Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Another Open Thread

New image, in honour of Sue's sunshine holiday. Bon voyage Sue!

Thank you for all of your comments. We very much appreciate them.

Time for a new open thread though, and this is the kind of even-handed, balanced open thread that likes the Scissor Sisters version of Comfortably Numb as much as the Pink Floyd more and no less.

This was a crucial talking point at work this week (true story). Our local Evan Davis likes the Scissor Sisters version more than the Pink Floyd original. Our local David Jones prefers the Pink Floyd original and wants the Scissor Sisters hung for crimes against humanity.

(Some might say we should have been getting on with our work).


  1. Facebook and Twitter are unregulated influential media. Why does the BBC continuously push their audience onto these platforms? I thought that the conditions of their licence was that they should not promote brands.

    1. ...... unless of course it's Huffington Post or of late The Canary. As the Guardian slowly goes bust, it seems to me we're being introduced to a new slew of TV journalist talent too. I have a feeling Owen Jones is in line for something.
      A couple of Guardian journos are already regulars on Radio 4.

  2. Yabbadabbadon't30 June 2017 at 23:58

    For real value though you can't beat the YAB. She was on Sky Press Preview tonight. Three classics. No. 1 - she referred with pleasure to the recent Hillsborough "convictions" (in her raddled imaginings perhaps). No. 2 - she stated she had a tax accountant and knew lots of tax "tricks"...but she didn't use them. No. 3 - she rounded off the night by asserting as a matter of consensus opinion (with a Mail journsalist sitting next to her!) that we had a regulated press and that was a good thing, because there were only certain opinions that could be expressed.

  3. UK - countries can self-harm too1 July 2017 at 01:27

    I find Gad Saad rather good:

  4. BBC News are continually pushing Jeremy Corbyn's ridiculous assertion that the Grenfell fire disaster was caused by austerity. To have spent c £10 million on refurbishment of the block does not sound like austerity to me.

    When the Public Inquiry presents its findings, we will know the reasons that the fire was able to spread from inside a fourth floor flat outside to the cladding. Whether it was poor design, or inadequate regulation that was the cause remains to be seen - but austerity in itself was not the cause of this tragedy.

    1. You don't think that the fire might have spread from inside to outside because the fire brigade opened the window to let the smoke out do you? Oops.

    2. 'Whether it was poor design, or inadequate regulation that was the cause remains to be seen' ..... You wouldn't dare to add incompetence from our heroic fire-fighters - would you Anon?

  5. There was an interesting example of BBC idiocy and bias becoming confused this afternoon; listening to Zoe Ball on the radio 2, she was effervescent about her Glastonbury experience last weekend, some of the highlights she described was a "cuddle" with Tom Watson (not difficult to achieve, I imagine her passing cuddly Tom in a gap of less than six feet). The other was the constant chant of "there's only one Jeremy Corbyn". Now airhead DJ ball is hardly a political heavyweight jurno, but I would think that sort of implicit political comment/bias in a daytime radio show would be worthy of complaint to the BBC.

    1. Ball's Up Thanks To Ball2 July 2017 at 02:34

      She might not be a TV heavyweight...but surprise,surprise her dad was - so Dimblebyesque - a BBC TV producer. And the BBC claim to be in the front of the fight against corruption! It's called nepotism!!! Right thinking people have been fighting against it since forever!

    2. Champagne Socialism at Glasto?

    3. Make mine a Pimms - What.

  6. Joseph Adam-smith2 July 2017 at 15:37

    Not a biased BBC story, but, I believe that this needs to be kept alive as much as possible:

  7. There is a very good piece from Alan on BBBC

    I don't know if he had seen this afternoon's BBC News Channel or not, but there, Kamal Ahmed was i a positively bullish mood, saying that hard Brexit was now almost impossible, that we must now stay in the single market and the customs union, that we were being ridiculed by EU negotiators, and that the Remainers now had a spring in their step as they fully expected Brexit to be watered down to the point of allowing the UK and EU to continue exactly as before the Referendum.

    This was a shocking display of BBC arrogance - dismissing the Referendum result on apparently evidence of the slightly improved Labour performance in the 2017 GE.

    1. Perhaps the slogan, “no deal is better than a bad deal” might have been worded more carefully, but to enter a negotiation without that as a possibility is tantamount to saying that ultimately we will accept any deal. It’s simply the logical conclusion. Whichever side of the debate you are on it is patently obvious that if we stay in the customs union and the single market and accept the jurisdiction of The European Court of Justice we haven’t left the EU. Which is why the position of people like Kamal Ahmed is so disingenuous.

    2. Kamal Ahmed's piece was a full production including graphics from the BBC three year olds. In blue (Conservative) were the EU single market and customs union, and in red (BBC Labour) was the softer non existent Brexit anticipated by Kamal Ahmed showing free movement of goods, capital and migration throughout the EU and UK.

    3. The EU negotiators must be delighted to have the BBC doing their job for them.
      In fact they must be running an office sweep on how ridiculously anti-British and absurd their briefings can be and still get enthusiastically trumpeted as fact by the BBC.

  8. Ellie Fant-Indaroom3 July 2017 at 15:21

    More BBC Fake News:

    Serial offender pro-open borders, pro-mass immigration Tim Harford pretends to write an objective historical piece.
    It contains two howlers. Firstly it uses the emotive Aylan Kurdi case to suggest his parents had to get into the EU before they could join the father's sister in Canada. Not true. Look at 5:03 and you will see the main motivation for Abdullah taking his family to the EU was to get free dental treatment.

    So, Fake News.

    Secondly he states "In practice, all migration creates winners and losers, but research indicates there are many more winners. In the wealthiest countries - by one estimate - five in six of the existing population are made better off by the arrival of immigrants. "

    It seems that Tim Harford doesn't feel the need to given any citation for such dodgy assertions. We simply have to take such statistics on trust!

    Then another supported assertion: "Some economists calculate global economic output would double if anyone could get on their bikes to work anywhere."

    More Fake News. Remember, these biased opinions, appears in the "News" section of the BBC Website.

    1. "By one estimate" means there's 1000 other estimates but I've chosen the one that fits my narrative. In fact it's one I made up myself.

      On the downside one in six are murdered by immigration. By one estimate.

    2. Ellie Fant-Indaroom4 July 2017 at 00:03

      I've looked into most of the studies touting indiscriminate mass immigration as an economic plus to the UK. The sort that FT journos like Harford love. They never ever calculate and include the cost of specialist FGM facilities, teaching English as a second language, increased diabetes rates, increased migrant crime rates and so on. They usually stop the analysis at the point where a migrant becomes a UK Citizen which is often they point when they start a family and require health service access, increase security risks (e.g. monitoring 23,000 potential terrorists), child benefit,income support, social housing or housing benefit and schooling for their children. Harford and his kind ignore all these factors. They also ignore the real world evidence that Japan, Singapore, South Korea and China have strong economies and also have very strict immigration controls.

    3. Harford's article is a childishly simplistic economics view (a view also beloved of the Economist) and does not discuss geography, history, nationality, democracy, welfare systems (free riders), governance and culture.

      Australia too has strict immigration control and a thriving economy.

      What Harford and the BBC also never address is the rate of immigration nor total number of immigrants. I.e. even if 5 out of 6 of the population benefit from immigration, is that true at any rate of immigration (2,000 per day currently!), or at any total number (10 million, 20 million, 100 million?). Obviously not. And equally obviously any such analyses are not discussed because they don't support the situation that UK is currently in.

    4. Ellie Fant-Indaroom5 July 2017 at 10:04

      Yes, very true. And isn't it annoying having children like Harford lecturing us about statistics. Has Harford ever calculated the cost of emigration - when we lose highly skilled people we have paid to train because they find that (owing to mass immigration) they can't afford decent housing? But how is Harford going to react now Bill Gates has spoken, and has stated explicitly that Europe is imperilled by (not blessed by) mass immigration from Africa?

  9. There is a fine line to be drawn between the privileges enjoyed by the monied Tory Toffs, which the BBC despises, and their own privileged access to prestige events such as Glastonbury, Wimbledon, The Proms, Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, Chelsea Flower Show, Boat race Day, etc etc. 'Across the BBC' usually means that 'teams' from Radio, TV, News, Website and local news and radio attend.

    The above is without knowing whether or not our privileged BBC folk attend the best restaurants in town at the licence payers expense.

    One side of the line in Beebland is despicable apparently, the other no doubt enjoyed and welcomed.

    1. There was Tom Watson. Where? On the front row of the Royal Box at Wimbledon Centre Court. In whose gift are passes for these seats? My guess - The All England Tennis and Croquet Club, with their arm being twisted by the BBC.

      First Glastonbury, then Wimbledon for BBC Labour exposure! At least there was no speech.

    2. How long will it be before the radical far lefties seek to replace Corbyn and Watson as the leaders of the Labour Party because they act less like comrades and more like the cosy elite of the monied classes. I see trouble ahead. How can Corbyn balance the aspirations of disillusioned UKIP voters with those of the far-left?


    BBC Radio 4 News at 7pm. Very short item on attempt by pro-Sharia terrorist to blow up people at Elton John concert...extremely brief, matter of fact and no location report. The Sharia terrorist was setenced to 16 years. Followed by much longer report on another court case...that of a man who reprehensibly removed a Muslim woman's Niqab. Location report and lots of details including victim's life-impact (not always a priority for BBC crime reports usually). And of course the pay-off line...reporting it was said in Court that it was perhaps no coincidence the incident followed shortly after the Brexit vote (what no such incidents prior to the vote?). BBC must have thought it was Christmas! :)

    Oh well, we all know what the BBC prioritises don't we?

  11. I heard that on Radio 4 last night on the 6pm News. It really was unbelievable!!

    They also didn't mention the religion of the Elton John concert foiled attacker, he was just identified as an extremist. However they did the Muslim victim of the hate crime. In one 2 minute segment it really shows how the BBC reports events depending on their agenda.

    I'd love to read your take on it, Craig or Sue.

  12. Poor Quentin Sommerville - for all the risks he is taking at the front, I don't see any promotion for him in the offing...

    He makes it clear that the ban on representational images is an Islamic (not Islamist) proscription (mention of this is virtually taboo on the BBC). Then he refers to the IS slogan which makes clear that IS believe sincerely they are following the Prophet's methodology. Also, not allowed - you can refer to them as the "so called" Islamic state but you can't in any way suggest that they are genuinely attempting to follow the Prophet's example in all possible ways.

    1. Thank you for the comment on 'so-called Islamic State' - I've just realized how naïve I've been: in my innocence, I thought the BBC was applying the 'so-called' to the word 'State,' which seemed reasonable because IS is not a state, but now you point out that the word they object to is 'Islamic,' the BBC's position makes a lot more sense (to them!).

  13. It seems the BBC are playing "Confuse a Cat" with its audience.

    I've noticed that increasingly on the BBC Website one find articles like this:

    ...purporting to be "BBC News" but are actually opinion pieces written not by BBC staff but by people who have a stake in a particular view of reality (nearly always in line with the BBC world view) but who aren't presumably bound by the BBC's professional codes (such as they are).

  14. Ellie Fant-Indaroom5 July 2017 at 08:19

    Over on Biased BBC, Alan notes that the following story - Bill Gates speaking about the perils of African migration overwhelming Europe - has not got any attention on the BBC. True, but the picture is I think more complex.

    Maybe, but something is afoot.

    First, let's accept that organisations like the BBC are as ready to change the narrative as are our politicians. But changing perceptions can be a tricky business. Do it too quickly and you look pretty unprincipled and damage your brand. The BBC is like a massive ocean going oil tanker - it can't change direction in a matter of minutes! In any case most news staff are not that bright and are very sheep-like. You have to get the message across to those further down the food chain in a gradualist fashion.

    Well, to cut to the chase I think I detected a slight whiff of change on Newsnight last night.

    Yalda Hakim (she who made a big fuss about getting into Trump's America as a Muslim, in a previous report - predictably, she got in no problem) was the reporter.

    Yes, the report had the ritual denunciation of anti-migration activists as "racist" (although the activist being questioned, honestly or not, denied he was racist). But equally the report had a "something must be done" tone and that something was no longer the BBC-Merkel 2015 line of letting in all migrants with no questions asked. Instead there was more emphasis on how an open borders approach creates risks for would be migrants and how mass migration was having negative effects on Europeans.

    What's going on? I think there is a split in the globalist movement. Some of its most influential voices are now seeing the dangers of the open borders policy. Billionaires have plenyy of assets tied up in Europe that they want to protect. The promise of huge benefits from allowing in a stream of go-getting migrants in 2015 (which I think a lot of globalists had convinced themselves would be realised) has proved completely illusory. Germany has found the vast bulk to be unemployable in any seriously productive manner. Moreover, mass migration has destabilised the EU globalist project. The 2015 migration crisis was crucial in creating the pro-Brexit mood in the UK and has allowed the rise of a substantial far right element in Europe's body politic.

    The globalists thought the Turkey deal would give them time to stabilise the project. But the migration pressure from the South continues. I think pennies are dropping all over the place on the more realistic business-driven wing of the globalist movement. They now have to convince the utopian wing to help close off the migration tap...hmmm it's tricky isn't it?

    The BBC's Newsnight often serves as ideological overseer of the BBC. It was on Newsnight you first had discussion of transgender politics and gay marriage. They would discuss the concepts before they began to dominate the broader news schedules and then create what they deemed to be a consensus view which then spread out to the rest of the network. So I think this report on mass migration - more focussed on the social realities and less on narrow humanitarian aspects - is potentially significant. A portent of an ideological sea change. Globalists think long term - they can see the huge, huge migration pressure coming from Africa, a continent whose population is set to reach a staggering 4 billion by the end of the century. They now realise that migration from the South is destabilising Europe and risking their assets. All change! (Possibly!!)

    1. Yes, that was a very interesting report and, as you say, not what we'd normally expect from the BBC, and certainly not Newsnight. NGOs in the firing line. The fact that few of the 'refugees' are refugees, nearly all of them being economic migrants. The views of ordinary Italians chiming with the Identitarians in being completely fed up.

      The following interviews (with the AfD and the Italian ambassador) were interesting too.

      That said, it's not the first time that Yalda Hakim has pleasantly surprised us:

      From her report I learned that the second largest group coming from Libya to Italy aren't Africans, and most certainly aren't Syrians. They're Bangladeshis. I'd never heard that before.

    2. Ellie Fant-Indaroom6 July 2017 at 11:30

      For me, she's still got some work since that bit of anti-Trump theatre disguised as a report (will I get in or won't I?....OK I know I'm based in Australia but the BBC has for some reason suddenly decided I ought to go to the USA)...However, it was as near as damn it a balanced report! However, I don't know why Evan Davies thinks it's OK for Bill Gates to say these things, when if Nigel Farage or Katy Hopkins said them would have him going into full "angry virtue" mode.

  15. Can anyone help me to understand the UK Productivity figures that have been on the news this evening, please? I’ve been on the ONS website and it talks about public sector outputs (which I thought had stopped with the demise of British Leyland). I worked for years in B2B organisations, removing non-value-adding activities (duplication, cross-charging, waste, layers of management -etc.). I understand that the US as a whole has better productivity figures than the UK because it has a much smaller nanny state. But the BBC is also saying that France is more productive. And I don’t understand how the public sector can be shown to ‘produce’ anything [in a pound note sense].

    1. Ellie Fant-Indaroom5 July 2017 at 20:46

      Think you are confusing "working hard" with "productivity".

      Belgium is more productive per capita than the USA.

      "Productivity is calculated by dividing each country's GDP by the average number of hours worked annually by all employed citizens."

      My understanding is GDP can be measured in different ways e.g. dollar exchange rate or what you can buy with your currency.

      In that sense, a public sector worker who gets paid £20,000 is no different from a private sector worker who gets paid £20,000.

      You might assume a public sector doesn't produce anything but all complex modern societies need a range of services (health, trading standards, fire service, law courts, criminal justice, social services etc) to keep the show on the road and in many cases if you didn't have them , other sectors like finance and manufacturing would soon suffer and your country would become less productive. In any case why is a state owned railway less productive than a private sector one? Why is a private water company different from a publicly owned one in terms of productivity?

      Ireland has very good productivity but this is a reflection of how many big companies have their businesses based there which inflates their GDP. Irish people see little of that money which is quickly passed elsewhere.

      Belgium seems a bit odd as a lead contender, but it is a v. compact country and that must deliver cost efficiencies, plus it benefits from the EU bureaucracy.

      It's quite easy for a country like the USA blessed with huge natural resources to be highly productive.

      I think taking into account natural resources, Japan is probably the most productive nation on Earth.

  16. The BBC have lined up another wonderfully 'impartial' and 'balanced' panel for Question Time tonight.

    Just one Brexiteer in the shape of Rees-Mogg, up against four Remainers, including the insufferable dope Richard Burgon and the sinister Green pixie, Caroline Lucas.

    I wonder if anyone has kept a tally of Remainers and Leavers on QT since the referendum was announced? Would make for interesting reading.

    Such is the paucity of talent on the Labour front bench that when Abbott was withdrawn from the fray during the election campaign, Burgon was cast into the spotlight. That went well.

    Still, should be fun watching the clash of mighty intellects between this twit and JRM.

  17. "Sinister Green pixie" - I like that. The Greens want to save the environment in this country by growing the population to 100 million, and building another 15 million houses. But don't worry, according to their policies, those 15 million new houses won't have any roads connecting them. So that's OK.

  18. We need to keep on eye on the BBC's opinion-smuggling operation. Here's one of the latest techniques - inserting Twitter screen shots into standard news items (the equivalent of zeroing in on the "F*** Trump" poster when BBC TV reports on a demo).

  19. Did anybody else hear the BBC's Katie Hile (I think) interview with DeLaRue's CEO Martin Sutherland on Today at 7:25 this morning?

    She repeatedly tried to get Martin Sutherland to say something negative about Brexit, but he wasn't having it. It was desperate stuff, irrelevant, and quite out of order I thought.

  20. I have noticed a concerted effort from the BBC Website to show images of Theresa May with a dark empty background, for instance:

    We all saw for ourselves during the GE campaigns that whenever Jeremy Corbyn was photographed, images were chosen with a splash of BBC Labour red (sometimes with Vote Labour displayed), and more often than not, he was shown smiling, waving to supporters. Very often, Theresa May does not appear smiling, or supported. I see this as a not so subtle attempt to make Theres May appear as isolated - especially in Europe, and now, at the G20.

  21. The BBC are continually lauding EU successes (as they would perceive them - if a hint can be dropped that it is damaging to Brexit). Giant Pandas cement German (not EU) relations with China, and after many years of waiting (apparently) an EU trade agreement with Japan. Don't we already trade successfully with Japan?

    This is Remain rhetoric.

  22. Zapping the Zeitgeist8 July 2017 at 00:55

    BBC Fake News...

    Feature the Black Bloc banner with its slogan but not any of the anti-Sharia banners.

    Make sure you have a biased headline in conformity with the school's decision. A balanced headline would have said something like "Row over dinner lady's suspension after she attends demo".

    Don't forget to pepper the article with EDL references (five in total) even though it wasn't an EDL march.

    At no point make it clear that EDL is not a banned organisation.

    At no point mention the formal title of the march (UK Against Hate).

    Refer to Tommy Robinson as "former EDL leader" even though you never refer to Andrew Marr as "former Trotskyite" or David Aaronovitch as "ex Communist" or Noam Chomsky as "previous apologist for the Khmer Rouge" (and all those organisations created far more pain and destruction than the EDL ever did).

    That's the way to do it!

  23. On this morning's BBC News website:

    BBC reports that Trump will 'go' to London. Will he not 'come' to London, or is the BBC now a European or Global broadcaster which has forgotten it's the British Broadcasting Corporation, with its HQ in London, our capital?

  24. The wording changed all of a sudden to 'The US President confirms that he will 'go' to London'. Perhaps the BBC do read these comments!