birmingham being improved with money previously allocated to HS2: 

  • £106bn is a lot of money. But it is worth saying that successful infrastructure lasts decades if not centuries and people in 2050 are unlikely to be using HS2 and saying “god, I wonder how much this cost? Might have been a waste of money.” 
  • For example, one of the most successful tube upgrades in recent years was on the Victoria Line. It cost a fortune- £900m. It now carries 36 trains an hour and is widely considered fantastic. I can’t imagine anyone who uses it or benefits from it gives the cost a second thought.
  • Andrew Sentance who sat on the HS2 review panel tells Evan Davis  that the govt is using their report selectively, implies they’re trying to prepare the way for cancellation, something and the panel doesn’t think is a good idea. 
  • Also makes the point (which is surely right) that the idea we often hear, that HS2 should be cancelled and the £80bn or so would spent on other infrastructure projects in the midlands in north, is very far fetched.

Damn the torpedoes. Full speed rail ahead then. Lewis has spoken.

A dramatic intervention by Lewis


The Government's plans to relocate the House of Lords up north (Morecambe?) took a serious hit yesterday as the BBC's Lewis Goodall came out against it

  • NEW: The Lord Speaker has allowed the upper House equivalent of an urgent question about the potential relocation of the House of Lords. Will take place at around 1500. 
  • Their Lordships must be worried. But they probably ought not be. I suspect the Lords will be the first of a long list of institutions whose relocations will be floated by the government in the name of levelling up but never actually happen. 
  • Besides as relocations go what’s the point of moving the Lords? Moving 800 (in the main) pensioners whose power is limited. Not much of a message, unless it’s accompanied by wider constitutional change which would include enhancing its power and (probably) elections.
  • Moreover, it’s not clear that an institution just *being* in a place makes the local population more connected with it. It’s not as if the vast majority of the population of London feels any connection with the House of Lords.

That's the Government told then. The Lords will be staying put for Lewis has spoken. 

Colours


A Knight in shining armour?


Fedup2 at Biased BBC notes that the Conservative MP for Solihull, Julian Knight, is campaigning to become the new chair of the Parliamentary Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) select committee in place of "BBC remainer fan" Damien Collins (also re-elected as an MP at the election).

Mr Knight wants a Commons inquiry into the future of the BBC because of its 'bias' and for being 'out of touch' with those who pay for it.

"It’s worth watching for signs of the real change this site is looking for", Fedup writes. (And  this one too).

Here's what Mr Knight says:
Don’t forget, the BBC, in terms of employees, is the size of a chunky town, it has its own culture, and this forms - often unconsciously - how it reports the news, particularly subjects which are against the grain for the west London media elites. And because of the existence of the licence fee people feel, rightly, they have a right to judge their output. They see or hear lop-sided views and they no longer think Aunty knows best. People want greater accountability. We are not happy being spoon fed and told what to think. We want the national broadcaster to reflect us. This will only happen if the way the BBC is paid for becomes fair and transparent and Aunty learns it is not all about her.
Here's his CV:

Monday, 20 January 2020

'Newsnight' goes Through the Looking-Glass


Allison Pearson has been watching Newsnight tonight. Most of the programme was taken up discussing the BBC in the light of Lord Hall's departure:
This BBC Newsnight discussion misses the fact that the BBC projects a metropolitan point of view in most of its output. But the country now has the upper hand. The BBC can’t respond because its staff don’t get the country.
Indeed, and it was quite surreal.

MB on the open thread nails it:
We can analyse ourselves objectively. To begin with we will have three pro-BBC guests/pensioners on who will show industrial levels of delusion. 
Then have three people on, one pro-Beeb, pro-more PC-Beeb and one Beeb agnostic (well, feels it's not performing as well as it should, sounding more PC by the minute...wants public broadcasting - wants a "digital licence fee"). 
So that's a grand total of six people who want to preserve the BBC! And no one who wants it abolished. 
Usual BBC impartiality, then.
The guests were: David Dimbleby (pro-BBC), Michael Grade  (pro-BBC), Katy Brand  (pro-BBC)Suzanne Franks  (pro-BBC), Nels Abbey (pro-a-more-PC BBC) and Tom Mills (BBC critic).

And Tom Mills, the token 'BBC sceptic', isn't your normal BBC critic. He's a pro-public service broadcasting BBC critic from the hard-Left  - so hard-Left that Aaron Bastani of the far-left Novara Media would like him to be the next DG of the BBC!

None of them wanted to get rid of the licence fee. (What are the chances?!)

Navel-gazing Newsnight surpassed itself tonight.

Others are noticing:
๐•ฝ๐–†๐–•๐–๐–†๐–Š๐–‘ ๐•ด๐–‘๐–”๐–: Watching BBC Newsnight I couldn't help but notice that all guests on the show are hardcore "Pro-BBC" & are all invariably making the same case for the BBC. Oh, what a joke! I think, unless something dramatically changes, the BBC is almost at the end of the line. When all guests on Newsnight all sing off the exact same page of the exact same hymnbook, the "hidden" agenda becomes way too apparent...

A difference of opinion


Robert Peston: Decision on who replaces Lord Hall as bbc DG is probably as important as who becomes next Labour leader. Because given size of Boris Johnson’s majority, the task of holding the government to account will probably fall more on media than on parliamentary opposition. And also new DG will have to make powerful public case for the importance of a poll-tax funded public service broadcaster, in the face of a sceptical government. Much at stake.
Jon Holbrook: It is NOT the role of a state funded broadcaster to 'hold the government to account'.The fact that Robert Peston (a BBC luvvie) thinks it is, explains why the BBC has lost public support.

A tribute


Getting out


As you know, Lord Hall is leaving the BBC.

He's off to run the National Gallery - which is very nice for him.

Hopefully he'll carry on his fine work at the BBC and pursue its sacred mission - the diversity agenda - with just as much vigour there. The National Gallery is full of paintings by dead, white European males, which surely can't be allowed to continue. 

(Wonder if Ash Sarkar can paint? Tony Hall could still make her the Gallery's artist-in-residence, even if she can't). 

*******

The BBC's online report on the story is open for comments. As Bernard would have said in Yes, Minister, that's very brave. I think it's safe to say that, so far, they could be going a good deal better for the BBC. 

Here are the Top 10 comments:

  1. Great, can we please have the BBC back? You know, the one that wasn't obsessed with gender politics, racism or anything snowflake, and could it return to being a dependable and unbiased organisation that produced great programming? Could we, please?
  2. He has turned the BBC into a biased woke left wing organisation that does not reflect the majority view of the population. A population that is forced to pay for this and it is high time to get rid of the TV tax.
  3. Hall has totally destroyed the BBC and turned it into a third rate tabloid! Should have been sacked years ago!
  4. Box ticking BBC has lost its way with social engineering and biased views.
  5. But he said he felt it was important the BBC had the same leader for the BBC's mid-term review in 2022 and the renewal of its charter in 2027. Who says the BBC's charter will be renewed in 2027 anyway?
  6. He's getting out before the poo hits the fan.
  7. I'd give it 18 months and there will be no licence fee.
  8. I'm glad. Somehow over the last few years I've felt like BBC news was there to make me feel unhappy with everything, rather than informing me of national and world events.
  9. Hope the new DG can crackdown a bit. BBC News (website in particular) is a biased joke, and they seem to think that the nation should do/think exactly what they want, or go swivel. It needs some serious reform. Look to how Reuters handle news: it can't ever be perfect but they try to be fair in layout and language and avoid trying to "spin" the news. 
  10. I can only echo the comments of the highest rated. We don't recognise the BBC anymore. I would say under Hall's watch the company HAS proved to be divisive and bad for our country. It's all cookery shows, endless trailers, endless having minority groups rammed in your face.

*******

Although rumour has long had it that Lord Hall was grooming former Labour minister James Purnell to succeed him, pretty much everyone is predicting that his successor will actually be a woman

(I suppose James could always self-identify as a woman, if that helps.)

I doubt it will be Samira Ahmed. 

Should we predict who it will be? From the Guardian's list of runners and riders, I'll pick former Ofcom boss Sharon White. She'd certainly keep the diversity flag flying at the BBC.

Deafening silence


You’ve probably seen this already, but the new episode of Peter Whittle’s “So What You’re Saying Is” series. features a young student named James Oliver who has co-founded a ‘free speech society’. Fancy that, a free speech society at a university!    

Hmm, maybe I’m behind the times, but like Peter Whittle, I used to think universities were “the very places that should be open to new thoughts and new ideas.”

Unequivocal freedom of speech is all well and good, but there is the thing about shouting ‘fire!’ in a crowded theatre. In other words, it’s fine to start from the principle that ‘anything goes’, but there is the question of incitement, which invites the obvious question…. can the audience always be relied on to engage its brain? To which the answer must be negative..

Here’s the thing, as the saying goes. All these fashionable speakers, writers and bloggers who are up in arms about politically incorrect or otherwise outspoken people like Peter Hitchens, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Germaine Greer, Julie Bindel etc., getting themselves rudely de-platformed by people and places that should be open to new ideas (e.g. the mainstream media and various (nearly all) universities) are a bit on the quiet side when a certain recipient of a ‘free speech award’ happens to be the artist formerly known as Stephen Yaxley-Lennon.  

(I haven’t forgotten the one exception - his speech at the Oxford Union. At the time the content was restricted for legal reasons - but outside the circle of the ‘already converted’ the occasion went virtually unreported)


Ezra Levant has covered this one. So have various semi-obscure sites like ‘Ruptly’.


 The full YT video is flawed by the buffering, noise interference and weird jumps and missing bits.  This is the best one I can find.

One site I used to follow a lot, The New English Review, has done some interesting digging around the reporting / non-reporting issue.


And for your entertainment, here’s Owen Jones - whom I fear has gone completely bananas.

The UK media proper isn’t interested. I have no idea if the free speech advocates we know and love - the most prominent ones - will acknowledge, celebrate or ignore it. Think of it as a form of ‘snog, marry avoid’.

Preaching to the Dregs


I saw a tweet today from journalist Nigel Pauley)..:
Doctor Who’s ratings decline a big worry for BBC bosses .. despite being sandwiched between rating hits Countryfile and Call The Midwife it managed just over 4m viewers .. over 1m down on both shows.
...to which the SDP's Patrick O'Flynn replied
Another victim of the Woke Orthodoxy. It's become a major turn off. I vote Laurence Fox to be the new Doctor - and watch those ratings soar.
The latest series reached peak 'preachy wokeness' last week with Orphan 55, an episode with a a Planet of the Apes-style 'twist': It was as Earth all along. The message? Do something about global warming now or you'll destroy Planet Earth and 'left behind' humanity will evolve into Dregs - monsters with bad teeth and no dentists. 

Now, long-term fans of the programme will recall that the Jon Pertwee era had a strong environmentalist agenda at times and that his Doctor could wag his finger at humanity from time to time, but this was a huge clunking fist being rammed into viewers' faces, culminating in a long speech from Doctor Jodie that could have been read from a U.N. lectern. No wonder people called it 'the Greta Thunberg episode'. "Tonight's episode of Doctor Who was brought to you in association with Extinction Rebellion", someone else wrote. Subtle it wasn't. 

I was away from the blog last week but still managed to monitor the social media reaction (via my mobile phone). I've never seen such an overwhelmingly negative response. About half the people though it too preachy and too badly-written but, curiously, a good chunk of those sympathetic to its message also felt it failed because of its badly-written heavy-handedness. Few people seem to have just enjoyed it, with most of those wholeheartedly approving of it doing so simply because of its message and the stridency of its advocacy. 

None of that will have helped its viewing figures. 

Oddly though, this week's episode (focusing on Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison) was pretty good, and by far the best of the Chris Chibnall era. (He didn't write it).

Anyhow, for fans of funny, sweary videos, here's someone else's take on Orphan 55 (h/t Biased BBC). It is spot-on:

Happy with Shappi


Radio 4 comedienne Shappi Khorsandi has risen further in my estimation for refusing to sing to her own choir. Responding to a tweet from The Stage reporting that "Equity’s minority ethnic members committee has called on fellow actors to “unequivocally denounce” Laurence Fox for comments he made during an appearance on BBC1's Question Time", Shappi wrote:
Blimey. Laurence Fox doesn’t need me to stick up for him, I’m sticking up for compassion though, which should NOT be reserved just for people you agree with. The man sees the world differently to you and said so on TV...but we must actually try to RUIN him for this? To what end??

What Meghan Wants

“The BBC has an eleven-year Charter — our mission is secure until 2027. But we also have a mid-mission is secure until 2027. But we also have a mid-term review process for the spring of 2022.

WTF? As someone pointed out, the BBC is too vast not to have appointed a proof reader - (oops nearly forgot the ‘r’ ) -  to glance through the DG’s resignation letter before it went to press. The coffers have probably been drained by Sarah Montague’s massive payout. 

Anyway, I just thought I’d mention Tony Hall’s resignation in the light of his remarkably self-deluded cloth-earedness: 
“In an era of fake news, we remain the gold standard of impartiality and truth. What the BBC is, and what it stands for, is precious for this country. We ignore that at our peril.”
Beryl the Peril.

Which brings me to Mark Thompson who has evidently gained a huge amount of personal confidence since he left the Beeb to turn the NYT into a sanctuary of lefty anti-Britishness


On Marr yesterday Thompson showed no sign of the stammering hesitancy of old. If it’s that good at boosting one’s ego maybe we should all join Harry and Meghan across t’pond in their new aspirational 'commoner' role. (Pity Harry when Meghan decides she wants “a brahn baby”.)

Harry and Meghan

Fox in the henhouse


You know why I ignored Laurence Fox’s bombshell on Q.T. and focused instead on Shami?  It’s not just because she poo-poohed antisemitism. No, the reason I chose to highlight Shami’s performance (how can one be shamefaced yet brazen, all at once?) - is slightly different. I ignored Laurence just because I thought what he said was ‘normal’. It’s exactly what most people were probably saying at home. You know, (groan,) “A woman then!”.

Not that I agreed with Laurence that Starmer would make the best Labour leader. He’s not even the least worst.  As John Lennon might have remarked ”He’s not even the best drummer candidate in the leadership contest

However, I happen to think Laurence’s choice was a bit sexist, but not in a bad way. I think he was being ‘sexist’ in recognising masculinity's inherent authoritativeness. Shouldn't say so, but there you go. 'Trust him, he’s a bloke’ is how (I’m guessing) Laurence’s mind was working. 

Maybe he had mugged up on the Labour Party’s leadership race in anticipation of his stint on QT, but I’m thinking not. I bet he hasn’t been as obsessed with the matter as the BBC has been. (I love the way they call it a ‘race’ ) I’m sure the Beeb wasn’t half as interested in the minutiae of the qualities of the contenders for any other Party’s race.

This ridiculous kerfuffle has been all over the media. I’m just linking to Brendan O’Neill’s piece without even having read it yet, though I intend to do so in a minute.

Has Laurence been chucked out of Equity? Something like that. All the luvvies adhere to woke - it’s the rules.

Don’t read this, go and read Brendan.

Update:
Oh, and of course, Douglas

Saturday, 18 January 2020

Lewis Goodall v Robbie Gibb


A thread from Newnight's new policy editor on Sajid Javid's interview with the FT...
Lewis Goodall: Two points:
-final acceptance that referendum promise that we’d have exactly the same benefits of the single market was false.
-pledging to double economic growth at the same time as leaving world‘s biggest trade bloc seems, erm, ambitious.
Alternative trade deals won’t come online for years (if earlier it’s probably a sign they’re v basic) and as studies show, benefits of FTAs are pretty modest. Civil service estimates suggest that the biggest one, a US deal, will boost UK GDP by only 0.2% *after 15 years*.
Mr Javid was once rather more alive to these concerns:
Mr Javid was right then. It is difficult to imagine how an economy can undertake runaway growth whilst erecting significant trade barriers with its closest and most significant trading partner. Unless of course, they have some drastic plans on labour laws, regulation...And even that prob wouldn’t be enough. After all, cuts to domestic regulation in some areas will be matched by increases in the regulatory burden on business that divergence will inevitably bring.
...brought a response from former senior BBC editor turned Theresa May communications director Robbie Gibb:
Robbie Gibb: Applying my impartiality check to this twitter thread it fails on 1,2,3,6,8,9 and 15. Apart from that it’s great.
The rules in question, with Robbie alleges Lewis broke, are:
1) Always make impartiality the number one priority or it will take second place to other considerations.
2) On social media and broadcast it should not be possible to work out any journalist’s political views.
3) On Twitter look at your tweets in the round, check they don’t all point in one direction.
6) You can’t be both an impartial journalist and commentator - choose one or the other.
8) Don’t pretend you can predict the future - you can’t and your guess isn’t news.
9) Show some humility - you probably don’t know as much as the person you are criticising.
15) Avoid loaded language, it gives away your bias.
An unfriendly exchange then ensued:
Lewis Goodall: Thanks for this Robbie. Maybe one day, if I’m as impartial as you, I can get a knighthood too.
Robbie Gibb: My advice to you is listen to constructive criticism and try and improve. 

Friday, 17 January 2020

Forgive and forget

The BBC has (long) forsaken its loyal admirers in pursuit of its irredeemably unrequited love for woke youth. Ain’t gonna happen.

Not for the first time - I’ve said it before and I’m still saying it - ‘just like Marks and Sparks.’ And look what’s happening to that! Soon the Beeb will just have to rely on ‘food’. (Which, in a way, it already does)

I wonder what would happen if we were paid for blogging? I wonder how that would affect our output?  (I mean apart from my monthly stipend from Mossad) 

The fambley might appreciate it - it might even ameliorate some of the resentment one gets for time-wasting. Which is, after all, what I‘ve been doing for the last twelvty years.  Saying the same old stuff.  This must be what your careworn school-teacher, wedded to a wretched curriculum, feels like - oh dear, another new year - ‘nother new intake - here we go again, again.


I wouldn’t want to do this for a wage. That would oblige me to up-my-game. As it is, I’ll stick to the level of game to which I’ve become accustomed and the level of game that entitles me to make relatively trivial and bitchy observations.

(Hailstones now! Bloody global warming!)

Did anybody catch an interview with some chap recently - d’you know, I can’t actually remember who it was, but whoever-he-was kept saying ‘Look!” He peppered every utterance with the word ‘look’ - so much so that I began counting instead of listening to what he was trying to say (if anything.) 

Commanding one to ‘look’ every few seconds is quite patronising. It’s a kind of plea that implies one’s audience is incapable or unwilling to see reason - unlike Mr Reasonable who's 'splaining it to us.



A similar category of plea/command was evident in last night’s Question Time. It came in the form of a repetitive verbal-tic. An unintentionally revealing verbal-tic at that. Can you guess what it is yet? 

From Shami, the one who should be ashamed of herself for what she did. You know, the thing that no-one from the Beeb’s over-stuffed stable of aggressive, adversarial, 'devil’s advocate' interviewers has ever held her to account for.  

If she said it once she said it a hundred times. “Forgive me, but…” That’s it! She peppered her every utterance with it.

No, actually. I won't,  if that’s all the same to you. Whitewashing the antisemitism in the Labour Party is one thing. Taking a Baroness-ship is another. But continuing to show her annoying little face without an apology or a ‘sorry I got it all wrong” is really beyond the pale and quite unforgivable. The BBC is equally remiss for letting her come onto Q.T. and various other BBC political platforms as if nothing had happened. Her appearance is at once shamefaced and smug. How can you emote self-pity and self-righteousness all at the same time?

She’s got forked earlobes. I might as well mention that while I’m about it. Forked earlobes and, forgive me, a little ‘tache.

BBC. Maintain, reform, abolish?



(As David Vance might have said:) "Thoughts?"

Sunday, 12 January 2020

Open Thread



Time for a new open thread. Thanks for your comments.

"Not a lot of very clear answers"


Emily Thornberry on The Andrew Marr Show was straining her every sinew to smile and laugh and make her eyes sparkle at the start of her interview. It looked very odd. Later she tried 'a reverse Hyacinth Bucket', attempting to show how working class she is. I half expected her to say of her sister (who she mentioned), "She's the one without a Mercedes, swimming pool, or room for a pony".

The great lady, nonetheless, proved herself to be the equal of her comrade Diane Abbott, at least as regards numeracy, saying, "Harry's spent 20 years on the frontline in Afghanistan", which meant he must have served there even before the war began, at the age of 15. (He actually served 30 weeks in total in Afghanistan). Andrew Marr didn't pick her up on it.

As for Brandon Lewis, "Brandon Lewis, not a lot of very clear answers but thank you very for joining us anyway" was Andrew Marr's parting shot at him. 

Mr Lewis kept on saying that he couldn't go into the details of things like what the government is going to do further over the arrest of the UK ambassador to Iran, or about Meghan and Harry's security, or go into detail about the UK's negotiating position with the EU over security. He may have been right, but Andy wasn't buying it.

I also notice that The Andrew Marr Show is still pushing ministers over the 'Russian involvement in British politics' select committee report, as the Corbynistas are continually demanding the BBC does. Pressure sometimes works. Mr Lewis pointed out that there needs to be a committee chairman in place before that happens (too soon after the election yet), something the programme doesn't appear to have realised. 

On the pitch


Oh dear, David, it's very far from being a figment of your imagination, but I'm guessing Rob won't be happy...
David Buik: Alison Phillips & Amanda Platell were excellent reviewers of the papers on MARR today! However, is it a figment of my imagination that men have more often than not been left on the subs bench for this influential gig? The quality has been excellent but maybe a bit more balance!

Introduction



And what, pray, was Andrew Marr shouting?
Good morning. On the surface, ordinary political life has now resumed. Parliament is back, Prime Minister's Questions are back. The Brexit bill is through by 99 votes. All the boil and froth and bubble of late last year, the battles between Number Ten and the Supreme Court, the endless agonies of indecision in the Commons - that's all now behind us. But to call this business as usual would be wrong. Boris Johnson has a formidable task in drawing up a new trade agreement with the EU ahead of him. There is a real Royal crisis. While the shattered opposition still has to regroup, find a new leader and a new way ahead. Apologies, therefore, if you'd hoped it was all going quiet. On this blowy Sunday morning it is as wild as ever.  [Really?]
Today, we hear at last from one of the other EU countries as the negotiations begin. Fresh from Northern Ireland, where the Stormont Assembly reconvened yesterday, Simon Coveney, Ireland's Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, joins us live from Cork. ["We hear at last"? Simon Coveney is quite the regular on the AM show. This is his 6th appearance.]
Here in London, the Tory Security Minister Brandon Lewis will be reflecting on what EU negotiations mean for our safety, and we may mention Harry and Meghan as well. ["Tory". Will the angle be that Brexit will harm our safety?]
And fighting for survival in the Labour leadership contest, I'll be talking to the Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry. She has a little over 24 hours to find the MP nominations she needs to progress. 
And the film star James McAvoy has been telling me why he's been wooed away from Hollywood by the ultimate romantic play - a radical reboot of Cyrano do Bergerac. 
On the news front, Alison Phillips, editor of the Daily Mirror and Amanda Platell of the Daily Mail, on a momentous morning. ["A momentous morning". Am I missing something?]
All of that coming up soon. But first, the news with Rachel Burden.

"Andrew Marr is really shouting this morning"


First Hugh, now Pointless's Richard Osman:
Andrew Marr is really shouting this morning.
He's not wrong.

"So why misrepresent?"


Only yesterday morning BBC & other UK media were salivating over fiction that Soleimani’s killing had brought national unity in Iran. Along with many others I told them the reality in this article. Their journalists are not stupid so why misrepresent?
To which can be added Suzanne Evans's reply:
Will never forget most broadcast journalists salivating over the Arab Spring too, thinking it was positive. Watched with utter disbelief. Nothing changes.

Our man in Iran


Our ambassador to Iran tweets:
Thanks for the many goodwill messages. Can confirm I wasn’t taking part in any demonstrations! Went to an event advertised as a vigil for victims of PS752 tragedy. Normal to want to pay respects- some of victims were British. I left after 5 mins, when some started chanting. Detained half an hour after leaving the area. Arresting diplomats is of course illegal, in all countries. See comments by Foreign Secretary.