Wednesday, 31 August 2016

A Remainocrat on Radio 4

A one-side view of Gus O'Donnell 

It looks as if we're going to have to wait some time longer for Radio 4 to invite someone who voted for Brexit to present one of its landmark post-Brexit documentaries. 

So far such documentaries have been presented by a mixture of BBC types and pro-Remain journalists (like David Aaronovitch and Anne McElvoy), and this morning gave us Brexit: The Leavocrats by Remain-supporting former head of the Civil Service Gus O'Donnell. 

This was described as a 'very personal' piece. And it certainly was that.

And despite Lord O'Donnell's statement that the Civil Service will prove its impartiality and make Brexit work, his own feelings about Brexit oozed out and turned it into something of a jeremiad. 

It wasn't helped by having such a one-sided selection of 'talking heads', with Sir Paul Jenkins, Jill Rutter, Helen Munday, Justin King, Howard Davies, Agata Gostyńska-Jakubowska, Jonathan Hill, Peter Hennessey and John Peet on one side and just John Redwood on the other.

Many of those speakers joined Lord O'Donnell in talking up the the difficulties and the 'it's one hell of a mess' angle to the prospects of trying to disentangle the UK from the EU...

...and the only interviewee challenged by Gus O'Donnell was, you won't be surprised to hear, John Redwood. Gus even introduced him as a "hardline" Brexiteer and ended his contribution by commenting, "I think he's being overly optimistic".

Were I to try and sum the programme up with jsut a single quote, I think this (from Lord O'Donnell himself) will do just nicely: "The whole process is going to much much harder than most people realise".

Now, of course, such personal takes would be absolutely fine if - and only if - Radio 4 were to makes serious attempts to balance them with personal takes from the other (pro-Brexit) side, and - so far - that hasn't happened.

Should we take bets on when Radio 4 will get round to giving a full-length Brexit-related documentary to a pro-Brexit presenter? 

I'm guessing it's not going to be any time soon, but we'll see. I hope to be proved wrong though, and soon.

1 comment:

  1. Well, of all the anti-brexit arguments being wheeled out on an hourly basis by the BBC, the argument that our ciil servants might find it too much like hard work has to be the most pathetic. Especially when delivered by an arch - Sir Humphrey figure like O'Donnell.